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Recent Tasting Notes
Crafting the Tea Advent Calenders officially starts today, since yesterday was the final day of gathering supplies. The total amount of calenders I am making this year is 13, that is a ton of origami envelopes to fold, but I am up to the challenge. I estimate that it will take me about a week to cut all the paper and fold them, of course I won’t be doing much of anything else recreational while I am working on it. I am excited for it, but I am a bit of an origami addict.Today’s tea is 2006 Fengqing Raw Pu-erh Tea Tuocha, by Teavivre, a Sheng Pu-erh hailing from Fengqing, Yunnan, home of many great Pu-erh teas. This particular tea was plucked back in April of 2006, I am going to be honest, I do not even remember what I was doing back then! It must be an awesome feeling to pick a tea and process it, knowing that it might be many years before anyone drinks it, and seeing how it changes over those years. The aroma of this tea reminds me of nature, it is like being on the edge of a pine forest and a field right after a summer rain storm. There are notes of wet hay and wet wood, along with fresh pine and camphor, also a little hint of flowers and minerals, much like rain water. It is very sweet and refreshing.
Giving the leaves a brief rinsing and steeping, the now quite soggy leaves smell of wet hay, cooked spinach, camphor, and a bit of a barnyard finish. The liquid is quite sweet, a mix of fresh hay, sugar cane, and camphor. I am really digging the camphor notes, you just don’t run into that often so it is a treat.
The first steep is delicious! It starts of sweet like sucking the juice straight out of a sugar cane. This transitions to a slightly sour taste and a cooling mouthfeel with a finishing zing of camphor. The end of the sip is fresh hay and a cooling sensation that lingers. I think I should drink this when I have a cold, because it feels so clearing to my chest.
For the second steep the aroma is still very sweet, with notes of sugar cane, hay and that oh so invigorating camphor. I want everyone to know that why I am writing this, I am also painting my miniatures, tea and painting go together really well. The taste of this steep starts out with the sour note, which immediately causes a salivary effect making the tea sugar cane sweet. There is a cooling sensation that lasts until right before the end, at which there is a slight bitterness that fades into a sweet aftertaste.
Third time around the aroma is more fresh hay and sweet, with only a hint of camphor at the finish. The taste is intensely sweet and causing so much of a sour salivary mouth response, I love it, this might be one of my favorite things about Sheng Pu Erh. I have noticed that Sheng Pu Erh that has this mouth response and cooling sensation that I do not have any stomach problems, so that is awesome! The finish of this tea is now dry and somewhat bitter. I tried to go for a fourth steep and was greeted with a sweet explosion that immediately turned to intense bitter. I imagine that a more advanced sipper of Sheng could push through this to discover even more epic sweetness and flavor notes, but I am still learning the art of the raw pu erh.
I ended up enjoying this tea a lot, but not the first steep. I added some of the tangerine peel to this tea so it was very smoky in the first infusion. By the second infusion this smoke flavor was dulled and I started to enjoy this tea. By the third infusion the smoke flavor was barely a memory. By the fourth infusion it was nearly gone. Once this smoke flavor dissipated I started to get the base flavor of the tea, a nice ripe, slightly sweet ripe puerh. Thank you Teavivre for this sample.
I brewed this six times in a 160ml teapot with 6.5g leaf, 1g tangerine peel, and boiling water. I steeped it for 15 sec, 15 sec, 15 sec, 15 sec, 30 sec, and 1 min. I think I could get about two more steepings out of this tea if I chose, maybe three. By the sixth steeping the flavor of the tea is somewhat weak, nearly but not completely played out.
Flavors: Orange Zest, Smoke
This is my very first Phoenix Dan Cong experience, also thanks to the great oolong sample pack from Teavivre. I believe that I paid for this set, but I am grateful nonetheless for the opportunity to try such a wide array of fine teas! I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up eventually trying each and every one of their excellent offerings…
I have been focusing on the greenish, low-oxidation oolongs as I make my journey through the vast universe of Chinese tea. This oolong, however, is far more oxidized and produces a peachy-amber color similar to a light darjeeling (since darjeeling is on my mind!). Of course the taste is completely different. I’m not really sure, actually, how to describe this flavor. It tastes about midway between a rich bready black and a smooth and silken creamy green oolong—logically enough!
I love the range of flavors and textures of oolong teas. I’m sure that I’ll be ordering some more of this one after my sample is depleted.
I see that this tea is apparently salubrious as well as tasty (see Teavivre’s note about this). It’s always nice to know that we get extra benefits from drinking teas which are worth drinking for the experience alone!
Hello, hello, hello…. Is anybody in there?
Broken Steepster is not much fun.
I had this one yesterday. This is a really nice young sheng. The first cup is almost subdued. Sure it is slightly bright like raw sheng tends to be but not in an overpowering way. It is slightly mineral and slightly mushroom, yet neither are strong or offensive. Crisp, I think fits this nicely. The aftertaste really hangs on and seems floral to me. The second cup has a bolder but similar flavor. I detect some hints of leather. The third is the brightest, with an almost puckering bitterness. Cup four returns to a much milder cup with apricot notes. The aftertaste lingers and changes from cup to cup. It starts floral then seems more like a tieguanyin. By cup four it has a combination of both. These have all been about 8 oz cups. I have no idea how far it will go but it shows no signs of letting up. Very nice. Thank you Teavivre for this lovely sample.
Typical green pellets, strong with fresh vegetal scents. The brewed tea is rich orangey yellow with a light floral aroma. Floral notes and a buttery finish complete this simple tea. A good choice for an afternoon cup, or late night, when a stronger black or Darjeeling would be too brisk for the moment.
Angel sent me this tea for review! Thank you!! I’m so grateful to be able to sample some raw puerhs. :)
After yesterday’s excitement of the 2013 old tree raw puerh, I was looking forward to trying this one for comparison. I think some samples of raw puerh will be going on my wishlist. I again brewed this up with my pseudo gaiwan set up. Here are my notes:
Tangy aroma of dry leaf. Wet leaf aroma is more pleasant than the puerh I tried yesterday… It doesn’t make me cough! Ha!
15sec: Really mild, no astringency, tastes like a roasted oolong.
30sec: more flavor, still oolong-like, a little astringent, some tobacco there but in background.
45sec: oolong-like, subtle note of dried fruit,
1min: similar to last steep.
1min30sec: smoother, sweeter.
2min: sweet, like an aged oolong.
Overall, this is fine, but it was a bit boring for me after trying the old tree puerh. I think maybe it has to do with how young it is. Maybe once it ages for awhile, it will have more complexity. The one I loved yesterday was a year older….can they really change that much in a year? What do really old raw puerhs taste like? I’m just embarking on my raw puerh journey, and I have so many questions! So excited to try more!
I am so behind on reviewing some green tea samples Angel and Teavivre kindly sent me earlier this summer. Life keeps getting in the way of things and, being not much of a green tea drinker, I wind up instinctively reaching for a familiar oolong or pu’er tea on most days. But, I’m feeling a little more adventurous right now and thought I’d brew this up and give it a try!
(Spring 2014 batch)
Brewed aroma: Grassy, vegetal. Almost like freshly mown grass.
Taste: Also grassy and vegetal, with a hint of salt and a pleasant, smoky bitterness lurking in the background. Crisp, refreshing aftertaste that’s very satisfying, almost as if I’ve finished a hearty vegetable stew. Sometimes I can also taste some sweetness creeping in a little later.
Like I mentioned before, I don’t usually drink green teas, but this was a nice and enjoyable one! Thanks Teavivre!
Backlogging and based partly on my memory
This is, I believe, a sample I purchased from Teavivre at the end of last year (2013).
I used my standard raw pu-erh brewing parameters while steeping it: 150ml gaiwan; start water temperature at near boiling and work my way up to boiling; 15’ rinse, 30’, 45’, 60’, etc. Stevia added.
The tea liquor had a nice clear, yellowish color, with the standard raw pu-erh aroma.
The flavor was what I have come to expect from a quality raw pu-erh, although it is not a flavor I particularly like or can get excited about—too fishy, sour, or like bitter greens (I got that phrase from yyz’s review).
Although the wet leaf was largely whole, I noticed that there were a lot of long stems amongst the wet leaf, mostly stems attached to leaves (perhaps that is standard, I haven’t analyzed the wet leaf of enough quality raw pu-erh teas yet).
Overall, having had a number of pu-erh samples from a a few companies over the last 6 months or so, I find Teavivre’s pu-erh to be quality—the leaf is more or less whole, the flavor of the tea is clean, and the tea liquor has a good aroma. This tea is no exception. I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to pu-erh (having been drinking it for about for about 8 – 9 months), especially raw pu-erh, so I don’t have much here to say about this particular tea. I was able to get four good steepings out of it, and it could perhaps have yielded a fifth. Although I did not find anything ‘stand-out’ about this tea, I think it is a tea I could drink on occasion as a kind of tonic for my digestive system.
This was pretty good – I brewed it four times, and it held strong each time. First steep was a minute, and I added a minute on each resteep. I really like that about the high quality teas – they might be a hair pricier per cup…until you do the math on the resteeps. This started out being very toasty and fruity, but got less and less fruity for me with each resteep. Next time, I will call it quits after 3.
This is my second experience of Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe), thanks to a generous sample from Teavivre. I believe that this one came in the oolong sample pack.
The last time I tried this darker shade of oolong (I believe that one was from Harney & Sons), I appear to have overleafed and oversteeped. Fortunately, boychik corrected the error of my ways, and I am happy to report that I like this tea a lot! I already had three delicious infusions, steeped in a nice ceramic mug with a deep infuser and a lid. It seems the perfect method for preparing multiply infusable oolongs and probably will be my new vessel of choice for this type of tea in the future.
So why is this good? The liquor is dark amber and tastes like a combination of all of the tasting notes listed by everyone else. Basically indescribable, but highly imbibable!
Backlog from yesterday morning.
I paid much more attention to this tea yesterday compared to the first time I brewed it, and it tasted a little sweeter, less buttery this time. I steeped it twice – first for 3 minutes, then for 4.
However, the second steep was a little weak in flavour, so I didn’t finish the second pot of tea. This is good, but I’m pretty sure now that I would probably stick with Teavivre’s Bi Lo Chun over this.
Backlog from a few days ago.
I tried this in the middle of the week right as Steepster was having its meltdown.
I don’t remember a lot about this tea now, but I do remember that I let the entire pot cool down before finishing half of the liquid I brewed, and didn’t even finish it after reheating it once or twice.
Based on that, I’m just going to assume that this tea didn’t grab me when I first tried it. I’m not sure why. I suppose it was far more vegetal and savoury than I expected.
However, I still have a very generous sample of this remaining, and I look forward to seeing if it suits me after all. if not, I’ll probably just order a lot Bi Luo Chun from Teavivre instead.
Thanks very much for the sample, Angel!
This is the first time I ever tried a tea like this, so I’m not sure if I made it correctly. It smells both like leaves and earth, and light and herby. The flavour is smooth, and mild, but seems like it could have been richer if I brewed it a little longer.
Overall, good. Thanks to Teavivre for letting me try this.
Angel generously sent me a sample of this tea for review. I jumped at the chance to try some raw puerh, as I’ve never had any. I was a little afraid of it, as the ripe puerhs have been hard for me to really enjoy, but I noticed from reviews that raw puerhs were quite different. So, I made this in my pseudo gaiwan setup. Really need a gaiwan.
The aroma of the dry leaf was quite zippy! It had a tang to it. I put half the packet in my little teacup aka gaiwan and rinsed it twice for 10 seconds each. I really don’t know what I’m doing as far as gong fu style steeping of a raw puerh, but I was copying others and also kind of winging it.
My first steeping was 15 seconds. The aroma of the wet leaf had a strong tobacco note that made me cough! The taste however, was surpringly pleasant! I got notes of tobacco smoke, mint….maybe that’s that camphor quality people talk about. Honestly it was like a smokey green tea. Much more accessible than ripe to me! Yay! I’m really surprised because I didn’t think I’d like it.
Second steep (25 sec) had more tang, was more astringent, and I think I got a little wood note. The smoke note is sweet, maybe like pipe smoke?
The third steep (~40 sec) was similar to the second, but the fourth steep (1min) was softer, less astringent, and kind of toasty.
With the fifth steep (1min30sec), there was a dominant floral note! It was also sweeter Wow! Really good!
I finished with a sixth steep at 2 minutes which was similar to the fifth.
Overall, I’m really impressed, and extremely surprised I liked it. Yay! I like puerh! :D
I ordered a sample of this tea in my last order, as I thought it would be fun to try another version of the yunnan Dian hong. I love the golden tips one so much! This version is darker, more malty, but still has some sweet potato goodness. I think I prefer the golden tips, but I wouldn’t pass this up if it was offered to me!
Thank you Angel for this sample! When I first open the package for this tea I was reminded of the sparkling apple cider my family drinks every New Years. The rose and chamomile buds are very beautiful and the tea itself has downy, full buds. I was expecting this to taste more of the white base, but it is more given to the other flavors. I was able to pull about seven equally good steepings from my first try with this tea. I really love the flavors and they all balanced together very well. Since school started this has become my go-to relaxing tea and I am excited to try mixing it with a few of the others in my cupboard. I think this might be one of my very favorites from Teavivre!
Yes, sweet potatoes. Not a fan of sweet potatoes but somehow a massive fan of this tea.
Smooth and drinkable and refreshing. It’s so light and lovely that I find myself making pot after pot of this, drinking it as if it were a replacement for water and deluding myself about the caffeine content, justifiably paying for it at 4am when I’m as awake as an owl.
Very mixed feelings about this one. Many popular teas on Steepster live up to their hype, so I was expecting big things from Teavivre’s Golden Monkey, especially after having just tried and loved their Yun Nan Dian Hong Golden Tip.
First try was with my new yixing clay teapot, which had been recently seasoned with an oolong at the tea house where I’d bought it. Was concerned that future cups of black would taste like oolong but the shop owner assured me that it would be fine. Steeped 3 minutes at 90C per instruction. The result seemed to be rather undetectable medley of flavours, perhaps some tobacco and leather but bold and smooth with a tiny bit of astringency. Can’t say I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would though.
So I tried again with my porcelain teapot, same temp and timing. Seemed smoother and minus the slight smoke detected with the yixing.
Leaves were still in the yixing so I steeped them again, this time for five minutes. While it was clearly still the same flavour profile, there were now certain, specific notes making their appearance with gusto. The first thing that struck me was how much it tasted like honey water. Honey water with flowers. Rather too sweet and floral for me, but this would be absolutely delicious for someone who likes honey and flowers.
Brewing a third steep, seven minutes. More honey water and flowers. A little lighter now. Would make a great, naturally sweet iced tea.
Perhaps today I was after something different to this. I do have a feeling it might grow on me though, and am happy to try it again at a different point in time.
With Steepster being mostly down this week, I haven’t logged any teas, so get ready for quite a few notes from me! I’ve decided I don’t want to wait anymore for the site to be perfectly fixed. At least we can read the latest notes from the link on the explore page.
I ordered a sample of this tea in my last order, because I thought it would be fun to try another Keemun. I am really liking Keemun. This one was really different. It had a nice cocoa aroma, but when I tasted it, I was blasted with this smooth stone fruit flavor…maybe plum? Whoa! Fruity! There was a hint of smoke, but it was very subtle. This was pretty delicious, and not what I expected. I think overall, I prefer other Keemuns, but this was a nice departure from the usual.
Thank you one more time, Angel and Teavivre, for the sample!
This is my second consecutive day of trying out a white tea. I was quite pleased with the one I sampled yesterday so I was hoping for a similar experience today.
When I opened the sample package, the leaves were long, wide, green, and fresh looking. The aroma was rich and grainy and perhaps a little sweet.
I steeped the leaves for five minutes at 195 degrees (no 194-degree setting on my tea maker). Even with maximum steeping time, the color was a very light (almost transparent) yellow. The faint brewed odor was slightly sweet with a hay-like quality.
The taste was not robust but it was ample and sweet. As I swished the liquor around my mouth, flashes of fresh hay, grass, and honey registered on my palate.
The more I sipped this tea, the more I liked it. The brew was quite smooth without any hint of astringency. The mild flavor seemed to increase its presence as I journeyed toward the bottom of my cup. By the time I finished my first cup, I had achieved enjoyment status. The aftertaste was delicate but also smooth and likable.
As a white tea, this one is quite good. I didn’t find any undesirable characteristics. My only recommendation would be to bring out this fine selection with lunch, dinner, or dessert. There was nothing wrong with it at 8:00 AM, but I personally depend on the stronger and more robust teas at that time of the morning to jerk me out of my sleepy stupor.
Flavors: Cut grass, Hay, Honey
I must also thank Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
It’s been a while since I’ve tried a white tea. I’m usually focused on the bold black and Pu-erh teas which help me return to the land of the living each morning.
When I opened the sample package, the flat and clumped “cake” pieces were dark brown and reminded me of raked fall leaves that meld together in the pile after a few days of rain. The emitted odor was earthy like a Keemun black tea.I set the tea maker on 212 degrees for nine minutes. (The recommended maximum steeping time was 10 minutes.) The brewed color of the liquor was a bright amber. The aroma was interesting and sweet. It wasn’t at all unpleasant but I struggled to identify it. I finally settled on describing it as a mixture of honey and hay.
The taste contained a sweet and medium-powered bounty of honey, hay, and green wood. This fusion was further complemented by grass with light and fresh tea components. The sum of the parts was a delightfully smooth and satisfying cup from start to finish. The aftertaste danced and rolled on my palate with no astringency in its vocabulary.
Teavivre has produced a splendid new white tea with this offering. All of the flavors blend perfectly at the right volume and seem made for each other. I could easily enjoy this selection at morning, noon, or night. Once again Teavivre has made me emerge from my black tea cocoon and be glad that I did!
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Honey, Wood
This tea has a pleasant smell of rotten leaves when dry. You should brew it with hot water 96°C to 100°C and wait for at least 6 minutes first 3 brewings and add another 2 minutes each next time. The brewing should be quite dark for the white tea. The taste is refreshing and tonic with mild aftertaste. I liked it but in small amounts. Like the another pu-erh tea I’ve got Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh it affects blood pressure and you could feel some negative effect if you have drunk too much of this tea.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Smooth