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Recent Tasting Notes
Now watch as I survey some of my favorite teas. Going back to all of these after two whole months away is interesting. On one hand it is a revelation, I can’t believe tea can taste that good (Malagasy tea is really that bad). I also pretty much forgot how all of my teas really taste. But on the other hand they are all so familiar, like an old comfy sweater, and when I sip them its as if I had just been drinking them the other day.
This one is easily one of my favorite blacks, and I am always astounded that it is so affordable and delicious. Lovely cocoa-caramel-grainy notes that I could just drink all the time. I think I have a couple more cups of this before I need to order more, although again I am torn by the want for my staples that are gone, and the need to drink the tea I have before I order any more. My stash is kind of astoundingly big, and I think my new goal is to drink it most of the way down before I move in 4 months (this time moving out of my office, too, which is where all my tea stash is).
I wanted to come back to this tea since it really was pretty much the tea that sparked my interest in unflavored black teas. I’ve tried a lot lately and this one has always been in the back of my mind when trying them, but the memory of it was starting to get muddled.
I love the honeyed, caramelly notes in this tea. It’s a bit grainy, and a tiny bit chocolatey, and a tiny bit sweet, but not nearly as chocolatey and sweet as the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls I had yesterday. Still, I need to boost this way up in my ratings because it remains one of my favorites after I’ve tried quite a few varieties. This one really exhibits the honey notes that I like in Fujian black teas.
Dudes, this is totally unprecidented. I tried this tea for the first time just a couple of days ago, but I’m already going back for another cup. This afternoon I was trying to decide on a tea and my mind just kept coming back to this one. I mean, me craving the same tea within a couple days of having it is not common anyway, but with an unflavored black? Never! Until today, apparently. Since this tea comes in little individual sample pouches I had used some from a pouch already and there was a little less leaf left in the pouch than I normally use. I didn’t want to open another pouch just for that, though, so I’m brewing it for 3 minutes instead of 2 (still within the recommended range) to see how it goes.
Annnd then I got caught talking to someone and it cooled off a lot (it’s still warm, but just), but you know what? It’s still delicious. I really wouldn’t have guessed that I would find an unflavored black tea that I like so much, but here it is. I have to say thanks again to Teavivre for sending me this sample, which I did not expect to like, and exposing me to these kinds of teas!
As I have no doubt mentioned before, I’m not much of a drinker of unflavored blacks. There are a couple that I have to admit are pretty tasty (Harney’s Golden Monkey, Teavivre’s own Yun Nan Golden Tips), but I still don’t seek out unflavored blacks often. But of course I accepted a sample of this one in my latest round from Teavivre… how could I not, with these reviews? I admit I was still skeptical that I would like it. The leaf is nice looking twisted strands with a scattering of golden tips, and it smells malty and dark and teaish.
This is another one that surprised me with the brewing parameters. 185°F for a black tea? If you say so. The tea came out a lovely dark amber color and again has that malty, sweet aroma. I have to say, alright Teavivre, you got me, this tea is delicious. It is smooth and tasty, with notes of cocoa, raisins, a tiny bit of caramel, a hint of honey, bready, malty… it isn’t actually sweet on the tongue, but it seems sweet, if that makes any sense. Also, this is very similar to the base of The Tea Spot’s Organic Chocolate “O” tea, even though they aren’t the same variety. A big thanks again to Teavivre for this sample; these opportunities really help me step outside my usual teas and experience things I wouldn’t have bought on my own.
So.. part 2 of the night comes, as well, from Teavivre’s sample pack.
So.. part 2 of the night comes, as well, from Teavivre’s sample pack.The Review.
So.. part 2 of the night comes, as well, from Teavivre’s sample pack.The Review.First things first, I don’t do well with green tea… i just don’t. i feel like i say this every time i post about green tea. we just don;t get along…now having said this…i do love jasmine.
So.. part 2 of the night comes, as well, from Teavivre’s sample pack.The Review.First things first, I don’t do well with green tea… i just don’t. i feel like i say this every time i post about green tea. we just don;t get along…now having said this…i do love jasmine.Dry leaf – after attacking the bags again i was bashed in the face with jasmine. This is not a bad thing though. When i drink a tea with jasmine, its meant to be a relaxer, so the stronger the better, up to a point. Steeped somewhere between 3:30 And 4:00 minutes.
So.. part 2 of the night comes, as well, from Teavivre’s sample pack.The Review.First things first, I don’t do well with green tea… i just don’t. i feel like i say this every time i post about green tea. we just don;t get along…now having said this…i do love jasmine.Dry leaf – after attacking the bags again i was bashed in the face with jasmine. This is not a bad thing though. When i drink a tea with jasmine, its meant to be a relaxer, so the stronger the better, up to a point. Steeped somewhere between 3:30 And 4:00 minutes.Brewed unsweet – Naturally sweet from the jasmine and very flowery. nice soft mouthfeel , creats a smooth blanket of warmth on the roof of my mouth.
Sweetened. With honey, Pulls the jasmine out with force, as well as the green tea flavor. Works very well with the honey.
I think, with a little bit of time, this may be up there with the only other green i like (casablanca twist by adagio).
Good Night All.
Thank you god for Teavivre. I received a sample of this in the mail today and i gotta tell you all…. it rocks. I haven’t reached out much as far as different companies for teas, and before today, besides Lipton and Twinnings boxed bags, i had not ventured past Teavana and Adagio. So… needless to say, i love this tea. It is nice and affordable and just perfect.
So.. with further a due: The Review.
Opening the bag is always interesting because the first hit of the aroma is always invigorating, however, I was almost disappointed when i didn’t smell anything when i opened the bag. it didn’t take long to realize that, upon looking in the first bag, i found several smaller bag actually holding the tea. i fiddled with those smaller bags and when i was done…PERFECT. The Aroma was out of this world. A bold, black mildly sweet and a touch spicy scent waffed into my face and filled me with joy. I put a teaspoon into my Tea-rex steeper and steeped the tea for 3 ish minutes at about boiling 212 degrees. After the steeping, the leafs we sweet and open and the liqueur was amber-gold color.
The first, unsweetened sip: Roasty and earthy, as would be expected from a black tea, nice and bold with a little peppery aftertaste ( but nothing like the Yunnan i’m used to.) Second sip, still earthy, little coco and a little spice but very much a bold tea flavor.
First sweetened sip (1 half teaspoon clover honey): In the dry leafs i detected a sweet aroma that didn’t come through in the unsweetened sip, but now it is brought to the front and center. Not to heavy but silky mouth feel and over excellent taste and aftertaste.
In closing, an Amazing tea, if i was better off with money, i would invest heavily in a good order of this.
Thank you Angel for your generous sample. I feel your generosity will work wonders for you and for you company.
Second review for TeaVivre’s samples.
I guess I should share how I brew my tea. Most of the time I brew it in my Noble travel mug from DAVIDsTEA (http://www.davidstea.com/accessories/travel-mugs-2/noble-glass-travel-thermos) and sometimes I brew a teapot using just a regular mesh tea ball (I don’t have a tea pot with a built in infuser, unfortunately). Anywhoo, on to the tea.
This was another sample I got from TeaVivre. After drinking the Pi Lo Chun I was in the mood for something a little sweeter, so I decided to have a cup of this. The dry "leaves"smell very sweet, almost like fake blueberry bubblegum that you get for a dollar at the store. The leaves are BEAUTIFUL, a vibrant pop of blue and maroon-y purple.
The brewed tisane is a lovely deep purple and has retained its scent. I added a little bit of sugar to avoid any tartness.
I LOVE THIS TISANE! It’s tart (but not overly tart to the point of puckering) with a little tang and a small punch of sweetness. It tastes EXACTLY like the description, and none of the pure fruit flavor is sacrificed like it is in so many fruit blends.
Very nice, this will be a cupboard staple from now on.
I used about 4 tsp. for about 12 oz. of water and steeped for 8 minutes and 30 seconds with boiling water.
I actually had a cup of this last Friday but it didn’t turn out quite like I expected it to. I realized that it was probably because I tried a smaller amount of leaf (2 tsp) and longer steep time (3 minutes) when in the past I had always used one sample pouch (7g, probably closer to 3-4 tsp) and 2 minute steep time. So this morning I tried closer to my usual parameters and it came out much better.
Nicely green and fresh, a little bit floral, and nicely creamy. It certainly isn’t a (flavored) sweetened-condensed-milk milk oolong, but I like it better that way. There is always something fake about many of those other milk oolongs to me. And this one is one of the naturally creamiest Jin Xuans I’ve ever tried.
Sipdown, 135. So glad to get another sample of this from Teavivre because even though I’ve tried it before, I really like it! Also it’s always nice to have teas you haven’t tried in a while to reassess your love of a tea.
This one definitely has more of a buttery/creamy smell to it than the Yezi Jin Xuan I just had. It also has quite a distinct taste from other Taiwanese oolongs, namely it isn’t as floral and has more of a creamy character that grows with each sip, and a very light sweetness playing around the edges. Still really enjoy this one, and it’s still my favorite Jin Xuan so far.
I couldn’t help it, I had to try this one right away in comparison. First off, the dry leaf smells much less strongly milky and creamy; it’s more fresh and green. You can certainly tell which one is flavored by smelling the dry leaf!
This one smells more floral as well, and I do have to say that I think this one has more of an inherant sweetness and creamy mouthfeel that is just not as present in the flavored variety. Though both are tasty, I do prefer this one. I think these two are very good illustration of flavored vs. unflavored milk oolongs and what shows up in each variety. The flavored was very similar to lots of milk oolongs I’ve had before… all flash in the high notes with not much to back it up. This one is more reserved up front, but overall sweeter and creamier when brewed the exact same way. I’m also interested to see how they both fare in gong fu (but that’s for another day!)
Last night when I got home from work I was very pleased to see a big box of tea waiting for me from Teavivre! My next round of samples arrived, yippee! (Also pleased to see: a packaged with new boots in it!)
This one was high on my list of teas I wanted to try from Teavivre because I love oolongs, and I especially love milk oolong, and I was disappointed that it appeared on the site after my first sample batch came. But lucky for me Angel Chen and Teavivre are exceedingly generous and they sent me another box of samples, this time including this tea. Thanks so much!
The steep parameters were pretty different than any other oolong I’ve come across, mainly steeping in boiling water. But I used those parameters anyway, because that’s what was called for. One of the other grad students came into my office right after I steeped it and remarked that this tea smelled good, and I would agree. It smells floral and creamy and buttery and vegetal.
This jin xuan definitely has great flavor. It’s buttery, it’s creamy, it’s floral, and it’s slightly sweet at the end. Really delicious. I will say that I think my concept of a milk oolong was a little warped by having ATR’s first… that is a fantastic tea, and indeed very milky, but it is a tieguanyin varietal not a jin xuan, which gives it a pretty distinct taste that’s different than other jin xuan oolongs I tried. For a while I would try milk oolongs and nothing could quite live up to ATR’s, but that’s because they weren’t playing with the same rules. When I adjust my expectations to what jin xuan milk oolongs usually taste like, which this seems to be a great of, I think I’ll be a lot more pleased with the other ones I’ve tried.
Many thanks to TeaVivre, my samples arrived today!
I was at a lost for which to try first so I flash-quized my dad and he chose this one. As many have raved before me, the packaging is genius-TWO DIFFERENT BAGS! Ingenious! I’ve made a mental note that if I ever start my own tea company, that’s how I’ll package everything.
The dry leaves are a mint-green color. They smell very savory, kind of like seaweed.
First steep- ~175 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 1 minute and 15 seconds. It’s VERY light, and when it’s in direct sunlight, it almost looks clear. The brewed tea smells the same as the leaves but not as strong. It’s very light, and has a savory taste. It has a slightly salty taste, and it’s very vegetal. Not really what I look for in a tea, but good for what it is. I’m not going to resteep these, but I will enjoy drinking this cup while it lasts.
I’m not too too big on savory teas, but I did enjoy the vegetal saltiness of this one, and I thank TeaVivre again for graciously sending me some samples! I’m excited to try the rest!
This is the 3rd tea I got recently from Teavivre and they have all been great and this one is no exception. It has a rich aroma, sweet taste and a wonderful freshly sweet aftertaste.
I was able to make 6 perfectly tasting steeps and the 7th one was mildly tasting so I threw leaves away after it. Steep duration varied from 1 min to 3 min.
Thanks Angel for the sample!
I just love it when a tea is good enough to outsmart the questionable water in my office. We had this hot water spigot which was already shady enough, but lately the water has come out smelling of unknown chemicals….so I have been using my trusty old Zarafina. It’s good but it generally handles black/dark teas better than green or white.
On to the tea itself….this one has a full-bodied bakey goodness that I love in a morning tea. I used the entire little bag (~7g?) for 16 oz of water and it was really good. It really caters to my need to have pastry-ish things in the morning without actually needing to consume a pastry. Also, as I accidentally found out, quite good cool/cold as well. Forgot a bit in my cup and when I came back and took a sip my first thought was “heh…cookie”, although I would have to go with a generic cookie as it didn’t taste like a cookie long enough to make a distinction. :P
Overall, quite tasty. I will probably end up bringing most of the rest to work. Part I will keep at home to test different steeping conditions.
This Pi Lo Chun is nice this morning, I needed a mild and somewhat gentle green tea to get me going today. Overall, Chinese green teas don’t seem as flavorful to me as Japanese green teas but sencha can really make me nauseated. Thanks again for the sample, TV.
Like others have remarked before me, I really enjoyed the beauty of these curled and slighty fuzzy leaves. The leaf in the bag smells very fresh and vegetal.
I decided to steep this for over 2 minutes, which may have been too much but Chinese green teas can be very light in flavor and I wanted to get more. I think the flavor this reminds me the most of is artichoke. It’s kind of vegetal, a bit nutty and also savory. Someone else remarked on it being like miso soup and it does smell a bit miso like in my opinion. I liked this fairly well, even a bit more than the dragonwell.
I’m having this after lunch and that seems like a good time to drink it. It’s got a very mild astringency that is refreshing to my mouth. Also resteeps fairly nicely.
(This sample was generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thank you Angel and the whole Teavivre Team.)
Dry Leaf: Has a earthy almost tobacco leaf aroma.
Wet Leaf: The aroma was a warm earthy smell again there was that almost tobacco leaf aroma.
Liquor: Had a dark reddish color
Taste: This tea had a smooth mellow earthy almost tobacco leaf taste the life of the tea.
My Score/Over All Opinion: 89, This tea was very smooth and mellow but I only got the earthy/ tobacco leaf taste all thru the tea no floral flavor as I was waiting for. Which is why I scored like I did.
(This sample was generously provide to me by Teavivre. Thank you Angel and the whole Teavivre Team.)
Dry Leaf: Has a malty smell with a nice sweet aroma.
Wet Leaf: I get a malty maybe even a toasty aroma with a sweet aroma.
Liquor: Has a dark amber and a nice brightness I would say.
Taste: I get a maltiness with a bit of sweetness. The broth has a little heaviness to it with a dryness. Also, I get a raisin flavor in the after taste.
My Score/Over All Opinion: 90, I think this one was a nice tea to drink specially if you drink a lot of green teas this would be a nice change of pace.