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Recent Tasting Notes
It’s a beautiful morning! And it’s just the perfect morning for some green tea. I’ve been in a gorgeous mood lately partly due to these steroids I’ve been on for this crazy skin rash I got a few weeks ago. At first I was on a very high dose and was extremely moody. One second I was happy and laughing, the next I was very depressed and crying for no reason. I don’t think the steroids and my anxiety go very well together. Anyhow my dose is much lower now and I’ve just got tons of energy without the extreme mood swings. Woohoo!
I wanted so badly to put up my Christmas tree yesterday. I know I know, it’s too early! But hear me out. When Nathan (boyfriend) and I bought it three years ago it was our first Christmas together and we were living in Texas at the time. I’ll never forget that part of our life together. Everything was so new and we were so fearless and free. So far away from our families having this crazy adventure together in Texas. We were so unbelievably happy even though things were tougher back then. That was the best Christmas of my life. Just me, Nathan, and Nixon (our first rat). No stress over where we had to be on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – just the three of us together enjoying the holiday in our pajamas. We had a great Christmas too. Nathan got me a Zune HD and I got him a PS3. Nixon got a brand new cage and tons of stuff to fill it with. I’d just love to go back to that time.
The next year we were living with my parents after having just moved back home from Texas so our tree was in storage. And it sat there all through the holiday season. This year I can’t wait to get that tree out and put it up! I don’t think three or four weeks to enjoy it will be enough this year! So I don’t care what anyone says, that tree is going up either tomorrow or the next day. Ahhh…memories
I’ve been making everything I can get my hands on in my gaiwan lately so of course I opted for gaiwan style here this morning. I’ve got time to really sit back and enjoy making this tea. I was a little surprsied by the brewing guide on Teavivre’s website. 4 steeps: rinse, 20s,40s,1m20s,2m. Only four steeps? And such long last steeps? I think I’m just going to wing this one because 2 minutes seems like a long time.
I really like this green. It’s so easy to drink. It’s just the right amount of vegetal goodness without any bitterness at all. It’s very smooth, relaxing, even a little buttery.
I’m on the fifth steep now and I’ve steeped this one for about 40 seconds. The wet leaves smell like spring time and look like fresh cut grass. The liquor is smiling yellow and it makes me really happy. The taste is a bit light (I’ll steep longer on the next one) but still very good. I’m finding a little nuttiness in this steep which is interesting. Something I hadn’t noticed before.
On to steep number six and I’m going to let this one go for a whole minute and see what happens. Learning how to use my gaiwan is so much fun to me. I’ve finally realized that you don’t need to be perfectly strict about the whole thing, trying to time everything down to the exact second per the steeping suggestions. I can just sorta go with the flow. It’s fun because you really learn about the tea this way by experiencing it in different layers. Seeing what a few extra seconds or grams will do to change the overall experience. A minute was a nice choice here. The nuttiness is coming out more and that smooth profile is getting a little more grassy. Delicious!
The first thing I have to say is that the sample size sent to me was so generous! There is enough tea for multiple pots rather than just a cup or two! I was very pleased when my sample box arrived =)
I really enjoyed this tea this afternoon while watching documentaries on netflix. I’m not too farmiliar with green teas, but this was very plesant. A nice clean, fresh flavor but not too overwhelmingly grassy or anything I was worried green tea would be like.
I do think I could have used more leaves though. I used 1 tsp per cup of water and got a very light flavor on the first steep. Second steep I increased the temp and steep time a little and got a better result.
I think I can see more green teas in my future…
Thank you Angel at Teavivre for the sample. I’ve had a few milk oolongs before. But this one was a little different, more milky and that is awesome. There is a sweet note to this tea too. Really all kinds of great flavors are coming out of this tea and I really love it! So much that I made a small pot of it for myself. I’m hoping to get another infusion out of it later tonight!
After sitting with it and enjoying it a little more (MIL was over offering her advice ‘sigh’) it has helped to calm me down a bit and center myself so I can enjoy the rest of my day.
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
First through seven steeps were consistently bold in flavour. I enjoyed how potent the liquor tasted. Lately I haven’t been drinking any strong black teas. This one had a very bold, earthy and malty flavour.
I’m looking forward to trying this western style (probably steeped in a mug). That being said, bold black teas are not my favourite. They’re not something I’d drink all the time, but it’s still a pleasant experience.
100ml purion teapot, 2tsp, rinse and 7 steeps (with Teavivre’s suggested times: 10s, 20s, 30s, 50s, 1m10s, 1m30s, 2m)
Edit: tried this western style, and it’s still quite nice and bold.
My adult son who is visiting for the weekend and I sipped this excellent green tea this afternoon-it was my second experience with it as a result of ordering the green tea assortment samples. I am picky about green teas, but I am excited about this one, and my son thought it was wonderful also. It has everything I am looking for in a quality Long Jing. Tomorrow we will try the Superfine Pre Ming Dragonwell for comparison. I used the whole 7 gm packet with 8 oz. 175 water.1st steep 1 min, then 2nd and 3rd steeps 2 min
This is just a short note to say I decided to experiment and put 8 gms from sample packets in 16 oz cold water for cold-steeping. 5 hrs later, I tasted it. Whoa! This packs a punch when steeped this way-very bold vegetal taste. I don’t know if it’s spinach or green beans. I do prefer this hot though. Cold, I had to dilute it a little and sweeten it, I guess being so vegetal didn’t go over for me as well in an iced tea as it did in a hot tea.
This is a repeat of my posting on Teavivre:I steeped the entire 7 gram sample in 8 oz for a minute at 190. I find that I like green tea as long as it is not bitter This one is very enjoyable-plenty of flavor and no bitterness. (I add stevia to all my tea though.)7g of these long green leaves is quite a few tsp. If you only measured 1 or 2 tsp, might be too weak I would think. Better to weigh it on a scale and use 7 gm as they recommend. I got several steeps.
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
- Vessel: Gaiwan 85 ml (3 Oz)
- Leaf: 5.8 grams (2 3/4 tsp.)
- Water: 100 C
- Time: 25s, 35s, 45s, 55s, 65s, 75s, 85s
Leaf & Infusion
Dry leaf – Rolled with dull shades of olive green to earthy brown, various in size – small to medium large when compared to average TGY. Smelling reveals roasted and smokey notes with some flowery notes underneath.
Wet leaf – As quantity of leaf overcrowded gaiwan in seven steeps the complete leaf unfurl is seldom. The wet leaves are closer to darker tones of olive green and look ripped, which prevents identifying its picking tandard. Aroma that arises from this heap is generally roasted with hints of flowery notes and a certan heat and a whiff of butter. There aren’t many stalks and most of them are thinner when compared to your average rolled oolong.
Infusion – Deep golden liquour tone stayed pretty much the same throughout numerous steeps. Initial aroma takes off with strong roasted aspect and touch of orchid. First steep gives away rich and full mouthfeel with pleasant amount of bitterness and finishes with pleasant amount of lingering bitterness in throat. After few sips there are some honey notes involved that gives the impression of Dan Cong oolong. Later steeps tend to shift to more astringent-citrus-fruity aspect still in pleasant range followed by its usual lingering roasted background. At third steep flowery notes seem to have completely dissapeared which makes room for fruity peach impression to take its form. As the session is half way through fruity aspect starts to decline and shifts more to herbal aspect which strongly reminds of Bai Mu Dan white tea at last steep.
Thanks LiberTEAS for this sample. Let me start by saying this is a good tea to break me (or anyone else needing broken in I suppose) to green teas in that I’ve not had but a couple I enjoyed and I am an oolong fan so obvious deduction= green oolongs.
Dry leaf is, as you would expect- green (shocker) and smells floral and maybe even fruity. The liquor steeped to a bright yellow with just a tad of greenish brown. Wet leaf smells very green indeed, kinda like seaweed maybe.
I was happy to see that, although this is a green oolong, it starts out not overpoweringly green and with a certain amount of nutiness in the sip. A faint sweetness is present, aside from the organic kind of sweetness I associate with grasses,but there’s not a strong enough presence for me to decipher what it resembles. The level of astringency is within my embarrassingly low threshold of tolerance for enjoyment. It, as I’m learning, leaves my palate feeling clean without any kind of bitter aftertaste. As the cup cools the grassiness becomes stronger, thereby reinforcing my earlier statement that it’s a good drink to break in to greens with. With the utmost of manners it brought me along into it’s vegative flavor and in turn kept itself from being poured out prematurely. Who knew that common manners could be so self preserving.
Since the cordial mannerisms of this tea were worthy to make mention I also deemed it worthy a second steeping. Fret not those of a frugal mindset; I shall not waste this sample but rather once this note is finished will continue steeping for any family members enthusiastic about drinking it during the wind down moments before bed.
Second steeping; a little info to start- often times I try to split even small samples in half in case I oversteep or something. I’m not stocked up on teaware yet so to do this I use one of those two cup glass pots with the finum basket inside you see at Asian groceries. It loses temp quickly. That said, when I went to steep a second time I forgot to set a timer (do not mock my primitive means you fortunate ‘Breville One Touch’ owners) and it went for maybe ten minutes. To my surprise it wasn’t bitter or overly strong…it seemed fine. I can only now assume that with the rapid temperature loss that the tea ‘stopped’ steeping once it got low enough. It was greener still,with a slightly more dry mouthfeel which may have been due to oversteeping. Generally this was a good tea, just not so much for me with my slowly but surely leaning away from green stuff palate.
tunes-Johnny Cash=Hurt/Rusty Cage/Thirteen/God’s Gonna Cut You Down
First off THANKS TO TEAVIVRE FOR THE WONDERFUL SAMPLE!!!
Dry smell: The first thing I noticed was the deep, earthy, chocolate aroma. It has a slight pungency but not in a bad way.
Wet leaf: When steeped the leaves get an earthy smell but also has tones of lilac coming through.
Flavor: The tea is very floral but still has a deep earthy flavor when left for a longer steeping. It has a slight tartness in the back of your throat when you swallow, but the aftertaste is a nice, light floral note.
I got 10 6 ounce steeping with 5 grams of this tea and probably could have gotten more. It is a nice summery/spring tea and I’ll definitely be buying some to have on hand. It isn’t going to be my every day tea but, on the right occasion, it is really nice.
I discovered ginseng-covered oolongs several years ago, and I have always enjoyed the strange sweetness that comes with their “alterting” properties. As I sit outside, watching the sunrise (sadly over other houses, not over the mountains, I breath in the ginseng powder aroma and wait for the water to boil. As I am at a location other than my home, I do not have an electric kettle here, instead opting for a stovetop, whistling tea kettle to prepare my hot water. Setting out my travel gaiwan set, I glance up as the sun breaches the horizon. Rinsing the leaves, the rinse water is discarded into the lawn, and I briefly smile at how much easier it is to drink tea outside, where anything may be disposed naturally.
My first steeping is for a mere thirty seconds, yet I feel that it captures the essence of this tea quite well, albeit weakly. The flavor of the ginseng has already begun to release itself from the oolong leaves. The smell is sweet, with a touch of the buttery essence of some oolongs. The flavor, too, is sweet, a bit weak, but refreshing, nonetheless.
Steeping number two brings out more oolong flavor, as the initial intensity of the ginseng has been diminished. The flavor is a bit darker, not quite so sweet, yet the leaves have only now begun to fully open, leaving much room for evolution.
In the third steeping (all have been for thirty seconds), I notice now that the ginseng and oolong flavors are blending together well. One can see that the oolong leaves have all but unraveled themselves, releasing their flavors. The diminished sweet taste is reminiscent of light honey or, perhaps, agave nectar. It is quite pleasant.
After the fourth steeping, I place all of the leaves in a large mug and pour hot water over them to leave them for an extended steep. The fourth steeping itself is wonderfully smooth, as though it has at last matured. This was quite tasty, and it seems the sunrise has been overwhelmed by rain clouds. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this tea an 87/100.
I have a bunch of Taiwan samples from Teavivre waiting that need reviews and in fact I have started tasting them (incredible so far) but I got sidetracked. My intention today was to experiment with new ways of preparing various comfort teas. Like my plan to get started early that didn’t happen either. As I started for the den I was contemplating a frozen chai. Then lapsong souchong popped in my head like a dog spotting a squirrel. As I dug into the pile I hit Golden Monkey and my knees quivered. This is better than a squirrel.
I believe this is still the only 100 I have given and I still mean it. The only way this could possibly be improved upon is if it were an Earl Grey (kidding – sort of – don’t shoot me), but I can’t imagine doing that to this leaf. I am snacking on a bowl of dry mini wheats and it has intensified the malty grainy even wine like characteristics of this most glorious of teas.
With one little scoop I can easily get 36 ounces of tea that improves with each cup. I may not make it to the oolongs or comfort teas today. I think the monkey on my back is completely in love with the monkey in my mug.
I spent the entire workday yesterday sipping Black Pearl. I know that’s not its name but it makes me giggle and go Arrrr! And then that reminds of the Pirates who don’t do anything. They just sit around and watch TV. And that reminds me of the line from the show, “You look like Captain Crunch… You’re making me very hungry.” That makes me giggle too, so today I decided to grab a brownie and this tea.
I rated the Pearls at 90. Earlier I gave this one a 100. The reality, for me at least, is once a tea hits the magic 90 mark, the difference between a 90 and a 100 is probably externals as much as anything. You know, what’s on the desk. Who’s in my face. The weather, my mood. To get a 90 a tea has to make me forget where I am, if for only amount. If I lose track of time even better.
Pearls and Golden Monkey are pretty similar. Pearls may actually have a little more body. I think they are both worthy of a mid 90’s score but I’ll leave the ratings as that’s how they spoke to me at the time.
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.