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Recent Tasting Notes
I feel like a lot of the subtlety of some teas, this one in particular, is lost on me. I didn’t really like this one. I mean, the leaves smelled wonderful, and the infusion smelled just as awesome and fresh, but when I drank it, I was overwhelmed by the taste of smoky leather. I would have liked to have liked it, but I can’t say that I did.
Used 6 pearls to 8 oz of water, came out extremely smooth, like chocolate. Check out a full review here http://www.examiner.com/review/teavivre-fenqing-dragon-pearl-black-tea-review
This is amazing. I’m brewing it gong fu style, and each steep just gets sweeter and sweeter. The dry leaves are dusty and brittle, and rolled tightly into balls. When they soak into the water, they unfurl into large, rubbery leaves which have a typical sort of “oolong” scent to them. The flavor starts out roasty and a little nutty, and the third infusion is where it really starts to get going and the sweetness comes out. Fantastic. I’ll definitely order more of this!
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
I do enjoy a good Silver Needle Tea! I also am a believer in the curative properties of White Tea in particular having had a cure on my palms of a skin condition that I suffered with for 20 years and that White Tea applications cleared away completely never to return now many years later. (I don’t buy it when other people tell me these things, I know…but this is true for me!) I prefer the BEST ORGANIC I can afford! When this arrived in my package of samples, I was anxious to try it.
Opening the pretty white individual packet, the silver needles were long and covered with white down. Lovely! With a steep time of 1-2 minutes there was no waiting time. I am so impatient! The wet needles were fragrant with a green-bean vegetal scent, not scented enough to fill the room. I expected a floral smell which was not there. Curious.
The flavor was quite mild, unlike any white tea or silver needle I’ve tasted before. So mild in fact that I would not be able to say this is silver needle in a blind tasting. It was a bit salty and juicy, more like linen than needle, not floral or vegital at all. It was a bit hazelnutty.
I broke down and sweetened it…maybe that would change the picture.
Oh Golly! (like that word) The sweetness with the salt grabs the guts of the tea and yanks the hidden not-to-sweet flavor of salted butterscotch! This was mega better good!
Now I had the roll going…sweet….slurping…salty butterscotch silver needle white tea! My taste buds are having a party because this is one of those flavors that all you need is some friends to stop by. You want to share a tea like this one. This just can’t be a Silver Needle!
This is a keeper!
When I opened its bag, the tea did not smell as flowery or fragrant as other green Oolongs that I have tried. A plus for me, actually, as green oolongs can be a bit rough for me with its overwhelming flowery-ness.
Looks: Medium sized, full very green. Quite beautiful and typical of a green oolong in terms of looks. The leaves oxidized to a brown once I left it sitting for a bit.
Fragrance & Taste: I did not find this that fragrant sitting in the cup. However, the taste is full in my mouth, so it’s probably my allergies affecting my ability to smell external aromas. The tea starts out quite floral, then eases into a smooth creaminess that fills the whole mouth. I’ve never had a milk Oolong before, and it surprised me that the liquid texture is also creamy, because the colour is totally golden and clear! There is also a lot of sweetness, and an almost nutty flavour detectable when the tea cools to room temp. Overall a very comforting drink.
Brewing note: I steeped it a little low, as the hot water dispenser at work can hardly reach 200F, but that didn’t seem to affect the tea flavours at all. Also, due to interruptions of a coworker, I accidentally overbrewed on the second steep, but did not experience any astringency or bitterness. The creaminess is greater on the second steep than the first. I suspect it can go for at least one more without losing flavours.
Disclaimer: I got this Oolong as a free sample from TeaVivre.
Had a cup of this tea with lunch. This is definitely one of my favorite greens from Teavivre. It’s so nutty and delicious! It’s amazing to me how my tastes have changed, because I’m pretty sure that early in my tea journey I would have tried this one and not thought that it was anything special. Now I appreciate the subtleties of green teas so much more than ever before.
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)
It has been a stressful week. I am dealing with the public at early voting, still teaching my music students, and my mother-in-law had trigeminal neuropathy seizures again late Tuesday night and we rushed over to help, ending up calling an ambulance and sitting in the emergency room until all hours and not getting her home again for two days. Tonight I was considering trying some Kava tea (a free sample that came from Yogi but looks scary so I will probably never drink it) or some Get Some Zzz’s. Then I realized I just wanted to relax, and all that takes is a really good jasmine tea…just like this.
I was placing a Harney order for someone else and thought about ordering their jasmine pearls a.) just for ha-ha’s, b.) for comparison, and c.) because shipping was already covered, but when I saw the price I knew Teavivre was going to continue to be my source for Dragon Pearl Jasmine. Delicious, soothing, comforting, and very affordable. Maybe someday I will try another, but this one really massages the soul and is a great price.
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.)
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.
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 had intended to try some of the marvelous tea sent by Missy and Dulan, but hubby and I went to a Chinese buffet for supper and I knew I would be happier with myself if I drank some puerh to tame all that fat in the crab rangoon and spring rolls, and maybe white sauce and lomein and…you get the idea.
I had two tuocha left and so far I have steeped them three times. I did a 30 second rinse first and then each steep has been four minutes because I am making this in a 22 ounce pot. Normally I would use three tuocha but alas I was down to just two.
This is very good even though lighter than usual, and doing the job! Tummy is rumbling away happily as it should. Sharing this pot with hubby, son, and son’s girlfriend.
(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.
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!
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):
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!