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Recent Tasting Notes


Tea of the morning……

This sample was provided by TeaVivre for review. (Thank you!)

I decided morning was a great time to try this one. We are in the midst of a slight cold spell…or maybe I just feel like it is a cold spell because it was a sweltering weekend last week. Anyway, a sweet smokey tea was a good match for the weather today.

Leaf is actually kind of fluffy for a black tea. There are even some golden pieces in there! The smell is of smoke and earthiness. I brewed it is with a little hotter water then they recommended (I used boiling, they recommended 195) but I still had a fabulous tea. I get notes of malt, cocoa, and smoke with a sweetness. Since I usually sweeten my hot tea, I ended up with a smokey sweet liquor. Once the tea got in the temperature range for drinking, I noticed that my cup was empty in a flash. That means it is incredibly good. I think I will try a resteep, too. Yes, this goes on the shopping list! I think I will replacing my Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon with this. I do think it is a sweeter tea than the Lapsang from Mountian Rose herbs, too, plus their shipping is cost prohibitive.

Usual teapot method with a 2 minute steep. Lightly sweetened.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

Chilly here this morning, too! It is so refreshing! I am sitting under the back carport by my wall of jasmine, sipping Teavivre tea.

Autumn Hearth

Ooo sounds delightful! Let us know how it resteeps when you get a chance, I love later steeps of LS Black Dragon.


Second steep is good….I’d say more mellow, though. Not sure I will make it to a third steep since I made a whole pot. Next time, I will brew by the mug.


On scale 1 to 10, how smoky is it?


Alright I’m ordering some of this…I’ve heard nothing but good things! :)


It’s good!


Hmmm. A scale of 1-10. I tend to like them lower on the smokey side and it is just perfect for me. I find it similar to the level of Hu Kwa from Mark T. Wendell and Upton Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon. It is smokier than something like Mark T. Wendell Victorian Afternoon. I guess I would put it at about a 5. Keemuns are generally a 1 or 2 on my scale, so a little smokier than the smokiest Keemun….


Alright! Looks like I’m into sampling this one as well.

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Went to bed last night before I had a chance to log this because my computer was acting up:

I finally decided that this tea is just too good not to drink. It’s just my last packet so I think I was trying to make it “last” by not drinking it, but by not drinking it I didn’t get to enjoy it.

I did notice that it is slightly sweeter if you have it with a dessert. I normally wouldn’t have placed it as a tea I would have with dessert, but that slight extra sweetness made it extra yummy.

The only trouble with oolongs is that they last all day. I need to get another french press so I can brew two types of tea during the day.


If you are like me, you just can’t dump the leaf and move on. I don’t have a single steeper in my drawer. I have tried developing some sharing friends at work, but one likes only Lipton the other only likes black teas. So, like George Thorogood, I drink alone – and pee often. ha!

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This is still the same bunch of leaves, but I felt like it needed a new tasting note. My brother just graduated from high school! Yay. He is disabled and we are very proud of him. Even better, he is going to be able to go to college too! I am very proud of him.

We had a big celebration dinner at Moes and this steep of tea is just the thing to finish the meal. It is nice and light with a slight fruity taste now. The sip ends with a creamy sweetness. I think I might have found my new favorite type of tea to compete with Earl Grey.

I left the leaves in the french press. I’m going to check them in the morning and if they still look fresh then I might try to steep it one more time to see if I can get any last drops of flavor out. We are leaving tomorrow for our vacation in Ohio so I probably won’t be on for a week unless I break and bring my computer with me. We will see. If I don’t post for a week then you know what happened.

Happy Steeping!


Props to your bro! Way to go for him!! :)


Tell him congratulations from your tea friends!


Congrats to your brother!

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Whenever I get out my loose leaf I get people hovering around my french press. Then they pretend not to want to try the tea even when I offer. This time it was my brother and after it was done steeping, I told him for the last time that if he wanted to try it then to get out a mug. He got out the mug. Lol.

I keep expecting this to be rich like a black tea but it isn’t. If anything it is more like a green tea. Very delicate with a slight mineral taste that is drying out my mouth. But it has a faint sweet creaminess that keeps me coming back for more. I still have more steeps left to this (I’m only on the second steep) and I have a feeling I will be sharing the other steeps with my brother. I don’t mind though.

3rd Steep: It has gotten smoother and an understated sweetness and creaminess that kept me sipping it until it was gone. Yum.

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This is my first milk oolong and I am excited. I brewed this at a hotter temperature. I didn’t let it come to a full rolling boil, but I did let it boil.

The first steep has a really, really light color. Almost clear with a hint of green. I’m a little worried because this is how the other oolong looked yesterday. Maybe I didn’t get the water hot enough? It is still a first steep. Maybe I didn’t let the leaves “rinse” enough by that little 5-15 second swish I gave the leaves. I won’t know until I dive in and taste it. I smell a very light scent. The taste is very interesting. It isn’t tasting like much-but then I’m not sure what unflavored tea is supposed to taste like since I normally drink flavored tea. But the mouth feel is amazing. I feel like I am drinking warm milk even if it isn’t that strong yet. I’m going to finish this cup and then steep it again. Until I come back, I’ll watch my friends play Skyrim while enjoying this cup.

10:49 PM: I managed to get three more steeps out of the leaves. But I noticed that the cooler the water got, the less flavor and the less milky it got. I have a feeling I didn’t get the water hot enough for even the first cup. I just read Azziran’s note to me about brewing oolongs like a black tea more than a green tea. I will have to try this with even hotter water in order to even start to experience more of the milk oolong’s flavor. I have a feeling this might become one of my favorite type of teas once I learn how to brew it right.

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Teavivre just might make a non-flavoured tea person out of me yet! Up until their samples, I had been firmly in the fun flavours camp, without fully appreciating tea for itself! This tea has certainly changed that!
1st Steep: This tea smells rather earthy and bitter, but it is really very sweet (I was quite surprised). It is smooth, mild, still earthy but nice and sweet. It is a pale green colour, with very few stray pieces, indicating the quality of the leaves.
My teapot makes about a cup and a half (Its one of teaopia’s tea for one sets), so I left the half a cup steeping for about 5 minutes, and the result was quite bitter (still decent, but too strong for my taste) so I would advise paying attention to steeping instructions and only steeping for a minute or two.
2nd Steep: And this tea just got a whole lot sweeter! Most of the earthiness is gone, now I just taste yum. This is much better the second time around! I can’t believe how sweet it is (and its still healthy for me to boot). From the tastes of things, these leave would probably hold out for 4 or so steeps, I may just have to try it!
Overall, my favourite pure green that i’ve tried (although its the only), but still, the bar has been set high!

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Another tea from my second round of samples provided by Teavivre. This is my first time trying a bi luo chun and the reason I chose it was honestly just that I thought the leaves looked cool, hehe. It’s definitely a beautiful looking tea. I wasn’t a HUGE fan of the taste, but that’s not to say that it’s not a good tea, I’m more casual with my reviews and usually rate based on whether or not I personally liked it. This tea was just a little flat tasting for me.

I definitely agree with what Ian said about the “saltiness”. There’s a definite alkaline taste to it, and other than that all I’m getting is your typical vegetal green flavor. All in all, I’ll happily drink it every now and then…it just didn’t captivate me in any way. Still a big fan of Teavivre, many thanks to them for the samples.

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Thank you Ashmanra for this sample tea!

I found this in the sample bin…having lost it’s way…poor dear! I have reviewed this tea before but it was 7 months ago…a tea lifetime!

I have changed (haven’t we all!). Talking to myself (nobody else is here so that’s not a stretch), I was thinking about how we are so plugged in to flavor. We live in a world that over salts and over sugars with artifical flavor enhancers in almost everything we eat and drink…yet we tea drinkers are inspecting our favorite tea beverages for every little nuance of aroma and taste. We seek the best.

I got on a cooking kick today. It was all about spices in my house.
There was a recipe for Vadouvan Indian Spice Blend (onions, garlic and shallots sauteed in spices and baked until dry). http://flic.kr/p/dG1Kvy
Then I made gingerbread with ginger chai in it, layered with toffee in the middle. (I made toffee for Christmas and had small pieces left over in the freezer steeped with Laoshan Black Tea).

My house smelled really good!

While the oven was doing it’s job (I had chopped the onions etc. by hand and ground all the spices with mortar and pestal), I made a pot of this Pu-erh!

Yikes! I had forgotten that this is like having a good cup of coffee in the old days before I discovered tea!

Dark, rich and bready…no bitterness. Smooth.

My mood was not about making notes about how many steepings I could get out of this pu-erh…hah…I wanted to drink mugs full of tea…lots of it with cream and sugar! That’s what I did! Gulps of tea sweet and caramel, creamy…good!

What’s better than this?!

A good cuppa PU, Spicy Smells filling up my house and gingerbread baking in the oven!

Yum! www.janespice.com/recipes/vadouvan-indian-spice-blend


Sounds awesome! I do love this one! They sent me the sample and I ended buying it, of course! You are right – our food is over salted and over sweetened. That is getting better. I think years of Dr, Pepper may have been why I couldn’t find the nuance in tea at first, since I had never had to seek the flavors and layers. Plus I had too little exposure to lots of kinds of foods. I have expanded my horizons and now enjoy EVERYTHING so much more!


I knew you would understand what I meant. Tea does reset what we’ve lost from years of exposure to the excess of additives in the North-American diet (can’t speak for elsewhere).

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I was drinking this Pu-erh for my morning tea because I was feeling very sad and a really good cup of tea couldn’t help but cheer me up!

My car is up for sale, I had a buyer and we were to meet at the Bank today to complete the transaction but this morning they pulled out of the deal.

WAH! BOO HOO! (There…OK,done!)

Drowning my sorrows with tea was a pretty safe way to get over a disappointment. I know I’m usually cheerful, or I try to be unless I’m sick or there’s a disaster.
Tea has been seen as something offered for comfort. Just look at old movies.
“Here dearie, your whole family was lost at sea, have a cup of tea.” “Oh my Reginald, Lady Margarite has fainted, fetch some tea.”

Maybe it wasn’t quite that bad but almost! Funny and charming.

There’s some truth in the comfort aspect of tea drinking and that’s why I chose a Pu-erh (and a very good one) for my morning tea.

Pu-erh’s are calming and good for the stomach and blood pressure. (Just what Bonnie needs for maintaining a level head.)

It’s important for me to trust that all things will work for good and worry won’t gain me anything.

I made a lovely creamy latte. (Not all Pu-erh’s make excellent latte’s but this one is really good)
Savory turn’s caramel, the rich creamy sweetness soon taking my sad self to a more positive place where everything was sure to turn out fine in the end.

I took a deep breath. I sat thinking…
“Remember what you said just yesterday Bonnie about being grateful (you even wrote about it in a review you ninny). Were you really serious about gratitude only when things are going your way, or can you be grateful when disappointment or hardship is knocking at the door? Oh?!”
That’s not something I wanted to think about but it was true. It’s easy to be thankful when things go my way. I have to work harder on being thankful when they don’t.

See now how taking a break with tea can help settle the mind.
My tasty Pu-erh latte was what I needed to create the right mood and had perked me up!


Sorry to read about the car deal. I hope a better one comes along soon. In the meantime tea is definitely a good solution.


It will get better Bonnie. :) Everything for a reason.


Got a call from someone else who says they will pay cash and are meeting me at the Bank at 1pm with my son-in-law. (I’m selling the car…Silver RAV4…. at a really good price!)


Well there’s lots of people looking for cars so don’t worry your will find a new home :D Tea is awesome, all hail tea :D


You know, I don’t think I’ve tried Pu-erh in a latte yet … perhaps I shall need to do this. I’m still trying to get over that period of time when I did not like pu-erh … and now, even though I’ve liked nearly all that I’ve tried, I still get that sense of apprehension when it comes to a pu-erh. I hope I get over it soon.


SOLD MY CAR>>>CASH IN BANK>>>>CAN NOW BUY SOME TEA!!!! (I haven’t been able to buy tea even so whoopie!)


YAAY! more tea is always a good thing :D




To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven…


Yay! Now you can celebrate with a good tea!!


KS you are so right. I wrote the note on being grateful yesterday, today started as a downer and a reminder to remain grateful even when things don’t go my way. Then…everything turned around again. Hallelujah!

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Second review

Tucked in a familiar silver package, the 3/4 full remains of my Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds Pu-erh had been urging me to come and enjoy the gift of goodness I remembered once again.
Others have been writing reviews lately and I was tempted…pushed the thought away…but the urge kept coming back. I wait for the right time for certain tea’s. And for Puerh’s especially.

I can safely say that I pick a tea to drink according to my mood.
I’m unable to review certain kinds of tea without a very clear and centered mind.
It’s the difference between reading The Cat in the Hat (which is cute and charming) and a novel like The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (one of my favorites) only here we’re talking about tea.

(Half of you just walked away making that twirly motion next to your head indicating CRAZY!) I don’t care!

My steep time was 2 minutes in a glass pot Western Style. (I wanted lots of tea!)
The color of the liquor was dark Chocolate fudge brown and smelled like expensive Italian leather shoes. New ones. A very nice smell indeed.

I poured myself a cup and took the first long sip, rolling the liquid around in my mouth blissfully. The juicy, mild Puerh had the essence of gentle air after a hard rain. I imagined myself in North Ferriby, U.K with an umbrella in my hand…standing on a corner… waiting at a bus stop with the smell of rain, wet paving stones and fresh moss. I could see the Humber Bridge Span in the distance through the misty drizzle.
It’s a warm enough day though.
The tea smells and tastes like plumped up, wet tea buds and the aftertaste is Thai grilled chicken.

I wouldn’t mind taking this cup into an ancient musty library at Nottingham University hurrying past old stone and polished creaky wood, my body would enter and find a lone soft chair and plop down, limp like a discarded marionette.

Tea and a place can come together as a singular vision. A story and a novel,fragrance and a flavor stirred up at the right moment.

I’m glad that I waited for this tea. It’s a good lesson for me to trust my own instincts about where I am on the tea path. I have so much to learn.

(This review is for Steepster Roughage from the U.K.)


I’ve got some of this on the way, along with their new Golden Monkey black tea. :)


Crazy? No! Creative? YES!


omg I totally do that! pick tea based on my mood. and if I end up drinking one because it’s all I have at the moment… in can taste terrible just bc it isn’t the one I wanted!! and I do tend to pick more serious teas when in a pensive mood…
so lady, we be craaaazy together!! :P
(Azzrian and Kwinter, join us!)


I’m the same way. White tea when I’m feeling calm and at peace, green tea when I’m in a good mood and have energy, black tea and pu-erh if I’m in a serious mood or in any period of psychological distress…also I love pu-erh when I’m reading or watching an educational documentary. :)


Excellent review, and with the rain we had yesterday, totally apropos. :-)


loved this review, I will add this to my next Teavivre order as I still want to develop my «super-puerh» skills …


I plan to try this one over the weekend if I get time to appreciate pu-erh.

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Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this lovely Pu-erh Sample!

I wrote a complete review and then…Steepster crashed…and it was lost…so here I go again!

Last night I was up until the wee hours..1:45am just not ready to go to bed! Fortunately for me I could sleep in and like a lazy feline take my time in choosing a morning tea from the new box of samples that arrived from Teavivre. Such a delight!

The shipment contained one large sample of Pu-erh my favorite tea! Not wanting to fuss this morning with Gaiwan’s and such, I decided to brew a whole 24oz pot Western Style so that I could lounge back on the couch, down pillows around me, tea tray set in front and gaze out the window at a pending cloudburst. Could a day be more perfect for Pu-erh?!

A quick rinse of the loose leaves and then the 2 minute steeping began.

Don’t you love smelling the leaves? I first noticed how dark the liquor was after such a short steep time all chocolate brown. The leaves small, deep and smelling more than lightly of leather, but intensly sweet! There was something else.I could hardly believe it! I smelled mint! No way, I told myself, there could not be mint in these wet leaves. I got up and walked away, smelled around the room, smelled my hands, and no mint! When I went back to the leaves. Leathery, sweet mint again. Curious!

My first big sip was fresh with a good amount of earthy Pu-erh flavor and juice. There was no astringency, no malt or yam or pepper or cinnamon or any or the other adjectives used so frequently by me in discribing Pu-erhs. I had to think awhile about this one. I added milk and didn’t like it. I added sweetening which was ok but didn’t have any affect. It was pleasing sweet.

By the third mug of tea, I began to settle on the flavors that came closest to what I could describe for this tea.
The Pu-erh was refreshing and elegant, smooth with the flavor of rye bread when you can taste the seeds in the bite. The feeling was full enough in the mouth but deceptively simple at the same time in an almost palate cleansing way.

Evening Note
I had used more of the morning tea leaves for making iced Pu-erh in the afternoon but the clock had been creeping up on me and now it was time to cook dinner!
Tonight I made a stir fry of Organic Chicken, Vietnamese Sweet Lemon Curry, Shallots, Garlic, Tamari Soy Sauce and Meyer Lemon Vinegar (on high heat in grape seed oil) Then I turned the heat down lower and at the end I added some (1/4 cup) of the Pu-erh which I had steeped for 4 minutes. The Pu-erh magically thickened the broth. I took the pan off the heat, tossed in a few handfuls of organic spinach and…it was soooo delicious! The Pu-erh added a richness that was like adding Shiitake Mushrooms! Life is grand!


YUMMMMMM! Great review – sorry steepster crashed on you! I have found when I want to do a long review it is best to do it in a word program THEN transfer to here!
I got my samples from Teavivre today too. I could not afford a big order so used my points on samples because I really wanted to try several – also got some extra samples to share in trades! :)
I do love rye bread and the seeds are the best part!

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Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online

UPDATE on 12-1-12: I just finished the last 2-3 grams of this tea in my 14 OZ mini glass teapot, brewed following my standard green tea steeping times and temperatures. I don’t have much to report over what I wrote previously. Still, I am posting this because multiple steeping sessions creates more data from which to make a judgement about how I feel about a tea. Briefly, this tea tastes a lot like many Huang Shan Mao Feng type green teas I have had in that this tea has a slightly smoky flavor; it is decent tasting and as I haven’t had a smoky green tea in awhile the flavor was a nice change from the standard green tea flavor profile I usually enjoy. If you like Huang Shan Mao Feng you may like this tea, but as I am personally not a huge fan of smoky green teas this tea is not something I feel I need to have on hand.

Note: this review is based on the 2012 harvest.

After Angel sent me a PM requesting I review a group of selected tea samples she was willing to send me, I requested this particular spring green tea to try out as well (along with one other), and she willingly sent it along with the rest. Thank you Angel and Teavivre!

This Xin Yang Mao Jian green tea is advertized as being harvested on April 19, 2012. I brewed this up days after I received this tea.

I was happy all around with the Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng (OTMMF) green tea I tried of theirs just days ago, so I was looking forward to trying this one as well. This one smelled as fresh as the OTMMF, but with a hint of roasted smokiness to it. The tea was a little more standard looking: small, wire-y, dark-green looking leaves. as with the OTMMF I held a little back to give me the option of brewing it up in my gaiwan at a later time.

The temperature on the first steeping—185F—ended up being a little hotter than I was aiming for—180F (although I am now much more proficient with using my thermometer, using it to determine the actual temperature in the teapot while pouring is very tedious and often troublesome). I noticed that the leaves seemed to love sitting on the bottom of my glass Bodum for every steeping. The color of the liquor was a cloudy greenish, and there was something in the aroma that I have not found in four different green teas I had brewed up on previous days; it was interesting, and may have been sweet and/or nutty (possibly like a Dragon Well). I brewed it on the first steeping for 1.5 minutes.

The wet leaf smelled OK, but not as fresh as the other fresh green teas I have been brewing up. I also noticed after the first steeping that it looked worn—some of the leaves looked torn and as-a-whole they had an uneven look about them. It’s funny that it just dawned on me that I composted the leaves after the forth steeping, so no ‘wet leaf analysis’; ooops! I may do one when I brew up the remaining amount of the dry leaf. The coloring, however, was clearly fresh: it was a vibrant green color (I feel I have looked at enough green teas to be able to spot the difference between a fresh one and an old one).

It had a good, strong vegetal flavor (possibly stronger than the OTMMF), with a somewhat smoke-y note (my wife didn’t get a chance to smell the dry leaf on this one, yet she noticed the smokiness when drinking it before I said anything). When it cooled to room temperature the smokiness was even more prominent (it reminded me somewhat of a good tasting Huang Shan Mao Feng). The smokiness wasn’t too strong though; as a rule, my wife DOES NOT LIKE SMOKY FLAVORS IN TEA, but for some reason, she still liked the taste of this one (I was watching her while she took her first sip, wondering if she was going to make a face that meant she didn’t like it, but thankfully ‘that look’ never made an appearance).

I did a total of four steepings, and there was considerable difference in the flavor on even the second steeping. I brewed the second at 185F for two minutes, and the flavor was weaker and not as fresh as the first; it was definitely lacking something that all of the other fresh teas had been gifting me with all week, and there was nothing ‘quality’ about it. This lack of freshness in the later steepings was disappointing to me, as I felt this was a possible ‘buy’ until then. The third and forth weren’t any better (with hotter temperatures and longer steeping times): it was as if the flavor was flat. I do consider the possibility that 185F was too hot for the first steeping, and so it scorched the leaves; but if it’s truly that delicate, or finicky, or whatever I want to call it, I don’t want to mess with it (I always figure there may be a five degree variance between the temperature I am shooting for and what it actually is in the pot).

It’s a decent tasting, fresh green tea, but its actually more expensive ($11.50 / 100g) that the OTMMF ($10.90 / 100g), so I think I’ll be putting my money on the OTMMF.

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Backlogging, and based entirely on my notes

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online

Age of leaf/Date of brewing: advertised as spring 2011; received November 2011, brewed up days later (11/14/2011).

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: small wiry leaves and buds; smells fresh, slightly smoky.

Brewing guidelines_: loose in glass six-cup Bodum teapot; stevia added; two complete steeping sessions < first / second >
……….1st: 170/180, 1’
……….2nd: 175/175. 1.5
……….3rd: 180/185, 2’
……….4th: 185/, 2.5

Color and aroma of tea liquor: very light green color, very mild vegetal aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: Mild, but good vegetal green tea taste, with mild smoky undertones; flavor held up well through three steepings: “3rd (steeping): surprisingly tasty!” < this note applied to the second steeping session, steeped at generally higher temperatures than the first >; slight astringency in third cup < from the first steeping session >.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: some decent-looking whole leaves, with a number of buds and a few bud sets, yet there were more torn leaves that could be accounted for due to handling; fresh, vegetal aroma which was stronger than the aroma of the liquor itself.

Value: Pretty good as compared with other fresh green teas in its price range: the current price (as of 6/1/12) for the 2012 harvested tea is $11.50 / 100g (3.5oz).

Overall: This review is based entirely on my notes, and I didn’t write much beyond what I have already provided above other than, “A decent tea for the price”. I also noted that my wife preferred this tea when hot (I have personally found that some green teas taste a little better when cooled a bit). I will be trying a sample of the 2012 lot soon, so I am interested to see if there will be any notable differences.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Backlogging, and based almost entirely on my notes

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online

Age of leaf/date of brewing: advertised as spring 2011. Received fall 2011, brewed up days later.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: < No notes here >

Brewing guidelines: 3 small TSP, 2 cups H2O (from my notes it looks like I did two completely separate brewing ‘sessions’ with this tea, one day apart); < I have no notes on what teapot I brewed this in, but I likely used my glass Bodum >; stevia added; standard Chinese green tea steeping times and temperatures; four steepings for the first session, three for the second.

Color of tea liquor: yellowish (“like a lite beer”).

Flavor of tea liquor (by steeping): (based on both sessions) 1st: mild, but good, standard vegetal flavor (no weird or off flavors); 2nd: decent; 3rd: good (notes say “Definitely good: better, sweeter, reminds me of a Dragon Well”); 4th: mild flavor.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: looks and smells like any quality, fresh, standard mid-grade green tea: “lots of good buds, many leaves (some torn), and a few stems (no bud-sets).”

Value: again, great value for a decent green tea at Teavivre (my notes show $2.27 / OZ)!

Overall: I don’t have many notes on this tea, but overall I remember (and based on my notes) that this was a decent tasting green tea (I drank it about six months after it’s harvest). I should be getting a sample of a similarly named green tea (Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng) from the 2012 spring harvest, soon, so I’ll be curious to see if I like it any better (they currently list this tea as out of stock, so I don’t know if they plan to get a new harvest of this exact green tea or not).

170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Free sample provided by Teavivre for review

Warm sweet potatoes on a cold, rainy day-need I say more?

I’ve only had a couple of Dian Hong teas, but I have really loved them. That combined with a sky-high Steepster rating sets a high bar for this tea. Never fear, Teavivre easily clears the hurdle with this wonderful tea.

The dry leaf aroma is slightly sweet with notes of buckwheat and orange citrus-quite intoxicating. The long twisted leaves are colored golden and chocolate brown. Brewed leaf aroma is mostly the pleasant buckwheat aroma. The liquor is a rather striking golden orange.

The dominant flavor in this tea is sweet potatoes and it really doesn’t need much more than that. Sometimes I catch a notes of cinnamon and orange citrus-both of which go great with sweet potatoes. There can be very subtle malty notes as well. It’s very smooth and non-astringent. For me, I enjoy this most as a mid-morning or afternoon tea. This is a tea that I really need to have in the cupboard all the time.

First infusion-1 heaping teaspoon to about 7 ounces of water. Temp 185/2 minutes
Second infusion-185/3 minutes.

Think I will use 1.5-2 teaspoons next time, because I think that I can draw more infusions out of this terrific tea.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Backlogging, and based almost entirely on my notes

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online

Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping: Received in the fall of 2011 as a free sample (Thank you Angel!), steeped up March 2012.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: Standard keemun leathery-type smell; the tiny somewhat-broken leaves are a uniform dark brown color.

Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot leaf free to roam; stevia added; standard Chinese red tea steeping times and temperatures; four steepings.

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: Clear, light-copper color, with a mild aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: A little bitter on the first steeping, but it has that characteristic keemun leathery-type taste that I have come to appreciate; second steeping was smooth (so no bitterness) and tasty; third was still flavorful; forth was mild, but still smooth and flavorful.

Appearance of wet leaf: Lots of tiny pieces of tea, such that it looked like large coffee grounds.

Value: This is where this tea really stands out: it’s a great value. I’m a bargain hunter, and I don’t think I could find a decent keemun anywhere better than this price: under $2/OZ.

Overall: I’ve finally got some time to do some backlogging (I don’t like having unfinished business sitting around); I hope to knock out most (if not all) of the teas I have written notes for in the next week or so.

I liked this tea, but my wife didn’t; I think the leathery taste is too weird for her, but that’s exactly why I like keemuns! If you appreciate value, and you like keemun, look no further: this is clearly a tea worth taking a chance on!

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This one does not have a mild smokiness to it? The Hao Ya 1st steep I kind of like but love cup 2 and 3. They lose all the smoke.


Good question. I wish I could answer that. It may have. Now that you mention it, in my experience Keemuns seem to have some similarities to Lapsang Souchongs. Are you thinking about buying some from them depending on how smoky it is (or isn’t)?


I’m thinking I am probably not a big Keemun fan. I like it blended with other teas but it just doesn’t grab me. I was just curious about this one.


Gotcha. I asked because I realized I have what I am guessing is about 3-4 grams of this sample left (When I initially brewed it up I didn’t want to brew up all 15 grams at once), and I am willing send it to you if you were thinking about buying any of it from Teavivre.


Thanks but if I ever get brave enough to try it again I will buy a sample with an order. And I am pretty sure if I am not crazy about Teavivre’s version there is no point looking elsewhere as they definitely know what they are doing.


I didn’t like this at first but gave it another chance and used less leaf the next time to suit me better. I found that the second and third steeping did shine for me.

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I was excited to try this new tea from Teavivre. Teavivre’s products are consistently great in taste and value. The little unbrewed leaf balls, which I assume are hand-rolled, are also a fun concept.

I followed the recommendations on the package and brewed it for two minutes. There was no suggested tea amount listed so I filled my official tea spoon as I normally do with loose leaf. This came out to about four balls per eight-ounce cup. When the steeping process had completed, a brew with a rich amber color appeared.

At first sip, I could detect a little sweetness and the familiar woodsy taste that accompanies most of Teavivre’s black teas. In the beginning I was a little disappointed with the flavor power. However, the taste seemed to amplify and become more pronounced with each sip. By my sixth swig, I was really enjoying the blend and thinking that THIS is what I’ve come to love and expect from Teavivre.

I can’t say that I noticed a chocolate taste as some reviewers noted. To me, the sweetness was more like honey. Of course, you can’t go wrong with either flavor.

This tea is a great new addition to the Teavivre collection. It most likely will be on my order list the next time my Teavivre supply diminishes…soon!

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Stop, I didn’t get chocolate, either! Just like you’ I associated this with honey. It was DELISH!


Hi Ashmanra! I guess great tastebuds taste alike! ;-)


LOL! And I had typed Stoo and autocorrect changed it to stop but I didn’t notice until just now! Sorry about that! :)


No problem, Ashmanra. I’ve been called worse. :-)


Hehehehe…….me too.


Ya’ll are trippin


To tell the truth I use 5 for 8oz and use sweetening and cream to bring out the cocoa chocolate.


That sounds great too! I used 5 for each cup today and it did seem to provide a somewhat richer flavor. This is really wonderful tea. I have it on my shopping list for my next order!

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(This sample was generously provide to me by Teavivre. Thank you so much Team Teavivre.)
Dry Leaf: Smokey and vegetal.
Wet Leaf: Has a warm vegetal aroma with a very slight smokey aroma
Liquor: Is a yellowish green color.
Taste: Has a smokey flavor with a vegetal taste and there is a slight bitterness that lingers in the back of your mouth in a pleasant way.
Overall Opinion: I give this tea a 88. I think this tea has a rich flavor and quite unique from other green teas. Also, I think if you are eating a flavorful food dish this would be a great tea to go with it.

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Second tea of the morning….. (SRP #40)

We finally have weather cool enough that I am craving oolong. I still don’t know how all of that works for me, but I seem to be craving green and oolong tea less with the warmer weather. I guess it is that I crave iced tea, and for me that is usually a black tea. I blame my midwestern upbringing on that one. At least I have moved beyond Lipton Instant…or Lipton sun tea. Maybe there is still hope in that I can move beyond the black teas for iced….. After all, this is a journey, and my tastes have all ready changed a little.

My sample was purchased. The leaves are tight bright green pellets. The scent of the dry tea is of cream and butter. I am pretty sure I am going to like this one better than the unflavored. The liquor is a golden yellow, and really a little deeper than I expected. The leaves brew up absolutely huge. The scent of the brewed tea is of cream and butter, again, with a hint of something very lightly floral. I definitely like this better than the unflavored version. If I am ever in the market for a milk oolong again, this will be the one I purchase. It is still not quite as good as the Milk Oolong from American Tearoom, but then I am not willing to get a second mortgage on my house to buy tea (meaning it is way too expensive a tea that is not in my absolute favorite type.) This one is very good and a great value at around $11 for 100g. For comparison, the other is $60 for the same weight and it has a Tie Kwan Yin base.

Usual mug method for 2 minutes, no additions. I followed the brewing parameters on the label.

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I’m pretty sure their Milk Oolong is natural and not artificially flavored.


ATR’s should be natural at that price. However, the flavor difference is in no way worth the price difference for me at this stage in my journey.


I got a sample of this one, but Teavivre also has an unflavored milk oolong that I want to try! I take it you have had it already.


I think I have had the unflavored one. It is kind of funny. I asked for a sample of it in one of my early orders before they started adding labels to the 5 gram manufacturer’s packaging. I got two red packages and tried one.. definitely oolongy and slightly milky. I think it is the unflavored milk oolong, but I can’t read Chinese….so I have not reviewed that one because I am not 100% sure what it is. I did like this better, though!

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The first thought I had when I smelled this tea was there was a light sweet aroma. It reminded me of creamed corn to a degree. The flavor is light and sweet with still some of that corn sweetness. I am going to have to try this one again to see if the flavors are present in the next batch.

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I have never tried this type of tea before so thanks to Teavivre for their generous free sample to review.

The dry leaves (pearls) are huge! While a Jasmine pearl is typically the size of a BB, these pearls are the size of a marble. They do have a sweet aroma of chocolate. I am glad I drink my tea in clear glass cups, because it was so nice to watch the balls unfurl to do their magic.

The pearls unfurled into chocolate brown leaves with a few mahogany brown leaves. The brewed leaf was kind of grainy in aroma-with a slight resemblance to the aroma of a brewed Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black. The liquor leans toward a reddish-orangish brown.

The flavor reminded me a lot of a Keemun-so smooth and chocolately. However, it does not have the smoky notes you often find in a Keemun. It’s very sweet. There is a grainy type note in the background-again similar to Autumnal Laoshan Black-but it’s very minor. I enjoyed this tea very much and look forward to drinking more of it.

1st steep I brewed with 5 pearls, boiling water, 2 minutes.
2nd steep I added a 6th pearl and brewed at 208 for 3 minutes

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Have not been feeling well all day – for the last couple of days actually. Spent the day sipping 52 Teas Pot O’ Gold and now ending my evening with a lovely white.
So many excellent tasting notes thus far. I get the floral, the hay, peppery, the summer lawn, and even the frost as others have mentioned. This is an awakening of tea, a chameleon. I don’t even want to bother writing more about it – this is a tea to be silent with and enjoy – and since we have a wonderful storm now I will sit back and relax and know that this tea is going to make me feel much better!


Awe – feel better soon!


Thank you Amy :)


Hope you are feeling better! Enjoy the rain – when you can stay in and be cozy it is really nice!


Get better soon!


A tea to be silent with. I like that.


Thanks Missy.
Yes it is nice gmathis :)

Invader Zim

Tea with a good storm is always nice. Enjoy them and get well soon.


Thanks Zim :) I’ll be alright – its just my energy – always up and down depending on how much work I am doing and what kind.

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According to my tasting note I have had this for two years! Two Years?! That can’t be correct. Anyway, it is still very fresh. I completely forgot how roasted this smells. Just like a hojicha I own. The taste is moderately roasted green oolong. The liquor feels quite dense. Very nice.

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