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Recent Tasting Notes
This was my commute tea yesterday. I deviated a little from the instructions this time and let it steep for an extra 30 seconds, which deepened the flavor. This time, I used eight pearls for about 10-12 ounces of water and was very pleased with how it turned out. The cocoa was enhanced and stronger. I’m still loving this tea, and will definitely order it next time I place an order with Teavivre.
My Teavivre samples arrived today! This will be my third round of tasting from this generous company, and as usual, I am like a kid on Christmas. This tea was the one I was most excited about. I read everyone else’s reviews on it and it got me quite excited for my turn. I am in love with Teavivre’s black teas, and when I smelled the pearls, I knew it was not going to disappoint.
As far as preparation goes, I used two pearls in about 10 ounces of water with a steel infuser. It unrolled rather quickly into long, whole, pointed leaves much like their yunnans. I let it go for the whole two minutes because I was a little worried by how pale amber the tea was. But the scent of it as it cooled reassured me that it would be flavorful.
Maybe next time I will use three pearls, but this is still a delicious cup. Malty cocoa is the strongest flavor, I agree. It reminds me a bit of their bailin gongfu, but a little more astringent. Also, there is just the barest hint of smokiness that makes it very satisfying. It is by no means your average black tea, and I can’t wait to get through this cup so I can make another. It’s great.
Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—
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!
Just this weekend I received a package with all ten samples of the teas she said she would send (yay!), each weighing roughly 15 grams. This particular spring green tea is advertized as being harvested on March 6, 2012. I brewed this up the morning after I received the package, and I am excited to try the other green teas soon (there are two others). I am writing this review from my notes and from my very recent memory of drinking it just yesterday (I don’t post reviews on Sundays).
Right away the appearance and aroma of the dry leaf blew me away, as it was a dark vibrant-green color, with a unbelievably strong vegetal aroma that seems to be characteristic of any fresh green tea. It was composed of very thin, wire-y looking leaves the shape of which reminded my somewhat of the roots of a tiny tree; it was unusual in appearance and I really liked that. So, we both got off to a great start. I used all but a tablespoon or so of the sample, estimating I had at least 10 grams of tea waiting patiently in my pot (and likely more like 12), and so I used only about five cups of water rather than my standard six cups in my glass Bodum teapot, such that the leaf was free to roam, and I added my standard amount of Stevia. I held a few grams back in case I feel the need to brew it up later in my new gaiwan.
Wet the leaf smelled like what I imagine fresh cut spinach would smell like: a fresh, strong, vegetal aroma. I believe the color of the tea liquor was light green. The leaves were mostly on the bottom for most steepings, but on the second I remember some of the leaf moving to the top while steeping. It has a good smelling, fresh aroma (although I was sniffing it while steeping, I basically went by the timer). I decided to start the first steeping at a little higher temperature than I normally do (180F), and a little longer (1.5 minutes), rather than my standard 170F, one minute, because I am finding hotter and longer tends to be better for most of the green tea I have been brewing up lately.
Now to the flavor. Overall, although it was on the mild side, my wife and I both enjoyed drinking it (and she can be a hard one to please when it comes to green tea, in my judgement, anyway). It had good flavor through three steepings and mild flavor on the forth. I used near-boiling water for a fifth (I like to push limits the first time I brew up a tea) and it was definitely flat tasting (my guess is I scorched the leaves). Still, three good steepings and a decent forth is more than I expect out of a tea at this price range ($10.90 / 3.5 OZ = a little over $3 / OZ). Very generally, the number of good steepings I expect to get out of a green tea is relative to its price: I expect at least one good steeping for $1 /OZ, two for $2 / OZ, etc. Maybe a little silly, but I am very cost conscious, and that’s an easy ‘value scale’ for me to remember and use.
Finally, the wet leaf. Again, the first time I brew up a whole-leaf Tea (not necessarily flavor-added ones), I like to do what I call a ‘leaf analysis’. I spread out the leaf on the counter, preferably where there is good light, give it a little time to dry, then pick through it, looking for patterns and oddities. I literally used to sort the parts into piles (by whole leaves, buds, bud-sets, stems, broken pieces, etc.); I know, talk about anal! But I found that was taking just a bit more time that I though was really necessary (it was sometimes taking more than fifteen minutes, and I even started taking photos of the sorted piles), so now I simply take a few minutes at most to sift through the wet leaf and look at the big picture: are there lots of torn/shriveled-looking pieces? Is the color and size of the leaves/buds generally uniform? Are there many stems? What really stands out the most?
So, in this particular tea I noticed right away that there were a surprising number of stems, and I mean long stems, some were even thick (not many), and there were a number of torn leaves, with few buds (or bud-sets). It reminded me of a lower-grade HSMF from an e-bay seller (China Cha Dao). I consider this leaf to be of a lower grade than most green teas I seen (practically none of Seven Cups, Jing Tea Shop, Verdant Tea, Life in Teacup or Tea Trekker Teas have had this many stems and torn pieces). Interesting and all (to me, anyway), but when it comes down to it flavor still matters the most. The wet leaf was at least uniform in color, and vibrant looking (which to me is a verification that it was indeed fresh), and still not unreasonable considering its price.
I liked just about everything about this tea, and I hope to purchase some later on this year. This is easily a tea I could drink everyday, and it turns out I can afford to drink it often at it’s very reasonable price. This is one of the best values for a fresh spring green tea I have ever come across (having looked at many dozens of green teas). I have been looking for an affordable, quality, fresh spring green tea from Teavivre, and as it turns out, this one fits the bill.
This is my first Dong Ding, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first time I brewed it I followed their directions of two tsps per cup, and I found that to be too strong for me; I was reading other reviews and thinking, I’m not getting any of the lightness they’re talking about. Or much floral, I was mostly getting vegetal. So I tried it with half the leaves and I like it much better! The mouthfeel is still really silky, and I’m getting more of the floral, and maybe even some of the butteriness others have mentioned. This resteeps very well. I am glad I got to try this! The really nice mouthfeel could be addicting!
Thanks to Teavivre for their generous sample sizes! It’s so nice to be able to play around with it a bit to fit personal taste!
No one has made any notes about this yet???
I just ordered this as a sample. I opened the little packet and was greeted by a wonderful aroma, it was grassy in a savory way. Like a lawn that was mowed yesterday and today is humid bringing the smell up better. The leaves are long and green.
I brewed this in my 12oz Italian mug. I’m feeling a bit too lazy to do gaiwan style today. The wet leaves turned a beautiful bright green hue and the smell reminded me of a sencha, it was so wonderful. The infusion was very pale with notes of butter.
Taste was fresh and grassy with a floral note, orchid perhaps, and a slight nutty note, chestnut maybe. The texture was silky and creamy yet the tea remained light and fresh. What a wonderful green tea, this is what I like in green teas, this is why I crave them, why I prefer them.
Right so I thought I used up all of this way back when. BUT imagine my surprise and delight when I found the sample pouch when I was packing teas for vacation. I have to tell you the carmel flavor of this tea is amazing. There is also a slight hint of honey on the finish too. I am really enjoying it. This is a nice morning cup of tea to start off day 3 of vacation.
I’ve been down with some cold/flu hybrid all week. So I asked my husband to pick something (when he asked if he could make me tea). If I had known he was going to pick on of these from Teavivre I would have stopped him right away. As a result I won’t rate it just yet. But I will say this even with my nose stuffed up I can smell the caramel in this tea. I can almost taste it too. It’s very good and that with a stuffy nose. Which means it should be even better when I can smell again!
I’m actually sort of angry at Teavivre right now. Why does every single one of their teas have to be so amazing? Why can’t some of them just be mediocre? Then maybe I wouldn’t want to just give them my credit card and be like, “Send me one of everything!”
I ordered some of the premium dragon well to split with my fellow tea snob BFF, because, like everything from Teavivre, it was amazing. And with that order came four samples of this tea, which is also amazing. Maybe even more amazing. And I only get two of them, and I just restocked my tea cupboard and need to drink some of that before I can justify another order.
And now I can’t even be properly annoyed because this tea is so, so good. The flavor is strong enough to cover up the fact that I was too lazy to filter my water, but it still tastes light HOW DO THEY EVEN DO THAT??? It’s really sweet, almost floral, but somehow I am getting some really yummy oceany flavors and even though I can’t taste any mint, it leaves that same fresh feeling in the back of my throat. Such a complex, incredible flavor.
This tea is MAGIC somehow, there’s no other explanation. I AM CAPSLOCKING OVER IT.
Also the leaves are really pretty, all curly and green and white and I know this is a ridiculous thing to focus on but if I try to analyze how great this tastes anymore my head might explode.
Okay, obviously I can rhapsodize about this one forever, but I’m going to wrap it up, give this tea 100 points because that’s as far as the slider will go so I can’t give it 110, and go make another cup.
Finishing up my sample of this from Teavivre. It smells so good! I grew up across the road from a farm where they bred and raised Percheron horses; when we mowed our lawn we used to bag it and run over to the fence and throw it over for the horses. They loved that stuff, and we reveled in being so close to them! This tea smells like the fresh mown hay. And if this is how hay and grass tastes to horses I see why they like it! :)
The first time I drank this I didn’t pick up on the saltiness as much; now it’s apparent to me, especially in the aftertaste. Numm.
Another sample from Teavivre. They sent a nice big sample! So nice for testing temps, etc… I’m not done deciding on this yet..it has such a delicate flavor I’m giving it more steeps so I can better express it!
Later…ok, I steeped it a little differently and now I can really taste it! I used water at about 190 degrees and used more leaf to water ratio. The aroma and first taste is allll hay and grass, which I really enjoy. It has a lingering, mouthwatering sweetness. I love it! I got four good steeps out of this before I quit!
I’m almost out of this. :( This is one of the few flavored teas I like and can drink without getting a headache. I’ve had this tea for awhile and I can taste a little difference in the favor as a result, but it’s still creamy and definitely worth drinking. For the first time I’m tasting a fruity note; perhaps a result of age? At any rate, as far as milk oolong, this one is my favorite.
Finishing off the last of this very generous sample today! It’s got me hooked, I want this tea in my cupboard always!
It is 97 degrees outside right now but I am still drinking hot tea! We’ve got the AC cranked, I actually feel like going and putting on a sweater! Lol. I think going outside for about 10 seconds will help. This may be blasphemous to some, but I am really looking forward to brisk fall weather!
First of all, a big thank you to Teavivre for the huge samples! I have been anxiously waiting to try their milk Oolongs. I love milk; and I love oolong. How could this not be the best thing ever?!
A first sniff of the leaves is wonderful; it’s more caramelly than I expected. The steepings were the same. The caramelly, creamy goodness stayed through three steepings. The golden infusion smelled amazing the whole way through. I would consider this a dessert tea, it was so sweet! Now to try the unflavored version..
Got in some samples from Teavivre the other day and had to try this one right away. I love jasmine pearls…in case no one has noticed :) and this immediately made it’s way toward the top of my list.
These are beautiful little balls of green and white leaves with a very pleasant aroma of sweet jasmine and hints of honeysuckle. The wet leaves are heady without being cloying while the infusion is a very soft floral.
Taste is a wonderful soft sweet jasmine with honeysuckle in the tail end of the sip lasting into the aftertaste. There is a wonderful silky texture throughout the sip and an almost sparkling quality in the aftertaste.
It’s sweet jasmine without being cloying.
It’s floral without being soapy.
Caffeinated yet wonderfully calming.
The only problem of loving jasmine pearls is the price, usually they are expensive. Teavivre’s price for these on the other hand make these well worth the purchase. Excellent quality for an excellent price.
I always thought that a tea labeled Tieguanyin meant it’s an Anxi oolong from China, but this tea is from Lishan mountain in Taiwain, which would make it more of a formosa oolong. Anyway it doesn’t really matter, I was just a little surprised by that.
I decided to do short steepings of this in the gaiwan this morning.
Steep #1: around 30 seconds and yielded a light yellow liquor which is very vegetal and reminds me a bit of celery. There’s a bit of a nutty quality and a slight sweetness in the finish.
Steep #2: the leaves are just starting to open up here. A bit more of a nutty quality is emerging with a nice sweetness in the background. I went to Teavivre’s website to find this tea is baked and 100% fermented.
Steeps 3 & 4: seem about the same to me. Lightly roasted, vegetal, nutty, a hint of sweetness.
This is a nice, average oolong but I can’t say there is anything about it that causes me to feel it stands head and shoulders above the rest. Might need to try giving it a cold steep to see what happens. Not my favorite tea from them so far, but still enjoyable.
Thank you for the sample Teavivre and Angel!
Knowing that my mom is a fan of ginseng and fun new teas, I brought this sample packet home to share with my family. So we made a cup then got distracted by doggies. I think this cup steeped about 10 minutes. So it’s a bit strong, but not bitter or astringent at all! good stuff! My mom and dad were sipping it and going, “I don’t taste any ginseng.” I couldn’t really taste the ginseng either. Then the cup cooled and I tasted it. The ginseng is a slight cooling bitterness in the back of your throat. Very pleasant.
The oolong itself is a very roasty grainy type. It’s not really my thing, to be honest. But I think the quality is really good despite my personal preferences. :) any tea that doesn’t get bitter and astringent when you get distracted is good in my book.
I was given this one by TeaVivre, so thank you again!
I drank it this morning after an almost sleepless night to calm me down a little bit. While steeping, the chrysanthemum flower came of and blossomed in the pot, which made the act of brewing so much more fun :)
The color was really thick and dark, just the way I like it. At first I thought I oversteeped it, but it turned out to be just right. The taste is really earthy, with some wooden touches. On the second steeping, the floral hints are becoming more apparent, which I like very much. And is leaves a great sweet aftertaste, but I still added half a teaspoon of sugar to help that floral taste to be richer.
A great tea, I will be looking forward to ordering this one and maybe trying some of the other TeaVivre Pu-Erhs.
Thank you Teavivre for this lovely tea sample!
It has been quite a day!
Schey (granddaughter) and I went to Algiers Hookah bar (first time for her) and had a good time together. Her mom (my daughter) looked at us as though we were misbehaving teen’s. Harrumph! (She used to shave her hair on the sides so what can she say to me now!) We tried a Melon blend…too harsh. Then a Mint Vanilla blend that was just right. There we were…on our pillows with a pot of sweetened mint tea, lounging with our hookah. So relaxed.
I took Schey home…and Micah (7) ran to the car with a DVD for me to watch tonight. One of his favorites…Puss and Boots. ;)
I had my camera and since my daughter lives 10 miles from me and close to Douglas Lake (great views of the Frontrange Rocky Mountains)I went down the road and took a few pictures just to get an idea of how big the current Hill Park Fire is. (If you look at the picture, I live under the black smoke on the left…up against the mountains).
By the time I got home I was hungry! I made a smoked salmon pizza and waited for the right time to start tea.
I’d been waiting for this Milk Oolong!
The perfect ending to a lovely day would be this tea.
Elegant and light, full of the most beautiful luscious flavor on my first tenuous sip.
(I had no idea what the meaning of the milk part would be. Creaminess? Milk flavor? I still don’t know what that means. I didn’t taste anything like milk.)
If you took the most fragrant flowers (gardenia, vanilla, jasmine, orchid) and made them into a light and creamy dessert without any perfumey harshness, that would be the taste in this tea. There was a flavor surge, right after the first liquor passed my lips… a wave… almost immediately followed by endless creaminess and richness.
As the tea cooled the thickness and creaminess increased making me lick my lips and look to the bottom of my cup anxious for more, needing more like a tea addict.(Oh yes we all know about this!)
No way would I want to share this pot of tea with anyone tonight(but maybe with you). I want it all to myself(really). Every drop was dripping heavily with nectar-like creamy goodness. As smooth as fine silk sheets…a luxury tea to dream with.
No,no I was not tea drunk…wish I was with this tea though…
It was delightful.
Thank you Teavivre for the perfect tea for completing my day!
Fire Photo from Douglas Lake today…http://flic.kr/p/ceWazy
Ahh, it was a great breakfast with Lapsang. All my food (sandwiches, mostly) tastes like smoke after the first cup, it’s amazing! Love this :) Steeped it long this time, really thick and heavy smoke taste, like I wanted. See my previous notes about this tea too.