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Recent Tasting Notes
I bought 100g on a whim, thinking that there was no way I wouldn’t like this tisane. Aaaand I was right! This is so delicious with a little bit of sugar; it has a very blueberry flavour although the roselle makes it quite tart. I enjoy the colour it gives off though. After trying a few hot cups of this tisane (2 tsp loose tea), I brewed up a big mug and let it cool to use in blueberry pancakes. It didn’t impart any extra flavour into the pancakes that I could notice. Next time I will use more than 2 tsp of loose tea for baking purposes.
This is going to be awesome over ice this summer.
So I kind of have a completely neutral relationship with white tea so far. The last one I had was a silver needle, that — while I’m sure it could have been a great silver needle — didn’t really do it for me.
I think this one is better, but I didn’t really get much of a delicate floral taste. Probably due to my “throw it in a cup and add hot water” style of drinking tea at work, it tasted a little more “bakey” or “bready”. Those don’t really sound like the most appetizing words to describe tea, but it’s not in a bad way, I promise. Another aspect that I repeatedly fail to consider is that some of the little leaf pieces don’t sink to the bottom and it’s kind of tricky to drink straight out of the cup (and a bit awkward during meetings). But overall it’s a solid bai mu dan.
Finished the last of this today, and I’m a little sad it’s gone. It was a really good Tie Guan Yin. My office just got a new water dispenser as part of a switch to a new vending company, and it has a hot water spigot that dispenses clean, hot, and not funny-tasting water on a consistent basis. Yay! This means I get to take teas to work that are better than I would have normally taken, since I’m hesitant to waste good tea on “office water”. Before this I don’t think the hot water dispenser was properly maintained – it always tasted like some cleaning product. 0_o
This was a good work tea since it didn’t get bitter with extended steeping (I tend to throw the leaves in the cup and wing it) and it lasted for more steepings than I expected.
This is the second of the two oolongs from teavivre from my recent batch. The leaves of this one are a little on the greener side, but still dark. I’m guessing this is not as oxidized as the Oriental Beauty, but more than a Tie Gwan Yin. It smells very tea like, more like a black tea, again probably because of the level of oxidation.
Brewed, this tea has a lovely golden reddish brown, lighter and clearer than most blacks, I think. Upon first (very hot) sip, I noticed it was a bit more astringent than the Oriental Beauty. It was a little tart, or sour…not necessarily in a bad way. This could just be my brewing. I did add some sugar to sweeten, though there is still that tart taste. I have not added any milk, even though this is dark enough to carry it. I’m not really getting much sweet or floral with this. It is possible that I’m just not feeling great lately, and I’m just not feeling it with the stuff I have have been having lately…my buds could be off. I will definitely be giving this another brew, and will try with and without sweetener, though I pretty much always add it once I’ve tried it plain.
Unless this is my brewing, I’m going to say that I like this, but not as much as the Oriental Beauty. Thanks again to Angel for sending this one to me. It proves that I still like dark over light oolongs, but that I like light oolongs over green.
Thank you so much Teavivre! My order and contest winnings have arrived. I was very excited to win a pu-erh cake from that awesome contest, and I figured I might as well order with all my reward points I’ve accumulated so that the pu-erh cake didn’t have to travel through the mail so lonely. haha. (I ordered this one, the Keemun #1 which won in my taste test of all four keemuns and the review that won Teavvire’s contest and a bunch of samples, mostly oolong!)
I wanted to try this one right away. My previous sample of this one was almost two years old, so the harvest was bound to be different. It is. I tried to steep using similar parameters. It still has the distinctly bailin gongfu flavor, but it’s lighter than it once was. The flavor before was deep dark chocolate. This is still chocolate, but not dark chocolate! Still no astringency. I will probably find I love it more every time I steep this one, just like the previous harvest. I think this is the tea I’ve written the most tasting notes for.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps // 20 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Steep #2 // 10 min after boiling // 3 min steep
Additional notes: Sample sipdown. This was tough to sipdown! I love it so much and I remember how much every time I drink it. I know to follow Teavivre’s steeping suggestions now, as they are always right. It’s a very unique black tea. I don’t think I’ve ever had another black tea similar to this. It’s definitely my favorite Fujian tea. This one will be difficult not to order with my next Teavivre order. There will be some competition with many other teas I want to buy from Teavivre (hmm.. all the black teas for starters)!
Additional notes: Note to self: Waiting over a half hour for the water to cool on this one is too long, but just boiled is not the way to go either. I’m finding that though Teavivre’s teas rarely are astringent, they require exact teaspoons/time/temp to taste PERFECT, and Teavivre’s steeping instructions usually know what they are talking about.
Additional notes: I thought I would follow Teavivre’s instructions a bit more closely this time. I cooled the water a while (supposed to be 185 degrees), two teaspoons and a minute half for the first steep. WOW is it better than I remember this time. I also had a tea recently like this one… but now I’m not sure what it was. It’s very burnt dark chocolate but not astringent at all and very sweet. So sweet it seems like I added sugar. I say it tastes like BURNT dark chocolate but that definitely doesn’t mean astringent in any way — this is very smooth. I definitely prefer steeping it this way, even if the temp seems so low. I’d definitely use two teaspoons in the future.
Steep #2 // 2 min // water cooled around 30 min
This cup was very much the same as the first one, just not as deep flavored. Still very scrumptious!
Steep #3 // 3 min // five minutes after boiling
I expected the flavor to be faded more and a bit oaky with this steep but it is still very good! Something between the flavor depth of the first cup and the second. I decided to go with closer to boiling to get more flavor out of the leaves. A tea like this could easily be the base for a “chocolate” blend, since much of the flavor is already there. Everything from Teavivre is amazing!
Additional notes: I decided to have a third cup yesterday, so I boiled the water and steeped it for about twenty minutes. I had a look of shock on my face at how sweet the last cup tasted, way sweeter than the other two cups. It is impossible to have this one get astringent and bitter not matter how long you steep or how high the temp, it just gets sweeter! Nice!
I love a good strong black tea. The stronger the better. This was mid-strong I think, but there were other qualities to make it delicious, like the slightly sweet carmel flavor, a bit earthy with a bit of a floral scent. The flavor here is silky smooth. The steep color is a medium to darker brown. You can really taste the quality of the tea. I’ve tried a couple others from Teavivre and they are excellent. Also, I was sleepy this morning and the tea woke me up enough to write this review.
Check out teavivre.com for generous free samples! I sure appreciated them!
The dry leaf smells very fresh and grassy, and they’re also very long leaves! I used my bamboo spoon, since it is rather wide and flat by contrast to a regular teaspoon.
I brought the water to a boil and let it cool a few minutes before using with about 2 spoons of the dry leaf. I think I may have let the water cool too much, as my brew is very very mild, and I am not getting really much flavour at all. I did notice that some of the leaves hadn’t been fully submerged in the water, so I am having a second steeping to see what happens. So far, I like the Taimu green tea better, but it might’ve been my technique and brewing.
Thanks to teavivre for sending this one to me. I still have one more green to try, the Bi Lou Chun.
“I was randomly contacted through Steepster by a rep for Teavivre a couple of months back with a glowing opportunity – that being to try several of their wares. The dry leaves for this new batch were all twisty green-’n-gold excellence with a peppery sweet aroma. It reminded me of honey dipped in pyrite. Each and every time, the liquor turned out exactly as I hoped – deep gold-to-amber, reeking of honeynut-chocolate. On taste, it was as I expected, if not a little bit more.”
“Bai Lin Gong Fu – other than sounding like the name of a cheesy 70s martial arts flick – is a black tea hailing from Fujian province, China. Smelling it an experience, for I found it hard to pinpoint what to call the scent; I settled on “caramel musk” – even though that sounds like a male aftershave. This was different from the other two Bai Lins I’ve tried – which both exhibited more earthy, Yunnan-like tendencies – but I still favored its robust roundhouse kick of a taste.”
Full Review: http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/
First, and most importantly, I apologize for my brief absence. I have had to deal with doggy issues, solving problems at work, dealing with family issues, but now, finally, everything has worked out for the best and I am able to sit down and have my first cup of tea while I finally relax. It is amazing how tension builds up and once everything over, you just suddenly feel like you are a balloon full of stale air that desperately needed to be popped. I am so happy to be back!
I love Ooolongs, and Milk Oolongs have always had a soft spot in my taste-buds. Just thinking about them my mouth waters… So, after all the hype that Teavivre has had on Steepster, I had to try their Milk Oolong. I placed and order, that took forever to get to me (all customs fault, Teavivre service was wonderful. Sometimes shipping to Ecuador is a hassle…). It finally arrived, and being in the middle of all the problems I was having, I didn’t really feel up to trying new teas. So, finally, the storm has passed and I will indulge.
The leaves are nicely rolled and a very enticing green. The scent was fresh, creamy and a tad bit mineral. Not quite as sweet scented as other milk oolongs I have tried, but very creamy and inviting.
I steeped it for 2mins and ended up with a delicate golden liquor. The scent was intensified and the creaminess started prancing about tempting me o gulp the entire glass down. Yuuuummm…
First sip, unsweetened, delicious. All of the creamy smoothness that a milk oolong promises. The first sensation in the sip is creaminess with a tad of creamy sweet flavor, followed by brief mineral savoriness and an ending of sweet aftertaste, all oolong goodness.
The second brew was just as good, but different. The creamy sensation/flavor became stronger and the mineral flavor was played down a bit. The sweet aftertaste was still there and making me smile.
Third brew I lost a bit of the creamy and found a bit of the mineral, but, still delicious.
I never sweetened it, but somehow, Oolongs never seem to need sweetening. The delicate sweet aftertaste gets lost under sugar, honey, Splenda, or any sweetener I have ever tried. So, I don’t think I will be writing about this one sweetened any time soon… It is sooo good plain.
Once again, it feels great to be back in the tea world with fellow Steepters! : ) Also, this tea is really worth a try! : )
MzPriss inspired me to drink some Bailin this morning.
I need all the yumminess I can get and this is a full cup of exactly that.
I so love this tea, it’s like a comfy pair of jeans or slippers. You just know it’s going to hug you the right way in all the right places!
Think freshly baked bread, with honey and cocoa notes. It’s creamy and malty, with some hay.
It might not the be the most complex tea, but it is so good and tasty, it makes everything right.
This has been a permanent tea in my collection, and it’s not going anywhere!
Aaaah, my black malty full bodied tea, how much I love you.
First time I drank Bailin Gungfu, I heard the angels singing! (Pun very intended for Angel at Teavivre!)
It was about three years ago and I was a lot less experienced with tea in general. I remember thinking that I had finally arrived, that this was the reason I kept drinking and trying new teas.
The aroma is so inviting and homey, it’s like having a sniff at fresh baked bread just out of the oven. Think crusty rye bread.
It’s malty with big cocoa notes paired with dark honey…mmm…chocolate croissant.
Everything has been said about this tea, and yet, I felt compelled to review it again.
Only the best teas stand the test of time…this is not a one trick pony, it’s one that keeps coming back to my cupboard.
As I mention in my profile, I am MARRIED to straight blacks and VERY faithful to them…Ok, maybe I do cheat a little…but I always come back!
Oh, have I missed Steepster and all your great reviews lately, extremely busy at work for the past 3 weeks , and at home with my godchild (babysitting the little angel while my sister is on a well-deserved vacation!) I’m catching up today by reading all of you…
Not only am I Canadian, I’m French Canadian, a proud «Québecoise» to be more precise. That explains why my choice of words or the way I phrase things might be a little incorrect form time to time. I hate using translators, good old fashion Merriam-Webster dictionary is what I go for. Aside from a few English lessons in high school, I learned English by myself. When I was a teenager, I decided I would become bilingual and read tons of English books. I also spoke English as often as I could, to all my friends who didn’t understand a thing and thought I was a little weird. It paid off, by the time I was 18, I was almost perfectly bilingual.
Now in my adult life, I do speak the language every day (I work in the financial world), but from time to time, I just can’t find the perfect word to illustrate to the fullest what I really want to say, the way I could in French.
So today, how do I love this tea??? INCOMMENSURABLEMENT! (google it! ha! ha! I just wanted to show off!!)
This tea, oh my, this tea… I have to thank Teavivre for the sample I got about 3 weeks ago. After drinking the life out of it, I ordered a large supply and decided to wait and drink it again before writing my review. (I wanted to make sure it was for real and that I wasn’t a victim of some kind of tea rush hallucinations).
I finally received it this week. So many of you have already said many good things about it and they’re all true.
This tea is a symphony for the taste buds and for the soul… Bold and delicate at the same time. It does have a natural cocoa feel to it, paired with a distinct caramel sweetness very hard to describe.
It does remind me of Teavivre Yun Nan Golden Tip, in a more complex way.
Haaa, sip, sip, I am having it right now, sooo freakin’ goood!!
Second Review. I’m beginning to feel better today but still sticking to drinking black tea. I remembered how good this tea was first round and wanted to revisit that memory.
There is such a warm, light, floral nose to this golden tea liquor. Not malty but slightly yammy. When you take a sip your mouth fills with sweet juice and that yam taste at the back of the palate. The tip of the tongue tickles of tannin…just to let you know that your tongue has been coated with tea. Since I was drinking this cup for my morning tea, I added sweetening and that changed the yam. It became a lighter version with a bit of sweet, dried apricot fruitiness. When I added cream, the flavor of airy puff pastry arrived with a ta- da! Um, what a superb cuppa from a black tea so full of wonders!
This would be good with a mild breakfast ham and egg crepe but not too salty with a mild cheese, or just some plain buttered rolls.
First review of this lovely sample from Teavivre and Angel for which I am greatful!
I woke up with the sunlight trying to get into my bedroom. This can be good for other people but for me it can mean the beginning of a migraine. Light sets them off. I wear sunglasses indoors and out…even now writing this review. Caffeine helps ward off migraines so I went for the best black tea option in my review box! Such a delight too!
My steep time was 2 1/2 minutes at the 185F temp. and the color of the tea liquor is a medium gold with a hint of green. Very pretty! A sniff…vegital just a bit but what kind I can’t figure out…will have to come later.
A sip….honey…really smooth and silky and not a vegital flavor but maybe cookie? At this highest beginning temperature there is a slight bit of acid. I let the tea cool down and then…well…there began to reveal such velvety richness and an open full mouthfeel delish! The vegital was not yam or sweet potato but sauteed, slightly honeyed carrots. I’ve made them so many times and there is a duel vegital and fruity sweetness rolled into one in carrots that is perfect to discribe what I am getting from this tea. (One time I made a carrot pie with pistachios that was awesome). The acid or tannin I felt in the beginning was almost absent when this tea cooled a bit. I didn’t taste any orange. Adding some sweetening was nice but milk is not what I would recommend because it makes this tea look and taste watery…uh no! Straight up this is great and sweetened it’s good too! (Bonus for me…my head is feeling a lot better already!)
I first enjoy tea with its looks, then I smell it, then I drink it. So that’s how I’m reviewing my teas.
Update: I find myself reaching for this one again and again. For me, the sweetness is irresistible. It’s my “I need a looong quiet sip to escape the madness” tea.
Looks: Very very light green toward yellow. The pearls unfurl into a bunch of twisted buds that look like tiny dragons battling it out in your cup. I have to resteep at least 3 times to get the leaves to fully unfurl due to the quick steeping time of this tea.
Fragrance: The jasmine scent is mellow and well rounded. Sometimes jasmines can get cloying with its high notes, but this tea was fantastic. The best I can describe is that it is a sweet, warm jasmine fragrance. Like getting a hug from a big jasmine flower.
Taste: Mild vegetal flavour with slight sweetness. A quick steep is necessary to get a good brew. I have accidentally steeped too hot as well as too long and either way results in an overly astringent tea. It was not undrinkably bitter, but not too tasty either.
Brewing note: I find a quick rinse of the tea helps greatly with the flavour of the first steep.
OK… this was the Pu-erh I was a little afraid to try, because I had a feeling it would end up being a very earthy tasting tea. I think it was the “Ripened Aged” part of it, because the tuocha itself doesn’t have that strong, earthy smell to it.
Yes, it is earthy, but, it has a really nice sweetness to it too and that makes it very enjoyable. My first couple of sips I tried without any sweetener and it had a nice, caramel-y kind of sweetness to it, then I tried it with a little turbinado sugar and found that this addition gave the sweetness a molasses-y kind of taste. Very nice.
Winter is dead and gone. Spring is floating about. Teavivre’s Premium Dragonwell is glistening in the cup.
Chestnuts! This tea has a nutty flavor that most echoes chestnuts. The dry and wet leaf of this dragonwell exhibit a grassy-nuttiness. But in the liquor scent, the chestnuts come out to play. This is not a light and grassy green. This dragonwell is on the heavier side. The pronounced chestnut taste is prevalent throughout the sip. The aftertaste leaves a nutty flavor in the back of the throat and a slight astringency in the front of the mouth. The key to enjoying this tea is to not overbrew. Testing on multiple pots, when brewed for 2:00 and slightly longer at 175, the tea becomes overly heavy and dense. The nuttiness can overwhelm in such a brew. The sweet spot is to brew this right at 1:30 at 175 and not a second longer. Such a brew leaves this dragonwell lighter and in better overall balance.
This is an enjoyable green. It’s not the green that I will reach for daily. It’s one that needs to work in concert with the right mood and setting. Teavivre’s nutty dragon does well.
Love this pu-erh, I use 1 tuocha per 4 oz of boiling water. 45 second rinse, which also begins to break apart the tuocha. First steep for 1 minute and it is a very dark heavy earthy tea. Increasing 30 seconds per infusion, by the fourth infusion the liquid becomes very light and the sweetness of the chrysanthemum really shines.