Teavivre

Recent Tasting Notes

97

This tea was generously provided by Teavivre!

Oh man, this tea.

Seriously, guys. This tea.

But first, a story.

My wife and I ran out to pick up this package today and decided to stop for lunch too. You know that while I was waiting, I had to rip into the package. Oh tea, glorious tea! There was tons of it. I open the first pouch – TGY. My wife’s favorite. I sniff it, sigh happily, and then sniff it again before looking up at her and turning the pouch upside down, dumping it all over the table.

What I forgot to mention to her (and to you, dear reader) is that the tea inside the pouch was individually vacuum packed. Yeah, I’m evil. She nearly had a heart attack.

Anyway, on to the tea. This is delightful. It needed 2-3 teaspoons to seem like enough, but oh, it was worth it. The dry tisane smells like, well, blueberries!

Knowing about the hidden hibsicus (aka Roselle), I only let it steep for four and a half minutes. It is plenty strong with just that steep time.

The smell…well, to be honest, the smell worried me. It smells like hibiscus, and overly hibsicus teas make me ill. I girded my tea-loins and took a sip anyway and made a little sound of happiness that I’m sure worried my wife. I took another sip and immediately rushed over here to add this tea to my shopping list. Mmmmmmm.

It’s juicy and sweet like a berry, a touch tart but not overly so, and overall amazing. If you’ve ever had that blueberry pomegranate juice found in the funky bottles, this tastes like that, only without massive amounts of sugar. So much yum. When my bottle of Goji Pop that’s currently living in my fridge is gone, I’m so making a bottle of this to try cold. It’s practically begging for it. I need to have some of this in stock by summer, end of story, y’all!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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85

SIPDOWN! These are a cause for celebration for me, since I drink tea so slowly that I accrue much faster than I decupboard.

This sample was generously provided to me (a very long time ago, actually!) by Angel at Teavivre. I was in the mood for a white tea – actually I have been for a few days but I’ve taken my time getting around to it. I wanted something light and clean, probably to jump start my body into spring detoxification mode. I do less and less well with winter as I age.

I was worried that the flavor may have suffered in the year(!!) that I’ve had this, but it actually seems to be quite similar to how I remember it! Very sweet and straw-like, and quite mild.

This was perfect for right now – a fabulous Silver Needle!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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85

Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much!

Preparation notes: 5 heaping tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in the Breville (side note: my beloved Brevi is 1 year old today!!) at the below parameters. No additives needed. I want to add here that one of my favorite things about the Teavivre samples are that the steeping parameters provided are bang on – a huge help to someone like me who just isn’t familiar/confident with the lighter teas.

Dry leaf: Fluffy white long skinny leaves – they are so soft and fuzzy! There is a very evident note of hay or grains in the smell.

Steeped tea: The tea brews up almost colorless – that’s how pale yellow it is. There is a faint aroma of hay or grass, which matches the taste. The sweet hay notes come out more as it cools.

This is a very quiet and soft tea – the way it tastes reminds me of watching a snowfall at night. Very refreshing and clean.

In general I am just learning about white teas and their flavor profiles, but I think I’ve established that their main taste characteristic is that of hay or straw. This is the second white I’ve tried from Teavivre, and it is so far my favorite of any that I’ve tried. I like how straightforward it is – sometimes you just want a tea to drink and appreciate without having to overthink it, and this is definitely in that category.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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96

Tea of the morning……

Still absolutely love this one after all this time. I did notice a significant price jump from when I first started purchasing this. Definitely something to keep in mind when purchasing again, but it is a fantastic tea and worth having around. It is still just under half the cost of my new favorite golden tipped bai lin. So glad I don’t have to choose one.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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96

Second tea of the day…….

I am trying to do some figuring. I really want to see if the Bai Lin Confu from Joseph Wesley is different enough from this to justify getting some. I was probably a little lazy in that the first tea I drank today was a second steep of my Joseph Wesley tea leaves from yesterday.

They are pretty similar in flavor profile, notes of cocoa/chocolate and caramel. I do feel that the Joseph Wesley version has a much heavier mouthfeel, even comparing my resteep from earlier today to this. I could never give this one up, though, as I love it. I think I have pretty much decided to try a tin of the Joseph Wesley when I get together an order as it will not be difficult to drink 50 grams. However, the value of this one will always keep me coming back.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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96

Tea of the morning……

This one is just perfect. Notes of cocoa, earthiness, and slight malt. Pure bliss and very reliable. There is nothing like a good cuppa to help you greet the day.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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96

Tea of the morning……

It is a whirlwind week. Lots of holiday concerts for my kids. One is in band, one in orchestra, both in the HS symphony, both in the HS jazz band, and both in chamber groups at their music school. I am the music version of a travel team soccer mom. And my oldest just turned 16 today. It is a big week.

Luckily, I have tea to keep me going! This one is always excellent. Notes of cocoa, roastiness, light malt. It is one of those teas that I pick up my mug, and frown when it is empty. So happy I have a huge supply of this one.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Just reading your first paragraph makes me tired!

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96

Backlogging a tea of the morning….

Well, I have a new batch of this in my stash! Happy 2 year Anniversary to Teavivre. This was on sale for one day and it is such a worthy tea for breaking my no-buy. I love this. Such lovely notes of cocoa, a bit of malt, and it is missing the smokey element that is in my other favorite Keemun Mao Feng. I definitely consider this among my top favorite teas.

So good to have a nice supply (I bought 500 grams!) and that it is packed in 100g pouches just reassures me that it will be fresh when I have need of opening a new pouch. I can also gift one to my daughter’s friend who is a tea drinker and loves it, too. Perfect tea with great packaging! It resteeps pretty well, too.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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96

Tea of the morning……

And my tin is dangerously low, like I have about 2 more pots worth before this is gone. So, I thought today I could perhaps find a reason to skip this for a while (well, definitely at least until Fall…..I have got to do some stash reduction!) Notes of cocoa and roastiness. Smooth with a full mouthfeel. But no, this is one that will need replacing, too. I am noticing a pattern here, and it seems that I must have ‘all the Fujian black teas’ in my cupboard. Oh, well. On the shopping list it goes. I am sure you feel sorry for me, right?

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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96

Tea of the afternoon…….

..with a little change. I almost always drink my black teas with a little Splenda. I know it is not the greatest choice, but I do revisit healthier sweeteners from time to time (honey, stevia, etc.), and they all have a weird taste to me. I am also trying to shift my tastes away from sweet things and eat a more plant based, whole food diet. Fewer chemicals in the diet has to be a good thing. After drinking this tea yesterday, I remembered having it without additions for my first sampling. Today, I decided to try it plain again. I think this will work. I do still get the cocoa notes, but it is a little more malty without adding sweetener.

Usual teapot method. No additions.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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96

Tea of the morning……

Just a double check that this one is as good as Gong Fu Black (which is organic) from Zhi Tea. Yes, this works as a substitute for me! I have not tried TeaVivre’s organic version of this tea, but I am guessing it is very similar. Yum. The tea I love at a cost I can live with drinking it everyday.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
teawing

I had to get my Teavivre sample of this out thanks to you…
I like it too, I steeped mine in a gaiwan. It actually re-steeps well for a black tea…

LadyLondonderry

Thanks for doing the comparison, Jen!

Dinosara

Hoping to get some gong fu black(s) here in China, though of course they won’t be easily replaceable. :)

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96

Tea of the morning……right after a cup of Gong Fu Black from Zhi Tea.

I decided that these two teas were incredibly similar, and needed to check them out together. They have an incredibly similar look as dry leaf. Some golden leaves among long, twisted darker leaves with a bit of a sheen. The color is pretty much the same, if not exact. I did not brew them up in a side by side comparison, but I did brew one cup right after the other. They taste incredibly similar, again, if not the same. As far as my senses can tell, the only differences are vendor, price, and packaging _(and one is the organic version…). I know the tea from Zhi is not a great resteeper as I usually add just a little more leaf to sweeten the pot, and I will try resteeping this one to see if the results are similar. (Resteep info is in the comments section….)

Edit to add: I am not really comparing apple to apples, here….it is more like apples to organic apples, so if the product being organic is of importance to you, Zhi Gong Fu Black would be a similar priced option with the Organic Bailin Gongfu from TeaVivre. The Zhi is a better price in amounts around 1 lb, but similar in amounts of around 100 grams. I am not really concerned with the tea being organic, though.

This makes me wonder if Zhi might source from a similar place as TeaVivre for their Gong Fu Black. I am not that concerned about it, but will probably purchase mine from TeaVivre in the future as it is closer to the source, they offer more information on origins, and the price is considerably less. Other things that weigh in, I prefer the packaging from TeaVivre as I feel the tins from Zhi, while pretty, are not very functional. I would rather spend my money on tea than fancy packaging. It might be possible to get the prices similar if there is a sale at Zhi, but I know I can order this tea (as well as a few others that pique my interest!) for a good price any day at TeaVivre. I know it is always good to support your local tea vendor, so those in the Austin, TX area might want to consider shopping at Zhi.

EDIT TO ADD (March 30, 2012): Zhi’s price has gone up considerably since I reviewed this….

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LadyLondonderry

Very interesting comparison, especially since, as you know, Zhi’s Gong Fu Black is one of my very favorites.

Regarding the price difference, though, it’s worth noting that the Zhi Gong Fu Black is USDA-certified organic, and this particular Bailin Gong Fu Black from TeaVivre is not. If you compare apples to apples — Zhi’s organic Gong Fu Black and TeaVivre’s organic Bailin Gongfu Black — the Zhi product is priced lower ($49.95 for 16 oz., vs. $62.40 for 17.5 oz. of the organic TeaVivre).

If the organic certification is not a priority, then the lower-priced TV option is certainly attractive. And TV asserts that it meets the strictest “European low pesticide residues standard,” so that’s good.

As for packaging, I don’t generally buy tea in tins unless I’m giving it as a gift. And I love this particular kind of tea so much that I buy it by the pound, so a tin is not even an option!:)

SimplyJenW

It being organic was not of issue to me, personally. I will add that into my review….

SimplyJenW

Prices of Zhi GFB and the organic version are similar in small amounts. It is much easier to hit the free shipping for TeaVivre, but it will take a bit longer to get to the US.

LadyLondonderry

It’s not always top priority for me either; it’s more of a “nice to have” than a “must have” quality. I only brought it up in this case because it was relevant to the cost comparison.

SimplyJenW

I agree that all the information should be as accurate as possible, which is why I added it! Thanks for pointing it out. I just wish Zhi would offer bags in around 4 oz amounts. I really dislike their tins……

ashmanra

Great review! Let us know how you feel about that resteep!

SimplyJenW

Resteep info: I had about a half tsp of tea left in my inner sample packet, so I added it in….results were very similar to Zhi as that is what I do to get a resteep out of it…. Resteep of Zhi without adding that half teaspoon is good, but weaker and not as satisfying. Adding the half tsp makes it just as good as the first.

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96

Tea of the evening……

First, I must thank TeaVivre for their generosity in sending samples, very generous samples. I love the way they are double packaged so there is a heat sealed package inside a resealable pouch, and then sent in a box. Very impressive. There is also more information about the origins and production on this tea than I have seen from any other vendor.

(Yes, I know I usually don’t drink tea in the evening, but we are headed out for some pre-New Year’s festivities that involve bowling and loud rock music. It is not scheduled to end until 1am, so I needed a serious evening pick me up!)

Onto the tea…I guess the way I brewed this cup is more what is called western style. I did want to try it out brewing according to the usual way I brew a black tea just so that I would have a good frame of reference for the taste. One thing I did completely differently…..I drank this one straight up. I usually have to add a little sweet in order to bring out the flavors in a tea, but not so with this one. It is perfect on its own. It has flavors similar to a high quality dark chocolate or a really good porter (Yes, I do usually prefer my beer as a porter and my wine as a dry red.) Plus there is a hint of molasses in there. I do think the next time I try it, I will add just a hit of sweet just to see what other flavors it has to show me. However, this one is remarkable for me in that it is wonderful on its own.

Brewed by my usual mug method…..15 oz. mug, 2 tsp tea, freshly boiled filtered water, 4 minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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83

Sample provided by TeaVivre:

This a very green oolong with a taste that borders on floral rather than buttery. The dry leaves smelled very much like veggies, but that subsided with the first steep. I am brewing this in my steeper mug, and it is perfectly yummy. This has a gentle sweet aftertaste that makes my mouth feel very clean for some reason, lol. Very refreshing!

2nd steep brings the huge leaves out of hiding. Flavour from the first steep is duplicated in the second. This looks like a hearty tea!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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90

This tea was generously provided to me by Teavivre!

My package came today! It came todaaaaaaaay! bounces and sings

Ahem.

This was the tea I was most excited about. The thought of honey-covered tea leaves? Yes please! I was incredibly impressed by the packaging, unsticking the tea from the waxy bag in a bag in a bag in came in and dumping it into my glass gaiwan.

Oh my bob, it brewed up pretty. I’m on my fourth steep and the leaves have gotten huge. The first steep earned me a scolding from my wife. I poured the water and then quickly poured the liquor into my little cup before filling the pot of goji pop I was also making and asked her to set a steep.it for 3 minutes. She thought I was trying to steep this little beauty in my gaiwan for three minutes >.<

The flavor is lovely. I’m saving the other pouch for my wife, as she’s a huge fan of TGY’s. The first few steeps were very strong, but that’s fading to make room for a sweet, delicate floral note. I’m very much enjoying my cup of this and this from someone who doesn’t really like florals!

I also reached for this one because we had a horrible lunch out – Poutine and Pizza. Oh yes. Needless to say, I was feeling greasy and gross after lunch, so on Teavivre’s recommendation, I had my first steep of this about half an hour after we ate. I quickly started feeling better, which is a blessing.

All in all, this was a great tea! The floral got a bit overwhelming for me, but I’m not a fan of florals, so I’m calling that my issue. It is one I look forward to sharing with my wife, however.

Ninavampi

I’m now convinced that I absolutely can’t live without trying this tea in the near future…

Amariel

I have the regular TGY and it is excellent, I agree. Would love to have the honey TGY.

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85

Another green tea provided by Teavivre. Like I’ve mentioned before, I feel like this is part of a green tea education I’ve needed for a while.

The leaves are very dark green and rolled very thin. Like dried moss. They’re thinner and more delicate in texture than any tea I’ve ever had. They became a brilliant spinach green when brewed, though the tea itself was very lightly colored. A faint yellowy green. It smells like the sea and vegetables and honey all at once.

The taste reminds me a little of nori, but my senses are not very refined for this sort of thing. I’m also reminded of okra for some reason. Something about it just makes me think of summer and fresh veggies from my grandparents’ garden. Despite the short steep time, this tea is very flavorful. I think I’m starting to develop a liking for green tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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89

Absolutely delicious Dragonwell, and a premium grade at that! I had never tried a Dragonwell before, to my recollection. The leaves were quite big and bright green, which I love. A few tsp in the gaiwan provided several infusions; I think I stopped at around 7. The taste was sooo nutty and fresh! Definitely the nuttiest green tea I have had the pleasure of trying. I’m hoarding the small bit I have left.

Thank you TeaVivre for the sample :)

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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100

I tried this tea today, and I was impressed. It has a nice balance smokiness and smoothness. It has a robust body, but is not bitter. It is one of the best Keemuns I have ever sampled. I generally prefer Mao Feng, but this is a strong rival. Kudos.

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89

Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much!

Preparation notes: 3 heaping tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in Breville. No additives.

Dry leaf: Dark dullish green, gnarled and twisted, fluffy looking (kind of reminded me of a white tea. Scents of grain/bread, but also a musty note that I found kind of off putting.

Steeped tea: The liquor appears faintly yellow/green tinged. Very light, but not surprising given a short steeping time.

Still a musty smell, though fainter, and less offensive to my nose – it has become a grassier mustiness. I agree with the Cheerios description – think Cheerios infused green tea. It has a slight musty taste that fades as the tea cools.

This is not a particularly vegetal green tea, in fact it seems to me to almost be a hybrid between white and green teas. It has that wonderful grainy mouthfeel and yet a grassy taste. I like greens in general, and this one in particular speaks to how versatile they can be.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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91

I brewed this in my Breville according to the suggested parameters on the package (or as close as I could achieve since the temperature variables on the Breville are at 5 degree intervals): 190 degrees F for 1.5 minutes.

Delicious. Very pale in color (beautiful!) and such a delicate yet incredible flavor. Smooth, creamy, with notes of grass and hay and flower. Such a wonderful white tea.

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97

I’ve had Adagio’s dragonwell before but it simple can’t lay a hand on this. This is only my second dragonwell but wow . . . . The smell is like roasted nuts and orchids. The liquor is a nice light yellow and the taste fills the entire mouth and this tea is very creamy. Highly recommended! will be buying more!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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91

Thank you Marie @ Teavivre for ending me this generous sample

How can you not appreciate the art & labor when a tea is rolled up into little balls? It’s beautiful to look at.
This brews really nice with a nice, light floral taste that compliments the green nicely. Great aroma, smooth. I’m going to drink this next time I cook Chinese and whenever I’m in the mood for something floral.

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89

Interesting how my first logging of this tea was on a day that I awoke with a headache and congestion, and now today, this is the tea that I have selected for the very same reasons. I opted not to take conventional medicine and have this as one of the ingredients in the otc medication for my headaches is caffeine, and I thought this would be a better tasting way to treat my head issues.

I was reminded of this tea, and the sweet potato and raisin flavour notes that another reviewer noted, and I reread the reviews which all pretty consistently and conclusively list sweet potato or orange and sweet potato notes…and well, that all sounds good, though I’ve never thought of comparing tea tastes to that of sweet potatoes or raisins.

Dry leaves…in the package they are beautiful and golden, and as some have said, fuzzy. I took in as deep a breath as I could muster with the congestion and sniffed as much as I could. They smelled sweet and fragrant, and rich but delicate.

Brewed…I did my best to try to taste the sweet potato notes in this tea, and I think that having that expectation to look for, I found it, at the back of my mouth, as I finished my sip, but I wouldn’t have had the foggiest idea what that was otherwise. There is a bit of tartness, which could be what some are saying is orange or citrus.

The overall flavor is light and delicate, but earthy and warm, and a bit complex. I can sense a roasty/toasty essence which may be malty on the tongue, with a sweet-ish aftertaste.

I have raised my rating on this tea. I used water just before it was at a full boil, with one scoop of leaves in my bamboo spoon, and about 4/5 full of water in my steeper…I did not measure out specifically, I just poured it in over the leaves.

I have one last serving of this. For a straight black tea, I like it. I may have to explore more yunnans.

TheTeaFairy

I have place an order for this tea last week, can’t wait to get it! Sweet patato, really?? I find it so intriguing… hope it helped a bit for your headache :)

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89

It’s been a bit since I’ve had any tea that teavivre sent me, as I’ve been delving into the the ones from Jenn as I have been intrigued by the ingenious blends, but today I felt it was a straight tea day, so I brewed up a few straight teas. This was the first.

I wasn’t fond of it straight, but then I pretty much always take black teas with milk and sugar these days, and I think this mellowed it out for me. It was pretty earthy to me. I loved the colour of the leaves, and the tea was a beautiful dark mahogany brown. The tea was quite a contrast to the Ti Kwan Yin I had later which was light and fresh and floral; this was heavy and earthy, possibly smoky or malty. I’m never very good at describing notes in straight tea. This tea, however, was my tea of choice today, as I had woken up with a bad headache and congestion, and I wanted something strong to give my head a kick in the pants, so to speak.

I think I prefer darjeeling over this as a straight black, and I prefer flavoured black over straight. And for me, milk and sugar are a must for black tea.

ETA: In reading the reviews, I may opt to try this at a lower temp, with a shorter steep, and try it again, sans milk and sugar, to see if I can pick up the sweet potato or cocoa notes I’ve read about. It is possible I tasted this straight with too much haste. My rating might change on a subsequent brewing.

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