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Recent Tasting Notes
Until I discovered loose tea, I never particularly liked black tea, finding it bitter and too astringent. I have probably tried 50 loose teas in the last couple years, and finally decided to give black tea another try. Thanks to Teavivre, I got a generous sample of their Bailin Gongfu and I just love it! I have tried only about 5 unflavored blacks from a few different companies, but this is my favorite. I steep it for 2 min. at 185, and add 15 seconds for each additional steeping. I got a total of 3 good steepings, but didn’t try for a 4th. To me, it is perfection, without any bitterness or astringency to spoil it, so I’m getting ready to re-order it.
Thanks for this one Liberteas!
I may just be the LAST person on steepster to try this! LOL – It seems like many have beat me to it! Regardless – I’m super excited!!!!
I agree with Liberteas saying this is more subtle than other milkly oolongs – it has a more gentle milk texture and taste and not that more intense sour-sweet type flavor that others seem to. I appreciate that difference!
I love how the flavor lingers! It’s FAB!
Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—
Note: this review is based on the 2012 harvest.
I received 15 grams of this tea as one of many tea samples provided by Teavivre. Thank you Angel and Teavivre!
This Long Jing Green Tea is advertized as being harvested on March 3, 2012. I brewed this up roughly a week after I received this tea.
Everything about this Dragon Well speaks of its quality: the characteristic appearance and fresh aroma of the both the dry and wet leaf, the movement of the leaves while steeping (more below), and it’s seemingly well-known sweet nutty flavor. As it seems most Long Jings do, this one yielded a mildly green colored liquor.
I started with my standard green tea times and temperatures when steeping (starting at 180F and one minute), and increased the time and temperature up through five steepings. While steeping, the leaves were all on top for 1st and 2nd, half and half on 3rd, such that they were up and active all the way to the 5th; I found the steeping of the leaves enjoyable to watch (with some teas the leaves simply sit on the bottom during the later steepings with little to no activity). I don’t know what all that activity means, but my guess is that movement is an indicator that there is life in the leaves.
I found that the wet leaf had the tell-tale signs of being a quality Long Jing: whole leaves interspersed with plenty of buds and bud sets, all of a uniform army green color. Although it is not the quality of Life in Teacups’s Da Fo Long Jing (the highest quality Long Jing I’ve yet had), this is clearly from a quality pluck.
The flavor was strong, and my wife and I both liked it. Still, as much as I like the taste of a quality Long Jing—and after having a number of them—I am finding that they all have a flavor profile that is not at the top of my list of favorite green teas. It had good flavor up to three steepings and on the forth it had a slight change in flavor that seems to be characteristic of Long Jings, something I don’t quite care for; I don’t know how to describe it, but it may be that it’s too nutty for me. Still, the fifth had an impressive amount of good flavor. With one exception, this is probably the best tasting true Long Jing green tea I have ever had. The price ($20 / 100g) is probably not too bad for an organic Long Jing of this quality, but it’s still too expensive for my tastes; personally, I would rather purchase a less expensive Long Jing. Price aside, this is a Long Jing I would be willing to drink on a regular basis.
I decided that it was time for tea. I have been feeling better today which means I have been drinking less water, juice, and tea overall. I still need to drink more liquids though.
This is just what I was looking for. Slightly buttery and a tiny bit fruity at the end of the swallow. Nice and light and refreshing, but I can still taste what it is supposed to taste like.
I was getting ready to brew up some of my Jasmine Silver Needle only to find that I must have used it all up already! I must remember to keep track of my teas better and to check how much is in the bag before I get ready to pour water in my pot.
So my eyes turn to my Dragonwell and it was exactly what I wanted. Buttery and grassy with a hint of astringency. Just the thing before I start to move on to my new round of sample teas from Teavivre. Have I mentioned how much I love that they let me sample different types of tea from them?
My girl friend didn’t have power last night so she asked if she could come over and borrow our shower since she had to work today. I said sure and she surprised me by also bringing over my fiancee. She likes tea and enjoys having my tea so I let her pick one out to have before she went home.
She picked this one so I brewed it all up and we had tea together.
Time for my green tea after dinner tea plan! Since my white Silver Needle Jasmine tasted better with more leaf, I decided to put in about a teaspoon more leaf than I normally do.
Whoah! It smells green and buttery right from the get-go this time. I don’t even need to get close to my mug to get the yummy buttery smell. I steeped this for two minutes. I am finally getting the butter note that I have missed from my first dragonwell. Then the green tea flavor comes charging in and enveloping my mouth with its wonderful taste. The liquor is still very pale even with the extra leaf. This tea isn’t as astringent as my green jasmine pearls which makes for a lovely bedtime tea.
I think I have been under-leafing my french press recently. I will have to pay attention with my other teas to make sure I am getting the leaf-to-water ratio right and get a new teaspoon for measuring.
I haven’t been feeling very well recently (hence the no tea notes in a while). So today, I forced myself to make a cup of tea because my throat needed it. My oh my, I forgot how good this tastes. It has the nice mineral and slightly astringent taste (perfect to eat with scrambled eggs with onions, bell pepper, and sage).
The more steeps you have of this, the slightly more buttery it gets. It mostly tastes like fresh morning dew with a hint of the buttery note. It makes my throat feel better. In fact, I keep sipping this tea as I am writing this note, which means my nose keeps going into my cup.
Seriously, try this tea. It is yummy.
It was a toss up between the black pearls and this dragonwell last night, so of course I couldn’t wait to try this one today!
The leaves smelled like butter when I opened the package. Not strongly of butter, but it reminded me of how my last dragonwell brewed up. The leaves are so big compared to my last bag of dragonwell. Long and flat. They wouldn’t fit into my teaspoon so I just poured out enough leaf to lightly cover the bottom of my press.
I impatiently waited two minutes for this to steep. I was worried for a minute because the liquor was turning out so light. In the press it was almost still clear but in my cup it was a very, very light yellow. I sipped it and the first word that popped into my head was “smooth”. It tastes so smooth and I drank it fairly quickly because it went down so easily. At the end of the cup it tasted a little mineral-y but not enough for me to really notice it if I wans’t paying attention.
I got busy organizing books so I didn’t get to have the second steep until after lunch. This steep was for three minutes and the liquor was much darker. It is still light and smooth but there is another note teasing the edges of my tongue. It is a slight creamy sensation with the tingle of light mineral water. I was afraid my lunch would overpower the tea, but now I’m thinking that I should have had it with my tea.
I have never steeped a green tea more than twice (mostly because I have never had a high quality green before), but I am going to try a third steep in a little while to see if it still has more to give.
Third Steep: I steeped this for four minutes and it tasted exactly like the first steep. I don’t think the flavors would develop any more after this so this is probably a three steep tea for me.
This is (or was) my last unopened sample from this round of Teavivre teas. I think I may have a new favorite. I love this! The dry leaf smells of Honey Nut Cheerios. The cup tastes of warm buttery milk, and cereal. Sweet and grainy with a touch of vanilla. Also, there is a bit of salt, smoke, and hay. It has a light non-offensive bitterness. Like the other Taiwan oolongs I have had lately, I am getting a neat cooling sensation on my breath. I could enjoy this cup without additives. You all know that rarely (never!) happens. I added Splenda to see if it improved the taste. It accentuated the flavor and diminished the light bitterness. I Love this! And you didn’t think I could write a one paragraph review of a new tea ;)
This tea is a perfect 10/10 in my books! Seriously, you guys. As someone who could eat condensed milk straight out of the can with a spoon, or subsist on nothing but tres leches cake all day, this tea is a godsend. It is a boldly flavored, distinctive tea, so it’s not necessarily the tea I would pick if I had to have one “desert island” tea for the rest of my life, but if somebody told me I could never have baked desserts or candy again, I would use this tea to fill the void!
The dry leaf smell is striking. The tightly rolled, vivid green pellets have a rich sweet cream sort of smell. The buttery fragrance lets you know you’re in for a treat! The first four infusions have a luscious creaminess to them. If I steep it past the point of milky perfection, its flavor profile reminds me a lot of Teavivre’s Tie Guan Yin.
The aroma and flavor calls to mind milky candy, condensed milk, and caramel. A subtle creamy floral note perfectly marries the condensed milk flavors with the smooth, vegetal, green oolong ones just beneath them. Some people initially balk at the notion of a milky caramel candy flavor pressed up against green tea, but the flavors here are so artfully balanced that everyone I’ve offered this tea to has been really impressed. It’s delicious and deeply satisfying, but it also seems so… delicate. It’s not the clumsy slap of a sticky, oily caramel cake that just popped out of a vending machine, it’s the little kiss of a petite treat from a chic pâtisserie.
One of the best things about this tea is its full, creamy mouthfeel. A lot of oolongs have that subtly “buttery”, heavy mouthfeel, but this one is the densest feeling I’ve tried yet! Even without sugar, it’s a subtly sweet treat, but the addition of a little bit of sweetener takes it to new heights of decadence in a tea cup.
Considering how many times I can infuse this tea and still get fantastic flavor out of it, it is a wonderful bargain too. I hope I can keep my cabinets stocked with this for life!
What a wonderful sample. Seriously Teavivre, thank you for the sample! I have decided that currently my favorite milk oolongs go: Teavivre, Teavivre (flavored), and then David’s. This is mainly due to the fact that I like the floral/sweet/fruity notes in Teavivre milk oolongs as compared to David’s more creamy version. All are wonderful though.
I normally do 3, 3min brews of this tea and it stands up quite nicely. This is a very sweet, smooth tea that would be great for anyone looking for milk oolong.
What a wonderful tea! I forgot that this little beauty was hiding out in the back corner of my cupboard. After a long day of shopping and eating, I’ve been left feeling really dizzy. I think that this is the one thing keeping my mood up! It is very sweet, milky, and I love watching the leaves unfurl. I do prefer the un-flavored version more, but this is still a very amazing and flavorful tea with lots of great floral and green notes as well. Highly recommended.
Many thanks for this sample! I must say that I chose this one first of the new bunch because milk oolongs are my crack. Seriously though, I’m not going to let this one sit around for long. It smells lovely, milky, fruity, and less green than other oolongs. I really like the color of the leaves in this selection. They are very dark green with light yellow bits. This tea is every bit as good smelling and pretty as the unflavored milk oolong.
I’m having this in my smaller teapot which is ~6oz and used about 1 1/2 tsp. The bag says that 1-3 min. should work so I’m using the highest time for this at boiling. It smells very floral and milky when steeped. The flavor of this is much stronger than the regular milk oolong. I think that the flavor mostly comes in at the end of the sip. Next time I make this I’m going to steep it for a shorter amount of time.
I’ve now had 4 steeps of this and it keeps on chugging! I really like this one. I wouldn’t say it is as tasty as the unflavored milk oolong, but I do enjoy the floral and fruity aspects of this when compared to other milk oolongs I’ve tried. I would totally recommend this one!
This sample was provided by Teavivre. The tea originates from Dong Ding Mountain. I opened the generous bag and poured out a spoonful of leaf to examine. This looks like little pieces of volcanic rock covered by moss or maybe petrified tea pebbles. It is dark gray/green and rough textured as if it is painted rocks. I am going on about it because it is really different. The scent at first makes me think peppery. Of course it’s really the ginseng. It also has notes of oats or some kind of grain.
I brought 12oz of water to a roiling boil and poured into my press with about 4g (one good spoon) of nuggets. I steeped for two minutes. When the timer went off some of the leaf was dancing on the surface and some was on the bottom. None of it was completely unfurled. Interesting, there is a light roasted aroma coming out of the press – this wasn’t even hinted at in the scent of the dry leaf. The brew looked golden with a light green tint, in the press. Once poured it became a light orange in the cup.
As the cup sits to cool a bit, the smell of ginseng keeps catching my attention. It is beginning to make me nervous. Is this going to be an overdone flavor extremophile?
I take a sip and must admit I am confused, in a good way. The ginseng is mainly present at the front of the sip, then fades only to return at the end of the sip and is felt at the back of the mouth and throat. It is done with balance. It leaves the mouth with a wonderful cooling sensation. The roasted smell of the wet leaf is a very subdued hint in mid sip. Given that this is from Dong Ding mountain, I was expecting heavy oolong floral notes. Instead this tastes closer to a green tea but not bright and grassy or floral. The best I can do to describe this is it is like a lightly roasted green tea and grain soaked in milk with some ginseng sprinkled on top.
The second cup, also at 2 minutes, is darker. The wet leaf smells like steak. Mmmm steak. This cup is tastier to me. The roastiness comes out more and the ginseng is less pronounced. The sweet floral notes I was expecting are now in the aftertaste taste. A good cuppa. Not that they taste the same but it reminds me of Gurman’s Pepper Mango green tea.
Cup 3 is back to being orange in color and is weaker in flavor but still pretty good.
I highly like this. I can’t say I love it at the moment. More tastings are required. I am fascinated by how different it is from my expectations.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to write a book today.
I am finally getting around to my generous samples from Angel and Teavivre! I meant to try this a few days ago but I was craving flavored teas, and I didn’t want to taste this until I was in the mood for it lest it be wasted on grumpy taste-buds. I just checked and this is the highest rated tea on Steepster, so I was definitely anticipating big flavors!
Right out of the sample bag it smells fantastic, very chocolatey and rich. I’m not that familiar with Chinese blacks, but it was definitely a good first impression! I used water that was a bit hotter than recommended because I’m a spaz, but I don’t think it adversely affected the flavor—there’s zero bitterness or astringency. I do like astringent teas but this seems like a more mellow black and it definitely wouldn’t be fitting with the flavor profile. This is suck a complex cup with notes of chocolate, malt, raisin, caramel/honey, and yeast. My dad tried some and picked up some hay notes, which I always enjoy in tea. It’s so smooth and rich without being heavy. I will most definitely be ordering more of this!
Free sample from Teavivre
Small nuggets of green leaf curled into balls with a vegetal aroma when I opened the packet. The smell promised good things. The first steeping yielded a vegetal flavour, creamy on the palate. It reminded me of asparagus and was very pleasant. There were floral undertones to it, although my wife noticed them more than I did. It’s always interesting getting her view of teas, and it really highlights the differences in our palates and experience of the tea. The second steeping had less of the asparagus flavour and was smoother with the floral notes coming to the fore. I did not really get the baked taste that is meant to be there, but that could just be me thinking it is something else, just a variation on the way I perceive the flavours. We got four steepings out of this tea before we called it a day. Lovely tea. I would be very happy to have this one in the cupboard for regular usage and shall probably get some on my next Teavivre order.
Thanks again Angel at Teavivre for this sample
Sample sipdown and I am sad to see it go because I really enjoyed it.
I steeped this with my new little gaiwan today. I still need practice though because I almost burnt my hand again. I used the website’s parameters (rinse,25s,35,45,55,65,75). I found that the sweetness didn’t have as much of a chance to develop as with western brewing and it seemed like there was a sharpness somehow. Still delicious