Recent Tasting Notes


Okay, I admit my taste buds might already be compromised. The fiancé decided to cook steak and habanero peppers in his cast iron skillet. Basically, he poisoned the air. I had to retreat into the bedroom because the air was so peppery I couldn’t stop coughing and sneezing. My nose is now running like crazy, so I’m not sure how reliable this tasting note will be.

The dry leaves smelled like tea. Yeah, I know, not very descriptive. But really, there wasn’t much to it. No overtly recognizable scents. The brewed tea aroma is a similar experience. It smells like Teavivre’s other black teas.

Now let’s see if I have any better luck describing the taste. It’s much stronger than I anticipated. It tastes like it could be a great base for blending. No bitterness or tannins detected. I feel like it’s a little peppery, but then again that could just be from the air. Toasty might be a better description.

It came in pre-measured, individual, little, red packets. So, maybe it tastes strong to me because the leaf is more proportional. When I measure the tea leaves out myself, I almost always err on the side of too little. Still, I think the Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea was more to my liking. It just had more flavor.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t flavorless. It just tastes kind of standard to me, like something I would drink as my morning cup of tea. Oddly enough though, the Teavivre site says it has minimal caffeine (less than 15% of a cup of coffee). I guess that’s a good thing since I’m drinking it at 8pm on a weekday.

But I usually choose black tea for its taste as well as caffeine content. So, if this doesn’t have much caffeine in it and the taste is lacking, there’s not a whole lot of point for me to drink it. It is a good cuppa, just not my favorite. Despite its high quality, the taste just isn’t enough to my liking for me to reach for it often. So, if you like Bailin Gongfu, you’ll like this one too!

Now it’s time to peek out tentatively like Groundhog Phil and see if it’s safe to come out yet.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Haven’t cared for this one either, but going to try a 3rd time to make sure… the pressure of not liking the #1 Steepster tea, huh? : )


Wow, I didn’t even realize it was the #1 Steepster tea! Now I feel more gratitude that I had a chance to try it. I mean, it’s good high quality tea. But the BEST tea? It’s too generic and plain for me to label it the best tea.

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First review. Thank you to Teavivre and Angel for this sample that is beautifully packaged with care.

What a beautiful Spring day in the Rockies! The rest of North America seems to be having weather problems but not here..it just split around the mountains and bypassed us. No rain, tornados, snow or wind. So, I washed windows and then made tea! These mini Toucha’s are so cute…wrapped in white paper with red lettering (I don’t have any idea what it says…) . Read the directions and because I like stronger Pu-erh went with 2 minute steep after a quick rinse. I poured a bit in my glass double wall cup and took a whiff. Cinnamon! Oh no, something must have been left lingering in the cup! I quickly got another glass cup. Again, cinnamon! How could that be? I never smelled cinnamon or any spice in my straight, unflavored Pu-erh before! I filled up my glass with the coffee brown liquid and took a nice big swig…rolling it around and swooshing it like a fine aged wine. Hum…a bit of a chickory bitterness but not a tea leaf type bitterness, slight earth, on the heavy side and mysterious. Leather. Believe me…do not steep this longer than 2 minutes. I would even stop at 1 minute. This is potent stuff! I sweetened it a bit. Added milk. Neither changed the character at all so not necessary. I’m puzzeled and don’t know if I like this first pour that much.

Second steep 2 minutes. Wow what a grand difference. This is the best! Mildly smoky and astringent. The blues are gone as though someone opened a window and let the bats out. This is still slightly earthy in a good Pu-erh way with a hint of brown sugar. It is light enough for Spring or Summer. The color is a caramel brown. I added sweetening which was good and then played with ice which was also fantastic. Cream not so much. This is light and delicato. Need to respect the complexity at this stage so better sans milk.

*My Hints…1st steep keep it short…1 minute. 2nd steep… 2 minutes and if you add sugar forget the milk… but iced is good too ( nice warm weather Pu-erh).

1 min, 15 sec

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What a lovely cuppa.

When I first brewed this, I thought it smelled nice…sort of warm and earthy, and I tried hard to see what flavours I could pick up. I chose this tea from the Teavivre site for a future tasting based on the picture, and a description somewhere of a honey aroma. I tried to pick up the honey note, but really, I suck at that. Unfortunately, I’m the first to review this tea, and I am not great at picking out the flavours in teas.

It brewed a nice medium golden red shade, and almost seemed like a very mild black tea, like maybe a yunnan or possibly a darjeeling? I guess that’s part of this oolong being more oxidized than some…this tea is definitely on the darker spectrum than the lighter spectrum.

I only had time for 2 steeps of this today: my first was this morning (with my cheese tea biscuits), initially unadulterated, but I added sugar partway in. When I did this, it brought out what honey notes I could perceive (or think I perceived) more…but it could just be that is was sweeter overall. The second time was later this afternoon, after my physio appointment and stroll through downtown while the sun was out and it was kinda warm. Warmish, though I was still bundled in my wool coat and scarf, and had my boots on. I popped into a few tea shops I hadn’t been to in quite a long while (Special Teas and Murchies…our Special Teas here in Victoria, BC is not the same as the one in the states that went under and has been bought by Teavana). Anyhow, back at home I made my second steeping, didn’t use as much sugar, but added a splash of milk. It was nice and comforting.

I think, on my next steeping, I’m going to try honey instead of sugar, and hold the milk.

It was a very enjoyable cuppa, as I said initially. I’m very grateful for teavivre sending this one to me. I know I will enjoy the remaining samples on this one. I look forward to more steepings and tastings.


Hi Heather, I am glad that you like this kind of oolong tea. You are right, it is more oxidized than some other oolong teas. This Taiwai Oriental Beauty (Bai Hao) Oolong Tea is aroung 75-80% oxidization. Others are less than 50%


Hi, yes, I think that I prefer the more oxidized oolongs, but I do like all oolongs. Looking forward to trying the Big Red Robe soon.

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drank Waterlilies Fruit Tea by Teavivre
138 tasting notes

just opened my samples from Teavivre. I was in the mood for something fruity so I grabbed this. I steeped it for 5 mins, and it came out a little tart. Which I was surprised by since it does not have hibiscus in it. The pineapple is great. I might like this better iced.

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This one was included as a free sample with my Teavivre order and it’s been poking about on a shelf ever since I found out what sort of tea it was. I’m not really the keenest white tea drinker in the world, to be entirely honest. I tend to get along with added flavour better than without.

The funny thing is that not that many years ago, so recent in fact that it’s documented here on Steepster, I thought BMD was the bestest thing ever. Ever! And then… I just kinda fell out of love with it without even realising it. I even went so far as to toss almost an entire tin of it the other day when I realised that I hadn’t even touched it in years, and that it was so old by now that I wouldn’t even be able to make myself give it away.

Honestly? I felt better for having just taken that particular bull by the horns and cleared out something that would otherwise just have stood there for ever. I even managed to use that same momentum to toss a couple of other things in that same sort of category. One of these days I really have to go through the tea corner and make some tough decisions on what is likely to get used up and what is likely to simply gather dust. I have to say it’s not a job I’m looking forward to, even though I know I’ll feel good about having done it afterwards.

Now, back to this tea. I debated with myself for a bit about whether to brew it western style or whether to attempt to semi-gong-fu it, but eventually decided on western style. As I discussed previously, I often feel that western style gives me a better, deeper sort of idea of the flavour profile at hand, not to mention the fact that drinking seven cups of a tea I felt a little dubious about from the beginning didn’t really sound super appealing.

I patted myself on the back when I saw that the brewing guidelines from Teavivre are actually for a western style cup.

When I opened the little envelope, I was struck by how brightly light green the leaves were. Green tea is usually bright green as well, but this was even brighter, and it was the same thing when they were wet after steeping and a few of them landed in the strainer. I recall a much more sort of brownish and greyish sort of green.

They had a vegetal aroma, rather spicy like Darjeelings and for some reason reminded me or pea pods, in spite of the fact that they smelled nothing like any part of the pea plant at all.

After steeping the tea has a darker sort of aroma, kind of vegetal and grassy. There’s also a strong aroma of something familiar that I couldn’t quite place. This is where I cheated and looked at what other people had noted there. I normally try to avoid this, as I feel it adds a bias to my own experience. If someone says they’ve found for example notes of melons in whatever it is I’m writing about, I end up sitting here trying my damndest to find those melons too. And if I then do find them, I’m never quite certain if I really think there is a note of melons or if I’ve been affected by someone else’s experience. But this time I needed some help with identifying that note.

So I used a lifeline and asked the audience.

A couple of people mentioned cucumber and that rang a bell. For me, though, it’s more along the lines of courgettes, but there isn’t really a very large difference there. Whether it’s cucumbers or courgettes I think is a question of association.

This note is enormous in the flavour as well. Courgette all over the place. Along with those there is definitely a grassy note again, but it’s not as spicy as in the arome and it’s staying in the background.

This cup of liquid courgette tea is probably not going to bring me back into the white tea fold. I just think that the black teas and the dark oolongs have a so much more interesting flavour than the green and whites. 7 out of 10 cups, I reach for a black tea and I don’t really expect that to change any time soon. The remaining three are typically oolongs.

It does however make me curious about a couple of other BMD samples I’ve got standing around. I’ve mostly found walnutty flavours in BMD in the past and I’m interested to see if this courgette business might happen in others as well.

Thomas Smith

Run into the problem of implanted suggestion in flavors all the time when doing cup pings of both tea and coffee with people. General courtesy holds that everyone slurp and spit without saying a word and even trying to hide facial reactions, but there’s always a few inexperienced tasters in the mix that go and jam a tasting note into your psyche before you’re done evaluating everything.
Fortunately, I’ve never had a courgette, so hopefully I won’t be tasting nothing but that in the white tea I’m working on ;P

By the by, did you know you can age Bai Mu Dan? Takes work – aged does not equal old – but it works better than a Qing Bing in my mind.


I have had the suggestion before now that you mention it. Perhaps it was even from you. I don’t think this was stored properly for it though. Too sloppy with tinning still back when it was new.

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So I’ll preface this by saying a few things…

1) I was at work when I first tried this and,

2) I’m not terribly good at describing the subtle tastes of things like wine or coffee or tea and,

3) I’ve been more a Japanese green tea drinker in the last few years than a Chinese one.

With that said, I did delve into this green tea, one of three that Angel from Teavivre sent. I picked this one because of the reference to chestnut flavours…though I’m fairly uncertain what chestnut actually tastes like.

The dry leaf is dark green in colour, and sort of thin spindly leaves. The smell is clean and earthy and a little roasty toasty. Brewed, they expand and turn into a mossy green colour. The liquor was pretty pale and yellow, and still smelled much like the dry leaf. The taste was crisp and clean, and reminded me a bit of a green oolong. There was a little roasty toasty flavours though. There was a barely noticeable astringency, but I wouldn’t say bitter by any means. I think that the main flavours I picked up were vegetal, and reading about asparagus as a flavours, as odd as it is, I think I can make that out, but I’d never know it unless I read others saying that.

My preparation was electric kettle boiled water, left to rest about 3-5 minutes before adding thee strainer with he tea leaves, of which I used about two bamboo spoons wort. The tea is so lightweight and thin that it was a little difficult to get a good measure. Steeped about 2 minutes in between running back and forth from customers.

Overall, I like it and will be interested to see how it compares to the other greens and oolongs I got from Teavivre. I’ll be interested to see if I can discern any subtleties in them.

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I opened up the little pouch expecting an explosion of honey scent, but I was surprised to smell a green oolong. As everyone has already said, the leaves are covered in sticky honey! It’s not so bad that one cannot get the leaves into the cup, but I had to be a little careful to maneuver them into my cup. I love the idea of tea leaves soaked in honey. What a beautiful image!

The tea steeps into a rather dark, almost murky, color. It doesn’t really smell any different than other oolongs I’ve had before. The taste is of a relatively smooth oolong. It’s floral and definitely vegetal. The honey, for me, comes at the end of the sip. You know the way your mouth sometimes puckers after you have just honey? That’s how mine is feeling after each sip. In a way, the honey note at the end cuts off the smoothness of the rest of the tea. It remains enjoyable, though, because you get just a tinge of honey sweetness. This is a very unique tea and I am enjoying this cup because of it! Thank you to Teavivre for a sample!

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This tea is a sample provided by Teavivre for review. It seems to be of very high quality. When I opened the package it had that floral sweetness that I love in an oolong. But, when brewed it is more of the vegetal spinachy variety. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but not my cup of tea.. heh. If you like the more vegetal variety of oolong, then you will love this tea. Giving it high marks for the quality and for the fact that it tastes really good for a Dong Ding.

Boiling 2 min, 15 sec

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drank Blueberry Fruit Tea by Teavivre
644 tasting notes

I have to agree with the others that while the roselle is a bit tart, it isn’t the punch in your face from hibiscus tart. I did add some sugar to this, and I’m sure that helped mellow it out some. I got interested in this one when I saw aislingoftea write about it, and I knew that I wanted to try this in my next batch of samples from teavivre. So thanks to Angel for sending this one to me.

The smell in the bag is simply intoxicating. My palate isn’t as refined as some to be able to pick out the individual fruits, and as the roselle offers that bit of tartness, it masks the other flavours a little bit for me. But I can say that the fruits all blend seamlessly into a nice fruity concoction. I can only imagine how awesome this will be as iced tea come summer. I wonder how it would be cold brewed. This tea makes me want one of those clear tea tumblers so I can show off my cheeky fruits!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this one. I had a feeling when I first requested this that the roselle might be a bit hibiscus-like, so I was a little nervous, but the other fruits just sounded so yummy, how could I not try this? :P

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Best keemun I have tasted, notes of dark chocolate and malt.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Thanks to Angel at Teavivre! I tried this today and I must say, I am impressed. Steeped Gongfu style, it provided a much needed calmness to my morning.
Dry the leaves give faint notes of cream. The liquid color is pale yellow. I went 5 steeps on this and only the 5th was noticeably less in flavor. Still good, the 5th steep was just lighter. As Dinosara noted, it lacks the intensity of ATR, owing mostly to the stated fact that ATR uses TQY. I hadint known that before but it makes sense now.
I have been a devoted fan of ATR’s Milk oolong but I think for the price, I have a new favorite.

An order will be following.

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Second Review. Sample thanks to Angel at Teavivre.
I mentioned in another review that Sunday the temp. here in the Rockies was 81 and today when I woke up it was SNOWING! Good Grief! Right away I know I wanted a great Pu-erh and decided to review this one a second time. I used my PIAO I glass pot which is easy to brew Pu-erh and observe all the color and action of the leaves. I sat my tray by the patio window watching the snow when a huge robin joined me…sitting and watching for a long while. (later the snow went away and turned into light rain…the first in 7 months…and the forcast for the next 10 days is back to the 70’s). All the steep times 4minutes.

1. The small Toucha with the rosebud on top has a hidden world inside. Who could guess what after one quick rinse and a 4 minute steep such an extra-dark beef-broth colored liquor could extract from such an innocent looking pebble. There isn’t a fishy-foul smell or sour odor or bad taste to this clean, gentle Pu-erh. For the first time ever I am NOT running to add sweetening or milk to temper the earthiness on the first steep. This is very clean tasting and has an bit of earthy, dark and musty cave scent and flavor with a slight mineral finish. I can’t taste any rose but I do taste a little caramel.

2. The leaves now smell like hot, wet leather.(That will get you to buy Pu-erh!)…so now that I have your attention, the liquor is still dark Chocolate Brown. The rosebud is floating at the top of my steeper like a submarine and the Pu-erh leaves are heavily sinking to the bottom like wet mulch. Oh the flavor is beautifully mellow even more than before. Slightly sweet with the perfect level of Pu-erh earthiness that lovers of this type of tea crave. Straight up this is a delight. The slightly astringent finish is not bitter or dry. I added sweetening to see what would happen and the caramel jumped out as a surprise. I added cream and decided that this is THE perfect choice for latte’s…the one I would share with my best friend!

3. The color has changed to a lighter Whiskey Brown…with a very light and gentle taste. Hints of earthiness are now very fresh and clean straight up. The flavor is sweet and medium juicy with a little tannin. There is a little smoke. I caught another scent and had to think about it for awhile….hum….the scent is like when I wash and clean Kale…when I am ripping off the leaves from the stem. (Sorry, best I can do on that one).
This was a nice morning ritual. Great tasting snowy/rainy day Pu-erh. Delicious!

I just drank about 24oz. of Pu-erh in less than an hour so I’m done at 3 steepings for now…gurgle…but this is so delightful! Teavivre is sending me some more Pu-reh’s to review which is exciting for me! I do so want to learn more about them! I have found that they take my appitite away and I need to drop some weight. Good side effect!

Last Note For lunch I made a Vietnamese Sweet Yellow Curry Soup with coconut milk and green peas and cilantro for color. I needed some added richness, ah ha! I still had Pu-erh from the morning brew. I steeped a quick one in the pot and poured about a cup of weakened Pu-erh into my soup. Um! Then I sprinkled some very dark black Urfa smoky chili flakes on the soup and the belovely bowl was ready. Yellow and bright green, noodles and speckles of black smoked and sweet chili, an undertone of Pu-erh and coconut curry. Come on over and have a bowl!


omg if I had a jet, I’d be at your place in five!! that bowl of soup sounds amazing!! and I’ve noticed that as well about pu-erhs, they do curb my appetite!!


I love to cook! Organic healthy flavorful food locally sourced as much as possible!


feed meeeeeeeee lol
(if you’re looking for a guineau pig that is :P)


You sound like Little Shop of Horrors…

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First review and a huge thank you to TEAVIVRE and ANGEL for this beautiful sample! (sample is hardly correct…it is generous and wrapped in a way that honors the tea inside)
I made sure that my glass pot, glass mug, infuser…everything was sterile so that no sneeky flavor from past tea tastings would interfer with this one. This tasting is special. I love Pu-erh! The little Toucha is cute (I know cute is tacky) with the little rosebud on top of the small dome of aged Pu-erh. I poured the water over the tea and waited….watching the dome disolve…1,2.5 minutes (tasting along the way). Pulled the basket out and smelled the leaves…small and almost black like wet potting soil earthy. The scent is like sweet straw and a bit spicy. The liquid pour looks like light molasses in color. First sip is slightly sweet, not too earthy with a slight caramel cinnamon finish. I’m a sweet lover so I added a tad of sweetening…and it brought up the caramel flavor. Delicious and mello. Now a bit of creme…um…buttery caramel Pu-erh with a bit of earthiness and still good color and body. No fishiness and I did not rinse the Toucha. The rose did not have an effect for me. Maybe it was in the background and gave the spice or sweetness.
*Second steeping 2.5 minutes reveals a less caramel taste but still a beautifully mild earthy flavor and round tone perfect for adding what you want for a latte. I made an iced version just to see how it would taste…thinking of the 72 weather outside. This was wonderful iced! Bravo! No bitterness at all! Ice cubes, sweetening and milk or whatever you use…ice cream…and a Puerh smoothie that you can still taste as what it is! Fantastic! Purely as straight pour…or as you wish..tea is such luxury. I found that my first tasting this morning took my appitite away which was a nice bonus since I could lose a few.

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This was for a tea review of a sample of Yin Zhen sent to me by Teavivre.

The leaf was very fluffy and downy. This was very promising as their Bai Mu Dan was similarly fluffy and produced an absolutely amazing cup. I was expecting a high sweetness I think of as typical of Silver Needles over the heartier, richer White Peony.

My first hint that this was a different Yin Zhen was the scent of the leaves. It was very woody and a tad musty. Not in a bad way, just more potent than I expected.

I watched the color closely as I brewed it (in a gaiwan) since I figured it would be wise not to trust my “normal” Yin Zhen technique. The first infusion (80C for 2 min) was sweeter than a Bai Mu Dan, but not overly so. There was a noticeable and pleasant lingering effect of that sweetness on the front of my tongue. It was faintly reminiscent of thyme and rosemary, maybe even with a mintiness. The liquor was a pleasant blond-gold color.

The second infusion (at the same time and temperature) had an aroma of straw and that woodiness that I sensed in the dry leaf. There was less sweetness.

The third and fourth infusion continued to be more woody and less sweet leaving me with the distinct impression of a really good Bai Mu Dan. It’s interesting and not bad, just not what I was expecting.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Pi day. A complex day deserves a complex sort of tea. Keemun it is! I brew up some of Teavivre’s Premium Hao Ya and see if the math checks.

The dry leaf is woodsy and earthy with a slight cocoa note, typical of many keemuns. The scent of the wet leaf is not all that much different than the dry, but slightly more gentle. The liquor smell loses some of that nice earthiness and is of a far more smoky quality.

As I sip, I’m not intrigued. I’m not mystified. I’m not overly interested. This keemun would best be described as mild-flavored, with smoke. On the initial swallow, this tea is not particularly strong. There is a somewhat malty taste on the onset with a hint of sweetness. But, the aftertaste brings a stronger wave of smokiness that makes you forget the opening. The cocoa notes are relatively weak in this one, which is a disappointment. You can faintly taste the cocoa lingering, but it never dazzles and pops. Failure to reach potential. The depth in this tea is lacking.

Overall, the math is a little off. This keemun is an average offering: neither fascinating, nor drab. Intricately deep and complex like pi, this tea is not.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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You may consider this a continuation of the post I wrote a couple of days ago, and which you can find here http://steepster.com/Angrboda/posts/106070

If you can’t be bothered to go link hopping, I wrote about this tea in multiple (4) short steeps but didn’t come to a rating conclusion because I found the four infusions so vastly different from one another. Some had elements that I really like and some had elements that I dislike, so it was all rather confusing. Over all though, I found it a bit wan and as though there was something missing.

This time I’m having it steeped western style. This is what I mostly do, so I have more of an idea of what to expect here. In my experience western style usually yilds a darker and deeper sort of infusion, where gong fu is more about picking up on smaller nuances. Compare it to impressionist paintings. Western style gives you the big picture and only that, where gong fu allows you to step closer, inspect the technique used in painting and the combination of colours and then piece it all together into a whole yourself. I suppose that makes gong fu an exersize in tea tasting, where western style becomes more like having the answer sheet handed to you.

This in turn leads me to wonder if the reason I tend to prefer western style may in fact be due to being lazy.

Anyway, I have made it western style today, and I do indeed now sit here with a considerably darker and deeper sort of brew.

This time I’m getting none of the floralness that I had objections about in the earlier attempt. The aroma is all bready and toasty, and with a certain amount of autumnal notes to it. Like the smell of leaves on the ground in the forest in mid-autumn. A bit earthy and a bit wooden as well. Mostly though, it’s toast and freshly baked goods I’m getting. If I really really concentrate, there is a mild chocolate note in it as well, but I can only find it if I’m searching for it and then only if I hold my nose in a very specific distance to the cup. I suspect it’s some of the toastiness that gets transformed under these circumstances.

The flavour is all dark and earthy now, and there’s a nutty top note on it. It’s like I first get the basic earthiness and then the nutty note pops up at the top of the mouth and works its way downwards to the tongue. A bit wooden, but mostly nutty. And lets face it, most nuts are kind of woody in flavour anyway.

As with the aroma, I’m getting a lot of toasty notes in along with the nuts, but it no longer gives me any baked goods associations. Toasted nuts, perhaps? That makes sense, actually.

There’s an intersting difference between my gong fu results and my western style results. Gong fu gave me the barest hints of caramel, but in this round the barest hints of caramel has turned into strong hints of chocolate. Apart from both of those being sweet flavoured, they’re not really related flavours at all. I think it’s the deeper feeling to the western style flavour that does it.

As it cools a little, the nutty notes take over and it’s a very toasty and nutty sort of profile. It tastes a bit like it should be a little astringent, like many nuts are, but when you pay attention to that, you find to your surprise that it’s not astringent at all.

The aftertaste is woody and nutty as well, and unlike the gong fu session, here it’s very long, prickling on my tongue and palate long after I’ve swallowed. I always appreciate a good long aftertaste IF it’s a pleasant one (green and white teas for me often aren’t). It’s like it makes the cup last longer.

Maybe it makes me rather a philistine or perhaps I’m just too bone idle to really appreciate gong fu, but I do prefer western style brewings most of the time. Gong fu is fun to experiment with, but for me that’s all it is. I like the depth that western style provides.


I like the way you compared Western and Gong Fu methods. Also, very exhaustive note too.


I love how thorough your notes are, and you manage it without being dry. Thanks for sharing!


Excellent tea log!


Thanks, all. :)

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Gosh, that took its sweet time to pop up! I think over an hour is a new record for me. Easily a new record actually. Then I didn’t dare close it for fear that it would take another eternity to get the posting box open, so this is actually being posted many hours later. I wrote on it every time I had an infusion, so you will see a noticable change of mood further down.

I am so in the mood for Steepstering! So I went and looked for one I had not tried yet and one I expected I could probably write a small novel about. Oh yes. Made the boyfriend a pot of blackberry flavoured black and dove into the small, short steepings of this one myself.

I have to admit I didn’t get anything noticable out of the dry leaf aroma at all. It was just sort of… there. I’ll have to go back and have a second sniff and see if I can’t coax something out of it.

For the first steep, the aroma is quite strong. It’s toasty and ever so floral! Very very floral. Like a flower shop floral.

So floral that I’m surprised it doesn’t overwhelm the flavour of it completely. There is a strong floral note at the forefront there, but it’s at a tolerable level. At the back end of the sip we have the toasty note, creating a fair bit of aftertaste. It’s not a very long one, though.

In the middle, however, there is just… hot water. It’s like there is a hole in the flavour, like something has been removed. My brain wants to fill in with something a bit woody and slightly caramel-esque, but it isn’t actually there.

For the second steep, the aroma is noticable weaker, but it has a more uniform sort of appearance. It’s sweet and kind of borderline caramel-y. Very soft, with only slight floral aspects.

The flavour has evened out a bit too. The floral beginnings have receeded and the toasty note is bigger and starts earlier. While it is longer, though, it’s no longer long enough to actually make it all the way to the end of the flavour. Odd that. It has moved.

There is still however a bit of a gap between the two and also at the very end, the toasty end-note having moved closer to the middle.

For the third steep, I lengthened the steeping time a bit this time, and the aroma has increased in strength accordingly. It’s toasty and sweet, smelling rather like caramel, and the floral note which was prevalent on the first go is all but gone. I can’t say I miss it either.

The flavour has become fuller as well. The toasty note has once again moved forwards and is now the first thing I notice on the sip. A burst of toasty, but unfortunately a rather short burst. Then it peters out at the end of the sip and leaves little to no aftertaste. Like the aroma, there is a thick, caramel-y aspect to it, reminding me a bit of brown sugar.

So far, I like this one best. I could even imagine myself making and discarding the two first steeps so I could get a mugful of this, without having to drink a total of 1½ liters of tea.

For the fourth steep, my mood has taken a nose-dive. I’m doing something which must be done, but I hate it. It’s difficult and frustrating and even if I had limitless funds, I would still hate it. So give me some therapy tea, please. At this point and under these circumstances I actually considered dropping this and making something fruity and/or dessert-y instead, but I can’t be arsed to clean out the pot, so I suppose we’ll just continue what we started.

Note, it is now 20 minutes to 7pm. I started this at around noon, I think. It has been an ongoing project.

Now, I rather enjoyed the third go on these leaves and so I’ve been equipped with Expectations. I want something like the third. The aroma, however, have weakened a bit again, in spite of the fact that the steeping time go another notch upwards. Not much, I don’t think, but there is definitely a difference. The profile of it is still the same same as the third.

The flavour has weakened as well. Again it’s the same as the third, only paler. The toasty is a bit less toasty, the sweetness is proportionally represented. And there is still no aftertaste to speak of.

Given how this has taken me all day and how I don’t really think the fourth delivered, not to mention aforementioned frustration, I’m going to stop here, I think. I defintiely want something with more comfort in it at this point.

I’m not sure how to rate this. None of the infusions really gave me anything which made think ‘yes, that’s this tea’, possibly because they were so different and sometimes very very far apart on my likes-dislikes scale. I don’t think I’ll give it any rating at this point. I’ll wait until I’ve had it brewed western style like I do almost all the time anyway.


I always enjoy your posts so much! You have a wonderful way of presenting your thoughts that paints a vivid picture for me. :)


Thank you. :)


Interesting, I might give it a try in my next order. I chose Milk Oolong over Da Hong Pao this time.


LOL! We only just heard the expression “can’t be arsed” for the first time from my daughter, who hears it in Ireland. If she hadn’t explained it to me a few months ago, I would have had no idea what you meant!


Ditto to what CHAroma said : )


A very thorough review. I have ordered some Oolong just now and might include a comparison with your review in my link page blog for a May posting. I am not expert and newly to blogging. Thank you for sharing.

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Very good, nice color and taste I’ll get more of these, Thanks Teavivre :)

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

I ordered a lot of this for my son and his GF. I will be ordering more for myself very soon!

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Thank you ME for buying this tea!

I broke down and paid for Teavivre tea! Hee Hee!
So I have to thank myself for doing the right thing and buying one of my top 5 Black tea’s of all time (Truely this and Verdant’s Laoshan Black are #1 and #2 but I’m not telling in which order)!

My tea cupboard is awesome! Filled with bins of tea from the great to the wanna be great’s. I’ve become emotionally attached to some tea (hate to say this, but I’m a tea hoarder when it comes to some tea..you’d better not touch some of them…I’ll jump all over your…)
to the point that letting them go is almost out of the question. Sinful!

Writing reviews about some of the lesser quality tea’s can get to drag me down. UH! Burn out!

After awhile…I run..to my jewels, those beautiful special tea’s I can always count on for relief. Oh yes! Great tasting tea again! My precious! (I couldn’t resist!)
I am saved!

Today, I needed saving from the bad tea blues. My Bailin Gongfu Black could save anyone from the blues. It’s the best of Black Malty, Cocoa, Rich and Smooth, Bready, Golden Goodness!!!!!

Slurp, Gulp, Sweet or with Cream! Exceptional!



I completely understand and empathize.

Charles Thomas Draper

And I too also finally ordered from Teavivre. And I’m glad I did.

Dylan Oxford

This is a gem of a tea. Have you tried the organic version? Our Teavivre order just got here today, and we got a sample of the organic to compare to the 100g bag of not-organic that I bought.


Oh I await the verdict on that Dylan!


I thought about it but this go around bought the pearls and a puerh …awesome that $30 in tea gets you free signed UPS shipping!


Good deal! One day I’ll (fly away) make a real order too!


I’m going to buy this one, too! I love it so much.

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Tasting note from my 7 year old grandson Micah. The tea leaves smell like chicken and smoke. The tea tastes good and not like the wet tea leaves. It tastes like a cookie…like the caramel candy you gave me today grandma.
Note from Grandma: I think this is pretty spot on! Micah knows how to clean and devein shrimp, prep veggies and likes my butter garlic with breadcrumbs brussel sprouts! We went to a Greek Taverna last night and he got to break a plate “OPA”!

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First Review and thank you to Teavivre and Angel for this fine sample (ample sample)!
What a spectacularly beautiful tea! I used a double glass cup so that I could see the color of this tea and WOW! The tone is golden amber lit by firelight. I didn’t read the reviews on this tea so that I could form my own thoughts on it. Caramel was my first opinion..very light..with a little buttery pie crust taste(I used to bake pie for contests so I know crust!). There is a smidge of vegital but not a green note…more like a yellow wax bean or raw sweet potato when you cut it (not a yam). I never would have sipped this even a year ago and snapped my fingers and announced…“Ah now this is a good Chinese black tea!” For all I knew black tea would be …eh…dark…and bitter…and in a bag! ergh! This is fit for a Queen…and I suppose that sans an abusive ex-husband…I’ve become a Queen! I quite like my new TEA life and I quite like this tea for sure! 3min steep did it for me!

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