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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for a bunch of samples that came yesterday. Lunch with a friend fell through, so being the tea addict that I am, I thought it was a perfect day for some tea tasting. I was in the mood for an oolong and now I have the time to do several steepings. This is the first time I had tried the flavored version of their milk oolong. Previously, I had enjoyed a sample of the unflavored version. I wish I had the two side by side to compare. I did not brew exactly as instructed. I used 5 gms of tea in my Perfectea Maker, which is similar to using a Gaiwan due to the large brewing basket. I did a quick rinse, then brewed in 6 ounces water at 195. I was afraid of going to boiling since this is a light oolong. I steeped for 1 1/2 minutes to start with and added 30 seconds for each subsequent brewing. I add stevia to all of my tea, and I think it really brought out the flavor in this one. I would describe the overall taste as pleasantly floral and creamy, very nice. As I write this review, I have had 4 good steepings, and will see if I get any more.Thanks Teavivre for a great selection!
Thanks to Teavivre for this sample!
I’m really liking this one. The dry leaves are so consistent in color, size, and shape, it really leaves a great first impression. They actually remind me a lot of a gunpowder green tea, just lighter in color and a bit larger on average. The leaves smell very clean and fragrant, of dried fruits, flowers, and grasses.
I also get a great deal of complexity from this one. It starts off pretty common, with flavors of florals, grass, and a tiny bit of a milky taste. Yet it develops a great number of nuances including parsley, kelp, grass, cream, and vegetal flavors. The flavor is lingering and “blossoms” over the tongue and through the mouth with each sip. The milk tastes become stronger throughout steeps and with later flavors of vanilla bean, artichoke, asparagus, and green beans, this tea really becomes quite savory. The mouthfeel began like the smooth, creamy, and thick goodness I was expecting, but really faded into the eighth steep, becoming more drying and “woolly.” However, the balance and interesting flavors remained through to the final steep, unlike the other Jin Xuan I have had previously, even becoming earthy with notes of tapioca in the twelfth steep.
The liquor’s aroma has a very subtle aroma, and is difficult to detect in the first steeps. The appearance is a light, but vibrant yellow-green. The wet leaves were also in great shape. It was quite a hodge podge of shapes and sizes, but their were few, if any, loose stems and the coloration was a healthy deep forest green. They were, however, quite thin and fragile, tearing easily. The aroma was of pungent greens, spinach, green beans, and maybe a little kelp. This tea really had that cross between a tieguanyin and a gyokuro that I had noticed in the last Jin Xuan I had.
Overall, a very nice tea that I’ll be drinking slowly.
So I’ve been absent from Steepster for awhile. I have an autoimmune disorder and when I get sick, I get sicky sick. It’s just a reality of life every now and then that I have to disappear. But I’ll always come back! I’m sorry I can’t do a backlog, it’s been too long.
Therefore, I’ll start with this morning’s tea. Bailin Gongfu. I sure was hesitant to try it when I smelled it. It smelled like hay. Then when I brewed it, it smelled like wet hay. What the heck, I thought, my senses might not be all there yet. So I tasted it. Wow! I loved it. My taste in unflavored blacks runs to English Breakfast, which technically is blended, and that’s about it. So this was a revelation. The more I drank, the more I enjoyed it. I’m sorry I couldn’t pinpoint the flavor I was getting with this tea, but it was different. My girlfriend thought it was OK until she sweetened it, and then she liked it a lot more. I had sweetened mine as a matter of course. I was glad it didn’t taste like wet hay though. :-)
It’s great to be back!
What a lovely Oolong!
Sweet, delicious, roasty-toasty nut flavors with hints of browned butter that has been drizzled over mild steamed vegetables, and a lovely peach-like taste in the background. Honey tones too!
YUM! I love this tea … I’m on my second cup (third and fourth infusions, combined), and I am noticing now a hint of vanilla starting to peek through, as well as the peach tones emerging more. The vegetative tones have softened some what, as has the charred roasted taste that I experienced with the first cup.
A really enjoyable tea… I need to spend more time with this one!
A big thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this sample!
Oriental Beauty indeed: the liquor of this tea is a deep honey-blonde, and the mouthfeel is buttery and luxurious. I taste honey and something borderline fruity/floral: peach blossoms? Straight-up peach? I’m not sure. I will be steeping some more to see how this complex brew continues to morph.
leaves smell dark/dull smell, liquor smells like a fujian
tastes very earthy and maybe a bit what would be described as dark chocolatey, overall a very blunt flavor… i almost want to say it has some taste characteristics of a keemun but very earthy
got this because people said it had a caramel taste to it, i dont really taste it and this tea isnt one of my favorites. was far outshined by the tea i got just for the heck of it, the yunnan dian hong
I am ashamed to admit that I still have samples untasted that Teavivre sent to me. Tonight, after a productive work day, I decided that it should also be a productive tea day. So, on to tasty Teavivre samples! This particular one was one of the ones I was most excited to try.
The smell of the dry leaves is a mix of malt and hay. I get a hint of chocolate, but mostly I get malty notes and even a bit of molasses. The leaves are a beautiful mix of black, brown and golden.
The brew is a dark burgundy brown. It smells thick and inviting. I can see how it reminds some people of chocolate. I get sweet molasses notes and a hint of creaminess. The flavor is malty and still holds hints of hay. There is a strange sour flavor that lingers at the end of each sip. I added a little rock sugar and it helped smooth it out a little. It did taste quite a bit like malted chocolate balls! (or Milo which is malted chocolate milk that they have here in Ecuador!)
Sadly it, isn’t quite what I wanted but I recognize that it is very very good. I can see how it could be some people’s favorite. :)
First, I would like to thank Angel at Teavivre for sending a very generous pack of samples for me to review!
Second, I can feel a seasonal flu sneaking up on me, so a large cup of jasmine tea was exactly what I needed. This tea is fabulous. Others have commented on the lack of astringency and I would agree; the cup is so smooth, so delicately flavoured, and the pearls put on an excellent show as they unfurl. The scent of jasmine is very comforting without being like drinking a cup of jasmine perfume. I feel better already.
Check out a picture of the beautiful pearls: http://instagr.am/p/QDu9edSkQc/
Thank you Angel for the sample. I actually forgot I had this and some other samples to try until last night when I was looking for something to drink before bed. I was thrilled to see this in the samples as I do love Black Dragon Pearl (see the note from yesterday).
The dry leaf smells slightly malty. Actually smells the same as the other companies tea I was drinking yesterday. But what about the taste? MALTY CHOCOLATE goodness!! Now I see and taste what all the talk was about. This is mighty good tea! I’m going to need to place an order when I get low on the other tea I have like this. Def. one for the perm. collection.
I also wanted to add there seems to be a sweetness on the end like honey or something. I don’t know what it is, but I love it! I also love that a few pearls will probably get me a few more steeps today. :)
decided to place an order with teavivre a few weeks ago. mainly wanted to try out their bailin gongfu and figured i would pick up samples of other black teas while i was at it, i ended up buying this tea in a larger quantity because the value seemed very good and it was well reviewed here at steepster.
few notes on the teavivre packaging, everything came in bags(generic like most companys) but teavivre only puts 3.5oz into each bag and has the teas inside the zip bag in another bag, superior packaging imo.
the tea itself when you open the bag it smells sweet even spicy; a really pleasant aroma. taste wise it reminds me a lot of an earl gray at first…. just a really subtleness of the same flavor. the sweetness/mild spicyness comes through pretty well to the taste, also has a nice heavy mouthfeel
at first i wasnt sure if i was going to like it, was interesting but reminded me of earl gray too much(wasnt fond of); after a week-two of drinking ive taken a liking to it(complex teas take a while for me to get acclimated to.. had this experience with a fujian in the past)
overall so far this outshines the bailin gonfu for me, really glad i picked up more than a sample size of this…. great value tea, good tasting especially to those of you who prefer sweeter teas(blacks)
I got a sample pack of this from my swap with aisling of tea! Thanks dahling!
Usually I have a straight up black tea in the mornings, but today I had a hankering for a pot of green.
This is such a pleasant, gentle tea. I find the taste to be light and delicious – no astringency and so gentle, in fact, that I kept my leaves in throughout drinking the entire pot and it just got tastier and tastier, without a hint of bitterness!
The taste is slightly sweet and spicy, like a pink peppercorn. Definitely not heavy like a Dragonwell – I think it’s like comparing a thick juice to a flavoured water! Very quenching.
As I get to the end of the pot, the aroma is grassy and the flavour reminds me of fresh black olives – juicy and savoury – just a bit nutty.
So happy I got to try this one!
Based on pre-infused aroma I wasn’t sure if I would ‘dig’ this one much but it tastes different than I anticipated.
The taste was of a sweet wood – maybe with a hint of something citrus. There was a dark-type of mocha likeness to it, too, which I wasn’t expecting.
THINK – walk in the woods after a light rain…in the fall…while sipping on a Dark Mocha.
Dry leaf: The dry leaf smelled a lot different than I expected. I has a much darker and creamier aroma than I expected. The first thing that came to mind was a really light milk oolong. The leaves are very light colored and super flat.
Wet Leaf: At first I thought that this tea smelled like a light sencha, but as I smelled more I found this very bright sweet note. If I had to compare it to something it would be like a buttered pea. It has that creaminess about it, but once you bite into it a dark, sweet, and bright flavor comes out.
Taste: When this tea first hit my tongue there was a crisp vegetal note that didn’t have the sweetness I was expecting. As I began to swallow, however, I got that sweet oolong creaminess. After I swallow this tea is my absolute favorite, because I was left with a very sweet pea flavor running down my throat. It left a refreshed feeling in my mouth and a very smooth feeling in my throat.
Thank you Teavivre for this sample again! I know I had rated this before, but it has been a while since I revisited this tea. I have one more sample of this mini cake left after this. I love the small round cakes with the semi-hollow center.
Dry, it smells like nori and earthy. I rinsed it for a little less than a minute and let the cake soften and unfurl a bit. The bits that fell off were small but larger than CTC leaves. The liquid was a dark amber color. It tasted sweeter than other pu-erhs that I’ve tried… almost like berries in the background mixed with nuts and cacao bits. The earthiness isn’t that strong. One of the things I did notice in the beginning was a sort of cardboard like flavor that quickly disappeared. I will steep this again later. I brewed this in a mug, but this tea can withstand multiple steepings. I added some sugar and milk to this after, which seemed to bring out the berry flavors even more. Good tea overall.
I don’t think I wrote a review for the first time I tried this nice tea from Teavivre. Anyhow I cleaned the first steep for about 30 seconds to a minute. Then i steeped the second time for 30 seconds! The brew was a thick, black tea. The scent is earthy and like wet fall leaves. There was a hint of fish to the scent… However, I burnt my tongue drinking this! I was too excited.
Anyhow the taste was surprisingly light and airy, which I wasn’t expecting due to the liquid’s consistency. The taste was like wet fall leaves mixed in with some sweetness. There is a lot of depth to this tea. There is more lingering in the back of my mouth when I taste this tea. I can’t seem to describe it though. I used a large mug for this tea, and will try another steep of this later. I am sure more flavors will pop up. I didn’t taste any bitterness in this tea.
Thanks teavivre, for the sample
Dry leaf: The leaves are really small, dark brown twisted leaves. The smell is really nice. It has a dark black tea smell, but that is underneath the sweetness that this tea possesses. It has a chocolatey smell but the strongest smell is a certain sweetness. It reminds me of the roses my grandma grows in her garden. It’s a deep rose smell though, more than a floral smell.
Wet leaf: When wet, the rose smell comes out really strong. If I didn’t know better I would think that I was steeping rose buds. The rose combined with chocolate makes this smell like a nice dessert. It has a dark sweetness that gives it a very moisturizing smell.
Taste: The taste is nice. It is a lot lighter than I expected and very sweet. The chocolatey flavor reminded me of a much lighter version of the Fengqing dragon pearl. On top of that is the sweet rose flavor. It has a deep flavor, despite how light it is.
I really enjoyed this tea. It was nice how soothing the tea was and I can’t wait to brew it again.