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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog from this morning.
I don’t remember a whole lot about this tea because I had it right before I went to work, but here’s what I do remember:
- Its leaves were darker in comparison to the Hunan Cloud and Mist green I have from Capital Tea – more of a dark olive green, curly, with no fuzz visible. The Capital Tea Cloud and Mist looks much more like a Bi Luo Chun
- The tea was a big stronger smelling, but it had less of a smoky note. More vegetal.
- The liquor was fairly mild except for the final swallow at the bottom of the cup, which had quite a buttery, green-beany taste.
This will be interesting to play with. I brewed it at 85C – I wonder what it will be like at 75?
Brewed in a glass, grandpa-style. I started drinking after a 1-minute steep.
This is probably one of those instances in which I taste a tea so differently from everyone else, or it’s probably this particular batch.
When I stuck my nose into the sample packet, I didn’t expect it smell like certain shengs I dislike: black pepper, beef stew, and a hint of apricot I was able to pull out from somewhere. As the leaves steeped in the glass, I smelled buttered popcorn.
The liquor is green-ish, full-bodied, cream-like, and savory. The flavor is very buttery (even near salty) with notes of Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and beans with a green pepper finish. I dislike green peppers, more so in my tea, if it’s not subtle. Not for me.
This tea tastes exactly how the dry leaf looks – soft, downy, and light. Though not as strong as black and green teas, this almost clear cup in no way tastes of water. It is somehow full without being at all assertive. The cup ends with an unexpected and pleasantly surprising peppery note on the breath out.
Flavors: Honey, Pepper
To celebrate my turning a quarter of a century old, I’m having this fresh Chinese spring green with my new glass tea pot and tea tray. What else could be a better solitary way to celebrate? (Besides having a tea pet for a companion!)
Brewed with a gongfu glass tea pot. Steeping times: 1 minute, 1 minute and 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 5 minutes (supposed to have been 4…).
It’s been a while since I’ve last seen such gorgeous leaves. Shaped like silver needles, they are mostly moss-green, with some having enough soft hairs to look white-ish. Their sizes range from just an inch to an inch and a half.
The dry and wet leaf bursts with a buttery, zucchini aroma. So strong, I sneezed. After the second infusion, the wet leaf gives boiled asparagus.
When steeping for the first time in the pot, the leaves look like those from an aquatic plant. That’s not tea, that’s a living creature! One leaf and a bud, two leaves and a bud, two leaves. Vivid green.
The liquor is consistently clear – not cloudy, and also almost having no color, a very, very pale green. The first infusion is creamy, having vegetal and mineral notes, and a almond aftertaste. The second infusion goes away from vegetables and we have sugar snap peas. Sweet, sweet, sweet, very sweet – yellow warblers agree! I feel calmed yet rejuvenated. After this point, the intensity of the flavors decreases and becomes less powerful. Or more gentle, depending on your outlook. Still full-bodied, the third infusion is also sweet, though in a farmer’s market ear of corn sort of way. And in the last infusion, I taste beans.
A free sample for Angel at Teavivre. Thank you
The dry leaf smelt mainly of hay with an undertone of floral scent. It looked lovely: a lot of little twisty black leaves. The liquor was a dark brown with an aroma of grain and a hint of malt. The tea itself was silky in the mouth with a light, fruity taste reminiscent of raisins, plums and honey. It’s a great afternoon tea with no bitterness or astringency. All it really needed was jam and scones to accompany it, and my afternoon would have been complete.
Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Honey, Plums, Raisins
Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for this sample. So, where does all the time go? I spend most of it sitting at this computer writing, so you would think that I would find the time to write up the various teas I have drunk, but, oh no, that does not happen. How embarrassing! It’s just a good job that I scrawl my notes on the tea with pen and paper first.
The dry leaf smells of wet wood, earth and cedar. I brewed it in a gaiwan and poured out a thick and dark liquor. It looked great and tasted pretty good too. The over-riding impression for me was a continuation of the cedar, tempered by leather, a little woodiness and something sweet and caramelly. Is that even a word? It is now. It was smooth and sweet and very enjoyable, although perhaps a little too middle-of-the-road for me. That said, I’m sure this will be many people’s cup of tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Earth, Wet Wood
Oh goodness… As it’s steeping, this tea smells like the fresh green and floral breeze on an early summer evening. So lovely!
First steep 2 min: The first sip has that sweet flower stems flavor I have previously described for the Tea Ave flavored oolong based. It’s so sweet, but not the in your face kind like the Quangzhou Milk Oolong, but deeper. Sounds strange, but I keep thinking of how I drink iced tea in cafeterias, 90% unsweetened, topped off with just a splash of the sweetened. That faint sweetness, sugary, is what I’m getting from this steep. Also, a decent body that lingers in your mouth, like a milk oolong should!
Second steep 2 minutes: Somehow the sweetness was stronger and almost too sweet; it kinda reminded me of stevia in the way it stuck on my tongue and built. The aroma is more floral this steep. It reminds me of the veggie-sweet-creamy flavoring of the corn ice cream I had in China. A friend walked into my office and remarked that it smelled like those really high class Asian restaurants!
Third steep 2 minutes: The oolong lingering minerality is starting to come out this steep with the ever present sweetness, transforming the flavor into that of those young ears of corn you can get in mid summer, the ones where you can just snack on the whole thing like a carrot, husk, cob, and all. I’m a little suspicious that my new brita filter is making everything taste like sweet bottled mineral water… So I’m not going to add that the flavors. Dang, I bet this would be good cold brewed!
Flavors: Corn Husk, Sugarcane, Sweet
This is the Spring 2014 harvest of this tea, so I’m more than a little behind with my stash currently. I think I picked this one out today because I’ve been drinking a couple of Butiki teas, and the last Bi Luo Chun I tried was a Butiki also, and I loved it. Good memories, I suppose. I’m not a fan of all green teas, but Bi Luo Chun is one I really, really like. The dry leaf is very thin and wiry, and a little tangled. It’s quite a dark green in colour, although with some paler, and some almost white, tips. The scent is absolutely amazing – very savoury and vegetal, like spinach and green beans. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it approximately 2 minutes in water cooled to 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow, and (again!) smells wonderful. Not as strong as the dry leaf, but still savoury and vegetal. I love it.
To taste, it’s just as lovely as the scent led me to believe. It’s not a strong or heavy flavour, like some green teas have, but it’s not watery or a struggle to taste either. It strikes the perfect balance in my estimation – clear, clean, mid-strength flavours. It’s also perfectly smooth, with no hint of astringency, which is something else I’ve come to love about this variety. The main flavours, as in the scent, are vegetal – green beans, still, and freshly cooked spinach. A very green, very clean flavour. There’s almost a slight saltiness about it, and the tiniest hint of sweetness at the end of the sip that puts me firmly in mind of buttered green vegetables. Not that there was any doubt about that, but it’s a wonderful final flourish.
I’m really enjoying this one, and I’m glad to have found a green variety that I can really and truly say I appreciate. This is definitely one I’ll come back to in the future – hopefully with a more recent harvest! It’ll be interesting to compare and see how the harvests differ, but I like this one so much I can only hope there’s not too much difference.
This was fantastic!!! I opened the packaged and reveled these glistening moss agate curls. They were so cute and fragile. The smell was intoxicating. It was a deep rich vegetal aroma. I placed them inside my warm kyusu and waited. The aroma deepened into a robust nut and seaweed scent. I brewed up a cup and was taken back. The initial sip was a thick sweet and bold soup. This green tea is slightly spicy with deep chestnut tones. The flavor continued consistent for several steepings. I am in love with this companies spring teas! This one was fantastic and deeply rich!
Flavors: Chestnut, Nutty, Seaweed, Spinach
Guys, did I mention that I bought a variable temperature kettle on the weekend for 40% off? It is my new precious. I’ve been using it for the past few days, and oh my god, is it so nice. No more testing with thermometers or trying to gauge the temperature by the sound of the boil!
Anyways, I made some of this tea this morning after Teavivre was so kind to send me some samples. I’ve found in making this that it’s easy to underleaf because the leaf itself is somewhat large and fluffy. But this morning I put in more leaf and it turned out pretty well: nice light gold/green liquor with a nutty vegetal taste.
I detected a bit of bitterness at the end, but I was still able to finish it. I don’t know, I’ve become much more finicky about greens lately.
PS: Here’s the Amazon link for the kettle, even though I bought it at Canadian Tire: http://www.amazon.ca/Oster-Litre-Kettle-Variable-Stainless-Steel/dp/B0048BPWQE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1430931604&sr=8-2&keywords=oster+kettle
I’m pretty sure Teavivre sent me this as a sample a while ago. Using my gaiwan to do a few steeps. This stays rich in a reddish brown color through every steep. The flavor is pretty strong for only steeping it for 10 seconds at a time. The flavors are earthy, a touch of leather, and a touch of sweetness with hints of mushroom.
My daughter made Swedish Butter Cake to be served with blueberries and whipped cream, so I asked my best friend to stop by on her way to work. She loves trying new teas so I brought out this sample from my last order with Teavivre.
The description extolled the aroma of the dry leaves and the tea while steeping, which made me think that there wouldn’t be much strawberry flavor or aroma to the tea.
Opening the packet, the aroma is strong, fresh and delicious. Steeping, the strawberry scent is still strong. Happily, the aroma is still strong in the cup as we drink. This is light and refreshing. My friend usually doesn’t drink a great deal of tea at one time and I have to be attentive to her cup as she rarely pours herself another cup but waits for me to refill it. Today she was reaching for the pot saying, “Do you mind?” Of course not! That why we have tea!
Great sample, and likely to be on a future order.
mmmm enjoying this beautiful weather outside in the sun with a pot full of flowers. These small little flowers look a lot like a cross between chamomile and chrysanthemum. They carry a dry hay scent and brew into something unique. The flavor is like persimmon, honey and dry grass. The liquor is a golden brass. This is perfect for this kind of day!
Flavors: Honey, Hot hay
Thank you, thank you to Angel/Teavivre for the generous samples! I received this months ago but classic me has been hoarding them.
This is the second time having it and, to be honest, both times it hasn’t been as milky as I had expected. Plus, the base is a little too vegetal for my liking. I’ve also been picking up on a chlorine-like undertone that has been driving me bonkers because it seems like a little more than just chlorine. There’s something more to that specific note.
After all this time, I finally figured out what it is. I don’t know about you, but the mold in cheese like Gorgonzola, and the rind on Brie and Oka all have this chlorine-like flavour that hits my palate the wrong way. This is totally that. So I guess you can say that this kind of tastes like those creamy kinds of cheeses, mold/rind and all. Since I love the taste of Brie/Oka, you’re damn skippy I just take off the rind so I can enjoy the deliciously creamy centre, but I can’t do that with this tea!
Come to think of it, I’ve had milk oolongs taste more like cheese than milk in the past, anyway. For instance, I vividly recall DAVIDsTEA’s Quangzhou Milk Oolong to taste like Havarti. Go figure!
Wow! just wow!
This was not even 10 minutes out of the box before it was in my Kyusu! I even waited outside for the mailman….
I opened the package and was hit with the most enticing scent. I was covered in a deep vegetal aroma and fresh grass. The leaves are stout vibrant green and yellow buds. I placed a generous amount in my warmed kyusu and inhaled. My senses were struck with a nutty and grass sensation. I brewed immediately! The taste was oh so good! A completely refreshing brew with a smooth sugary mouth feel. The initial flavor was watercress, oats, and chestnut. This brew caused some odd descriptive words to come up. These words include juicy, invigorating, refreshment, gushy, and lifey. hahah I thought that were kinda weird, but I guess you just had to “be there”. I’ve also been celebrating this spring tea with a long tea binge so I’m a little tea drunk.
All and all this was unbelievably fantastic!!
Flavors: Chestnut, Oats, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal
Thanks for another sample Teavivre! A couple more to try before another batch of samples arrives! This is another delicious pu-erh offering from Teavivre, Large loose dark leaves. Three teaspoons for an eleven ounce mug result in a deep dark colored brew. The flavor is great: very sweet and smooth. None of the pu-erh characteristics that might scare people away here. I love a good ripe pu-erh because it’s like coffee but without all the things I don’t like about coffee. The amount of leaves I used doesn’t seem like too much or too little. All three steeps were exactly the same – a great example of a ripe pu-erh for beginners or for pu-erh fans to stock up on. Also, some pu-erh really increases my appetite and this one definitely did.
Steep #1 // 3 tsps. for 11 ounce mug // rinse // 4 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2-3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min steep
Today did not go nearly as expected, the car work (that is costing a small fortune, so there goes any fun money for who knows how long) that was supposed to be finished this morning won’t be done until tomorrow. Since my plans did not come to fruition I decided to go visit the Kauffman Gardens, they were beautiful, but oh man I am so tired now!
The journey through Green Tea week continues with Teavivre’s Xin Yang Mao Jian Green Tea, one of my favorite green teas, see, I said I would say that a lot this week. These slightly fuzzy green needles were harvested April 13, 2015 in the beautiful Xinyang County in Henan Province. The leaves remind me of tiny pine needles, and apparently this tea is frequently drunk in China during the summer for its robust and refreshing qualities. The aroma is delightfully savory, mixing notes of sundried tomato. tomato leaves, spinach, and a bit of sauteed mushrooms. At the finish there was a tiny hint of cut grass and a surprising note of dulse.
Into the gaiwan the little needles go for their steeping, and the aroma stays quite savory, with notes of savory sauteed spinach, lima beans, vegetable broth, and a little like sauteed mushrooms. The liquid has notes of edamame, mushrooms, and a slight sweet pea note at the finish. The aroma is very mild, but the trichomes floating along the surface of the water amuses me and makes up for the lack of aroma.
The first steep keeps up the savory notes, blending sauteed mushrooms, some mild bok choy, a bit of edamame nuttiness, and a tiny bit of potatoes and dulse at the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and the taste is mild at the first, but delightfully savory.
Second steep smells so much like sauteed veggies and vegetable broth, with a hint of toasted sesame at the finish giving it a touch of sweetness. The taste is still savory! There are notes of stir fried vegetable with a bit of sesame seeds there are stronger notes of zucchini and bok choy, and lesser notes of asparagus and bell pepper. At the finish there is a bit of potato and dulse, an interesting finish giving it a bit of a starchy finish, and lingering savoriness.
The third steep changes things up a bit by being more sweet than savory, with notes of sweet pea, sesame seeds, and a gentle grass like aftertaste. The taste is also more sweet than savory this time around, with notes of sweet pea and toasted sesame, it does fade to savory with notes of sauteed mushrooms and dulse at the finish. This tea had some notes I do not run into very often, which I found greatly amusing, and I certainly agree that it is refreshing, especially now that the days are getting warmer!
I just finished an epic baking frenzy! I made a Matcha and Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake which is delicious, a chocolate cake mixed with orange blossom water and masala chai spice drizzled with a glaze of saffron, raw honey, and orange blossom water. That one is my invention, turned out really yummy, this is my first time going entirely experimental with baking using gluten free flour, so I am glad it was not a disaster. My potato flour and garlic biscuits, however, they are kinda gross…more proof that I should stick to baking sweets, since my savories almost never turn out! So I am worn out and of course have more cleaning, but I am so waiting to just toss everything that is left into the dishwasher, I am a lazy baker.
And so the journey through China’s spring greens continue, with Teavivre’s Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea! They sell several grades of Long Jing, from their super fancy She Qian at the highest and most expensive (also earliest harvested if I am correct) to this one, the second least expensive of the Dragon Wells. Harvested on April 15, 2015, this tea is delightfully fresh, putting it between Qing Ming and Gu Yu (which was on April 20th this year, according to my handy calender, seriously it is the best app ever because it has all the Taoist holidays, Solar Terms, and things of that nature) two of the big spring harvest periods. The aroma of the little green swords (oh hey, a lucky ball of fuzz! You get those during the processing, I call them good luck because who doesn’t like balls of trichomes?) is sweet, green, and nutty, just the way a good Dragon Well is supposed to smell! There are notes of sharp artichoke, fresh vegetation, sweet peony, toasted sesame seeds, a bit of green beans, and a hint of orchids. This one is surprisingly floral, but it is more like the nectar of the flower rather than a heady scent, it balances well with the green notes.
Into my green tea Yixing teapot it goes! I started having this teapot for all robust, vegetal Chinese greens, but really I use it most for my much loved Long Jing. Brewing the leaves results in a soggy tea that is not longer floral, but is all vegetal. There are notes of artichoke, bell pepper, chestnut, a bit of bamboo leaves, and a tiny bit of chestnut at the finish. The liquid is sweet with notes of artichoke, wildflower honey, spicebush, and a hint of peony. It smells mellow but not delicate.
The first steeping lets me know it is a good, clean, Dragon Well, it does now bowl me over, but it certainly is tasty! It has a rich, full body with a smooth mouthfeel, the taste starts off with bell pepper and green bean, this moves to a tiny bit of artichoke and bamboo leaves, the finish is sweet chestnuts and peony nectar.
The second steeping’s aroma is crispy, yes that is how to describe a smell! There are notes of nutty chestnut and crisp broken bamboo leaves and bell pepper. The taste is rich, delightfully rich and green, with notes of bell pepper, green beans, with a nice slightly bitter cooked kale and a nice smooth chestnut midtaste. The finish, like the previous one, is a nice peony nectar which lingers.
Third steep, woo! The aroma is less vegetal this time around, it is sweet and nutty with a delicate peony flower and bamboo leaf finish. The taste is quite sweet this time around, like chestnuts and those delightful honey and sesame candies (not Halva, like I frequently rave about, but candies that are just honey and sesame…rather addictive) there is a light bamboo leaf and bamboo shoot taste with a gentle finish of green beans and peony nectar. This tea is one of those Dragon Wells that make for an excellent everyday tea without breaking the bank, which is always pleasant because Dragon Well can get really expensive!