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Recent Tasting Notes
I love this tea.
So many cocoa notes and good malty comfort.
It reminds me of the last week my love was here before he deployed. He made me this tea every morning with breakfast. First time in a long time that I’d eaten breakfast, or made tea in the morning. I can’t function in the morning you see. Definitely a night owl!
Regardless, after a 12 hour shift, this is a lovely tea with good memories attached.
So I’m sick and just got back from a funeral from one of the most incredible people I have been fortunate enough to have in my life.
Bailin Gongfu Black is my warm snuggly tea that wraps me up and holds me tight when I need it most.
Really everyone – life is so short and unexpected at times. Live your life and make sure you are happy with all aspects of it. If you’re not – change it!
Make sure you stop sometimes to smell the flowers and really appreciate the people in your life as you never know when the time will come that you, or they, will no longer be here.
I’m sitting in Starbucks, freezing because they have the AC on to an unreasonable level for it only being 20C outside, drinking this wonderful tea to help warm me up.
I love that this tea does not require a lot of attention to astound me, unlike some delicate unflavoured teas.. whites in particular require a lot of attention to me in order to grasp flavours (except the recent TTM Monkey Picked White). Does anyone else find this with certain teas?
Either way, I am working on a few essays at the moment and this tea is a perfect accompaniment to the process, like a lovely warm companion who is there for support when you need it. It does not distract me by being high-maintenance to grasp flavours, but rather shows its support by surprising me with lovely umami flavours upon a malty background.
I could ask for nothing more.
I’ve fallen in love with this tea. It does such wonderful things in my mouth I can’t help but love it.
Dry: Smells malty to me with dark dark chocolate coco notes. Nice twisted leaves.
Liquor 30s: Nice amber color which tastes like umami and salty flavours (salty like a calmed down soy sauce..). Very nice on the tongue. To be honest – I don’t get carmel or sweet type flavours at all. All of them are malty umami soy sauce. I am extremely happy those are the flavours I get as they are ridiculously good in such a surprising way (hence why I have been drinking this often).
45s: I think I get a lot of these umami and salty flavours when its hot. That is when they are most prominent to me. This is definitely more smooth in the initial taste.. then unfolds into a sparkly malty deliciousness. I still sense the same flavours from the first steep, but this time they have changed slightly. Some sips I even encounter a surprising smooth creaminess. Fantastic tea.
I will write more steeps another day. Today I must conquer genetics. Hmph.
This is a sample tea from Teavivre by way of Krystaleyn. Thanks for the sample!
Let me just say I’m new to oolongs. It’s an area I’ve been wanting to explore for a bit and now I’ve got some to try. I looked the brewing parameters up on Teavivre and have stuck with gringo brewing since I’m pretty comfortable with it. The gaiwan is a bit tricky to pour still! Very messy tea making.
I didn’t know what to expect as far as taste, but I’ve found it pleasant so far. My first surprise is a butter association. I looked in my cup to be sure I didn’t drop some in there some how. Not one little oil bubble on the top of my tea, no butter added! I get a vegetal taste but it passes quickly. I’m kind of playing with it now. Holding the tea on different spots on my tongue. Yay! Another surprise! Now I get a hint of fruit. Very interesting tea. I shall have to see how it goes for the rest of the day. Thanks again Krystaleyn!
Thanks to Krystaleyn for the sample!
The scent of this tea is like steamed vegetables on a breezy summer day, there’s just a hint of floral in the aroma that doesn’t quite fit in with the veggies. It smells good, but it’s almost like you’re smelling two different things at once.
The flavor of this oolong is very earthy, with a deep almost roasted vegetable flavor. Definitely a little buttery, and if you swirl the tea around in your mouth a little bit, a light fruitiness starts to show through the buttery vegetables.
It’s a very interesting, flavorful tea that I’m glad to have experienced. It doesn’t quite fit what I want, but is easily the best oolong I’ve had so far. Quite tasty, actually.
After having such a wonderful experiment with Verdants Eight Treasures Yabao I decided to redo this one gaiwan style. Now when I first tried this I got a decent amount of saltiness to it and a bit of a metallic aftertaste. Redoing this gaiwan style has made this tea so much better, and for that I am upping the rating.
First I barely detected any saltiness to it and no weird metallic aftertaste..woo! Instead what I got was a nice plum-like fruit notes in the first few steepings, fading as the steepings continued. There was also no astringency at all this time.
About the second infusion I started to get more vegetal notes, reminding me of Dragonwell without the butteriness like so many others. Towards the fourth steeping though, when the fruity notes were barely detectable, a light creaminess did appear, more in the texture than in the taste and it wasn’t buttery.
I think with having such luck in brewing teas gaiwan style and tasting the difference from western style that for now on I shall brew gaiwan syle when I get the chance. It brings out a much better quality in the tea; I am more able to taste the different nuances in a very good way.
Thank you TeaVivre for the sample!
Now that I’m finished this semester I get a month to sit down and enjoy myself for about a month before starting summer classes. So, in a month if I disappear again for a little or show up sporadically you’ll know why.
I’ve been wanting to try out TeaVivre’s teas for a while seeing how well rated they are here but had been reluctant since they didn’t sell sample sizes yet. Then someone posted the link for free samples, so here we are! This is the second one I tried, my notes for the first one need to be found, and this reminds quite a bit of Long Jing, but as others have said without the butteriness.
The dry leaf is long and straight but not flattened like longjing with notes of fruit, floral, black pepper, and vegetal. The infusion was light in color and had a salty aroma to it. Taste, the taste was indeed very interesting and complex. At first I was getting a very salty note, but it was more in mouthfeel than in taste. There was a nice steamed asparagus note, but it seemed to take a second or two after taking a sip for it to come out which I found interesting.
There was a nice delicate floral note and fruit note that seemed to go together very well. The fruit note came in later in the cup and come in stronger in the later steepings. It reminded me of plums, but it was the taste of the skin of the fruit, not the juicy flesh. A nice plum taste with a hint of astringency. Overall a very good tea that I’’m glad I got to try. Thank you TeaVivre!
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
A sample of this tea came along with another four sent to me by Teavivre. My thanks to Angel and the rest of Teavivre team.
Few days ago I god my gaiwan and since then I’m sticking to it. You can say that I’m the kind of person that excessively sticks to something newly discovered (if I like it of course).
With 85 ml gaiwan I used 4 grams of leaf (sample being 5 gram total) and boiling water. Infusions (in seconds): 20,20,30,40,60,120,240,480
Dry leaf looks really small and sort of chopped-up with a decent amount of golden-coppery buds and soft dusty and earthy notes with a hint of spicy undertone. The shape reminds me of those Pu-erhs stuffed in dried mandarine/tangerine.
After preheating the gaiwan and a short leaf rinse I steeped for 20 seconds. What I got was a deep red wine infusion typical for ripe Pu-erhs with just a little of leaf particles at the bottom. First sip and I’m already impressed. For me it usually takes until second or third infusion with ripe Pu-erhs until I get to feel a full body image and decide to brew more or dump it. This one kicked me at the very start, actually. It’s medium thick with light roast impression and sweetness on tip and a hint of pleasant bitterness on the end that sits there for a while. The bitterness tends to evolve to slightly peppery sensation as it fades out.
Liquor looks the same as in previous infusion but it has more clarified taste with smoothed out roasted and sweet notes and lacking bitterness.
Slightly more intensive than previous infusion. Although it’s pleasant I still like the first one the most.
I was a bit surprised to see that the color is starting slightly to fade, since I wasn’t expecting for that to happen until 5th or 6th steep. Maybe I should have used more leaf.
In previous infusion there was a lack of bitterness only to emerge back in this one and taking the front with robust overall character. There isn’t much of evolving peppery-tingling sensation though.
With a slight color degradation I’m getting less roasted and bitter flavors and more of sweetness to it. It’s a nice twist, but it isn’t too impressive. At this point a mild throat-stiffening appears, something that I would expect much sooner.
I don’t see any liquor color degradation in this infusion. It’s really nice how it got more sweet and smooth with light mineral, clay and even sour undertones.
Same as previous with even more smoothness and nutty aftertaste radiating from the throat.
I’m pulling the plug here. The taste is getting more thin while getting more of mineral background. Someone might enjoy this but not me.
The wet leaf gives away a deep black and oily impression with mild earthy scent and aroma of dried/smoked plums. I can’t but notice some stalks and cylindrical shape of incompletely opened leaves.
To wrap it up, this is a nice Pu-erh that I would enjoy the first three infusions but after that it isn’t that much impressive until last few infusions with its sweet and smooth accent.
My computer still isn’t working so I’m once again confined to my phone, which means this review’s gonna be short and sweet. This stuff is GREAT. Smooth, rich and earthy with chocolate and leather tones. My fixations in the world of tea change, and now pu-erh is the subject of my intrigue. The taste of pu-erh is quickly growing on me and I’m making it a goal to try more because it’s a fascinating type of tea. This is a satisfying cup.
Amazing Oriental Beauty! Sweet and delicious. Honey tones and hints of fuzzy peach in the background. Smooth and just oh-so-good!
I’m now on my third cup (which is infusions number five and six).
The first cup was light and crisp, with hints of honey and peach. The second cup was darker, and deeper in flavor, richer, with the honey tones being quite distinct now. The third cup was somewhere between cups 1 and 2. Six very delicious infusions from one measurement of leaves.
This is a perfect Oolong for those who typically find greener Oolongs to be too flowery or floral. This is not nearly so floral, but more of a fruit/honey taste. Absolutely delightful.
Thank you to Bonnie for this amazing sample from Teavivre!!
I woke up this morning excited to start the day! Tuesdays and Thursdays mean “swim” class with my daughter – although it’s really more like splash around in the pool at the rec center. Regardless, at 15 months old she is a ball of energy and I love the time we are able to enjoy together doing anything at all. 45 minutes of romping in the shallow end left me waterlogged and ready for brunch so it was home and happy in the kitchen next for me! Bonnie was so kind to send me a wealth of samples which I received last night, and I promptly set aside this BaiLin Gongfu knowing that it would be the perfect way to start delving into the myriad of duct tape labeled packages with steeping times and anecdotes jotted carefully across them. This was my first taste of what Teavivre has to offer and I must say that I was very impressed! I was admittedly doubtful when I saw the sample packaging, thinking that it looked more like a bag of novelty candies than tea.. however it is very efficient and locks the flavor in nicely.
After having tried other loose black teas that went vindictive and downright hostile if steeped for more than 3 or 4 minutes, I decided to play it safe and stay just inside the low end of the company’s guidelines and let it dance in the cup for 2:15 on the first go. The result was a smoothly balanced liquor of salted caramel, toffee, and signature black with just a hint of clove in the aftertaste. All in all a deliciously understated cup that left me very pleased with myself for not overdoing it! But..
I couldn’t help myself. The kettle went back on the boil and then over the unwitting leaves before they knew what was coming. 2.. 2.5.. 3.. 3.5.. 4 minutes of rolling red liquor later and I sat down to the business of hoping I hadn’t taken a beautiful thing and marred it with my ambition to pull a toasted monster from the wreckage. Oh WOW! THIS IS THE BEST BLACK TEA I HAVE EVER TASTED!! Sorry for shouting. I promise it wasn’t at you, although it was at the cup in my hands! Take every flavor I mentioned from the first steeping and crank it up 20 notches, then dip it in mocha and you might begin to get a feel for what the evil geniuses at Teavivre are concocting! Bravo!
I got this pu-erh in a very generous sampler box from Teavivre. This pu-erh has a much more pronounced leather taste as opposed to soil taste and less sweet then most. I love drinking it after dinner and find it incredibly relaxing. A one minute steep brought out the interesting leather flavor while a second steeping at two minutes has a sharp cooking chocolate taste. Nice late night tea.
This tea is a bit lighter tasting than traditional US/British teas. When I lived in Canada I used to visit a Chinese tea shop for blooming tea and this is reminiscent of the experience I had while living there. I brewed the water first, dropped in the tea, and watched it blossom. Not only was it beautiful it was very nice after being steeped for a while. It holds a light, soft floral flavor & the smell is sweet & calming to the nerves. This is quite possibly one of my favorite blooming teas.
Ugh, my computer froze and I lost my note on this one. I have had it before so it’s not too big of a deal, but still annoying.
Mainly I am trying to figure out some of my gongfu brewing issues. No matter what I can’t seem to have a good gongfu session. Maximally I get one good first steep, a decent second steep, and after that it’s all meh, regardless of the tea. I thought maybe I wasn’t using enough leaf so I went crazy with this one. It’s actually less good than the last time I went gongfu on this one and used half the leaf. Still don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve obviously enjoyed the gongfu sessions I had at tastings that other people ran, and I have even successfully gongfu’d tea myself before (a jasmine green), so I don’t know what my problem is here. I think I cannot seem to figure out the optimal leaf amount for my pot. Maybe someday.
Gong fu of the day. I’ve had this one once before but I think I mistakenly put the review under the organic version; I checked, and I have the non-organic. Whoops. Anyway I used one of the vacuum-packed sample pouches for my 6oz teapot; I measured, and it was a little over 1 Tbsp. I’m going to try this one a few short steeps to start and see how it goes. Side note: there are a lot more tiny tea bits in this pouch than I remember the last one having. Thankfully I have my ultra-fine strainer for my ru tea set, so no bits in my fairness pitcher.
After a quick rinse I did a 20 second steep, and it smelled and tasted delicious. Floral, sweet, a bit buttery, just overall delightfull. Really, basically everything I look for in a TGY, except for maybe I like a few more buttery/creamy notes, but that’s not a big thing. Second steep was also at 20 seconds, and the florals and sweetness have faded considerably from the aroma, while the vegetal greenness has become much stronger. The taste is pretty enjoyable; not as good as the first, but perhaps a bit better than my previous second steeps with other oolongs. Still some sweetness, still some florals, perhaps more butteriness, along with the increased vegetal notes. Third steep at 25 seconds is down to mediocrity. Maybe I do need to use way more leaf for my pot. I will certainly burn through my stash quickly that way!
On the third day of tea-mas Angel gave to me, three Yun Nan Dian Hongs, two Bai Lin Gong Fu’s and a 75th tasting note! So yesterday my Verdant spring greens arrived, Monday the husband’s Upton samples came and today, quite unexpectedly the post man knocked and I signed for a box I wasn’t sure if I should be looking at, then I saw my name and all the stickers from customs and realized what it must be, my free TeaVivre samples!
Thank you so much to Angel and all the folks at TeaVivre for such a generous offer try new tea in exchange for reviewing them. Any company that offers samples, be they included with an order or offered at a very affordable price gets points in customer service in my book, this is the first I’ve come across that has offered them completely free (I understand this would be very impractical for smaller companies in the States). I will definitely be placing an order soon!
So this tea! This tea that is all the buzz on Steepster. This tea that has been on my shopping list for so long. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely! I am grateful for the four tiny serving packets, it makes things less intimidating. I feel comfortable diving into this tea knowing I have a serving that I can make for my husband strong, one that I can save for my gaiwan and for my guests (okay maybe two for guests).
Today though I semi-gongfu-ed this in the tea maker. I did a rinse, but was too curious and took a sip (or three) before pouring an offering into my cast iron cups, it was sweet and delicious and very promising. I wasn’t able to pinpoint the scents of the dried leaves though they were dark rich and lovely, the wet leaves though are unmistakeably dark rye, more salty smelling than sweet, but still very inticing.
Oh this tea is very well mannered, but not at all dull. This is a black tea that could convert coffee drinkers and white tea drinkers alike, it even reminds me a bit of coffee in this steep, but in the best and most gentle of ways. It is not the least bit rough, astringent or sour. It has cocoa and caramel, a hint of butter and yes bread-yness, something I don’t believe I’ve experienced before.
I’m on my second steep well and very pleased as second steeps haven’t been working out for me lately. This tea sings, it reminds me a bit of a Ceylon in that respect, there is a bit of spice but it is so velvety that reads more as cider (yes another Ceylon association for me). I really do think the husband will like this one and he couldn’t possibly tell me these short steeps taste like boiled rocks, or could he? I don’t understand how his tongue and brain work together.
Third infusion could have been a bit longer, but it is still very nice and there is promise in the bottom of the cup. Update: enjoying these later steeps this evening, these last two cups (steeps 5 and 6? at around 1 min each) are a bit more sweet and mineral and remind me of Verdant’s Yanxin’s Reserve ’04 Shu Nuggets in its angel food cake feel. Yum!
I look forward to introducing it to the husband, brother-in-law and possibly old co-workers, to comparing it the organic sample (I also think this would be interesting to compare to the newer harvest of Laoshan Black as it is a bit grainy) and some epic Yunnan sampling ahead. Thank you again Angel and TeaVivre, it is truly delicious!
I was having a cup of this for the second time this week at work, still trying to figure out what that familiar flavor was…then it hit me! Fresh juicy papaya! I am so relieved! I’ve been trying to figure it out since the first cup. So tasty!
I think I also need to revise my opinion of this tea. I figured out that I used a bit too much leaf the first time. Also, I’ve stopped hoping for that buttery cream flavor in milk oolongs. Much better without the flavor of disappointment. I’ll just stick with calling these oolongs Jin xuan and appreciate them for what they are. Smooth and delicious papaya. :)
So I’m trying this awesome sample from Azzrian in my brand new glass mug with strainer and lid. I can drink tea at work without those paper filters now! Awesome! I also love how lovely the tea looks through the glass. I want to just look out the window and drink tea for the rest of the day.
I’m quite enjoying this one. It’s not as creamy and milky as other milk oolongs I’ve tried. I think I’ve only had David’s and the three from Tea from Taiwan. It’s also quite it bit more drying on the tongue, though not unpleasantly. This may be because I’ve always brewed my oolongs with below recommended temperatures. I tend to prefer them that way, but I followed directions this time. Hmm… I guess I’ll try a cooler temp next time and see how it goes.
As it is, this oolong is very nice for a daily brew. The first steep was sweet and floral with a light milkiness. This second brew is more vegetal with an aftertaste of unripe melon. There’s a heaviness in the mouthfeel but the lightly floral scent in the back of the sip keeps things balanced.
Not my favorite to be honest, but it makes a good everyday tea. I wonder if I’ll like the flavored one more. :D
Thank you again, Azzrian, for the chance to taste this!
This is the last of the samples I received from Teavivre. I have been meaning to write it up for a while but can only plead extreme ennui, which is a shame because I received a large sample and have been enjoying it regularly for a week now.
The keyword in my excuse above is ‘enjoying’. This is a lovely green tea and it has given me much pleasure. The leaves look beautiful and suspend in the teapot very pleasingly. I generally use a glass teapot for my green teas, and in this case particularly, the visual aesthetic is emphasised by doing so. It smells grassy and slightly nutty. When brewed these flavours come to the fore and I find myself not wanting to swallow the tea because my tastebuds are dancing around in delight as I roll the tea around my mouth. The aftertaste is sweet and I can imagine that my breath now has a nutty, buttery, grassy deliciousness to it as I breathe out. Yes, this is a tea that is well worth savouring and is one I shall add to my buying list.
Stole this bit from my post on Tropical Tea Co’s Pai Mu Tan:
I’m not a huge fan of unflavored white tea, as it tends to be a little more… delicate than I think I truly appreciate at this point. It’s good, it tastes good, but it’s not quite the tea I want to drink, you know?
It holds true here, and since I’m comparing two teas against each other, I’m being efficient and plagiarizing myself! And then being inefficient by explaining my self-plagiarism. It’s my prerogative!
(my apologies if you’re perfectly in the like seven year age demographic span to now have a song stuck in your head)
This tea, much like the Tropical version, is very light, sweet, and grassy. The grassy flavor is a little more subdued on this version, leaning more towards the cucumber-y flavor. The somewhat spicy peppery notes take more center stage real estate in this tea, instead of lingering slowly along in the aftertaste.
Together, the flavors seem to be a little more smooth and cohesive. This does add to it’s delicacy somewhat, but still produces an overall more enjoyable brew. I still don’t think I’ll be making this a permanent collection tea at the moment, but I was definitely glad to get to try it again.