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Recent Tasting Notes

100
drank Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre
1686 tasting notes

I saved yesterday’s leaf by removing the top of the press and spreading the leaf out so it could dry. This morning I heated another 12oz of water to almost boiling and poured. The water immediately started turning dark. I knew this was going to be a good day. I steeped for 2 minutes. I have yet to increase my time on this one. The resulting mug was rich and dark. Lighter in flavor than yesterday in a more mellow sort of way. It was still incredibly delicious and this was the fourth steep.

Mug five at 3 minutes is still delivering a mellow malty cup.

Mug six! At 4 minutes is more of the same quality tea. I think the more times I steep this, the more it is developing the sweet potato yam flavor along with the mellow malt.

The leaf is still producing a hearty cup and I am confident it would go at least once more but I am going to have to stop. Golden Monkey exceeds my expectations.

ashmanra

Yep, this is going on my order Saturday when I get the magnificent Silver Jasmine Green Tea that will be on sale that day.

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100
drank Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre
1686 tasting notes

Ok, if opening this sample doesn’t make you say, “Oooh!” out loud, then just box up your stuff, send it to me, and go back to drinking soda or coffee or whatever else you were drinking before tea. This is so fragrant with caramel, honey, and fruit. So fresh smelling. The leaf is tan buds and darker brown leaves. Gorgeous.

I used an extra large scoop, simply because I could. 12oz of heavily steaming almost boiling water and my press. The steep was a little less than two minutes.

As soon as the water hit the leaf, the already wonderful aroma came into full bloom with a scent like wine. It was also malt but not heavily so. Oh My Goodness this smells good. In my press this is deep golden in color. It is more orange as it pours into the mug. The wet leaf looks like chocolate shavings.

The sip is so rich. It is even more fruity wine-like in the sip than in the scent. It is caramel and honey. It is malt and sweet. As the cup cools I notice a wheat component. It is not real yammy like Golden Tips, or heavily chocolate like Bailin Gongfu. Yet it is kind of in that same flavor range. The aftertaste is strong and lasting. It is sweet, wheat, and maybe yeast. It does seem a bit drying, which is as close to a negative comment as I can make.

I had time for three cups. Amazingly, the first cup was the lightest and the third the darkest. The fruit like wine taste fades after cup one but the other flavors intensify. I don’t know how many cups this would go. I may try to continue with the same leaf tomorrow and see.

This is simply perfection in a cup. I haven’t looked at the other reviews and frankly it doesn’t matter. Maybe it is just my mood today, but by my scale this is as close to a 100 (my first) as I have ever tasted in a black tea. Bravo!

Glorious sample supplied by Teavivre.

ashmanra

This was served at tea party two weeks ago. Based on my guests reaction, I HAVE to order it! It was fantastic.

Charles Thomas Draper

This is an awesome tea. I had to order some

tigress_al

OOh, I was adding teas to my cart for my Teavvire order tomorrow because I need more dragon pearls and they are on sale tomorrow. Now, I added this sample to my cart too! Thanks

Brett

Thank you for your review. It really wet my appetite, so I ordered some from Teavivre today. Actually it was my very first purchase of loose leaf tea anywhere, along with some samples of other teas (just to get free shipping, of course: I wouldn’t want to waste money on shipping, when I could be buying tea with it.

ashmanra

Brett: did you see that you can sign up on the page for free samples? They send lots of them, too! They have so many excellent teas.

K S

Brett, reading your notes it looks like you are on much the same tea path as I have been travelling. I still enjoy my Ahmad tea. I think you will love this one. Frankly almost everything by TeaVivre is excellent.

looseTman

K S, Kudos for a highly detailed wonderfully descriptive review. Just reading your tasting notes for TeaVivre’s Golden Monkey is enough to cause one to salivate and grin from ear to ear in anticipation of what is yet to come! Well done!

K S

looseTman, thanks. I used to think I didn’t much care for straight black tea. TeaVivre really changed my mind. I pretty much have loved every China black tea I’ve tried. This one hit that sweet spot for me of combining everything I like into one package.

looseTman

You’re welcome. Your review was obviously inspired and a pleasure to read! It’s also a great example of how to write a tasting note!

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83

Gah, I haven’t posted here in such a long time. Midterms and essays, followed by a visit from a good friend whom I hadn’t seen in about a year and a half, followed by getting a cold have been keeping me away from this site. :(

Anyway, I brewed up a cup of this… kind of an odd tea to brew when you’re sick, but I just had a craving for a toasty Oolong. :P

… and I’m going to head back to bed, watch sitcoms, and write. Last day of break, hopefully the worst of this cold will have passed by tomorrow!

Azzrian

You have been missed. Hope your feeling better!

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83

Back at school and reunited with part of my tea collection, hooray! I spent most of my summer helping my family move to another state, then going abroad on an excavation. So, for most of the summer, I’ve been mostly internet-less and tea-less. Other than that, though, it’s been an amazing summer!

Anyway, I decided to kick off another semester of tea drinking/reviewing with an oolong, since I seem to really like oolongs. I may be a bit out of practise with tea tasting/reviewing, heh. Hope I get back into the swing of this quickly. Thanks for this sample, Angel and Teavivre!

Upon opening the pouch, I could already smell some roastiness with the dry leaves. I brewed this in a mug, with short steep times.

1st steep: Very strong, toasted scent. Hint of sweetness, almost as if there was some type of honey in there.

2nd steep: Toastedness fading a bit, now with more chocolatey hints. Still some honeylike sweetness of sorts.

3rd steep: Still a slightly toasty flavour. Chocolate has disappeared, and it’s more mineral-y. Dry aftertaste. I can’t pick up on anything else though, possibly because I just got back from being caught in the rain without an umbrella and my nose is being odd.

Overall, a pleasant oolong. I might consider having some of my suitemates try this, especially since they tend to find most unflavoured/unsweetened teas to taste like hot water.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

So, where did you go?

Ag

Israel. Really interesting country, with so much human history!

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91

I have been sipping on this one for the last couple days. Thought I should do I note although you probably can’t find this one any more. I was digging through the drawer craving a ripe puerh, I grabbed this instead. I almost put it back because it is a raw puerh. I am so glad I didn’t. My only other note of this one is two years old so I wrote it while this was very new. I loved it then. After only two years it has lost almost all of its young sheng brightness. This is wonderfully smooth and mellow with solid obvious leather notes. It is no where near as intense as a ripe puerh but personally I find its depth and character to be super enjoyable. I’d like to see what happens in another two years but it just may not last that long.

K S

I was incorrect. This is still available. Next order may find this in my cart.

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91

Oooh I get to be the first to review this one!

I opened the sample bag and pulled out a big chunk of puerh. I managed to separate enough leaf to brew without difficulty. It did not require a pick or a knife. The dry leaf is on the large side and looks like beef jerky. The scent is that of straw, which is not as bright or sweet as hay. It is a nice fresh smell.

The first steep was just shy of 2 minutes. The color of the liquor was very light for puerh. It was golden yellow and quite clear. The leaf aroma is green and fresh. Absolutely nothing offensive is rising into the air out of the press.

The first cup begins with an instant coating of the lips. It is slick and sticky at the same time. I don’t notice others reporting this, but it happens to me often with a raw puerh. The flavor of the first cup is light. It is at first kind of woodsy. Then it is briefly metallic, though not in an offensive way. The aftertaste is light and sweet. Maybe I am imagining it but there seems to already be very light traces of leather developing in this young tea.

I doubt I would ever guess this is a Yunnan if I had not read it. There is none of the sweet potato notes I associate with them. I don’t know if I am tasting chocolate or just thinking so because I do know it is a Yunnan.

Cup two is a bit more hardy. Similar to the first but stronger flavors. This has more bite. Cup three and four were the best yet. I increased the steep time to between 4 and 5 minutes. This made for a stronger darker cup that had good young flavor. I brew 12oz at a time. 48oz in one day is all I can handle :)

Now that I have reviewed this one, I intend to store it away for a good long time to let it age. I think this one will improve very nicely

Thank you Teavivre for this sample.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Grace

Great review!!! Look forward to reading more

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95

Backlog:

I enjoyed this Dragon well quite a bit. Sweet, vegetal, buttery and a light, toasty chestnut flavor in the background. A calm and peaceful drink.

Then again, it’s Teavivre! I haven’t had anything from them that disappointed me.

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95

Backlog:

My last entry for this evening as my husband has been bugging me to watch TV with him. A wonderful Dragon Well from Teavivre. As if I expected anything less? Teavivre Rocks!

Delicious, nutty – like chestnuts! Creamy, sweet, vegetative … a delight to sip.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/05/20/organic-superfine-dragon-well-long-jing-green-tea-from-teavivre/

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95

This is an exceptional Dragon Well. I enjoy Dragon Well anyway, but, this one kicks it up a notch. The flavor is so crisp and clean. Vibrant. You can really taste the quality it this.

Sweet and tasting very much like fresh, roasted chestnuts, this tastes like autumn to me. It makes me wish I had a fire going in the fireplace and was roasting chestnuts. YUM! It is a very comforting tea, but at the same time, it offers a sense of invigoration. A truly lovely tea.

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78

This was a sample generously sent from Mary at Teavivre. It is my second experience with this particular pu-ehr, and I recall enjoying it last time when I prepared it according to the package instructions. This time, I didn’t prepare it the same way. Instead, I went to the Teavivre website brewing instructions for the gaiwan. I rinsed the leaves (7 gm) twice, then steeped for 20s,30s,40s -later realized it should have been 10s,20s,25s,30s,35s etc. I usually add sweetener to all teas, but this time I didn’t. There is some bitterness by the 3rd steeping-still, not bad. Maybe this could be overcome with shorter steep, but the description on the website says it has some bitterness mid-sip. By the 3rd steep, I decide to add some stevia, and for me, this is better, because it cuts the bitterness. Now I wonder though, if perhaps I should just keep the brewing time shorter, because there was no bitterness for the 1st few steeps. And before, when I brewed it with more water, Western style, I didn’t note bitterness either. So now, for the 4th steep, I use 6 oz water for 30 seconds which pretty much eliminates the bitterness. From my relatively limited experience with pu-ehr, I think I prefer those that are ripened, and Teavivre has some that are quite good. Nevertheless, this was interesting to try, and you may need to play with the time and leaf/water ratio for optimal results.

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78

My husband and I have been enjoying multiple steepings of this today. We think it is quite good. After sampling about 6 pu-ehrs, some raw, others ripened, I have yet to find one I didn’t like. Whether my ratings are of much value is debatable, since I know the very best pu-erhs never leave China. So it’s all relative. But there is nothing not to like about this one-it has plenty of flavor. It is earthy, mellow, smooth and holds up to a lot of steeps.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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90

This sample came to me by way of LibeTEAS, thank you so very much for it and the generous amount as well.

I will start by saying use caution if you intend to abbreviate pu’erh as pu .Twice today I stated that “I could do pu everyday”. I need not explain the ramifications of such a statement.

So here I am loving some pu (easy) and I wanna tell ya all about it. The dry leaf smells too sweet for hay but not enough to be called floral. Another sweet plant… After doing a 30 sec rinse I steeped for 1 min to start. Wet the leaves take on a strong aquatic/earthy smell (as wife says “it’s fish,Dave”). I must note that it’s not unpleasant for those not yet exposed to pu’s.

The flavor of this pu is so rich and wonderful and silky smooth. There’s predominantly a leathery sweetness accompanied by mint. I must pause and say here that I’m either gonna have to find a new word or rethink what I’m tasting because this is the third pu I wanna say taste kinda like toothpaste! After cooling more vegeative notes are apparent.

Second steep 2 minutes with a little less water as well. Even after opting for a stronger cup this time to explore the parameters of the drink I can honestly say it’s still smooth and sweet with almost no astringency. I feel a nice buttery richness that maybe I’ve overlooked in past taste notes of teas due to my young palate. What a drink! This may make it on the ‘gotta have it’ list.

I ended up with 4 steepings before I decided to quit drinking tea for the night.

tunes-Bill Withers=Use Me Up,Geuss Who-She’s Come Undone,Harry Nilson-Everbody’s Talking At Me

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I have heard camphor, mint, etc. used to describe that cooling “toothpaste” taste! I loved this one – just got my order of it last week I think. Teavivre sent me a sample and yet again, I had to buy it!

tunes&tea

Thanks for the suggestions of descriptions. I was hoping someone would pick up on the passive request. I will consider camphor in that it’s minty yet slightly sweet. Anything sounds better than toothpaste.

Charles Thomas Draper

Great taste in tunes too….

Bonnie

I watched the little movie about Bill not too long ago. I love him!!!! I come undone! Wow….ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone with my best sip…has to be buttery and smooth….

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92

Tonight I did a tasting of this tea and Silk Road Teas Jasmine pearl tea, to see if I could pick a favorite. I’m still not sure. Teavivres pearl won me over in the aroma category; it was sweeter, even though neither were overpowering in any way. Silk roads pearl was a little heavier on the jasmine ( but still not actually heavy, just heavier than Teavivres) in flavor, so at first I was leaning towards that one. But Teavivres has a sweeter aftertaste. Overall, I like this tea and I am very happy to get the chance to try some! Thank you to Angel and Teavivre! I am looking forward to spending more quality time with this tea sample. :)

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Now try the Superfine Jasmine Downy Dragon Pearls. Soooo sweet. So good! Teavivre rocks!

Rellybob

Agreed!

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83

The leaves are so pretty! Thin, soft, black with bits of gold. I love it when a tea tastes great, but looks pretty as well.

Sipping… I’m getting earth, raisins, sugar and smoke. What I’m really enjoying about this tea is that it has so many different flavor notes going on. When I think I taste smoke, the sugar comes in and steals the show.. only to have earth, dirt and leather show up. It’s pretty neat that a cup of tea can have so many layers!

While this isn’t my favorite from Teavivre, it is so unique & I can see why so many love it. Many thanks to Angel!

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83

I think it’s interesting that my tea cravings change as the weather gets cooler. Well, the summer isn’t over just yet and I think we still have some hot days on the way.. but I like to think that things are changing. These days I am craving darker, richer teas – Yes, at all times of the day and night!

The tea itself is pretty thick in the mouth. It’s not creamy, but just heavy. I like this quality.. it’s almost like a comforting, chunky sweater! I am enjoying a lot of the sweetness that lingers on my tongue. The taste is leathery and a bit like wet hay. I taste a tinge of pepper as well. There is also an interesting salty note that certainly doesn’t overwhelm the cup, but makes it more interesting instead. I wish I could detect something that resembled caramel.. but it’s not to be found.

This isn’t my favorite black tea, but it definitely satisfies my craving for the moment. I see this as something that would be perfect to drink this winter when the thick snow is falling from the sky. It’s bold, dark and rich!

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90

This one is such a delight to sip. It has pleasant veggie aroma and a milky texture. It is complex in an uncomplicated way.

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90

Long slender olive green dry leaves. They look yellow green when steeped. The scent of the wet leaves is meat and vegetables. How does it do that? Buttery, creamy, and green is how this speaks to my senses today. Slightly mineral at the end with just enough of that good kind of bitter in the aftertaste to make you want another sip. This was an excellent choice! Yum!

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90

What a name. This is another sample provided by Teavivre. I opened the very stuffed sample bag and removed one hefty scoop. The remaining leaf, seems to leave the bag looking almost as full as before I got in to it. I believe if I had poured it all out, I would have a hard time putting it back. The leaf is dark green slightly rolled but straight. It is kind of flattened. It looks like dried grass. It smells nice and sweet.

I brewed for almost two minutes in heavily steaming water. This produced the lightest of yellow green liquids. The aroma of artichoke fills the air.

The sip is sweet and slightly salty. It reminds me of mild dragonwell without the butteriness. It does seem milky. I am getting a bit of numbing on the lips. Mid sip it takes on mineral notes. The aftertaste is fresh, not grassy, with a very slight tartness. Tart may be the wrong word but I can’t quite put a label on it.

On the first cup I added the tea to the water. All the leaf clung to the surface. The second time I steeped, I added a bit more leaf and poured the water over the tea. Now the leaf dances in the water. That is what I was after. There was not an artichoke aroma, until I poured the brew. The leaf is fully open, and reveals small pale green leaves. The taste at first seemed to be pretty much the same as the first cup. As it cooled a bit it came alive and produced a much more flavorful drink.

The third cup was the best yet. The flavor turned sort of cucumber. Not quite like a white tea. In whites, I think of the cucumber as leaning towards watermelon. This did not have the melon notes. Maybe this would go another cup but I don’t have time to find out today.

Chinese green tea fans, this is another great one!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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89

Thank you Bonnie for this sample.
This is my first Teavivre tea.
I love the sample packaging.
I put the sample into my mesh ball.
This tea is green, and I tasted it without water.
Tastes like Japanese seaweed paper! yum.
I was impressed with this tea
Tastes great – lots of flavor.
I wish I can read the package – its in Chinese
The taste is smooth, yum!

Wet leaves take like spinach!

Bonnie

Oolongs don’t like mesh balls. If you still have the leaves set them free in a glass or bowl or cup so they get the water around them and then steep. The expansion of the leaves and the contact with the water is key. You should enjoy the flavor more and steep time should be short (I usually write it down or it’s on the package)

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86

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

To compare flavours, I short steeped Teavivre’s Premium Dragon Well and the sample they sent me of the Superfine version.

Starting on the second steep to sip (I didn’t want to sip from the weaker first steep), there’s a clear difference on my palate. The superfine version tasted much more vibrant, buttery, vegetal and had a creamier mouth feel.

The third steep tasted much the same. While still enjoyable, the premium version seemed weaker and had a flat taste.

Overall I enjoyed the superfine version over premium. I never noticed the nuances between the two until I had this side-by-side comparison. Usually I drink the premium version with a single long steep, and that yields a much more bold flavour. It’s also more economical of course. I think when choosing between the different types of Dragon Well sold by Teavivre, personal taste and budget preferences determine the most suitable tea. I’ve tasted their cheapest, “regular” Dragon Well and the premium version is still much better than that. Personally I like the premium version for my common green tea drink, especially if I don’t have the time to sit down and enjoy gongfu style. After this last round of tasting samples for Teavivre, I’m seriously reconsidering just getting superfine version next time. It’s slightly more expensive but much more satisfying.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 tsp 3 OZ / 85 ML

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86

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Looking back over my previous review last year and trying this tea again has
helped develop my opinion on this tea. I’ve tasted 4 different grades of Dragon Well from Teavivre and each them have pros and cons.

The first steep of this tea brought back a sense of familiarity to my taste buds. It’s light, vegetal, buttery and has the typical Dragon Well flavour that I find charming.

Sipping through the second to fifth steeps it remained consistent in flavour. It’s not as well blended on my palate as the Nonpareil version, but the flavour is far from boring or unpleasant. If I were to steep this again I would stop on the fourth, it had a really good flavour and the fifth (while enjoyable) was a bit too watery tasting for me.

The Superfine Dragon Well tea is more subtle and polished on my palate than the premium version. But it doesn’t even compare to the nonpareil version which I found to be most well balanced and refined in taste. When deciding on which type of Dragon Well I’d like to drink or serve, it helps to consider the situation and your budget. If I wanted to impress a guest (with a good palate) or reward myself I’d love to indulge with the nonpareil version. However for a more ordinary situation such as serving tea to someone that just “kinda likes it”, the Superfine Dragon Well offers enough heavy flavour to please people that do not like subtle teas.

Tonight I was able to compare the Superfine and Nonpareil version side by side. Next time I hope to drink some of my own personal Premium Dragon Well with my other sample of this Superfine version to taste how they compare.

Steep time: rinse, 20s, 40s, 70s, 120s, 150s

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 tsp 3 OZ / 85 ML

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86

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

First steep, very smooth, velvety, light liquor, with the familiar Dragon Well flavour.

Second and third steeps, bolder in taste, there is also this almost fuzzy texture on my tongue.

Fourth and fifth steeps, the flavour has weakened a bit but is still enjoyable, and a bit of astringency if present (but not overdone).

Overall I really liked this Dragon Well tea. Teavivre always provides really nice green tea samples, and it’s given me a new appreciation for that type of tea.
Next time I brew this sample, I will use my competition cups to compare the Premium Dragon Well (which I purchased) with this one. After that, I’ll try it western style in a teapot.

100ml gaiwan, 4g-ish (sometimes my digital scale fudges it), 5 steeps (rinse, 20s, 40s, 1m10s, 2m, 2m30s)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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86

I have been sick all this week. When you’re sick, your tastebuds aren’t up to par, and so I’ve been drinking a lot of mediocre teas since I don’t want to waste all my good teas. Since Teavivre is having an upcoming sale on these jasmine pearls, though, I decided to try them to see what I think. I don’t need more tea, and I’ll probably resist buying them, but if they were absolutely amazing I wanted to know.

They are definitely very good. Jasmine pearls are one of my favorite teas, and this is very nice. The flavor is subtle, but I only steeped it for a minute, so we’ll have to see what happens when I steep it for a whopping 2 minutes next time.

I do feel a little bad giving this tea a rating when I’m sick and I’m not 100%, but I suppose it’s all right.

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec
CupofTree

feel better soon! I do the same when sick and usually end up really enjoying less favorite bland teas.

Babble

Thanks. I’m slowly starting to feel better. But at least it gives me an opportunity to give my bland teas a try, right?

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I ordered a bunch of this! I’m a bit surprised tasting it this morning as it isdifferent than I remember. I remember the taste being predominantly of bread and honey. This tea is definitely greener, and more Tieguanyin like, than the sample I had. I could tell immediately when I first smelled the dry leaves that this was different than last time. The taste is all Tieguanyin- green, floral, sweet. I love Tieguanyin, but I specifically wanted this tea for the baked taste. Could it be that this year’s harvest is just that different? Maybe this is fresher than the sample I had? Either way, I’m going to enjoy this tea, but I’m hoping some of that bakey flavor comes through more in future steepings. I’m hoping it’s just my taste buds today.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Kittenna

I have some of this (older) and it definitely was more along the bakey lines than the TGY lines. Perhaps if you let it age (e.g. sit around) a bit, the flavour will develop?

Rellybob

I hope so – the sample I had was over a year ago, and I remember it like you describe- much more bakey than green.

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