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Recent Tasting Notes
Part of me is so sad that it’s taken me this long to learn to enjoy pu-erh tea. My first experiences were terrbile – and very rarely will you see me pour tea down the drain. Now that I’ve found some better quality teas though, and learned to rinse them, my sadness comes from having only ordered sample sizes. Maybe my timing is actually just right, because I found out some big news this week…I’m moving to China at the end of the summer!
I’ve been resteeping multiple times with steep times ranging from 10 seconds to eventually 5 minutes once I’ve steeped the tea to death. Mellow is such an appropriate word to describe it. The taste is warm and earthy but clean and not muddled. I don’t get any hint of fishiness, even with the smell.
I can’t find words to describe it, but it tastes healthy – I feel like my body likes it more than any other tea I drink. I have a few different samples left to try, but that was the end of this one. I’m not sure whether I prefered this or the one I reviewed a couple of weeks ago from Verdant…
Floral, soapy, and sweet jasmine pearls! I love that strong jasmine can taste like bananas. It’s sometimes a more convincing banana than some intentionally banana flavoured teas.
This is a very nice and simple tea but jasmine isn’t something I really crave too often, and, when I do, I think I prefer the scented white leaves over green tea. I’m still grateful for the chance to try this and for Teavivre’s extremely generous sample system!
Thank you Teavivre for this incredible sample!
Dry this tea smells beautiful. Like fresh cut hay on a summer day!
Brewed this tea tastes incredible. This is my second white tea I’ve ever had and I must say I’m extremely impressed. This tea gives me an immediate floral note with a deep and rich honey aftertaste. I can also taste a distinct note of hay which is very neat as I’ve NEVER had that note in a tea before. Can’t wait to see what other notes I taste in further steepings!
All in all, this is a great white tea, and I can recommend it if you like grassy, hay like notes in tea!
This is the second Milk oolong that I’ve ever tried – Another lovely Christmas gift from my Dad (that I bought and gave to him to give to me, but still, it’s a gift. I love doing that – I am sure to get perfect gifts every time). It starts off light, fresh, and grassy. With subsequent steeps it develops a greater depth of flavor with a subtle buttery smoothness. Although this tea leans towards the grassy side, it somehow balances perfectly to provide flavor without ever pushing over into bitterness. I was hoping that the light buttery notes in the subsequent steeps would eventually emerge into nuttiness, but it never quite got there. Still, it’s a lovely tea, which re-steeps very well.
Another knockout hit for TeaVivre! SWEET!
Before I start, thank you TeaVivre for this terrific sample!
The dry tea smells exactly like a campfire in the middle of autumn. It feels and smells like roasting hot dogs on a fire, making smores, and everything wonderful about the autumn season.
This tea is insanely good! It gives the impression of a regular tea at first sip and then envelops your tastebuds in a primal smoky flavor that lingers in your mouth well after the liquid goes down your throat. This is my first smoked tea (although a blend I had previously had a hint of Lapsang in it if I recall correctly) and I love it.
I’ve heard from many people here that Lapsang is essentially a hit or miss tea for anyone that tries it. This is without a doubt a homerun for me, a tea that I must get very soon.
Thank you TeaVivre for this FANTASTIC sample!
Oh my goodness this tea is exquisite! The dry smell is of a buttery green bean with a silky smoothness added to it. I can’t wait to brew this up!
Brewed this tastes exactly like it smells. Of a deep, rich green bean with a smooth and silky butteriness. I am absolutely in love with this tea. Absolutely in love with it. I’ll have to order some of this because it is just amazing.
Overall this tea is an extremely vegetal beautiful tea with a buttery flavor to accompany it. I highly recommend it!
Sample sipdown! I’m slowly getting through all my samples/swaps…there are way more than I thought I had. I’ll get there eventually!
The leaves of this one are so pretty. Long, twisted, and deep green. Once the steep, the green becomes more vibrant and the leaves unfurl a bit – so pretty to watch.
The smells I’m getting from this are delicious. Dry, the scent is slightly vegetal, slightly floral, with a crisp/fresh aspect. There are also slight butter notes present. Once brewed, these scents morph a bit. I’m getting a much stronger buttery vegetal note – smooth vegetal, though, not grass (more like a sweet spinach smell). The floral notes are also still present, though not as prominent. It’s a sweet, fresh smelling cuppa and I can’t wait to sip it!
Taste-time: So, I may let this one cool down a bit more, but as of right now I’m getting a creamy mouthfeel, stronger floral notes, and some light vegetal notes at both the front and back of the sip. The sweetness is still there, but not as evident as it was in the smell – not bad, just a fact. There is also something cooling about this tea, almost like spearmint. It’s very slight, and most of the time unnoticeable… but the cooling effect is present with each sip. It’s interesting, in a good way!
As it cools more, I’m also getting a bit of an earthy, rock-ish (I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone, but its the only way I can describe it) taste – it blends nicely with the other flavors. The sweet taste has emerged a little more at this cooler temp, which is what I was hoping for. The floral taste is still the strongest, which is fine. It isn’t a perfumy floral taste, but a natural one; makes it easier to tolerate, and in fact it may even be enjoyable. =)
It is also less creamy. The thickness of the mouthfeel has diminished some. Interesting, as usually I find it the opposite.
Crisp, fresh, floral, and smooth. That’s how I would describe this one. Very tasty. Can’t wait to compare this to my Butiki Huang Shan Mao Feng… a few more samples down and I might be able to swing opening the package!
Green Tea WIN!
Sipdown! Well, sort of. I think I still have some sealed bags somewhere. But this was a swap sample. An oldish one.
This was buttery and green tasting and milky and vegetal but not overly so.
I resteeped it once, which honestly is about as many times as I ever want to resteep…. Must drink all the teas!
Flavors: Butter, Grass
Thank you Alysha for a sample of this!!
Over the last month or so I’ve become slightly obsessed with oolongs. I want ALL the oolongs.
I had recently fallen for Davidstea’s Quangzhou Milk Oolong and wanted to try another milk oolong! Actually I want to try ALL the milk oolongs!
Since the Davidstea one is the only comparison I have, that’s what I did. First I drank some of this alone, then I made them both side by side and did a little taste test!
My conclusion was that to my mostly untrained taste buds, this one is slightly more vegetal, where the Davidstea one is a bit creamier and slightly sweeter. It makes me wonder if the Davidstea one is flavoured?? Regardless I prefer the Davidstea version, but if they’re sneaking flavouring in there that would be an unfair advantage for sure. This one was really good though and I’d buy some in the future! Brewed at like 85 degrees for 3 min or so.
Another fine sample from the folks at Teavivre :)
The dry leaves are small and tippy with lots of golden buds.
The initial infusions come out very dark, the little leaves are very potent. Despite the dark brew, the tea is extremely smooth with an almost marshmallowy texture. It has flavors of oak and milk chocolate, with a very slight smokiness.
Around the fourth steep the brew gets a bit lighter, with more sweetness and a mellow flavor like yellow squash on the rich, woody background. Flavors begin to fade at the sixth steep. This is less than I usually get, maybe because of the tippy-er leaves giving off most of their flavor early on?
This is a mild and mellow pu’erh with a sweet, friendly taste, but to me it didn’t seem to have a whole lot of depth.
I love my Teavivre mini tuocha.
I just appreciate how effective and uncomplicated they are, always providing a good cup.
The liquor is dark, some kind of purplish brown colour.
The scent is reminiscent of damp soil and leather, heavy duty leather that worn saddles are made of.
It’s a rich cup, earthy, resinous and woody. It feels thick in the mouth.
It has a sweet finish, very smooth, a bit of caramel notes emerge.
I can see coffee lovers liking this a lot.
It’s a very accessible shou pu’erh, and that doesn’t make it a generic tea with no personality, on the contrary, this is good quality.
I keep it around at all time, it’s also a good stomach ache helper.
Mini tuocha, please help a fairy in needs of relief! I ate too much. When I do, puerh always comes to rescue. I don’t know how it can be so soothing, but it just is. I don’t have digestion problems at all. Usually. But…from time to time, things happen.
Oh, I was a bad, bad, fairy tonight, yes I was…
If you’ve been reading my notes for a while, you know I’m some kind of a health freak. Proud Vitamix owner for many years, name any fruit/veggie combination, I have had it. I don’t care much for sugar, eat lots of fish, love quinoa and leafy greens.
Having said that, I do like me some piece of meat every now and then, and I have been known for eating anything dark chocolate in excess…
But I have another flaw…( wine doesn’t count, it’s a fruit portion, Roughage said it, and he’s very smart and knowlegable) It’s a big flaw…to this day, a secret one. I’m willing to share with you Steepster friends, but husssssh, please keep it quiet: I’m a sucker for boxed KD mac & cheese. I know, I know, its no good…but I like it. There. It’s out.
Today being a migraine day (all gone now, thanks to a friend who kept my mind busy in the right way!), I needed something to indulge for dinner. After a lot of consideration, I’ve decided to open THE cupboard, the one locked under a secret code and pulled out an «in case of emergency» KD box.
I crushed some Herbes de Provence and parmesan cheese to make it «gourmet» (yes, there is such a thing as Gourmet KD in my kitchen!) and put the dish under broil for a few minutes. Needless to say, I ate the whole thing. No veggies. Just 100% pure carbs. I’m full. Burp. (Oops!!!)
Thanks mini Tuocha for supporting me.
Steepster fellows, please don’t judge me…
(See previous note)
I woke up with a stomach ache. Too much food for Easter last night, and I don’t eat meat very often. So I turned to puerh to help out. As I was getting things ready, the doorbell rang. Jack, the son of a dearest friend, was at the door. We’ve known him forever and he’s family to us. Says he was in the neighbourhood and wanted to say hi. He’s a troubled 18 year old kid but he has a good heart and I love him. I have my ways with teenagers, they trust me and confide in me. I help in ways I know how. As a true teenager, he usually drops by for two things:
1- Load his ipod with awesome music for free (never a problem!)
2- Money (and I’m hoping he doesn’t ask today)
I ask how he’s doing.
That’s all I’m gonna get.
«Come, I’m about to have some puerh tuocha, want some?»
«????» then a big smirk on his face.
Oh, I get it! It’s in a wrapper half opened… from his perspective, it «kind of» looks like some other substance… He thinks I’m about to roll something??
«No silly, it’s just tea!»
I go through the process. As I’m pouring, I explain what a Yixing is and why I have to rinse the tea first. That part makes him question my sanity.
«as I understand it, you rinse it cause it’s old and dirty?Now why would I want to drink some old and dirty bad smelling tea?»
I know he doesn’t have the patience to listen to the lecture I could give him on the subject so I spare him.
«Oh Just sip it! If you’re man enough that is».
I’ve had this puerh only once, over a year ago, at a time when I could not appreciate it much. Things have changed, though I have only scratched the surface of puerh knowledge, at least I’m past the stage of being scared of it.
This tuocha is big. The first very short steep after the rinse is a dark brown purplish color. It’s so fragrant of leather, I can’t help thinking of horse stables, the smell of heavy duty leather that worn saddles are made of. It’s rich and bold. I get a faint sweetness, reminiscent of ripe figs or dates. Also very woodsy. It’s accessible I would say, a good quality everyday tea.
A much better experience than the first time I had it! I knew nothing about puerh and had done no homework. As I remember, I over steeped and the taste was revolting! Took me a while after that to start experimenting with any puerh. But I now find myself liking it more and more. There’s just so much to explore!
As for Jack, well, he just spitted his in the kitchen sink. Not his thing apparently!
The only word that came out with the tea was «Gross!». We laughed!
After the fun puerh tasting, he asked for the usual iPod refill. I was so relieved that the money issue was left alone.
Means he’s doing well this time. Sober for the last 45 days. Longest time since he was 16.
He’s not giving up. Happy fun little moments like this morning have been rare between us in the last two years and I will cherish that. Happy tea day…
ETA: This afternoon, Jack and I had this tea again. We’ve had a few tea sessions since that day, and to my disbelief, he asked if he could try the «gross spitting tea» again! (his words, not mine!) I said yes, but only if he’d promise to keep at least one sip in this time.
Not only did he drink many Gongfu shots, he actually liked the last ones as they were getting weaker. I think tea is becoming a project to him and that’s what I had hoped for…it keeps him away from other stuff that’s bad for him. Thanks to this little tuocha, we had once again a terrific time together! For that alone, I am grateful…
1 1/2 tsp in 8 oz
Yeah, so I think this tea is just too light for my taste. I’m really starting to narrow down my likes/dislikes. Also, I finally have a thermometer that works correctly, so I am getting better, more consistent results.
I like darker oolongs that aren’t too roasted and lighter blacks. Anything greener than a Bai Hao or anything more intense than a Keemun is just not going to be for me. Though I do like greener teas iced. I think I’ll be using up the rest of my green and light oolong samples for cold brewing iced tea.
This style is just a bit greener than a Bai Hao, and though I got a nice smooth flavorful result this time, it’s just not my preference. You might love it, though!
1 slightly overflowing tsp for 6oz
Still bitter for me. I think it’s going to be difficult to get a lot of flavor out of this but no bitterness unless I brewed Gong Fu style. Not sure I’m willing to make that commitment yet since there are lots of other teas I’m enjoying Western style.
Next time, I’ll try lots of leaf and short steeping just to see what the difference is.
1 1/2 tsp for 8 oz
Beautiful aroma, gorgeous light gold liquor. Medium oxidized and not roasty. It has a lovely, fruity flavor.
Only downside was quite a bit of astringency in the finish. I’m going to try a lower temp next time to see if that goes away. Also, there was quite a bit of dust/fannings in one of my sample packets. It must have been the bottom of the bag. I will infuse just the larger leaves next time.
This is a type of oolong right up my alley! Not too green, not charcoally. Perfect when I want something a bit lighter than a black.
This tea has a beautiful earthy, floral smell.
The tea is crisp and light. I am not sure of the right words but it is not malty, and not roasty. It has a bit of an earthy taste, its sweet and rich, almost creamy.
Very good tea. As always, impressed with the quality of Teavivre teas.
Another one I received from Angel at Teavivre for the free tasting activity!
This is a great black tea. It is complex, dark, roasty. I always seem to get a different taste every time I try it. It is re-steepable. I brewed this one up my usual western style. I actually used the whole sample to make a pot of tea. Which is unusal for me as I usually go cup by cup because I always want to try something else. But I knew I would enjoy drinking this one today.
The dry tea is small leaves, uniform, quite airy. It smells of roasted potatoes. The brewed tea is dark in colour, reminding me of black coffee.
Today I am getting roasted nuts, potatoe-french fry-carb notes in the brewed tea. There is a slight, natural sweetness to the tea. I feel like there is some dark plum or black current notes hiding in the tea somewhere. I know a lot of people get chocolate or cocoa out of this tea, but I don’t. There may be some slight dark cocoa notes in the aftertaste but I think I am just looking really hard for it. Its still good either way. It is thick and bold with no astringency.
This tea is crisp and clean. It smells very strong but actually is nice and light tasting. Not quite malty, but I think if I would have steeped for longer it would be malty. It tastes a bit roasted. There is a floral fragrance smell to the dry tea and taste to the brewed tea. I would say it reminds me of burnt caramel. But not burnt as is scorched, burnt as is when you are cooking caramel, and the longer you cook it the darker it gets.
I brewed this one up my version of western style. But I can taste in the tea how it would be great for drinking gongfu style.