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Teavivre

Recent Tasting Notes

100

Exquisite is the word here. I was never a fan of Yunnan teas, but this one changed my heart. Sweet, not grassy, yet deeply aromatic. Smells of heliotrope flowers. Most wonderful tea for gentle evenings and mornings.

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

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100

The finest Bailin black tea I drunk. Strong chocolate notes with sweet burnt sugar tones. The tea is good for 6 and more steeps. The energy flow into the body is unbelievable! I am going to give it 100 points. The tea is truly remarkable.

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90

so I’m pretty new to white tea but I’m warming up to it quickly. As others have commented this is a beautiful long sage green leaf with lots of white fuzz.

I steeped this in approx 170 – 180 F water for about 2 minutes.

I’m just sitting here trying to figure out what to say about it. I was thinking vaguely spearmint but somehow that isn’t quite right. It seems lightly floral with a touch of lilac, with a lingering bit of fruit like lychee in the finish. I don’t think I’m enough of a white tea expert to know if this is better or worse than other white needles but I am enjoying it a lot. It has a very smooth feel in your mouth.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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87

Tea of the afternoon…..

The sample was sent for review by TeaVivre. Thank you so much, Angel, for arranging this tea tasting with Steepster members. It has been wonderful to see how others experienced the tea you are currently drinking.

I have about four versions of this tea in my house. I do have to say, that I do enjoy a good jasmine green. In looking at the price points of the versions I have on hand, it runs all across the board from just over $5per ounce when purchased in around a 4 oz amount to this one which is just over $3.50. One of the close to $5 versions is organic, but the other is not. The one that I have that is close in price to this one, I have relatively zero information on it as I purchased it from a glass jar at my local Asian Market. I think the offering from TeaVivre is the one I will stick with…I have much more information on it, and it definitely smells fresher than the one I bought locally. I know green teas have a shorter shelf life than black, so it being very fresh is important. (I wish I had known that about my local purchase….while it is good, it is not nearly as bright tasting as some of the others I have tried, and who knows how long it was sitting in that glass jar?!) They all look very similar, but the two that are closest in smell are this one and the version from Harney & Son’s. My local one, and the organic one from the Summer Steepster box both smell kind of flat, although the local one is slightly floral, while being flat, and closer to what would be expected in a jasmine tea. (I am not even sure I want to try the organic one. It just doesn’t smell right, and I just opened the package…)

Onto the tea. It makes a pale, golden-green liquor and has such a lovely, relaxing, light floral scent. More of a refreshing scent than you would find in rose scented teas. The flavor has a slight butteryness and I definitely taste a light floral note as well as smelling it. I find this very good and I think jasmine tea would be more of a Spring/Summer choice for myself, but I am trying to push myself to drink more green tea. I always forget jasmine pearls are green, though! This is a very good and reasonably priced version of this tea in my opinion, especially since it is a good resteeper.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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94

oh, this is nice! Like others I have noticed the sweet smell of the leaves when you open up the bag, it is quite lovely!

I did steep this in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, it is delicious this way but I should have paid attention to the instructions that said 185… A nice lingering flavor of sweet potatoes and raisins. It’s malty and delicious. I could not not resist adding some soymilk to mine. I am still not used to drinking a lot of black teas plain aside form pu-erh. So I will try this gong fu style again some other time, I think that will be an endeavor well worth my time. Definitely a cuppa worth having around!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Amariel

I need to try this again to try to capture these flavours.

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drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1625 tasting notes

Been a l-o-n-g week; reentry after the holidays has been nuts. So I needed something really good to coax me out the door this morning.

Thanks to the lovely jacquelinem, I have just that—a cup that starts out cocoa-sweet at the beginning with a tangy, fruity sign-off at the end. Really too good for a workday morning. Highly recommended.

The DJBooth

Ha reentry after the holidays that is great!

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99

thank you Angel at Teavivre for this generous sample
coming home at 6:30 AM from work I was looking around at what kind of tea to try..and perhaps review here on Steepster. I was also pretty hungry, so I started re-heating my Vegan Jamaican Curry Chicken to go along with the Tea.
This is a great black Tea, smooth, slightly smokey and with that delicious maltiness that is great alone and very much complimented my ‘Curry Chicken’
It has a familiar aroma & tastes I’m trying to describe..? Maybe nutty as well? Hmm, it’s an awesome black tea that’s a “stand alone” and for when I’m felling in the mood for a black with a pedigree. It’s something to savor. I will order this one for sure
I brewed it according to Teavivre’s suggestion at 185, but almost went for boiling.
Did I mention the dried leaves were beautiful?

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I want this recipe for the vegan curry chicken. :P

rmark25

I’ll pm it to you soon :)

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96

This is an amazing jasmine, there is such a remarkable balance between the flavors of green tea and jasmine. It doesn’t taste overly flowery or perfume-y at all. The flavor is light and sweet and delightful. I was about to write a full-length review of this for SororiTea Sisters (to be published next week), but, I think I shall hold off on the writing for just a little while, because I wish to just sit and enjoy this tea for a while. I think I will have it again tomorrow so that I can write then.

So lovely!

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82

I like flowering teas, but I’ve never found them to be the tastiest of teas. There was a point about five years ago where I stocked up on blooming tea because they were so portable – you pop a bloom in a tumbler, add hot water, drink and add more hot water, and you have flavored tea/water for most of the day. I took it with me on bike rides and to 5k walk/run events because it was easier to drink than plain water. That’s not to mention that it’s entertaining to see each bloom pop open. But it isn’t the first thing I reach for when I’m craving “real” to, so-to-speak.

This was another generous sample provided by Teavivre and it’s certainly the highest quality blooming tea I’ve tried. I put mine in a glass tumbler with 10 oz of water, decanted into a regular mug, and found that to be fine for extracting flavor. It did get slightly bitter, but not undrinkably so. It maintained its green sweetness, and of course there’s the floral that shows up more in the aftertaste than in the initial sip.

I would have no problem using this as a centerpiece at an occasion – a small 2-cup glass teapot on the table at a wedding reception or bridal shower for something delicate to go with delicate sweets…the possibilities are intriguing…

I took a close up pic and posted on my blog review: http://bit.ly/whMPIh I’d definitely purchase more of this True Love variety for a future occasion.

TeaVivre

this looks so beautiful after steeped^^

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82

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

After having the Milk Oolong today, I didn’t expect to be so blown away by Dong Ding’s scent. When I stuck my nose in the small tea pouch, the scent of lichee was a nice surprise.

Sipping from the first steep, tasting something quite earthy, a little sweet, and still has a touch of lichee fruit flavour with a hint cinnamon.

Third through fourth steeps continued to build in flavour, with the fruit flavour remaining.

I could keep resteeping but decided to stop here as I grew less interested in drinking more Dong Ding. It satisfied me and that’s enough.

Unfortunately I do not have a lot of experience with Dong Ding oolong so I can’t say how good this is compared to others. What I like about this tea is the fruity flavour, it keeps the tea interesting and slightly sweet without becoming too sweet for my tastes (I do not have a sweet tooth, so this is important to me). But the fruity flavour is not very strong, just a hint of it.
My husband came home to try the third and fourth steeps. He liked it but was not too interested. I think the thoughts of bringing a bit of Milk Oolong to work tomorrow raised his tea expectations too much. ;)

125ml yixing teapot, 1 packet (5g?), 4 steeps (rinse, 30s steep, +15s resteeps)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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70

Backlogging (so, based almost entirely on my notes)

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—

Age of leaf: advertised as spring 2011. Received fall 2011, brewed up days later.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: Beautiful looking leaves which look similar to Jing Tea Shop’s HSMF; smells fresh and possibly not as smoky an aroma as other HSMF teas.

Brewing guidelines: Based on information from their website, I went a little hotter of the later steepings. 10 grams tea, 5 cups water. Loose in glass Bodum pot. Stevia added.
……….1st: 170; 1’
……….2nd: 182; 1.5’
……….3rd: 186; 2.5’
……….4th: 192; 3’

Color tea liquor: pale yellow.

Flavor of tea liquor: Good, mild. Second steeping had a little more flavor, with a hint of something like cinnamon. The forth steeping had little flavor.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: They have a fresh, deep-green look to them, with a possible hint of cinnamon.

Value: Reasonable for a HSMF at less than $3/oz.

Overall: I was not very impressed with this tea. Nothing really stood out about it accept the appearance of the leaves. Looking at the wet leaves revealed a quality pluck: mostly bud sets with a number of whole leaves and buds. And in general I like the way HSMF leaves look (I can’t think of what it is about them at the moment, though). We tried China Cha Dao’s grade 3 HSMF the same day, and we liked the flavor of China Cha Dao’s better than Teavivre’s (although the quality of China Cha Dao’s leaf was clearly not as good). If you like HSMF, then this is an OK tea for the price.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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90

Mmmm…nummy. THis is perfect for when you’re in a mood for savory flavors. At first, the scent of the leaves confused me. Then I realized I was smelling nori. I love nori. This tea totally reminds me of a chinese pantry. Dried shrimp, dried shitakes, fermented soy products… all those things used in chinese cooking to add a punch of umami. Is umami even possible in tea leaves? Delicious. Slightly brothy and a hint of dryness on the tongue. Am I having soup?

Ok, let’s back pedal a bit and talk about the leaves and the steeping parameters. I was tickled to see how mini the little leaf pellets were in the pouch. Adorable! I was also surprised by the steeping instructions. Less than 30 seconds in 90 C? I’ve never seen a green calling for such a short steep. And the temp is a bit high for my usual greens, but since the directions were so specific, I figured they were worth following. I can’t imagine going for more than 30 seconds with this tea. The flavor is perfect at 29 seconds. I imagine it would get astringent if left longer, judging by the dryness already present. I love the care Teavivre shows toward their teas. Every variety is treated with respect.

I bet this could go a few more steeps too. I’m off for steep 2. :)

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec
ashmanra

Umami is mentioned regarding the Japanese green teas in Michael Harney’s Fuide To Tea, so yes! Tea can have umami, I guess!

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74

Sample provided courtesy of Teavivre…

I’ve never had a Chysanthemum pu-erh before and I was looking forward to trying this one. It was very nice the way the flower opened up after this steeped. 195 F water for 2-3 minutes. I should have used boiling but that’s what our water boiler is set to currently.

First steep: This is pretty earthy and woodsy! It’s also a bit seaweedy with a hint of smoke. I wonder if I should have tossed the first steep?

Second steep: Floral scent is emerging! I am getting a bit of the sweetness here and it’s a lot less murky than the first steep. I need to get into the habit of rinsing these a bit in boiling water before steeping them.

When it comes to pu-erhs I am biased and picky. I do have definite preferences and flavor profiles but I don’t think this is one of them. I may have to spend some more time with this tea before I can really assess it. I was glad I had the chance to try it but I’m a little confused by it.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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88

I really felt like having strong tea today, so I let this steep extra long for maximum flavor (and caffeine). The only real change that I noticed is that the first cup isn’t as sweet as previously, but it is still exceptional. The caramel flavors are still present, but they are overwhelmed by the other flavors.

The second infusion was even better than usual, as the caramel flavor became much more prominent, and the tea had exactly the right amount of natural sweetness.

To be completely honest, I brewed my third cup, and forgot about it for several hours. Needless to say, it was rather cold when rediscovered. I didn’t want to waste it, so I cheated and put it in the microwave for 25 seconds to warm it back up. T?he result is tea that isn’t as sweet, and isn’t as flavorful as I expected, but it was still decent tea.

If I make another cup, I’ll tell you if the above was because of the microwave or if the tea was just starting to wear out.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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96

Tea of the morning……right after a cup of Gong Fu Black from Zhi Tea.

I decided that these two teas were incredibly similar, and needed to check them out together. They have an incredibly similar look as dry leaf. Some golden leaves among long, twisted darker leaves with a bit of a sheen. The color is pretty much the same, if not exact. I did not brew them up in a side by side comparison, but I did brew one cup right after the other. They taste incredibly similar, again, if not the same. As far as my senses can tell, the only differences are vendor, price, and packaging _(and one is the organic version…). I know the tea from Zhi is not a great resteeper as I usually add just a little more leaf to sweeten the pot, and I will try resteeping this one to see if the results are similar. (Resteep info is in the comments section….)

Edit to add: I am not really comparing apple to apples, here….it is more like apples to organic apples, so if the product being organic is of importance to you, Zhi Gong Fu Black would be a similar priced option with the Organic Bailin Gongfu from TeaVivre. The Zhi is a better price in amounts around 1 lb, but similar in amounts of around 100 grams. I am not really concerned with the tea being organic, though.

This makes me wonder if Zhi might source from a similar place as TeaVivre for their Gong Fu Black. I am not that concerned about it, but will probably purchase mine from TeaVivre in the future as it is closer to the source, they offer more information on origins, and the price is considerably less. Other things that weigh in, I prefer the packaging from TeaVivre as I feel the tins from Zhi, while pretty, are not very functional. I would rather spend my money on tea than fancy packaging. It might be possible to get the prices similar if there is a sale at Zhi, but I know I can order this tea (as well as a few others that pique my interest!) for a good price any day at TeaVivre. I know it is always good to support your local tea vendor, so those in the Austin, TX area might want to consider shopping at Zhi.

EDIT TO ADD (March 30, 2012): Zhi’s price has gone up considerably since I reviewed this….

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LadyLondonderry

Very interesting comparison, especially since, as you know, Zhi’s Gong Fu Black is one of my very favorites.

Regarding the price difference, though, it’s worth noting that the Zhi Gong Fu Black is USDA-certified organic, and this particular Bailin Gong Fu Black from TeaVivre is not. If you compare apples to apples — Zhi’s organic Gong Fu Black and TeaVivre’s organic Bailin Gongfu Black — the Zhi product is priced lower ($49.95 for 16 oz., vs. $62.40 for 17.5 oz. of the organic TeaVivre).

If the organic certification is not a priority, then the lower-priced TV option is certainly attractive. And TV asserts that it meets the strictest “European low pesticide residues standard,” so that’s good.

As for packaging, I don’t generally buy tea in tins unless I’m giving it as a gift. And I love this particular kind of tea so much that I buy it by the pound, so a tin is not even an option!:)

SimplyJenW

It being organic was not of issue to me, personally. I will add that into my review….

SimplyJenW

Prices of Zhi GFB and the organic version are similar in small amounts. It is much easier to hit the free shipping for TeaVivre, but it will take a bit longer to get to the US.

LadyLondonderry

It’s not always top priority for me either; it’s more of a “nice to have” than a “must have” quality. I only brought it up in this case because it was relevant to the cost comparison.

SimplyJenW

I agree that all the information should be as accurate as possible, which is why I added it! Thanks for pointing it out. I just wish Zhi would offer bags in around 4 oz amounts. I really dislike their tins……

ashmanra

Great review! Let us know how you feel about that resteep!

SimplyJenW

Resteep info: I had about a half tsp of tea left in my inner sample packet, so I added it in….results were very similar to Zhi as that is what I do to get a resteep out of it…. Resteep of Zhi without adding that half teaspoon is good, but weaker and not as satisfying. Adding the half tsp makes it just as good as the first.

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90

I didn’t think I liked jasmine tea but then I tried this one…. oh so sweet and lovely

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79

Backlogging (so, based almost entirely on my notes)

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—

Age of leaf: advertised as spring 2011. Received fall 2011, brewed up days later.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: Looks and smells like quality leaf: deep green color; fresh, nutty aroma.

Brewing guidelines: 7 really big tsp, 6 cups of water. I went a little hotter than my standard green tea temps based on what they recommended on their website. Loose in glass Bodum pot, Stevia added.
……….1st: 180. 1.5
……….3rd: 190, 2’
……….4th: >190, 2.5

Color and aroma of tea liquor: Smells fresh and vegetal; standard Dragonwell color.

Flavor of tea liquor: Great flavor that any good Dragonwell seems to be known for: sweet and nutty. Little flavor on the forth.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Looked and smelled fresh. Lots of budsets, a number of whole leaves and buds, and a few stems, and brown leaves, and two flower stem/buds (I don’t know what else to call them). Quality leaf.

Value: good price for the quality of this Dragonwell (less than $4/oz).

Overall: This is a great Dragonwell. It’s been awhile since I drank it, so I don’t know what else to write, other than I was expecting much from this tea (based on the reviews), and it met my expectations. If you like Dragonwell, it is worth buying.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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93

I may have stated before but, my previous experiences with white tea have been lack luster. I am fairly certain that this is my first White Peony(Bai MuDan) as well. However the offerings that I have sampled from Teavivre have changed my outlook on white tea. I am liking more so than I like straight up green tea. I’m beginning to think maybe my previous attempts at white tea were fumbles at the goal line. The dry leaf is fuzzy like a peach with some buds mixed in. Pale yellow liquor. Much like the white silver needles the flavor is a little nutty, slightly vegetal. There were some floral notes too on a couple of sips as it cooled. At one point I thought that I caught a cinnamon note and cocoa note. I might be crazy on those but I’m also a tad congested lately. I am very much in like with the white teas that I have sampled from Teavivre. I may have to explore some more white teas now.

TeaBrat

I liked it too!

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95

Tea of the afternoon…..

And it was a resteep of the pot I had this morning….. Still fabulous! I love a black that resteeps well! It has become just a matter of when I am ordering……. ;)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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84

I found a tiny bit of this left over as well, and so I’m in use-up-samples mode before I compile my order of new teas for 2012.

I’m bumping this up a bit having had it on the heels of the Xin Yang Mao Jian. The two are so different that I’m able to appreciate this cup a lot more than the last time I tasted it.

The Xin Yang Mao Jian is delicate and shy. This is big, bold, strong and a bit unrefined (but not in a bad way). I love the Xin Yang Mao Jian in my delicate little gaiwan but I feel like I should be drinking this Chun Mei out of my 16 ounce mug with the Ester Island face on it.

The color is a deep golden and yet the flavor has very little roast this time. This is like an untamed thicket of rioting green foliage.

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

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83

I discovered we had a big stash of this from our original sample that never got consumed before the holiday break, so I have been contentedly “sipping it down” each day from my new gaiwan.

This tea fits the gaiwan perfectly. The leaves open up huge and full in the cup, the liqueur is nearly the same color as the cup itself.

I feel like a decadent ex-pat during the 1930’s with this cup and this tea.

K S

“decadent ex-pat” What does this mean? I can’t come up with any ideas.

Jim Marks

An ex-patriot would be, in this case, a Western person living in Mainland China. A great deal of what prompted the [so called] people’s revolution was connected with the imperialistic, decadent lifestyle which was lived by such people.

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98

Steep Information:
Amount: 2 tsp
Water: 12 ounces hot tap water
Tool: kati loose tea system (my Review here.)
Steep Time: 2 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: sweet, roasty, delicious
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, roasty, delicious
Flavor: sweet bakey
Body: Medium
Aftertaste: toasty
Liquor: translucent dark brown

Delicious, from the smell you knew it would be a smooth toasty black. It has its own sweetness, and just enough toast to be soothing but not an astringent black.

Resteep: 2 minutes, 12 ounces hot tap water
Lighter body, but still delicious

This tea puts up with poor preparation (at work) and has been a once a week treat on my first day of work. The smooth mouthfeel and gentle toasted sweetness wake you up gently and not with the vicious shake sometimes given by an assam.

Solid performer, I have been drinking this at work and it has been hard to mess up, and consistently delicious without being jarring. This is not a kick you awake tea but a tea to perk you up with friendly soothing sips.

Rating: 4/4 leaves

Blog: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2012/01/teavivre-loose-leaf-black-tea-bailin.html

ScottTeaMan

When I order from Teavivre, this tea will be in my order. It looks and sounds amazing! :))

AmazonV

@ScottTeaMan i hope you <3 it as much as i do, i also recommend their white peony which i need to post but also LOVE

TeaBrat

I liked both of those as well. :)

ScottTeaMan

ok…….AND THERE IS OTHERS i WANT TO BUY. :))

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95

Tea of the morning…….

This is the last black in the teas sent for review by TeaVivre. Thank you so much for the opportunity to try your teas. (A green and an oolong to go!)

This is a beautiful tea. It has long golden fingers with a bit of a sheen and downy fuzz. It appears to be the very tenderest part of the plant. The smell is rich and slightly earthy. I do think Yunnans are a coffee drinker’s tea in that the flavor is full, slightly malty, and roasty. This one is a very smooth example. I did initially think I might have gone a little light on the leaf in my teapot, but the richness of this tea easily overcame that. This is definitely going on my shopping list. It is probably the best Yunnan I have had to date.

I did follow the steeping recommendations on the package.

I was contacted by the company to offer free samples and since others had been reviewing free samples from them, I decided it would be a good way to see what the company was about. Part of what made me pause in thinking of placing an order is that there really is no option on their website to purchase samples, so you really cannot know what you are getting, and then there is the meeting of the free shipping…(which I now know they ship to the US for around $6 for orders below$30). I have to be quite frank in that I do prefer to purchase my samples rather than getting them free as I think it lends more credibility to my review. I do think samples along with an order is another great inroad for reviews, but I know it is hard to break through for that first sale. I have tried to be as unbaised as possible in my reviews of the teas sent, but it is really hard to know for sure. I do feel a need to make sure I try all of them sent in a timely manner, which is not how I usually approach tea. I usually let my mood guide me rather than I ‘have to try these first’ as a courtesy for TeaVivre’s sending them to me. All I can say is that I will defintely be ordering in the near future if that is any indication. The sample offering worked to make me want to be a customer, because the tea does speak for itself.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
LadyLondonderry

Appreciate your “full disclosure,” Jen, as the average would-be customer will not receive samples for free and, as you noted, has no way of buying them either. With tea as with perfume, it is my policy to always try before buying if possible (although with tea, the mistakes are not quite as expensive!).

ashmanra

I will definitely be ordering, too, Jen! The Two Dragons and a Pearl Flowering tea was lovely AND delicious, the puer is mild and earthy/horsey instead of fishy, and the tea in this review had remarkable qualities…and all without additions.

ScottTeaMan

This tea will also be in my Teavivre order.

K S

Has any one asked if the samples can be purchased? I loved almost every tea I tried and liked those I didn’t love (make sense?). However some I would only want one rare occasions making 50 or 100g too much.

I worried a bit about the impartial thing too but quickly decided these teas are so good it wasn’t going to be an issue. The bigger problem is my lack of experience.

These folks have given away tea all over the internet. Can you imagine the start up costs for this company?

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