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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
The Fort Collins Power Company was going to shut off power in the area for 3 hours this morning so I got up early enough to have a hearty pot of tea to stave off withdrawl symptoms! Not being familiar with Keemun, and reading about the smokey character (which I like), I chose this from my new package of Teavivre samples.
The dry tea is very dark and fine, which proved to brew a very dark liquor, fragrant with medium smokiness and malt.
This is not a tea party tea! It has Huevos like a shot of taquilla! The smoke is not like a Lapsang Souchong…but assertive somewhere in the middle range of smoke and quite astringent. The astringency creates lots of juice and tannin bites your tongue. No malt. This tea had too many rough edges to start my day by drinking it straight up. After all, my hair is messed up and I’m on the couch with a tea tray watching the news with a BIG MUG of tea American Style! I DO NOT want an intellectual interlude with my cuppa at this hour of the morning! My brain cells are still asleep! So, I added some cream and sugar and it knocked those rough edges right off the Keemun…oh yeh!
If you like a more tobacco, acidic and less yammy morning brew, this may be for you. If you do not like malt, again you may prefer this tea. I prefer the other black tea’s from Teavivre which are so wonderful! Try for yourself and see which is for you!
I’ve been meaning to get to this tea for some time, but this is the first time I have remembered I have it, and it is the right time to have it, since it is later in the evening and I don’t want any caffeine before bed.
I wasn’t sure how much to use as it wasn’t printed on the package like the other teas, so I just used 2 (heaping) teaspoons and let it steep about 5-6 minutes. Coming here, I see the instructions say to use more, but I think I used the right amount for my tastes.
There is definitely a smell of pineapple with the dry mixture. Once brewed, I can’t really taste anything beyond the tartness. I’ve never been a hibiscus fan, and while roselle is milder, it is still tart. Much more tolerable tart, but more for iced than hot tart.
The colour is beautiful, and the taste is a little lighter than the Blueberry tea, though I think the Blueberry tea is a bit more complex in flavours. I do prefer the Blueberry over this one…though this one will probably be made iced, and possibly blended with sparkling water or juice as a summer treat.
My thanks to Angel at Teavivre for sending this generous sample my way!
Second Review of this fruit tea.
I didn’t review as much tea as usual yesterday or today because I needed to accomplish a few tasks that I’ve put off for too long.
Yesterday I was learning to ride the bus to Old Town which will cost $20 A YEAR for a pass. The bus stop is half block from my front door. It took 20 minutes to get to town. Not too bad. I rewarded my effort with Curry at Rasta Pasta under the watchful eye of Bob Marley and drank cold lemongrass tea.(Check that off the list)
Today, I cleaned out my huge walk-in closet! (My closet is the same size as my kitchen!) ICK! I lost 55 pounds so lots of clothes need to go to Goodwill! By the time I finished at 4:30 I was spent! Needed tea! (Check another task off the list)
Instead of reaching for caffeine, I remembered this sweet little darling of a blueberry fruit tea, just the ahhhh blend perfect as a reward. (I’d like chocolate, money and a massage too…oh well)
This tea is full to overflowing with plump syrupy fruit! You can’t look at your cup and see through the dense liquor…oh no. This is thick tea. If you hate hibiscus have no fear. The roselle (which is in the hibiscus family) is tame and not too tart or overwhelming. You taste juicy berry which is the point of wanting this blurple tea in the first place.
I can think of all sorts of creative culinary things to do with this blissful blueberry liquor. Infuse honey in the tea or steep some in vinegar for a great beginning to a salad dressing. Iced would be perfect.
I soak apples in acid loaded fruit tea to prevent them from browning, then chill and drain before adding to a fruit salad. The flavor and texture is fantastic.
There is no skimping on fruit or flavor. This is a quality Fruit Blend!
Thanks to Teavivre for another stunning package of Samples!
I’ve had a fun day! First I was off to post some samples to TeaFairy, and then to Happy Lucky’s Tea House to purchase a small wooden gongfu tray that can handle my little water spills. (It only cost $24.95!) Andy always serves me free tea too! I ended up purchasing a little Yixing Gai Wan with a handle and strainer (turns out I’m not much good at pouring and straining from my other gai wan…clumsy me). Now I’m ready to rock and roll!
With all the caffeine during the morning and afternoon, I was in the mood for a gentle evening without caffeine. I finished some brown rice California rolls…(WASABI !) and decided on one of the new Teavivre tea’s I had requested (yes you can ask for items you are interested in trying!).
The steep time listed is 8-9 minutes. Nice and long…and fragrant! It was hard to wait those last few minutes as the room filled with bold berry scent. The liquor was very dark purple blue. Had I gone too far and steeped this too long? I hate bitter infusions!
Taking a tentative sip, whew! there wasn’t any bitterness.
This fruity tea was full bodied and juicy like Knudsons Real Fruit Juice. The juice that’s 100% non- reconstituted, not mixed with anything else and coats your whole mouth. There was one element I could not identify so I looked at the wet mash in the basket. Blueberries, currents, grape and woody stuff that’s redish. What’s this red stuff? I read the packet…Roselle and Googled it. OK. This is a variety of Hibiscus…a more fibrous, woody variety with very small flowers that is grown in China. Evidently, you can steep it longer without it being as tangy as the Western Hibiscus I’m used to or Australian Hibiscus. Whatever the case, this Roselle addition mellows the flavors so that the tea becomes a blended fruit tea but not a distinctly blueberry tea.
I drank 24 oz. pot of tea hot this evening and then put a bit on ice to see what the flavor would be like. Very good. I’ll do an iced version for the next tasting since I received a generous portion from Teavivre.
Of all the caffeine free tea’s, every berry type satisfies me. The fruit used in this blend is big and bold. No tiny blueberries but large round fruit mixed with plenty of currents and grapes. I finally found a tea that I rummaged through after steeping. You can see the rehydrated fruit all plumped and I couldn’t resist popping the berries in my mouth.
Tomorrow night my tea shop is having a free tea ‘Happy Hour’ Near East Dance Performance to raise awareness to stop human trafficking. This shop supports this and other causes with 10% of store profits. I like that. One nice thing about small towns.
After many traditional brewings in the Gaiwan and basket single cup I decided to cold-brew. I left it in the Mason Jar for 2 days and the result is where I thought this tea should be. It has this light and fruity mellow flavor that is perfect on a summer day. When I hot brewed this left me wondering. Cold-brewed it is awesome.
This is a nice, light, refreshing tea. It’s unfair that I am drinking this after the Mao Feng from earlier. On its own this one carrys its weight. I think for my next tasting I will add more leaf and a longer than 1 minute steep. It does seem to pack some energy I might add. I can only wonder what a stronger brew would yield. Is this one grown among the peach trees? The flavor is very subtle. The energy is not.
I’m trying out my first milk oolong thanks to the most generous staff at Teavivre. Thanks! I have actually had this a couple of times now and I keep coming back to it – there is just something special about it. I feel very lucky to be able to play with the steeping times with this tea – thanks to the generous sized samples that were sent. I have to say that Teavivre has great customer service in my experience.
On to the tea! The dry leaf is tightly rolled and smells both sweet, floral, and just a tiny bit vegetal.
1st infusion (1.5 minutes)- The tea is a medium golden color and smells lightly floral. The taste is also light and slightly sweet. There is just a hint of vegetation, but to me it isn’t actual vegetables – more like a lush plant. The taste is very smooth and the tea itself feels as thick as a broth. There is a heavy feeling on the tongue – almost like the feeling of drinking something creamy but without the flavor. The aftertaste is clean and neutral.
2nd infusion (2.5 minutes) – The tea is still light, slightly more on the vegetation side of things, but it isn’t off-putting. The tea still feels very smooth and the texture of a creamy drink is a bit more prominent. I’m still not actually tasting a creamy flavor, but that may be because this is the first unflavored green oolong I’ve had and my mouth is a bit overwhelmed at the novelty.
I’m looking forward to trying more infusions with this tea! I’ll be updating this later. Thanks again to the very generous staff at Teavivre! I’m so looking forward to trying the other samples that I received.
This is another sample that I received from Teavivre.
The cake smelt earthy when dry. My wife thought it was earthier than I did but that just goes to show how different our noses are. I placed 8g of leaf in a 200ml Yixing pot, washed it and then steeped it beginning with a 20 second steep and building up from there. The liquor was thick and slightly reddish. The taste was slightly sweet, earthy and smooth. Very nice. It is a tea that I could enjoy all day long. Actually, I did. I lost count of how often I resteeped it, but I began drinking this one in the morning and finished in the early evening when the tea was reduced to sweet, dark water. The whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable and I shall be adding this tea to my wish list for when I put in an order.
I have been drinking a LOT of non nature flavored teas lately. I have a couple samples from steepster friends I want to try but have not had the time to sit with them and review them fairly. Not that I have with this one yet either but wanted something I knew would hit the spot and that I could enjoy when I really do not have as much time as I would like for a first time tea.
This is mellow, relaxing, and soothing. I need that right now.
Ooh-la-la, this tea,
Treasure of scented pearls, the caviar of tea…
Open the jar…
Close my eyes…inhale…
In another era, from the luxuriant gardens of Forbidden City,
a world where I have never set foot, but that I recognize from the many books I have flirted with …
Am I having this tea as the Emperor’s favorite concubine? No! As the Empress of Imperial China herself!!! (Why settle for less?)
Well, I know that the Emperor’s entourage probably never drank jasmine pearls, as I think floral teas were not the most prized ones, but I still like to imagine they would!
The texture of this tea is just like its shape: surprisingly round, full and velvety on the palate.
NO TRACE of astringency, even after several minutes of infusion (I accidentally steeped it for 5 min. the first time)
2nd and 3rd steep: still that velvety roundness.
The floral note of jasmine is both rich and fresh, but absolutely not overpowering, the sap of green tea is very present in the background.
Contrary to other jasmine teas I have tried, the floral note doesn’t linger and leave a perfumed imprint in the mouth.
Conclusion: This tea is noble, of exceptional quality and commands respect for the history and craftsmanship it bears.
(And I should mention, TEAVIVRE, you are offering it at an exceptional low price, I thank you for that!)
Free sample from Teavivre.
Yum yum yum. I love this tea. The liquor is dark, rich and full-bodied. The mellow earthy flavour is right there without any fishy taste. It leaves my tongue tingling after each sip. I think this is a tea that I could drink all day. It makes me happy to drink it and I am struggling not to gulp it down just so that I can reinfuse the leaves and start all over again. This one is definitely going on the shopping list.
This is the second green tea I recently purchased from TeaVivre. I have had Dragonwell once before, from Teavana, and it was pretty good-I figured this would be better, and it is.
The dry leaves are a pine needle green and they are actually the size and shape of “needles” on artificial Christmas trees. However, there is nothing artificial about this. The dry leaf aroma is vegetal and spinach-like. The fragrance is pleasantly intensified after a 3 second rinse in 175 degree water (the brewing temperature). I kinda want to pretend I grew this in my garden. Brewed leaf is brighter green and smells much the same with a bit of creaminess added.
First steep was 2tsp/175/1:30. The liquor is a very pale greenish yellow and fairly transparent (I’ve had “cloudy” greens in the past). Not too much of a surprise in the flavor-a very pleasant spinach and cream taste. To me it tastes much like TV’s Xin Yang Mao Jian. In fact, I am going to have a taste off soon, because they taste fairly similar to me-I am very envious of those of you with “advanced palates” who can glean more complex and subtle notes out of teas.
Liquor about the same-can’t really get much paler. Flavor is still solid-slightly weaker, but not much. Flavors are the same-spinach and cream. Refreshing and delicious. Zero bitterness. Could probably go for a third steep.
I have been very happy with my green tea purchases from TeaVivre. I tend to drink 80-90% black tea and I’ve been wanting some lighter greens to balance out my tea drinking. These work well and I will be drinking a lot of this and Xin Yang Mao Jian for the foreseeable future.
Revisiting this today, so that I can compare it with the honey version. Many thanks to Angel for the free sample, which has already sparked a purchase of 100g in early April : )
First steep: 2 little-bit-heaping tsps., with honey for 2 minutes at boiling. The brewed leaves smelled very vegetal, like boiled peas. The first sip is very flavorful and strong, not totally vegetal like many greens would be, but similar. Have tried this before sans honey, and it is not sweet on it’s own, so the honey plays nicely in the brew. Floral undertones, yes, but can’t distinquish which. As it cools, it becomes more vegetal. Fell in love with this tea with first sip.
Second steep: My notes say that it was a bit weaker at 2-1/2 min, so upped it to 3 this time. The “wow” factor goes to the leaves after the 2nd steep (lots of full size leaves, mostly opened up now). What started out as a small pile of hard pellets at bottom, now takes up half my 16 oz. IngenuiTEA. First sip: The 3 minute steep time helped, as this is just as strong as the first steep (in flavor). Second steep seems less vegetal, a little more floral, but I can’t detect much of a difference between the 2 steeps. Love this tea : )
This is the only Tie Guan Yin that I have tested/tasted, but would recommend. Teavivre’s customer service and selections are outstanding.
Many thanks to Angel and Teavivre for sending a sample of this tea to taste and review.
I’m going to admit from the start, that I find mingling flower petals with tea is not something I find appealing. Why? Well, before becoming obsessed with tea, I was obsessed with fragrance. Jasmine and rose are probably the leading additions to most perfumes you will encounter, and that doesn’t mean only “floral” fragrances. And while a lot of my collection are florals, only one or two are jasmine heavy (not a favorite scent…lilies, lilac and tuberose are). So in other words, I’m already biased.
The brewed aroma is very heavy with the scent of jasmine. Not knowing what jasmine petals taste like, I can only imagine while taking first sip. Trying to separate the green tea flavor from the jasmine, I think it imparts a bit of bitterness to the tea. Bitterness isn’t the right word though … more of an aftertaste that lingers, that I am finding unpleasant.
I can see this is a quality tea, and that jasmine tea fans would love it. I’ve tried 3-4 others, and I think it’s just not for me, and no other jasmine tea will be either.
2 tsp, quick rinse first, tsp honey
Thanks go out to Angel and Teavivre for providing many samples of their tea for sampling. This came with my first order, at my request, as I wanted to order Dragon Well in my 2nd order (2012 version), along with one or two other greens. This won out as my 2nd favorite green.
Huang Shan Mao Feng is a mild, slightly vegetal, slightly floral green. I can see how some have compared it to a TGY in that respect, but this is not as bold and much milder. It has no bitterness as all, but perhaps a bit of astringency while hot (goes away when cooler). While cooling, it does move into a slight grassy phase, but goes down so smooth.
What I really liked is that I only have to (yes, I know I don’t “have” to) add a minimal amount of honey to make it enjoyable (under a tsp, therefore under 20 calories, lol.) It is good without any sweetness (but much better with a little). My whole point of trying to switch to tea is to reduce calories (and a healthier alternative) :)
Quick rinse, 2 tsp., 2 minutes at 175.
Thanks again Angel !!!!