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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve only tried ginseng oolong once before, when I received it as a sample in an ebay order. But during that tea session my husband tried it and instantly fell in love with it’s unique aroma. Maybe it is because we live in Canada, but we really have not been exposed to the ginseng flavour before. So our first encounter with it was full of exotic charm.
So I was delighted to see that Teavivre was selling ginseng oolong. I have been wanting to place an order for more of their teas lately, and this one got added to our latest one. (As a note, I am also receiving some samples in the future. Like always, I mention in tasting notes whenever I am reviewing free samples)
Moving onto drinking the stuff;
The first steep is good, not too overwhelming. Nice sweet almost licorice-like flavour from the ginseng hits the roof of my mouth and the back of my throat. What I can taste of the oolong base is nice, subtle.
Second steep is still quite nice, I like the extra short steeps to get just hints of ginseng in each cup. It has a powerful effect on me, so I’d rather not steep it all out in one long brew. And with each of these short steeps, I get a bolder ginseng flavour at the back of my throat. Which is a nice sensation. :)
Third steep continued to get more intense, and looking inside the gaiwan the leaves have yet to completely unfurl.
Fourth to sixth steeps had consistent flavour. I’ll end my tasting note here even though I will be resteeping this throughout the day.
To be honest, I did not have high expectations with this tea. I’m not sure how you could screw up oolong + ginseng. Although now that I say that I am sure there are bad examples out there!
Anyway, I quite liked Teavivre’s ginseng oolong and I’m sure my husband will be delighted to take this to work.
100ml gaiwan, 1 generous tsp, 6+ steeps (rinse, short steeps starting at 3s-ish and increasing slightly)
Wowza – I guess I didn’t log this yesterday but I had this lol. Today I am re-steeping it and it is so interesting but after being allowed to sit out on the counter all night and all day today it is peachy, VERY peachy and jasminey of course.
I had to do a double take when the peach flavors hit my mouth. For a moment I was not sure I was drinking what I thought I was but then the jasmine came through – of course still not totally convinced I had to check my leaves. Still uncurling too! So many more steeps to go with this one! Upping the rating because it is so yummy AND very resilient!
A simply STUNNING and DELICIOUS beauty of a tea. Floral, sweet, and soothing! This tea really calms the nerves and relaxes you!
Steeps multiple times and is truly a beautiful tea to watch (glass pot recommended!)
There are just not many words that have not been said about this one. Its lovely. Get some!
Today I received my Teavivre order (yes this is a paid purchase) and I couldn’t wait to tear into their Lapsang Souchong pouch! This type was the first loose leaf tea that got me into the world of tea. So perhaps my expectations for each new encounter are a bit high.
Sniffing inside the bag, the dry leaves smell very smoky.
At this point I wasn’t sure how to prepare the tea, but I thought that if the smoke was too powerful I should short steep it.
So I scooped out 2 tsp of leaves and put it in my gaiwan, then adding the hot water at the suggested 90 c. temperature. Sniffing the tea liquor as it brewed, the scent of smoke is still pretty powerful.
However my fears were washed away when I took my first sip. It’s woodsy, slightly smoky, earthy, very slightly sweet and has a velvety mouth feel. The aftertaste is lighter version of the aroma with the addition of cocoa notes, it’s also not tarry in anyway.
Second steep felt really good in my mouth. The tea leaves are not fuzzy, but still there is a velvety texture that fills mouth. I’m also getting more sweet/cocoa notes in the second cup.
Third steep still tastes great and isn’t bland. Getting more of the smoky aroma now, and less sweet flavours. I could keep steeping but I’m done drinking smoke for now. (Just getting the feeling that if I stretch out the resteeps it might rub me the wrong way.)
I am always a bit worried when I try a new Lapsang Souchong tea. Either they’re good, amazing, or emotionally scarring. ;)
This LS from Teavivre is pretty good, but you’ll either love or hate this type of tea. Even the best LS I’ve tried won’t please everyone because of the smoky aroma. So for anyone wanting to try LS for the first time I recommend a sample size. And as a tip, if you don’t like LS western style… please try it short steeped! I am a big fan of short steeping all black teas, and I feel that this type of tea can benefit from it greatly.
100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 3 steeps (rinse, 30s, 45s, 1m)
I will try this western style sometime in the future, maybe at work.
(This sample was generously provide to me by Teavivre. Thank you Angel and the whole Teavivre Team.)
Dry Leaf: I get a sweet vegetal aroma. I can even see someone say grassy.
Wet Leaf: I get a vegetal aroma almost like a boiled green bean or something close to that.
Liquor: Clear and pale.
Taste: I get a light refreshing sweet vegetal flavor. The broth gives your tongue a slight dryness on your tongue that is nice.
Overall Opinion: I give this tea a 90. It is crisp, light refreshing and totally reminds me of drinking a Long Jing. If you are a Long Jing tea drinker I think you will enjoy this tea also.
(This sample was generously provide to me by Teavivre. Thank you Angel and the whole Teavivre Team.)
Dry Leaf: I get a old damp wood aroma.
Wet Leaf: Has a warm rich old damp wood aroma.
Liquor: Dark brown.
Taste: This has a rich and smooth earthy taste with a very gentle sweetness to it.
Overall Opinion: I give this tea a 88. I also noticed that I didn’t get as many steepings as you would usually get with a puerh. I tend to be more partial to puerh cakes but, for a on the go options this is a good option. You can easily take this with you to work,to school, or even a road trip.
I’m going to start with a little story. Yesterday, members of my local family (my Momma, Grandma, Aunt), went for Mother’s Day brunch and we had a good time. I passed on the horrible restaurant tea and opted for….wait for it…COFFEE!! Egads! It was bad too-only a little sugar made it tolerable. As the conversations moved along, occasionally, I thought of my good tea at home and my fellow Steepsterites. Then it occurred to me-while I am not a huge fan of Facebook (extremely rarely on), I love Steepster. :)) Steepster IS my Facebook! Then I smiled. :)) I spent the rest of the day with my Momma.
I am sending a huge Thank You to JenW for this delicious sample. :)) Beautiful long and slender leaves that are a combination of colors-some black, some black/beige, while most are a tippy golden beige color. The aroma is terrific, with a sweet honey aroma, and lighter chocolate notes.
The wet leaves exude a toasty, woody, medium to dark chocolate sweetness. The thought of sweet potatoes crossed my nose (maybe a little). Then came the smell of musty/earthy fallen leaves. Ahh….the sweetness…I inhaled so deeply, so many times, I was nearly hyperventilating! Is it true? I was picking up on a lighter candy sweet cherry note. Maybe it was just the lack of oxygen to my brain, because as the leaves cooled I couldn’t detect it. Now, I was detecting toasty and wood-like sweetness.
The cup was a dark brown. Where was the bottom of my cup? The cup revealed aromas of sweet honey (raisins?), combined with a musty, earthy aroma. The flavor was quite malty, earthy, and dark chocolatey, with a mild sweetness. The feeling on my palate was smooth, with no bitterness.
Then other aromas in the kitchen invaded my senses :-//, so the review will be continued…….
At 9:30 PM tonight, the Horseshoe Casino is opening in Cleveland. I’ll get there sometime soon. I steeped the leftover leaves from my last steep with about 2 tsp of additional leaf (190 for 3 min.). I hope my leftover tea leaves aren’t too much of a gamble for my intestines! :-//
My second steep unearthed honey, earthy sweetness while steeping. The wet leaves also had honey earthy aromas, cooling to a more earthy than honey sweet aroma. The cup was even darker-or seemed to be. I was thinking, “Is there anybody in there?!”. Oh yeah….there was…I saw my own reflection! :)) My sinuses were really bothering me, so my cup aromas were hampered. I did detect darker honey, slightly earthy yunnan mustiness, and some malty aroma. The flavors I noticed were slight & thin (sinuses), with some mild astringency-not bitterness. This is in large part due to steeping the previous leaves again.
This was not quite the review I was hoping for, but I will review this tea more after dinner with my Dad and a friend of ours at a local sports bar called Bootleggers. For now, I have to bolt (as in Thunderbolt). :)) Steep on steepies…….
Had a great dinner on an outdoor patio with lots of sunshine, but it did get cooler before we left. It was also very calming listening to a water fountain. :)) Good conversation, laughter, and music (Led Zeppelin, Journey, America, Def Leppard, etc.).
So for my third cup (2 tsp, 185 for 2:20), I did read some reviews after my first cup. Some people got (baked) sweet potatoes, or a raisin quality. Dry leaves smelled of honey, malty sweetness with chocolate notes. My sinuses were clogged AGAIN, so the wet leaves smelled mainly honey sweet (possibly raisins), mild chocolate, and some sort of baked sweetness. The cup smelled malty sweet, chocolatey, and earthy. Flavors in the cup were mainly malty, chocolatey, and earthy.
My last cup was similar (boiling for 3 min.), and I added the rest of the sample to the steeped leaves from the third cup. I tasted less sweetness, and it was mainly full of musty earth, and less chocolate. I was hoping to taste some of the baked qualities. :-// The feeling on my palate was smooth and quite full without bitterness!
What a great and delicious tea! I will definitely be ordering some more. This tea reminds me more of Autumn, but it is awesome anytime! Thanks again JenW-this was much appreciated. :)) A perfect end to another beautiful day! I’m gonna go…….seems I keep rambling on…and on….and on. :))
Cupped & Reviewed: Monday, May 14, 2012.
Sample provided by TeaVivre – thank you Angel and company
The fuzziness of the curled dried leaves is quite interesting. This looks to me like a green Golden Spring Yunnan-like tea. Oh, it tastes like a black tea too…
This one took me by surprise because of the miso-taste. It reminded me of golden fuzzy yunnan buds from Adagio I tried in one of my first tea adventures. I could not pinpoint any flavours that reminded me of chinese green tea: no nuttyness, no vegetable notes, no buttery flavour. I got a smoky, miso-soup type flavour, and folks, I really don’t enjoy those things in my green tea. The polarity of this tea compared to my expectations did make me appreciate the vast differences in green tea. I love that this was not what I expected, and over the next few cups I hope my taste buds learn to appreciate a smokey green tea like this one.
I love this tea.
So many cocoa notes and good malty comfort.
It reminds me of the last week my love was here before he deployed. He made me this tea every morning with breakfast. First time in a long time that I’d eaten breakfast, or made tea in the morning. I can’t function in the morning you see. Definitely a night owl!
Regardless, after a 12 hour shift, this is a lovely tea with good memories attached.
So I’m sick and just got back from a funeral from one of the most incredible people I have been fortunate enough to have in my life.
Bailin Gongfu Black is my warm snuggly tea that wraps me up and holds me tight when I need it most.
Really everyone – life is so short and unexpected at times. Live your life and make sure you are happy with all aspects of it. If you’re not – change it!
Make sure you stop sometimes to smell the flowers and really appreciate the people in your life as you never know when the time will come that you, or they, will no longer be here.
I’m sitting in Starbucks, freezing because they have the AC on to an unreasonable level for it only being 20C outside, drinking this wonderful tea to help warm me up.
I love that this tea does not require a lot of attention to astound me, unlike some delicate unflavoured teas.. whites in particular require a lot of attention to me in order to grasp flavours (except the recent TTM Monkey Picked White). Does anyone else find this with certain teas?
Either way, I am working on a few essays at the moment and this tea is a perfect accompaniment to the process, like a lovely warm companion who is there for support when you need it. It does not distract me by being high-maintenance to grasp flavours, but rather shows its support by surprising me with lovely umami flavours upon a malty background.
I could ask for nothing more.
I’ve fallen in love with this tea. It does such wonderful things in my mouth I can’t help but love it.
Dry: Smells malty to me with dark dark chocolate coco notes. Nice twisted leaves.
Liquor 30s: Nice amber color which tastes like umami and salty flavours (salty like a calmed down soy sauce..). Very nice on the tongue. To be honest – I don’t get carmel or sweet type flavours at all. All of them are malty umami soy sauce. I am extremely happy those are the flavours I get as they are ridiculously good in such a surprising way (hence why I have been drinking this often).
45s: I think I get a lot of these umami and salty flavours when its hot. That is when they are most prominent to me. This is definitely more smooth in the initial taste.. then unfolds into a sparkly malty deliciousness. I still sense the same flavours from the first steep, but this time they have changed slightly. Some sips I even encounter a surprising smooth creaminess. Fantastic tea.
I will write more steeps another day. Today I must conquer genetics. Hmph.
This is a sample tea from Teavivre by way of Krystaleyn. Thanks for the sample!
Let me just say I’m new to oolongs. It’s an area I’ve been wanting to explore for a bit and now I’ve got some to try. I looked the brewing parameters up on Teavivre and have stuck with gringo brewing since I’m pretty comfortable with it. The gaiwan is a bit tricky to pour still! Very messy tea making.
I didn’t know what to expect as far as taste, but I’ve found it pleasant so far. My first surprise is a butter association. I looked in my cup to be sure I didn’t drop some in there some how. Not one little oil bubble on the top of my tea, no butter added! I get a vegetal taste but it passes quickly. I’m kind of playing with it now. Holding the tea on different spots on my tongue. Yay! Another surprise! Now I get a hint of fruit. Very interesting tea. I shall have to see how it goes for the rest of the day. Thanks again Krystaleyn!
Thanks to Krystaleyn for the sample!
The scent of this tea is like steamed vegetables on a breezy summer day, there’s just a hint of floral in the aroma that doesn’t quite fit in with the veggies. It smells good, but it’s almost like you’re smelling two different things at once.
The flavor of this oolong is very earthy, with a deep almost roasted vegetable flavor. Definitely a little buttery, and if you swirl the tea around in your mouth a little bit, a light fruitiness starts to show through the buttery vegetables.
It’s a very interesting, flavorful tea that I’m glad to have experienced. It doesn’t quite fit what I want, but is easily the best oolong I’ve had so far. Quite tasty, actually.
After having such a wonderful experiment with Verdants Eight Treasures Yabao I decided to redo this one gaiwan style. Now when I first tried this I got a decent amount of saltiness to it and a bit of a metallic aftertaste. Redoing this gaiwan style has made this tea so much better, and for that I am upping the rating.
First I barely detected any saltiness to it and no weird metallic aftertaste..woo! Instead what I got was a nice plum-like fruit notes in the first few steepings, fading as the steepings continued. There was also no astringency at all this time.
About the second infusion I started to get more vegetal notes, reminding me of Dragonwell without the butteriness like so many others. Towards the fourth steeping though, when the fruity notes were barely detectable, a light creaminess did appear, more in the texture than in the taste and it wasn’t buttery.
I think with having such luck in brewing teas gaiwan style and tasting the difference from western style that for now on I shall brew gaiwan syle when I get the chance. It brings out a much better quality in the tea; I am more able to taste the different nuances in a very good way.
Thank you TeaVivre for the sample!
Now that I’m finished this semester I get a month to sit down and enjoy myself for about a month before starting summer classes. So, in a month if I disappear again for a little or show up sporadically you’ll know why.
I’ve been wanting to try out TeaVivre’s teas for a while seeing how well rated they are here but had been reluctant since they didn’t sell sample sizes yet. Then someone posted the link for free samples, so here we are! This is the second one I tried, my notes for the first one need to be found, and this reminds quite a bit of Long Jing, but as others have said without the butteriness.
The dry leaf is long and straight but not flattened like longjing with notes of fruit, floral, black pepper, and vegetal. The infusion was light in color and had a salty aroma to it. Taste, the taste was indeed very interesting and complex. At first I was getting a very salty note, but it was more in mouthfeel than in taste. There was a nice steamed asparagus note, but it seemed to take a second or two after taking a sip for it to come out which I found interesting.
There was a nice delicate floral note and fruit note that seemed to go together very well. The fruit note came in later in the cup and come in stronger in the later steepings. It reminded me of plums, but it was the taste of the skin of the fruit, not the juicy flesh. A nice plum taste with a hint of astringency. Overall a very good tea that I’’m glad I got to try. Thank you TeaVivre!
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
A sample of this tea came along with another four sent to me by Teavivre. My thanks to Angel and the rest of Teavivre team.
Few days ago I god my gaiwan and since then I’m sticking to it. You can say that I’m the kind of person that excessively sticks to something newly discovered (if I like it of course).
With 85 ml gaiwan I used 4 grams of leaf (sample being 5 gram total) and boiling water. Infusions (in seconds): 20,20,30,40,60,120,240,480
Dry leaf looks really small and sort of chopped-up with a decent amount of golden-coppery buds and soft dusty and earthy notes with a hint of spicy undertone. The shape reminds me of those Pu-erhs stuffed in dried mandarine/tangerine.
After preheating the gaiwan and a short leaf rinse I steeped for 20 seconds. What I got was a deep red wine infusion typical for ripe Pu-erhs with just a little of leaf particles at the bottom. First sip and I’m already impressed. For me it usually takes until second or third infusion with ripe Pu-erhs until I get to feel a full body image and decide to brew more or dump it. This one kicked me at the very start, actually. It’s medium thick with light roast impression and sweetness on tip and a hint of pleasant bitterness on the end that sits there for a while. The bitterness tends to evolve to slightly peppery sensation as it fades out.
Liquor looks the same as in previous infusion but it has more clarified taste with smoothed out roasted and sweet notes and lacking bitterness.
Slightly more intensive than previous infusion. Although it’s pleasant I still like the first one the most.
I was a bit surprised to see that the color is starting slightly to fade, since I wasn’t expecting for that to happen until 5th or 6th steep. Maybe I should have used more leaf.
In previous infusion there was a lack of bitterness only to emerge back in this one and taking the front with robust overall character. There isn’t much of evolving peppery-tingling sensation though.
With a slight color degradation I’m getting less roasted and bitter flavors and more of sweetness to it. It’s a nice twist, but it isn’t too impressive. At this point a mild throat-stiffening appears, something that I would expect much sooner.
I don’t see any liquor color degradation in this infusion. It’s really nice how it got more sweet and smooth with light mineral, clay and even sour undertones.
Same as previous with even more smoothness and nutty aftertaste radiating from the throat.
I’m pulling the plug here. The taste is getting more thin while getting more of mineral background. Someone might enjoy this but not me.
The wet leaf gives away a deep black and oily impression with mild earthy scent and aroma of dried/smoked plums. I can’t but notice some stalks and cylindrical shape of incompletely opened leaves.
To wrap it up, this is a nice Pu-erh that I would enjoy the first three infusions but after that it isn’t that much impressive until last few infusions with its sweet and smooth accent.
My computer still isn’t working so I’m once again confined to my phone, which means this review’s gonna be short and sweet. This stuff is GREAT. Smooth, rich and earthy with chocolate and leather tones. My fixations in the world of tea change, and now pu-erh is the subject of my intrigue. The taste of pu-erh is quickly growing on me and I’m making it a goal to try more because it’s a fascinating type of tea. This is a satisfying cup.
Amazing Oriental Beauty! Sweet and delicious. Honey tones and hints of fuzzy peach in the background. Smooth and just oh-so-good!
I’m now on my third cup (which is infusions number five and six).
The first cup was light and crisp, with hints of honey and peach. The second cup was darker, and deeper in flavor, richer, with the honey tones being quite distinct now. The third cup was somewhere between cups 1 and 2. Six very delicious infusions from one measurement of leaves.
This is a perfect Oolong for those who typically find greener Oolongs to be too flowery or floral. This is not nearly so floral, but more of a fruit/honey taste. Absolutely delightful.
Thank you to Bonnie for this amazing sample from Teavivre!!
I woke up this morning excited to start the day! Tuesdays and Thursdays mean “swim” class with my daughter – although it’s really more like splash around in the pool at the rec center. Regardless, at 15 months old she is a ball of energy and I love the time we are able to enjoy together doing anything at all. 45 minutes of romping in the shallow end left me waterlogged and ready for brunch so it was home and happy in the kitchen next for me! Bonnie was so kind to send me a wealth of samples which I received last night, and I promptly set aside this BaiLin Gongfu knowing that it would be the perfect way to start delving into the myriad of duct tape labeled packages with steeping times and anecdotes jotted carefully across them. This was my first taste of what Teavivre has to offer and I must say that I was very impressed! I was admittedly doubtful when I saw the sample packaging, thinking that it looked more like a bag of novelty candies than tea.. however it is very efficient and locks the flavor in nicely.
After having tried other loose black teas that went vindictive and downright hostile if steeped for more than 3 or 4 minutes, I decided to play it safe and stay just inside the low end of the company’s guidelines and let it dance in the cup for 2:15 on the first go. The result was a smoothly balanced liquor of salted caramel, toffee, and signature black with just a hint of clove in the aftertaste. All in all a deliciously understated cup that left me very pleased with myself for not overdoing it! But..
I couldn’t help myself. The kettle went back on the boil and then over the unwitting leaves before they knew what was coming. 2.. 2.5.. 3.. 3.5.. 4 minutes of rolling red liquor later and I sat down to the business of hoping I hadn’t taken a beautiful thing and marred it with my ambition to pull a toasted monster from the wreckage. Oh WOW! THIS IS THE BEST BLACK TEA I HAVE EVER TASTED!! Sorry for shouting. I promise it wasn’t at you, although it was at the cup in my hands! Take every flavor I mentioned from the first steeping and crank it up 20 notches, then dip it in mocha and you might begin to get a feel for what the evil geniuses at Teavivre are concocting! Bravo!
I got this pu-erh in a very generous sampler box from Teavivre. This pu-erh has a much more pronounced leather taste as opposed to soil taste and less sweet then most. I love drinking it after dinner and find it incredibly relaxing. A one minute steep brought out the interesting leather flavor while a second steeping at two minutes has a sharp cooking chocolate taste. Nice late night tea.