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Recent Tasting Notes
This is my first white peony, and my second white tea experience. It was fairly good, but definitely not my favorite that I’ve had out of my Teavivre samples. It’s got that soothing hay/fruit/floral flavor that I loved when I had Rishi’s silver needle, but to a lesser degree. I feel this may have been partly my fault as I’m still a little shaky on how to properly brew a white tea (all I have equipment wise is a basic cooking pot to heat the water in and I have to totally guess on the temperature). This one was just so-so for me. I’m sure it’s a high quality white peony, it’s just not my favorite.
These leaves are beautiful! Long, narrow, perfectly straight, vibrantly green leaves. They’re quite large actually and thus hard to correctly measure. But I think I did all right. The aroma is lovely, fresh green tea.
The taste is even lovelier than the aroma. Light, fresh, vegetal, and sweet. Light is the perfect description. It’s not heavy like Dragonwell.
There’s also virtually no aftertaste (as in the taste doesn’t linger). I haven’t decided if that’s good or bad yet. But it is definitely a noticeable characteristic of this tea. The aroma is grassy, but luckily for me that grassiness doesn’t make it into the flavor much.
Overall, this is a wonderful green tea. The second steep for two minutes was just as flavorful as the first, and I’m sure it could keep going for several more infusions, if I was so inclined. This tea is quite affordable for such high quality. It’s deserving of my stamp of approval! I highly recommend!
I finally did it, I placed my first order with Verdant. I spent a lot of time debating whether or not to do it, but the curiosity has been killing me and I knew that I HAD to do it. I got an ounce of the spring harvest Laoshan green, an ounce of the cornfields shu tuo cha, and an ounce of the golden fleece black tea (which is the one I’m REALLY excited to try). For that three ounces of tea, I spent $40.00. I’m having a really hard time wrapping my head around that number, I feel a bit ashamed to be honest. But if I would have never tried their tea, I would’ve always been left wondering. Sometimes you just have to live.
But anyway, I’ve spent enough time rambling completely off-topic, I just had to get that out there because I’m PUMPED. Now to the tea at hand. This stuff never disappoints me. This is possibly the most comforting tea I’ve had to date. It’s a very light-bodied tea but the flavor is there and it’s right on point. I can summarize this tea in four simple words: Malty, roasty, chocolatey, sweet. In other words, COMFORT. So for now I’ll sit here and sip on this cup of heaven while thoughts of the wondrous teas to come drift through my mind. And then I’ll spend the next week VERY impatiently awaiting my Verdant order…
I thought the Tie Guan Yin I got from Teavivre was good but this stuff right here is AMAZING. I didn’t even consider myself a big black tea fan before because I was naive to what a truly high quality black tea was. I didn’t even know that black tea could possess the kind of flavor “wow” factor that this does, my eyes are now open. For me, the most dominant smell/flavor in this is that of maltiness with little hints of chocolate and raisins, in a more refined sense it kind of reminds me of those Whoppers candies (the malted milk balls). This is smooth, comforting, a little sweet, a little earthy, chocolatey, malty… Just all around delicious. I drank it with homemade General Tso’s chicken and fried rice and it really complimented the meal. I will definitely be buying some of this.
First of all, I’m going to start off by getting a little personal. For about three and a half years now, I’ve been battling severe addiction and depression. But for the past few weeks, I’ve been clean and I started taking medication and it’s made A WORLD of difference. I share this with you for two reasons: 1. To feel as good as I do right now compared to how I was THRILLS me, and I feel like I have to share it with the world. And 2, one of the things I’ve noticed in feeling better is that my senses are so much more clear now. I taste and smell things I couldn’t detect before. Everything tastes/smells so much more vibrant now, and that is how this whole rant relates to this tea. I knew it was good before, but now it’s a whole new experience. Still floral, sweet, and refreshing-but now I’m truly EXPERIENCING it. I hope my streak continues.
I was very excited to see that my Teavivre order came today, I’ve been out of loose tea and impatiently waiting for my order for what feels like forever. I couldn’t ask for a better tea right now, I feel like I’m drinking the essence of spring. It’s green, floral and minerally and manages to be very refreshing hot. This was just what I needed right now. I’ve had an extremely rough couple of months and right now this is making me feel much better. I was a little disappointed to find that there was only one sample included in my order and it was just white peony, but I’ll live.
I’m enjoying this more tonight than I was last night. Although I enjoyed it then, I found it a bit too heavy on the floral notes at the time. But… that was totally my fault. I have a really bad habit of gulping and quickly finishing tea rather than sipping it and savoring it. Anyway, I’m bumping the rating up. This stuff’s great.
Today is the day I’ve been waiting very impatiently for the past couple weeks…the day my Teavivre samples came. Words can’t explain how excited I was when I saw the beaten, tattered box with Chinese writing on it sitting on my counter after school. This is my first Iron Goddess and my first green oolong in general. I was surprised when I smelled the brewed tea because I am naive to green oolongs. I had always heard “floral” as being a commonly used word to describe the taste of an oolong, but I never expected it to be this strong, to me it smelled like straight up jasmine green tea. The smell alone was very soothing and therapeutic. Being new and not yet having a refined palate, it’s hard for me to tell what all is going on in this tea. The floral flavors are very obvious to me, as well as a “slightly roasted” green tea type of flavor, and something I’m picking up on that I would describe as “minerally”. But it is a very delicate tea and I can tell there is a lot more going on then what my untrained taste buds can pick up on. Still, I like what I am experiencing. This tea is very mellow, and very soothing, and it’s doing a very good job of helping me wind down a little bit after a hectic week. I’m very much enjoying it and look forward to trying the rest of my samples (after 3-4 more infusions of this). Thanks to the generous people at Teavivre for allowing me this opportunity.
I’m looking forward to trying the huge stock of green teas I have from Teavivre. They’ve sent me tons of samples, and I haven’t gotten around to trying all of them yet. But I’m on a green tea kick, so bring it on!
This is my second experience with gunpowder green tea. Although the first time I tried some, it was a mint, bagged concoction. So, that’s probably not the most representative of this type of tea. I’m confident that Teavivre will give me the best possible experience with gunpowder.
The dry leaves smell exactly like the alfalfa hay I used to feed my pet bunny, Jasper. He was the cutest white bunny in the whole world with a few light grey spots on his back, grey ears, and grey spots around his eyes that made it look like he was wearing eyeliner. Sooo cute!! I had to get rid of him when I moved across the country from LA to D.C. But he was a birthday present for an adorable little girl, so at least I know he went somewhere he’ll be loved and cared for.
But I digress. Ah, I never get over how certain smells bring a rush of memories. Anyway, the liquor is a pale yellowish green. The brewed tea aroma is less hay now and more…hmmm, interesting. It has a little kick of something that’s tugging at my memory, but I just can’t quite place it. Maybe it’s just a green tea smell. Man, how long has it been since I drank a high quality green tea?
Okay okay, on to the taste. Wait! Puer!!! That’s what the aroma reminds me of!!! Wow…really? Puer? Yep! I admit it’s strange. But my nose isn’t lying to me. Finally, the first sip…okay it tastes nothing like puer. Thank God! :)
The taste is back to the dry leaf aroma: fresh, green, alfalfa hay. It does have some kick to it, similar to the puer aroma. It almost reminds me of red hots. Not because it’s spicy. But because of that initial burning when the red hot first hits your tongue. But this sensation is a fleeting one and quickly dissipates.
I wish I could describe the aftertaste. It’s not like anything else. It’s also somewhat palate cleansing. This is a very interesting and unique green tea experience. It’s not like your standard green tea. Really, the thing it reminds me most of is puer. Except it’s muuuuuch more stomachable than puer.
The second steep for two minutes at just below boiling yielded a much darker brew, almost murky (excuse the lack of a better descriptive word). The leaves fully unfurled during this second steep. The taste is basically the same as the first cup, maybe a bit more flavorful.
I wonder if anyone has ever made a flavored gunpowder green tea. I think it could be really good if you found the right ingredients to add to it. It would make a very unique base. Despite its distinctive flavor, it’s not quite to my liking. But I highly recommend that people try this one of a kind tea!
Got my last round of samples from Teavivre today. Finally I was home/they were actually brought to my door. Of course I answered in my pajamas because today has been my “dead to the world day” where I have just drank tea, read, and watched movies.
I don’t really like the tartness of hibiscus, but roselle seems a bit tamer. Still tart, but far more tolerable. At first I tried to drink it straight, hot, but switched to making it iced and adding sweetener. Now I like it a lot better, and I thought I added a lot of sweetener but it’s just right.
This is great, I don’t really drink a lot of fruit teas that aren’t blood orange related, but I really like this.
My husband actually helped me with my second sampling of this tea. We used a lot more leaf this time, four teaspoons to make 16 oz. of tea. The honeysuckle flavor, while not that much stronger, did seem to last longer, all the way into the third steep. However, by the fourth steep the flavor was again completely vegetal/floral. After that point, neither of us were really that interested anymore. After it loses its sweetness, it’s just not quite as delicious. And when it’s gone, it’s gone. It almost tastes like a completely different tea. Well, overall, I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this one, just because the flavor degenerates so much, but I’m glad I got to try it. Thank you to Angel from TeaVivre for allowing me to sample this one!
I actually received my samples about two and a half weeks ago, but have been so CRAZY busy with wedding stuff that I have had no time for tea (seriously- I had no tea for about six days solid, and it was awful D: ). But I survived.
Anyway, on to the specs:
Leaf appearance: Greeeeeen, with a hint of oxidization, in loosely rolled clumps. Very much the greenest oolong I have ever seen. They smell very grassy.
Steep temp and time: Around 197° F, for 3’12". I tend to steep my oolongs at below boiling for the first steep at least, because I find it brings out their natural nutty flavor that separates them from the green teas. Second steep was at full boil, steeped for the same time.
Liquor appearance: Very lightly green in color, a spring-ish green. :) Second steep came out slightly darker and a little bit browner, but not much. It smells like the same grassy aroma that came from the loose leaves, with hints of a honeysuckle-like fragrance.
Taste: In the first steep, the grassy flavor was at the forefront, the first thing that hit my to tongue. Then came the nuttiness that is characteristically oolong, with a touch of sweetness following right behind. This tea is sweet in the way that asparagus and other green vegetables are naturally sweet. Love it! And the more you let it cool off, the more the grassy, vegetal flavor just sort of falls away, leaving you a very tasty cup.
In the second steep, I didn’t get as much of the honeysuckle sweetness. The grassy vegetal flavor reigned supreme. To this, I added a TOUCH of unrefined cane sugar (I’m talking about 1/4 teaspoon), and that helped it taste better. (What can I say, I like my tea a little sweet. Sue me. XP) Again, as it cooled, the nutty oolong flavor came forward. It was very, very nice. :)
Okay, so, the verdict. I liked it pretty well. I tend to find that with oolong teas, I like the second steep more than the first, but not so with this tea. Maybe I needed to give it some more time, but I don’t know. I’ll try it again, for certain (the hubby will want a taste of this one). I didn’t try any more steeps today because of that. I also didn’t use as much tea as TeaVivre prescribed, so that was probably a factor.
This is the second tea I ordered from Teavivre (the other being Yunnan Dian Hong-Golden tip) and overall, the second Liu An Gua Pian I’ve ever had (my first one was the small sample that comes in Teavana’s Forbidden Kingdom tea gift set). While I did enjoy Teavana’s offering, I’m always trying to compare their quality with other vendors and boy, I was not disappointed with this one.
The dry leaf of this tea is very pretty, long and tubular, these richly green colored leaves were all perfectly preserved and almost identical to each other. This tea has a hefty green aroma, like if you were walking among trees during the summer.
I brewed this tea according to the suggested brewing guidelines of 175F water and 1-2 min brew time in a Gaiwan.
I brewed this tea twice. My first cup was brightly green with a light grassy aroma. The tea has a very nice sweet flavor, slightly grassy, and a heavy mouthfeel with a slightly smoky/spicy finish. To be precise, the taste reminds me a lot of Japanese green teas, like a more flavorful and heavier bodied sencha. My second cup was even better than the first, as all the flavors were slightly more pronounced.
I was amazed with the wet leaf. In this department, the tea reminded me a lot of Pouchong, as in the way how the leaves slowly unfurled in to perfectly shaped leaves. After my first infusion, the leaves were still slightly curled up, meaning this tea had still a lot more to offer. After the second infusion, the leaves unfurled completely into perfectly shaped bright green leaves. They’re so attractive to look at, you might think someone grabbed some leaves from a nearby tree and just placed them in there.
When I first had Liu an Gua Pian, I was very pleased with its flavor and Teavivre’s offering was even better. Like I said, It is similar in taste like that found in Japanese greens, but with a unique Chinese twist. I would greatly recommend this tea.
I’ve had this tea for a few days after ordering it from Teavivre. This was my first order from them and I was greatly pleased with the quality and service, will definitely be ordering more soon.
First of all, I fell in love with packaging/presentation the teas come in. Detailed info on origin of tea, harvest date, brew instructions was a huge plus.
When I opened the bag the tea came in, I was instantly hit with a deliciously strong spicy aroma. It is a combination of chocolate, cinnamon, and other spices, hard to accurately describe, but all I can say it is one of the best aromas I’ve smelled on a black tea.
The dry leaf of this tea is perhaps one of the most attractive out there, thin curly needles covered in fine golden hairs with a dark skin.
I brewed this tea following the instructions on the back of the foil bag but I also experimented a lot with this tea. 185F water and 1-2 min steep time is what Teavivre recommends.
This tea brews a nice dark amber colored cup with a faint spicy aroma. Taste-wise, it was slightly sweet, smooth, light bodied, a bit malty, and with a delicious mix of cocoa and peppery notes, maybe a little cinnamon too. I re-brewed this tea many times, up to around 5-6 infusions and all of them were delicious.
The wet leaf was brownish-yellow and very aromatic, spicy and woodsy.
While not as strong as other blacks, this tea is personally one of my favorites, as it is delicious by itself if brewed correctly. I experimented with some higher water temperatures and I got a stronger flavored cup but with a noticeable astringent finish, great with a touch of milk if brewed this way. Overall, This tea is definitely a permanent specimen in my tea collection.
The dry and (mostly) the wet leaves have a sweet and bread-like aroma, oddly reminiscent of fried vegetable tempura. The tuo cha come apart nicely in the cup. I rinsed the leaves twice before my first infusion, which was 90C for about 15 seconds. The taste and aroma are melon-like and round, light on the palate. Despite the lightness, there’s a twinge of deep sweetness on the tongue that I tend to associate with older shou puer (I’m not really sure of the age of these, although it probably is written somewhere).
The second infusion (90C for 20 seconds) became dark, heavy, and thick, just as I would expect from a shou puer with relatively small leaves. The taste is still a little sweet on the tongue, reminiscent of dried apricots and raisins.
The third infusion (90C for 10 seconds) is still quite dark. The mouth aroma has become more in the range of charcoal and damp moss, which is very pleasant. The sweetness fades here.
I’m certain there are at least 3-6 more infusions in this tuo cha, but I had tasted too many teas that day already and needed a break.
I purchased this tea from TeaVivre, along with a huge amount of Dragon Pearls and blueberry fruit tea. You can’t go wrong with 350g of tea for 36 bucks with fast, free shipping to the other side of the world. I had to include this tea with my order, even though I’ve never tried a milk oolong before. The reviews were already looking promising, so I took the plunge. Now I wish I bought more than 50g!
This is soooooo delicious! The leaves look like polished jade rocks of beautiful oolong goodness. I steeped 3 tsp in a 250ml gaiwan for a minute, with no rinse. The result was a lovely flavour that reminded me of sweetened condensed milk mixed with a buttery taste found in good quality oolongs. I wish the milk notes lasted more than one steep though. The second cup had almost no milkiness left, but this is still a damn good oolong.
Thanks TeaVivre for the sample; thankfully Canada Post only hoarded this box for a month before letting me know they had it…
This flowering tea is slightly less flavourful than the Two Dragons and a Pearl tea. It is not as nutty; it is a bit sweeter and more floral, but I found the flavour didn’t last as many steeps. Definitely a lighter flavour over all. Still enjoyable and pretty to look at. I had three love flowers on mine, as opposed to two in the picture.
WOW! So moving on to the second in the wonderful bouquet that Angel at Teavivre has sent along, and I couldn’t be more excited to try this. This was one I was really looking forward to. So without further delay I’m gonna jump right in!
Visually this tea is unlike anything I’ve seen. The long, golden tips are incredible! And the look, scent and feel are all so much more fresher than can be believed. I already know I’m in for a treat. The scent is fragrant and complex. The taste is absolutely divine! It’s balanced nicely with lots of flavor without being astringent. It just might be the perfect black tea. It produces a deep golden color liquid, and was delicious through multiple infusions. I am in love with this. Unreal.
The dry leaves have a very fruity smell and sweet aroma, bringing to mind dried strawberries. The leaves are silvery and very tippy; they are covered in the white down that often characterizes a well-harvested and gently processed green tea. I infused this at about 85C for 1 minute for the first infusion.
The wet leaves retain a little of the fruit flavor which comes across as a gentle smokiness. In the mouth, the aroma continues to remind me of strawberries. The tea is highly sweet and mouth-filling, like a honeydew melon with a bit of the woodiness of a young sapling.
The second infusion was also at about 85C, for 1.5 minutes. The woody flavor increased here, but not in a bad way. It’s almost like a young sheng puer, carefully brewed: the aromas of cut hay and straw.
I’ve sort of lost the whole tea writing mood lately, as you can see from all the short I’m-behind-posts. We’re having this one right now, though, and I’m going to make myself sit down and write something pseudo-intelligent about it.
I like a Keemun to be largely smooth and rounded, but with a little bit of a smoky edge to it. Just a bit. I like the smokier tasting Keemuns better than the more floral tasting ones, and my least favourites are the ones that fall right in the middle of that spectrum because they’re so confusing!
This one has a mild aroma. It’s grainy and kinda sweet, and unfortunately it’s one of those where I can’t tell whether I think it’s more one or more the other. sigh In many other things I would call that a perfect balance, but in this particular kind of tea? I really really want it to be more smoky than floral. I really can’t decide what I think here, and now I’ve put lotion on my hands and can’t smell anything other than that so we’ll just move on.
The flavour is going a lot better in terms of leaning towards smoky or floral. Unfortunately for me, it’s more floral. Still, it’s better than the middle of the scale.
It makes up for this, though, by being extraordinarily cocoa-y. It’s just not a note I’m connecting with this type at all, normally, so it’s really interesting to find it here. It was actually the boyfriend who found it and pointed it out to me, and now I can’t untaste it.
It’s like all the grainyness that I would normally have expected to find has been transformed into cocoa. How interesting!
Another thing that’s interesting is how I’m apparently the only one to have thought it more floral than smoky… It makes me feel a little disappointed in my own tastebuds.
I’m dithering about this one. It’s a very good tea, yes, but it’s not at all what I want in a Keemun. I have to say, I miss the grain. I miss the association to proper Danish rye bread, dark and wholegrain-y, like this http://www.grillguru.dk/forum/userpix/1312_DSC_1283_1.jpg (not my site, not my picture. The magic of Google image search)
I’m definitely very much enjoying this one, but it’s not… it’s not it! So, if you were me, would you rate it solely on the experience of this particular cup, or would you deduct points for not being what you wanted it to be?
I’m going to give it a tentative score. Then we’ll see if I end up adjusting it.
I’ve enjoyed this twice now. The first time, I steeped it for a full five minutes with a low temperature (about 170°F) and it had a pleasant flavor, but it was lacking, somehow … and the bulb did not fully open. I steeped it again and the bulb did not open, and the flavor was still needing something.
The second time, I increased the temperature to 185°F and steeped it for 2 1/2 minutes the first time. The bulb did not fully open but the flavor was much nicer. The second infusion was even better (although the bulb still wasn’t fully open), and with the third infusion, it was still tasty although the second infusion tasted better… but the bulb was fully open and GORGEOUS.
The flavor is light and floral, with a sweet grass and hay background. a VERY nice blooming tea.
Water:750ml at 185°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Dry Leaf Smell: floral, sweet, vegetal
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, floral, lightly delicate vegetal
Flavor: smooth, silky, sweet
Aftertaste: floral, vegetal
Liquor: translucent light yellow-green
750ml at 195°F for 3 min
weaker flavor and smell
750ml at 195°F for 4 min
weaker flavor and smell, no longer silky smooth mouthfeel
Water:750ml at 185°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 2 minutes
Dry Leaf Smell: floral, sweet, vegetal
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, floral, lightly delicate vegetal
Flavor: smooth, silky, sweet
Aftertaste: floral, vegetal
Liquor: translucent light yellow-green
Delicious, smooth, silky, wonderful cup of tea for just sipping and enjoying. 2 minutes was better than 3.
Rating: 4/4 leaves
(This sample was generously provide to me by Teavivre. Thank you Angel and the whole Teavivre Team.)
Dry Leaf: Has a sweet and vegetal aroma.
Wet Leaf: The vegetal aroma is more dominant but the sweet aroma is still in the background.
Liquor: Has a pale yellowish color nice brightness and good clarity.
Taste: This tea has a smooth crisp and clean floral and vegetal flavor with some sweetness. The broth seemed rich in texture in the mouth too.
My Score/ Over All Opinion: 91, I enjoyed this tea is was clean crisp and refreshing. This tea is lighter oxidized so has more of the vegetal aspect. This tea reminded me slightly of mellow monks top leaf with some subtle differences.
Another free sample generously provided to me by TeaVivre!
Dry leaf: Small and dark green leaves that smelled of spinach. They were whole, but the leaves were so small that they resembled a BOP grade, almost. I understand the reasoning behind the short steep time when looking at the leaves.
Steeped leaf: Once steeped, the liquor is a light brown – the fact it is so dark is surprising given I’ve steeped some greens for 2 minutes and only gotten a pale green. The smell is quite brothy and savory, and as it cools, almost…floral, strangely enough.
The taste is…strong. And very different. It’s drying like a white wine on the tongue, but not thin or watery. It seems kind of bitter, but that plum aftertaste was there – it seemed a bit metallic, though. It is definitely memorable and different than any other green tea I’ve tried. As it cools most of the dryness and the sharpness in the aftertaste fades away. It leaves more of a sour nuttiness in its stead.
Overall: I’m glad I got to try it but I don’t know that it’s a tea I want to keep on hand. It could be the fact that it shares so many qualities with wine or sake – I don’t drink alcohol because I can’t stand the taste and so this is has unpleasant associations to me. Maybe later steeps will be more to my liking?