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Recent Tasting Notes
I needed a comforting cup of oolong and decided to go with this one. Looks like I am the first to review it (whoa)… so here we go!
Dry: Small leaves with a nutty smell to them. Almost like a baked whole wheat/nutty bread. I’m excited. I hope it wraps me in a big doughy ball of warmth – like a tea hug. I need it.
Liquor: 1st steep (30s): Well – I will never do 2-3tsp of oolong per 8oz steeped for 2-3 min.. then proceed to drink it. That would be way too intense for me. So instead I only steeped for about 30s instead using boiling water as they recommend (it worries me a touch… and depending on how this turns out I may drop it down – though the leaves are fully fermented so it’s probably alright). The liquor is a warm apricot colour. It’s nice. I don’t sense any floral notes at all, but a nice roasted chestnut taste. It’s slightly sweet, like a clover flower, though there is a different creaminess that isn’t a typical creamy (I’m attributing this to the chestnut taste). Oh delicious. Based on the leaves, I wasn’t expecting it to produce. How naive haha! In all honesty – this tea is still hot but I am gulping it down. I should slow it down and let it cool a bit. Hmph.
2nd steep (1 min): It’s now a deep amber apricot colour. The leaves are about 1/3 unfurled. I pick up a more floral note hidden amongst a toasty caramel smell (maybe?). At first I immediately thought citrus, then it became the caramel smell.. then coconut. I don’t know what is going on with either my nose or this tea but it’s neat (and confusing). Whoa strong. I watered it down. About an extra 1.5 oz. I am not fond of this steep. I’ll be honest. It’s a dumper. Drats!
3rd steep (30s): Intermediate colour between 1st and 2nd steep. I get a stronger clover flower smell. It’s Meh
Maybe my steeping parameters need to go back to my typical oolong steeping methods. This is way too overpowering and just tastes like strong tea with an interesting smell but a blank palate. Sad. It’s okay though – I have 100g worth to get this one right! For now I will stick with my rating – though I will seek to improve it with my steeping methods (aka – do NOT follow anywhere near their guidelines. Unless you like extremely strong tea).
PS. Warning – geek fest if you read on I was reading the description and looked up a research paper on oolong and it’s inhibitory effects on Streptococci (bacteria). Very neat: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8319255
EDIT: I let the 2nd steep cool off (I was too lazy to get up immediately and dump it).. and after giving up on steeping the leaves again, I had nothing to drink but this (and was too lazy to go to wash out the strainer for new leaves).. so I sipped it. AND GOOD. Chocolate. 70% dark chocolate. Just a touch of sweetness. I now regret ditching the leaves. I think this will be a fantastic oolong for icing in the summer. Yummy – rating goes up (had it at 61)
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.
Thank you Teavivre for this sample!
This sample came vacume packaged in a purple and gold wrapping and then inside vacume packed again. These little darlings were not moving in transit!
I had volunteered some time removing cobwebs from garage doors this fine Spring Saturday in my community condo complex…and not feeling particularly up to fussing with complex brewing techniques…decided on Western Style (side saddle being that I’m a Colorado lady) steeping of this fine tea. This Oolong is soaked in honey. Interesting.
A 2 minute steep and the removal of the leaves smells wonderfully sweet with a bit of floral vegital glamor. The color is medium deep honey gold and somewhat cloudy…maybe from the honey.
On tasting I am surprised that there is not a heavy honey flavor. There is sweetness which is quite light, but not honey. I taste the light lilac and vegital flavor that my nose picked up from the first introduction. This tea is a bit salty with a tingle of pepper.
Adding some sweetening improves the flavor, bringing to the forefront the beautiful floral lilac expression. I am disappointed in the lack of honey flavor. As an Oolong, this is something I have had before, and it is a nice Oolong but not remarkable.
Also, 3-4 teaspoons tea for 8oz of water is a lot. I used 2TB for 16oz pot good grief! For this tea not to taste great is a shame.
The second steeping (I’m being fair here) is light and clear!
Whatever the honey coating was doing globbed onto the leaves so tightly before and clouding the tea is gone. Now the liquor sunny yellow-gold and shimmering. My second brew is much more illusively scented…as if a breeze lifted the scent of one lilac on a strand past my nose. There is absolutely no honey at all. None. Nada. But, the flavor is pleasant. This second steeping is where you want to be with a nice Oolong (still this is an average-plus one though).
My overall rating will have to be somewhere I don’t want to go, but I must be honest. I get no honey flavor in this tea. I think you have to sacrifice too much product for a good cup. The first 8oz is cloudy and not that good but the second steeping is much better and I expect the 3rd and 4th will be fine also. I have had such good experiences with my Teavivre tea’s that this one is just not spectacular like I’m used to. I may be expecting too much. I do appreciate the experience.
Tea of the morning…….
I know there is nothing really new in my cupboard besides a few samples here and there. Also, life is busy at the beginning of the school year for me as I am the band and orchestra uniform parent at my kid’s high school. So, for me to take the time to post about a tea I have already reviewed, it is important!
So good today. MmmmmmSmooth. Notes of chocolate and malt. Perfection. I only wish they had more in stock. I think I have another 100 grams in the stash somewhere. It is my hoarding tendencies day for pay off. This is probably one of the older teas in my stash…..getting close to 2 years, but it just tastes fantastic.
I use 12 balls in my 24 oz. teapot. All of the other brewing parameters are standard.
Tea of the morning……
And this is actually the second steep! Since I had my other Dragon Pearl black tea yesterday, I decided to see how this one compares this morning. Really, they are nearly interchangeable. It is just a guess, but I have a feeling that most of the black variety of dragon pearl tea comes from a similar source. I could be completely wrong, though, as I actually know so little about the tea production and primary distribution business. I barely know all I need to know in the tea drinking business. ;) I know just enough about drinking it to thoroughly enjoy myself, really.
As usual for this type of tea….notes of chocolate and malt, and very smooth. The leaves are huge once they unfurl in my steeping basket. The second steep is as good as the first, and I expect to get one more good one before I decide to move onto another tea. I have not really tried a fourth, but one day I will. Great quality tea, and the price for 100grams is very good. I can immediately think of 4 sources for this type of tea and this one is the most reasonable for that amount. Prices get a little more competitive around the 1 pound mark.
Usual mug method…6 pearls.
Tea of the afternoon……
I bought this one without sampling from TeaVivre in my last order. I love black pearl teas. They are so fun. This one is very similar to my Red Dragon Pearl from thepuriTea, but at a much more reasonable price. If you are buying a pound, they are close, but if you want smaller amounts, thepuriTea charges quite a bit more per ounce and their price per ounce decreases siginificantly with the increase in amount purchased. Also, TeaVivre makes it much easier to get to the level of free shipping which is always a bonus, and usually means I will order more often. It might take a little longer to get a package from China than California for me, but I can usually wait.
The tea is great. I used 6 pearls in my ForLife Tall Tea mug and it came out perfect. The liquid is a dark amber, there are notes of chocolate and malt, and this is just begging for a resteep. Very good, and I am very happy that I just ordered 100 grams, rather than sampling first.
(I did sample a few others, and just to let you know what the packaging looks like….since the samples for sale on the website are 10 grams, they came in 2 small pouches that are well labelled but not resealable. The small pouches are similar to the size of their other samples that come in 5 gram amounts, but the packaging is silver with the TeaVivre logo on it, rather than the individual packs from the tea packer. I also got a free sample of Da Hong Pao.)
Teavivre sent me a huge sample of this… so exciting!
I opened up the little foil-sealed package, and the leaves on this are HUGE. At least two inches, and fairly wide, and very very thin. I’ve never seen leaves this big! They’re beautiful, and very bright green.
The liquor is one of those radioactive greens – very bright, very light, very yellow. But it tastes delicious. Sweet and a little vegetal, and there’s definitely a lingering smoky aftertaste. I definitely want to drink more of this :)
I don’t usually drink light-tasting teas, but Huang Shan Mao Feng is one of my favourites during the hot summer days. What’s really amazing about this particular tea
is that it can be steeped many times before loosing all its flavour. I remember tasting this tea for the first time back in 2011 when Teavivre was starting and Angel contacted me on Steepster and offered to send me a sample of this tea along with three others.
Since then I haven’t had any of this tea from Teavivre and I took the opportunity to get it in a limited offer in April.
Upon opening a sample bag an intensive fresh spring peas aroma was revealed and what I noticed with this tea is that it has a somewhat curly leaf shape compared to 2011 harvest which had voluminous leaves as well but more of a straight shape. As the sample contained 4gr of leaf, an exact amount for Gongfu method, I decided to steep it in gaiwan with the instructions at Teavivre’s site. I was a bit boggled by that it’s only a three steep show but I guess it’s for a reason.
Upon rinsing the leaves I savoured the fresh vegetal aroma for a while before steeping it for 30 seconds. Moments after I got a very light emerald tone liquor, which is typical for this kind of green tea. First sip revealed light but rich taste of steamed peas followed with sugary note that lingered in the throat for a while. Second sip brought out a light flowery too as well and some tingling on the tongue moments after as well.
Second infusion introduced additional note of stone fruits with moist, juicy sensation in mouth that was briefly put to an end with herbaceous finish. Very thirst quenching.
With the last infusion I noticed some dryness and general absence of vegetal element with floral component leading through with a tad of sweetness. With last, cooled sips I savored some stone fruit notes and I realized that there was no place for a fourth steep.
Very pleasing experience, I only wish it lasted a bit longer.
Flavors: Herbaceous, Peas, Stonefruits, Sweet
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
Yesterday I found some scattered tea notes and one of them was Teavivre’s Huang Shan Mao Feng.
Dry leaf is very long with partially twisted first leaf. Apart from its usual green texture I noticed a few leaves with somewhat yellow and brown hue to them. With a deep sniff dryness with hint of sweetness to it is revealed, and when dropped in pre-heated teapot you get some starchiness rising to nostrils. When it comes to visual appearance his tea has hardly any broken leaf and seems to take a bit more volume than my other Mao Fengs I have in cupboard.
I steeped this tea in glass 250 ml teapot three times (and I could have gone for more if I wasn’t full) with 80 Celsius water, and 60 – 60 – 90 seconds steep.
First infusion came out clear and really pale jade. During steeping barely any leaves sunk since I added them on top. Light bodied and sweet with lingering
fruity note (apricot, peach… not quite sure) that completes at tongue root after wallowing (peach). Every sip seems so thirst quenching, refreshing and amazingly good. As I empty pitcher I don’t see any kind of residue.
Second infusion is still clear like first but with more of jade tone to it. With slightly augmented peach notes comes a faint Tie Guan Yin-like note in background with just a hint of astringency. Few seeps in and I start to notice how my throat is getting a bit dry, almost sore-like, starchy…
The appearance of third infusion is identical to that of second. As I’m not intending to steep it further I removed wet leaves that filled my room with light Tie Guan Yin-like aroma. When it comes to tasting this infusion reminds me of 4th steep of Teavivre’s Tie Guan Yin (look it up in my previous notes) with grassy-vegetal body. At this point I thought that I might squeezed a bit too much out of the leaves and that I should’ve steep it just over a minute.
Although I can’t recall much of the experience with this particular tea I can, however, tell that this is the best Mao Feng I’ve had so far. I guess I should write more in-detail impression just after finishing my cup in future.
I love the subtle aroma of the dried leaf. I brewed this with ample leaf for 2 minutes and the first impression I got was asparagus. This faded as it cooled. The color is a lovely yellow green hue with a slight bitterness. I may have used too much leaf. Either way I am thoroughly enjoying this tea. Fellow Steepsterites have commented on drinking greens later in the day because of the lower caffeine. For me, there is a certain something in greens that I do not get in any other tea. A soaring energy. I think this a wonderful tea. Another winner from Teavivre.
As with many other Steepsters, I’m playing catch-up, as I’ve been enjoying this tea for a while, but life has dragged me away from my tea writing for a bit. I’ve enjoyed this tea, but I think after comparing it to a Keemun ‘A’ grade I had before I had this sample of what is labeled as ‘premium’ that I prefer keemun a bit more toward the floral side, with less smoke.
Nonetheless, it’s very balanced and clean in the cup, great for nursing a soar throat if you’re drinking it by itself or pairing it with sweet/spicy foods.
A couple of pics of the dry leaf and added thoughts (including the tea wand I first used to infuse it with) are at my blog. http://bit.ly/JHFW00
Overall, a good quality keemun, but I will probably reach for my local shop’s ‘A’ for my regular cup simply because I like the orchid notes over the smoky notes.
Hm. Finishing up the sample they sent me. Eyeballed the infuser basket in my mini teapot.
Very sweet. Doesn’t taste as much like smoke as Adagio’s gunpowder does, but that’s okay with me. I love sweet greens. There’s a bit of the smoky aftertaste, and I love how it sort of follows the flavor instead of dominating it. Sad to see this one go.
Many thanks to Teavivre for the generously sized free sample!
The leaves on this are tightly rolled and shiny; they smell vegetal and a little bit dry. On a first steep, the leaves opened up and released the smoky scent characteristic of gunpowders. It’s not as delicate as I previously thought these teas were – I thought I had to be much more careful with them in order to keep them happy. But I think next time I’ll try a first steep on 2 minutes instead of 1, because it was a very light scent.
It was, however, delicious. I really enjoy the smoke, and the sweetness that washes over the palate afterwards. There’s a little bite to it which I really enjoy. Delicious!
This is one of the Teavivre tea’s that I decided to purchase in bulk for daily use. Why?
Originally this pu-erh wasn’t even part of the sample program that many of us have enjoyed receiving from Teavivre.
During the sample mailings I noticed that there was this one lonely
pu-erh with no reviews so I asked Angel if I could have some so that a review could go up on Steepster.
She sent me the sample and..I ended up liking this tea.
But what made me purchase it for daily use? I looked for four things flavor, quality, the company and cost.
I have more expensive pu-erhs than this one, jewels that have exceptional flavor which I drink on special occasions and some just once a week.
My daily pu-erhs tend to fit a flavor profile that I don’t get tired of. This is of good quality from a company that I love doing business with and at a price I can afford. (I am living on a fixed income!)
The tea is a little bit salty and bready which is something I find appealing. The earthiness is not too strong and there is great richness and body that stands up to sweetening and milk if I want a morning latte.
( Please, Rinse the dry leaves 20 seconds)
I recommend Western Style brewing because the Brew takes a good amount of tea leaves (3-4 teaspoons per 8oz) and a short (1-2 minute) Steep.
I have done this method over and over successfully with a rich and dark liquor each time.
I wouldn’t suggest using a gaiwan unless you were cutting the leaf to a minimal amount for 4oz.
Resteeping produces great results!
The price is very good $9.90 for 100 grams.
Second Review Teavivre Sample…thankyou!
I made it to the Post Office in my local health food market just before closing at 6pm last evening…to send off samples of tea to Stoo (Steepster) and my sister-in-law Kathy (Special Ed. teacher). Some evil old desire came over me and I found myself next door at Starbucks, sitting in a big leather chair with a skinny vanilla latte (coffee) with Kindle in hand jotting comments on Steepster. How evil is that?! How could I? I repent!
To make up for last night, I need to blot out the memory of that coffee with a really great tasting PU-ERH! Yes!
Teavivre has one of my favorite loose Pu-erhs for every day drinking. It has big bold flavor. You do a quick rinse, steep 3 minutes and Wow! The darkest liquor!
The Pu-erh is super rich, deep, with an earthy broth and mushroom taste that is also a little salty. As a latte you could not ask for more. There is smooth creamy caramel without sacrificing a barrel aged, cave cured taste that I crave in Pu-erh’s.
I will buy this tea. It is not enough to have a large sample. I want to have this often. It has the most mushroom flavor of any Pu-erh I’ve tasted thus far. I should begin to catagorize my Pu-erh’s with flavor profile tags now. Seems like a better system than my memory.
Hope I am forgiven for backsliding. Why would I go back when there is so much more in tea (especially Pu-erh) than I ever imagined as a coffee drinker.
Thank you to Teavivre for this tea sample which I requested!
I noticed that there were no tasting notes for this loose Pu-erh on Steepster. So, when Angel contacted me about sending a second round of samples, I requested this one and I received a nice amount for several large pots of tea.
Where has this Pu-erh been? Why has noone reviewed it before? In my opinion, it is one of the best…if not THE BEST loose leaf pu-erhs I’ve had to date!
The instructions for brewing recommend 1-2 minute steep…but I went longer to 4 minutes which was delightfully dark. The broth (not liquor at this point) was not dirty but um yum…lightly salty with the flavor of slowly sauteed, buttery crimini mushrooms. Splendid! Marvelous! Delicious!
I can sip this and not need to snack on anything all day if I want to. It is just that good and savory!
Hiding underneath the broth is a natural sweetness trickling along in the big juicy flavor until POW! you get a sparkling WAM! of pepper on your tongue. (More sparkle than bite!).
Being an experimenter with flavor, I sweetened the pu-erh just a little which was a real enhancement to the savory quality of the tea.
This is fine loose Pu-erh!
Then, my power went out! I put on my Kindle Fire music and listened to this by Tchiakovsky (it lets you skip past the youtube ad):
Second Review Less tea used and less steep time with better results!
To be honest, the first review of this tea was disappointing. All the tea’s from Teavivre have been so good that I was surprised at this one. I promised to try again to see if I had a bad day before, or if perhaps my taste buds were not feeling well. I suspected the brewing instructions were part of the bad taste the first time. In my opinion, the amount of tea and time needed for a good cup was not balanced. The tea was way too strong.
This time I followed my instinct. A scant 1TB for 24oz. at 190F. steeped for 1min.
That was enough for a stout pot of tea. The liquor was smoky, slightly astringent and very flavorful.
I had sauteed 2 pts. of mushrooms, spinach with a tiny bit of ham shank and garlic and this brought out a dark, fruity flavor paired with the tea. Yes, fruit.
There was a dried blackberry background in the smokiness that went wonderfully with my dinner.
I’m glad I gave this tea another go around. Worth a second cup! Just cut down the steep time and tea measurement quantity a bit and the cuppa is very good!
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
The Fort Collins Power Company was going to shut off power in the area for 3 hours this morning so I got up early enough to have a hearty pot of tea to stave off withdrawl symptoms! Not being familiar with Keemun, and reading about the smokey character (which I like), I chose this from my new package of Teavivre samples.
The dry tea is very dark and fine, which proved to brew a very dark liquor, fragrant with medium smokiness and malt.
This is not a tea party tea! It has Huevos like a shot of taquilla! The smoke is not like a Lapsang Souchong…but assertive somewhere in the middle range of smoke and quite astringent. The astringency creates lots of juice and tannin bites your tongue. No malt. This tea had too many rough edges to start my day by drinking it straight up. After all, my hair is messed up and I’m on the couch with a tea tray watching the news with a BIG MUG of tea American Style! I DO NOT want an intellectual interlude with my cuppa at this hour of the morning! My brain cells are still asleep! So, I added some cream and sugar and it knocked those rough edges right off the Keemun…oh yeh!
If you like a more tobacco, acidic and less yammy morning brew, this may be for you. If you do not like malt, again you may prefer this tea. I prefer the other black tea’s from Teavivre which are so wonderful! Try for yourself and see which is for you!
I’ve been meaning to get to this tea for some time, but this is the first time I have remembered I have it, and it is the right time to have it, since it is later in the evening and I don’t want any caffeine before bed.
I wasn’t sure how much to use as it wasn’t printed on the package like the other teas, so I just used 2 (heaping) teaspoons and let it steep about 5-6 minutes. Coming here, I see the instructions say to use more, but I think I used the right amount for my tastes.
There is definitely a smell of pineapple with the dry mixture. Once brewed, I can’t really taste anything beyond the tartness. I’ve never been a hibiscus fan, and while roselle is milder, it is still tart. Much more tolerable tart, but more for iced than hot tart.
The colour is beautiful, and the taste is a little lighter than the Blueberry tea, though I think the Blueberry tea is a bit more complex in flavours. I do prefer the Blueberry over this one…though this one will probably be made iced, and possibly blended with sparkling water or juice as a summer treat.
My thanks to Angel at Teavivre for sending this generous sample my way!