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Recent Tasting Notes
Once again I am behind on tasting notes! I was so absorbed with tasting out my Red Leaf matcha samples and making sure I have sufficient notes for each that I’ve had about 7 other teas so far that I have yet to log, all of them new. Sigh! Well, I’ll start with this, which I am drinking right now. I made my dad Teavivre’s Yunnan Golden Tip earlier today and the smell had me really craving a Chinese black. I got a sample of these in my recent order and they seemed like just the thing.
I love how these look! They’re my first pearl-type tea that wasn’t a Jasmine, which are generally pretty smaller. These are big and chunky, I used 4 for a big cup and they unfurl into so much tea! It’s fun to watch, they start dissolving as soon as you pour water over them. And among all the black tea leaves was one stray green one—wonder how it got there?
This is a strong, malty tea with heavenly cocoa notes. It’s a bit astringent but in a pleasing way, in fact it reminds me of an Assam but lighter and with less body. It brews up a surprisingly light amber color, very pleasing, and has a light flavor to match. Not bad light, just less heavy than I expected from the heady, yeasty cocoa smell. However, it’s the most chocolatey black I’ve tried, so scrumptious! Reminds me of a bakery shop, which I think most Chinese blacks do… or maybe I just really like pastries and associate everything with them!
Water: I boiled 8oz water on the stove,then let cool for 5 minutes.
Leaves: medium size tea buds, light green & fuzzy
Aroma: light fresh scent
Color: very pale almost clear
Taste: I decided to brew this tea again. This time using a more proper method than i did the first time around. I never thought I would be able to re-steep it soo many times yet still have a nice light flavor.
First of all, thank you so much Angel from Teavivre for the samples!
I have slowly begun to get into black tea but I am still new, so please be patient with me! This will be the first black I review.
The dry leaves were tightly wound large balls with a strong scent. I decided to do a rinse of these to loosen them up a little bit so I rinsed them for about 15 seconds.
I then gave them a 1 minute steep at about 212 degrees which unfurled a layer of the leaves partially. After the steep, the wet leaves produced a slight sweet molasses like sent. I have had a black tea that was described with a molasses taste and I did not like it, however, this was a way better smell to me. The tea was a medium gold, lighter than I was expecting and I could tell this was going to be different than I was thinking it would be like. The taste was an interesting warm flavor that carried a subtle dark chocolaty sweetness. This was a pleasant surprise! I had never taste a black quite like this one.
I decided to try to pull out more of the flavor and steeped this one for 2 minutes. This caused the last layer of leaves to unfurl completely, producing a dark gold liquid. This time the tea had more of the dry chocolate flavor with a slightly bitter after taste.
I wanted to play with the taste some more so I decided to steep it at 1:45 this time. This gave me the dark gold liquid again but more of the first steeps taste. This is definitely a tea that you can change the taste to your liking by managing the time and leaves well. I continued on to a 4th steep and could tell that it would resteep well at least one more time.
Thanks again to TeaVivre for this sample. This was my first intro to Pu’erh teas and was a great first impression. Mellow and earthy, this tea was very drinkable and steeped well at least three times. I even accidentally left the already steeped leaves in my infuser at work over night and was still able to a very nice cup of tea the next morning.
One of the best things about this tea was its mellow yet rich flavor. I found it perfect for ending a meal as it tasted great but would leave very little aftertaste when finished. My first steep time was relatively short and I have to say that I enjoyed it more the longer I steeped it, up to about 4 minutes.
This is my first tea from Teavivre that I decided to try. I must say I really enjoyed making it as well the rich red color and lovely aroma filled my kitchen. It was a bit tart tea but that didn’t bother me. I managed to get 6 cups 8oz cups of tea from the sample bag I ordered.I steeped the leaves over and it still maintained great flavor. Overall I really enjoyed it and would consider buying it again in the future.
Second Tea Log
Taste just as good from when I was first learning to brew tea, still a favorite of mine.
this blend smells just like Pineapple Kona Pop from Teavana, which I enjoy… even though it’s not anything like tea. It’s pretty much juice, delicious tart juice. Except less calories!
However, PKP is a little sour for me most days, so I was a bit worried about getting this. But with samples so cheap, how could I resist? After all, I love pineapple.
This blend is surprisingly light looking, not that ominous red you can get from hibiscus. But roselle is a bit different, right? Less tart, I think. And indeed, this doesn’t brew up very sour—it’s light and fruity, almost airy. It’s not packed full of flavor, but it’s a nice tropical drink.
Sheesh, my IRL tea cupboard was a hot mess! I think I’ve got a handle on it now but I found teas I didn’t know I had.
This was one of the teas I’ve had for a really long time at the bottom of my sample drawer. It is pretty old, but as I looked over my old tasting note it reminded me so much of that yummy Obukucha that I was willing to try it and see how it measured up.
It smells kind of fruity, which has me worried because even though it was sealed that is definitely scent contamination. I know that sometimes dry leaf smell contamination doesn’t necessarily affect flavor so I’ll press on.
Once the hot water hits the leaves a starchy sweet vegetal scent emerges. The leaves, initially a dull green, turn the light bright green of Lima beans. This reminds me strongly of dragonwell more than the brothy spinachy sencha. Tasting bears this out. This is dragonwell’s cousin for sure. Savory but not overtly salty, hints of earth rather than ocean. I had in the past tasted fruity undertones but they are not present now.
Still, for its age this was really good and flavorful. A great example of what I like in a Chinese green.
Flavors: Green Beans, Lima Beans
Sigh – I’m not sure what transit is going on overhead but it’s having a doozy of an effect on my emotional state. I’ve just been so blah lately… probably because it’s been cold and rainy too.
But whenever that happens, at least I know there’s tea to help.
I wanted something light and clean today – another sign my body is ready for a new season, I think. Luckily I had a ton of Teavivre samples at my disposal! I picked this one largely because I wanted something with similarities to teas I’d liked before, but not the exact same, you know? (Seriously – I’m usually not this ridiculous!)
But as fickle as I’m being, this managed to work out perfectly. The dry leaf looked like a mixture of sencha and dragonwell, my two favorite greens. It did smell grassy but not quite as vegetal as the senchas can sometimes be. Once steeped, the grassy note magnified in the smell and became brothy as well.
Given the savory smell, I was surprised to taste hints of plum/peach/walnuts. It was very astringent at first, not unpleasantly so, just noticeably drying on the tongue. Strangely enough that astringence has kind of gone away as it’s cooled. The fruity note is more prominent, followed by a dragonwell-esque grassy undertone. This has a slick buttery mouthfeel that really rounds out the complexity.
This is easily one of the most layered greens I’ve ever had – it somehow combines the fruit part of a dancong with the grassiness of a sencha. What an experience! I can’t wait to revisit it soon!
Have I mentioned how much I really like this one? Honey-like sweetness and a mellow boldness. And this is the third steep. I’ve been drinking this one since I got home and I just don’t want to change my leaves because they just keep going and going and going.
On a side note: my french press is leaking water when I pour. It is strange and weird and causes me to lose tea. Very bad.
My old roommate from college came over and we totally had tea time several different times! This was the first tea we had. (mostly because I don’t remember which tea we had for dinner that night). She loved this one and said that she never thought that oolongs could taste as good as it did. I think I might have converted someone to the oolong side of tea!
I made a pot of this to share with my fiancee earlier and I decided to make one more pot of this before bed to have all to myself!
This is just amazing. The first steeps are sweet and mellow. Smooth as silk. Then as you progress further down the steeps the taste changes in a way that is complex and hard to explain.
Imagine being alone on a winter’s night all curled up in a warm blanket when-out of nowhere-a lady in a slinky black dress walks into the room. You can start to smell her perfume and then it changes into cuddling with your lover. Then that changes into being by yourself in a library with smooth jazz playing in the background.
Smooth, sweet, and mellow but very complex. I am going to have to have some alone time with this tea so I can try to explain the taste better, but I know that I will have to have this oolong as a staple in my tea cupboard.
An interesting tea to say the least. I really understand now how so many can find it, ….. Fishy. It is fishy, but in a organic, herbal way. It lacks the shrp qualities of actual fish smell and boast a beautiful spread of earthy yet creamy aromas, really reminds me of the smell of coriander roots.
Another sample from Teavivre! I haven’t had Jasmine Pearls before. I have almost been staying away as I had a Jasmine tea that I very much disliked and I assumed I just did not like Jasmine. However, this tea is divine – aromatic like the Jasmine flower, sweet and light. Just a nice tea to drink over and over again.
This is a sipdown and I am sad about it. This is probably on my RESTOCK FOREVER list, but I have too much tea right now so it’ll have to wait.
This tea is two years old, according to the label. It was produced 4/2012, though I don’t think I’ve had it that long. Surprisingly, it has aged really well. At least in taste.
When I was scooping the last of the tea out of my container (which is one of those Teavana with the fabric on them that are so pretty but so expensive), there was a lot of golden fuzz at the bottom. I was like ‘what is that?’ but it didn’t smell like mold at all, though it sort of had that appearance. Cameron on the tea chat referred to it as ‘Golden Yunnan fairy dust’ and I think she might be right because it hasn’t made the taste bad at all.
This is possibly sweeter than it was when I first tasted it, I think. This is an incredibly sweet and malty infusion. I didn’t measure all that well for how much went into the Breville because there was obviously only room for one more pot and then I shook most of the fairy dust over the trash out of the infuser but wow, this is a tasty pot of tea.
In other news, Alestorm is now my favourite band. Scottish Pirate Metal is awesome.
I wasn’t in the mood for anything complicated as my last tea of the night and after I’ve finished spending the day deconstructing binders. Busted up my fingers of my dominant hand enough that they’re so sore it’s actually painful to use my phone touchscreen. Bah. Hopefully they’ll heal soon.
This tea is getting old but still good. It’s nicely malty and nicely smooth. I’m coming to the end of what I have of this, one or two more servings (pot-size). I’ve enjoyed this but it’s time to move on. I’ll consider getting it again if I ever pare my hoard down to the point of seeking out tea to buy and needing a Yunnan Dian Hong.
So I finally decided to make iced tea with ‘real’ tea rather than the generic black tea that got sent to me with the iced tea maker. I didn’t follow instructions at all. What I did was use my Breville to brew 1200 ml of tea with ~2tsp per cup (5ish cups). Then I poured it into the iced tea pitcher (which filled it up completely), then put it in the fridge for…a while. Kinda forgot about it for a few days. Then a couple of minutes ago I put in ~7 spoonfuls of sugar (using the special flat sugar spoon) and then filled a cup with ice and put tea in it.
First assessment, good amount of sugar. Second assessment, very strong tea. Tea tastes comes out clearly. Very clearly. It’s not…bad, just very strong. Will probably tastes less strong as the ice melts, if I let it melt before drinking it. It’s wicked hot so that might not happen. On the upside, it does actually taste like TEA rather than “iced tea flavour” which really isn’t tea-tasting at all, for my taste buds. “Iced Tea flavour” doesn’t taste bad per se, just doesn’t taste like TEA. This tastes like tea.
That said, I haven’t decided whether I like it this strong or not, but I have a whole quart of it to go through so I’ll probably decide by the end of all that.
If my last tasting note is any indication, this is the tea I pick when I haven’t had any sleep the night before. Strange that. I’m drinking it again, it’s just as good as the last time. I’ll blasphemously put half of my pot in a travel mug to drink on the way to work. It won’t be as good then, but it will still be good. And I’ll probably brew up the second and third steeps when I get home from work.
This tea is amazingly delicious. Or perhaps not so amazingly, because I knew what I was getting into from the great reviews of it already on Steepster.
My package came yesterday, and I’m still having trouble with the fact that I’ve actually gotten mail from China now. With Chinese symbols on it even! I only recognize a couple of them from my studies of Japanese (like the symbol for tea, which is strangely not on all of the descriptions for the various teas).
Anyway, this tea is so delicious. It’s sweet and honey and malty and other things I’m not good enough to identify but all around very very good. I’m going to enjoy drinking this, this evening, 2 or 3 steeps it looks like it comes out to for brewing Western style. I don’t have a gaiwan yet and I’m really rather impatient besides so Western style is how I roll.