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Recent Tasting Notes
Drinking this straight after a cold third steep of Verdant’s Mi Lan Xiang Honey Phoenix.
I’m noticing that this tastes much softer. The flavors blend and meld into each other. The autumnal taste is more like leaf litter while the other is more like the crisp air of a forest. Yet, in both the honeyed note is clear. Clear but so different. Fascinating.
Today’s been an oolong-y day. Had three different teas, all dark oolongs. I suppose it’s just what I’m in the mood for. I hope it helps my tummy because I feel kinda crappy there. Must sleep soon. Tired. blargh. Long day.
This is a really smooth. It just slips down your throat like liquid silk. The flavor is autumnal and reminiscent of leaf littered forest floor. In between sips, I can taste something fruity lingering in my mouth. It’s peachy or somewhat berry like. I don’t really taste the honey that the official description talks about. I’ve had other Bai Hao where the honey flavor is really strong. Here, it is hard to taste. Still, this tea tastes very good. It’s not entirely my style though.
Excuse my rambling and somewhat disorganized review. I’m very tired. :)
First of all, I appologize for how long it’s been since I last made a post. My allergies (dust mites) decided that last weekend was a great time to act up, so I’ve been suffering the effects of a severe head cold, but without the benefit of my allergy meds (which were left at home…). Byt the time a acquired my meds, and the three days that it took for them to become effective, a week had passed. If I had had the meds on the first day, that would have been hte end of it, but since this only happnes twice a year, I tend to forget about it after 180 days…
Anyway, now that I got that small rnat out of the way, on to the tea! I actually used my larger mug to brew the tea, and transfered it into my usual drinking mug. I let it sit for 15 seconds before the transfer, and actually managed to pour it all out without spilling anything. After letting it cool for a while, a took a sip and was immediatly reminded as to why this is one of my favorite teas. The sweet foretaste quickly transitinos into a delightful sweet ginseng, with the flavors almost perfectly balanced. The contrast is what really makes this first infusion special, since the bold flavors seems to dance arround your mouth before settling onto the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat. the aftertaste is kind of hard to describe unless you had Verdant Tea’s Orchid Oolong from about a year ago, since it’s almost the same, but not quite as good, but it’s still delightful to experience. This flavor lingers for several minutes, and reasserts itself every time you breathe in. Truly a unique experience.
Second cup, same temperature, 10 second infusion. It is a lot less sweet in the fortaste now, but the sweetness returns a lot for the aftertaste. The middle of each sip turns a bit lackluster, where the flavor seems to wane a lot, but it reasserts itself a lot for the aftertaste, which makes everything okay. Hoinestly, this tea starts at the peak of its flavor, and slowly fades into mediocaty. While sad, I realize that not all teas are like puerh, where you can get interesting flavor development for hours.
First of all, a big shout-out to Teavivre for the amazing free sample!
I was really busy packing for vacation, and didn’t have time to do my usual format for reviews, but there’s the highlight reel. The first infusion was steeped in 205 degree water for exactly one minute. The result was an amazing sweet tea, with very tasty licorice flavors dominating the palate. It was just about as sweet as the orchid Oolong from Verdant Tea that I had the other night. The infusions continue, decreasing in potency and sweetness until number five, where only a faint taste of barely-sweet licorice remained. Regardless, it was really, really good, and it was the perfect way to relax after the usual frenzy of packing. And, since my destination is England, all I have to say is jolly good!
EDIT: stupid typos…
I like this one, its very clean tasting with no fishiness at all it is lightly earthy and very smooth, I think a person who thinks they wouldnt like puerh would like this one. It is excellent after a heavy meal. 2 to 5 minutes steep on this one was perfect for me. This one made me think of one of my first puerh it was very similar to this and it made me fall in love with puerh.
Using the last of this one. Maybe its a year and a half old. The scent of grapes still pours out of the bag when opened. I used my clear glass press for this as I love the way the leaf moves in the water. The dance is an important part of my preparation experience, as is admiring the dry and wet leaf and the accompanying aromas through the process. During the dance most of the leaf hangs from the surface like a canopy. Other leaves pirouette downward in glorious freedom. I let this one go longer than normal just to watch. The liquor is a bright yellow/honey. The taste is as fresh as the day this arrived. A beautiful tea.
I have learned more from sipping teas from Teavivre than any other company. Just one of the lessons learned is I really love properly processed jasmine tea. Premium Dragon Pearls is my favorite. This Silver Needle is a very close second.
After slowly sipping on this again today I am still in love. Violet mentioned wondering how this would taste iced. I’ll bet it is really refreshing that way. I may never know. It just won’t stay in my cup long enough.
I called this honey colored last time. I really think it is lighter than that. Maybe white wine? Whatever, it is fascinating me.
A few days ago I bought a dorm refrigerator for my den. So now I have ice cubes and iced tea easily in reach while I type. I prepared some iced black tea the other day that I poured into a clear glass 1/2 gallon container. I was blown away by the beautiful red ruby color. Somehow pouring into a white mug does not give the same effect.
As a result of the iced tea incident I found a clear glass mug (Walmart – $2) for hot tea. This is the first mug of tea in the clear glass. The liquor is a gorgeous light honey color. Along with that light jasmine flavor and the subtle notes of the white tea I am in Heaven.
I almost always use a clear glass press to steep the leaf so I can watch the dance and observe the color, but the mug adds so much to my sensory experience and pleasure. This cup is flawlessly clear.
This leaf is nearly a year old and it is still just exquisite!
I know nothing about the jasmine flower. It sure seems like there must be two distinct types used in tea, or two different application methods. All I know is all tea bag versions, and most loose versions, I’ve tried have the same icky smell and flavor about them. For years people told me how good jasmine tea tasted. I was convinced they had no taste buds. Then came TeaVivre changing my mind.
All the TeaVivre (and honorable mention to Utopia) jasmines have such a wonderful scent. The flavor always makes me think grapes. They are light and sweet. I am totally amazed how much I like them.
I have to admit, at first, this one made me uncomfortable. White tea, especially silver needle, is so delicately flavored on its own that it seemed wrong to cover it up. Tasting it caused me to forget my concern. The lightness is maintained. It crosses the lips as gentle grapes surrounded by flowers, then caresses the throat with creamy delight. The aftertaste lingers with sweet nectar that slowly fades revealing the silver needle base. Yep, this is good stuff.
This leaf was still in my press this morning and Bonnie is on my mind – praying you and your home are safe this day.
The jasmine is a bit softer this morning but the milkiness is still very solid. I find it very interesting that no one else commented on this aspect. I did add sweetener. That could be part of the explanation along with our hard water. The water is heated it in a kettle until it starts getting loud (far below boiling) then cooled it until it stops making noise. I use 12oz of water and 2 scoops of leaf in a French press for about 2 minutes. Still loving this.
This came as a sample provided by Teavivre. This tea is so light and fluffy it barely fit in the sample bag – seriously. When I opened the bag I was hit with the jasmine scent. I was a little afraid as it seemed very strong, like many of the jasmines I have tried and not liked in the past. Within moments the scent calmed down and mellowed into that beautiful fragrance I love so dearly in their Jasmine Dragon Pearls (my favorite Teavivre tea).
The leaf itself is gorgeous. So light in color and almost brittle looking. I kept spooning it out until it ‘looked’ like the right amount in the bottom of my French press. Heated 12oz of water until it steamed then let it cool until it stopped making noise and poured. I steeped this for about a minute and a half. The liquor had the faintest yellow tint in the press and looked nearly clear as it poured. The wet leaf gives off an intoxicating aroma somewhere between honeysuckle and grape. Love it.
The sip is jasmine, the good kind – note overwhelming and not medicinal or fake. In addition is something I did not expect. This tastes and feels very milky to me. It’s almost creamy moving across the tongue. Really nice. At first I was having trouble picking out the white tea. Then I realized it was largely in the aftertaste. Though the flavor profile is a bit different, this is every bit as delicious as the beloved jasmine pearls. Seriously good.
Thank you Teavivre for sharing this tea and for showing me again that jasmine (done right) can be a work of art.
Ok, looks like I love this way more than others but I am going to rate this one because I think it deserves it.
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this delicious Sample!
This morning I was relieved to find that the wind had scooped out the low fog-like smoke from the ground and I could breathe easier. I really wanted some tea in a big way! I felt so sick last night, nauseated from inhaling the dense soupy smoke out by my daughters house that ended up dropping down on my place 10 miles from her less than a half hour later.
I steeped these gorgeous Bronze Onyx Tea Pearls Western Style in a glass pot so that I could watch them unfurl. I wanted several cups of tea to cleanse my body from the soot I had inhaled last night from the Larimer County Fire.
This was THE perfect tea choice for this morning!
I had no idea that these little pearls would produce the most delightfully cocoa nib flavored tea of any tea I’ve ever had.
Other tea’s I’ve enjoyed had cocoa or chocolate flavor coupled with malt, yam, cinnamon. But this, was pure cocoa. Try as I would, I didn’t find malt, yam, potato or any distractor lurking in the shadows waiting to sneak out of hiding with an “aha, gotcha”.
I have a treasured little French Bakery as big as a shoebox in Oldtown Fort Collins. The sign outside the shop says ‘Only One Person at a Time Enter Please’ posted there because the shop is so small. Inside there is a glass case lined with pastries that are works of art. Buttery beauties and sugered sweeties. Best of all are the Macarons. Ohhhh the Chocolate Macarons (French spelling)…so light they would float on air. My Black Dragon Pearl Tea was like the Chocolate Macarons. So very Parisian. Smooth, light and cocoalicious.
I’ll buy some of this tea…it is really the best black cocoa tasting tea I’ve had. Now I have 2 Verdant favorite Black Tea’s and 2 Teavivre’s.
The Today Show was on while I was enjoying my cup and was showing the Larimer County Fire…right here. I saw a helicopter picking up some water. Hum, it looked like the little lake about 3 miles from my house.
I picked up my camera and walked to the end of the complex and was shocked to see the fire was right up my hill from me behind Horsetooth Reservoir. Yikes! My daughter called me and we set up a plan in case I have to get out of here. I walked to the end of the complex and took a picture.
This tea actually tasted much better in my sample pouch. That was why I ordered 100g of this tea, but the floral and fruity qualities have quite diminished in this large portion. The leaves are tightly curled and they smell of smoke with a pinch of floral scent. The sample tea was actually pretty sweet, but that too has diminished. So after a first disappointment, right now I’m drinking this tea on the rocks and with honey and it is fine. It reminds me of the original taste. I have steeped 3 mins with 100 Celsius water and then poured it in a cup half-full of ice cubes and a small spoon of honey. Now it’s a dessert. It has the milky aroma, it’s not bitter, and it feels like honeydew on the palate. I shall continue experimenting with hot vs. cold steeping and brewing.
This one is one that I selected specifically, as an alternative to the lapsang Angel was initially going to send me.
Dry leaf smells very strong. I think I’d have to agree with the malty/grainy description on the current reviews. It’s hearty and almost a bit earthy. And maybe a little sour? Maybe not. But just sort of thick and hearty and warm, and hopefully the cure for my late last night ice cream induced headache this morning.
Brewed, I get a a very dark liquid. Perhaps I used too much leaf. I used my bamboo spoon from Teavana. First sips, unadulterated, I got the same malty and grainy notes, with maybe slight smoke, or something that had a sharp taste to it. I could not really pick up any caramel. I had to sweeten it, and of course add milk. With it sweetened, I picked up a sort of raisin like note, though perhaps that was more caramel…but it tasted like raisin to me.
I’m not as in love with this tea as I was hoping, but perhaps I wasn’t as diligent on the preparation and used too much leaf or let it steep too long, or perhaps my headache has got the best of me and I just can’t judge this properly. I’m about to re-steep though.
(This sample was generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thank you Team Teavivre.)
Dry Leaf: Has a sweet gentle floral aroma with some vegetal fragrances in the background.
Wet Leaf: You get the floral notes up front with a touch of sweetness and that nice vegetal aroma that is light.
Liquor: A dark yellow or even a golden color.
Taste: I get a smooth floral taste with a touch of sweetness and a slight vegetal flavor.The broth feels rich and full in the mouth.
Overall Opinion: I give this tea a 89. Now, the Tie Guan Yin part of this tea is nice and good quality. The problem I have is this tea was soaked in honey and you can see the rolled up leaves covered in a sticky substance but I really never felt like it really gave this tea that big honey sweetness as most people would have thought.So, I think over all people will enjoy the taste of this Tie Guan Yin but feel let down because of the expected honey blast that was never reached with this tea.
Vessel: Sama Doyo 500ml Gongfu Teapot with a single sample(3-5grams) that was placed in the inner cup that holds 220ml of water( around 7oz.)
Thank you Teavivre for this generous sample!
Glorious Jasmine Silver Needle White Tea. There is nothing else like it!
I have been waiting for this sample…anxious to taste what I was imagining would be fine, high quality flavor as all my Teavivre samples have been.
I set aside a time before dinner to enjoy my tasting. Chose Alex Bugnon and Peter White for some Smooth Jazz, and was ready to go.
The fragrance drew me hard into the cup. How could I have resisted.
I was stepping into a Harem, a forbidden place…all incense and silk scarves. A gentle spray of Jasmine flowers was flowing from a crystal pitcher. The taste was heady and luminous. Rivers of flavor so wet with juiciness rolling on and on.
There was something of the forest at the end of that initial taste. It reminded me of pine needles that are blue-green and icy. My cup was never bitter but I felt as though I had gone down deep into a dark blue pool of glacial water. It was the juice that took me to that new place and the flavor I found was in the tea trees. Dark green pine needles, tea needles somewhere high in the clefted hills.
Some tea’s are different by nature. The dance of preparation for this type of tea…spreading of flowers on the tea leaves…taking the flowers off…laying on fresh flowers. It has to be done just right. Everything must be perfect to become this cup. My cup was just so. Just the way I want it to be.
This is the way I love my Silver Needle. The Jasmine so light and fragrant…and the Forest..the tea needles…wild and dark, clothed in mystery.
I drank this straight. Later I tried it sweet and it is delightful for those who like sweet tea.
http://youtu.be/UdRc1bgqKqw Peter White…. Glow
I really like this combination. I was just reading today about the weight loss benefits of oolong (helps to burn calories faster, according to the poster in a local shop, by increasing energy expenditure (EE)). I suppose this is why I typically was served oolong tea while practicing t’ai chi back in the day. But I digress.
I don’t tend to be that into the taste of ginseng, but it goes quite well with oolong actually. The result really, really reminds me of Tulsi (holy basil) tea, if you’ve ever had that. It’s herbal and a bit grassy, tasting predominantly of hay, or fresh straw. If this sounds off-putting, give it a shot, because I am enjoying this and finding it refreshing even on another abysmally hot Texas day. Woo, ginseng power!
I’m really glad I joined Steepster or I would never know about any other teas, other than black that is. Oolong piqued my curiosity because it has a funny looking name and most of the pictures I had seen of it were little balls, such neat little packages. The first oolong I tried was a bit too green for me and almost put me off of them all together. I’m so glad it didn’t as this tea is really wonderful.
I steeped it three times so far. All of my steepings were the same temperature. I added a minute more each time. With each one I’ve had empty cup syndrome. My first steeping was and incredibly smooth, suave cup that hinted at honey and fruit in it’s sweetness. The second was still very smooth and sweet but I felt like the “oolong” taste was deeper. On the third the “oolong” taste was much more intense. It didn’t get in the way of the honey and fruity notes. The tea was still smooth and so comfortable. Very complex with out being overly fussy or hard to suss out. I’m going to save the leaves and begin again tomorrow and see what unfolds.
Thank you Teavivre for this large and beautiful sample!
I began my day with my grandson Ian (11) wandering out from MY bedroom…to see if I was awake yet on the couch. You see, whenever one of the “8” comes to spend the night…they are the king or queen of the house. They get my big comfy bed. We had a strawberry oolong from Butiki with breakfast and then went SWIMMING!
Later, Ian told me that the Puerh I was sending home for him well, he was going to save a piece to celebrate his adoption anniversary. I almost broke down and cried. What a sweet young man.
I took Ian home and arrived back at about 4pm…needing TEA!
Another Oolong? Sure! This was such a sunny day…and I was feeling tired but pretty good.
I used a glass pot with large strainer and steeped 24oz (yep a lot) 4 minutes.
Looking down into my cup…the liquor was golden
My initial impression was sweet honey water. Then my mind wandered.
I remembered a natural spring in Puerto Rico where I went long ago to fill water bottles. The water was sparkling and so sweet but mostly, cool. This spring was in the middle of the rain forest which was humid and filled with wild orchids and ferns, the tree frogs chirping and lizards scattering about. The mist and rain was always dripping down my face, my legs, arms… then circling around me steaming hot. (Not a place to wear makeup!)
I thought of the little hillside house in San German on the Southwest side of the Island where my children and I lived for awhile. It overlooked coffee trees, mango, banana and breadfruit trees. Many trips down the winding road to Boca Raton beach and the salty waves. Sweet smelling sugar cane lining the road and trucks piled so high with it they should have toppled over.
This Oolong had the floral, sweet honey water flavor but also an aftertaste of one of my favorite Island foods, plantain. Not green plantain, but Verdura..sweet plantain. When plantains ripen and become yellow. They are so delicious cooked in a little butter or fried.
Something about this Oolong makes me remember Puerto Rico. The beach at Isla Verde and Boca Raton. Salt Spray and the smell of orchids on a hot day followed by a sweet cool drink. Rock Sugar. Sweet buttery plantain or even yukon potato.
I got scared once in shower when one jumped on me! Pretty sound though!
I always know that a treat is coming when I reach for a Teavivre tea. Even when the tea isn’t of one of my preferred types, I consistently admire Teavivre’s rendition of it.
Oolong is one of those types that I don’t pursue or drink often, but I’m always willing to entertain new attempts to make me a fan.
I love the title of this tea. Is it really picked by monkeys? Do monkeys drink tea or eat it? Those are questions that will have to be answered another time. Now, on to my sampling of this tea…
I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for three minutes as Teavivre suggested. The brewed beverage was a light greenish yellow in color.
Brewed and unbrewed, the aroma was grassy and similar to some milder green teas that I tried.
The taste of this tea was sweet, grassy, and fresh. The flavor was very light and smooth, yet full. There was no bitterness and it seemed to go down my throat extremely easily. In fact, I had to restrain myself from chugging it a few times. It is one of those teas that I ENJOYED drinking.
This is simply another perfect tasty tea from Teavivre. I’m not sure if I’m an Oolong fan yet, but I am DEFINITELY a fan of Oolong tea.
In case you are wondering about all of my glowing reviews of Teavivre teas, I need to specify that I am not affiliated with Teavivre in any manner. I am not obligated to write tasting notes (positive or negative) about these teas. I’m also not compensated for my Teavivre tea tasting notes whatsoever, other than the prior receipt of these wonderful samples for which I am extremely grateful.
I personally consider all of Teavivre’s teas to be among the top of the best that I’ve tried during my 10 months as a Steepster. The Monkey Picked (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea has only reinforced my assessment!