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Recent Tasting Notes
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
My schedule is being quite hectic lately, so I don’t have much time and inspiration for writing notes and reviews. However, I was really impressed with this tea, so I decided to scrap up my tasting notes and write a note.
Dry leaf: 3 gr
Water: 250 ml at 85 Celsius
Number of infusions: 1
Steeping time (in minutes): 3
Dry leaf gives away impression of hay being stacked in sunny summer day (if you’ve done it you know what I’m talking about) with mild citrus and molasses edge. I’ve drank a few good Dian Hongs in past couple of years, but this one is the most tippy of all teas I’ve had an opportunity to try. Dropping leaves in pre-heated teapot reveals more malty notes.
Tree minute steep seems to give a rather deep red infusion, almost like that of ripe Pu Erh. I’m getting the feeling that 3 minutes was a bit too much, but it doesn’t matter. Placing my nose over steaming cup reveals rich caramel-molasses and citrus notes with smooth finish.
If Teavivre’s Ripened Aged Pu-erh Mini Tuocha is intensive as espresso (check out my note), thank this tea has intensity that of a coffee. Right after swallowing a starchy dryness builds up in the throat and peppery note covers the tongue. A few sips in and I can sense some flowery hints in the background. Just delicious!
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to resteep it.
Dry leaf: 3 gr
Water: 200 ml at 85 Celsius
Number of infusions: 5
Steeping time (in minutes): 2, 3, 4.5, 5.5, 7
Deep and clear red hue, typical for black teas. Wet leaf has initial citrus aroma that quickly turns into impression of wet hay and (mulja) with flowery hint that sits in between.
First sip is deep and slightly minty. Right after swallowing tongue gets covered with peppery sensation – a Yunnan black tea trademark. Few sips in and I could feel that my throat is getting a bit dry and sore.
Second infusion came out identical to first, only with amped peppery sensation. Nice.
This is where I accidentally left it to steep for additional 30 seconds (I was doing the dishes). This infusion was just a little bit weaker than previous but still it was one impressive cuppa. Peppery taste just can’t seem to dissapear and that’s where I got the idea to pair this tea to something like well seasoned red meat. I just hope it doesn’t slip from my mind by than.
Again, a little bit lighter infusion, both in terms of taste and color, from the previous one. Seems like pepperyness is starting to let go since it was a little bit too strong for my taste in previous steep. Somewhere at the finish I’m starting to get a real nice sweetness to it. Makes me think of Bailin Gongfu black tea.
And this is where I’m calling it a day. I drank 1 liter of tea, and even if I went for another cup or two I would certainly enjoy it, but my stomach is calling shots here. Last, fifth infusion was (again) lighter than previous but the sweetness kept its magnitude and peppery sensations seems to be totally gone.
Magnificent tea. Honestly, I thought I’ll stop after third cup but it turned out to be quite a surprise, from deep and complex character to sweetness in the end… Oh, and not to forget that peppery bite. Not to mention that this tea is really cost-effective, I might get a bag of this in my next order.
The second of my free samples from Teavivre.
I tried this one before the puerhs they sent me because I was wary of it. I am generally more of a savoury person than a sweet person, although I do like honey every now and then, especially orange-blossom honey and similar types that are not supermarket generic. Anyway, the thought of honey-soaked TGY did not grab me immediately because of my predilection for savoury things. Hmm, I was wrong to be wary.
First up, stick my nose in the packet. I do this with tea, food and books. Especially books. I love the smell of a good book. So, I’m odd! What of it? :-) Anyway, the aroma was more honey than anything else and I thought that the tea would be much the same. The honey smell was gentle and pleasant as I added boiling water to the leaves in my gaiwan, although I felt it dominated the aromas.
Then it was time for the first cup. Yes, honey in boiling water. I only steeped it for a minute but the TGY flavour did not really come through. Should I have steeped it longer? I’m not sure that I should. I drank the first cup and really enjoyed it, then it was time to re-steep the tea. So I went on. Steep, drink, re-steep. I’m on the sixth infusion now and have really enjoyed the journey. The honey flavour steps more into the background and the TGY comes forward more with each steeping. This makes for an interesting journey. Let’s see how long it goes on for.
So, what’s the final verdict? Lovely. Yes, this tea has plenty to offer and the longevity of it is great so that you can get a whole range of flavours from just one session. Marvellous, and thank you, Teavivre.
Hmm, the tasting notes say there is a hint of caramel there. A hint? I opened the packet and stuck my nose in. The smell was muted at first. Then it hit me as I took a breath and tried again. That was not a hint, it was a whopping great big dose of caramel, like sticking my nose into the middle of a Cadbury’s Caramel bar. Then the floral aroma developed and the two smells worked together to entice me into going further.
I brewed the tea per the instructions and tasted carefully. Floral notes on the front of my tongue and then suddenly a caramel hit as the tea reached the back of my mouth. Crikey, that was sweet and quite a shock. The flavour toned down a bit in the aftertaste but it lingered nicely for a while. Now that I knew what to expect from this tea, I relaxed into the tea and enjoyed the rest of the pot.
This tea is very sweet, perhaps a little too much so for my tastes, but there is no denying that it is a quality tea. I might only wish to drink it when the need for sweet is on me, but it will be going on the shopping list, just for those occasions.
I really intended to resteep my Tropical Green tea by Harney and Sons, but when I ran some things out to the recycling can I was hit by the scent of jasmine. Sure enough, the vines have just started blooming enough for its perfume to envelope me on a quick jaunt out the back door. I knew I still had leaves that had only been steeped two or three times, and the scent of the vine made me want more! Plus, I really shouldn’t keep these leaves much longer! I usually only keep them for about 24 hours resteeping for as long as they will handle it and these have hit that deadline. So jasmine it is, and the Tropical Green will be for tomorrow. When I take it to my neighbor I will use fresh leaves, not a resteep.
In my quest for a decluttered tea shelf of only the very favorite teas, this is another that makes the cut.
This smelled so heavenly last night that my eyes rolled back in my head in ecstasy. I had to resteep those pearls this morning. I am usually a stay at home homeschooling mom who teaches music lessons at home, but right now I am working for three weeks for the Board of Elections, as I always do when there is an election. I made my resteep, put it in my JoeMo XL and had loveliness to sip as we began early voting. The scent of this tea is so sweet and soothing I just feel tension ebb away when I inhale and sip. This one HAS to stay on hand. Since it resteeps so well, it is well worth the modest amount they charge for it. I think the price is excellent for a tea of this high quality.
This is absolutely lovely. The milk tones are subtle compared to a manipulated (flavored) milk Oolong, but, I like that. It allows the natural tones of flower and nut to come forward, and gives it a subtle “warm milk” kind of flavor in the background that is remarkably soothing.
Truly a delicious Oolong. I’m on the combination of infusions three and four as I type this, and I think I’ll take it for a couple more.
Continuing along the vein of yesterday…my neighbor has a broken foot that needed surgery. We are helping him with this and that. Yesterday I asked if he drinks tea, and he said he drinks some grocery store bagged greens for health. bwahahahahaha! A new victim!
Since he loved the Silky Green yesterday, I took this one today. He LOVED it. I mean, he LOVED it. He kept exclaiming over the aroma, and how sweet it tasted. Both days, he couldn’t get over the fact that I had added nothing at all to the tea. The jasmine really does lend a sweetness to this already smooth green base. He is already talking about ordering some loose leaf teas next time I place an order, and wants to try puerh and a few others over the next few days.
New tea converts are SOOOOO EXCITING!!!!
This is exciting-my first order from Teavivre and my first order direct from China!
I’ve never heard of this tea before, but Teavivre’s web site said this is refreshing in hot weather and with an early summer in the States, I thought it was worth a shot.
The leaves are as everyone says-thin and very dark green, almost black (Charleston Green, perhaps?). The dry leaves are very fragrant and smell like spinach and a touch of cream, or maybe even creamed spinach with a bit of nutmeg? Brewed leaves turn a very nice spinach green color.
Have made this two times. First time was 1 tsp at 175 for one minute. 2nd steep was 175 for 1:15. Very pleasant. Taste very similar to aroma. Spinachy, kinda sweet, smooth. Slightly weaker 2nd steep-but definitely worth 2 infusions.
Today I used 2 tsp at 175. First steep was 175 for 2 minutes. Liquor was a pale green-yellow, with more green in it than yellow. Spinach was the dominant flavor-really the only flavor that I can describe. Surprised that there was a bit of bitterness in this steep and I think I brewed this a little too long. Still, it was good.
Second steep: 175/2min. Maximum spinach/vegetal flavor. Zero bitterness. Clearly brewed the earlier steep too long. Liquor is paler, again slightly more green than yellow. Very enjoyable.
Third steep: Liquor is paler still. Again a bit more green than yellow in color. Flavor is weakening. Still slightly spinachy but gravitating toward what I perceive as a generic green tea flavor-a GOOD general tea flavor, but not as unique as the first two steeps.
Well, our hot spell ended before this tea arrived, so I can’t comment on its effect in hot weather, but it is a refreshing tea and I expect it to do well. I may even ice it.
I am mostly a black tea drinker, but I feel I need a bit of balance in my teas. This has worked out well and I will probably order it again-feel stupid for ordering this just before the new harvest came in. Still, excellently packaged and the tea looks and tastes very fresh.
I was excited to get this Keemun Hao Ya. Up til now every place I bought Keemun from just called it “Keemun” – no differentiating between types of grades (not even Rishi).
Packaging is great with a sealed foil envelope inside a re-sealable foil pouch (all Teavivre’s have been like that).
Leaves are black with a few golden buds. Dry leaf aroma is fairly chocolate-y. Brewed leaf aroma has more pine notes. Liquor is very coppery. The taste is traditional Keemun to me-notes of chocolate, pine, smoke. Nothing predominates. It seems more smokey if you let it cool TOO much, though.
I find one heaping teaspoon gets you two solid steeps-maybe 3 depending on your preference. I tried 2 teaspoons, and I got 3 steeps, but they were more inconsistent. I consider this tea a great value-I paid much more for a Keemun Reserve from Rishi and used 6 teaspoons to get 5 steeps-with the first one being almost undrinkably bitter (no matter what adjustments I made). AND, I think this tea from TeaVivre is a little bit better than Rishi’s as well.
I’d say this is the best Keemun I’ve tasted yet. Will definitely re-purchase when the new harvest comes out this summer.
Tried an experiment today.
Apologies before you read further, because in some places what I did might cause a pretty good uproar.
I made this iced. I thought it would be fabulous. Not so much. All of the things I love about this tea are enhanced with the warmth.
Note to self: Reserve the pricey Premium Dragon Well for hot tea in the future. It tastes so much better that way.
Thank you for remembering!
Also, this makes me think that I will only like herbals or black teas iced. I might try a flavored green at some point.
Backlogging from last night:
I love the rich aroma of the dry leaf of this tea! It smells like strong, fresh veggies – mostly dark, leafy greens like spinach or collards.
I didn’t have a lot left so I was guessing at how much water to add. I decided to give it just a one minute steep because my oldest daughter was having tea with me and I wanted to keep it subtle. At one minute it had plenty of flavor. The taste was similar to the aroma, toned down a bit, really lovely. There was a slight sour taste after the sip, not in a bad way. We drank the whole pot, and I plan to resteep those leaves this morning.
I have been looking forward to this yunnan ever since my tea samples came to me. The leaves were long and slender. They wouldn’t play nicely with my flat bamboo tea spoon, so I just filled the bottom of my press with leaves. The brew is nice and dark brown. It looks like a solid black tea and I could probably fool some of my friends into thinking this was coffee. It is that dark at just three minutes.
The second steep (4 mins) is just as delicious as the first (3 mins). Bold and roasty. The second steep has a slight undertone of chocolate that I love with this tea. I keep timing my teas wrong. This is a good tea to wake up with in the morning. It is slightly heavy tasting for the afternoon, but I adore it anyway. Maybe the promise of this in the morning will actually get me out of bed earlier so I can make it.
Later… third steep at 4 and a half minutes. The flavor isn’t as strong, but it is still tasty. I think I only like doing two steepings for yunnan blacks because I like them stronger.
I drank green tea this morning, but when I was cooking lunch I saw the basket of leaves from yesterday. I picked them up and sniffed them. Aaaahh! Baked sweet potatoes, holiday style, roasted until the skin burst then a little orange glaze added. I decided to try resteeping and icing this with a bit of sweetener. Not bad! And it was a great way to be thrifty with my tea.
Is it bad that I am trying to be thrifty with my tea at the same time I am trying to drink up a whole lot of tea and cull my shelves? And the main reason I am trying to clean off those shelves is so that I will feel justified ordering more tea?
This is my first milk oolong and I am excited. I brewed this at a hotter temperature. I didn’t let it come to a full rolling boil, but I did let it boil.
The first steep has a really, really light color. Almost clear with a hint of green. I’m a little worried because this is how the other oolong looked yesterday. Maybe I didn’t get the water hot enough? It is still a first steep. Maybe I didn’t let the leaves “rinse” enough by that little 5-15 second swish I gave the leaves. I won’t know until I dive in and taste it. I smell a very light scent. The taste is very interesting. It isn’t tasting like much-but then I’m not sure what unflavored tea is supposed to taste like since I normally drink flavored tea. But the mouth feel is amazing. I feel like I am drinking warm milk even if it isn’t that strong yet. I’m going to finish this cup and then steep it again. Until I come back, I’ll watch my friends play Skyrim while enjoying this cup.
10:49 PM: I managed to get three more steeps out of the leaves. But I noticed that the cooler the water got, the less flavor and the less milky it got. I have a feeling I didn’t get the water hot enough for even the first cup. I just read Azziran’s note to me about brewing oolongs like a black tea more than a green tea. I will have to try this with even hotter water in order to even start to experience more of the milk oolong’s flavor. I have a feeling this might become one of my favorite type of teas once I learn how to brew it right.
So, the last steeps I had of this I actually shared. My friends said it was ok, but I had the fifth steep and it still tasted similar to the second steep. I think the leaves were exhausted by the fifth steep or that the brewing method I was using didn’t use the tea to my full advantage. This is why I have more samples, I’ll figure out how to brew it yet.
The chores are done, so it’s time to relax with a wonderful cup of green tea! I carefully cut open the silver package and discovered very thin, very dark leaves with a lovely aroma of spinach. The leaves are such a dark green that they look black. It reminds me of dried black moss, if such a thing exists, but with a much more appealing bouquet of aromas I’m sure.
I think I’m going to go for several steeps with this one to see how the flavors morph. This is going to be fun! I was generous with the leaf too because I almost always brew my teas too weak. First infusion for one minute, and the little leaves opened all the way up! They’re actually a very vibrant green color now that they’re open. The brewed aroma is very green, very vegetal. And the taste? Matches the aroma perfectly!
This first cup is alive! There’s no better way to describe it. It reminds me of spring, flowers blooming and grass growing. Vivacious and thriving with a nice balance between spinach and nori. It’s naturally sweet and light but also very flavorful. This is a perfect complement to my mood. :)
The greatest part of this tea is that it has a lovely lingering aftertaste. And even though it’s so green, it doesn’t taste grassy. It’s definitely a steamed veggie taste. Butter not chlorophyll. But as it cools, it loses its vibrancy. Time to move on to steep number two (176 degrees for two minutes)!
The second cup is less salty nori and…flatter. It’s still sweet, but a lot less so. It’s also no longer buttery. The first cup was definitely the best. But what’s remained constant is the lingering vegetal aftertaste, although it’s a little delayed now and less green. As this cup cools, it’s darker with hints towards, but not fully reaching, bitterness.
I don’t think this is a marathon infusion kind of tea. At least not the way I approached it with multiple long steeps. Maybe a series of short steeps would have yielded better results. Of course, now I’m sloshing with tea. So, I think I’m done for now. I was going to go for a third infusion, but I don’t think the leaves are up to it.
Still, that first cup was magic! So, I’m rating it accordingly. This is a solid choice for green tea fans.
A testament to how generous the samples from Teavivre have been….I just made another pot of this and still have enough leaf left to make a generous cup, ad since this resteeps, well, who knows how much tea this could end up being?
After breakfast, hubby put Mr. Samwise in the Burley trailer and took him for a bike ride. they went to Sandy’s house to do a e bit of picking up in the yard. Hubby picked up pinecones, Sam picked up bones and sticks. I joined them and was a little peckish when we got back home after riding around a bit more and decided to have elevenses.
A hard boiled egg with this tea, out on the patio, hit the spot. Youngest joined me for tea. She added milk and sugar, I took mine plain until the final cup. JacquelineM has already given the perfect description of this tea plain, so I will just briefly repeat her….sweet potatoes with a little orange flavor! YUM!
For the final cup I decided to add a little milk and sugar. At first I thought that I didn’t like it as well as it seemed to disappear under the additions, but the more I drink, the more I like it. My first preference for this one is sans additions, though. But if you really want to add sweetener or milk to your black tea, this one is still good. I wonder if the Yun Nan Dian Hong that isn’t golden tip would be better for that, though, and perhaps would make a heartier breakfast tea to take me by the collar and get me going?
This is a sample from Azzrian, Thanks! Brewed this up as the first cup of the day. Not a bad cup of tea, but not my favorite either.
It’s a very grainy, malty tea. It really reminds me of the smell a friend’s house had while he was making beer. The end of the sip is sweet, reminding me of honey. Very thick mouth feel to it. It isn’t bitter or astringent at all, good marks for that.
My first tea from Teavivre, a wonderful sample sent to me by Azzrian.
Let me say that off the bat, I’m very impressed with the quality of this tea. Opening up the sample, you get a good scent of the tea leaves themselves that is quite inviting. I opened it up to smell it, and then Missy had to go brew it up for us. She says it was so it didn’t go stale, but honestly I don’t think she could resist the aroma.
She tried something a teensy bit different with this tea, in that she brewed a first steeping in a 16 oz tumbler, and then a second steeping, and poured them into our larger pot. So consider this a review of steeping 1.5 ;)
The flavor packed into this tea is good and thick, almost mealy. I’ve thought of other teas as malty, but this truly and thoroughly blows all other maltiness, ever, away. It’s a very tasty, thick, sweet malt flavor that reminds me of a dark stout beer. Underneath that, there’s a honey-like flavor that comes out and is quite enjoyable. At the end, there’s a bit of a grainy flavor that comes out.
Its a very smooth tea, but it has a very thick mouth-feel to it. Again, I find myself likening this to the tea version of a good, dark, stout beer. It has that depth of malt flavor, and this thickness that almost makes your mouth want to chew by instinct alone. That “are we sure this is a liquid?” sense.
I think what’s interesting to me about this tea is that it’s very, very flavorful, but it doesn’t have that… aggressiveness I’m used to in black teas. It almost feels like a night time black tea, if that makes any sense whatsoever.
Definitely puts the bug in my ear to go try some more Teavivre teas, especially now that they’ve added samples to roughly all of their teas, from what I’m seeing.