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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks LiberTEAS for this sample. Let me start by saying this is a good tea to break me (or anyone else needing broken in I suppose) to green teas in that I’ve not had but a couple I enjoyed and I am an oolong fan so obvious deduction= green oolongs.
Dry leaf is, as you would expect- green (shocker) and smells floral and maybe even fruity. The liquor steeped to a bright yellow with just a tad of greenish brown. Wet leaf smells very green indeed, kinda like seaweed maybe.
I was happy to see that, although this is a green oolong, it starts out not overpoweringly green and with a certain amount of nutiness in the sip. A faint sweetness is present, aside from the organic kind of sweetness I associate with grasses,but there’s not a strong enough presence for me to decipher what it resembles. The level of astringency is within my embarrassingly low threshold of tolerance for enjoyment. It, as I’m learning, leaves my palate feeling clean without any kind of bitter aftertaste. As the cup cools the grassiness becomes stronger, thereby reinforcing my earlier statement that it’s a good drink to break in to greens with. With the utmost of manners it brought me along into it’s vegative flavor and in turn kept itself from being poured out prematurely. Who knew that common manners could be so self preserving.
Since the cordial mannerisms of this tea were worthy to make mention I also deemed it worthy a second steeping. Fret not those of a frugal mindset; I shall not waste this sample but rather once this note is finished will continue steeping for any family members enthusiastic about drinking it during the wind down moments before bed.
Second steeping; a little info to start- often times I try to split even small samples in half in case I oversteep or something. I’m not stocked up on teaware yet so to do this I use one of those two cup glass pots with the finum basket inside you see at Asian groceries. It loses temp quickly. That said, when I went to steep a second time I forgot to set a timer (do not mock my primitive means you fortunate ‘Breville One Touch’ owners) and it went for maybe ten minutes. To my surprise it wasn’t bitter or overly strong…it seemed fine. I can only now assume that with the rapid temperature loss that the tea ‘stopped’ steeping once it got low enough. It was greener still,with a slightly more dry mouthfeel which may have been due to oversteeping. Generally this was a good tea, just not so much for me with my slowly but surely leaning away from green stuff palate.
tunes-Johnny Cash=Hurt/Rusty Cage/Thirteen/God’s Gonna Cut You Down
First off THANKS TO TEAVIVRE FOR THE WONDERFUL SAMPLE!!!
Dry smell: The first thing I noticed was the deep, earthy, chocolate aroma. It has a slight pungency but not in a bad way.
Wet leaf: When steeped the leaves get an earthy smell but also has tones of lilac coming through.
Flavor: The tea is very floral but still has a deep earthy flavor when left for a longer steeping. It has a slight tartness in the back of your throat when you swallow, but the aftertaste is a nice, light floral note.
I got 10 6 ounce steeping with 5 grams of this tea and probably could have gotten more. It is a nice summery/spring tea and I’ll definitely be buying some to have on hand. It isn’t going to be my every day tea but, on the right occasion, it is really nice.
I discovered ginseng-covered oolongs several years ago, and I have always enjoyed the strange sweetness that comes with their “alterting” properties. As I sit outside, watching the sunrise (sadly over other houses, not over the mountains, I breath in the ginseng powder aroma and wait for the water to boil. As I am at a location other than my home, I do not have an electric kettle here, instead opting for a stovetop, whistling tea kettle to prepare my hot water. Setting out my travel gaiwan set, I glance up as the sun breaches the horizon. Rinsing the leaves, the rinse water is discarded into the lawn, and I briefly smile at how much easier it is to drink tea outside, where anything may be disposed naturally.
My first steeping is for a mere thirty seconds, yet I feel that it captures the essence of this tea quite well, albeit weakly. The flavor of the ginseng has already begun to release itself from the oolong leaves. The smell is sweet, with a touch of the buttery essence of some oolongs. The flavor, too, is sweet, a bit weak, but refreshing, nonetheless.
Steeping number two brings out more oolong flavor, as the initial intensity of the ginseng has been diminished. The flavor is a bit darker, not quite so sweet, yet the leaves have only now begun to fully open, leaving much room for evolution.
In the third steeping (all have been for thirty seconds), I notice now that the ginseng and oolong flavors are blending together well. One can see that the oolong leaves have all but unraveled themselves, releasing their flavors. The diminished sweet taste is reminiscent of light honey or, perhaps, agave nectar. It is quite pleasant.
After the fourth steeping, I place all of the leaves in a large mug and pour hot water over them to leave them for an extended steep. The fourth steeping itself is wonderfully smooth, as though it has at last matured. This was quite tasty, and it seems the sunrise has been overwhelmed by rain clouds. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea an 87/100.
I have a bunch of Taiwan samples from Teavivre waiting that need reviews and in fact I have started tasting them (incredible so far) but I got sidetracked. My intention today was to experiment with new ways of preparing various comfort teas. Like my plan to get started early that didn’t happen either. As I started for the den I was contemplating a frozen chai. Then lapsong souchong popped in my head like a dog spotting a squirrel. As I dug into the pile I hit Golden Monkey and my knees quivered. This is better than a squirrel.
I believe this is still the only 100 I have given and I still mean it. The only way this could possibly be improved upon is if it were an Earl Grey (kidding – sort of – don’t shoot me), but I can’t imagine doing that to this leaf. I am snacking on a bowl of dry mini wheats and it has intensified the malty grainy even wine like characteristics of this most glorious of teas.
With one little scoop I can easily get 36 ounces of tea that improves with each cup. I may not make it to the oolongs or comfort teas today. I think the monkey on my back is completely in love with the monkey in my mug.
I spent the entire workday yesterday sipping Black Pearl. I know that’s not its name but it makes me giggle and go Arrrr! And then that reminds of the Pirates who don’t do anything. They just sit around and watch TV. And that reminds me of the line from the show, “You look like Captain Crunch… You’re making me very hungry.” That makes me giggle too, so today I decided to grab a brownie and this tea.
I rated the Pearls at 90. Earlier I gave this one a 100. The reality, for me at least, is once a tea hits the magic 90 mark, the difference between a 90 and a 100 is probably externals as much as anything. You know, what’s on the desk. Who’s in my face. The weather, my mood. To get a 90 a tea has to make me forget where I am, if for only amount. If I lose track of time even better.
Pearls and Golden Monkey are pretty similar. Pearls may actually have a little more body. I think they are both worthy of a mid 90’s score but I’ll leave the ratings as that’s how they spoke to me at the time.
I saved yesterday’s leaf by removing the top of the press and spreading the leaf out so it could dry. This morning I heated another 12oz of water to almost boiling and poured. The water immediately started turning dark. I knew this was going to be a good day. I steeped for 2 minutes. I have yet to increase my time on this one. The resulting mug was rich and dark. Lighter in flavor than yesterday in a more mellow sort of way. It was still incredibly delicious and this was the fourth steep.
Mug five at 3 minutes is still delivering a mellow malty cup.
Mug six! At 4 minutes is more of the same quality tea. I think the more times I steep this, the more it is developing the sweet potato yam flavor along with the mellow malt.
The leaf is still producing a hearty cup and I am confident it would go at least once more but I am going to have to stop. Golden Monkey exceeds my expectations.
Ok, if opening this sample doesn’t make you say, “Oooh!” out loud, then just box up your stuff, send it to me, and go back to drinking soda or coffee or whatever else you were drinking before tea. This is so fragrant with caramel, honey, and fruit. So fresh smelling. The leaf is tan buds and darker brown leaves. Gorgeous.
I used an extra large scoop, simply because I could. 12oz of heavily steaming almost boiling water and my press. The steep was a little less than two minutes.
As soon as the water hit the leaf, the already wonderful aroma came into full bloom with a scent like wine. It was also malt but not heavily so. Oh My Goodness this smells good. In my press this is deep golden in color. It is more orange as it pours into the mug. The wet leaf looks like chocolate shavings.
The sip is so rich. It is even more fruity wine-like in the sip than in the scent. It is caramel and honey. It is malt and sweet. As the cup cools I notice a wheat component. It is not real yammy like Golden Tips, or heavily chocolate like Bailin Gongfu. Yet it is kind of in that same flavor range. The aftertaste is strong and lasting. It is sweet, wheat, and maybe yeast. It does seem a bit drying, which is as close to a negative comment as I can make.
I had time for three cups. Amazingly, the first cup was the lightest and the third the darkest. The fruit like wine taste fades after cup one but the other flavors intensify. I don’t know how many cups this would go. I may try to continue with the same leaf tomorrow and see.
This is simply perfection in a cup. I haven’t looked at the other reviews and frankly it doesn’t matter. Maybe it is just my mood today, but by my scale this is as close to a 100 (my first) as I have ever tasted in a black tea. Bravo!
Glorious sample supplied by Teavivre.
Gah, I haven’t posted here in such a long time. Midterms and essays, followed by a visit from a good friend whom I hadn’t seen in about a year and a half, followed by getting a cold have been keeping me away from this site. :(
Anyway, I brewed up a cup of this… kind of an odd tea to brew when you’re sick, but I just had a craving for a toasty Oolong. :P
… and I’m going to head back to bed, watch sitcoms, and write. Last day of break, hopefully the worst of this cold will have passed by tomorrow!
Back at school and reunited with part of my tea collection, hooray! I spent most of my summer helping my family move to another state, then going abroad on an excavation. So, for most of the summer, I’ve been mostly internet-less and tea-less. Other than that, though, it’s been an amazing summer!
Anyway, I decided to kick off another semester of tea drinking/reviewing with an oolong, since I seem to really like oolongs. I may be a bit out of practise with tea tasting/reviewing, heh. Hope I get back into the swing of this quickly. Thanks for this sample, Angel and Teavivre!
Upon opening the pouch, I could already smell some roastiness with the dry leaves. I brewed this in a mug, with short steep times.
1st steep: Very strong, toasted scent. Hint of sweetness, almost as if there was some type of honey in there.
2nd steep: Toastedness fading a bit, now with more chocolatey hints. Still some honeylike sweetness of sorts.
3rd steep: Still a slightly toasty flavour. Chocolate has disappeared, and it’s more mineral-y. Dry aftertaste. I can’t pick up on anything else though, possibly because I just got back from being caught in the rain without an umbrella and my nose is being odd.
Overall, a pleasant oolong. I might consider having some of my suitemates try this, especially since they tend to find most unflavoured/unsweetened teas to taste like hot water.
Oooh I get to be the first to review this one!
I opened the sample bag and pulled out a big chunk of puerh. I managed to separate enough leaf to brew without difficulty. It did not require a pick or a knife. The dry leaf is on the large side and looks like beef jerky. The scent is that of straw, which is not as bright or sweet as hay. It is a nice fresh smell.
The first steep was just shy of 2 minutes. The color of the liquor was very light for puerh. It was golden yellow and quite clear. The leaf aroma is green and fresh. Absolutely nothing offensive is rising into the air out of the press.
The first cup begins with an instant coating of the lips. It is slick and sticky at the same time. I don’t notice others reporting this, but it happens to me often with a raw puerh. The flavor of the first cup is light. It is at first kind of woodsy. Then it is briefly metallic, though not in an offensive way. The aftertaste is light and sweet. Maybe I am imagining it but there seems to already be very light traces of leather developing in this young tea.
I doubt I would ever guess this is a Yunnan if I had not read it. There is none of the sweet potato notes I associate with them. I don’t know if I am tasting chocolate or just thinking so because I do know it is a Yunnan.
Cup two is a bit more hardy. Similar to the first but stronger flavors. This has more bite. Cup three and four were the best yet. I increased the steep time to between 4 and 5 minutes. This made for a stronger darker cup that had good young flavor. I brew 12oz at a time. 48oz in one day is all I can handle :)
Now that I have reviewed this one, I intend to store it away for a good long time to let it age. I think this one will improve very nicely
Thank you Teavivre for this sample.
My last entry for this evening as my husband has been bugging me to watch TV with him. A wonderful Dragon Well from Teavivre. As if I expected anything less? Teavivre Rocks!
Delicious, nutty – like chestnuts! Creamy, sweet, vegetative … a delight to sip.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/05/20/organic-superfine-dragon-well-long-jing-green-tea-from-teavivre/
This is an exceptional Dragon Well. I enjoy Dragon Well anyway, but, this one kicks it up a notch. The flavor is so crisp and clean. Vibrant. You can really taste the quality it this.
Sweet and tasting very much like fresh, roasted chestnuts, this tastes like autumn to me. It makes me wish I had a fire going in the fireplace and was roasting chestnuts. YUM! It is a very comforting tea, but at the same time, it offers a sense of invigoration. A truly lovely tea.
This was a sample generously sent from Mary at Teavivre. It is my second experience with this particular pu-ehr, and I recall enjoying it last time when I prepared it according to the package instructions. This time, I didn’t prepare it the same way. Instead, I went to the Teavivre website brewing instructions for the gaiwan. I rinsed the leaves (7 gm) twice, then steeped for 20s,30s,40s -later realized it should have been 10s,20s,25s,30s,35s etc. I usually add sweetener to all teas, but this time I didn’t. There is some bitterness by the 3rd steeping-still, not bad. Maybe this could be overcome with shorter steep, but the description on the website says it has some bitterness mid-sip. By the 3rd steep, I decide to add some stevia, and for me, this is better, because it cuts the bitterness. Now I wonder though, if perhaps I should just keep the brewing time shorter, because there was no bitterness for the 1st few steeps. And before, when I brewed it with more water, Western style, I didn’t note bitterness either. So now, for the 4th steep, I use 6 oz water for 30 seconds which pretty much eliminates the bitterness. From my relatively limited experience with pu-ehr, I think I prefer those that are ripened, and Teavivre has some that are quite good. Nevertheless, this was interesting to try, and you may need to play with the time and leaf/water ratio for optimal results.
My husband and I have been enjoying multiple steepings of this today. We think it is quite good. After sampling about 6 pu-ehrs, some raw, others ripened, I have yet to find one I didn’t like. Whether my ratings are of much value is debatable, since I know the very best pu-erhs never leave China. So it’s all relative. But there is nothing not to like about this one-it has plenty of flavor. It is earthy, mellow, smooth and holds up to a lot of steeps.
This sample came to me by way of LibeTEAS, thank you so very much for it and the generous amount as well.
I will start by saying use caution if you intend to abbreviate pu’erh as pu .Twice today I stated that “I could do pu everyday”. I need not explain the ramifications of such a statement.
So here I am loving some pu (easy) and I wanna tell ya all about it. The dry leaf smells too sweet for hay but not enough to be called floral. Another sweet plant… After doing a 30 sec rinse I steeped for 1 min to start. Wet the leaves take on a strong aquatic/earthy smell (as wife says “it’s fish,Dave”). I must note that it’s not unpleasant for those not yet exposed to pu’s.
The flavor of this pu is so rich and wonderful and silky smooth. There’s predominantly a leathery sweetness accompanied by mint. I must pause and say here that I’m either gonna have to find a new word or rethink what I’m tasting because this is the third pu I wanna say taste kinda like toothpaste! After cooling more vegeative notes are apparent.
Second steep 2 minutes with a little less water as well. Even after opting for a stronger cup this time to explore the parameters of the drink I can honestly say it’s still smooth and sweet with almost no astringency. I feel a nice buttery richness that maybe I’ve overlooked in past taste notes of teas due to my young palate. What a drink! This may make it on the ‘gotta have it’ list.
I ended up with 4 steepings before I decided to quit drinking tea for the night.
tunes-Bill Withers=Use Me Up,Geuss Who-She’s Come Undone,Harry Nilson-Everbody’s Talking At Me
Tonight I did a tasting of this tea and Silk Road Teas Jasmine pearl tea, to see if I could pick a favorite. I’m still not sure. Teavivres pearl won me over in the aroma category; it was sweeter, even though neither were overpowering in any way. Silk roads pearl was a little heavier on the jasmine ( but still not actually heavy, just heavier than Teavivres) in flavor, so at first I was leaning towards that one. But Teavivres has a sweeter aftertaste. Overall, I like this tea and I am very happy to get the chance to try some! Thank you to Angel and Teavivre! I am looking forward to spending more quality time with this tea sample. :)
I think it’s interesting that my tea cravings change as the weather gets cooler. Well, the summer isn’t over just yet and I think we still have some hot days on the way.. but I like to think that things are changing. These days I am craving darker, richer teas – Yes, at all times of the day and night!
The tea itself is pretty thick in the mouth. It’s not creamy, but just heavy. I like this quality.. it’s almost like a comforting, chunky sweater! I am enjoying a lot of the sweetness that lingers on my tongue. The taste is leathery and a bit like wet hay. I taste a tinge of pepper as well. There is also an interesting salty note that certainly doesn’t overwhelm the cup, but makes it more interesting instead. I wish I could detect something that resembled caramel.. but it’s not to be found.
This isn’t my favorite black tea, but it definitely satisfies my craving for the moment. I see this as something that would be perfect to drink this winter when the thick snow is falling from the sky. It’s bold, dark and rich!