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Recent Tasting Notes
It was a toss up between the black pearls and this dragonwell last night, so of course I couldn’t wait to try this one today!
The leaves smelled like butter when I opened the package. Not strongly of butter, but it reminded me of how my last dragonwell brewed up. The leaves are so big compared to my last bag of dragonwell. Long and flat. They wouldn’t fit into my teaspoon so I just poured out enough leaf to lightly cover the bottom of my press.
I impatiently waited two minutes for this to steep. I was worried for a minute because the liquor was turning out so light. In the press it was almost still clear but in my cup it was a very, very light yellow. I sipped it and the first word that popped into my head was “smooth”. It tastes so smooth and I drank it fairly quickly because it went down so easily. At the end of the cup it tasted a little mineral-y but not enough for me to really notice it if I wans’t paying attention.
I got busy organizing books so I didn’t get to have the second steep until after lunch. This steep was for three minutes and the liquor was much darker. It is still light and smooth but there is another note teasing the edges of my tongue. It is a slight creamy sensation with the tingle of light mineral water. I was afraid my lunch would overpower the tea, but now I’m thinking that I should have had it with my tea.
I have never steeped a green tea more than twice (mostly because I have never had a high quality green before), but I am going to try a third steep in a little while to see if it still has more to give.
Third Steep: I steeped this for four minutes and it tasted exactly like the first steep. I don’t think the flavors would develop any more after this so this is probably a three steep tea for me.
This is (or was) my last unopened sample from this round of Teavivre teas. I think I may have a new favorite. I love this! The dry leaf smells of Honey Nut Cheerios. The cup tastes of warm buttery milk, and cereal. Sweet and grainy with a touch of vanilla. Also, there is a bit of salt, smoke, and hay. It has a light non-offensive bitterness. Like the other Taiwan oolongs I have had lately, I am getting a neat cooling sensation on my breath. I could enjoy this cup without additives. You all know that rarely (never!) happens. I added Splenda to see if it improved the taste. It accentuated the flavor and diminished the light bitterness. I Love this! And you didn’t think I could write a one paragraph review of a new tea ;)
This tea is a perfect 10/10 in my books! Seriously, you guys. As someone who could eat condensed milk straight out of the can with a spoon, or subsist on nothing but tres leches cake all day, this tea is a godsend. It is a boldly flavored, distinctive tea, so it’s not necessarily the tea I would pick if I had to have one “desert island” tea for the rest of my life, but if somebody told me I could never have baked desserts or candy again, I would use this tea to fill the void!
The dry leaf smell is striking. The tightly rolled, vivid green pellets have a rich sweet cream sort of smell. The buttery fragrance lets you know you’re in for a treat! The first four infusions have a luscious creaminess to them. If I steep it past the point of milky perfection, its flavor profile reminds me a lot of Teavivre’s Tie Guan Yin.
The aroma and flavor calls to mind milky candy, condensed milk, and caramel. A subtle creamy floral note perfectly marries the condensed milk flavors with the smooth, vegetal, green oolong ones just beneath them. Some people initially balk at the notion of a milky caramel candy flavor pressed up against green tea, but the flavors here are so artfully balanced that everyone I’ve offered this tea to has been really impressed. It’s delicious and deeply satisfying, but it also seems so… delicate. It’s not the clumsy slap of a sticky, oily caramel cake that just popped out of a vending machine, it’s the little kiss of a petite treat from a chic pâtisserie.
One of the best things about this tea is its full, creamy mouthfeel. A lot of oolongs have that subtly “buttery”, heavy mouthfeel, but this one is the densest feeling I’ve tried yet! Even without sugar, it’s a subtly sweet treat, but the addition of a little bit of sweetener takes it to new heights of decadence in a tea cup.
Considering how many times I can infuse this tea and still get fantastic flavor out of it, it is a wonderful bargain too. I hope I can keep my cabinets stocked with this for life!
What a wonderful sample. Seriously Teavivre, thank you for the sample! I have decided that currently my favorite milk oolongs go: Teavivre, Teavivre (flavored), and then David’s. This is mainly due to the fact that I like the floral/sweet/fruity notes in Teavivre milk oolongs as compared to David’s more creamy version. All are wonderful though.
I normally do 3, 3min brews of this tea and it stands up quite nicely. This is a very sweet, smooth tea that would be great for anyone looking for milk oolong.
What a wonderful tea! I forgot that this little beauty was hiding out in the back corner of my cupboard. After a long day of shopping and eating, I’ve been left feeling really dizzy. I think that this is the one thing keeping my mood up! It is very sweet, milky, and I love watching the leaves unfurl. I do prefer the un-flavored version more, but this is still a very amazing and flavorful tea with lots of great floral and green notes as well. Highly recommended.
Many thanks for this sample! I must say that I chose this one first of the new bunch because milk oolongs are my crack. Seriously though, I’m not going to let this one sit around for long. It smells lovely, milky, fruity, and less green than other oolongs. I really like the color of the leaves in this selection. They are very dark green with light yellow bits. This tea is every bit as good smelling and pretty as the unflavored milk oolong.
I’m having this in my smaller teapot which is ~6oz and used about 1 1/2 tsp. The bag says that 1-3 min. should work so I’m using the highest time for this at boiling. It smells very floral and milky when steeped. The flavor of this is much stronger than the regular milk oolong. I think that the flavor mostly comes in at the end of the sip. Next time I make this I’m going to steep it for a shorter amount of time.
I’ve now had 4 steeps of this and it keeps on chugging! I really like this one. I wouldn’t say it is as tasty as the unflavored milk oolong, but I do enjoy the floral and fruity aspects of this when compared to other milk oolongs I’ve tried. I would totally recommend this one!
This sample was provided by Teavivre. The tea originates from Dong Ding Mountain. I opened the generous bag and poured out a spoonful of leaf to examine. This looks like little pieces of volcanic rock covered by moss or maybe petrified tea pebbles. It is dark gray/green and rough textured as if it is painted rocks. I am going on about it because it is really different. The scent at first makes me think peppery. Of course it’s really the ginseng. It also has notes of oats or some kind of grain.
I brought 12oz of water to a roiling boil and poured into my press with about 4g (one good spoon) of nuggets. I steeped for two minutes. When the timer went off some of the leaf was dancing on the surface and some was on the bottom. None of it was completely unfurled. Interesting, there is a light roasted aroma coming out of the press – this wasn’t even hinted at in the scent of the dry leaf. The brew looked golden with a light green tint, in the press. Once poured it became a light orange in the cup.
As the cup sits to cool a bit, the smell of ginseng keeps catching my attention. It is beginning to make me nervous. Is this going to be an overdone flavor extremophile?
I take a sip and must admit I am confused, in a good way. The ginseng is mainly present at the front of the sip, then fades only to return at the end of the sip and is felt at the back of the mouth and throat. It is done with balance. It leaves the mouth with a wonderful cooling sensation. The roasted smell of the wet leaf is a very subdued hint in mid sip. Given that this is from Dong Ding mountain, I was expecting heavy oolong floral notes. Instead this tastes closer to a green tea but not bright and grassy or floral. The best I can do to describe this is it is like a lightly roasted green tea and grain soaked in milk with some ginseng sprinkled on top.
The second cup, also at 2 minutes, is darker. The wet leaf smells like steak. Mmmm steak. This cup is tastier to me. The roastiness comes out more and the ginseng is less pronounced. The sweet floral notes I was expecting are now in the aftertaste taste. A good cuppa. Not that they taste the same but it reminds me of Gurman’s Pepper Mango green tea.
Cup 3 is back to being orange in color and is weaker in flavor but still pretty good.
I highly like this. I can’t say I love it at the moment. More tastings are required. I am fascinated by how different it is from my expectations.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to write a book today.
I am finally getting around to my generous samples from Angel and Teavivre! I meant to try this a few days ago but I was craving flavored teas, and I didn’t want to taste this until I was in the mood for it lest it be wasted on grumpy taste-buds. I just checked and this is the highest rated tea on Steepster, so I was definitely anticipating big flavors!
Right out of the sample bag it smells fantastic, very chocolatey and rich. I’m not that familiar with Chinese blacks, but it was definitely a good first impression! I used water that was a bit hotter than recommended because I’m a spaz, but I don’t think it adversely affected the flavor—there’s zero bitterness or astringency. I do like astringent teas but this seems like a more mellow black and it definitely wouldn’t be fitting with the flavor profile. This is suck a complex cup with notes of chocolate, malt, raisin, caramel/honey, and yeast. My dad tried some and picked up some hay notes, which I always enjoy in tea. It’s so smooth and rich without being heavy. I will most definitely be ordering more of this!
Free sample from Teavivre
Small nuggets of green leaf curled into balls with a vegetal aroma when I opened the packet. The smell promised good things. The first steeping yielded a vegetal flavour, creamy on the palate. It reminded me of asparagus and was very pleasant. There were floral undertones to it, although my wife noticed them more than I did. It’s always interesting getting her view of teas, and it really highlights the differences in our palates and experience of the tea. The second steeping had less of the asparagus flavour and was smoother with the floral notes coming to the fore. I did not really get the baked taste that is meant to be there, but that could just be me thinking it is something else, just a variation on the way I perceive the flavours. We got four steepings out of this tea before we called it a day. Lovely tea. I would be very happy to have this one in the cupboard for regular usage and shall probably get some on my next Teavivre order.
Thanks again Angel at Teavivre for this sample
Sample sipdown and I am sad to see it go because I really enjoyed it.
I steeped this with my new little gaiwan today. I still need practice though because I almost burnt my hand again. I used the website’s parameters (rinse,25s,35,45,55,65,75). I found that the sweetness didn’t have as much of a chance to develop as with western brewing and it seemed like there was a sharpness somehow. Still delicious
Thanks again to Angel at Teavivre for providing this free sample for me.
I used 2-3 tsp for this cuppa.
I think I enoy this one more each time I drink it. And I really enjoy roasted oolongs lately. It really has a sweet baked goods flavour. I am sad I only hadd time for 2 steeps today, because this one is good for at least 3 steeps
Resteeped 2 minutes.
Thankyou Angel and Teavivre for this generous sample!
I used 1.5 teaspoons
Dry leaf smell: overwhelmingly like spinach…..I was pretty worried at this point because I don’t like really vegetal teas.
Steeped leaf: smelled less vegetal
Taste: roasty, slightly vegetal, nutty, with that buttery/milky mouthfeel. A couple of sips into my cup, some floral and sweetness started to develop in my mouth.
2nd steep: 3 minutes, my favourite steep, less vegetal, but still nutty and creamy
3rd steep: 4 minutes, starting to diminish in flavour but still delicious
I like this just as much as the regular TGY Teavivre offers.
I find TGYs to be very comforting. Whether the emotion is happy or sad, TGYs know how to celebrate or soothe the soul.
Almost a sipdown of this one. I had two half-finished packets (gasp), and used all of one, and half of the other for a lovely travel mug full of this on the weekend. Pretty tasty, as expected. A little more on the hay side as opposed to chocolate, but definitely still within my black tea flavour preferences.
I maintain that while this is a good tea, with definite chocolatey tones (which are delicious), I prefer Verdant’s Laoshan Black (and possibly the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls, although I haven’t had those since July). There’s just a more hay-y/almost vegetal flavour here instead of pure dark chocolate. I suppose it actually tastes more like a cross between Laoshan Black and what I consider a standard black tea to taste like. So, still good and drinkable straight, but could be better.
Regardless, I really appreciate these free samples sent to me from Teavivre!
Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for my wonderful second batch of samples, which generously included this one which I requested specifically since everyone here has been raving about it!
Like the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls, this tea smelled quite deliciously chocolatey when I opened up the package. It may have leaned a touch moreso towards malty/yeasty, but there was definitely chocolate there. I probably used about 2 tsp for 8 or 10 oz. water.
The result is pretty tasty, very little astringency, a rich, malty, hay-y flavour with chocolatey flavours emerging more slowly. I stupidly finished the other cup of tea before even trying this one (clearly not in the right state of mind for tasting tea right now. Not at all.) but I think I preferred the pearls :)
ETA: Very interesting second infusion, especially after just drinking that of the Fengqing Dragon Pearls! I can’t really taste much of anything chocolatey, but there’s a surprising sweetness! No astringency even though I think it was steeped a good deal longer than the pearls. I think this is a black tea I could actually drink regularly with no additions (along with the pearls, the Laoshan Black…. I see a trend here!)
Sipdown!! Man, this is a tasty tea. One of the first malty, chocolatey, delicious black teas I tried, so it will always have a special place in my… tastebud memory?? Anyhow, I still have the leaves sitting out for a possible second infusion… perhaps that’s what I’ll do after dumping the Persimmon Tea…
Well, I had hoped that this one would win my mom over in terms of black tea (which she has decided she’s not a fan of, although she likes pu’erh… will get to that in a bit). Unfortunately, no dice. Not sure if it was how I brewed it, or just a reluctance to be open to liking black tea. I’m personally finding it deliciously malty and a bit chocolatey today, so an incorrect brew is unlikely. I’d like to have my aunt, who enjoys black tea, try this one when she’s here in a few days.
Oh man. I can’t even write a proper tasting note right now because I totally just asked out a guy that I met yesterday, and am pretty much freaking out about it… (Mostly that he won’t respond… but also that he will…. gah!!) This is new territory for me…
So, uh, anyhow…. I really think I should have stuck to a rooibos/herbal tonight since I’m already really wound up, but I had brought this tea and my sample of Bailin Gong Fu Black downstairs on Friday night to try, but didn’t get around to it, and really wanted to experience the chocolatiness that everyone else has been! Thank you to Teavivre for the opportunity to taste and review this tea!
I used 5 pearls in my infuser, and the temperature probably wasn’t as close to boiling as it should have been, but oh well. The aroma when I cut open the packet was incredibly chocolatey and delicious – kind of crazy (hey, matches my mood!)
The tea tastes malty and chocolatey, perhaps a little less chocolatey than expected, but still quite good. I’m getting almost a yeasty-ish, bready note that I don’t remember finding quite as strong in Verdant’s chocolatey blacks, but it’s not bothersome. The tea is a little weak though, in my opinion, and I’m not sure if that’s because I should have steeped it longer (I went with three minutes), used more pearls, or because I added a bit of cold water after it was done steeping to cool it down a bit so I could drink it sooner (I should say here that I steeped it in less than 8 oz. water to begin with by accident, and the addition wouldn’t have put it over that). I’d be very curious to compare it directly to the Laoshan Black, but I only have a cup’s worth of that one left and don’t want to waste it on a night of comparisons.
… (I so don’t even know what to do with myself right now!)
ETA: This tea held up to a second infusion quite well! Still chocolatey and pleasing. I’m not sure how long I steeped it, but it could have been slightly too long, as there’s a bit of astringency. Still good though.
ETA again: Third infusion, a couple(?) days later, still has enough flavour to be enjoyable, although I do admit I steeped it in a smaller volume of water. I can’t recall now if I went for 3 or 4 minutes, but there’s no astringency this time, just maltiness with flourishes of cocoa every now and again. Really quite pleasant. This tea has definitely made the short-list for teas to buy when my stash is a bit smaller! (And I haven’t checked the price, but I think it is affordable?)
This black tea is beyond fabulous. It’s rich and bold while smooth and void of bitterness at the same time. I’m enjoying my second steep and this caramel flavor comes out nicely in the finish. This is the cup ‘o’ black I’ve been searching for. Many thanks to Teavivre for creating such a masterpiece!