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Recent Tasting Notes
Made myself one last mug of this tea today. I’m officially out and sad to see it go. This is the tea that made me realize that I actually really do love lapsang souchong. I just needed to associate it with the scent of burning leaves in fall, which is something I hold dear. It’s like drinking that smell, for lack of better words! I’ll miss it!
This is what I took to work today. We’re getting the outer edges of Hurricane Sandy, so the world outside is gray, cold, and very windy. The perfect day for something that smells and tastes of woodsmoke.
I’ve reviewed this tea before, so I won’t go to lengthy detail, but this was pretty perfect for today. Like I’ve said before, it smells more smoky than it tastes. Underneath the smoke, there is the delicious taste of Fujian black tea. Mmmm.
The second I opened my sample packet, I was hit with the strong scent of woodsmoke. I immediately thought of burning leaves in fall. (And I also thought of Brimstone, a Texan whiskey known for its powerful campfire taste.) It wasn’t exactly something summer-appropriate, but the curiosity got the better of me anyway. I’ve had one Lapsang Souchong before, from Adagio, but that was several years ago and I was less experienced then. It frightened me away and I ended up trading it.
Even though I gave the tea less than two minutes to steep, it still brewed up as dark reddish amber as a standard four minute black tea. I lightly sweetened it, and let it cool for a little while. I was a little hesitant, but I trusted Teavivre. Surprisingly, the smokiness seems to be more extreme in the scent. The actual tea is much more subtle and smooth. It reminds me of their other black teas with that sweet, bread-like taste.
I should not have been afraid to try this. But I may save it for the first chilly nights of fall, for the full effect.
Another generous sample from Teavivre!
I’m really glad I read about the difference between Milk Oolong unflavored vs flavored and I’m glad I got unflavored first. For something called milk oolong its more of a subtle milk texture. Its a very nice oolong that balances a slight roastiness with the milky brothiness. It reminds me of miso soup thats been lightly sweetned. I understand that they also flavor this tea but I find the milk taste, although subtle, is more then enough for me. This tea is incredibly relaxing and makes me want to take a nap. Maybe thats because its warm and my brain thinks its milk. I just need some oreos and I’m good to go.
Until I discovered loose tea, I never particularly liked black tea, finding it bitter and too astringent. I have probably tried 50 loose teas in the last couple years, and finally decided to give black tea another try. Thanks to Teavivre, I got a generous sample of their Bailin Gongfu and I just love it! I have tried only about 5 unflavored blacks from a few different companies, but this is my favorite. I steep it for 2 min. at 185, and add 15 seconds for each additional steeping. I got a total of 3 good steepings, but didn’t try for a 4th. To me, it is perfection, without any bitterness or astringency to spoil it, so I’m getting ready to re-order it.
Thanks for this one Liberteas!
I may just be the LAST person on steepster to try this! LOL – It seems like many have beat me to it! Regardless – I’m super excited!!!!
I agree with Liberteas saying this is more subtle than other milkly oolongs – it has a more gentle milk texture and taste and not that more intense sour-sweet type flavor that others seem to. I appreciate that difference!
I love how the flavor lingers! It’s FAB!
Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—
Note: this review is based on the 2012 harvest.
I received 15 grams of this tea as one of many tea samples provided by Teavivre. Thank you Angel and Teavivre!
This Long Jing Green Tea is advertized as being harvested on March 3, 2012. I brewed this up roughly a week after I received this tea.
Everything about this Dragon Well speaks of its quality: the characteristic appearance and fresh aroma of the both the dry and wet leaf, the movement of the leaves while steeping (more below), and it’s seemingly well-known sweet nutty flavor. As it seems most Long Jings do, this one yielded a mildly green colored liquor.
I started with my standard green tea times and temperatures when steeping (starting at 180F and one minute), and increased the time and temperature up through five steepings. While steeping, the leaves were all on top for 1st and 2nd, half and half on 3rd, such that they were up and active all the way to the 5th; I found the steeping of the leaves enjoyable to watch (with some teas the leaves simply sit on the bottom during the later steepings with little to no activity). I don’t know what all that activity means, but my guess is that movement is an indicator that there is life in the leaves.
I found that the wet leaf had the tell-tale signs of being a quality Long Jing: whole leaves interspersed with plenty of buds and bud sets, all of a uniform army green color. Although it is not the quality of Life in Teacups’s Da Fo Long Jing (the highest quality Long Jing I’ve yet had), this is clearly from a quality pluck.
The flavor was strong, and my wife and I both liked it. Still, as much as I like the taste of a quality Long Jing—and after having a number of them—I am finding that they all have a flavor profile that is not at the top of my list of favorite green teas. It had good flavor up to three steepings and on the forth it had a slight change in flavor that seems to be characteristic of Long Jings, something I don’t quite care for; I don’t know how to describe it, but it may be that it’s too nutty for me. Still, the fifth had an impressive amount of good flavor. With one exception, this is probably the best tasting true Long Jing green tea I have ever had. The price ($20 / 100g) is probably not too bad for an organic Long Jing of this quality, but it’s still too expensive for my tastes; personally, I would rather purchase a less expensive Long Jing. Price aside, this is a Long Jing I would be willing to drink on a regular basis.
I decided that it was time for tea. I have been feeling better today which means I have been drinking less water, juice, and tea overall. I still need to drink more liquids though.
This is just what I was looking for. Slightly buttery and a tiny bit fruity at the end of the swallow. Nice and light and refreshing, but I can still taste what it is supposed to taste like.
I was getting ready to brew up some of my Jasmine Silver Needle only to find that I must have used it all up already! I must remember to keep track of my teas better and to check how much is in the bag before I get ready to pour water in my pot.
So my eyes turn to my Dragonwell and it was exactly what I wanted. Buttery and grassy with a hint of astringency. Just the thing before I start to move on to my new round of sample teas from Teavivre. Have I mentioned how much I love that they let me sample different types of tea from them?
My girl friend didn’t have power last night so she asked if she could come over and borrow our shower since she had to work today. I said sure and she surprised me by also bringing over my fiancee. She likes tea and enjoys having my tea so I let her pick one out to have before she went home.
She picked this one so I brewed it all up and we had tea together.
Time for my green tea after dinner tea plan! Since my white Silver Needle Jasmine tasted better with more leaf, I decided to put in about a teaspoon more leaf than I normally do.
Whoah! It smells green and buttery right from the get-go this time. I don’t even need to get close to my mug to get the yummy buttery smell. I steeped this for two minutes. I am finally getting the butter note that I have missed from my first dragonwell. Then the green tea flavor comes charging in and enveloping my mouth with its wonderful taste. The liquor is still very pale even with the extra leaf. This tea isn’t as astringent as my green jasmine pearls which makes for a lovely bedtime tea.
I think I have been under-leafing my french press recently. I will have to pay attention with my other teas to make sure I am getting the leaf-to-water ratio right and get a new teaspoon for measuring.
I haven’t been feeling very well recently (hence the no tea notes in a while). So today, I forced myself to make a cup of tea because my throat needed it. My oh my, I forgot how good this tastes. It has the nice mineral and slightly astringent taste (perfect to eat with scrambled eggs with onions, bell pepper, and sage).
The more steeps you have of this, the slightly more buttery it gets. It mostly tastes like fresh morning dew with a hint of the buttery note. It makes my throat feel better. In fact, I keep sipping this tea as I am writing this note, which means my nose keeps going into my cup.
Seriously, try this tea. It is yummy.
It was a toss up between the black pearls and this dragonwell last night, so of course I couldn’t wait to try this one today!
The leaves smelled like butter when I opened the package. Not strongly of butter, but it reminded me of how my last dragonwell brewed up. The leaves are so big compared to my last bag of dragonwell. Long and flat. They wouldn’t fit into my teaspoon so I just poured out enough leaf to lightly cover the bottom of my press.
I impatiently waited two minutes for this to steep. I was worried for a minute because the liquor was turning out so light. In the press it was almost still clear but in my cup it was a very, very light yellow. I sipped it and the first word that popped into my head was “smooth”. It tastes so smooth and I drank it fairly quickly because it went down so easily. At the end of the cup it tasted a little mineral-y but not enough for me to really notice it if I wans’t paying attention.
I got busy organizing books so I didn’t get to have the second steep until after lunch. This steep was for three minutes and the liquor was much darker. It is still light and smooth but there is another note teasing the edges of my tongue. It is a slight creamy sensation with the tingle of light mineral water. I was afraid my lunch would overpower the tea, but now I’m thinking that I should have had it with my tea.
I have never steeped a green tea more than twice (mostly because I have never had a high quality green before), but I am going to try a third steep in a little while to see if it still has more to give.
Third Steep: I steeped this for four minutes and it tasted exactly like the first steep. I don’t think the flavors would develop any more after this so this is probably a three steep tea for me.
This is (or was) my last unopened sample from this round of Teavivre teas. I think I may have a new favorite. I love this! The dry leaf smells of Honey Nut Cheerios. The cup tastes of warm buttery milk, and cereal. Sweet and grainy with a touch of vanilla. Also, there is a bit of salt, smoke, and hay. It has a light non-offensive bitterness. Like the other Taiwan oolongs I have had lately, I am getting a neat cooling sensation on my breath. I could enjoy this cup without additives. You all know that rarely (never!) happens. I added Splenda to see if it improved the taste. It accentuated the flavor and diminished the light bitterness. I Love this! And you didn’t think I could write a one paragraph review of a new tea ;)
This tea is a perfect 10/10 in my books! Seriously, you guys. As someone who could eat condensed milk straight out of the can with a spoon, or subsist on nothing but tres leches cake all day, this tea is a godsend. It is a boldly flavored, distinctive tea, so it’s not necessarily the tea I would pick if I had to have one “desert island” tea for the rest of my life, but if somebody told me I could never have baked desserts or candy again, I would use this tea to fill the void!
The dry leaf smell is striking. The tightly rolled, vivid green pellets have a rich sweet cream sort of smell. The buttery fragrance lets you know you’re in for a treat! The first four infusions have a luscious creaminess to them. If I steep it past the point of milky perfection, its flavor profile reminds me a lot of Teavivre’s Tie Guan Yin.
The aroma and flavor calls to mind milky candy, condensed milk, and caramel. A subtle creamy floral note perfectly marries the condensed milk flavors with the smooth, vegetal, green oolong ones just beneath them. Some people initially balk at the notion of a milky caramel candy flavor pressed up against green tea, but the flavors here are so artfully balanced that everyone I’ve offered this tea to has been really impressed. It’s delicious and deeply satisfying, but it also seems so… delicate. It’s not the clumsy slap of a sticky, oily caramel cake that just popped out of a vending machine, it’s the little kiss of a petite treat from a chic pâtisserie.
One of the best things about this tea is its full, creamy mouthfeel. A lot of oolongs have that subtly “buttery”, heavy mouthfeel, but this one is the densest feeling I’ve tried yet! Even without sugar, it’s a subtly sweet treat, but the addition of a little bit of sweetener takes it to new heights of decadence in a tea cup.
Considering how many times I can infuse this tea and still get fantastic flavor out of it, it is a wonderful bargain too. I hope I can keep my cabinets stocked with this for life!
What a wonderful sample. Seriously Teavivre, thank you for the sample! I have decided that currently my favorite milk oolongs go: Teavivre, Teavivre (flavored), and then David’s. This is mainly due to the fact that I like the floral/sweet/fruity notes in Teavivre milk oolongs as compared to David’s more creamy version. All are wonderful though.
I normally do 3, 3min brews of this tea and it stands up quite nicely. This is a very sweet, smooth tea that would be great for anyone looking for milk oolong.
What a wonderful tea! I forgot that this little beauty was hiding out in the back corner of my cupboard. After a long day of shopping and eating, I’ve been left feeling really dizzy. I think that this is the one thing keeping my mood up! It is very sweet, milky, and I love watching the leaves unfurl. I do prefer the un-flavored version more, but this is still a very amazing and flavorful tea with lots of great floral and green notes as well. Highly recommended.
Many thanks for this sample! I must say that I chose this one first of the new bunch because milk oolongs are my crack. Seriously though, I’m not going to let this one sit around for long. It smells lovely, milky, fruity, and less green than other oolongs. I really like the color of the leaves in this selection. They are very dark green with light yellow bits. This tea is every bit as good smelling and pretty as the unflavored milk oolong.
I’m having this in my smaller teapot which is ~6oz and used about 1 1/2 tsp. The bag says that 1-3 min. should work so I’m using the highest time for this at boiling. It smells very floral and milky when steeped. The flavor of this is much stronger than the regular milk oolong. I think that the flavor mostly comes in at the end of the sip. Next time I make this I’m going to steep it for a shorter amount of time.
I’ve now had 4 steeps of this and it keeps on chugging! I really like this one. I wouldn’t say it is as tasty as the unflavored milk oolong, but I do enjoy the floral and fruity aspects of this when compared to other milk oolongs I’ve tried. I would totally recommend this one!