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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Chilled the second cup made from last night and had with a midday snack today.
I love the juicy sweet flavor of the pineapple in this – it is very refreshing and would be absolutely amazing served iced during our long hot summers here.
Upping the rating, as I knew I would. This is fabulous.
As much as I love big, strong, bold, dark teas, my favorite dry leaf is white needles. Big, fuzzy, white buds that look cool, and always smell like freshly rolled hay drying in the sun.
The steeped aroma is quieter, almost shy. There’s a kind of sweet grain essence to it, like opening a fresh box of corn flakes, but not nearly that strong. Like someone opening a fresh box of corn flakes in the other room. Down the hall.
The cup is round, and wet and sweet almost like fresh snow peas or papaya. But again, from very far away. Like you’re tasting what your identical twin is eating downstairs while you sleep in under a huge, downy duvet.
(This very generous sample was provided courtesy of Angel Chen at Teavivre. Thank you so much, Angel!)
It was actually kind of hard to put this tisane (7 tsp.-ish of it for 2 cups water) into the steeping basket of my Breville because it smelled and looked so tasty (kind of like trail mix) that I wanted to eat it rather than wait for it to be infused.
When this brews up, it is easily the bright red color of fruit punch. The scent of the steeped tea is heavy on the pineapple to me – it manages to smell both sweet and tart together. The first taste of it is very true to smell – I get the sweetness of pineapple at first and that leads into a very tart hibiscus that dominates the rest of the sip. It is so juicy! At first I thought it was too tart – but even thinking that, I managed to go through about half the mug unsweetened.
I did finally add a little bit of sweetener to it (much less than I normally add to that amount of tea) and the result was a perfectly balanced juicy beverage that, while good hot, will be absolutely amazing iced. The second of the two cups I made hot is currently cooling off to be tried iced to affirm this, and when it does I will likely bump this up a few more points.
To begin, I’m very new to green teas and my previous experiences have not been good so far. (I think I’m to blame for this, however, due to my tendency to make tea with too much gusto. And my long history of loving black teas.)
So anyway, I love the way the bright green, glossy leaves look. So long and flat, almost like preserved grass. As they brewed, the green became more vivid, as if the leaves were still alive. But the scent of it put me off a little… it was strong and reminded me of the ocean. And not in the sea breeze kind of way. But I gave it a chance anyway, as I feel like I’m in need of a green tea education.
I used 2 teaspoons for 8 ounces of water, brewed for 1:45 at 175 degrees. Any critiques you could offer about my preparation? The result was pale yellowy green and tasted much better than I expected. I feel like I understand what people say when they describe green teas as “buttery” now. It also has a sort of veggie flavor, like seaweed. I can’t really say I’m a fan, though. I believe these sorts of teas are going to have to be an acquired taste.
The dry leaf of this tea has a powerful aroma. Stronger than anything I’ve had on hand in a good long while. Oddly, the smell is all Yunnan golden. Deeply sweet, like roasted figs.
The cup isn’t nearly as bold on a short steep but there’s a very pleasant round, full presence of the tea from start to finish.
I don’t have nearly as much astringency as I did from this tea the other day. Maybe I did over-cook it a bit, then?
The tea I dreaded when I first tried it is one of the three I grabbed to take home for the weekend. I was so looking forward to sharing this one. Stupid microwave, I didn’t get the water the right temp so was not full flavored, but good even weak. With the flavor down a little I noticed a real creaminess to it. Still loving this one.
Backlogging a cup of this from last night – paired nicely with some chips and hummus for a light dinner. This really is a wonderful green to go with a savory meal. Someone once used ‘brothy’ as a descriptor for a green tea, maybe even this one, but regardless of where I’ve heard it before, I think this tea qualifies.
I will definitely be ordering this one when my sample runs out – it’s a wonderful green!
This is an incredibly light cup. The liqueur is almost completely clear. Just a faint hint of a pale, sea foam green.
The flavor is similarly delicate, bright, fresh and clean. No bitterness or vegetal notes, and yet also no sweetness. It does have a surprising astringency to it, however.
A very pleasing tea, but I have a mind that I ought to be serving it and sipping it from very fine, very thin, very fragile, delicate, white, bone china.
I could see this making a truly excellent iced tea.
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
Yesterday I prepared this with one long steep, and now I’ll try out multiple short steeps. I think this approach to tasting tea gives you a good understand of what the tea leaves have to offer.
With the initial steep, I picked up on notes of pumpkin spice, grains, sweet honey (not too sweet though), other spices. The liquid had a very silky smooth feel to it.
The flavour continued to strengthen over the second and fourth steeps. It never became too powerful or overwhelming. The black tea base has a nice flavour to it, it was a bit sweet, floral, and earthy.
After those, the flavour started winding down. The fifth had some notes of chocolate, cinnamon, with a slightly weaker flavour than the previous steep. Sixth steep was soft, light and still a bit floral.
Finishing off with the last two steeps, I could begin to taste my original water flavour. But it still had enjoyable qualities from the previous steeps (sweet, earthy).
At the end of all this, I took a moment to look at the leaves in my gaiwan. They were a nice brown colour, and although mostly comprised of broken leaf, there is no “tea dust”. This one turned out to be a fairly good resteeper considering the leaves are not whole.
Now that I’ve tried the two steeping styles, I think I prefer the longer western style. It has a richer, deeper tea flavour and takes advantage of the broken tea leaf, because that type infuses flavour quickly (more so than whole leaf).
This is one of the Teavivre samples I’ve considered purchasing because the price and flavour makes it an excellent every day black tea. I’ve certainly had much worse black tea and for more money.
100ml gaiwan, 1 sample pack (2 tsp? 5g?), 8 steeps (rinse, 45s, +15s resteeps)
Most TGY’s share the same floral/buttery characteristics but each one leans more to one or the other depending on the oxidation. This is a nice example of a floral-leaning and delicate TGY. I prepared it gong-fu style and the flavor was consistent throughout the four steepings before it started losing power.
That being said, my preference is for a more balanced, robust, buttery version at the start.
Also noticed a few more broken leaves than I’m accustomed to seeing in an oolong, but overall, not bad.
Full notes and pics on my blog : http://bit.ly/vnfzaP
Steeped 1 minute with boiling water. Toucha remains mostly intact. The brew is dark with a light musty aroma. The wet leaf reminds me of wet musty hay. The first sip is much sweeter than expected. I happily notice the leather notes I got from the rose toucha only much lighter. May be imagination but I pick up just the tiniest hint of smoke. I am also getting that slick slightly tacky lip feel that appealed to me in the China Cha Dao puerhs. No astringency, or fishiness and I don’t find it heavily earthy.
Second cup, toucha completely crumbled. Has a bit more leather and as it cools a bit of bitterness moves in with a heavy dose of hay. Third cup I added a couple small leaves of chocolate mint. Not enough to really flavor it but added a cool mouth feel and evened out the bitterness. Next time I brew this I am going to really short steeps.
The other reviews raved on this tea. I may adjust my rating up or down a bit after I try modifying my steep parameters. I loved the rose toucha. This one I like. Definitely better than meh, but not a wow. IMHO – YMMV (in my humble opinion – your mileage may vary)
I wanted to make Thanksgiving tea party extra special! I knew our guest had never heard of flowering tea. I have never made it for tea party before because I had never tried one that was worth serving to guests. This one is so good, though, that I wanted to give it a test run at tea party, though I have already had it once.
My guest….LOVED it! We went five steeps. The final one was weak but the back end of the swallow still had the essence of the first steep.
The first impression was buttery buttery vegetables…squash, perhaps. Mild, smooth, and creamy. The second steep sat for a while as we drank our first teas, but when we got to it, it was still wonderful; no bitterness crept out at all no matter how long we left it. The second steep was a little more flavorful than the first, perhaps because the leaves were now well hydrated and opening up more fully.
The leaves and blossoms stayed beautiful to look at as well. The one I had purchased years ago turned ugly quite quickly! It looked like a glass pitcher of ditch water! Not this one! Even now, hours later, it looks pretty in the pot.
My guest enjoyed it so much that I told her we will begin having oolongs, greens, and white teas in future! And I have promised True Love Flowering tea will be on the menu at tea party next week. Beautiful and delicious!
As homage to the great tradition of martial arts films which at a tender age first planted the seeds of my obsession with all things East Asian, I call this “Gongfu Madness”.
We got a second pouch of this pu-erh in our second round of samples. I suspect we were supposed to get the other pu-erh which TeaVivre offers, the rose scented one, and we got this one in error. But that is not a problem because I don’t know as either Liz or I would have cared for that one very much and we liked this one a lot.
To expand the tasting boundaries the second time around, I came up with another heretical steeping idea which is so crazy it just might be genius.
I got a my smallest tea pot (close to 2 cups) as well as my largest (close to ten cups).
I set the electric kettle to boiling, and dropped the toucha into the warmed small pot. For this process I did “rinse” the tea, because the steepings would be so short I needed the leaves to losen up.
Then, in quick succession I made five steepings and transferred them to the larger tea pot. That is to say, I combined them. The timing for the steeps was 5 seconds, 3 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds and then 5 seconds.
My thinking? If the idea behind this long series of short steeps is to expose various profiles of the tea, if you combine them, you should get a deeply complex, multi-dimensional flavor matrix that is distinct both from any one steeping or from a single, long steeping of the combined 20 seconds.
And it seems to have worked!
This cup is all at once soft and loamy, bright and sweet, and yet still dry and dusty. The liqueur has a thick, almost broth like mouth feel and coats not only the tongue, but the whole mouth.
I wish I had a 20 cup pot (or a teensy 1 cup pot) so I could try what 10 steepings tastes like.
More samples from TeaVivre! Once I hammer out some space in the tea cupboard, I’ll DEFINITELY be ordering more tea from this company. I love the freshness of all samples provided thus far.
The man and I tried this tea last night after a shrimp curry dinner (nom). He added milk and sweetener to his, and I drank mine straight (both brewed Western, approx 2 tsp per cup). My non-sweetened tea tasted lightly of smokey malty chocolatey goodness. I really enjoyed how smooth this tasted, and really appealed to me since I am still not quite used to heavy, bold, in-your-face black teas. This was on the sweet side, and I like it that way!