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Recent Tasting Notes
Wow, this is a dark-leaved oolong. I literally went “Ooh” when I opened the packet. The leaves are long and almost black. They’re flat, and smell very sweet. I haven’t had an oolong in a good while, so that distinct and familiar scent is very welcome.
I went with the pack’s instructions, using boiling water and a short time in the water. As it steeped, the scent became stronger and more pungent. I’m reminded of fruit, but at the same time, the forest. Something makes me think of honey and of trees. It’s hard to describe, and intriguing. It brews up to a light shade of brown.
When I taste it, something instantly reminds me of tree bark, sap, and grapefruit. It’s toasty, smooth, and calming… Yet strangely, I feel like I’m tasting… hops? It reminds me of a mild IPA! Is that weird? To think of beer when I’m tasting tea? Anyway, I’m really liking this. I think I’m going to put the rest of my sample on and spend my evening enjoying this unique oolong.
First tea from the teabox!
Best dragonwell that I’ve had. Very mild with apricot, chestnut, and slight artichoke flavors. Most of the leaves appeared very young, and there where a few silvery buds as well. This is a sweet, gentle dragonwell nice for tea drinkers like myself who don’t like very vegetal greens.
Got husband to have gaiwan session with me this morning. :) That means I didn’t have to imbibe all that caffeine by myself. Which means I can have more other teas. :D so we followed the directions on teavivre’s website. Worked well! He even poured a few steepings. :)
The tea developed beautifully. Husband’s comments were great. He said they were like burnt flowers. Which I translated to understand as smokey and floral. Haha. I thought it was smoked prunes. Tasty. But a bit savory. Like a balanced meal.
Sipdown, 130. Thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for this sample, which was getting up there in age.
I had this tea this afternoon while I was working. I had a particularly early morning today, so I was quite tired and I wanted a white tea to perk me up and make me focused. This worked really well. Forget about white tea relaxing you, for me it definitely perks me up, especially a really nice white tea like this. Not sure if an unflavored white has a place in my cupboard, but it’s something to consider (once it decreases a bit more).
This will be a sipdown when I return from Europe, as I have one sample pack left. At first I thought I wasn’t really going to be into this tea this afternoon. By smell it was very hayish and a bit earthy, reminding me of all the parts of white teas that I usually don’t care for all that much. But then when I started drinking it I really enjoyed it! It was sweet and honeyed, and even a bit floral. Quite a nice afternoon tea, and something to keep me going at my work today.
I may have mistakenly reviewed this tea under it’s organic version before, oh well. Thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for these samples.
Having drank the silver needle white tea yesterday, I decided to go ahead and try the bai mu dan today in comparison. I don’t know that I’ve ever really compared the flavor of two different white tea varietals, so this should be interesting. Right away the dry leaf still smells like hay, but I think greener hay. Perhaps even somewhat like dried grass clippings.
The real difference came the moment the water hit the leaf; the silver needle still smelled like hay, whereas this tea became greener smelling and more vegetal. After one minute this tea was already dark enough so I pulled the brew basket. It smells hay-ish, but also a bit like buttered vegetables and a bit of honey. The flavor is definitely more vegetal, with some cucumber notes along with the hay. A hint of florals, though I wouldn’t be able to pin down what type. Perhaps something odd like clover flowers. Slightly like salted butter, as well.
I would say that I much preferred the silver needles to the bai mu dan. This one was grassier and more vegetal, and reminded me more of some green teas. It’s also very lightly astringent at 1 minute, but that could be slight overleafing. Still, this is quite enjoyable and I do want to try this one also gongfu style eventually.
Sipdown, 150. (I would love to sipdown to 146 before my Verdant reserve club order gets here, but I don’t know if that is possible! Based on past history it could get here as soon as the 8th, but I might have until the 10th).
I decided I needed the energy of a white tea this morning. I think it worked reasonably well; I managed to get a fair amount done this morning even through my relative exhaustion. Let see if I can keep it up this afternoon.
The first steep of this tea was quite nice, and I definitely got that bready, squashy flavor again. I went for a resteep for 3 minutes, but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I think it was a tad more hayish and green vegetal, as well as just being less flavorful. Still this is perhaps my favorite white tea that I’ve tried so far, and the only one (that’s not jasmine flavored) that I would consider reordering at this point.
Hmm, have I never reviewed this? It seems unlikely, but there are no reviews to be found by me so I guess not. In that case I apologize to Teavivre for taking so long to get around to reviewing this sample. As always, you are so generous!
I’ve never been really drawn to white tea. Partly I think because it reminds me strongly of hay, and while that is a pleasant olfactory memory, it is not necessarily one I want to drink (I feel this way about many puerhs as well). I usually enjoy a white tea fairly well but I never crave one.
This tea is so pretty, all downy and soft. Dry, it smells like fresh cut hay. Steeped it retains those hay notes, but also gains a sweet creamy smell. A bit of honey on whole-grain bread, perhaps. That seems to be the predominant flavor for me, and this tea is unexpectedly “chewy;” the texture is thick and the whole thing really reminds me of really good bread. Which is totally not what most others are getting, but there you go! I don’t really taste florals or melon, but I could be convince of roasted summer squash. It’s darker tasting than I expect a white tea to be, and richer. I’d be interested in brewing my other package in a gaiwan (if I had one, not sure if my little gongfu pot would be appropriate) just to see how the flavors differ. Even so, this is quite a lovely, toothsome white tea and I very much enjoyed this cup.
Gosh, this tea is soo pretty! I feel pretty just drinking it! The leaves start out silver tipped, then bloom through fall colours and finally into a reddy tinge. The tea itsself is a lovely reddy orange brown!
Taste? Very balanced between honeysuckle floral and maple earthy. It’s not too floral or earthy, so this would be a good starter oolong. I’d love to serve this to guests!
Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/taiwan-oriental-beauty-from-teavivre-tea-review/
Thank you Angel for this sample.
The raw leaves are beautifully green and thinly rolled. For the most part they are still intact with little to no damage and no stems/sticks are present.
They have a beautiful spinach and perfume floral scent that is quite thick yet sweet.
Once steeped this tea is yellow in colour and has a sweet, vegetal aroma.
Flavour is thick and vegetal (broccoli, spinach) and also rather grassy. There is also a sweetness like peony.
Still very thick and vegetal but the sweetness has toned down. It has a buttery tone that makes it easy to drink and it defines the spinach flavour beautifully.
Gentle now and refreshing. Less vegetal and more floral. Toned down from the first steep but still left with enough flavour to be pleasing.
Overall it’s a very nice thick, vegetal green tea. Very similar to the Organic Hangzhou Tian Mu Qing Ding Green Tea – Teavivre.
I do love chinese black teas, like no other tea can provide that chocolate-yness quality while being oh so smooth. And this sample which Hallieod so generously surprised me with is a very very good chinese tea indeed. Though, for no fault of its own, comparisons are odious, it is suffering from comparison with yesterday´s sample, another chinese black tea (and yes, this is a total embarassment of riches of teas to try), the Laoshan Black I fell totally in love with.
So I took time off to work at home and the internet has been down all morning. oh well, that just means I will have to do it later in the day. It’s still on and off so just posting a quick tea note.
The silver needles have light hairs all over them and are of silver and light green colours. The needles are long and thin with minimal to no breakage in the leaves. Quality overall is very nice. They have a light grassy and floral scent.
Once steeped the tea is very light yellow in colour and has a sweet and slightly floral.
Flavour is very clean and light, gently floral and sweet.
Still light and floral with a sweet and smooth pureness but also with a toasted hint. A little grassy also.
Similar to the first steep in that it’s very light and refreshing. Still there is a pure floral flavour.
Overall it’s one of the nicest qualities that I have tried and it’s so very delicious and delicate.
I am always up for trying a new lapsang souchong. I’m one of those people who greatly enjoys the smoked flavour and almost can’t get enough of it. Well, I say almost because I do have a certain ideal balance between the smoke note and the other notes. Many lapsangs are actually very sweet and fruity underneath the smoke, and it’s that note that I want to come out clearly as well. I want that and the smoke more or less in equal measures. That’s my Perfect LS. So of course I would choose lapsang souchong for one of my free samples with my recent order.
The first time I ever noticed that fruity sweet aspect it drove me nearly nuts for months trying to get the brewing conditions right to replicate it. I’ve got that down now. I’ve learned how to make a black tea in exactly the way that suits me best, but the first time I really thought something must have been tampering with my leaf.
Anyway, this particular lapsang smells like it has a very strong note of that fruity sweetness. There isn’t even all that much smoke in the aroma. It seems very mild. I have read that this fruity note is supposed to be reminiscent of longan fruit, but I have no idea what those are, so I couldn’t tell if I agree with that or not. To me, it’s leaning more towards stone fruits and lychee.
The flavour is indeed quite mild on the smoke. At first I almost thought it wasn’t there, but then it showed up and lingered on the aftertaste. The fruity sweetness is there as well, but at this moment the tea is still too hot for me to be able to taste anything properly
After cooling a little bit, the smoke comes forth a little more, but it’s still a very mild LS this. The fruity note is strong in this one and quite sweet. The smoke is mostly there in the aftertaste for me, but it lingers for a long time.
If you are looking to try lapsang souchong for the first time and don’t know if you will care for the smoke or not, I would definitely recommend this one as an introduction because it’s so mild. It won’t overwhelm you with smoke, so even if you find you don’t much care for the smoke, I should think you would still find this at least drinkable.
In completely other news, I’ve noticed that I tend to capitalise tea names. Like writing Keemun instead of keemun and Lapsang Souchong and so on. I’ve made an effort not to do it in this post, but am I actually supposed to do that? What do you guys do?
I can never quite get over how wrong my guesses at what keemuns would taste like before trying any were—I was thinking heavily smoky and sharp, acrid, like knock-you-out generic lapsang souchongs. But no! For me they are more overwhelmingly about the smell of toasted chocolate than anything else, including smoke, and it’s been a rather pleasant surprise to discover this. There’s also a chewy grain quality here, an element I’ve noticed present in all of the Teavivre black teas I’ve tried so far (along with that complex relatively mellow sweetness I tend to associate with Chinese tea). A little bit of bitterness, but noticeably less than in the H&S version I tried earlier this month. There is a woodgrainy mouthfeel, I’m guessing from the tannin, and for some reason it works here with the softness of the flavor.
My work for today is done, I managed to get everything made and sent out which is a miracle and deserves a reward. That’s why I got my husband to cook dinner (for once lol). I prepared it all but told him how to cook it and made it easy so it was like he served me a very nice meal that he made himself. :)
Then I thought I would make myself pro active during the wait for dinner and have a quick clean up of my tea cupboard. I have a new spare tub for my Unbridled Love Fruit Tea which should help me remember it’s their and drink it more often. Which is then when I remembered I haven’t reviewed this tea despite having had it for almost a year.
The raw blends ingredients are rather large and if I’m honest they are duller than shown in the picture. It has a sweet yet sour fruity scent of orange but darker than expected. Perhaps the darkness is from the raisins. In a way it reminds me of a few Christmas based teas I sampled not so long ago.
Once steeped this tea is dark red/purple in colour and has a herbal and fruity aroma. It also smells a little tart and sour.
Flavour is strong and very tart but also with a light sweet and fruity taste. The orange is the most noticeable fruit but the rose hip dominates above all else. The flavours lighten quickly to leave a gentle sour and fruity after taste.
Overall it’s quite nice but perhaps a little too sour for my taste. It has to be something that I crave before I can drink it. A bit of sweetener can help.
This is my first tea in over 24 hrs :)
I had minor surgery yesterday so was not allowed to eat or drink all day :(
I chose this nice roasty tasting tea for my first tea in the morning because I didn’t want anything that I was tempted to add milk to (had post anesthetic nausea and surgery was late so this is my first liquid since coming out from surgery) I am off for the week so I will have plenty of time to drink lots of tea.
Sorry getting totally off on a tangent so back to this tea. Toasty oolongs are one of my favourite teas and this is no different. Just sipping on my first infusion now…so good!
Mmm… followed the directions on the package for my first taste of this tea:
Boiling water 1 tbsp of leaves to 8oz, quick rinse of leaves, 1 min steep. Nice lightly toasted scent and flavour with oolong “notes” then I did a second infusion with 2 min steep. A little less of the toasty and more of the greener oolong notes. All in all so far an excellent oolong, great price and amazing service! Can’t wait to try the others I bought!
With a liquor as dark as wine, you’d think that the tea would have a similarly intense presence. As it turns out, not so much. It’s an understated fellow, this one. You get a mouth full of smoke that sits even more heavily on the tongue than the Lapsang Souchong, leaving an ashy residue feeling, however it’s not overpowering. This tea could be the shy guy at the corner of the D&D table. His character’s stats aren’t amazing, but he’s got steady luck on the dice, and you aren’t creeped out by his silence–in fact, you’re a little curious if he’s got more to say. For the tea, this means trying out further infusions and seeing how the underlying flavors develop. Admittedly the fishiness is still there on the initial sip, but it doesn’t leave an aftertaste; only the smoke does. This gives us a slow-to-show richness and depth to the tea–meaty, even.
Alright, it’s a steak in a cup. Carnivores, full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/
Lapsangs have a predisposition to fishy odor. This one is true to form; in the bag, there’s definitely a pescetatious* smell. I’m a New Yorker with hard-earned Jew cred, which involved its fair share of lox and cream cheese. As a result, I can get into the mood for this tea, but if you don’t like fish, then this ain’t the brew for you. If you’re brave and try it anyway, you’ll be relieved to find that it loses most of that aroma once steeped, getting more into the coppery zone, and subsequent infusions rub it out altogether.
As far as taste goes, well, first impression is that even if the smell is muffled, we’re back to the fish. Really heavily smoked fish. Lapsangs take a certain finesse to prepare in such a way that the first infusion is pure smokey goodness without the salty friend, and this particular cup didn’t reach that ideal state. (Experienced lapsang and pu-erh drinkers, you have my envy and admiration.) But back to the tea: gotta say, it really sits in your mouth trying to convince you that it’s a piece of salmon. Want to talk about mouthfeel? Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/
The smell in the bag is closer to a green tea, vegetal and seaweedy. Once in the cup though, that is some floral right there! It’s a burst of jasmine into your nose hole.
Dry tea is full of lies.
This tricky goddess was just pretending to resemble a green tea, but her charade ended as soon as the hot water hit. Another example of misleading liquors; the delicate, pale yellow color of this tea hides an abundance of flower power. Now we know how the goddess likes to be worshiped: her altar must be strung with pungent garlands and sweet-smelling candles. Luckily… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/
The smell of the dry leaves brings to mind the deepest, darkest of woods, the kind you’d find in Redwall when Brian Jacques is really trying to send shivers up your spines. Once steeped, you get more of that sweet loam, but without the dustiness.
Steeping this tea in a large, transparent infuser will show you exactly why they’re called dragon pearls. Each one opens up like a dragon uncurling from its slumber, yawning and stretching and making the same creaky pterodactyl noises that you do in the morning. It;s got the sesame bronziness of most Chinese blacks, with a really sweet aftertaste. The longer it sits, the more profoundly sweet it gets. That’s the beauty of tea–it’s a transient experience. The flavor changes with every sip. This one’s immediate, fresh-poured taste was just a pregame… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/
In the bag, you get a blueberry muffin at your service, or better yet, a blueberry granola bar. The cup takes this and mellows the aroma out even more, bringing in an undertone of raspberry and maybe apple as well, for an earthy kind of fruit tea.
Berry teas especially can be a flavor blast to the mouth, some verging on jam-ish sweetness. This one, however, does well in maintaining its distance. The currant in here serves to hold all the other berries in check, cooling off any tartness that could otherwise show up. You’d probably hit sour if it was oversteeped, of course, but who knows… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/
Sipdown! This is number 3 for today! (As I finish writing this in the morning, oops!)
This is a really lovely green tea. The tea itself is gorgeous. Little curly, downy leaves that smell delicious! The liquor is a very very light green, a bit vegetal and a bit sweet, and very smooth. As far as particular notes go I’m actually kind of forget because I didn’t get that far in my notes while sipping. I guess I’ll have to just get some more the next time I order from Teavivre!
Tea: ~2 tsp
Water: ~2 cups
Brewing method: A lovely DT teapot