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Recent Tasting Notes
As part of our ‘try every black that Teavivre has’ thing, we also were hoping that this Golden Tip was going to be a replacement for the discontinued Teavana tarantula tea that we had picked a couple packs of when they discontinued it.
Side by side, I cannot make a distinguishing difference between this and Teavana’s Golden Imperial Lotus (though, obviously, it’s not held together by a string in a round formation).
The tea is smooth, but with a very rich, malty flavor to it. There is a sweet, caramel undertone that really finishes off the taste. It doesn’t feel quite as thick on the tongue as say the Bailin Gong Fu, but it still has quite a bit of weight to it. It’s a very, very enjoyable black tea.
We’re definitely going to keep this one around, me thinks.
The other side of the coin, yet again my friends!
The full leaf yunnan brews into a notably lighter colored beverage than the ‘standard’ black tea (now referred to as half-full). To match, the flavor is lighter as well. Less bold than the half-full, it still has some of the same maltiness, but where the half-full leaf ends in a very apparent smoky finish, this has a light fruitiness at the end of the sip. A little sweet, somewhat indecipherable flavor that kind of creeps in while you’re drinking.
A little less economical, at about $3/oz, but could be preferable to folks that like more refinement and subtlety from their tea. We brewed these both a little on the strong side (7g for 16 oz), so I’m not entirely sure how that would change the character.
I can’t really pick a clear winner between the two, they’re just different.
Continuing on with Teavivre Black Tea today… Yunnan! It’s like we’re taking a tour of Chinese tea, ha!
I did order a sample of basically every black tea they had at the time (they’ve added two since). It’s great of them to offer samples so you can get a good sweeping view of their product line.
This is the Black Tea, the most economically priced yunnan black they have, at a little less than $2 an ounce. The flavor is bold and malty, with a hint of smokiness to it. Not a lapsang, and probably not as strong as the keemun I tried from Teavivre, but there’s definitely smokiness to it (which surprised me a bit).
Compared to the yunnan full leaf that Missy brewed next to this one, there are striking differences. This tea is bold and malty, where the full leaf is refined and mellow. It is definitely an interesting comparison.
We brewed these both a little on the strong side (7g for 16 oz). Made the flavor pop out good and strong for comparison ;)
Oh, the winner? Hrmm… hard to say. They’re just different.
The other end of the epic taste-off between Bailin Gongfu and Organic Bailin Gongfu!
Much like the non-organic version, this tea is very malty, with a decidedly grainy flavor and texture. It has a slightly more pronounced caramel flavor that develops into a little more chocolate-y of a flavor with a teensy bit of sugar added. It’s an absolutely delightful, earthy experience similar to a very stout, dark beer.
Compared to the non-organic BGF, I find the organic version to be a bit bolder and more flavorful, but at the cost of some of the fantastic smoothness. It’s stronger, earthier, and a bit heartier.
So who wins? It’s a very close call, but I’d choose the non-organic for myself. I could see how the organic version could easily be someone’s preference.
Either way, you’re looking at a remarkably good cup of tea.
Alright, after a week of tooling around, drinking iced Earl Grey and bottled stuff, it’s back to my “tea homework”.
I’ve never had a monkey picked oolong, but they seem to be very popular. I’m sure they aren’t actually picked by monkeys… right? That seems like a health hazard. Anyway. It brewed up to a pleasant shade of yellow after two minutes, and smells different from most oolongs I’ve tried. This smells like it has been roasted. I’m getting sort of a nutty scent, along with cooked veggies. Interesting.
As is my habit, I made it over ice. Wow, is this different from any oolong I’ve ever had. Where most of Teavivre’s oolongs have been gentle and fruity or floral, this one is very hearty. It tastes like straight up roasted nuts and maybe a hint of sesame oil. It’s a very foreign flavor to me, but I like it. I could certainly get used to this. I want to pair it with wakame salad or maybe satay chicken. Mmm.
Yum! I am not usually a fan of black teas, but this tea is something else! Bold and round in flavor, yet very mellow at the same time. It’s one of those teas that’s easy to gulp down, but you’ll miss out on the subtleties if you do.
This tea is rich and malty with bready tones, and a very pleasing aftertaste. I’d like to say it calls to mind caramel and cocoa, but that’s not necessarily a very accurate descriptor. It has the gentle, comfortable characteristics of caramel and cocoa without being very sweet about it. Even though it’s not exactly a flavor descriptor, I’d like to say that this tea makes me feel cozy. It’s yummy alone or paired with desserts! Resteeps well at least three times, and it tastes great even if I forget about it and steep it a bit too long. It never gets overly aggressive or tannic! Excellent! Now that I’m out of my sample, I find myself remembering it fondly and craving more.
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample
I am not the biggest fan of green tea, but I wanted to try some good quality straight greens to try to change my mind. So, I asked for some samples from Teavivre.
Dry leaf: smells very vegetal
Liquor: still smells vegetal, very light yellow colour
Taste: vegetal, smooth nutty quality, and that “savory” flavour that I am getting like salted butter. I find the taste to be comforting.
2nd steep: 80degrees, 1.5 minutes, much the same as the first
Unfortunately, I wasn’t really feeling well, so I tossed the leaves and didn’t do more infusions but I think this would go a couple of more infusions.
Overall, I like the Pi Lo Chun from Teavivre better, but this company is starting to change my opinion of green tea!
This tea was a nice surprise yesterday morning. I had it with breakfast and even while eating a high fat, high sugar meal, I could taste the strong as well as subtle flavors in this tea. I can’t pin point exactly what I tasted, but I can say that it was a very refreshing black tea. Most black teas are extremely complex and while this is by no means simple, it feels like this could be drank hot even on a hot day. The flavors are very clean and apparent from the first sip to the last.
As I opened this tea I took a good long smell and the aroma was slightly overpowering. I have drank plenty of good and bad jasmine silver needles and from the strong smell, I was anticipating a soapy type flavor.
Well I was dead wrong.
This tea has a lot of flavor alright, but it was not overpowering at all. It was very gentle with a delicious jasmine taste that topped off the beginning and end of each sip. The man or woman who made this tea must have been highly skilled because it is very difficult to make a perfect jasmine white tea.
This tea is up there on my list and I feel as though it could almost rival thepuritea’s white jasmine or even my Verdant’s jasmine silver needle!
This milk tea is quite fantastic. This arrived in a sample pack and looked and smelled wonderful. The leaves were rolled very tight, and I have honestly never seen such a large amount of unrolled leaves come from 2 initial teaspoons.
The tea itself was very good and have a great milky floral flavor. I am so amazed at the differences from this and regular high mountain oolong. This was a very pleasant tea to drink and lasted for 3 full western style brews. I highly recommend this to anybody wanted to see why milk oolong is so much different than regular.
Sipdown :( This was a pretty tasty sample, though! I’m quickly working my way through all my milk oolongs in preparation for buying more. Who cares if they are expensive; milk oolong seems to be an absolute travel mug staple for me. I think I’m down to a single serving of DT’s Quangzhou Milk Oolong, a single serving of Bon The Place’s version, one packet from Teavivre of the unflavoured version, and a couple random cups’ worth of stuff from Mercuryhime and… whoever sent me a bagged version to try. You know you have an addiction to spending money when the prospect of it is so very, very appealing…
Brewed up for my aunt as she liked the smell. First infusion was absolutely delicious for me, but the second I had some problems with (probably because I don’t have an infuser big enough for a full pot, to let the leaves expand fully). Ended up putting the infuser into my individual cup, and left it too long, so it’s a bit bitter. One thing about this tea is that I get a very “green” taste from it that isn’t all that pleasant. It’s not too bad in the first infusion, but it comes out a bit more in subsequent infusions.
Mom enjoyed this one, but unfortunately my aunt, who has some taste problems, can’t taste it very well and gets an unpleasant aftertaste from it. She apparently has this problem with most greens now.
I was craving a bit of milk oolong this afternoon, and remembered that I hadn’t tried this one generously sent to me by Teavivre yet!
The aroma of both the dry and steeped tea is kind of a caramelly, milky aroma. Very appetizing.
The flavour is pretty delicious as well. I can taste a vegetal oolong beneath the milky, caramelly flavouring, which blend fairly well together (although I don’t recall such a sharp, vegetal flavour with other milk oolongs I’ve tried, but it’s ok). The milky taste and oolong aftertaste linger in your mouth for a while after, which is enjoyable.
Unlike Teavivre’s unflavoured milk oolong, which I enjoyed but didn’t find particularly milky, this one clearly tastes deliciously milky, but I feel a bit like it’s not quite what I want from a milk oolong. I really can’t quite put my finger on it; it may be that it’s flavoured and there’s something not quite meshing, or for all I know, I messed up the brewing parameters. Either way, it is certainly enjoyable!
I think DavidsTea’s Quangzhou Milk Oolong is going to be awfully difficult for other teas to beat… (although the Silky Green from Bird Pick Tea & Herb was very, very close, if not better).
Sample provided by Teavivre – muchos gracias
This is a really well-balanced tea. The silver needles are beautiful and large, not many broken pieces in this sample. I am not normally a fan of straight silver needles, but this tea is smooth and delicate with just a hint of jasmine. It really is quite subtle. I like jasmine teas to be strong and sweet with more jasmine than tea, but this makes me appreciate the nuances of both tea and flavoring. I found this to be most enjoyable when brewed gong-fu style with 80-85 degree water.
Ah. Another day, another Teavivre sample to try. Life is good.
This selection was hand rolled into little balls of green leaves. The pre-brewed smell was fresh and aromatic. I was excited to add hot water and see what developed.
I brewed this blend for two minutes at 212 degrees. I always choose the maximum recommended steeping time to get the strongest tea possible without (hopefully) bitterness.
There was just a light and subtle tea smell wafting from the pot. The color of the liquid was golden amber.
At first taste, the flavor was bright and sweet and very smooth. With each subsequent sip, a sweet, honey-like flavor remained on my tongue. Bitterness does not exist anywhere in this tea.
This brew goes down so pleasantly and smoothly that I had to restrain myself from chugging it. All of the sweet and tea flavors are in perfect balance. I could drink this tea all day.
Thanks to Teavivre, my horizons have been broadened. I am rapidly becoming a big fan of other teas besides basic black. This Oolong tea is nothing short of WONDERFUL!
Thank you to Teavivre for this free sample. I’m just sorry it has taken me this long to make time to try it.
The dry leaf has a thick milky floral aroma. As the nuggets open, the teapot (a glass one) I can see that the soup and leaf together take on an electric green colour that is really exciting. The liquor is pale green. It smells more creamy than the dry leaf and the floral notes are enhanced. The mouthfeel is milky and the tea is sweet and vegetal. The sweetness continues to develop on the tongue after swallowing. Overall, this is a light, refreshing tea that is perfect for warm summer days like today. Definitely a good choice.
Interestingly, I wrote about this tea two years ago. It is instructive to see how my descriptions have changed in that time.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral
Free sample from Teavivre
Opening the packet I am met with a milky. slightly floral aroma and the sight of beautiful dark green nuggets of tea highlighted by lighter yellowish green elements and some browns. Already I am excited by this tea. It looks great and the aroma is intriguing.
The first cup is creamy and smooth with a strong milky flavour, which seemed to dominate the cup. I’m not sure what else there was in there because I was distracted by the strength of the milkiness.
The second cup has a less overpowering milkiness to it. It is there in the background more as a silky, smooth highlighter for the more vegetal taste that is now coming forward.
I don’t really have enough reference points to describe this tea, I think, but I can say that I have really enjoyed it. I doubt I would drink it every day though. It seems more like a tea to be enjoyed when the mood comes upon me. Thank you, Teavivre, for another great and different tea.
I am a Tea Noob. Yes I admit it, I own no gaiwan, no fancy-pants Zingydoo-Ninja Tea Sets or anything better than a few teapots and some pyrex glassware. My only knowledge of Gung Fu etiquette involves Tai Chi, my main experience with Proper Tea has been a few sample bags, Bancha, and occasional sessions of Yum Cha, and my supply of Tea Superlatives is limited to say the least. So, bearing this in mind, this is a Tea Noob’s take on this fine tea from TeaVivre:
By the way, I also have to mention I’m not really a green tea fan. At least I wasn’t. My previous experiences have been negative ones (except for Bancha) and have left a bad taste in my mouth, so with many such “bitter” memories I haven’t really felt like trying more. I have to say my experience with this tea has changed my mind.
I recently and impulsively deviated from an Oolong hunting expedition on eBay, and bought a sampler (fresh from TeaVivre), in due time receiving a well packed box in the mail, inside which, nestling under the bubble packing, was a classy looking sealed silver bag. Sealed within this were 4 nice little mini silver baggies of leafy goodness – one immediately drew me by its intense and delicious aroma (and no it wasn’t the Dragon Pearl Jasmine) – it was this one (Tian Mu Mao Feng). Upon opening the bag I was seized with the need to repeatedly inhale deeply until I finally sneezed (tea leaf up nostril, oops) and was even tempted by thoughts to keep it as potpourri – an intense grassy warm aroma with lashings of honeysuckle flower scent… yummmmm! It even looks pretty enough to use as potpourri with its deep green leaves so dark they absorb the light and give off an almost blackish hue, might look very good in a blue and white bowl near my chinese painting, I thought.
Anyway, having got over that (somewhat impractical) idea, I decided to go for a chinese style brewing (or at least my uncultured approximated version of one). Heaping what I can only describe as “a good amount” into a tea cup (ok I didn’t measure it), I brewed it 3 times into other cups, straining it with a teapot lid (I am a Barbarian).
The first steeping I’d probably brew next time around for more than a minute (hadn’t read above review yet, tsk), as it was a little bit too weak for my taste at this stage, however some sweet light floral notes skipped daintily alongside a crisp yet mild grassy greenness, making it a pleasant cup. Quite nice, and not a hint of bitterness.
Next one I brewed for 1 min 15 s, and the second cup really did it for me, a buttery, sweet full mouthed flavor burst that left me wanting more. I’m not sure if this is what they meant by “chestnut” flavor (on their website), as I didn’t get any “nuttiness” as I imagine it but it was a little reminiscent of notes of chinese water chestnut (the fresh not the canned variety, and this is not a /nut/, its a /corm/ :p (ok, semantics)).
The third cup (brewed about 1 min 30 s) was a slightly woodier (but not bitter) flavor and errrmm I’m running out of descriptors here, so I’ll just say it wasn’t as full, sweet or “interesting” as the second but still pleasant.
I don’t think I’d go for a 4th brewing myself but thats because the possiblity of something bitter puts me off the idea thus far, but I may become more adventurous as the journey goes on.
Oh I definitely could vouch for the “spinach” description of the flavor of the leaves as in the above review, at least the leaf I accidentally ate in one cup was very “spinachy” (crisp and not too chewy either, add to stir fry after steeping perhaps? ;) ). I didn’t seem to get much in the way of twigs in mine though, and my leaves were mostly intact – different harvest or random chance? Not sure.
I wrote this down shortly after drinking the last cup as to retain the full memory of the experience. I think my tea-describing superlatives could use some work (I’m better at describing wine I think). Looking forward to trying the next 3 samples (I’ll not be so spontaneous and read the reviews first for handy hints this time) but I’ll leave that until tomorrow as its near bedtime, and aside from too much caffiene making me go “Whee!”, green tea has certain physiological effects on me that may be indelicate to mention, at least 3 cups does :-)
P.S. My thanks go out to all the “pro” types who review on this site, such as the above (probably more helpful) one, its great to get tips from the more experienced “teaphiles” (is there a proper word for this that isn’t Chinese?). Cheers!
This is the first sample I’ve tried from Teavivre (who I have to thank for being so amazingly generous, especially Angel) and it’s hands down the best white tea I’ve ever tasted. It was light and refreshing, absolutely gorgeous! It’s definitely hooked me from the first sip. The second steeping was just as good as the first as well. A definite keeper.