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Recent Tasting Notes
5g / 360ml Banko-yaki kyusu
2m @ 80C
Mild but sweetly nutty. Classic Yin Zhen flavour.
Just to little leaf. my satsdard amount for 3 infusions is 4g/100ml.
guess for a single infusion i should steep 5g for 3-4m or 7.5g for 2m.
Will have to try! April is soon here for restocking :)
Man oh man, I recieved this sample from Teavivre quite a while ago. I brewed it a few times and wasn’t impressed. As it turns out, I think I was just brewing it wrong. This is a wonderful tea!
Dry leaves: The dry leaves are “every color” ranging from warm brown to black, to military green, to gorgeous white tips. The leaves are fairly small for an oolong, and have a nice apricot aroma.
Brewing: When I made this tea before, I was not using enough leaf, and the result was a weak, bland brew. It needs more leaf than I would think, it seems to be lighter/fluffier than it looks. This time I filled my gaiwan up about 1/3 of the way with leaves. The spent leaves open up to short and plump in chocolate brown color with a twinge of green. Brews up a gorgeous red-gold liquer!
1st steep: The first steep yields a rich, spicy flavor of apricot, nutmeg, moist butter cake, and pineapple with a slight roasty/woody quality like dry fall leaves.
3rd steep: Around the third steep the tea begins to smooth out with a very slight grassiness and a fresh, cooling mint note that contrasts the overall warm flavor. The tea is mildly sweet and has a creaminess as if milk were added. It flows over the tongue like a rive of warm silk.
7th steep: Around the seventh steep, the fruityness starts to wane, revealing clover leaf, champagne, and citrus tones as well as a pastry-like quality. Very tasty oolong, and pretty resteapable as well.
Ah, I started drinking this cup quite a while ago, forgot about, and ended up finishing it off cold. The honey malt smell came off strongly from the cooled off liquid a lot more than I thought it would. In between my cup of Da Yu Ling Oolong this was like drinking sugar crystals and the lightest, smoothest beer ever. There’s a bit of that peppered-ness too that I always look for.
This is good, and since this is technically a sipdown I should steep it more than once but I’m too distracted by this: http://tonematrix.audiotool.com/
I made a union jack and a dinosaur. Easily entertained. That’s me!
Sipdown, 160. Somewhere along the way I drank the rest of the other sample I had of this but didn’t log it. Ah well.
I went home early today (but still doing work, unfortunately), so I am doing this gongfu while I write. I definitely think I prefer this one western style. The gongfu brewing really brought out the vegetal notes. The first steep was probably 15-20 seconds (no rinse) and tasted like vegetables and sugar, which is kind of an odd combo. Later steeps brought out more of the florals and became increasingly vegetal and less sweet. It was a pretty tasty TGY, but I am getting pickier and pickier lol. If I had to have certified organic (which I don’t really care about), this would be a good pick.
The Teavivre party continues. Thanks once again to Angel and Teavivre for this sample! I am very interested to try this organic superfine tie guan yin verses the “Anxi” (non-organic) superfine tie guan yin I tried yesterday. Will the “organic” make a big difference?
First off, the leaf looks similar but doesn’t smell as floral or sweet. It still smelled really good while steeping, but once I removed the leaf it was more subdued. Yes, it still smells very floral and buttery, but not AS floral and buttery as the Anxi superfine. Same thing with the taste. I feel like if I had not just had the Anxi superfine yesterday, I would think this is a pretty amazing tie guan yin. It is smooth and buttery, with florals, light vegetal notes, and a hint of sweetness. But the Anxi superfine was mind blowing awesome, so this one is just not as tasty to me in comparsion.
Interesting result but not unexpected; I haven’t tried the Organic Bailin Gongfu from Teavivre but I love the non-organic Bailin Gongfu, and from reading the reviews of the organic version I think I would prefer the non-organic. Don’t know why that would be, but thankfully I am not hung up on organic designation for my teas.
Yay! Another generous sample from Teavivre.
I was anxious to try this as I have discovered a bit of a love for milk oolongs, and I wasn’t sure if I preferred flavored over not.
Next time I will try a comparison with this, the unflavored one, and Davidstea’s version (which I am not sure on whether it is flavored or not)
I enjoyed this as much as the unflavored Teavivre offering, but again if I had them side by side I would probably notice the creaminess more in this one.
Limiting my caffeine now so steep 2 will take place tomorrow, hopefully the leaves will be ok overnight at work.
ETA I should add that though my palate is still new and untrained, I have really been enjoying these milk oolongs. Imagine, no additives or fake flavors and they’re still so fresh and buttery and creamy. That’s good stuff.
Steep 2 was a success. Still creamy and buttery and vegetal but not in a way that turns me off (spinach tea is not for me!!)
Steep 3 to follow :)
Sipdown, 136. Gongfu today.
I think I prefer this one western style. Brewed gongfu it has this kinda funky note going on, especially in the early steepings. I say funky not because it smells bad, but just unexpected for a tan yang, to me. It’s almost floral, and while I love floral-added black teas, I tend to dislike black teas that bring their own florals to the party (like darjeelings). I still got a nice amount of honey and grains, but it wasn’t quite spot on for what I look for in a tan yang. I tend to prefer my black teas western style anyway, so it’s not too big of a deal, though.
Mmm, this one to start out the morning. After this I have one pouch of this left which I am reserving for a gongfu session (perhaps this weekend, if it’s not too hot out). I am running out of very easily sip-downable teas… almost everything has 3-4+ servings in it. It is slowing me down but I am still making some progress.
Once I pare down my stash to the basics, this tea will likely have a place in it. I really love a good tan yang, and this one definitely fits that description. Malty, grainy, with notes of molasses, a touch fruity, and basically just very delicious. Definite yum.
I am likely going to bounce off the walls this morning with all of these tan yangs, but I just had to try this one back to back with the others. The steeping parameters, including leaf:water ratio, is consistant across all of these cups.
The first difference I notice about this one is the scent. In comparison to the others, it is less molasses and grains and more fruity, with almost an apricot quality to it. Also perhaps a little yammy; it reminds me of other, non-tan yang black teas I’ve been drinking lately, like a Yunnan or keemun. That being said I still thought it smelled very tan yang-y yesterday, so this is only in comparison.
I would definitely say the flavor on this one is also fruitier. By the way I figured out that when I drank this yesterday my water quality was off; now it is as it should be, and the flavors on this are very present and not flat at all. I definitely get some malty grains, and a bit of caramel, but this is also more dried apricots than raisins. Very sweet on the aftertaste. Neither this nor the Harney have the nutty cocoa notes that my tan yang that I brought back from China has, but those are pretty subtle even in that one.
I would say I marginally prefer the Harney version to this (more molasses and caramel, raisins over apricots), but given the price difference, I am more likely to restock this one than the Harney. It is an exceptionally delicious tea for sure.
I feel so lucky that Angel at Teavivre still thinks of me for sending out samples. I’ve benefitted greatly from their free samples, and am happy to review their teas. This time the sample offering was of their new spring harvest green teas, but she also asked if there were any other teas I’d like to try. I have been wanting to try this one since they released it, so of course I asked for it! Thanks so much for sending it along Angel!
The dry leaf is gorgeous, all curly with lots of golden tips. I am actually now on my second cup of this tea. The first time I used half of one of my little sample pouches for my 12oz mug and brewed it at the steeping parameters I’ve used for similar Fujian blacks (and what they recommend for this tea), namely 185°F for 2 minutes. The resulting cup smelled and tasted nice but was also pretty weak. I was craving more so I used the second half of the pouch to steep it at 195°F for 3 minutes.
This smells lovely, like molasses and grains, which is what I look for in a tan yang. The sweet, caramelly, malty, grainy flavors are all there, but still not quite right in the second cup. The second cup is more robust but the flavors are still somehow muted. I think I need to use more leaf… good thing Angel was generous enough to send two more sample pouches of this tea. Also I now have a full pouch’s worth of once-steeped leaves to resteep and play around with. I won’t rate this one until I’ve played around with it more, but even as it is now it would be in the 80s (which remember on my new rating system is very good). I just have a feeling from what I’m getting now that this is actually spectacular, it’s just my brewing of it that is off.
Very earthy aroma which kind of made me hesitant to try it, but, I’m glad I got over it. This is a nice, ripened pu-erh. It doesn’t taste nearly as earthy as it smells. It certainly does have earthy notes, sort of mushroom-y, sweet notes that are a cross between molasses and caramel.
Here is my full-length review of this one: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/02/21/fengqing-golden-buds-ripened-pu-erh-cake-tea-2005-from-teavivre/
Sweet, slight pine smokiness, great price ($5.50/100g). Like many of the other Teavivre teas I’ve tried It’s just good enough to get me interested in seeking out better examples of the category, but not good enough to go out of my way to reorder this one when I run out. (Though while it lasts It’s pretty decent as an everyday staple/breakfast type tea.)
I’m not sure why I purchase another sample of this one with one of my Teavivre orders. I think I thought that I hadn’t tried it before, which is crazy because it is one of my all-time highest rated teas on here. Maybe the long name through me off. I felt silly when I went to add it to my cupboard and saw my own effusive reviews.
Anyway, a discussion on oolongs yesterday got me thinking of really fine tieguanyins and I decided to have this one this morning. Man, this tea is just outstanding. It blew me away again! So sweet, so floral, so buttery. I can’t get over how delicious this tea is. If you love green, floral tieguanyins please do yourself a favor and get some of this. It is truly one of the highest quality ones I have tried.
Sipdown, 137. Awwww, sad. I will miss this delicious tea, although it is hard to be too sad about sipping this down because I have a pile of other delicious green spring TGYs in my cupboard right now.
Just realized that the first time I steeped this one western style I used Teavivre’s instructions (boiling, 2 min), whereas this time I defaulted to my standard western style TGY parameters (195°F, 3 min). Will be interesting to see if it’s noticable!
I’m not sure if the change in steeping parameters made much difference, but this tea is still awesome. So buttery, sweet and floral, fresh and green and lovely. Wow, this just continues to blow me away. I always go out of my way to try the Verdant green oolongs as they are released, and let me say that this is up there with the best of them (like the reserve club first pickings). So good!
Mmm, this was my second gongfu session today. Unlike the aged TGY, this tea epitomizes the floral, green, new-style oolong. This is a beautiful, beautiful tea, and it is exactly my kind of tea. I love these.
The first steeps were sweet and very very floral. The type of flower is most definitely lilac, because it strongly reminded me of some lilac bushes currently blooming outside my office. Slightly buttery, but in a very sweet cream butter way. A bit of peach-flower; almost fruity, but not quite. I feel bad that I got distracted and couldn’t pay attention to the tea toward later steeps, but it was really, really delicious. This is a TGY that I would definitely reorder to keep around, even though I have a pile of TGYs from Verdant, because it’s that awesome (and really, I can never have enough TGYs!)
This tea was actually a surprise; it wasn’t on the list of samples they were sending, and I didn’t request it, but I am so glad it came.
I steeped this one western style following Teavivre’s instructions. I opened the vacuum-sealed pouch, and there was another pouch inside of it! And once I opened that one, the strong, heady floral aroma came wafting out from the dry leaf. It is beautiful, dark green balls shot through with bright green streaks. The minute the water hit it I knew this would be a winner. It smelled sooooo buttery and intensely floral, along with a peachy-melony scent that really rounded things out. The flavor was everything a tieguanyin should be. It is so fresh and green, with lilac-y florals that just surround you. The texture is smooth and creamy. It reminds me of drinking tieguanyin in China because you can tell that it is so fresh and high quality.
When I do make an order from Teavivre this will definitely be on it. It is really really beautiful. Thanks so much for sending a sample of it, Angel!
1 1/2 tsp in 8oz
Really like this! Not as full bodied as the Bailin Gong Fu. A hint of the flavor I usually associate with Dian Hongs, so that’s probably because of all the golden tips. Personally, this would be my pick among the Teavivre black teas I’ve tried so far.
If you like jasmine tea, these are pretty much pure perfection. These are smaller and sweeter than most other jasmine pearls I’ve tried, and the base has a really light almost butteriness that’s only enhanced by that delicate familiar flowery flavor of jasmine. It’s not cloying or artificial, just amazing really.
I was able to get 4 steeps brewing with a standard gravity steeper, and probably could have gotten one more, but it was inching close to bedtime. Will definitely have to experiment here. Especially with my gaiwan.
Unfortunately this was a sipdown, so to the shopping list!
I made this in my gaiwan and did 6 steeps. I wrote more details in my tea journal so I’ll just give you the quick version. The first few steeps were very strong with a leathery/smokey sweetness and earthy undertones. The last few steeps turned earthy but there was still a nice, light sweet smokey flavor. The aroma was deep and woodsy through all of the different steeps. I liked the last few steeps the most.