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Recent Tasting Notes
This is an intensely deep flavored black tea. After an initial Gongfu style infusion, the leaves smell of figs, nuts, and dark molasses. The first infusion was a bit hard on the palate, only steeped for about 15 seconds. It has a nice bitterness to it like a dark chocolate. Coming back for a second infusion it is less bitter and more well-rounded. There are hints of cinnamon, oak, and perfume in the aroma, while the taste is a bit hard to describe to me. Dark tobacco and fig flavors might be an appropriate way to describe it, if anything. It has it’s own flavor, like most teas, and is tricky to describe in other terms. The feeling it leaves in my mouth is very dry. I’m not diggin’ that.
By the third infusion, it’s a little more mellow overall, but there’s a definite astringency and bite in the finish. I’m tempted to call it here, as I’m not finding it suited to my tastes much at all, but Gongfu always pushes me to try another steeping.
The fourth infusion is even more dry (eeeek, this is like red alert dryness levels), the flavor has sort of flattened out and it tastes like … underbrewed coffee.
So, there you have it. This tea is not for me. Not feelin it. If you like your tea to give you (and your palate) quite a jolt, this may be right up your alley, but you might want to bring a bottle of Gatorade to rehydrate afterward. It’s so drying.
Judging by some of the other reviews, I half anticipate this could be the first moment for me on Steepster where a fanwagon crashes into the comments section of my review and passively-aggressively berates me for not sharing the euphoria of their experience, or tells me I brewed it wrong. I hope not.
I brewed 3 grams in 100ml of water for 15 seconds, adding 15 each time (this is more than a gram of tea less than Teavivre recommends for Gongfu style). This is how I typically brew red and black teas and usually it works out pretty well. The color of the liquor was a nice medium orange barely leaning toward red, so it didn’t look or seem overbrewed.
But like I said, some people LOVE these kinds of intense teas, so give it a chance if you’re interested. The flavor was not as complex as the aroma and was very dark. It didn’t really have any sweetness, which for me is an almost necessary component for a red or black tea to keep it from falling off the deep end into bitterness.
Flavors: Drying, Fig, Molasses, Tannin, Tobacco
Thank you, Teavivre for sending me so many free samples! So excited about them!
This is the first one I’ll review. But to be honest, I feel like it’s not so much of an honest review. xD I steeped it for a little more than the time it says on Steepster, but even after that I just think that this one deserves to be steeped “grandpa style”. This would be GREAT to drink with the leaves constantly at the bottom of my mug.
I always seem to want floral-y oolongs to be stronger. Which is probably because I used to always steep everything (mainly oolongs though) grandpa style, before I even knew what that was or that there even were steeping times for things. xD
After I steeped it for the right time it tasted mainly buttery and light. So I decided to put the leaves in longer. After a few minutes I could taste the floral more. And since I really like the floral taste, it would be better “grandpa style” since that flavor emerges when it’s steeped longer..
So yeah. xD Sorry for the rant.
I like this tea. But I wanna try it “grandpa style” because I know I’ll like it even more like that! Pretty good though. Happy to have tried it! :D
Thank you again, Teavivre for the samples!! :D
Thank you, Teavivre, for providing me a free sample!
Brewed grandpa-style in a glass tumbler.
Lovely leaves, before and after being steeped. White downy hairs, then very green as they float vertically. The dry leaf aroma is oatmeal-like. Then there are cucumbers and honeydew slices. A pale green aroma – first time I imagine a color in my mind as I smell a tea. As the leaves steep, the water magnifies the honeydew aroma, nearly tricking my senses into thinking that the fruit is in front of me instead of tea. The liquor is light-bodied, thick, and clear (surprisingly because of the fuzzies). Again, honeydew, and also dried grass. Juice-like. Because of an airy quality, this tea has a calming, floating effect.
No rating because of my inexperience with white tea. But I like and would recommend this one.
Sample 4 outof 5 from Teavivre. Thanks! I am spending the day at home catching up on life. Between my two jobs, I have had only a few days off this month and I am rarely home to enjoy them. Evenings are equally busy with visiting family and so on. Today is the last official day of summer and after a massive torrential rain overnight I am enjoying some sun and warm temperatures. It’s just after noon and I’ve already made two loaves of bread and a batch of english muffins which will be gratefully enjoyed throughout the week when I have no time to make dough.
So, here I sit with a cup of this. I was pleasantly surprised to see massive chunks of tangerine peel in with the puerh. I used half the sample in my perfect tea mug for a few minutes with water that (apparently) cooled to 96 before pouring. The result is a deep brown like a stout or dark ale. The aroma is musty and barnlike, but not in the usual pleasant way. It’s overpowering. Shoot. I haven’t made puerh Western style in a while…shoulda done some sort of a rinse first. I’m going try drinking this but if it’s too strong, I can always pour it out and try again with a re-steep. D’oh.
Huh. This has a totally different taste profile than the aroma suggests. I get smoke. No barn or hay. Maybe something musty if that ties into the smoke. It’s strong with a sense of bitterness like a coffee edge but not unpleasant. This is a very potent mug. VERY strong. I am tempted to add a bit of milk to dilute it because I’m not super interesting in drinking it as is. Which sucks, because this is my fault and this is my first tea of the day. I will not rate this currently because I need to try again under better circumstances.
All I can say for sure right now is that it is very bold and strong with a smoky edge. No sweetness. Whew.
Flavors: Musty, Smoke, Wood
LOVE! I love a good Tai Ping Hou Kui and this is an excellent one. As it had been a while since my last cup of Tai Ping, I had to think a bit on how I was going to steep the tea. I would normally steep a green tea in my Breville One-Touch but I do like to watch the dance of the Tai Ping leaves so I instead decided to brew this in my glass teacup.
A sweet and gentle aroma accompanies a flavor that is sublime. Sweet, hints of orchid, light grassy tones and a touch of butter. Creamy and sweet and delightful.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/28/premium-tai-ping-hou-kui-green-tea-from-teavivre/
Delicious tea! Got this as a five sample package I purchased from Teavivre. It has subtle flavors and I read one of the other reviews and it really does have a spinach taste to it. But it’s really light and very calming and yummy. No bitterness to it at all; just slides down the throat really easily.
Flavors: Mineral, Spinach
I was sure I already made a review of this tea but cannot put the hand on…weird.
Steepster makes now things so difficult to add notes, research notes thanks to the tea ratings – we cannot sort them out anymore by brand or rating…I’m begining to really lose patience with the Steepster bugs.
So I had this tea with my breakfast this morning and I appreciated the huge malty & cocoa notes. I brewed it western style. This is typically the right tea to wake you up.
I noticed a thin bitterness at the end of the sip which is not my alley but it may be caused by the fact I didn’t prepare the tea as recommended in a gong fu session.
Thanks to Angel for this sample
Pics of the tea are available here : http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/bailin-gongfu-black-tea-teavivre/
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt
I think I ordered this as a sample in an order long ago and have since forgotten I had it. I decided to brew it gong fu style. Verdict: amazing buttery, creamy, vegetables!!! There is also a bit of a floral note, but it’s not too overpowering. Yum! I think I might just gong fu all my oolongs from now on. I love it!!
I’ve been too busy lately to take time for much tea beyond mass-market teabags, but I had a couple of hours free today, so I thought I’d spend the afternoon with this one.
The dry leaves, when I first opened the pack, gave a little dry-forest-floor burst of scent, and after rinsing, the wet leaves smell very strongly of damp trees and wood, and old, smoky leather.
The first steep of this after rinsing a couple of times tasted a bit flat, and a clay-taste overwhelmed the other tones, but from the second steep darker, leather and loam comes through and turns it into a whole other kind of drink, with an aftertaste like sweet butter. From the fourth steep, the taste becomes very strong, and there’s a thickness to the aftertaste – almost like the thickness after eating chocolate; there’s no cocoa taste, exactly, it’s more of a satisfying feeling of ‘fullness’. The later steeps became very light and sweet.
I got a nice, sleepy little buzz from drinking this all afternoon – I’ve had that once or twice from drinking puerhs, but only very occasionally; all in all, it’s a nice and long-lasting tea (through about 8-10 short 20s-1m steeps) for a lazy afternoon.
Flavors: Butter, Forest Floor, Leather, Loam, Sweet, Wet Wood
This is the same tea AND the same tea sachet, but it deserves another review. These are a new offering from Teavivre, and I want to give it a thorough look.
I saved the sachet after my daughter and I made two or three steeps. I wish I remembered how many! I realize these are sized for a ten ounce mug or pot, but I was using my eight ounce pot so keep that in mind as well.
After the steeps we drank, I made a steep last night for hubby. He liked it, and said the rice flavor is very noticeable. Again this morning, I steeped the sachet and made another eight ounces. The result is much paler, but the rice flavor is still noticeable and the puerh flavor is there. It is fading at this point, though.
So my final verdict is….if I didn’t work at home as I do, and I wanted a GOOD puerh tea that was also very convenient and very economical due to the resteep factor, this is a fantastic choice, and is far and away better than any puerh bags I have had in the past. In fact, there is no comparison between the two. That would be like comparing Twinings tea to a competition grade Ti Guan Yin.
Kudos to Teavivre for getting it right!
I chose this tea purely out of curiosity. I had heard of rice flavored teas but never tried one.
Edited to add: It is important to note that these are sized for ten ounce portions, which is really handy if you are making a mug at work. They were aware that if you are using sachets you are probably not using a gaiwan or a tiny pot for tiny cups! And you get multiple steeps, plus such a long steep time that it becomes even more convenient for work or really busy times.
I expected a hint of rice flavor mixed with shu puerh, but even the dry sachet smelled strongly of rice – the steeped tea even more so! And there is lots of the glutinous rice flavor in the cup. This tea is the essence of what you smell when your rice boils over a little and the sticky rice water slides down the side of your saucepan and you can smell it all through the house. I am amazed at how much rice flavor is in this. I really want a bowl of rice now!
The puerh aspect is an earthy one rather than a horse-y one. The first steep was quite dark, which isn’t surprising since they recommend a 9 to 12 minute steep for this. By the third steep we didn’t even time it, we just poured it up after finishing one of our school lessons and it was fine. Even my youngest daughter, who just started drinking puerh teas a couple of weeks ago, liked it!
I love jasmine tea and so it’s my goal to try all different types of jasmine tea! I gave this particular one a try and I would have to say it tastes pretty good. Maybe a little bit more bitter than the pearls I’ve tried, but it’s still really delicious with good jasmine accent.
The time for me to pack my bags and travel off to Pennsylvania for a couple months is fast approaching, and I need to make sure all my projects are finished before I leave in about a month. My biggest concerns are making sure I have Ben’s army painted and my tea collection re-organized. I have a whole new system in mind and I need to select which teas I am taking with me to Pennsylvania, three months worth of tea (especially at the rate I drink it) is a sizable amount.
Today marks another step in my Raw/Sheng Pu Erh adventure. Teavivre’s Lotus Leaf Raw Pu-erh Mini Tuocha an adorable little tuo (or nest) of Sheng Pu Erh with a nice addition of lotus leaves, from Lincang, Yunnan. The aroma of this little tuo is not very strong, with faint notes of wet hay, sweet freshly mown hay, a bit of yeasty bread, a touch of mineral, and salty lotus leaf. Specifically the lotus notes remind me of the lotus wrapped sticky rice (or lo mai gai) that I love so much when going out for dim sum. Delicious!
After giving the nest a rinsing and steeping, the aroma has a distinctly fermented aroma, with notes of wet hay, lotus leaves, salty cooked spinach, and a touch of straw mushrooms. The more I sniff the wet leaves the more it reminds me of food, clearly I am hungry! The liquid having been freed from the gaiwan and its leafy friends, has a very nice aroma. There are notes of sweet hay, a touch of yeasty bread, and finish of salty lotus leaf.
The first steep is nice and mild, it has a thick mouthfeel with a slightly salty almost broth like taste. This transitions to fresh hay and spinach with a slight sourness. The finish is like a distant breeze bringing in a field of flowers.
The second steep has the aroma of wet straw, straw mushrooms and a pile of leaves after a rain. There is also a bit of sweetness and lotus leaf at the finish. The taste starts off with an intense hui gan, it begins with sourness and cooling and then switches to sweetness. After this initial bit of a mouth party the taste is a mix of sauteed mushrooms and and lotus leaf with a finish of pepper.
For the third steep I am greeted with the aroma sweet honey and wet hay and a hint of salty lotus leaves. The taste starts out the same as the previous steep, my mouth is cooled and given a kick of bitter and sourness before being turned sweet. It is a very interesting sensation and I am still not quite sure if I like it or not! There is a slight taste of hops, it took me a moment to realize what it was since I do not drink beer and it has been years since I even tasted any. Not a big fan of the hops, but it fades pretty quickly to sweet hay and a touch of spinach. This tea was pretty interesting, I certainly think the added lotus gives the tea an added layer of depth.
Flavors: Hay, Hops, Mushrooms, Sweet, warm grass
I’ll start out by thanking Angel & Teavivre for this sample.
This is a very fresh Raw Puerh, being from 2014. The aroma, upon opening the packet, is very fresh & green, like a barn full of newly baled Hay that includes Clover in the mix.
The main features of this tea are a tangy apricot fruitiness, a little grassy & brassy at first, with an instant tongue tingle. The middle steeps are a little peppery & bitter, but then it smooths out nicely.
Just a newbie to the tea world and what really got me hooked on teas is jasmine green tea. I thought to give this one a try but it’s not really my favorite. The flavors are not as aromatic as the jasmine green tea…but I don’t feel like I know enough about tea to really compare it well. Just wanted to give my two cents. :D
backlog, written August 25, 2014
Nothing quite like a rocket siren to wake you up first thing in the morning. Time for some caffeine to make up for the lack of sleep.
This one is interesting. The strawberry flavor is right up front in the sip, quickly and smoothly transitioning into the flavor of the solid quality base tea. It reminds me of a high mountain Taiwanese oolong: light and sweet with a smooth mouthfeel and lingering lightly menthol aftertaste. Looking at the product page, I see that this oolong was produced in Fuding City, Fujian Province, China. It is a mountainous area though, so at least I got that part kinda right!
I also see that this is a particularly low caffeine tea. Morning fail. On the up side, I can totally see this as a refreshing post-dinner brew. Or an iced tea.
Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for the samples!
Sunday Tea and Books time!
Many thanks to Angel of Teavivre for sending me a sample of this. I haven’t tried many pu’erhs, so it’s lovely to get some more exposure to them.
Upon opening the packet, the leaf smelled of tobacco, leather, cedar wood, raisins, and earth. There were some broken up leaves in the packet, but instead I took a large unbroken chunk that was probably about 1/2 the packet’s worth and put that in a 100mL gaiwan. I did a rinse for 15-20 seconds, then let it rest for about 2 minutes in the hot gaiwan before steeping.
I brewed up a big pot of hot water – about 1.25 L – and put a tea cozy on it to stay warm. Over the next 1.5 hours, I steeped the leaf a whopping 13 times to see how far it would go.
The first 3 or 4 steeps were all a dark amber colour, and tasted smoky and bitter. Not the bitterness of beer, but a bit thinner and sharper, like it was coating my tongue. The tobacco impression lingered all throughout. I also got hints of cedar wood and birch bark. However, as the steeps progressed, the tea became more fruity. These steeps ranged from 10-20 seconds.
After the first few steeps, my mouth felt coated, but it wasn’t tongue-curling astringency so much as a fuzzy feeling all throughout.
I have to say that I think steeps 5-8 were the best, as the smokiness remained but the bitterness faded away. Instead, that stonefruit note came increasingly to the fore. These steeps ranged from 20-25 seconds.
However, steeps 9 and onwards were quite weak, with a significant drop-off in flavour from 11-13. At this stage, I had progressed from 30 second steeps to 3 minute steeps, without much appreciable increase in flavour.
This was a hard one to try and compare. The smokiness and bitterness and tobacco scent/flavour all had me stumped. I’m still not sure I can think of a character that fits this tea, but my husband and I were rolling the words around, and we both felt pretty comfortable that if we could think of a fictional character, it would have been someone from a Western/cowboy novel. Maybe one of these days I should pick up Lonesome Dove or something.
Did you know that Elmore Leonard started out writing westerns before he moved on to crime fiction? I’ve only read one of his novels – Out of Sight – but I’d love to read more.
Getting to another free sample from the lovely Angel at Teavivre! I am enjoying trying all these new teas this weekend :)
This one is so cute, my first mini tuocha! A small pressed cake, individually wrapped in paper, aweee I didn’t want to steep it even it was so cute lol. But I had to find out what it tasted like. I put it, the single tuocha, in my small teapot, who’s volume I’m guessing is around 10-14 oz or something, and steeped it with boiling water for 4 minutes. Oh, the dry smell was a slightly honeyed sheng smell, a bit woody and grassy.
The tuocha broke apart nicely with the 4 minute steep, and the liquor is quite light with barely any scent to it, a slight honey smell. Nothing like the grassy tobacco that was yesterdays sheng haha! This one is very light, much more to my tastes.
The flavor is also very light, but I am very much enjoying it. A slight woodiness, some mild grass, and a definite honey aftertaste. There is some grain-like, or hay notes in this one, but it’s very smooth and mellow. It hopefully is helping my poor lungs and throat, I was picking apples outside today and cleaning all weekend and stirring up every possible allergen, I broke down and had an allergy pill and am still not quite up to par, my throat is icky but improving due to the new air filter upstairs and a dehumidifier downstairs lol. Hurray for tea and air cleaners! Anyways, back to the tea haha…I am quite enjoying this. Smooth and mellow, a good end to a good day!
Overall, a very tasty and light sheng. This is much more my speed in the way of shengs, not sharp and not too green. I will have no trouble getting through my few more samples of this, and it definitely might be a reorder :D thanks again Teavivre for the opportunity to try this lovely tea!
Flavors: Grain, Grass, Hay, Honey, Wood
My package doesn’t say “superfine” but it does say organic. So I think this is the right tea to log it under. Here’s hoping this note shows up despite all the recent Steepster server issues.
These leaves are really old, so this doesn’t have as much punch as I’m sure fresher leaves would imbue. But what I can taste is a delicious, delicate green tea. The liquor is so light and clear that if I didn’t know my mug had tea in it, I’d think it was filled with water. The inside of my mug is brown, which makes detecting the liquor color difficult, but I believe it’s a very pale gold.
All in all, this is a refreshing, contemplative tea. It calms the mind and quiets the stream of thoughts. The fact that it’s organic is just icing on the cake. I will make a note to get more of this when it’s time to replenish my dragon well stock. Thanks to Teavivre for the free sample! I’m really enjoying this.
I don’t think I’ve reviewed this tea yet! It was a free sample from the lovely Angel at Teavivre from a while back, I think in my second round of free samples. Thank you for all the lovely teas!!
Onto the review! This one smells very chocolatey in dry form. I steeped it with ~194 degree water for 2 minutes. This may have been too light for my tastes, as the steeped smell is a faint floral aroma but very light and fresh, almost a fruit note in there as well.
As for the flavor, wow this is such a light tea for a black tea! It is super mellow, with the only really discernible notes being something floral and something sweet, almost like a marshmallow, in the aftertaste. As it cools, the marshmallow flavor takes on more honey notes. The middle notes are definitely floral, and to my palate there is a slight linen note at the first sip. It is quite bizarre, as it’s a light tea but there definitely is caffeine in here, I feel a warming buzz coming over me.
Overall, this is a different type of black tea than I’m used to, but I am really enjoying it because it’s so light and sweet. I may try brewing it a bit stronger next time, or if I resteep these leaves, to see if I get a bit more prominent flavor. But this is a nice light tea on this sunny morning. It feels more like an afternoon tea, one to have with light pastries in a flower garden. I wish it was still summer now :( haha, but a very tasty tea! Thanks again Teavivre for the free samples!
ETA – as it cools, the texture becomes a bit maltier, and notes of milk chocolate are coming out in the middle of the sip. Strong linen like notes to milky cocoa to marshmallow/honey – this tea is confusing, but it all works. I am enjoying this!
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Marshmallow
Just when I think I won’t taste another Keemun that I could love as much as those who have already stolen my heart, here comes another one. The dry leaf of Teavivre’s Superfine Keemun Mao Feng is wiry little black leaves that smell of dried fruit and light earthiness. After a 4 minutes steep, the liquid is a beautiful amber color and smells of molasses and moss….and it gets better!!! The taste of this tea is much like the leaves…delicate, balanced and completely captivating. It is breathtakingly aromatic, with gentle notes of forest moss, sweetness of dried fruit and molasses and a touch of light toasty grain to round the flavor profile out. This tea is smooth, fragrant, and not to be missed!
Flavors: Grain, Molasses, Moss, Peach, Stonefruits, Toasty
A huge thanks to Angel at Teavivre for this free sample! Sorry it has taken me so long to get to reviewing it – the weather got cold and I haven’t been in the mood for sheng lately with the weather, but today is warm and sunny, and I was reading sheng is good for allergies on a review somewhere so I will give it a shot, as mine are bad right now (well, lungs anyways).
Anyways, onto the tea review! The dry smell of the pieces of the cake (nice large ones I might add, perfect for a few brews) smells strongly of hay with some honey and crystallized sugar notes. I am going to try this first cup for 3 mins with boiling water, no rinse. As it steeps the cake piece breaks apart into lovely leaves.
Hmmm, the steeped smell to me is quite weird lol, almost a tobacco note in there! Strong almost grassy tones, and yes, that is definitely a tobacco note, at least to my messed up nose from allergies it is lol. I have never got that in a pu’erh before! We will see how it tastes!
Ah, the taste is much more pleasing :) very grassy, a strong green note, some green hay, and a tiny bit of honey. Also there is a smoky flavor kicking around in there too, maybe that’s where the tobacco smell was coming from. The flavors kind of go together but I am also finding it a bit tough to wrap my head around a green yet slightly smoky flavor. It actually reminds me of the days back in high school when I worked at a greenhouse/vegetable garden, on the days it rained – a lot of the ladies smoked there, so there was a hint of smoke in the air usually, mixed with that wet dirt and vegetables smell, along with wet hay from the nearby fields. I can actually picture it just like when I was there from this tea! Crazy, I love how teas can evoke good memories :) Oh and a sense of a tea buzz is definitely coming on, I will go slow with this cup lol.
Overall, this is a heck of an interesting tea! I have never had a sheng or any variety of tea for that matter that is like this. I’m also at a loss for how to rate this, I can’t decide if I like it or if it’s too weird for my tastes lol. But I am happy I got to try it as always!! I love broadening my tea tastes :)
Flavors: Grass, Green, Hay, Smoke, Tobacco