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Recent Tasting Notes
Man, I think I still didn’t get enough leaf with this tea. This cup is tasty but very light. I steeped it for 3 minutes because after 2 it just seemed way too light, and it’s clearly a tea that is pretty forgiving as far as steep times go because it has no hint of bitterness or overcooking. Maybe I’ll have to break down and actually weigh this one to make sure I’m getting enough leaf in.
So this is my tea break of the day; I’m trying to get through all this reading…It really never ends. This was a very generous sample provided by Teavivre! :)
I’ve had an interesting relationship with jasmine. It’s not always my favorite because of its very heady aroma. This one would not disappoint true jasmine fans! It is beautifully rolled and I can almost taste it as I open the bag. My first steep did not fully unfurl the leaves of these pearls. There is also a very deeply complex smell to this jasmine.
The liquor itself is very light and the taste is actually much more subdued (a good point for me!). I put less leaf into this because of my slight jasmine phobia. I actually really enjoyed this one. It’s not overly floral; most of this flavor hits my palate on the end of a sip. I think that this could be the jasmine that changes my ideas of what jasmine tea should be.
edit I’m now on my 3rd steep of this tea and I’m surprised by its ability to last. I’m quite sure that a 4th and at least a 5th steep could be taken from these leaves. This would be a great tea for the penny-pinching-jasmine loving-poor college student. :p lol
This is only the second flower tea that I’ve tried. The other one also was a great Teavivre sample.
This Two Dragons and a Pearl Flower tea has a mildly sweet and grass-like flavor. The color is light yellow. This tea tastes very similar to one of Teavivre’s green blends.
I don’t go out of my way to sample flower teas. I find the flower brewing method a little bit of an intrusion. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by my one touch tea maker which does just about everything for me except drink the tea.
This tea does have a nice mild flavor without bitterness. And, I did enjoy watching the little rolled up tea bundle open and “bloom” into a flower nestled in leaves during the brewing process. In fact, I think I like WATCHING flower teas more than DRINKING them!
Lots of reasons to shout “Hooray!” today.
Last night, I got a text from my oldest daughter who recently went from being a tea hater to a tea-because-it-is-good-for-me drinker. She asked me to order both some green and white tea for her.
A couple of hours later, this was followed up by a text from my son, who also never drank tea until a couple of weeks ago, asking me to order tea for his girlfriend for a Valentines gift from him, as she had really liked the puerh I gave her. Hours later, another text came in asking me to order some puerh for him as well. I am positively giddy.
Then the mailman brought my third and final box from Teavivre. I think he was afraid I was going to hug him. I refrained.
Now I am not sure. Having had this tea, he deserved that hug.
The aroma is rich and slightly smokey in the package. The steeped tea is decidedly chocolate-y, reminding me very much of the aroma of Emperor’s Red from Premium Steap. I taste chocolate and roasty toasty goodness. The smoke is now very subtle. I steeped by the suggested parameters.
I have had keemuns that I loved, keemuns that I liked a lot as long as I added milk and sugar, and keemuns that were strong enough to be undrinkable for me.
This one is flavorful yet polished. It is not overpowering, not bitter, not astringent. I could even see making it with slightly hotter water or a longer steep time if you like the really strong keemuns. But this is just about perfect for me.
The pot disappeared quickly and youngest and I wanted more. I resteeped at about 205 degrees, a little hotter than Teavivre calls for, and went an extra minute to just over three minutes for the steep.
The color is still good, the aroma still chocolate-y. Though not as strong as the first steep, this is still lovely and very drinkable.
Youngest is a real Keemun (and smoke) fan and gives it a thumbs up!
Thanks to Tabby for sharing this with me!! : )
Green teas started my love of loose leaf tea. Green tea is the reason my dog is called Sencha. Green teas taught me that time and temperature in steeping are very important. Most significantly green teas taught me that quality makes a HUGE difference. I had almost forgotten about why I loved green tea so much until I tried this one.
The large green leaves smell fresh with a hint of sea weed. It makes your eyes pop wide open, the smell alone alerts you that you are in for a treat! The package reomends that you steep 1-2 teaspoons per cup. Since the leaves were so large, I opted for 2tsp.
They were beautiful to watch steep. The water turning golden green and the leaves expanding is borderline magical. The smell was hypnotizing. Mineral sea weed goodness!
The taste was exactly what I was hoping for. Sweet creamy sensation up front followed by a mineral wave ending on a pleasant seaweed note. The vegetable was toned down under the mineral (in my opinion, the way it should be!) Delicious first brew. One of the best I have had in a while!
The second steep was a little too watered down for my taste. I enjoyed it, but the with the sweetness and mineral flavor toned down, it was more of a ghost of what the first cup was.
I love this tea! Sadly, I just placed my order from Teavivre and didn’t include this… I guess that a second order will be necessary soon! : )
I had this during lunch. This is a great staple to my tea cupboard. When I finally downsize my cupboard, I will definitely be keeping a dragonwell tea in there.
This was so fresh! It smells like celery, but it (thankfully) doesn’t taste like it. It is fresh, slightly grassy green with a tinge of roast. It is sweet and smooth. Delicious!
This tea is bold and wonderful. It’s just a little smoky, and then I get a lot of fruity flavor and honey.
I’ve never had a Keemun before this and now I’m like, why? This is exactly the kind of thing I like. I liked the first steep the most because it was in your face, but the flavors are still all there subsequently.
Tea of the afternoon…..
I think I am going to have to rewrite my views on green teas after this one. I will have to admit that words like grassy and vegetal were not at all appealing to me before today. I also think the experiences I had with green tea in the past might have been influenced by lower quality tea as well as poor preparation on my part. Now, I must admit that Teavivre is going to make a green tea drinker out of me. The tea is smooth, lightly vegetal, and I am even getting a hint of butter. There is nothing harsh or bitter about this tea. While it is a relatively new frontier for me, I will say that I know I like this one. The leaves are long and very green. Brewed up, they look like they could have just been plucked from the bush. I am going to see how it resteeps, but this is definitely going on my shopping list. Imagine that. Me, a drinker of green tea!
Thank you to Teavivre for the sample! But mostly, thank you for showing me how wonderful green tea can be.
15 oz infuser mug with 180 water for 2 minutes and about 2 tsp tea. No additions.
I hate to keep going on about how much I love these Teavivre teas, but I can’t help it! Teavivre has completely eliminated my negative predispositions about flowery and white teas.
On the top of my most shunned list was Jasmine tea. When I tried some other (not to be named) brands, I felt like I was swilling cups of perfume. Not only is this Silver Jasmine Green tea a pleasant sipping blend, but it is also full-flavored and sweet.
The color is a semi-deep amber when steeped for two minutes at 195 degrees. I didn’t expect that hue from a green tea.
The manifestation of jasmine is strong in this tea, but when combined with the sweetness in the flavor and the subtle green tea taste, everything works together peacefully to produce a very palatable experience. Altogether, you are rewarded with a rich sweet jasmine tea without bitterness.
I only have one more Teavivre tea to sample. I am sad because I always look forward to the tasty surprises that these teas spring on me and I will miss them. But, the good news is, my shopping list is loaded and ready to order more of these great teas from China!
This sample was provided courtesy of Teavivre for review.
I decided to use two of the sample packets in my Gaiwan because I wasn’t sure one would have given me enough leaf.
My first steep was with around 180 F water for one minute. It is buttery, very rich and fresh. I got a tiny bit of sharpness towards the end so I think I may have steeped it too long that time.
The second steep was for around 30 seconds. The leaves have expanded so much that they have almost filled my entire gaiwan so I’m not sure using all that leaf was such a great idea. hee hee… but now I am picking up a bit on that lychee flavor and it’s still very nice and buttery.
Third steep: a little less butter and a little more fruit. It’s really a nice relaxing cup of yum-ness. I do happen to like Dong Ding oolongs quite a lot.
Fourth and Fifth Steep: still going strong in terms of flavor and richness.
Overall I give this good points on flavor but I’ve been drinking sooo many Taiwanese green oolongs lately that I’m not sure it really stands head and shoulders above the crowd. It is very enjoyable though! I would have liked to seen this roasted a bit.
First of all, thank you Teavivre for the free sample pack! This was my first time trying silver needle white tea, which is supposed to be even better than White Peony, so I was a bit excited. I’ll admit that I babied the tea just a little bit, brewing it at a very low temperature to avoid astringency, but the result was exquisite. The color of the tea was a very light tan, but it leaned a bit toward peach. The aroma was very pleasing, with lots of flowers and something sweet dominating. The flavor of the first infusion was delicately flowery and sweet, like a more refined version of Bai Mu Dan. There was also a nice aftertaste that lingered on the hard palate and which tasted flowery as well.
The second infusion was steeped for about 25 seconds as this tea seems to steep quicker the second time. It also was a bit darker, and had a stronger aroma. I also used warmer water, about 165 degrees. The taste of the tea was very good, and was a bit stronger than the first infusion, with the flowery flavors dominating the sweetness. The aftertaste was the same, but it lingers for a bit longer.
The third infusion was pretty much exactly like the first, so I’m not going to repeat everything.
The forth infusion was similar to the third, but everything was muted. The taste wasn’t as pronounced, especially the flowery flavors. The aftertaste that had been present in the earlier infusions was almost nonexistent, and the aroma was greatly reduced.
All in all, this was a very good tea, something that would probably be good during spring or summer, and I’m seriously considering buying more of this in the future.
This is another sample that I received from Teavire. Today is an overcast and rainy day that feels perfect for relax style homework and tea! I’m eating peaches while drinking this and the pairing works wonderfully.
This tea is the most floral of the Tie Guan Yins that I’ve tried (Rishi, Chinese Tea Shop, Teavivre). It really hits you on the end of a sip and mid palate. It pairs really well with fruit! The mouth feel on this is very light and more mellow than crisp.
The liquor at first was actually kind of surprising because it is very light, closer to some of the whites that I’ve sampled.
This was an excellent Tie Guan Yin. I find that the more floral/sweet notes are what I seek in this style of tea. I would recommend this for oolong newbies any day! For me this is my 2nd favorite oolong (after milk oolong). I think if I had to rate the 3 Tie Guan Yins according to how I felt it would go: Chinese Tea Shop/Teavivre as a tie with Rishi’s coming in 2nd. This is simply because the Rishi one tends to be more on the strong wheat/barley flavor profile as opposed to floral/vegetal.
I brewed 3 gr with 500 ml cold water overnight… about 12 hours.
What came out this morning was rather intensive tasting infusion, very vegetal with hint of astringency. It also had a strong herbal notes, sage to be more specific. Aftertaste was vibrant herbal with some sweetness that came after.
I might oversteep this one, or used too much leaf… but I did enjoy it.
I brewed 5 gr with 500 ml cold water overnight… about 12 hours.
I must say, it is even better tasting than when brewed with hot water. It has a nice honey note complemented with roast and smokey aromas. Mild but well defined vegetable taste coupled with some sweetness and finished by sweet peas and even sweeter aftertaste. Delicious!
Tea of the morning…..
I am trying to get an idea of where this one sits in the line up of Keemun. It does have fewer yellowy tips than the Hao Ya A I have on hand, but it is very similar to my Hao Ya B in appearance. The golden tips are there, just not as prevalent in comparison to the Hao Ya A, and definitely more prevalent than the lower grades. I know that there is a specific grading system for Keemun tea, and in my short online research for a listing of the levels, I can’t really find a good guide in English. I might have to dig further. In comparison to my lower grades of Keemun, the leaves on this are narrower, but about the same length. I am throwing out a guess here, but the fineness might have to do with the part of the plant it comes from. Tips and first leaves are often smaller than leaves further down the stem in my limited gardening/botany experiences. So perhaps the higher grade Keemuns come from leaves closer to the apex of the branch? I did do a bit of reading on Teavivre’s website, and it also has to do with the part of the season they are harvested. My extrapolation of that….the earlier harvest would be the bud and first leaves of the season, the later harvest would still be the buds and first leaves, but produced a little further down on the plant? (I am going based upon my experience with roses and dahlias here…..the apex flower is always the best. Once it is picked, it will produce more flowers, but they are not as big or vibrant as that apex flower of the season.) One of these days, I am going to find that information!
As far as taste….I was thinking it would be easier to detect a difference in taste between this one and the Grade 2, since I am not a tea master. I do think this one is smoother and less earthy (although the Grade 2 is only lightly earthy in taste). Definitely a little less astringent at the end, even though neither is really all that astringent at the end when I brew them properly. The chocolate note in this is more of a darker chocolate.
A very good cuppa the morning!
Usual mug method, a little light on the tea, and a 3 minute steep.
This is one hell of a tea. No wonder it’s TeaVivre’s highest rated so far.
I’ve received a free sample of this tea, thank you TeaVivre.
I’m pretty much into black teas, 60-70% of the time, it’s black. That’s why I ordered all three grades of Keemun and I’m going to order this one as well. It’s packed in foil, 5 gr each, which is great.
Leaves are longer than average, with a decent amount of buds. Upon opening one pack I used a half of it with 150 ml water on 85 C and brewed it three times, starting with 2 minutes and increasing by one for the rest.
First sip was amazing – lingering caramel and smooth touch, made me remember of my first sip of Dian Hong and Jin Jun Mei. It’s somewhere between those two.
While drinking second infusion I got a really hot feeling in my stomach, like Qi in Dantian… superb!
I’m definitely sparing my rest three packs for special occasions, until I order some.
I have to thank Teavivre for this very generous sample! I asked for this tea specifically and I’m so glad I did! The dry leaves are beautiful and fragrant. Today I’ve been mostly sleeping as I guess I am coming down with something; so I’m pretty lucky to even be awake for this!
The liquor is so fresh! It does have that kind of Botan candy flavor, some vegetal sides, some fruit (easily peachy) and just is wonderful. This was my first experience with milk oolong and I think it has risen to the #1 spot! :) I’m very impressed by this tea’s ability with flavor. It really stands out and is not weak at all.
I could easily see myself recommending this to oolong lovers and new commers to more traditional teas alike; excellent!
edit I’m now on my 3rd infusion of this tea. The flavor on this is very long lasting. I did this infusion at boiling/2min and it’s still very robust and I am going to keep going! I’m noticing that this tea is especially fruity alongside the milky-ness. This adds a lot to the flavor profile. love
final opinion: after 5 infusions (semi Western style here) at 2-3min/boiling/extra leaf 7oz ceramic teapot
Very solid, almost sweet, peachy, milky awesomeness! This also has HUGE leaves!
TeaVivre provided me with a free sample of this tea. Thank you.
I’ve drank this few days ago, but forgot to write a note. I wanted my impressions settled, but if you look the other way, I just might be lazy at the moment. Anyways, let’s get started.
I received the package early-early to mid January that I ordered in mid December, and since it was my first time (to order from TeaVivre) I was so excited when I got a cardboard box. I got my four teas that I ordered (three grades of Keemun and 50 gr. of Organic Bai MuDan), plus three free samples. All teas were double packed, except this one. When I opened the sachet and stuck my nose into it and inhaled deeply (hey, don’t get the wrong idea) – it was amazing, earthy, dried plum-like, mellow scent awarded my months’ wait.
I waited for an opportunity to drink it with my girlfriend that has a knack to pinpoint an aroma. She doesn’t drink tea often, but when she does she can Identify numerous tastes and aromas.
So she came over for the weekend and I popped one Pu Erh ‘cookie’ (that’s how I call them) of my tea board, and she was like – does that smell like fish too? (We drank some Pu Erh not long ago and it had a smell of fish market) She was OK with it so I washed the tea and brewed 1st infusion…
1st infusion – 100 C – 150 ml – 10 s
First infusion was clear with violet-ish hue, had a mellow and light taste and seemed quite natural. Since it wasn’t as earthy as I used to I thought that water didn’t penetrate enough, so I added 10 seconds more…
2nd infusion – 100 C – 150 ml – 20s
And that’s how you get an espresso-like Pu Erh infusion, that was significantly darker, far from dark red hue that was expected. We drank it, it was quite delicious but a bit strong for my taste, buy I made a mistake, so blame it on me.
Some new notes came up, nutty, but my girlfriend pinpointed it to the sensation when you eat too much walnuts (how does she do that??). It was a bit bitter, but the good kind and we emptied our cups.
3rd infusion – 100 C – 150 ml – 15 s
This infusion yielded a more pleasing taste for my palate, if not the best for the session. It had all characteristics of previous infusion, only tuned to my enjoyment area. After we drank this one my girlfriend called it a night, and I went on brewing some more.
4th infusion – 100 C – 150 ml – 20 s
I enjoyed that one too, but I noticed that taste is starting to fade – which made me to think that I lost a good deal of it in 2nd infusion. After that one I made it to 7 or 8 in total, increasing for 15s, 20s … up to 2 minutes.
In conclusion, this is the best mini Tuo Cha I had a chance to sip.
(The awkward, funny part)
Tomorrow morning girlfriend said that I scared the hell out of her when I woke up in the middle of night and jumped, talking something about this tea. I guess I felt regrets for that 2nd infusion that it made up to my subconsciousness :)
I guess even with 2 days off the person who delivers mail to my apartment complex felt the need to do as little work as possible on Tuesday. I had no idea this was delivered, along with a textbook. Thanks for your hard work, postal employee.
So now that I have my next round of samples from Teavivre, I can get to drinking them!
This is a bit too floral for my liking on the first steep. I was hoping it’d be better on the second, like maybe really subtle, but it’s not, although it’s vastly improved now. I can at least drink it this time without freaking out that it feels like I’m drinking a flower. I do like the dryness of the tea.
I’m going to try it again and maybe only steep it for a minute the first time and see how that goes. I am just not completely a fan of jasmine, so it’s easy for it to be too much for me. I like the dragon pearls a lot better.