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Recent Tasting Notes
Definitely tasted sweet potatoes, and more-so like sweet potato pie because I added a bit of agave. Just a teensy bit. But it was so delicious that way. A short steep time was a good idea, since this brewed up dark quickly. I can appreciate this black tea due to it’s smoothness. I should try it at 85 C next time instead of trying to be a rebel.
I definitely love how this tea looks in the packaging. It’s so soft and beautifully rolled, and gold! You can’t go wrong with gold coloured tea. A+, from a straight black tea avoider.
Since I just had Teavivre’s other jasmine tea yesterday, I’m going to compare the two.
First impression, yum! These are quite similar teas, but I’m detecting a heavier sweetness to these pearls. The jasmine is again very nice and very well executed, but the pearls seem a little less floral than the Mo Li Yin Hao. The green tea is also more absent.
With both teas, I started out with a 1.5 minute steep and increased subsequent steeps by 30 seconds. They both held up to multiple infusions equally well. However, I am detecting a tad more astringency. I remember the Mo Li Yin Hao getting astringent at the end of the third cup. But the astringency appeared in the pearls halfway through the first cup.
I don’t want to be too critical. It’s still a delicious cup of tea. I think I just prefer the other one. The Mo Li Yin Hao was just so perfectly balanced. Still, this tea wins out on cuteness.
How adorable are these little tiny pearls??! I’ve never had jasmine pearls before, so I’m glad I finally got to see what all the hype is about. They’re much smaller than I expected, but they unfurl really beautifully. I’m not sure what pearls have to do with dragons though…Perhaps they hoard them?
Overall, a very nice tea experience tonight. Very relaxing after an incredibly stressful couple of days.
This sample very generously provided to me by Teavivre.
This tea smells and tastes like a weak black tea (I’m not familiar with white teas so I’m using the knowledge base I have). There is a roasted, vaguely honeyed undertone that I’m picking up on (the black tea part) but there is also a grassy note that exists alongside it. Together I guess that does equal the hay-ish taste others were getting.
This tea is very smooth and light, with no astringency. The brew does seem a little thin, but I may have been too stingy on the leaf used because I’ve never measured out leaves that fluffy before and likely miscalculated as a result of it. I will change that for next time and see if that improves the mouthfeel any.
This tea is quiet and understated; the kind of tea you’d want to be able to focus on while you’re drinking so you don’t miss any of the flavors.
I steeped these leaves for a second time (a day later) in 500 ml. water in my Breville.
The second steeping tasted much the same as the first; that green/ summery/floral scent wafting from the cup and tasting exactly like it. By the time I got to the second cup it had gotten cold (I’m a slow tea drinker) but that brought out the buttery flavor more and was pleasant in its own way.
Oh, and the expansion of the leaves was incredible! For those of you who have the Breville, the dry leaves literally went from covering just the bottom of the infuser basket to filling it up entirely when I went to discard them. (I should have taken a picture, is what I realize now. Grr.)
My overall impression of this is that it was a lighter tea – more of a summers’ night beverage than a winter one, and closer to green teas than black. I think I may prefer the heavier TGY just because I like heavier, intense flavors as a rule, but that said, I did have two steepings of this – and I’m usually not a multiple steeps kind of girl….
I’ve tried a few blends that called themselves white peony, but this has to honestly be the first real Bai Mu Dan I’ve encountered, and I like it. I’m truly not a fan of white tea simply because the ones I’ve tried in past were too delicate to be noticed or would otherwise have to be oversteeped to the point of being bitter to get any flavor to suit me.
Teavivre’s version is truly just a blend of different leaves and buds, the number of white downy leaves had me impressed. It came in a single-serve pack, one pack made a nice aromatic 2-cup pot that was smooth, delicate, but it also had flavor. A bit floral, and a bit of hay.
I enjoyed two pots of it on Thanksgiving day and am reserving the other two packs to sip closer to the other holidays. I now “get” what people who like Bai Mu Dan are talking about.
Pure tea buds and new leaves. The inside of the sample bag is covered in a fine powdery dust. The dry leaf is shiny, grayish looking (very dark green and white mix). Smells of hay and fresh tobacco. Used one spoonful at approx 194 F for 30 seconds per instructions.
The wet leaf smells a bit like toast with a non-threatening hint of smoke. The leaf expands into a big loose clump in the bottom of the press reminiscent of a Twinings loose tea. The liquor in the press appears light yellow/green in the low light level of my office. Appears much darker in my cup.
The sip is a balance of light grassiness and smoke. There is also a creaminess to the cup. Sometimes smoke frightens me. Here it really does compliment the green’s flavor. Once again I find I am really liking this offering by Teavivre. As the cup reaches room temperature, I am reminded of the base that Ahmad uses in their Earl Green. I use to love that tea, so it is no wonder this one immediately appeals to me.
Apparently I like this a lot more than the others who rated it.
Sadly, this is my last new sample by Teavivre. Thank you Angel for allowing me to review your company’s products. I am impressed. The good news is I still have partially filled sample bags so I get to enjoy each one of these at least one more time, while I try to whittle down the must have list to a manageable level. Since I rated most of these teas at 90+ that will be difficult.
Backlogging. This was yesterday’s cup. The dry leaf is very different on this one. It is kind of black (dark grayish green) and white. A bit fuzzy. For some odd reason it reminded me of old time upholstery stuffing. The dry leaf smells of hay and grain. Brewed a healthy spoonful of leaf at a cool 176 F for 1 short minute. I would definitely have over steeped if Teavivre hadn’t provided clear instructions on the package.
The wet leaf on the first steep is dark green with a bit of tan. It hasn’t completely unfurled but appears to be small leaves and pieces. The smell reminds me of Cheerios. Maybe I should have had breakfast. The liquor is pale greenish and actually darker than I expected with such a short steep.
First sip, ooh I like this. It has enough bite to be interesting without being bitter. Tastes of grain at the front of the sip and spice at the back. There are some floral notes that remind me of a Ti Kuan Yin. The main thing I like about this is the green is not too green. I know a lot of people want their green to be really bright and grassy. I can appreciate a tea like that but I prefer a subtler cup like this one. It has a touch of grassiness without being overwhelmingly so. This is how I want a green to taste. I had three steeps out of it before stopping. I believe it would have gone more.
As soon as I opened the packaging, I liked this tea. It has that classic tea smell, earthy, smoky, sweet, all in one.
I love how much this tea tastes like caramel. I go through caramel obsession phases and I am in the midst of one right now.
It’s a good, hearty tea that is absolutely perfect to have with how cold it is here today. Perfectly smooth, just a tad sweet, and not at all bitter.
This is a decent shu pu-er. I would advise to steep it a bit longer than the directions call for to get the real power of the cup. I tried it by-the-book and then with a much longer steep, and I enjoyed the second version much more, got so much more true flavor from it. Steeping such a compressed nozzle of leaf for 1 minute doesn’t really cut it – it’s a diluted version of it’s true self as the leaves are still trying to come unglued.
With the longer steep I enjoyed the traditional earthiness-ranging-to-spicy flavors, still a bit smoother than I might prefer, but very drinkable. Not bitter, even after a long steep, and no “dusty” notes either, on the flip side. I could see this being a good steep for the morning, when you want that rich, earthy kick, but still need something subtle and easy to wash down.
Pics, my steeping attempts, and other thoughts in my blog review: http://bit.ly/s7zKmj
Mmmmmmm!!! This is an incredible jasmine!!! Just the right amount of floral with a green tea aftertaste. The green tea comes out more as it cools. This just might be the most perfect jasmine tea in the world!
The aroma of the dry leaves is awesome. The leaves are dark, wavy, and ultra skinny. This tastes a lot like what you get in good Chinese restaurants, except better.
The last time I had a tea like this, it was an unnamed Jasmine at a Thai restaurant. It was soooo good, but they left the tea leaves loose in the teapot. So 10-15 minutes in, my fantastic tea experience was sullied with overwhelming bitterness. This is that tea minus the bitter. Just plain deliciousness!
Another generous sample provided by Teavivre
I like black teas and green teas, so you would think oolongs would be up my alley. I honestly still can’t answer whether they are or not because I have been hesitant to take the plunge and order enough to compare them.
That said, I have had TGY before, though it was a while ago. When I sipped this, I suddenly remembered that other tea and could compare their differences, even with that big gap in time. This one was decidedly more floral in taste (both were equally floral in smell) but the other TGY had more of a slick buttery feel on the tongue. This one was very light, and alternated between being vegetal and floral with small hints of that oily/buttery flavor on the swallow, though it didn’t coat my tongue like the previous TGY.
This was great with no additives; I finished my first cup quickly and am contemplating a second, which is atypcial for me – usually I prefer one large cup and am done.
Steeped 2 of the 4 sample sized packets in 500 ml. water at the below parameters in my Breville.
This tea was amazing! Right after my first sip, my brain said, “This is some good black tea”. The first thing that occurred to me were some citrus notes – perhaps like a sweet lemon or tangerine. As I sipped on, I detected a sort of muscatel flavor that you would expect from a good Darjeeling. Finally, after several cups, the incredible smoothness of this tea is what really won me over. It has a little bit of that muscatel flavor without being abrasive.
This is another excellent tea from Tea Vivre. They’re batting 1000 with me right now, so I’d say any tea in their store is probably a safe bet. Their packaging is great too! I don’t know about their larger quantites, but the little samples they sent me could not have been done better! Four little pre-measured paper sacks with Chinese on them sealed inside of a larger ziplock bag with steeping instructions and info about the tea printed on it! Each paper sack contained about 4.5 grams, so two sacks were just enough to fill my Chatsford 4-cup! All bags are clearly labeled and completely opaque to guard from sunlight. Nice work!
This tea tastes for all the world to me like someone made tea out of nori (the stuff sushi is wrapped in)- it’s kind of vegetal and kind of oceanic in a way that manages not to turn me off despite my loathing of all things seafood. In some ways it’s a really typical green tea, and the most reminiscent of Japanese greens among the Teavivre varieties that I’ve tried.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a straight white tea. Actually, it’s been so long, I’m not even sure if I have ever had it…but I got my package from teavivre this morning, and I opted to try this one out first.
I’ll come out and say that I’ve never been good at picking out subtle flavours in wine, coffee or tea, but I can say that this tea is very light and mild. I admit I did add sugar, just a wee bit. After reading notes that there is a cucumber essence, I’ll have to remember this next time, and try it unsweetened.
The buds in the package are a beautiful green and white, and I can see the fuzzy hairs on the white. The smell of the outer package is somewhat buttery, though the inner package opened, is rather earthy and I suppose grassy would describe it. I can’t really discern a cigar or smoky smell from either pouch.
The liquor brewed up a lovely golden colour, and it smelled very light. In my eagerness, I took a sip right away, but…too hot! So I patiently waited, chatted with a friend on IM about floral teas, and so on, whilst the tea cooled.
There is a tiny bit of floral I suppose, but I think grassy is probably best in describing this flavour. I have a light fuzziness on my tongue.
Interestingly, I just had some leftover turkey (thanksgiving) and herb-crusted roast beef from a few days ago as a light snack, and the flavour has changed…I think it is more peppery from the roast beef seasoning. It is also possible that it has simply cooled and that is what changed the flavour.
I look forward to trying this one again, along with the other 4 teas I got. I admit I had a hard time deciding which one to try first. I opted with this one because it was in the smaller mini bags, more like single serving samples, rather than the bigger AIO bags, but also because I am out of milk, and I know I can do this tea straight, with just a dash of sweetener. The golden tip yunan and the pu-erh tuocha are ones I will probably add milk too. I look forward to trying the oolong and jasmine pearls green tea too.
I’ve never been much for white tea, but this one has made me think otherwise.
I always thought they were too light and delicate for my liking. Wrong. I steeped this three times, and I could probably keep going.
The first time it was so sweet and it really tasted like cucumber. The second infusion was super flavorful, less cucumber tasting and more floral and all around good. The third I didn’t like as much as the second, but I really, really liked the second steep.
I love all the information given about the tea on the package. I really like this tea.
(a sample was provided to me to review)
Like Liz, I’m always amazed at the work that goes into preparing dry teas like this one.
The dry “pearls” are redolent with the scent of the flowers. It is like being in a flower shop, blooming meadow or a perfume counter — if you’re into that kind of thing.
The steeped cup is no less floral. In a way, more so. Fresh flowers instead of dried flowers.
The liqueur is a delicate pale.
Happily, the cup is far less floral in the mouth than on the nose — less room to move around or something. There is a big, thick sweetness to this tea.
Jasmine teas are never going to be my thing. But this is a very good one and I’m glad I tried it so that I can confirm that the issue really just is the flowers, not the quality of the tea hiding under them.
I have loved saying “Pi Lo Chun” for years. I overheard it in a tea shop, and my husband used to drink it a fair bit, so it stuck in my head as something to mumble absentmindedly to myself. Oh, Pi Lo Chun…..
Anyway, giving this a try using a few rapid steeps as per the husband’s technique. It’s quite a light tea, very grassy. It’s kind of the tea equivalent of rolling in a fresh haystack on a sunny day. (I’ve done this! Girl scouts!)
Relaxing, yes. Perhaps not standoutish to me enough as a genre that I will reach for it over other teas though.
Whenever I see dragon pearls tea I marvel at the labor that goes into hand rolling tea leaves into little balls in such quantity. It makes me appreciate my cupful even more.
I actually was so surprised by the pale tan color of this tea that I thought I’d not followed the directions correctly. The 1-2 minute recommended steep time could be extended a wee bit more without creating a bitter cup of tea, I think- but I’ve been mostly conservative about brewing this.
I find myself reaching for cups of this one more than any of the other Teavivre ones, much to my surprise. The jasmine taste is really pleasant and mellow. The tea feels surprisingly refreshing, and might be good iced when it’s not so cool out. I keep thinking of great food pairings for this one, but again I associate jasmine tea with particular Chinese restaurants in my area… mmm salt baked tofu, cold glass noodles with sesame.
I need to back off- it’s not time for lunch :)
Anyway, a relaxing, mellow cup of jasmine tea. Yum.
Edited to add that I am just learning about multiple steepings and I tried the technique on this one. The second steeping was actually the best because the pearls opened up fully. So give that a try!
Also, if you think you hate jasmine teas this one might win you over. It’s really mild and almost pretty.
My teas from Teavivre finally arrived! I had ordered this yunnan after sampling it, but Teavivre also included a lot of other samples for me to review as well. I will be getting to that tonight and tomorrow, which is my day off.
Anyway, I’ve made two pots already since I opened it last night. It’s my current absolute favorite black tea. I was thrilled to see how much 100g actually is. It looked like a bird’s nest as I transferred it from the pouch to a tin, and smelled so deliciously sweet. The boys have been liking it as well, even the ones who aren’t big tea drinkers. I’ll probably be logging this one a lot this winter.
A very nice Pu-erh. Pressed inside the little tuocha is a chrysanthemum blossom … making for a “treasure hunt” of sorts. Makes the act of brewing tea a little more fun.
And I like the contrast of flavors that the chrysanthemum provides. It is sweet, but it is a different sweetness than the caramel-y tones from the Pu-erh, which keeps things interesting. It also has a slight sharpness to it that sort of lightens what would otherwise be a heavy, earthy background. This juxtaposition of flavors give the cup an interesting sense of balance that I quite enjoy.
I’m off to write a review for this one.
This pi lo chun, like many I have had, seems more like a white tea than a green. A fuzzy, fluffy dry life, not entirely unlike the silver needles, but curled in on itself rather than straight.
The scent on both the dry leaf and the brewed cup is also much like the silver needles. Sunny hay on the dry and sweet roundness coming off the cup — but the flavor on the tongue is more astringent and not nearly as sweet.