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Recent Tasting Notes
My second sampling of TEAVIVRE samples arrived today!!! So excited! Thank you Angel and TEAVIVRE so much for your generosity!!
This was my first sample to try.
I used only 2tsp of leaves instead of 3-4 because it looked like way too much, I am glad that I did because there was hardly enough room in my infuser.
Dry, this tea smells very vegetal, I was a little worried at this point, I am not the biggest fan of really vegetal teas.
Steeped, the leaves also smell very vegetal, but then when you take out the leaves, it smells much sweeter and more floral….weird, but good!
1st steep: very fresh, earthy, vegetal, with notes of floral and nuttiness (not the usual butteriness I am used to in oolongs). I also get a little sweetness and a very full mouthfeel (I like that!)
2nd: 3minutes, sweeter and possibly creamier, less vegetal, my favourite steep for sure
3rd: 4 minutes, not vegetal, but the creaminess and sweetness is starting to deteriorate, still a good steep though
4th: certainly weaker, but still maintains a good mouthfeel, and light enough to have in the evening without being up all night, hopefully….
Overall, I really like this, a very different green oolong than I am used to.
I tried this today. MAN do I love this oolong! I love the cute green packaging. I wish I could read it. When I opened it, I saw curled up, bright green oolong balls. It brewed a light yellow color. I love the floral scent and taste to this tea. There is a mix of vegetal, green, floral, and sweet taste to this tea. Delicious!!
I feel like a lot of the subtlety of some teas, this one in particular, is lost on me. I didn’t really like this one. I mean, the leaves smelled wonderful, and the infusion smelled just as awesome and fresh, but when I drank it, I was overwhelmed by the taste of smoky leather. I would have liked to have liked it, but I can’t say that I did.
Used 6 pearls to 8 oz of water, came out extremely smooth, like chocolate. Check out a full review here http://www.examiner.com/review/teavivre-fenqing-dragon-pearl-black-tea-review
This is amazing. I’m brewing it gong fu style, and each steep just gets sweeter and sweeter. The dry leaves are dusty and brittle, and rolled tightly into balls. When they soak into the water, they unfurl into large, rubbery leaves which have a typical sort of “oolong” scent to them. The flavor starts out roasty and a little nutty, and the third infusion is where it really starts to get going and the sweetness comes out. Fantastic. I’ll definitely order more of this!
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
I do enjoy a good Silver Needle Tea! I also am a believer in the curative properties of White Tea in particular having had a cure on my palms of a skin condition that I suffered with for 20 years and that White Tea applications cleared away completely never to return now many years later. (I don’t buy it when other people tell me these things, I know…but this is true for me!) I prefer the BEST ORGANIC I can afford! When this arrived in my package of samples, I was anxious to try it.
Opening the pretty white individual packet, the silver needles were long and covered with white down. Lovely! With a steep time of 1-2 minutes there was no waiting time. I am so impatient! The wet needles were fragrant with a green-bean vegetal scent, not scented enough to fill the room. I expected a floral smell which was not there. Curious.
The flavor was quite mild, unlike any white tea or silver needle I’ve tasted before. So mild in fact that I would not be able to say this is silver needle in a blind tasting. It was a bit salty and juicy, more like linen than needle, not floral or vegital at all. It was a bit hazelnutty.
I broke down and sweetened it…maybe that would change the picture.
Oh Golly! (like that word) The sweetness with the salt grabs the guts of the tea and yanks the hidden not-to-sweet flavor of salted butterscotch! This was mega better good!
Now I had the roll going…sweet….slurping…salty butterscotch silver needle white tea! My taste buds are having a party because this is one of those flavors that all you need is some friends to stop by. You want to share a tea like this one. This just can’t be a Silver Needle!
This is a keeper!
When I opened its bag, the tea did not smell as flowery or fragrant as other green Oolongs that I have tried. A plus for me, actually, as green oolongs can be a bit rough for me with its overwhelming flowery-ness.
Looks: Medium sized, full very green. Quite beautiful and typical of a green oolong in terms of looks. The leaves oxidized to a brown once I left it sitting for a bit.
Fragrance & Taste: I did not find this that fragrant sitting in the cup. However, the taste is full in my mouth, so it’s probably my allergies affecting my ability to smell external aromas. The tea starts out quite floral, then eases into a smooth creaminess that fills the whole mouth. I’ve never had a milk Oolong before, and it surprised me that the liquid texture is also creamy, because the colour is totally golden and clear! There is also a lot of sweetness, and an almost nutty flavour detectable when the tea cools to room temp. Overall a very comforting drink.
Brewing note: I steeped it a little low, as the hot water dispenser at work can hardly reach 200F, but that didn’t seem to affect the tea flavours at all. Also, due to interruptions of a coworker, I accidentally overbrewed on the second steep, but did not experience any astringency or bitterness. The creaminess is greater on the second steep than the first. I suspect it can go for at least one more without losing flavours.
Disclaimer: I got this Oolong as a free sample from TeaVivre.
I needed a comforting cup of oolong and decided to go with this one. Looks like I am the first to review it (whoa)… so here we go!
Dry: Small leaves with a nutty smell to them. Almost like a baked whole wheat/nutty bread. I’m excited. I hope it wraps me in a big doughy ball of warmth – like a tea hug. I need it.
Liquor: 1st steep (30s): Well – I will never do 2-3tsp of oolong per 8oz steeped for 2-3 min.. then proceed to drink it. That would be way too intense for me. So instead I only steeped for about 30s instead using boiling water as they recommend (it worries me a touch… and depending on how this turns out I may drop it down – though the leaves are fully fermented so it’s probably alright). The liquor is a warm apricot colour. It’s nice. I don’t sense any floral notes at all, but a nice roasted chestnut taste. It’s slightly sweet, like a clover flower, though there is a different creaminess that isn’t a typical creamy (I’m attributing this to the chestnut taste). Oh delicious. Based on the leaves, I wasn’t expecting it to produce. How naive haha! In all honesty – this tea is still hot but I am gulping it down. I should slow it down and let it cool a bit. Hmph.
2nd steep (1 min): It’s now a deep amber apricot colour. The leaves are about 1/3 unfurled. I pick up a more floral note hidden amongst a toasty caramel smell (maybe?). At first I immediately thought citrus, then it became the caramel smell.. then coconut. I don’t know what is going on with either my nose or this tea but it’s neat (and confusing). Whoa strong. I watered it down. About an extra 1.5 oz. I am not fond of this steep. I’ll be honest. It’s a dumper. Drats!
3rd steep (30s): Intermediate colour between 1st and 2nd steep. I get a stronger clover flower smell. It’s Meh
Maybe my steeping parameters need to go back to my typical oolong steeping methods. This is way too overpowering and just tastes like strong tea with an interesting smell but a blank palate. Sad. It’s okay though – I have 100g worth to get this one right! For now I will stick with my rating – though I will seek to improve it with my steeping methods (aka – do NOT follow anywhere near their guidelines. Unless you like extremely strong tea).
PS. Warning – geek fest if you read on I was reading the description and looked up a research paper on oolong and it’s inhibitory effects on Streptococci (bacteria). Very neat: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8319255
EDIT: I let the 2nd steep cool off (I was too lazy to get up immediately and dump it).. and after giving up on steeping the leaves again, I had nothing to drink but this (and was too lazy to go to wash out the strainer for new leaves).. so I sipped it. AND GOOD. Chocolate. 70% dark chocolate. Just a touch of sweetness. I now regret ditching the leaves. I think this will be a fantastic oolong for icing in the summer. Yummy – rating goes up (had it at 61)
I was excited to get this Keemun Hao Ya. Up til now every place I bought Keemun from just called it “Keemun” – no differentiating between types of grades (not even Rishi).
Packaging is great with a sealed foil envelope inside a re-sealable foil pouch (all Teavivre’s have been like that).
Leaves are black with a few golden buds. Dry leaf aroma is fairly chocolate-y. Brewed leaf aroma has more pine notes. Liquor is very coppery. The taste is traditional Keemun to me-notes of chocolate, pine, smoke. Nothing predominates. It seems more smokey if you let it cool TOO much, though.
I find one heaping teaspoon gets you two solid steeps-maybe 3 depending on your preference. I tried 2 teaspoons, and I got 3 steeps, but they were more inconsistent. I consider this tea a great value-I paid much more for a Keemun Reserve from Rishi and used 6 teaspoons to get 5 steeps-with the first one being almost undrinkably bitter (no matter what adjustments I made). AND, I think this tea from TeaVivre is a little bit better than Rishi’s as well.
I’d say this is the best Keemun I’ve tasted yet. Will definitely re-purchase when the new harvest comes out this summer.
Thank you Teavivre for this sample!
This sample came vacume packaged in a purple and gold wrapping and then inside vacume packed again. These little darlings were not moving in transit!
I had volunteered some time removing cobwebs from garage doors this fine Spring Saturday in my community condo complex…and not feeling particularly up to fussing with complex brewing techniques…decided on Western Style (side saddle being that I’m a Colorado lady) steeping of this fine tea. This Oolong is soaked in honey. Interesting.
A 2 minute steep and the removal of the leaves smells wonderfully sweet with a bit of floral vegital glamor. The color is medium deep honey gold and somewhat cloudy…maybe from the honey.
On tasting I am surprised that there is not a heavy honey flavor. There is sweetness which is quite light, but not honey. I taste the light lilac and vegital flavor that my nose picked up from the first introduction. This tea is a bit salty with a tingle of pepper.
Adding some sweetening improves the flavor, bringing to the forefront the beautiful floral lilac expression. I am disappointed in the lack of honey flavor. As an Oolong, this is something I have had before, and it is a nice Oolong but not remarkable.
Also, 3-4 teaspoons tea for 8oz of water is a lot. I used 2TB for 16oz pot good grief! For this tea not to taste great is a shame.
The second steeping (I’m being fair here) is light and clear!
Whatever the honey coating was doing globbed onto the leaves so tightly before and clouding the tea is gone. Now the liquor sunny yellow-gold and shimmering. My second brew is much more illusively scented…as if a breeze lifted the scent of one lilac on a strand past my nose. There is absolutely no honey at all. None. Nada. But, the flavor is pleasant. This second steeping is where you want to be with a nice Oolong (still this is an average-plus one though).
My overall rating will have to be somewhere I don’t want to go, but I must be honest. I get no honey flavor in this tea. I think you have to sacrifice too much product for a good cup. The first 8oz is cloudy and not that good but the second steeping is much better and I expect the 3rd and 4th will be fine also. I have had such good experiences with my Teavivre tea’s that this one is just not spectacular like I’m used to. I may be expecting too much. I do appreciate the experience.
Tea of the morning…….
I know there is nothing really new in my cupboard besides a few samples here and there. Also, life is busy at the beginning of the school year for me as I am the band and orchestra uniform parent at my kid’s high school. So, for me to take the time to post about a tea I have already reviewed, it is important!
So good today. MmmmmmSmooth. Notes of chocolate and malt. Perfection. I only wish they had more in stock. I think I have another 100 grams in the stash somewhere. It is my hoarding tendencies day for pay off. This is probably one of the older teas in my stash…..getting close to 2 years, but it just tastes fantastic.
I use 12 balls in my 24 oz. teapot. All of the other brewing parameters are standard.
Tea of the morning……
And this is actually the second steep! Since I had my other Dragon Pearl black tea yesterday, I decided to see how this one compares this morning. Really, they are nearly interchangeable. It is just a guess, but I have a feeling that most of the black variety of dragon pearl tea comes from a similar source. I could be completely wrong, though, as I actually know so little about the tea production and primary distribution business. I barely know all I need to know in the tea drinking business. ;) I know just enough about drinking it to thoroughly enjoy myself, really.
As usual for this type of tea….notes of chocolate and malt, and very smooth. The leaves are huge once they unfurl in my steeping basket. The second steep is as good as the first, and I expect to get one more good one before I decide to move onto another tea. I have not really tried a fourth, but one day I will. Great quality tea, and the price for 100grams is very good. I can immediately think of 4 sources for this type of tea and this one is the most reasonable for that amount. Prices get a little more competitive around the 1 pound mark.
Usual mug method…6 pearls.
Tea of the afternoon……
I bought this one without sampling from TeaVivre in my last order. I love black pearl teas. They are so fun. This one is very similar to my Red Dragon Pearl from thepuriTea, but at a much more reasonable price. If you are buying a pound, they are close, but if you want smaller amounts, thepuriTea charges quite a bit more per ounce and their price per ounce decreases siginificantly with the increase in amount purchased. Also, TeaVivre makes it much easier to get to the level of free shipping which is always a bonus, and usually means I will order more often. It might take a little longer to get a package from China than California for me, but I can usually wait.
The tea is great. I used 6 pearls in my ForLife Tall Tea mug and it came out perfect. The liquid is a dark amber, there are notes of chocolate and malt, and this is just begging for a resteep. Very good, and I am very happy that I just ordered 100 grams, rather than sampling first.
(I did sample a few others, and just to let you know what the packaging looks like….since the samples for sale on the website are 10 grams, they came in 2 small pouches that are well labelled but not resealable. The small pouches are similar to the size of their other samples that come in 5 gram amounts, but the packaging is silver with the TeaVivre logo on it, rather than the individual packs from the tea packer. I also got a free sample of Da Hong Pao.)
Teavivre sent me a huge sample of this… so exciting!
I opened up the little foil-sealed package, and the leaves on this are HUGE. At least two inches, and fairly wide, and very very thin. I’ve never seen leaves this big! They’re beautiful, and very bright green.
The liquor is one of those radioactive greens – very bright, very light, very yellow. But it tastes delicious. Sweet and a little vegetal, and there’s definitely a lingering smoky aftertaste. I definitely want to drink more of this :)
I don’t usually drink light-tasting teas, but Huang Shan Mao Feng is one of my favourites during the hot summer days. What’s really amazing about this particular tea
is that it can be steeped many times before loosing all its flavour. I remember tasting this tea for the first time back in 2011 when Teavivre was starting and Angel contacted me on Steepster and offered to send me a sample of this tea along with three others.
Since then I haven’t had any of this tea from Teavivre and I took the opportunity to get it in a limited offer in April.
Upon opening a sample bag an intensive fresh spring peas aroma was revealed and what I noticed with this tea is that it has a somewhat curly leaf shape compared to 2011 harvest which had voluminous leaves as well but more of a straight shape. As the sample contained 4gr of leaf, an exact amount for Gongfu method, I decided to steep it in gaiwan with the instructions at Teavivre’s site. I was a bit boggled by that it’s only a three steep show but I guess it’s for a reason.
Upon rinsing the leaves I savoured the fresh vegetal aroma for a while before steeping it for 30 seconds. Moments after I got a very light emerald tone liquor, which is typical for this kind of green tea. First sip revealed light but rich taste of steamed peas followed with sugary note that lingered in the throat for a while. Second sip brought out a light flowery too as well and some tingling on the tongue moments after as well.
Second infusion introduced additional note of stone fruits with moist, juicy sensation in mouth that was briefly put to an end with herbaceous finish. Very thirst quenching.
With the last infusion I noticed some dryness and general absence of vegetal element with floral component leading through with a tad of sweetness. With last, cooled sips I savored some stone fruit notes and I realized that there was no place for a fourth steep.
Very pleasing experience, I only wish it lasted a bit longer.
Flavors: Herbaceous, Peas, Stonefruits, Sweet
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
Yesterday I found some scattered tea notes and one of them was Teavivre’s Huang Shan Mao Feng.
Dry leaf is very long with partially twisted first leaf. Apart from its usual green texture I noticed a few leaves with somewhat yellow and brown hue to them. With a deep sniff dryness with hint of sweetness to it is revealed, and when dropped in pre-heated teapot you get some starchiness rising to nostrils. When it comes to visual appearance his tea has hardly any broken leaf and seems to take a bit more volume than my other Mao Fengs I have in cupboard.
I steeped this tea in glass 250 ml teapot three times (and I could have gone for more if I wasn’t full) with 80 Celsius water, and 60 – 60 – 90 seconds steep.
First infusion came out clear and really pale jade. During steeping barely any leaves sunk since I added them on top. Light bodied and sweet with lingering
fruity note (apricot, peach… not quite sure) that completes at tongue root after wallowing (peach). Every sip seems so thirst quenching, refreshing and amazingly good. As I empty pitcher I don’t see any kind of residue.
Second infusion is still clear like first but with more of jade tone to it. With slightly augmented peach notes comes a faint Tie Guan Yin-like note in background with just a hint of astringency. Few seeps in and I start to notice how my throat is getting a bit dry, almost sore-like, starchy…
The appearance of third infusion is identical to that of second. As I’m not intending to steep it further I removed wet leaves that filled my room with light Tie Guan Yin-like aroma. When it comes to tasting this infusion reminds me of 4th steep of Teavivre’s Tie Guan Yin (look it up in my previous notes) with grassy-vegetal body. At this point I thought that I might squeezed a bit too much out of the leaves and that I should’ve steep it just over a minute.
Although I can’t recall much of the experience with this particular tea I can, however, tell that this is the best Mao Feng I’ve had so far. I guess I should write more in-detail impression just after finishing my cup in future.