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Recent Tasting Notes


Finishing this sample off, and I think this is actually my first Note on it. I’ve been neglectful.

This was my free sample with order. I’m not usually big on jasmine, but I’ve actually been enjoying this one. It’s not as strong and floral. The jasmine scent is pleasant, there but not overpowering, the green tea light and savoury, and mixes well with the floral.

I’d probably keep some of this on-hand for those days that I’m in the mood for something floral, since I already know I like it.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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So I’ve been hearing so much about gongfu I couldn’t resist trying it for myself. Also, this gives me an excuse to buy more tea hardware. I saw this “easy gaiwan” and just had to have it (http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/product.php?id_product=128). It’s the same one Daniel Scott has in his icon. I don’t know if I’m ready for the “big girl” gaiwans, so I liked how it had handles and a built in strainer. I’m also using a strainer basket (also from Yunnansourcing) and a random 4 oz cup I found in the cupboard. One day I’ll get a fancy tea cup, but not yet.

Also, to keep the water warm but accessible, I brewed some hot water and put it all into a cast iron pot for me to pour in segments as I type. As you’ll see over the course of my “steepings”, the water got cooler more quickly than I thought. So this is why people get a Zojirushi.

I chose this tea because everyone has raved about it, and I was just “meh” about it. I thought brewing it gongfu style might help “bring it out” more and make me see what all the fuss was about. Also, it has gongfu in the name. How can you not love it??

I wanted to be part of the cool kids so I wrote down my thoughts of each steeping. But since this is my first time, you’ll see my notes aren’t quite so refined. Oh well, it was an experience.

1st steep – I was supposed to throw this steep out as a rinse, but I just don’t have the heart, so I thought I would try it. I got some light chocolatey notes. Also, this strainer basket is great, but where the heck do I put it when I’m done with it? Right now I’m just putting it over my gaiwan upside down, but next time I should bring along a plate of some sort. Oh geez, more hardware. This gong fu stuff sure requires a lot of room. This is what I get for not using a “serving pitcher”.

2nd steep (20 sec) – Used more tea this time. Definitely stronger and maltier. I’m getting notes of toast in here, as well. And I noticed the tea mentioned caramel, so yeah, I can see that. This is very different than the first steeping. Except I didn’t remember to swirl the leaves around in the gaiwain. Should I have? Maybe I’ll do that next steep and see how it goes. Also, I should use less water since this first true steeping spilled a little bit because I’m trying to get it just right.

3rd steep – (40 sec) My water has cooled down a bit. Boo. Don’t fail me now cast iron. This is a little bit smoother – not quite as maltier. I wonder if my water isn’t hot enough. Ah well.. Also, I noticed this was supposed to be 30 sec NOT 40 sec. Whoops.

4th steep (50 sec) – Now my water has cooled down quite a lot, even though my cast iron still feels hot. Why have you neglected me, cast iron? Also, I had my first pouring fail. I thought the lid was on properly, but I went to pour and it wasn’t and I spilled some water. Oh well, cleaning it up wasn’t too bad. The tea isn’t bad, but now it’s starting to have this metallic taste to it. Hmm.. I better drink my water fast so I can do another steeping before my water gets too cold.

5th steep – (1 min, 10 sec) – Need to figure out an efficient way to time these things because looking at my watch and hoping for the best probably isn’t going to cut it. So uh.. I guess the steeping time is right. We’ll hope so. Also, this tea is luke-warm and I’m not really tasting anything besides metallic-ness. I guess I need to break down and go make some warm water from the kettle, which is in the other room #firstworldteaproblems.

6th steep – (1 min, 30 sec) – Okay, so I went back and actually got hot water from the kettle. I steeped this the time allotted, and now it’s kinda bitter and extra metalic. Bleh. I wonder if I messed things up by using luke warm water the last few times. Should that really matter? As it cools though it’s not THAT bitter, but it’s that exciting, either.

Okay, I think I’m done with this tea. I gave it 6 good steepings, but I’m just not going to love it, especially near the end. The gongfu experience was fun, but it’s a lot more work than my traditional western style. I’ll definitely try it on some more teas to try and see what fun I can extract out of them.


I’ve never tried this one gongfu style, just western. I actually think this isn’t one that I’d want to do that way either. Now that you did it, seals the deal.


I would get a regular Gaiwan, easy gaiwan has the preset holes and will let smaller leaves and buds just go out. It was really hard for me to get used to it but now is the easiest way to steep.

As for the tea, I’ve had it for a while. I have this one and the organic version. I’m ‘meh’ about it, It becomes astringent fairly easily in my experience.


This reminds me a good deal about the first time I tried gong fu! I agree with JC, though, a regular gaiwan becomes really easy and convenient with a bit of practice. Also, when I do more “laid back” gong fu tea, I use a gaiwan, a cup to drink from, and a thermos. I also use another cup to pour the first wash in and if I use a strainer I just place it in the “wash cup” between steeps. You really don’t need all that many items to accomplish a convenient gong fu session.

As for the tea, I agree with the “meh” opinions. I prefer this one gong fu style, but I use far shorter steeps. The metallic flavor tends to be wiped out after the first three or four that way and it becomes quite palatable. It certainly is picky, however. Too long/short of steeps and too cool/warm of water tends to produce poor results.

Terri HarpLady

Ahhh, yes, I remember my first gongfu steepings (they weren’t really very long ago). Thanks for this trip down memory lane, Rachel. I still make messes & burn myself regularly, and I often feel like a mad scientist with multiple gaiwan’s on the counter, alternating between various brews. But it is fun, and it’s TEA!

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This is just a really good tasting tea, its vegetal like dark green veggies(spinach) roasty toasty and just so slightly smokey, I think that what I wrote the first time and very little astringency was a little off I think that it’s more of a slight pleasant bitterness rather than an astringency if that makes any sense at all. This is a really nice green tea, I would say different from most green teas I’ve had but I have very little exp with green teas. I think I’ll buy more of this very soon to keep on hand for my visitors and company who ask for a green tea because I won’t serve a visitor a tea that I don’t like(unless they ask for it specific) and I think it is a very good green tea for company.


I agree. This is a good one.

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Very good green tea, slightly vegetal very little astringency that was very it was also slightly smokey but very pleasant and refreshing, This would be a tea that I would serve to friends who ask for a good Green tea.

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Not bad at all, Lance likes this one alot, I accidentally over-steeped mine this morning and it gave me some minty notes that were interesting with the smokiness still not bad tho, I’ll probably make a blog post about it soon with some pics :)


My youngest daughter has been drinking this one every single day!

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Lance tried this one with me because Lapsang is one of his favs he loves the smoky Lapsangs. Lance has had many more Lapsangs than I have and he says this is one of the better ones that he has had.
This one smells nice and smokey when dry and just as good when wet.
The smoky flavor is slightly subtle so its not very over powering but it’s remains for a few steeps, there is little to no astringency to this one which to me personally is awesome because a lot of Lance’s Lapsangs ae stringent to me. This is perfect for a person who wants to try a smoky tea but thinks that Lapsang would be too smokey, It’d Subtly and sweet and a very nice tea :)
2 or 3 good steeps with this one, and thats not bad :)

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I don’t think this is my kind of tea. It’s really good quality and stuff I just wouldn’t buy it for myself. This was a sample from Teavivre and I’m glad I got to try it :D

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I woke up craving this. I’ve been slowly sipping on it throughout the morning, and it has been great. This pot seems slightly sweeter than the previous one. Definitely no need for sugar. If I have any complaint with this tea it’s that my sample is gone and I haven’t reordered yet.

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Thank you Angel of Teavivre for this sample!

I could kick myself for not trying this tea sooner. It is exceptional. The infusion is a beautiful amber color, and it smells slightly bready. At the first sip I taste maltiness followed by a slight sweetness . Yum. Really yum. The tea feels smooth and rich, but it is also light. This tea makes me want to slow down and enjoy everything it has to give. One cup turns into two which turns into the whole pot. I have no regrets. :)

Looks like I’m going to have to make room on my shelf because this tea will become part of my permanent stash.

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Hmm looks like I already rated thus one. I completely forgot I had it before. Doh! That means I have two sample pouches of this open. My brain is clearly on its way to dementia.

Well it’s worth reviewing against I seem to like this tea a lot more today. It is indeed fragrant. It tastes like a sweet potato roasted over a fire. Sweet and toasty and delicious.

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Hmm… has the enchantment of black tea love come to an end or have I just been having a series of less than awesome blacks lately? This one tastes a little…not interesting. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t capture my attention in any way. I get a little floral perfume and taste of malt… Some fragrant sweetness. Vaguely stone fruity. My tastebuds are not all that interested.

So far, the black teas I like and plan to get more of are:
Laoshan black – Verdant
Zhu Rong Yunnan black – Verdant
Yun nan Dian Hong Black- Golden Tip – Teavivre
Rose Congou – Upton

Looks like I like Yunnan black teas. The Laoshan black is still my favorite. hmm… I’ll still have try the other Keemuns from Teavivre. I also have some other congou tea from Upton to try. I wonder where congou tea is grown? Is it also Keemun as wikipedia seems to suggest?


As far as I understand it Congou is a grade of Keemun that has small leaves. I also believe that Congou Keemun is a mixture of both Congou and Keemun, in some area’s they have cultivated plants from both to create the one. I keep seeing it set out like a maths question such as ‘Are all Congou Keemun tea’s Congou or Keemun?’ or ‘All Congou Keemun’s are Keemun but not all Keemun’s are Coungou Keemun’s’. lol. Not sure if anyone else can shed some light on this but I am to believe that all three (Congou, Keemun and Congou Keemun) are all separate.


wow, thanks for the info! I’ll just have to drink more of all kinds to learn the taste difference. :)

Terri HarpLady

I’m also hooked on Yunnans. I do enjoy a variety of others, and I try not to compare, but it always comes back to things like Laoshan Black, Yhu Rong…you know…

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Many thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this generous sample!

My first experience with this tea was disappointing, I’m sorry to say. Jasmine teas are generally too strong for me, as I’m really sensitive to potent, perfume-y smells. I prepared it with the expectation that it was a scented tea and was blown away by the jasmine. A headache ensued, and I was not able to get through very many steeps. This was mostly error on my part which I discovered when inspecting the wet leaves. Jasmine flowers are mixed in with the tea leaves…Ahh no wonder. After that experience, I put the tea away for a while and let it rest.

After my nice experience with Pekko Teas’ Jasmine Dragon Tears, my confidence with jasmine teas was renewed. I gave the jasmine silver needle another shot and altered my methods. I went with cooler water (~160 F), maybe a bit less dry leaf (~1/3 100mL gaiwan), and ultra short steeps (one second for first steep, added one second for each successive steep, then three-five additional seconds each steep after the sixth). It turned out to work much better for me. The flavor was much more delicate, the mouthfeel became less syrupy and instead creamy. I was also able to pick up many more subtler nuances than I did the first time I tried this tea. Most notably this occurred with the first and second steeps which developed honey textures and a light whipped cream undertone, developing into something more savory into the next steeps. The “greener” flavors were more noticeable and tasted like fresh vegetables.

Into the fifth steep, a very faint, but intriguing, spicy note climbed up. It had the flavor of parsley and the texture of ground black pepper. Also in this steep, further heavy tastes became apparent, pulling the flavor profile together and giving the liquor a fuller body and thicker mouthfeel with the addition of a stone flavor and increased vegetal taste. Honey notes reached a minimum here, and rose again throughout consecutive steeps. After this point, the tea reached a balanced point in which jasmine flavors decreased to midtones, vegetal, savory, and fresh green flavors became most prominent, and stone flavors settled into undertones. These remained fairly constant and faded out together while jasmine notes slowly slipped away.

The leaves smell extremely potent to me especially during the first few steeps. In later steeps, this settles some and I am able to detect sweeter notes, and some stone aromas. The aroma of the liquor is syrupy, sometimes medicine like, although it is very floral with notes of fresh hay.

Conclusions: I’m a stickler with jasmine. However, going with my new method definitely changed my opinion of this tea and made it a great deal more palatable for me. The actual silver needle white tea has some very intriguing complexities to it, but they seem to be masked by the jasmine flavoring when using the suggested methods.

160 °F / 71 °C

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This is a fairly large sample from Teavivre (enough for three or maybe four brews) made in my new yixing pot :)

This is a very nice, mellow pu’erh! The flavor isn’t as heavy as the other’s I’ve had, and it seems like it would be a good “introduction” pu’erh with less shock factor than some.

Dry Leaves: The dry leaves have a pleasant and sweet roasted chestnut smell without any compost-yness. Its just nice and roasty, and smells the way I imagine a fully oxidized ti guan yin would. The wet leaves are fairly large.

Brewing: The tea is a nice bright red color, very deep, but not quite is brown/burgundy as the other pu’erhs I’ve tried.

Tasting: The tea is very mild and sweet with flavors of milk chocolate, walnut, buckwheat honey, barley, and roasted mushroom.

200 °F / 93 °C

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This tea arrived today promptly from Teavivre. Brewed in an ‘inginuiTea’ grandpa style. 30 seconds, 1 min. 2 min.

Dry: faint aroma of smoky fall leaves. sweetness

First: 30 sec. Smooth. Slightly green flavor. Sweet. slightly smokey. Dry finish. Faint aroma of sugar caramelizing in the distance.

Second: 1 min. Considerably better flavor. Smoother yet. Green flavor gone, as sweet. Faint smokiness. Very clean flavor.

Third: 2 min. Aroma of almost caramel corn, smoky. Smmoooth. very similar to the second. Good.

Really a nice tea. Recently into Oolong teas. I fell in love with Phoenix Dan Cong and thought I’d try this one. Not a disappointment.
Very good quality tea. Super smooth and clean taste.

Footnote: This tea really lasts. I brewed it 7-8 times and it kept me alert for a long day. The taste remains nearly equal to the third brewing. amazing

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I am currently enjoying my third and fourth infusion of this tea. It’s really quite lovely. It started out with a distinct mineral-y/charcoal-y kind of taste, with notes of flower in the background, and a warm, toasty kind of overtone. Now, I notice some of the mineral/charcoal notes have begun to wane, and a woodsy note seems to have taken their place, and this melds wonderfully with the warmth of the roasty-toasty taste. The floral notes have begun to reveal a honey-esque tone that is quite lovely.

I like that this tea is not overly floral, offers hints of fruit (I notice a slight peach-y undertone), and that it has such a warmth to it, especially since I’m kind of dealing with COLD bones because I’ve been working off and on in my studio, and dang it’s cold in there! I come in here to warm up with a cup of tea, and this tea does the trick.


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so this tea i got free from Teavivre They gave me like 5 teas and this is the 2nd one i have gotten to try.. Also this is my First Milk Oolong!
The color is such a pail green i had to Look at other peoples tasting notes to see that this was how this tea was suppose to look. the smell i cant place its such a nice sweet smell but i cant place the other notes its too hot for me to Drink at this moment in time so we must wait as to not burn my mouth and kill the Beauty of this tea…jeopardy Song plays i can not even tell you or put into words now wonderful this tea is… its making me speechless… the sweet notes are wonderful and there is that hint of warm milk with the smell of the beauty of earth in a little leaf… how can one put into words such a wonderful tea! i love this tea! And will be searching for more Oolongs!!

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185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Thanks to Rachel Sincere for a sample of this tea.

This may or may not be my first Keemun, I’m not sure. I definitely don’t have much experience with them. Teavivre said to use 7g of tea for an 8oz cup, but that seems a bit much. That’s almost 3 teaspoons, is that right? I just used 1 and a half, and steeped it for a minute. It tastes fine to me.

There’s some interesting notes in this tea. I’m getting some chocolate, malt, and some heartiness, too. As it cools I find that it’s still enjoyable and doesn’t get too bitter too quickly. There’s definitely fruity tones to it that pop more, as it cools.

Also, according to the description this tea has lots of flouride. No need to brush my teeth now (haha – just kidding).

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This my first sample and tea from Teavivre. Thank you for the chance to try your teas. It will be a great help in my discovery of this world of tea.

I brewed 7g in 8oz water for 1m. It has a wonderful creamy, vegetal taste. It finishes with just a bite of bitterness (the good kind). I love this tea.

2infusion 2m, similar to the first
3infusion 3m, smoother, but still flavorful.

leaves are wonderful to look at in the glass.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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This one is a long time coming, I apologize, it has been a busy year!

The dry leaves were beautifully wound balls, very fragrant and sweet smelling. They were a healthy green shade with some white as well.
As they steeped they unfurled nicely. They revealed full leaves and buds with a damp smell, almost like an after rain smell of jasmine.

The first steep was for 1:30. This produced a pale gold liquid with a light fragrance. The tea tasted strong but not overwhelming of jasmine.

The second steep went for 1:40. The leaves unfurled completely producing a slightly darker liquid with a light fragrance. The tea lost some of the strength of the jasmine but I think that it would have been better if I steeped it longer, still good though!

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Gaiwan 3oz Tea: 5g 5 steeps: rinse, 25s,45s,1m10s,1m40s,2m30s 90ºC / 194ºF

The leaves are a nice quality with a fresh and gentle green smell.
Once brewed the leaves gain strength and sweetness.

The tea soup is pale yellow in colour.

Flavour wise it’s sweet and fresh and a little green tasting. The sweetness is almost like subtle sweetpea.
During the second and third steeps the colour becomes golden yellow and smells gentley floral, like flowers in a breeze.
A green vegetal flavour becomes prominant during the third and fourth steeps.

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drank Blueberry Fruit Tea by Teavivre
1060 tasting notes

Thank you, Teavivre, for this sample!

This is a very nice blueberry tea. Not too tart, but not so sweet that it taste like Kool Aide. I could taste the grape at odd moments which I thought added to the fun of the tea. Definitely enjoyable and something I would try again. Next time I’ll also try it iced.

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