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Recent Tasting Notes
I had this tea with lunch today, and it certainly was tasty. Having a tea with a meal is not the best time to suss out all the flavors, but I do think that the 1 minute steep time worked out for me well here. I used a fair amount of leaf (about 2 “perfect teaspoons” for a 12oz cup) and after 1 minute at first I thought it didn’t look like it possibly could have steeped long enough because it looked so pale, but the scent persueded me otherwise. Definitely nutty and lovely.
Despite my box from Teavivre arriving over a week ago, it has taken me this long to try them! My apologies to Angel Chen and the lovely people at the company who provided these amazing samples to me, but in my defence the delay was to be able to give them my best attention. I normally use unfiltered tap water for my tea but felt that since these were quality teas from a quality company and a gift, they deserved better. So I finally got some spring water to put in my kettle and some time to sit and appreciate. Sadly, that time today was after midnight so I am starting with the only herbal in the bunch!
Since hibiscus and tart flavours aren’t my favourite, I disregarded the recommended brewing instructions and instead did what I normally do for my herbals, a heaping teaspoon in boiling water for five minutes.
First impressions are that the tea is lovely brewed, a pinkish red that makes me think of summer and sangria and happy times. The scent is hard for me to define, but definitely fruity in nature . . . maybe a blended strawberry scent? The first sips are lovely, with a tart undertone to a nice fruit punch flavour.
Part way through the cup I added some sweetener, curious how this would change the flavours. I found that it added to the fruit punch aspects, highlighting the slight tartness but also the richness that was in the flavour.
I definitely am enjoying the cup and am curious now how it will taste iced. I don’t think I’d like it cold brewed since the roselle would dominate, but brewed hot over ice would be very interesting.
My husband actually helped me with my second sampling of this tea. We used a lot more leaf this time, four teaspoons to make 16 oz. of tea. The honeysuckle flavor, while not that much stronger, did seem to last longer, all the way into the third steep. However, by the fourth steep the flavor was again completely vegetal/floral. After that point, neither of us were really that interested anymore. After it loses its sweetness, it’s just not quite as delicious. And when it’s gone, it’s gone. It almost tastes like a completely different tea. Well, overall, I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this one, just because the flavor degenerates so much, but I’m glad I got to try it. Thank you to Angel from TeaVivre for allowing me to sample this one!
My first flowering tea thanks to Teavivre! I chose to get this one because lilies are my favorite flower.
I had to steep it in a pyrex measuring glass because I have no other vessel suited for this, but it worked out just fine. And it was so cool!
I was almost expecting not to like it because I don’t really care for floral teas, but this is just right. It’s not very floral, it’s more like the petals add sweetness to the green tea. It also tones the jasmine down, so I like this even more. It is a very clean flavor. I steeped it again and I’m going to drink it cold tomorrow. It could probably hold up to several more steeps but it’s too late to get into that right now sadly :(
I think more of these will have to be purchased when I order from Teavivre…
I don’t know why I hesitated to write a note about this one… I’ve done Grade 1 and Hao Ya, but I seem to forgot about this one. Oh well, better write it now while I’m in mood for it.
This is the cheapest Keemun you can get from TeaVivre. I guess I didn’t really want to buy it, but I felt the urge to get it just to feel how far are they from each other.
Dry leaf is unevenly rolled when compared to other grades and even having some red hue to it.
I find this tea to be few steps from my taste area for breakfast tea. It’s light in taste so I could blend it with Ceylon. On other hand, some finer notes come up when steeped with boiling water and 5-minute sit. It has a somewhat coffee background, only lacking in character, with cocoa and dimmed vegetal notes and even hint of coconut with splash of milk.
Pleasant cuppa, only lacking in character. And when I think about it, it reminds me of Prince of Wales.
Sample provided by TeaVivre, thank you!
I haven’t tried Mao Jian before and I was a taken aback by brewing instructions (90C water) and 36-month shelf life which is like a double for random green tea.
Dry leaves have a dark olive tone and are long and twisted with some white tips and mild toasted aroma. I quite experimented with this one (still have to try cold brew method though) and I find it to be sensitive to both steeping time and temperature.
TeaVivre’s brewing instruction for this tea:
" Just like all green teas, brew Taimu Maojian at approximately 194 ºF or 90ºC for 1 to 2 minutes. TeaVivre’s Maojian can be infused 6 or 7 times, and you should add about 25% to the brewing time and using slightly hotter water for each infusion."
When I first brewed it (followed the instructions) I used minimum 60 seconds for first steep and added 15 seconds to second steep. What I got was delicious first infusion with clear jade tone and similar profile as Bi Luo Chun: fresh, slightly vegetal with sturdy chestnut background and some pleasant astringency that quickly fades and turns into sweet finish.
Second infusion seem to keep all the previous characteristics with a big scoop of bitterness. It wasn’t the one that would wrinkle your face but still it makes one focus more on bitterness itself than on savoring nuttiness and sweetness that are included.
I kept on brewing it with 15 second increase per steep, and third infusion brought less bitterness than previous with accent on sweetness and nutty aftertaste. There was a significant drop of astringency as well. I also got some kind of tickling sensation on tongue.
Forth steep (105 seconds) is where I pulled the plug. Taste started wearing out to the point that I might not want to drink 5th infusion. It still retained some sweet and vegetal notes with fair nutty background. Tickling sensation on tongue is more notable than in 3rd infusion.
I think I got seldom results for my first try.
On second try I managed to make it right! First two 60 second steeps (and 90C water for all) brought out an even profile of first infusion in my previous attempt. I also noted some starchy dryness this time. As I moved toward third infusion I noticed how that nutty background reminds me of dry leaf of particular Long Jing I had recently. Sweetness lingers and lasts long after sipping. This tea reminds me somewhat of Bi Luo Chun, that I don’t particularly enjoy due to its astringency, but astringency of this Mao Jian fits perfectly to my taste.
Wet leaves have accented nutty profile and I could toss them in salad or something (it’s organic after all).
I noticed that there’s only 200g left of this tea in TeaVivre’s stock. I immediately snatched 100g … only one more bag left…
This is the last of the sample from Teavivre. I have tried it before, and of the two flowering teas sent I liked Two Dragons and a Pearl the most, so that is the one I ordered from them. This one is also good, and certainly very pretty and entertaining. The liquor is pale and the blossoms have deep color so it makes a very pretty show.
I made this in my 8 ounce Taiwan glass teapot from purepuer.com. Because It opened slowly, I let it steep for about four minutes. It was still weak at that point, so I should have rinsed or just discarded the first steep. As it is, I decided to combine steeps 1 and 2 for a medium body.
The flavor is slightly grassy, but I really taste the marigold, especially on the first steeps. If you don’t like the smell of marigolds (my MIL hates them) you might not like this tea. If other blooming teas have been too weak for you, you might want to try this one.
Hubby hung in there for four steeps. I am still sipping and I think I am on number six. I am impressed with the flower colors. The first flowering tea I ever bought looked like stagnant ditch water in about five minutes. I half expected to see a minnow flit by. This is much, much better. Because I liked these two, I am toying with trying some of their other blooming teas as well, since I want to restock my dragon pearls and I want to try some more of their oolongs and I really REALLY need some more of their Chun Mee.
I really said most I can in my first review of this tea, but I want to repeat one thing in particular.
This is still the most perfectly jasmine-scented tea I’ve tasted. I have come across so many that are just over-scented and over-flavored (in some cases), and it has historically put me off jasmine teas.
Thanks to TeaVivre for proving to me that jasmine teas can be done right to suit my own palate, which seems more sensitive to flavorings and scentings.
I’m enjoying this more tonight than I was last night. Although I enjoyed it then, I found it a bit too heavy on the floral notes at the time. But… that was totally my fault. I have a really bad habit of gulping and quickly finishing tea rather than sipping it and savoring it. Anyway, I’m bumping the rating up. This stuff’s great.
Wow. All previous ideas of what Chinese green tea is are shattered. I’ve enjoyed other Chinese greens I’ve had before, but originally thought them inferior to Japanese greens taste-wise. This proved me wrong. This was transcendental. Light and brothy, super buttery and silky. I’ll have to add this into my “permanent collection” along with my beloved Japanese sencha. Blew me out of the water. Now, I’m off to go drop the ratings for other so-called dragonwells I’ve had, they don’t hold a candle to this. Nicely done, Teavivre.
Thank you to Angel from TeaVivre for these very generous samples!
WOW. This was really fantastic. This is my first experience with TeaVivre and it
was excellent from the packaging to the tea quality. The tea is packaged twice for maintaining freshness, something I did not expect and was impressed with. I made
a large teapot with 2 of the internal packets and this tea impressed the heck out of my visitors from the very start. We did 2 infusions and it held up very well to the 2nd infusion.
The tea flavour was very unique: unlike anything I’ve tried before. This was very interesting and unusual, in a great way. My friend said, “It smells like honey.” I got notes of honey as well but the clearest image in my mind while drinking this tea was, “This is a Green Tea, gone Black!” It really reminded me of the flavour and enjoyment of a good green tea, it just happened to be a black tea! That was a surprising though, but as I drank further that thought continued. Very good! Great with milk or straight-up. A really unexpected and rich flavour, excellent.
After another crazy week, the beau and I are sitting down to finally try this sample from Teavivre – Thank you Angel! We are off to visit my grandmother in an hour or so, so we’re just slipping this one in before we continue the madness that this week has been.
The dry leaf smells decadent. It smells very rich, I find it has a chocolate characteristic and it instantly brings to mind the Golden Snail from Harney and Sons (which I have only a small amount of and am hoarding because it has been out of stock for months and months). I might want to try these side by side at some point and see if it’s just memory playing tricks on me. I steeped this for 3 minutes at 85 degrees (package specifications) with one sample package (approx. 2 teaspoons). The leaf has a surprising number of tips, it’s very attractive, even if the leaves are perhaps a bit more crushed than I might prefer. That could be due to shipping, storage, etc.
Steeped liquor is a golden amber, a little paler than I expected, but still with a bold aroma. I find the smell is very similar to the dry leaf – bold, rich, chocolatey. I hope I’m not the only one getting chocolate! (a side note, to be fair: I’ve been in the mood for a beautiful pure black tea that has chocolate notes for weeks – the thought that this one has been sitting idly by while I rushed about makes me cringe. I’m in love with the aroma, so far!)
First sips really match the aroma. So far this is a very consistant tea. This is bold. I do get chocolate in the taste, dark chocolate with a hint of something that could be considered bitter but doesn’t make me pucker. There is a sweetness in the middle of the sip which tapers off to the richness I am experiencing in the chocolate notes. Right now, this is heaven! I think there might be a tiny hint of astringency, as my lips are feeling a tiny bit dry, but there is nothing that tastes bitter or drying. Who knows, maybe this is my lips trying to wake up. : )
General consensus: yum. Very yum. Hopefully I can eke out a re-steep before we leave and see if these leaves can go the extra mile. This is definitely a tea that I am going to want to have on hand and will definitey go on my teavivre order once I’ve tried the rest of my samples. Mmmm!
I can’t believe how many people assume that all tea tastes llike bagged orange pekoe. While I can appreciate the place for bagged OP, I find it so hard to explain to someone just how delicious all teas (and especially black teas) can be. There is so much variety out there – so much more!
This sample was generously provided to me by Teavivre and I am very thankful. This is my first milk oolong and this is probably the one I was most excited to try. The first thing I noticed was that the “milkiness” was not as pronounced as I had imagined it to be, but it was definitely there. I guess I just imagined it in a different sense, because what I got from it was better classified as “buttery” like I was used to with a Japanese sencha, just more mellow. While the floral taste of the Tie Guan Yin I tried sometimes got a little too intense for me, I felt that the balance of flavor in this one was just perfect. This was a very pleasant tea to drink on a late night.
This is my first white peony, and my second white tea experience. It was fairly good, but definitely not my favorite that I’ve had out of my Teavivre samples. It’s got that soothing hay/fruit/floral flavor that I loved when I had Rishi’s silver needle, but to a lesser degree. I feel this may have been partly my fault as I’m still a little shaky on how to properly brew a white tea (all I have equipment wise is a basic cooking pot to heat the water in and I have to totally guess on the temperature). This one was just so-so for me. I’m sure it’s a high quality white peony, it’s just not my favorite.
These leaves are beautiful! Long, narrow, perfectly straight, vibrantly green leaves. They’re quite large actually and thus hard to correctly measure. But I think I did all right. The aroma is lovely, fresh green tea.
The taste is even lovelier than the aroma. Light, fresh, vegetal, and sweet. Light is the perfect description. It’s not heavy like Dragonwell.
There’s also virtually no aftertaste (as in the taste doesn’t linger). I haven’t decided if that’s good or bad yet. But it is definitely a noticeable characteristic of this tea. The aroma is grassy, but luckily for me that grassiness doesn’t make it into the flavor much.
Overall, this is a wonderful green tea. The second steep for two minutes was just as flavorful as the first, and I’m sure it could keep going for several more infusions, if I was so inclined. This tea is quite affordable for such high quality. It’s deserving of my stamp of approval! I highly recommend!
I just made the very last of this tea. It is magical! I really love this one. Out of the two milk oolongs that I have tried this one is my favorite. I think that I enjoy this one because the ‘milk’ part of the flavor is there, but it is more of a supporting character instead of the main actor. There are lots of green, floral notes in this tea. This was a great sample and I have to once again thank Teavivre for the chance to sample this!
I thought the Tie Guan Yin I got from Teavivre was good but this stuff right here is AMAZING. I didn’t even consider myself a big black tea fan before because I was naive to what a truly high quality black tea was. I didn’t even know that black tea could possess the kind of flavor “wow” factor that this does, my eyes are now open. For me, the most dominant smell/flavor in this is that of maltiness with little hints of chocolate and raisins, in a more refined sense it kind of reminds me of those Whoppers candies (the malted milk balls). This is smooth, comforting, a little sweet, a little earthy, chocolatey, malty… Just all around delicious. I drank it with homemade General Tso’s chicken and fried rice and it really complimented the meal. I will definitely be buying some of this.
I really do enjoy pu-erh teas and this one is pretty high on my list. Especially of the ones that I can identify, seeing as I have a few at home I just can’t figure out what company made them!
In any case, it’s been another long, stressful day at work and I felt the need to relax. I had just eaten a large lunch and clocked back in when it became eminently clear that I needed some nice pu-erh to help keep my stomach settled and my senses alert.
Once it was brewed, I smelled the tea and actually said out loud, “Yes! This is exactly what I need!” It was sort of silly. I guess it’s a good thing there aren’t too many people near my desk.
What I love most about a good pu-erh like this is how it transports me. I smell the tea and have a sip and I’m camping in the woods, huddled in a warm sleeping bag as a fallen tree falls apart eaten by termites next to my tent. * sigh * This is where I want to be right now. And this is where I feel like I am when I enjoy this tea.
Today is the day I’ve been waiting very impatiently for the past couple weeks…the day my Teavivre samples came. Words can’t explain how excited I was when I saw the beaten, tattered box with Chinese writing on it sitting on my counter after school. This is my first Iron Goddess and my first green oolong in general. I was surprised when I smelled the brewed tea because I am naive to green oolongs. I had always heard “floral” as being a commonly used word to describe the taste of an oolong, but I never expected it to be this strong, to me it smelled like straight up jasmine green tea. The smell alone was very soothing and therapeutic. Being new and not yet having a refined palate, it’s hard for me to tell what all is going on in this tea. The floral flavors are very obvious to me, as well as a “slightly roasted” green tea type of flavor, and something I’m picking up on that I would describe as “minerally”. But it is a very delicate tea and I can tell there is a lot more going on then what my untrained taste buds can pick up on. Still, I like what I am experiencing. This tea is very mellow, and very soothing, and it’s doing a very good job of helping me wind down a little bit after a hectic week. I’m very much enjoying it and look forward to trying the rest of my samples (after 3-4 more infusions of this). Thanks to the generous people at Teavivre for allowing me this opportunity.
This Pi Lo Chun is nice this morning, I needed a mild and somewhat gentle green tea to get me going today. Overall, Chinese green teas don’t seem as flavorful to me as Japanese green teas but sencha can really make me nauseated. Thanks again for the sample, TV.