Teavivre

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Recent Tasting Notes

Trying to remember, but I’m pretty sure this is the first unflavored or non-blended black tea I’ve had besides a Spring Darjeeling (during an Afternoon Tea at the QVB Tea Room in Sydney). It’s also the first of my samples from Teavivre, so there’s another reason to be excited about it. Well never fear, it’s lived up to the high expectations and surpasses them! That seems hard to do given such glowing praise it’s received on here, but the fact is, I finished the first cup well over half an hour ago and I’m still relishing the flavor in my mouth!

It is what everyone has already mentioned. Semi-sweet (TeaEqualsBliss). “Psuedo-smoky” (Angrboda). Thick mouthfeel and very malty—a new flavor in tea for me—without aggressiveness (Dylan Oxford). And so many others said how rich and bold it is. I may have missed it, but didn’t see anyone write how long the sensations last: it is astounding!

Since I’m really learning now and trying to train my palate, I don’t think it’s fair or helpful for me to give number scores yet. But this tea is a real lesson in richness, length of flavor, and HOW GOOD a straight black tea can be without any additions! I’m looking forward to a couple more steeps for these leaves (and the 2nd sample pack of it!) and my big stash of other Teavivre samples is looking even better than it was before!

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This one reminds me of Teavivre’s Organic Silver Needle white. I brewed it at 195 for a minute as instructed, which is hotter than I normally steep whites, but it is fine, definitely not bitter. I was generous with the quantity of leaves. Yes, this tea is gentle and soothing, but at the same time has several flavors going on. I pick up on hay, cucumber and creamy notes. This tea exceeded my expectations, as white teas are not usually what I gravitate toward. I would like to try this one again.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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First steep: nothing special. Very light flavor.

Second steep: dark and earthy, slightly fishy scent and finish

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Wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the leaves be dry? You can’t “dry” honey. Maybe crystalized. Nope, I realized when I got the vacuum-sealed bag open and went in to scoop some out. Honey coated. Not leaves in a pool of honey, though. Really infused.

Couldn’t smell the honey on anything but my spoon after I’d scooped. Brewed in a gaiwan, the liquid is a cloudy, toasty yellow. Smells like a toasty oolong, no sweetness.

First Steep: Despite the obvious stickyness of the leaves, I’m not getting too much of a honey flavour. A nice oolong—not sharply vegetal, very pleasing, buttery notes. When I breathe out… Sweetness, I think, bordering on honey. As if the honey does not directly add any flavour, but somehow enhances the oolong itself so that I am enjoying this immensely.

More sweetness as I sip. I have a feeling the honey may have settled to the bottom—as it tends to do when you stir it directly into the tea anyhow. Starting to get a sticky honey taste with just a touch of sweetness.

Second Steep: Bolder taste in the second steep, as I didn’t actually rinse this. I think I’m getting more honey. Just a faint, sticky sweetness under the toasty oolong notes. I like darker, roasted oolongs, and I think the honey goes with it well.

Third Steep: Didn’t pay as much attention to this one. Still fifteen seconds. Didn’t get any sweetness.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
lizzi

It tastes all right, steeping it in boiling water? I’m leery of doing that with my oolong teas, ordinarily, and aim for a few degrees cooler.

AJ

Whoops, didn’t realize I’d set that to boiling. I let the boil fade completely (but didn’t take the temperature) before I poured, but still pretty close.

Yeah, most companies recommend that you don’t us boiling, but Teavivre and a few others recommend that you do, but also suggest very short steeps. Was playing with that first, and then was going to try cooler water and longer steeps with what’s left of the sample. It didn’t taste bitter with near-boiling, or flat. Luckily.

But I think a cooler temperature and longer steep would help the honey.

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Got this as a sample with my Bailin Gongfu order.

The leaves are nice, pale green color when brewed and are, overall, pretty undamaged. Smells kinda good too…

The problem is – I never really liked this particular type of tea. And while the taste is surely there, I simply couldn’t bring myself to care. Won’t rate it `cause its useless anyway.

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Tea party day! Well, we have two a week now but Wednesday is still the one where we have three teas and LOTS of food. Youngest made pumpkin scones that had a glaze over the top and then a pumpkin drizzle on top of that. The scones were sooo moist. The texture was perfect, not hard and dry like the ones you buy.

I like an unflavored tea with the food, so this tea went first. I had her prepare by the package instructions instead of using my usual Western parameters for black tea. It was really so very good. This is a shelf staple.

It is a very satisfying tea by itself but also goes well with food. It is economical as it resteeps very well. And it is so good, with slight malt, a little yam, and just plain good tea flavor.

mrmopar

I need the scone recipe please…

TeaTiff

I love Golden Monkey and you are making me drool over the scones:) This sounds like a lovely party!

Sil

mmmm i second the recipe comment!

ashmanra

Here you go, mrmopar! We did a few changes that won’t matter…we used fresh, homemade kefir in place of buttermilk, and she ground her own whole wheat flour from soft white wheat, and we did grind clove buds instead of using ground cloves. Those changes shouldn’t affect how great these were. She says this site has been very good to her – lots of successful recipes!

http://www.cookingclassy.com/2014/08/pumpkin-scones-starbucks-copycat/

ashmanra

Sil, I hope you get to make the scones. They really are good! We just took a couple to the assisted living center and they didn’t last any time, even though my MIL barely eats.

Sil

yay! thanks for the share!

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This tea is so far superior to the one from Teavana in my opinion, and it is probably half the price. It is a tea that can go with any mood, any food. I served it today to youngest and her friend and I forgot to put milk and sugar on the table. It didn’t matter. They drank it plain. I think both girls have been trying to drink their tea straight for a couple of months now, and this one is an easy one to learn to like like sans additions.

Mercuryhime got me thinkkng…and looking around. She mentioned having to clean when you invite people to tea. Well, Mercuryhime, if I am ever in the area, don’t clean for me because I just want to be with you! Let your dogs lick my face, let me get dirt on my shoes in your garden, I will be happy! I love getting to know new people and learning from them.

BUT…I am going to bare all and tell you PART of what is cluttering my kitchen right now. Remember, my kitchen is large though my house is small, because this was a kitchen/den combination when the house was built, with a tiny dining area. A den was added, so the old “den” is now informal dining and school table and the formal tiny dining corner is now the laundry area and bread making center.

Okay, here goes. Tomatoes everywhere on the island, cucumbers because I am about to make pickles, teapots all down the counter, a Breville, a mixer, two ceramic egg holders because I don’t refrigerate my eggs. (Fresh, unwashed eggs have an antibiotic coating from the hen.) There is a cooling rack out still from muffin making, a cast iron Dutch oven that I can’t put away due to my surgery and am waiting for someone else to do It, two jars of kefir fermenting, a compost pail, some recycling that hasn’t been carried out, lots of spices, a mortar and pestle full of eggshells that need to be distributed, a bowl of fruit. I have my mother’ s and godmother’s rolling pins and my MIL’s old hand powered egg beater. All sitting out or displayed. It really does look like an old general store in there. On the fireplace, there are candles, lanterns, a candle box, a paper towel tube (WHY?), and some magazines. That is probably less than half. LOL!

Does anyone else dare tell what is sitting out in their kitchen? Several OCD people probably just fainted. I am sorry! :D

FYI: we eat almost all our meals at the little tea table in the “L” of the living room because of all the stuff in the kitchen.

Mercuryhime

well, this does make me feel better. :) Though I think I do have a mild form of OCD. I’d glad you’re someone I can invite over without having to worry about cleaning first.

Cwyn

Now that sounds like my idea of a kitchen. Wish I wasn’t old and lazy, cuz I can get down with all things like homemade pickles, kefir, bread, muffins and fresh farm eggs. My comparatively empty countertops testify to this, or maybe a testimony to no longer having young children around to feed. A lovely read! I’ll be over to your place tomorrow. :P

Myssy

As honest as you’ve been about your kitchen – I can’t even begin to tell you about mine – mine is all taken apart – because I am going on a purging binge. I am getting RID of things and I have pulled things out of cabinet and closets and I have stuff stacked everywhere. I am planning on it all going away after I start my vacation next week. I’m jealous of your produce :(

gmathis

Overflowing tea baskets pretty much everywhere, fried pies, turnovers and an apple crumb tart from the farmers’ market; a ziplock bag of expired coupons; mail we don’t quite know what to do with; a platter of assorted vitamins and supplements; a dish rack stacked with drying stuff like Jenga because nobody wants to put it away; colander full of banana peppers (and that’s just the stuff that isn’t in its rightful place).

gmathis

I did, however, start on a reality-check clothes closet pitch. Shirts so tight they cut off circulation in my upper arms now in brown-bag purgatory awaiting their second (third?) life at Goodwill.

Terri HarpLady

My kitchen counters are loaded with bubbling crocks of various culturing veggies, crockpots & dutch ovens awaiting their next episodes, a dehydrator, piles of tomatoes (even though I brought 5# worth of them to Tony’s because we’re making a batch of sauce tomorrow), a bread kneading area with sack of flour, because although I can’t have gluten, one of my sons has really gotten into making bread. There’s a dehydrator, from my raw foodie days, which I still use, a coffee maker that the kids (who are adults) use, a bowl of fruit, a dish draining wrack, a large compost bucket, & lots of spices, & a mortar & pestle. The Table, which is in the kitchen, has an electric kettle, a tea towel where I dry my various teapots & cups, a pile of cookbooks (because although I don’t generally follow recipes, I love reading them, LOL).
Most of my tea is in my office, along with my teapots & other paraphernalia.
The Sunroom windowsills are piled with tomatoes, all kinds. There are also 3 wonderful large baskets that I use for picking produce (one is currently full of zucchini), & there are buckets with gardening tools, & the little table back there is covered with seeds, my garden journal, & other gardening stuff.

ashmanra

Keep it coming, everyone! I love this! Cwyn, I wish you could come over. We would have a tomato sandwich and let the juice run to our elbows!

MzPrizz: I have been contemplating a real clean out. We have lived her for 21 years and things add up. Some things are not really needed anymore, like cute cake pans of trains and lambs, but what if I get grandchildren? LOL!

GMathis: I left out my thee tea stashes. One is on shelves on the wall, one is a chest under those shelves and there are two spots in the cabinets with tea, as well as a super old cast iron Dutch oven with samples in it. Oops, and another basket under the fruit basket. Oy.

TerriHarpLady: I am making pickles right now, so my Kilner jam pan is sitting on the bread table. Underneath that table are buckets: hard red wheat for cookies, hard white wheat for bread, soft white wheat for cookies and pastries, Kamut for waffles and pancakes, oats to flake, and hard red winter wheat for the chickens. There is also frequently a jar of seeds sprouting for the chickens, though they just ate the most recent batch.

Lariel of Lórien

You guys are making me want salad.

boychik

My turn. Produce from farmers market on island. I cannot put tomatoes or peaches to the fridge. Pecan pie, croissants . Counters are loaded with 2 gaiwans, 2 tea baskets and 1 glass gongfu pot, strainer. All waiting for their resteeps. Thank you for posting this.

gmathis

…and then there’s the wire Basket O’ Condiments, stuffed with leftover ketchups, mustards, and whatevers from take-out…

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This has become a “go to” black tea for me. Whether I am pairing it with food or just want something that I think anyone will like, even non-tea drinkers, it is a safe bet. It is sweet and honeyed and smooth, so it really needs no additions.

This was the first tea of tea party. I am going to ask for your input today about how I sometimes serve tea and choose the pairings. If anyone has any helpful tips or advice, I welcome it.

Since this was the “tea party before Christmas” and our gift exchange day, I served loaded baked potato soup. We seldom do “real” food. I chose this tea to go with it because I felt it had enough presence to still be enjoyed but no flavors that would compete with or overshadow the food.

I thought it went with the soup very well. I knew I had to step up the strength of the next black tea served so it could compete with dessert so this was a great starting place.

Uniquity

I make a soup every Sunday, but we tend to stick with what we know – combos of veggies and maybe some chicken or pork. What is loaded baked potato soup? I’d love to give it a shot!

ashmanra

It is a potato soup with onions if you wish but they are not critical, and you top it with cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Some people also put sour cream. Here is the revile I used, but I only put half the cream cheese and it was still great. http://pearls-handcuffs-happyhour.blogspot.com/2011/03/outback-aint-got-nothin-on-me.html?m=1

Uniquity

Appreciated! 0

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Fabulous, smooth, sweet black tea. Gave it to a tea newbie today and he loved it. I noticed that my stock is getting low, and that is a no-no. This will definitely be reordered! It is on the “if you could only have ten teas list.”

Sil

Hmmmm I wonder if I ordered this one. Ill have to check it out. I do love me some black tea :)

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Somehow I had failed to add this to my cupboard. What an oversight because I love this one!

Today I made a new cake to try out some new pans. I bought the half size Bundt pans and though I really should have made my pound cake recipe I decided to try a new recipe called Hungarian Embassy cake. I got the recipe from a friend who was at an embassy dinner over twenty years ago. She loved the dessert so much she asked for the recipe, and then was featured in our local paper for her baking and they ran the recipe, too.

I invited my best friend over for cake and tea. I also wanted a good excuse to use my new variable temp kettle again. The cake has a streak of brown sugar and cinnamon through it, so I thought this would be a good match for it.

My friend was captivated by the honey aroma of the tea. She really loved it. The resteep was just as good, making this an excellent value as well as an excellent tea. It was a great value even without its resteep-ability!

Smooth, honeyed, a tiny tad malty, and utterly delicious, this is a cupboard staple. Teavivre blows me away.

K S

The only tea I have rated 100… at least so far.

ashmanra

I believe it!

TheTeaFairy

I second that as well, awesome tea!

ashmanra

My friend cracked up and laughed at me today as I rooted through my Teavivre tea chest to get it! She couldn’t believe how much of their tea I have bought!

TheTeaFairy

Haha! I know, my friends and family think I’m an alien when they look at my tea cabinet! I have to admit that my collection has expended out of normalcy…

ashmanra

I think I have actually broken out in a cold sweat and chanted, “I have a problem. I have a problem,” several times recently.

TheTeaFairy

Oh, thanks for saying that Ashmanra, I don’t feel as lonely now. The real problem is that I do enjoy having this problem… I’m in the loop here, can’t escape!

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Back logging from yesterday: it was tea party day and I didn’t get our teas logged because we stayed over our teacups for an extra hour. I guess we were catching up on all we missed because of missing tea party the week before.

This was the first tea I served. I had tried it earlier in the day using cooler water and a short steep time. For tea party, I made it by more customary western parameters for a black tea.

We were thrilled with this tea. The extra steep time increased the flavor and sweetness and did not add even a hint of bitterness to it. My guest gasped and ooh-ed and ah-ed and said that it was a thumbs up and a winner for her. The sweet potato goodness won her heart, and it was her favorite tea of the day.

This is not as caramel-y as the recent Harney and Sons version, so it has a slightly lighter body, though I had one harvest batch from H&S that was almost identical to this. I think the sweet potato flavor may be more pronounced in the Teavivre one and both are probably equally sweet, with the H&S tea leaning toward a honeyed sweetness.

It is an excellent tea, and half the price, so it is a good choice if you want to save money or drink it more often. This will be going on a future order for me.
K S

This one is in my next batch of samples – can’t wait to try it.

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A quick note to say that this is an excellent resteeper! The flavor is mostly sweet potato. This is reminding of a tea I had a while back called Yunnan Royal Gold which had long, soft leaves and when steeped was just a nice, light sweet potato cup of goodness!

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How do you taste a new company’s rendition of a favorite tea? One hopes to keep an open mind! I hope I did here! I will be tasting this twice today and it may be very different each time.

Harney and Sons Golden Monkey has been a tea party staple for a long time. I first tried it on someone’s recommendation back when I still took milk and sugar and I was disappointed in it. When I tried it plain, I was amazed at how delicious it was. The additions really hurt the tea in my opinion.

Then hubby picked up some from Teavana, and while it smelled just like H&S it lacked the body and satisfying maltiness, and I only enjoyed it as a breakfast tea with milk and sugar.

The question now was…where will Teavivre GM fall in the scale? And that question may not be fully answered until after tea party today!

For this morning, I am making this tea according to Teavivre’s recommendations. They use steeling parameters more common to Asian methods than to western steeping, so their black teas are lighter and more delicate, unlike the rough treatment we barbarians give to our hearty breakfast teas and British legacy teas, to steal a phrase from Michael Harney.

The verdict on this method of brewing: it’s all here! The sweet, smooth liquor with sweet potato flavor and a nice touch of malt is refined, medium-bodied, and smooth. No astringency. With the lower temperature and shorter steep time it is not as strong as my H&S cup made western style would be, but it is delicious nevertheless.

This afternoon I will be making a large pot using western steeping parameters to serve at tea party. I am looking forward to my guest’s and youngest daughter’s reactions and thoughts.

Edited to add: VERY IMPORTANT NOTE! I just looked up both of these teas and Teavivre’s is almost exactly half the price of H&S. This is an important factor to consider if money is an object.
Both are less expensive than Teavana’s, which is my least favorite of the three.

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TeaVivre provided me with this sample, but I feel that I cannot properly review it. I brewed this in a gaiwan and rinsed before trying a sip. This is just too strong for my tastes. The scent and taste of the ginseng is what bothers me, I think. I appreciate the diversity of samples provided by this awesome company, but this is unfortunately not my cup of tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Angel and Teavivre were very kind to include a sample of this tea in my last sample box that arrived from them! They noticed I had mentioned in one review wanting to try an unflavored since their flavored sample was my first mik oolong.

I had my bestie over today for Japanese Lettuce Wraps. I was really in the mood for some Teavivre Monkey Picked Oolong, but only had enough of my sample left for a small pot. I ordered a full pouch but it hasn’t arrived yet, so I went ahead and made a small pot of Monkey Picked and a bigger pot of this. It is a great opportunity to compare both.

Sniffing both of these made me giddy. The Monkey Picked was just what I was looking forward to – baked, rich aroma and ultra smooth. I sniffed this one and was surprised at the great difference! It smelled so green, so floral, and the baked aroma was very much in the background, not right in front like Monkey Picked.

I sipped this one first and wondered if I was losing my mind. This unflavored milk oolong has more of a milky taste and feel to me than I remember the flavored one having! Oh so smooth, lightly floral, deliciously milky. My guest loved it and drank a lot more tea today than she usually has at my house!

Both of these were excellent teas! We finished both pots, and I am so glad I have a Teavivre order on the way! Thank you, Teavivre, for expanding my horizons and letting me try this, I think between the unflavored and flavored milk oolong, I would buy the unflavored!

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drank Waterlilies Fruit Tea by Teavivre
10 tasting notes

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I should have made this tea while my daughter was here because I think this one is right up her alley. She likes green tea that makes its presence known, not ultra smooth but rather assertive without being bitter. Perhaps a hint of sourness? Those are the greens she reacts most favorably to.

This is one of those greens that has cocoa or chocolate aromas to me, even when steeped. The taste is making me think of oven roasted root vegetables today. This would be over the top fabulous with a meal I bet. As it is, I have enjoyed it immensely as my after-breakfast-sip-during-yoga tea.

I did not make it by their suggested parameters this time as it was the last of the packet and there s a little less than needed for a pot. I used nearly three teaspoons in 22 ounces of Atwater, 174F, for three minutes.

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This is still part of the free sample sent by Angel and Teavivre. Thank you!

After lunch today, I swallowed and winced. Uh-oh! What is happening? A sore throat? And I have a voice student coming in an hour!

I cast about ideas for about two seconds when the lightbulb popped on. Make a pot of tea! I liked this one last time, and I just got an email from a friend requesting that I recommend some green teas for her cupboard since she is a converted coffee drinker who mostly has black and puerh tea now.

The dry leaves pulled a fast one on me. I remembered how good they smelled the first time, so I gave a big sniff to the pouch before pinching out my leaves. What is this? CHOCOLATE? I must be wrong. Sniff again. No, this smells very strongly of chocolate now! I guess I need to check the pouch again and make sure there is a bit of chocolate from someone’s hands (who would do that?) on the pouch but I swear I didn’t see any!

I used more leaf this time as I felt my last brew was a little weak. The leaves are so very long and thin that a teaspoon is pretty useless for measuring it. I think I got it right this time because my pot was fantastic. Smooth, buttery, vegetal but not grassy, and a little nutty. Maybe the chocolate scent manifests as a nutty taste? Very good tea, my throat is a little better, and I definitely plan to resteep this and have another pot tonight!

Thank you, Teavivre!

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Since it has happened four times, I guess I can say it is now a Friday night tradition for hubby and me to go to the Chinese buffet. While I was there tonight, many of the food aromas were evoking memories of green and oolong teas I have had. It really makes me wish they had good tea there, and not just plain old bags of Lipton black tea!

At least I have great tea waiting for me when I get home! This particular one is a free sample provided for review by Angel and Teavivre. Thank you!

When I cut open the pouch, a wonderfully fresh spinach aroma rushed out to greet me. The leaves are very dark and so long and thin and twisted! I used what I thought was about eight grams for my teapot, but I may have misjudged. I used their recommended 194F for my water and gave it a 1 1/2 minute steep to hit a happy medium.

The liquor has a light body and light but somewhat lingering flavor. It is buttery, vegetal, and a little nutty. It is smooth and I don’t detect any sourness. This was very good, but a little more subtle than I was looking for tonight. The meal really needed something with a little more OOMPH to follow it up. I think next time I will actually weigh the leaves or make it in a gaiwan for better control.

Edited to add: the flavor became stronger as it cooled, with no increase in astringency and no sourness. So this would be a great sipper!

Thank you, Angel and Teavivre!

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This tea was a wonderful way to start the day. With most Keemuns I tend to use a bit more leaf and I increase the steep time to about 5 or 6 minutes. I could smell the fragrance. A beautiful aroma. The flavor was so smooth with hints of chocolate and whole grain fresh baked bread. The best part was the lingering taste in my mouth long after I stopped drinking. Sublime. Well worth adding to your tea collection….

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This reminds me a bit of a Keemun. Mellow, sweet (whoops, just quoted the Description), faintly nutty. But definitely lighter, “greener” than a Keemun black. Very lovely.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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