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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
There is no doubt about it. I have become a Teavivre groupie. Not only do all of their teas have delicious and outstanding flavors, but they are also fascinating and fun. Some come in little tea cakes that incredibly expand while steeping, others have unusual flat leaves, some are hand rolled into little pellets that unfurl during brewing, and still others appear as flowers that “bloom” during the brewing process. Teavivre also does an expert job with packaging to ensure that your tea arrives from China undamaged and fresh.
The Chun Mei Green Tea carries on this tradition by requiring the shortest brewing time that I’ve experienced so far – less than 30 seconds! If you think that half a minute can’t be enough time to coax satisfactory flavor from this tea, you are as wrong as I was.
This is another splendid green tea. The flavor is somewhat grassy with sweet undertones. The color is a surprisingly vibrant orange-yellow. The taste is extremely steady and full. There is no weakness or bitterness to it. A very pleasant sweet aftertaste remained on my palate after each sip.
A long time ago, whenever a new record album by The Beatles was released, I would just buy it without listening to it, because I knew it would be great. This is now how I feel about Teavivre teas. Any tea that Teavivre wants to throw at me, I will be willing and ANXIOUS to try. I am confident that, just like The Beatles, Teavivre won’t let me down. I love you Teavivre, oh yes I do (yeah, yeah, yeah)!
Second cuppa the morning…..
I am so glad this one has come to live in my tea cupboard! Roasty and perfect. A little more malty and less cocoa-ey than the Keemun. It is a beautiful tea. And I do agree with JacquelineM. It does taste of sweet potatoes. Really good, freshly baked ones that are slightly browned on the edges for a bit of a caramelized flavor. Yum. It is probably the coldest it has been all winter today (it shows up as 1 degree without windchill), and I am inside, all warm and drinking this perfect tea. Now where is my book?
Usual mug method.
Tea of the morning……
And a lesson in steeping parameters! This cup is so much better than the last. The last was a 4 minute steep with about 2 1/2 tsp tea in a 15 oz. mug. It was a little intense for me, a little too smokey and too astringent at the end…so I slightly lowered the amount of leaf. I also cut back on the steeping time by 1minute. What I have now is the perfect mug of Keemun. Perfect level of smokiness, perfect nudge of astringency at the end (which is pretty slight!) Yum! I am totally changing the rating! The take away lesson…..as tea preparers, we do have control over what we taste to some degree……use that power wisely, my friends! ;)
Usual mug method with a 3 minute steep and 2 tsp. tea rather than closer to 2 1/2 tsp.
A surprising tea. Especially for a girl that isn’t particularly big on jasmine teas.
I’m doing such a bad job at reviewing my samples from Teavivre. I’m sorry! I just wanted to try them when I stopped craving flavored stuff. Well, today I had a very clear craving for unadulterated green tea, so here we are. I actually fantasized about japanese green tea on the train home, but I don’t have any on stock, so Chinese green it is! The two are very different, as I"m sure you all know.
This one has adorable little fuzzy leaves. They looked so soft and downy, I just wanted to pet them instead of drink them. It’s evident how young these little leaves are. Even after brewing, they remain itty bitty. Quite possibly the cutest tea I’ve ever had.
As with the other green teas, I’ve tried from Teavivre, this one is very umami. It’s less toasty and more grainy. The mouthfeel smooth and a bit creamy, despite the drying effect. This brewed up very light colored for me, but the flavor is perfect. Not too strong or too weak. This tea also has a caffeine kick to it. I have half a cup remaining and I’m wondering if I’ll get to sleep tonight. I should have known this would happen when I saw how little the leaves were, but I really craved a good green tea. ah well. It’s worth it. Sleep is for the weak!
Overall, yummy tea! I’ll just file this one away with the “morning only” teas. :)
Mmmm. This was just the cup of tea I was in the mood for. Straight, simple, tasty. It is a naturally sweet tea, and brewed as I did, didn’t get too bitter by the end of the pot. Brewed this Western-style in our new little teapot I picked up from Staples in their post-Christmas clearance for $3.50, two and a half minutes in boiling water. This tea is light and sweet, but leaves a pleasant aftertaste with just a hint of smoke. Thank you once again to Teavivre for their generous samples; this is going right to the top of my straight-tea collection.
I don’t think I realized this when I made my first review of this tea, but mine seems to be packaged differently from others. Instead of individual samples that make about a small pot each, I have a large foil pouch inside of a larger zipper pouch.
The aroma is so intense. My mouth started to water as soon as I smelled the dry curled leaves. Beautiful leaves, beautiful scent! It amazes me that something natural and unflavored can be this aromatic.
First steep – light gold in color, light to medium buttery vegetal flavor.
Second steep – went a little too long as I am making bread at the same time and had to go turn on the oven as the bread is rising in the brotform. It isn’t bitter, but it is stronger with grassy notes and is more drying.
Third steep – paying closer attention now. The tea is now a very light golden yellow and so translucent. It is beautiful in the tiny cups. Now I taste an edge of hay framing the buttery vegetable liquor. It is a little less drying now.
I will continue to resteep this today and it looks like I may get another four or five steeps from these leaves.
Delicious, and so fresh. Thank you, Angel and Teavivre!
Teavivre keeps forcing me to re-evaluate my prejudices about my least favorite teas. I’m not a flowery tea fan and, of all the flowery teas, the one that I disliked the most was any with the word “jasmine” remotely connected. However, I am shocked to discover that I like this particular jasmine tea…a lot!
This full-flavored green tea does have a strong jasmine taste. But, there is a wonderful inherent sweetness to the flavor that simultaneously permeates my throat and nostrils with each sip.
After brewing this tea for only two minutes at 175 degrees, I was surprised by the robust flavor that was produced. The total experience is without bitterness of any sort. It’s just a long delightful sweet ride.
Teavivre is also compelling me to change my green tea philosophy. I once believed that green teas were usually weak in taste. This green tea registers just as high on the flavor meter as some of my favorite black teas.
Tea of the morning…..
Ohhh. This one is good. I don’t taste near the amount of astringency at the end of the sip like I did yesterday on the Keemun Grade 2. To be fair, I do think I used a little less leaf today, and I steeped for a minute less, too. I will probably give the Grade 2 another go after this cup and tweak my steeping parameters. I am tasting cocoa notes, a slight roasty-maltiness, and then just a little nudge at the end. The leaves are just a little longer and finer (narrower) than the Grade 2.
There are times when I am doing a tasting like this and wonder if I should not have my scale out, rather than eyeballing the level on the spoon….you know, for the sake of science. I am also thinking of getting another white mug set (ForLife 15 oz with an infuser) in order to do some side by side tastings with more exact parameters. I have been over and over thoughts of a gaiwan or a yixing, but I tend to drink tea in larger amounts and such varying types that ceramic teaware seems to fit best. I also have only so much storage space (and honestly, I would rather fill it with tea!) I am not apologizing, but there is nothing petite and refined about my tea drinking. I have also been considering a cast iron pot. Two things stand out for me here…first, while I see the practicality in the even and longer heating (you will not ever be able to separate me from my cast iron cookware!), I drink tea much faster than it would go cold…remember, nothing petite or refined about how I drink it…think far away from sipping for sure! Plus, the more research I do, the less traditional a cast iron pot actually seems. I am not at all posing this as a judgement on anyone else’s teaware, because quite frankly, the gear needs to fit how you drink it.
Back to the tea. This is very good. Like I said before. Need to play around with my steeping parameters on the other two levels of Keemun from Teavivre. Eventually, I will get into comparisons with my Hao Ya A and my sample of Hao Ya B. The parade of Keemuns continues, even though I would probably be very happy to settle on this one for quite a while! And thank you to Teavivre for sending this sample with my order!
Usual mug method with a 3 minute steep.
This was a free sample provided by TeaVivre. Thanks so much!!
I was initially quite hesitant about trying this (as is evident by having tried everything else quite a while ago) both because I didn’t think I had a glass suitable for viewing, and because I wasn’t really sure about the floral nature of the tea.
But, I found the perfect glass mug (in my cupboard, who knew?) so I set out everything and got it out and ready to go. My particular ball took a while to open fully (like, well over 5 minutes) and I’m assuming I should have taken it out but it was such a beautiful thing to watch that I lost track of time. When I finally poured the tea out and into a different cup it was quite dark and smelled very floral.
Luckily it didn’t taste overly floral – I mean there were obvious notes but I also think that there was definite green tea (kind of even buttery!) in there as well. It was slightly bitter (my own fault because I was distracted by the show). Definitely a nice tea, but nothing spectacular – the bloom is really the selling point, and it is nice if you’re into that sort of thing.
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
This is a follow up to the last tasting note I made for Waterlilies Fruit “Tea”. The first time I made this I found it way too sour for my tastes but vowed to sweeten it someday. Well that someday is now!
How I prepared it: 4tsp of fruit, 500ml of boiling water, and 1 1/2 tsp of sugar syrup (see google for an easy recipe).
Just the addition of sugar syrup helps tremendously. It’s still tart but in a good way, it’s still here and it adds a nice mouth watering sensation.
Up’d rating because the sugar helped even out the overwhelming tart flavour.
2 minute steep. Smoke on the Water (live) blasting. I’m ready. I love the dark chocolate smell of the dry leaf. The wet leaf has a good black tea scent but is slightly smoky, and I am nervous. This is my third time brewing this. The first time, I greatly disliked the first cup (ok I hated it) and loved the 2nd and 3rd. The second time, I tolerated the first cup. Today I get it. I can honestly say I am enjoying this. Smoke is still the big flavor, but there are a lot of other interesting things going on here. So much different than my first impression. Lighter. Smoother. Before finishing the cup I have already shifted gears and am listening to Emmy Lou Harris – Smoke along the tracks, off the live at the Ryman CD. Good fit. Really glad I didn’t have to play the Platters – Smoke gets in your eyes. Ha. Ready to commit and up the rating.
Back logging – It is 56 degrees with a tornado warning this morning. Going to be in the teens and snowing tonight. Crazy. Outside my window are billowing black clouds, a vivid lightning show, and a torrential downpour. The power of nature is awesome. I think cranking REO’s live version of Ridin’ The Storm Out seems appropriate. To go with it, I picked this very delicate tea as it represents just the opposite of the storm. The day holds in the one hand unflinching wrath, and in the other peace and grace. I choose grace. Wonderful cucumber/melon notes in this cup. Excellent choice!
Update – the storm passed with no reports of serious damage. We were without power for a few hours but all is well. Ordered pizza with family, then went to praise band practice so I never had time to post yesterday.
This was our second tea for the tasting today, and it was fabulous. The aroma of the steeped tea was so awesome we all had to stop and give it an extra moment of appreciation. No one could describe it better than JacquelineM already did – a naked sweet potato with skin on. I can even picture the amber syrup seeping out from where a fork or knife has pierced the sweet potato.
There is a honeyed sweetness to this. It was excellent paired with our foods today, which were Hickory Farms Beef Summer Sausage, Cheese with Onion, Breton Multigrain Crackers, fresh fudge-y whole wheat brownies from freshly ground wheat topped with whipped cream and served with strawberries on the side. This was the tea I kept coming back to when it was time to refill my cup.
Absolutely delicious. Teavivre, this tea is a magnificent work of art. Thank you!
Ah, white tea, my old nemesis. Hah, not really, but still, I haven’t had a ton of luck with white teas in the past. Not that I have brewed white teas that I’ve actively disliked or couldn’t finish the cup, but I have always been a bit disappointed. But this is a tea that a lot of people who say they have had problems with white teas have liked, so I am interested to try it.
To me the dry leaf smells a bit like alfalfa hay. The leaves are fluffy and I used about 2.5 perfect teaspoons in my 12oz cup, though of course the fluffy leaves mean probably less leaf ended up in there, but hopefully it was a decent amount. Steeped, the scent of the tea reminds me of fresh-cut grass, and a bit of cooked vegetables. This is definitely a smooth, relaxing, and pleasant tea. The flavors are light but distinct; a little grassy/hay-like, a tiny bit floral, and a very smooth mouthfeel. Am I a white tea convert? Maybe not quite, but at least now I “get” more of what it’s all about. Thanks again to Angel Chen & Teavivre for the sample! (Finally, one of my boxes of samples that I got over the last couple of months is all tasted! I am running far behind on trying my new teas…)
I love tea in general, but l drink black tea most of the time. That’s why I ordered all Keemun that TeaVivre has – grades 2 & 1 and Premium.
When I opened all these I saw that they’re made in Mao Feng style and seem to be broken. Furthermore, Premium is just a slightly bit tippy than Grade 1, which I wasn’t expecting. In appearance they look almost the same, but in fragrance, well… that’s another story actually.
Brewing this Keemun might be disappointing if you ignore instructions (90C water), and go with boiling water, or just under boiling. Keemun doesn’t go bitter if you do so, but you will lose a great deal of aroma and taste. Other grades I ordered are fine with that BTW.
With its light body that goes bolder after swallowing this isn’t my usual early morning cuppa. I’m not up to breakfast tea for my morning either, so I try to find something between those two. I could sip on this throughout the day, though.
What I find out with this one is that its characteristics tend to shift a bit with different water. I usually brew tea with bottled water, and supermarkets don’t sell the one I like the most anymore… I hope I’m wrong. When I drank this tea with that particular water liquor was crisp and fragrant, with a nice smokey note. With this water I’m using now I still get all those characteristics, but only slightly diminished.
All in all, this is great tea that I drink on daily basis, I only regret that it’s water sensitive .
I thoroughly enjoyed the last Teavivre Pu-erh tea that I sampled so I was excited to try the mini tuocha rose injected version. I’m not a flowery tea enthusiast but Teavivre seems to do a great job in keeping the flower from running away with the flavor.
This tea did not disappoint me. It has a very deep, woodsy, earthen taste. The color is a dark rich brown, like molasses.
I had salmon for lunch yesterday and I guess it is still very much on my brain and tastebuds. With my first sip, I thought I detected a salmon-like flavor within this tea. Then, I came to my (tasting) senses and realized that this was just the subtle rose attribute peeking out from the other strong and dominant musky flavors.
It is fascinating to me that the flavors of this tea seem to contradict each other yet are in perfect harmony. The light and delicate rose flavor blends exquisitely with the rugged and powerful earthy taste.
This is a pleasing complex tea. Teavivre has once again proven to me that flowery teas do not have to taste like perfume.
Tea of the morning……
Wow. I am the first to log this one! Since I am a lover of all types of Keemun, I had to give this a try. Since I purchased this one, I requested a sample of Grade 1 Keemun from Teavivre, so it will be fun to compare all three grades of Keemun available from them. I hope I am up to it!
I would say it is slightly smokier tasting (this, of course does not mean it is a smokey tea…) than the Keemun variety I usually drink for breakfast. It also has just a hint of astringency at the end of the taste. In general, that makes this one just a little bolder than I am used to. Since I drink Keemun for a breakfast tea, it is not really a problem, though. I need a little bit of a kick start some mornings. After a few more tastings, I will know if this one will work for me in the long run. The one I liked best was somewhere between this one and the Harney English Breakfast. I think I might try a shorter steep next time or a little less leaf to see if that will improve the flavor for my specific taste. I am sure I will drink it all!
Usual mug method.
I thought I was doing bad as far as getting around to trying my samples from Teavivre, but it turns out there are only two I hadn’t tried, and this is one of them. This was yet another green tea that I requested for furthering my tea education since I know next to nothing about different types of green teas.
The dry leaf is full of fluffy, squiggly leaves. The aroma of it is a little offputting, at least for what I look for in a tea, because it’s very savory and brothy. It really reminds me of miso broth you might get at a sushi restaurant. Steeped, it’s still a bit brothy but more vegetal, and some distinct nutty tones have come out as well. It smells a little less like a bowl of soup, which is good (in my mind at least!). The flavor is definitely light, and I feel like I’m “tasting” the aroma more than the tea itself. It’s got that grainy/miso-y flavor to it, followed by a vegetal note that ends up being a touch sharp toward the end. A very interesting tea, but not one of my favorite greens from the box. Thank you again to Angel Chen and Teavivre for giving me the chance to sample it!
I cold brewed this for maybe 48 hours. The cucumber flavor is dominant. It is a very refreshing brew. The delicate yellow liquor is quite cooling and also truly reminds me of summer veggies that you would eat raw like cucumbers and green bell peppers. It is very enjoyable but I would suggest to myself to only brew it for 24 hours or less. It is very invigorating on this rainy day. On a day when I will probably drink a Shu or something along those lines this has provided a bit of sunshine.