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Recent Tasting Notes


Wow, this name was quite a mouthful. Taking the recommendations of the packaging, I boiled two cups of water and steeped this pu’erh for two minutes (Teavivre recommends one to two minutes). The dry leaves have much less of an earthy smell than I would have expected from a ripe pu’erh, but when the steeping is done, I am left with a wonderfully smooth-smelling pot of shou tea. This first pot is very smooth, a little bit earthy, if not slightly weak (understandable for a first steeping. I finish this first pot and steep another, this time increasing the time to two and a half minutes.

The second steeping strengthens both the aroma and flavor of this pu’erh. The earthy notes have come out stronger in both aspects. However, the tea has still kept its full smoothness. My only disappointment with this tea is the lack of complexity in the flavor profile. It is very much just a straight forward, simple shou pu’erh. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give this tea an 85/100.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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Finally getting this sample! Thanks Teavivre!

First impression of the dry leaf is that it smells a lot like DT’s milk oolong. Make you wonder if theirs is flavored. It’s like condensed milk. Yummy!

First steep is more like cream cheese frosting than milk. There is a lot of vegetal flavor coming through. Smooth and sweet.

Second steep is less milky and more vegetal. Maybe like creamed veggies. :)

The leaves expand like crazy, of course. Good old dependable green oolong. :) I think I might like the unflavored version more but this is something I’ll enjoy to the last drop anyways.


I preferred the unflavored version as well, even though I didn’t necessarily expect to!


I tried the flavored but haven’t tried the unflavored yet.

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If you’ve kept up with my tasting notes, you know that I am a huge fan of Teavivre Teas. I have yet to be disappointed by any of their products.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be Teavivre’s fabulous Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea. That tea is nothing short of incredibly fantastic, albeit a little pricey. This time, I thought I would save some money and hope that their Grade 1 Keemun selection was good enough to satisfy my Keemun itch.

I love the aroma of the short unbrewed tea leaves. It is a rich, sweet, and earthy smell that seems to belong only to Teavivre’s Keemun.

I steeped the tea at 205 degrees for three minutes as instructed on the packet. The color of the brewed liquor was golden brown.

As I brought the cup to my lips, I could already smell the savory Keemun. The first sip was absolutely delicious. The taste was sweet, earthy, full-bodied, and very smooth. There was no bitterness to be found. Subsequent sips…and cups…were at least equally delightful.

In my opinion, this Grade 1 Keemun is every bit as delicious and satisfying as Teavivre’s Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea. If you are on a budget (as I am), and you love Keemun, take advantage of the great taste and very reasonable price (currently – 10/24/2012 – Teavivre is also offering 20% off!) of the Grade 1 Keemun tea. I am very glad that I did! By the way, if your budget is even more restricted than mine, Teavivre has a Grade 2 Keemun black tea at even greater savings (and also currently – 10/24/2012 – 20% off)!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This is again thanks to Angel and the Teavivre crew. smiles

This is a better review than the Lapsang Souchong by a mile! LOL. I had wanted to try a more ‘traditional’ Oolong because I’ve had such limited experience so far, and wanted something to compare teas with an Oolong base to, even teas that have a lot in it. I had a imsomnia filled night so if my wording comes across as odd, that is why. Lack of sleep can make me a little loopy.

1st smell Dry: Sweet and uncomplicated. I can easily picture myself relaxing after a long days work with a cup of this, though long before I go to bed, as the minor caffeine amounts may affect my sleep later that night.
Wet: Even more sweet, and maybe because I was expecting it: Creamy.
1st taste: In reading the reviews for the tea before sipping my cup, I noticed frequent mentions of a buttery taste. Truthfully, the idea kind of repulsed me, even though I have had and do enjoy butter tea. But when I took the 1st sip, without any sweetener, Mmm. Nice. I knew I had to add sweetener….I’m getting resigned to that factor…..lol. So I added one at a time, took a sip so I would make sure not to accidently put to much.
Oh, almost forgot to mention: I do not have any traditional tea items for this, I had thought if I did get to where I really like at least 2 of these samples, then I would start saving up for a nice gaiwan. So instead, I was going to use one of my teapots, but one is ridiculously big, to big for 1 cup, and the other is in the dishwasher. So I used my owl cup and favorite strainer. I put the visual equivalent of what I use for other loose tea, rinsed them, preheated my cup and then boiled more water, and set the top on it. When I took the top off, my 1st thought: (Mind you slightly befuddled due to lack of sleep.) that the leaves had exploded! Then I thought….Ooooo I think I put to many in the cup. So I thought to myself that I’d better do at least 1 more steeping of the leaves, that is if I could stand drinking down the 1st cup.

It isn’t the usual type of tea that I’ve gotten used to, so I don’t think I would choose this one very often. It is sweet, creamy, kind of grassy. I just might decide to buy this in bulk form.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Thank you Angel and Teavivre for all the wonderful samples! I was so excited when these came in and I ended up being sent a lot more than I expected to receive!

I decided to start my taste testing out with something I have never had before, White Peony. When I opened the package I took a whiff and got didn’t really get anything worth mentioning. It was light and fresh.

Actually after reading the instructions, I just realized that I have been using only 1tsp per 8oz instead of 2-3tsp. OOPS! Regardless, I cannot stop drinking this. I drank 3 12oz cups, and made 2 8oz cups with the same leaves yesterday, and have had 3 12oz cups again today. Though the taste is really light it’s really great. It’s definitely something I could drink at any time of the day. It’s floral, and calming. The leaves are really cute too. Next time I’ll make it with 3tsp instead of just the one, but I’m really loving this as is.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Do let us know if there’s any difference when you use 3tsp. If not, it sure sounds like you’re getting a lot of flavour out of just 1tsp! I might stick with it and make the tea last 3x longer. :D

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Thanks to the Teavivre gang, especially Angel, for these samples.

When I got up today, (Got up really late.) I wanted to start on the tea tasting of the samples I got yesterday. I was most curious about the Lapsang Souchong so that is what I picked.

Dry smell: strongly smokey, not unappealing, but not appealing either.
Wet smell: more or less the same…though the smell reminded me a little bit of hay.
1st taste: Like many Americans, my palate has been affected by the high content of sugar, but I did try a few sips without putting any in, didn’t want to make it to much of a sacrilege. Alas…I knew by the 3rd sip that if I was to be able to finish the cup I would have to add some sweetener, so I added Apriva, (Kroger version, kind of like Splenda.) I ended up having to add ALOT. Which I really winced over, and still wincing as I am writing this. Wincing because I wanted to enjoy this without having to add anything to it.
Even with the sweetener however….can’t say I really like it. sad face this is NOT reflected on Teavivre, but rather on me and my palate. Hopefully this will be the only tea that I dislike from the group.

I will pretty much be reviewing only 1 a day, as I do not want to complicate the taste test with other teas. And hopefully when I get up each day, so that would be the only taste fresh in my mouth.


Don’t feel too bad. Lapsang isn’t for everyone. The smokiness is just too much for me too.

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Starting my Sunday off with a nice big pot of this. As much as I want to get out of the house after being sick all week I would really love to stay home all the time. It was nice. But I am going a little stir crazy. That and I think I may have watched everything Netflix had to offer on instant play!

Right the tea! My sense of smell is still a little shot…so the dry leaf smelled like nothing at all. But as the tea steeped? It certainly smelled like honey and very sweet. Which I didn’t notice the first time I had this tea. It smells SO good. I brewed this up in a glass tea pot so I really got to see the great copper/fall liquid of this tea. The taste is slightly sweet and very malty. Now back to the laundry and NaNoWriMo already in progress. :)

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

Wow I am super jazzed from this one cup. Yikes! Good thing I poured the rest into a soup I’m making.


Interesting – keemun soup?


Nope. Veggie soup. But I added it to the stock/broth I was using to cook the soup in.

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I grabbed this one when I arrived home from work today. I’d been wanting a straight Keemun for a few days now and totally forgot I had this sample! :) This is super smooth and mellow too. Plus unlike previous experience with some Keemun teas not bitter as the cup cools!

2 min, 0 sec

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Thanks to Teavivre for this generous free sample, and apologies for such a slow review!

I used about 2 tsp of tea in 2.5 cups of water for this tea, as I did with the DT version. This version definitely brewed up more quickly and strongly than the other, and even though it had less than half the time to brew, the flavour is quite similar. The biggest difference I’m noticing between them is in terms of sweetness; this tea is noticeably sweeter, and the sweetness emerges prior to swallowing, so is not just in the aftertaste. Other than that, both have a sweet, slightly seaweedy aroma, and the flavour of crispy fried seaweed, which is kind of toasty/seaweedy/delicious. Very interesting! After a bit of thought, the flavour could be described as quite “buttery”, which is how the fried seaweed comes off because of all the oil present. It’s tough to say which tea I’d prefer; I imagine that Teavivre’s has greater longevity, so if I was to purchase this again, that would probably be my choice, although I doubt I’ll pick this one up again of my own accord.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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Been busy all weekend, so I have had no time to try any tea and it has been driving me crazy! So now that I finally have time I decided to make this up from the sample bag that Teavivre.

The dry smell is very pleasant, which was surprising to me for some reason. It’s probably because the last Pu-erh I had was very fishy. The wet smell is very interesting as it smells kind of spicy like chili peppers or cooked green peppers. The color of the liquid is interesting as well since it is kind of a copper color similar to Oolong tea or a light black tea. The taste is a little oily in the mouth with a nice plum flavor. I sort of like it, it’s interesting.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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Fifty Shades of Oolong…

Lazy sunday afternoon….

Yes, so I am finally reading Fifty Shades of Grey… I resisted all summer long, being constantly hassled by friends: «Oh, you MUST read it, Oh Christian Grey this, Oh Christian Grey that!», I’m telling you, a bunch of puberty high school girls! (giggles)
To the point that I thought for sure this book was overrated, too much fuss and publicity surrounding it.

I was kind of suspicious of an author made famous instantly for writing a few hot and steamy sessions. But my curiosity got the best of me, and I caved in! I will admit that Mr.Grey has something on the collective fantasy world of women… Not highly intellectual literature, but hey, can a girl have some pure entertainment readings once in a while?

So I thought I’d pair this book with a «hot» tea, something sexy of course…

Mmm, some Ginseng love potion?

My first ginseng tea ever…I ordered 100g strictly based on *Roughage*’s review, he had mentioned he could taste Fisherman’s Friend cough drops. I adore them and thought it would be wonderful to find a similar taste in a beverage.

Dark bluish green little nuggets, how unusually shaped they are! I am so curious about them… I brewed the tea in my glass pot in order to watch the leaves doing their dance. 90 sec. They barely opened up, they are rolled very tightly. The infusion turned slightly green, darker than most oolong.

The aroma is definitely oolong, with a twist of…je ne sais quoi…

The taste:

Miaow…This is really fifty shades of flavour! How can I describe it?

I understand the cough drop reference, some kind of eucalyptus freshness surfing in my mouth and tingling my tongue, coating and warming my throat along with the buttery taste of oolong.

It also reminds me of some vintage candy my grandma used to give us, in french, they were called «Boules Noires» (doesn’t translate so well in english, but if you want to know, there you have it: Black Balls)

That’s exactly what they were, little black balls, hard as a rock and as you’d let them melt in your mouth, they would change colours… Lots of fun and very tasty! As I remember, they had a sweet liquorice fresh menthol feel to them and this tea is very reminiscent of that. I am really enjoying this.

Second steep and the leaves are on their way to unfurl, but not completely yet. I know some of you mentioned that the ginseng powder was pretty much gone after first steep, but I still get quite a bit of that flavour. It is more subtle though, and the oolong is more present. This oolong is very buttery, in a baked cookie kind of way.

I don’t know how many infusions I will get out of it, but this is what I’m having for the rest of the day!

It was the perfect choice to pair with what I’m reading at the moment… just like the book, it made me blush a little :-)


never heard about these famous boules noires in France. We had “boules magiques” an awful enormous hard candy with several flavor layers and, in its middle, to finish a chewing gum.
I wonder how these boules magiques didn’t manage to eradicate all French teenagers by suffocation …it was really a huge ball…

The tea seems amazing (not sure for the book…but Frenchs have Le marquis de Sade !)


@ysaurella: Oh, we had those awful «jawbreakers» here too, that’s what they were called «casse gueules»! that’s literally what they were! And for the book, I know it just came out in french, it is called Cinquante Nuances de Grey, but I’m reading the english version. I’d say not quite as twisted and tormented as the original Le Marquis de Sade! More of a romantic version :-)


Fifty shades of Grey = Twilight fanfiction with character name changes. Really. Someone found her original work and put it into one of the websites that can find plagarism, compared it to the book and it was a 95% match to the original. So. Bad.


@momo: I know I am also one the last woman on earth not having read the twilight series so I’m afraid I can’t compare…But if it is 95% of the same, than I don’t understand the big fuss about twilight either! However, I still find it somewhat entertaining :-)

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My first normal tea in a while!

The smell is smokey, sweet, kind of like chocolate. I initially get a muskiness as I drink, but it turns into something mineral and juicy, then a pleasant sweet smokiness in the back of my throat. The astringency seems to hit kind of randomly for me – I think this may actually be my first tea that has it/that I’ve tasted it in. I had no idea it was more of a physical sensation than a taste, but I looked it up just now to account for the sourness I kept feeling. It goes pretty well with the flavors in this!

On the second steep, it’s started to get the floralness to it that I saw mentioned in other reviews, and has much less bite. Definitely smoothing out by the third and fourth cups.

Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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I finally got around to sampling this from Teavivre. Sorry it took me so ling. :( this tea is just lovely to look at. It’s cute and furry. I almost felt like I was drowning little fuzzy animals in hot water as I brewed my cup. :( fortunately its just dried leaves I’m drowning! Delicious dried leaves!

The tea is light yellow smells softly floral and tender green grass. Like a perfect spring day. It’s good to remind oneself such days exist on miserable rainy cold days like this one. I’m also getting some summer squash. Second steep went a bit too long but there’s no bitterness. This tea is truly lovely. If teas belonged to a season, this would go with spring. Drinking this tea now is like having a perfect summer tomato in the middle of winter. This tea is out of its rightful time. To get the proper feel of fall, I’ll have to drink some darker oolongs later. :)

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THE LAST OF MY TEAVIVRE SAMPLES AND UM. WOW. WOW THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING BLACK TEA. I don’t think I ever expected myself to rate an unflavored black tea this high, especially without adding more things to it as well. I usually always doctor up my black teas with sugar and/or milk because they’re just too strong and sometimes bitter but WOW NOT THIS ONE! I didn’t have to add anything!

It SMELLED sweet at first! And the leaves looked so cute and curly, I don’t have any other tea that looks quite like this. When I went to take my first sip I was PREPARED FOR HEAVY BITTER BLACK TEA TASTE but then it… SURPRISINGLYWAS NOT! It was rich but not bitter at all, very sweet, kinda reminiscent of hazelnuts! I saw some people mention sweet potatoes as well and YES I think that describes it perfectly! A bit malty, ever so slightly butterscotch-y… what a great black tea, dang!

Many thanks again to Teavivre for these wonderful samples! I’m pretty much sold; most definitely want to buy some in the future!

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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I STILL have not figured out what this is so nostalgic! SOMEDAYSOMEDAY IT WILL COME TO ME…

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Another Teavivre sample yay! Thank you!

WOW THIS IS. SO GOOD. The smell is strangely nostalgic, I’m totally being brought back to when I was like 5 years old or something. EVEN THE TASTE IS SOMEWHAT NOSTALGIC. Wow this is probably the best tasting jasmine I have ever had. I’m not even a fan of super floral teas, but something about this is… beyond what one would think of when they think of FLORAL this is just really clean but kinda woodsy and DANG THE PEARLS! The pearls alone are gorgeous! This is my first pearl tea and even watching them unfurl was really neat! I can only imagine the work and care that was put into making each one of these. How cool, what a delightful tea, golly.

I wish I could figure out where this nostalgia feeling is coming from, maybe it will come to me. But for now I will just keep smelling and sipping this, I’m on my 3rd re-steep already HEH HEH!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Wow, I think I just bit into a chrysanthemum! Everyone talks about how they get a floral taste from oolongs and I usually get a strong butter flavor.
This though… wow serious flowers. And super interesting to me is that afterwards I do get a butter flavor but with a neat salt aftertaste. Surprising finish, really nice.
If I judged this by the initial flavor I would be kind of meh about it, but the twist, like the end of an Agatha Christie mystery is just too neat to ignore.
Thanks for the sample Teavivre! This one is a fun one :)

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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This was a free sample from Teavivre – thank you!
I brewed 4 “pearls” which, by the way, are adorable. I love the tactile way they rattle around in the tin.
I brewed this a little longer than I meant to, I was administering frozen pea first aid to my sister, but I caught it in time for it to be fine.
The liquor smells sweet and caramelly. The flavor of the tea black is a little sour for my taste, I think this is a tea I add milk too. I get malty flavors and a little bit of a nice… graham cracker taste? weird but good.
I want to try brewing this shorter again, but definitely fine how I brewed it!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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