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Recent Tasting Notes
It is time for the last of this sample. There was a little bit more in the bag than I would normally put in, but it wasn’t enough for two french presses, so I poured in the rest of my sample bag.
Starting at two minutes and going to keep re-steep it until I kill it. So probably six steeps worth of tea. A very good choice for an afternoon tea.
It is a cold and rainy day today, so I decided to break out my flavored milk oolong that Teavivre generously sent me to try. Now, I do have to confess that I have had it at least one time before and I just forgot to log it. I also figured that it would be good to review this after I drank the regular milk oolong.
I tossed about 4 teaspoons into my french press this time. I normally brew about 3 teaspoons at a time, but I had a little extra fall when I was shaking out the packet. So I will actually try to steep this tea to death this time because of the slight extra I used. I don’t want to waste any.
So far, the first steep at 2 minutes is very smooth. It has a slight milky scent and is creamy on the tongue. Because it is flavored, the milky quality is upped to the point where I can almost smell warm milk. There is no mineral taste at all yet. It is all satin on the tongue.
Second Steep at about 2 and a half minutes. I noticed that the liquor was a bright golden and it smelled ready, so I stopped it there instead of going onto three minutes. The smell is divine! It smells even better than the first steep. The leaves were opening up more and I can see that the leaves are going to be huge. They still aren’t fully open yet. The taste is still creamy smooth. There is a hint of floral riding with the taste now and a slight caramel hint. It is present enough to make my tastebuds register it as a sweet taste. Not overly sweet, but sweet enough. So second steep, nice and sweet.
Third Steep is even more golden in color than the second steep! Wow. And it has only been for brewing for three minutes now. It is starting to smell wonderfully buttery and I am restraining burying my nose deep into my cup. It now tastes sweet. The sweetness was creeping up in the second steep, but this steep is starting to taste like I put a little agave syrup in it. Not sugar sweet, but agave sweet. It is two distinct sweet tastes. The milky taste is starting to turn and starting to taste creamy instead of milky. There is still no mineral taste like there is in the regular milk oolong. There is a slight taste of green in there because of the oolong base, but no minerals.
It is time for the Fourth Steep! I swear, this tea is like honey dripping out of my french press. Warm and creamy scent to the nose still. I steeped it about 3.5 minutes. The silky smooth taste has drifted from milky to creamy. It is not as sweet as the third steep, but you can tell that it is much sweeter than the first and second steeps. I feel almost like I am drinking a dessert tea. The flavor is not waning at all yet. I am starting to get a hint of butter on the right tip of my tongue. Just a hint. Other than that it is all golden smooth cream. I am still not tired of the flavor yet.
I’m going to pause for a moment before the fifth steep and think about how I have taken one thing of tea from breakfast until dinner and probably one more drink after dinner if the flavor is still strong enough on this steep. Brewed this one for a whole four minutes. It is still as golden as it ever was. It is beautiful. It smells like butter to me now. No more milk, no more cream. Just butter. Wow, just wow. It tastes like cream. Thick and sweet cream. Five steeps in and it still tastes like this. I’m blown away.
I took a shower and decided that I at least needed to go onto the sixth steep. So now I smell like lavender and the tea still smells like butter. This one sat for four and a half minutes. It is starting to develop a very light mineral smell. I think the green oolong might finally be showing its head through the flavor. The flavor is definitely a little lighter on this steep. There is a lot less of a creamy mouthfeel in this steep than was present in the last steep. The flavor is still present but has developed into butter that you can taste best on the back and sides of your tongue. It is still sweet though.
I am stopping at the sixth steep even though I think the flavor could carry you through at least one more steep. The flavor profile is weakening and I think the next steeps will be weaker and weaker. That being said, every steep I made was like steeping enough for two cups so I got at least 12 cups of tea out of this. That is a lot of tea!
I now know why people really like milk oolongs. They are light and sweet. I think I may have found a new favorite type of tea besides Earl Grey. I am delighted that Teavivre let me try and enjoy this tea.
Thanks for being patient with my tea review for today. Next time I do a big one like this, I’m putting it in a notebook first. I didn’t expect to go through six steepings of this wonderful tea!
This smells so buttery – really like buttered popcorn.
This has a nice balance of floral orchid notes to the butteriness. I got to this when it was cold so I might have missed out on some of the flavors.
I think I steeped this for closer to three minutes rather than two. It had a strong vegetal taste verging on bitter. Still not bad. Not my favorite oolong, but not bad either. I think I like this one better than Teavivre’s plain milk oolong.
I tend to forget that I like Keemun. I recently finished off a tin of a low grade Keemun from a local tea store, and turned to this one today to try something I hadn’t tasted before. Teavivre graciously sent me this in my first batch of samples months and months ago – and though I thought I tried it, apparently not. Actually, I owe Teavivre half a dozen reviews. I feel miserable about it, but a lot of times I just want to drink a tea and enjoy it, rather than thinking about the review I owe. Anyway, on to the tea.
We did a steep with boiling water for around 3 minutes, the liquor was rich and surprisingly brown in our new glass bubble tea cups. If you want smallish double walled cups, the Bubble ones at Davids Tea are super cute. I love them. Anyway, the tea was rich in flavour, I remember lots of strong notes, reminiscent of chocolate. Why do so many of my favourite black teas remind me of chocolate?! I REALLY enjoyed this one and would consider adding it to the Teavivre order I am trying to make (for some reason their site is refusing our credit card as payment. I’m a little bummed). The flavour was bold but not harsh and it was very smooth with no bitterness. (all good points in my book!) See my note on Persian Apple for how the second steep went, heheh.
This is a keemun win, for sure. Now to get my order to process…
Ah, Gunpowder.. The first loose-leaf tea I’d ever tried, and it holds a special place in my heart. I’ve since tried several different varieties of this tea, and Teavivre’s is probably the best I’ve had. Slightly smokey, slightly sweet. Especially great for the price.
A new encounter for me so m expectation are a bit high.
the smell inside bag was very smoky, the dry leaves smelled very good, dark and campfire like, just like a goos Lapsang. Using 2tsp of leaves into my teapot for making a cup, and used the suggested time and steep temp. The brew was as expected smoky in flavor, still powerful it filled my senses.
So I scooped out 2 tsp of leaves and put it in my gaiwan, then adding the hot water at the suggested 90 c. temperature. Sniffing the tea liquor as it brewed, the scent of smoke is still pretty powerful, perfect.
My first sip was lighter than the smell earthy, slightly smoky, slightly sweet and a velvety feel. a slight cocoa aftertaste reminiscent of the aroma, very nice touch.
In all it was a very good Lapsang, that i enjoyed. classic but just different enough to be engaging, and work its way into my cupboard.
Why are their tea names so long? I don’t know. It’s a bit annoying, but hey, words, whatever.
Thanks so much to James R for the sample of this! Apparently it’s much like Teavana’s Golden Lotus. Cool.
The leaves are beautiful – really long and thin and beautifully silky. They’re like little tubes. Many of them are a bright dandelion gold, and some of them are bronze and black. It’s so nice to see such a wide variety of colors in a bag of tea.
The first steep is rich, dark and malty. I drank it while it was probably still a bit too hot, and while driving, so I suppose I can’t really comment too much on it. But it was full and promising.
The second steep, I didn’t steep for very long – I poured water over and let it steep until I had finished packing my bag for class. That was also malty, but there was a beautiful natural sweetness to it, especially as it cooled. On my last sip I got a whiff of marshmallow.
Third steep. The tea starts turning bronzey-orange as I pour the water over the leaves. Beautiful. I smell some of that sweetness I picked up at the end of the last steep – I’m not sure I’d go for marshmallow right now – but a cinnamon sort of graham cracker? Maybe I just have s’mores on the brain. Dunno. But I’m starting to get some roasty notes from here, almost like a dark oolong. I didn’t steep this one for very long either – too impatient.
This tea’s too good!
As I was sipping along on this very enjoyable oolong, a new box from TeaVivre arrived-I get so excited when I get a new box of tea. Previously, I had enjoyed a sample of the unflavored version of this oolong and this is my third time drinking the flavored. I wish I had the two side by side to compare. Going from memory, I probably prefer this one, though both are very good. I have not brewed it exactly as instructed because I was afraid of going to boiling with this light oolong. I used 5 gms of tea in my Perfectea Maker, which is similar to using a Gaiwan due to the large brewing basket. I did a quick rinse, then brewed in 6 ounces water at 195. I steeped for 1 1/2 minutes to start with and added 30 seconds for each subsequent brewing. I added just a touch of sweetener. I would describe the overall taste as pleasantly floral and creamy, very nice. For today, I have steeped it 5 times so far, with great results. It just keeps on giving! Not sure I’ll try for more because I want to try Taiwan Dong Ding which came in today’s package. This is one I would order-its something a little different when you’re in the mood for a “comfort” tea.
Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for a bunch of samples that came yesterday. Lunch with a friend fell through, so being the tea addict that I am, I thought it was a perfect day for some tea tasting. I was in the mood for an oolong and now I have the time to do several steepings. This is the first time I had tried the flavored version of their milk oolong. Previously, I had enjoyed a sample of the unflavored version. I wish I had the two side by side to compare. I did not brew exactly as instructed. I used 5 gms of tea in my Perfectea Maker, which is similar to using a Gaiwan due to the large brewing basket. I did a quick rinse, then brewed in 6 ounces water at 195. I was afraid of going to boiling since this is a light oolong. I steeped for 1 1/2 minutes to start with and added 30 seconds for each subsequent brewing. I add stevia to all of my tea, and I think it really brought out the flavor in this one. I would describe the overall taste as pleasantly floral and creamy, very nice. As I write this review, I have had 4 good steepings, and will see if I get any more.Thanks Teavivre for a great selection!
Thanks to Teavivre for this sample!
I’m really liking this one. The dry leaves are so consistent in color, size, and shape, it really leaves a great first impression. They actually remind me a lot of a gunpowder green tea, just lighter in color and a bit larger on average. The leaves smell very clean and fragrant, of dried fruits, flowers, and grasses.
I also get a great deal of complexity from this one. It starts off pretty common, with flavors of florals, grass, and a tiny bit of a milky taste. Yet it develops a great number of nuances including parsley, kelp, grass, cream, and vegetal flavors. The flavor is lingering and “blossoms” over the tongue and through the mouth with each sip. The milk tastes become stronger throughout steeps and with later flavors of vanilla bean, artichoke, asparagus, and green beans, this tea really becomes quite savory. The mouthfeel began like the smooth, creamy, and thick goodness I was expecting, but really faded into the eighth steep, becoming more drying and “woolly.” However, the balance and interesting flavors remained through to the final steep, unlike the other Jin Xuan I have had previously, even becoming earthy with notes of tapioca in the twelfth steep.
The liquor’s aroma has a very subtle aroma, and is difficult to detect in the first steeps. The appearance is a light, but vibrant yellow-green. The wet leaves were also in great shape. It was quite a hodge podge of shapes and sizes, but their were few, if any, loose stems and the coloration was a healthy deep forest green. They were, however, quite thin and fragile, tearing easily. The aroma was of pungent greens, spinach, green beans, and maybe a little kelp. This tea really had that cross between a tieguanyin and a gyokuro that I had noticed in the last Jin Xuan I had.
Overall, a very nice tea that I’ll be drinking slowly.
So I’ve been absent from Steepster for awhile. I have an autoimmune disorder and when I get sick, I get sicky sick. It’s just a reality of life every now and then that I have to disappear. But I’ll always come back! I’m sorry I can’t do a backlog, it’s been too long.
Therefore, I’ll start with this morning’s tea. Bailin Gongfu. I sure was hesitant to try it when I smelled it. It smelled like hay. Then when I brewed it, it smelled like wet hay. What the heck, I thought, my senses might not be all there yet. So I tasted it. Wow! I loved it. My taste in unflavored blacks runs to English Breakfast, which technically is blended, and that’s about it. So this was a revelation. The more I drank, the more I enjoyed it. I’m sorry I couldn’t pinpoint the flavor I was getting with this tea, but it was different. My girlfriend thought it was OK until she sweetened it, and then she liked it a lot more. I had sweetened mine as a matter of course. I was glad it didn’t taste like wet hay though. :-)
It’s great to be back!
What a lovely Oolong!
Sweet, delicious, roasty-toasty nut flavors with hints of browned butter that has been drizzled over mild steamed vegetables, and a lovely peach-like taste in the background. Honey tones too!
YUM! I love this tea … I’m on my second cup (third and fourth infusions, combined), and I am noticing now a hint of vanilla starting to peek through, as well as the peach tones emerging more. The vegetative tones have softened some what, as has the charred roasted taste that I experienced with the first cup.
A really enjoyable tea… I need to spend more time with this one!
A big thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this sample!
Oriental Beauty indeed: the liquor of this tea is a deep honey-blonde, and the mouthfeel is buttery and luxurious. I taste honey and something borderline fruity/floral: peach blossoms? Straight-up peach? I’m not sure. I will be steeping some more to see how this complex brew continues to morph.
leaves smell dark/dull smell, liquor smells like a fujian
tastes very earthy and maybe a bit what would be described as dark chocolatey, overall a very blunt flavor… i almost want to say it has some taste characteristics of a keemun but very earthy
got this because people said it had a caramel taste to it, i dont really taste it and this tea isnt one of my favorites. was far outshined by the tea i got just for the heck of it, the yunnan dian hong
I am ashamed to admit that I still have samples untasted that Teavivre sent to me. Tonight, after a productive work day, I decided that it should also be a productive tea day. So, on to tasty Teavivre samples! This particular one was one of the ones I was most excited to try.
The smell of the dry leaves is a mix of malt and hay. I get a hint of chocolate, but mostly I get malty notes and even a bit of molasses. The leaves are a beautiful mix of black, brown and golden.
The brew is a dark burgundy brown. It smells thick and inviting. I can see how it reminds some people of chocolate. I get sweet molasses notes and a hint of creaminess. The flavor is malty and still holds hints of hay. There is a strange sour flavor that lingers at the end of each sip. I added a little rock sugar and it helped smooth it out a little. It did taste quite a bit like malted chocolate balls! (or Milo which is malted chocolate milk that they have here in Ecuador!)
Sadly it, isn’t quite what I wanted but I recognize that it is very very good. I can see how it could be some people’s favorite. :)
First, I would like to thank Angel at Teavivre for sending a very generous pack of samples for me to review!
Second, I can feel a seasonal flu sneaking up on me, so a large cup of jasmine tea was exactly what I needed. This tea is fabulous. Others have commented on the lack of astringency and I would agree; the cup is so smooth, so delicately flavoured, and the pearls put on an excellent show as they unfurl. The scent of jasmine is very comforting without being like drinking a cup of jasmine perfume. I feel better already.
Check out a picture of the beautiful pearls: http://instagr.am/p/QDu9edSkQc/
Thank you Angel for the sample. I actually forgot I had this and some other samples to try until last night when I was looking for something to drink before bed. I was thrilled to see this in the samples as I do love Black Dragon Pearl (see the note from yesterday).
The dry leaf smells slightly malty. Actually smells the same as the other companies tea I was drinking yesterday. But what about the taste? MALTY CHOCOLATE goodness!! Now I see and taste what all the talk was about. This is mighty good tea! I’m going to need to place an order when I get low on the other tea I have like this. Def. one for the perm. collection.
I also wanted to add there seems to be a sweetness on the end like honey or something. I don’t know what it is, but I love it! I also love that a few pearls will probably get me a few more steeps today. :)
decided to place an order with teavivre a few weeks ago. mainly wanted to try out their bailin gongfu and figured i would pick up samples of other black teas while i was at it, i ended up buying this tea in a larger quantity because the value seemed very good and it was well reviewed here at steepster.
few notes on the teavivre packaging, everything came in bags(generic like most companys) but teavivre only puts 3.5oz into each bag and has the teas inside the zip bag in another bag, superior packaging imo.
the tea itself when you open the bag it smells sweet even spicy; a really pleasant aroma. taste wise it reminds me a lot of an earl gray at first…. just a really subtleness of the same flavor. the sweetness/mild spicyness comes through pretty well to the taste, also has a nice heavy mouthfeel
at first i wasnt sure if i was going to like it, was interesting but reminded me of earl gray too much(wasnt fond of); after a week-two of drinking ive taken a liking to it(complex teas take a while for me to get acclimated to.. had this experience with a fujian in the past)
overall so far this outshines the bailin gonfu for me, really glad i picked up more than a sample size of this…. great value tea, good tasting especially to those of you who prefer sweeter teas(blacks)