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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you Teavivre for this sample.
The tea itself is a mixture of dark brown and light brown leaves compacted together into broken cake pieces. They have a sweet and earthy smell equal to most raw Pu Erh. I shall be steeping with a table taken from the Teavivre website.
Teapot Gongfu Tea:2pieces 4 steeps:30s,1m,2m,3m 100ºC/212ºF
Once the tea is rinsed it bears a much sweeter and woodier scent.
Steep 1 – Yellow in colour. A slight smell of fresh cut wood. The taste is sweet and slightly smoky and vegetal. Even though it’s light it’s also on the rich side.
Steep 2 – Darkening in colour to become a little golder. The flavour has increased to double the first steep. Now it’s very rich but still remains sweet. Also picked up floral and perfume tones but on a subtle basis.
Steep 3 – Much sweeter with a dry perfume after taste. The richness has also increased along with smokiness but it manages to stay refreshing.
Steep 4 – I do like that the sweetness has continued all the way through and now that it’s settled it’s become woody again. It tastes like a forest, it has the sweet wood, the green fresh leaves and the rich soil flavours all in one.
Overall I do like this Pu Erh very much as it remained consistently good throughout the 4 steeps. It’s also fairly strong and potent which I have to be in the right mood for. If I was going to say anything negative it would be that the tea left my mouth bone dry and it had that strange perfume taste that gathered at the back of my throat.
Nice ripe pu-erh, deep and not too simple. Chrysanthemum blossom adds some interesting taste at later steeps. http://www.teablr.com/?p=531
Thanks to Teavivre for this sample!
I’m not the biggest green tea drinker, but this is a new favorite of mine. It’s sweet, fresh, light, and crisp. All the things one usually seeks out in a green tea with the addition of some nice oolong-y characteristics and a basic flavor framework that reminds me of a dragonwell. The leaves are an awesome shade of vivid green and smell very dragonwell-like: oats and nuts and potent veggies. I haven’t decided whether I prefer gong fu or Western style with this one yet, but each has it’s pros.
Gong fu style
This allows for a huge change in flavors from steep to steep, but getting more than three solid steeps is rare. But let me tell you, those three steeps are pretty awesome. It’s like a fifteen-steep session condensed to one fifth! With about 1/4 to 1/3 of my gaiwan full of dried leaf, 175 F water, and a seven second first steep (no rinse) it comes out wonderfully. I receive notes of fresh hay, a malty sweetness, thick and “chewy” vegetal qualities, and faint tones of nuts. Maybe almonds? The liquor’s color has great clarity and is so light and vivid it’s almost neon.
The second steep at about 14 seconds brings a lively mouthfeel with a sort of sparkling texture. A new nuance that reminds me of whole wheat toast becomes most apparent and the nutty qualities become more pronounced. The third steep seems to do well somewhere between 30 seconds and one minute. Twenty seconds is a bit too short and it comes out really weak, and one minute introduces some bitterness and astringency (two things that usually aren’t present with this tea except for extra long steep times). The nutty and toasty qualities subside a great deal at this point and are replaced with a strong herbal quality. It’s far more “green.”
With the aforementioned leaf to water ratio, a fourth steep is possible, but it’s flavor faded and it has a heavy mouthfeel. It comes out like a mixture of steep 2 and 3.
While the flavor doesn’t change dramatically between steeps, each steep is lovely in its own way. Western style produces a light-bodied cup with great character. The “darker” flavors like toast and nuts and such aren’t as apparent this way, but instead blend in with the other nuances so that all the flavors kind of meet in the middle. Yet, a lively, sparkly/fizzy mouthfeel helps add another dimension to keep things interesting.
The main drawbacks to this method, for me at least, is I have to use a ton of leaf. I did 3 heaping teaspoons in my 16 oz cast iron with 175 F water. I performed the recommended one minute steeping time, took the leaves out, and poured some off. Still really weak. So I plopped the leaves back in and went for another minute. This worked much better.
Ultimately, I’ll be using Western brewing when I want a sipping tea and gong fu when I want a short, but power-packed session. I also prefer gong fu to pull out the best flavors this tea offers, like that whole wheat toast note that I look forward to every time I drink this one. I think the textural intrigues of this tea are pulled out much more easily with Western style, though.
There’s a good chance that I’ll be stocking this one as my one green tea on hand at some point. :)
Noooo, Steepster ate my huge tasting note!
Dry, the leaves look thin, dark and spindly. There’s beautiful sea-spray and freshly cut grass scents to the leaves and brewed tea.
Very light liquor – like a green tinted white tea. Smooth, slight hint of seaweed, grassy and “fresh”. Depending on how resteeps go, this could definitely belong in my cupboard.
My thanks to Teavivre for the sample!
The dry leaves look green, freshly cut and smell faintly nutty. I’m really looking forward to steeping this – hurry up kettle!
This tastes a little like toasted nuts to me. I’m also getting a light freshly cut hay note followed by the vegetal wallop. Somewhat-light with a buttery texture.
I’m on the fence about this one. I’ll have to see what other steepings and cups are like – thanks to Angel for the generous size that allows me to do so!
Edit: Revisited this one and steeped for just over a minute. Beautiful light flavour – like an elegant vegetable broth, if there is such a thing. Flavour present to the 4 steep, where it starts to diminish.
Edit 2: Found out that I really enjoy this cold or cooling. No astringency present like I thought there would be.
There is this time in spring when jasmine bushes and bird cherry blooms and the scent is so thick you can drink it. The first thought when sipping this tea was that now I truly can. Completely different from Verdant’s TGY with its buttery/floral backgound this one is like a cup of flower essence.
This tea is doing double duty – first tea in the new house and first review with the new system! I am using my phone but so far so good. The site is still super clunky on my phone but the font is actually legible now! I can’t use the slider bars though and I am at constant risk of losing my note. Hmmm.
Anyway, I served this tea for the beau and our first guest in the house and everyone liked it. It is very affordable, rich in taste with a natural honeyed sweetness and some cocoa notes. It resteeps well and is never bitter. Lovely!!
This is an impressive tea, especially for it’s cost. For a long time, my favourite black tea was the Wild Black Yunnan from Davids Tea. For me, this one is even better. Stronger, bolder flavours with less (read: no) astringency or bitterness. It holds strong through multiple steepings but is so inexpensive that I don’t mind calling it quits at just one steep. I actually prefer it to the other Yunnans that Teavivre offers, as this one has the cocoa and earth POW that I love. I am very glad to have 100 grams on hand, and will re-stock this one rather than the Davids when the time comes. Mmmm!
THis is a sample that I thought I had tried but apparently neglected. Luckily it was still sealed so when I opened it up I got a POW of aroma. The leaves are not whole but are in decent shape for an affordable yunnan and there are some golden ones in there. The aroma is richly cocoa, very bold and present, with a sense of bitterness and maybe some malt.
Steeped, the aroma remains as strong with the bitter malty notes over-riding the cocoa. I would like to have a cinnamon note here but I do not. I’m a little intimidated by the aroma, I tend to like my blacks a little gentler but smells can be deceiving. First sips reveal that I have been deceived. I’m getting some earthiness, some hay, some barn-like flavour that reminds me of a puerh. It’s not unpleasant and it is all supported by a sweet note but I can sense that this will build up in bitterness as I sip/the cup cools.
I think it’s the sweetness mixed with the earth that makes me think of fresh hay in a barn, and it’s really surprising for me. I’m not used to this in a yunnan, like I said above it is more of a puerh quality. I am pleasantly surprised by the flavour and feel it is much more complex than the initial aroma led me to believe. I am starting to get a sense of cocoa morphing into the back of the sip which is nice and more what I am used to. While I don’t think can take quite the same beating as my beloved Wild Black Yunnan from Davids, this one is a very nice offering. It also happens to be about $6 less per 50 grams than the Wild Black Yunnan which is a nice selling point. I think that next time I do a Teavivre order I may pick up more of this, or perhaps try out the next grade up in their Yunnan set (the full-leaf which contains more buds. For this price, I might pick up both of them!
I’m definitely digging this one – bold and rich but not bitter, that shows a good quality tea. I have a coworker who is super into Indian teas for their strength and not so much liking the Chinese blacks – maybe this one could help pull her over to my side! :)
I’ve been experimenting with this Phoenix Oolong the last couple days, brewing it both Western and Gong fu style. Either way, I found it to be very tasty with a deliciously fragrant aroma. When brewed in a gaiwan with a lot of leaf, I got multiple steepings, and picked up on honey, floral, and nectar-like notes as I went along. Teavivre’s instructions are to use 10 gm with 3 oz water at 212 F, with a quick rinse, then 2-3 second steeps for the 1st 4 steeps, then increase time slightly with subsequent infusions, good for more than 12 steepings.( I modified Teavivre’s instructions a little and used my 7 gm sample in 4 oz water),with good results. I have run out of time, so haven’t made it to 12 infusions, but thus far, am very happy with this oolong. My husband is the bigger oolong drinker, as I lean more toward blacks, but I anticipate re-ordering this since this is one we both like it a lot.
My order finally came in! I can’t wait to use this new gaiwan. Bought the organic tea sampler from Teavivre, as well as one from Tea Forte, all of which I am very eager to try. Next on my list is to buy an electric tea kettle to make it easier to monitor temperatures.
I can’t tell if I’ve ruined this brew, but the aroma was very intense. I don’t mean to offend, but the brewed tea smelled terrible, exactly like canned tuna. A little bit of a turn off, and my first sip was incredibly bitter. Though as I kept drinking, it became a very buttery, vegetal flavor. I’m sure with a proper rinsing, this would be a marvelous afternoon tea. Will definitely brew this again after work today.
Very good tea, not simple at all by its taste. Here’s more http://www.teablr.com/?p=493
I had very high expectations for this tea based on the reviews and so I was mildly disappointed when it did not live up to them. Perhaps my own anticipation and expectation of flavor got in the way. As the tea cooled somewhat, the somewhat malty and very dark chocolate flavors came out, reminding me somewhat of the Numi chocolate puerh I had this morning. But the deep chocolate flavor in this tea did not taste like something added to the tea. I like the tea, but do not love it. I think it would be interesting base for adding other flavors (fans of this tea might think I am crazy).
Drank this one yesterday evening.
Great tea, very bold taste, very humble and unpretentious. Though a tiny bit too grassy for me, I guess. It lacks some flower-y notes for my liking, But still, I’d drink this one every day for a long time.
However, if I’d have to choose between Organic White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) Tea and this one, I would choose the first one (that’s why I’ve got 3 packages of it :P ).