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Recent Tasting Notes
I maintain that while this is a good tea, with definite chocolatey tones (which are delicious), I prefer Verdant’s Laoshan Black (and possibly the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls, although I haven’t had those since July). There’s just a more hay-y/almost vegetal flavour here instead of pure dark chocolate. I suppose it actually tastes more like a cross between Laoshan Black and what I consider a standard black tea to taste like. So, still good and drinkable straight, but could be better.
Regardless, I really appreciate these free samples sent to me from Teavivre!
Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for my wonderful second batch of samples, which generously included this one which I requested specifically since everyone here has been raving about it!
Like the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls, this tea smelled quite deliciously chocolatey when I opened up the package. It may have leaned a touch moreso towards malty/yeasty, but there was definitely chocolate there. I probably used about 2 tsp for 8 or 10 oz. water.
The result is pretty tasty, very little astringency, a rich, malty, hay-y flavour with chocolatey flavours emerging more slowly. I stupidly finished the other cup of tea before even trying this one (clearly not in the right state of mind for tasting tea right now. Not at all.) but I think I preferred the pearls :)
ETA: Very interesting second infusion, especially after just drinking that of the Fengqing Dragon Pearls! I can’t really taste much of anything chocolatey, but there’s a surprising sweetness! No astringency even though I think it was steeped a good deal longer than the pearls. I think this is a black tea I could actually drink regularly with no additions (along with the pearls, the Laoshan Black…. I see a trend here!)
Sipdown!! Man, this is a tasty tea. One of the first malty, chocolatey, delicious black teas I tried, so it will always have a special place in my… tastebud memory?? Anyhow, I still have the leaves sitting out for a possible second infusion… perhaps that’s what I’ll do after dumping the Persimmon Tea…
Well, I had hoped that this one would win my mom over in terms of black tea (which she has decided she’s not a fan of, although she likes pu’erh… will get to that in a bit). Unfortunately, no dice. Not sure if it was how I brewed it, or just a reluctance to be open to liking black tea. I’m personally finding it deliciously malty and a bit chocolatey today, so an incorrect brew is unlikely. I’d like to have my aunt, who enjoys black tea, try this one when she’s here in a few days.
Oh man. I can’t even write a proper tasting note right now because I totally just asked out a guy that I met yesterday, and am pretty much freaking out about it… (Mostly that he won’t respond… but also that he will…. gah!!) This is new territory for me…
So, uh, anyhow…. I really think I should have stuck to a rooibos/herbal tonight since I’m already really wound up, but I had brought this tea and my sample of Bailin Gong Fu Black downstairs on Friday night to try, but didn’t get around to it, and really wanted to experience the chocolatiness that everyone else has been! Thank you to Teavivre for the opportunity to taste and review this tea!
I used 5 pearls in my infuser, and the temperature probably wasn’t as close to boiling as it should have been, but oh well. The aroma when I cut open the packet was incredibly chocolatey and delicious – kind of crazy (hey, matches my mood!)
The tea tastes malty and chocolatey, perhaps a little less chocolatey than expected, but still quite good. I’m getting almost a yeasty-ish, bready note that I don’t remember finding quite as strong in Verdant’s chocolatey blacks, but it’s not bothersome. The tea is a little weak though, in my opinion, and I’m not sure if that’s because I should have steeped it longer (I went with three minutes), used more pearls, or because I added a bit of cold water after it was done steeping to cool it down a bit so I could drink it sooner (I should say here that I steeped it in less than 8 oz. water to begin with by accident, and the addition wouldn’t have put it over that). I’d be very curious to compare it directly to the Laoshan Black, but I only have a cup’s worth of that one left and don’t want to waste it on a night of comparisons.
… (I so don’t even know what to do with myself right now!)
ETA: This tea held up to a second infusion quite well! Still chocolatey and pleasing. I’m not sure how long I steeped it, but it could have been slightly too long, as there’s a bit of astringency. Still good though.
ETA again: Third infusion, a couple(?) days later, still has enough flavour to be enjoyable, although I do admit I steeped it in a smaller volume of water. I can’t recall now if I went for 3 or 4 minutes, but there’s no astringency this time, just maltiness with flourishes of cocoa every now and again. Really quite pleasant. This tea has definitely made the short-list for teas to buy when my stash is a bit smaller! (And I haven’t checked the price, but I think it is affordable?)
This black tea is beyond fabulous. It’s rich and bold while smooth and void of bitterness at the same time. I’m enjoying my second steep and this caramel flavor comes out nicely in the finish. This is the cup ‘o’ black I’ve been searching for. Many thanks to Teavivre for creating such a masterpiece!
THis was my first time trying Pi Lo Chun and although it’s good it’s not exactly my cup of tea ;P. It holds up really nicely to several infusions and reminds me a lot of gunpowder tea. Be careful though because it can turn astringent fast. The dry leaves are very pretty and have a nice smokiness to them which translates over to the cup. If you like smokiness to your greens by all means you’ll love this! I simply prefer something a little sweeter and floral.
This stuff is terrific! I’m always scared of blacks because if you steep them too long the tannins really come out and they get really astringent, not the case here! This one never get’s astringent. The dry leaves are very classic for a Chinese black and have a nice, spicy, cocoa scent to them. The smell of the liquor is a bit drier but the flavor is completely there. With notes of chocolate, warmth, never astringent, spicy, this is exactly what I expect of a fujian black tea. If Teavivre keeps it up I don’t know what other tea merchants will do . . .
This is my first milk oolong. I’ve tried black milk teas before, but this is almost entirely different. While in black teas with milk flavoring, I felt like the milk was there to soften the bitterness of it… but with this oolong, there is no bitterness or harshness to hide. It’s only there to add a subtle creaminess.
Last night, I made it hot, and enjoyed it greatly. I decided to have it again as my take-to-work tea, over ice since it was already in the 90’s when I left. It was wonderful iced. The Teavivre oolongs I’ve tried before were on the floral side, but this one is fruity! The flavor reminds me of peaches! It’s like a light peaches and cream oolong! I absolutely love it. Best oolong I’ve ever tried; will order.
Additional notes: Having this one again – two teaspoons, 18 minutes after boiling, two minutes. For a two year old opened sample (just in a ziplock), this is still mighty scrumptious. It’s actually darker than the Bailin Gongfu even with the same temp, time, amount of leaves. I’m noticing dark chocolate that I never would have noticed before, to go along with the slight smokiness. SO good. The second steep was steeped after 16 minutes for 3-4 minutes. (Basically these are notes for me for future cups.) Also very delicious. It’s very different from anything else I have, really.
This was not the 2013 harvest…it was from 2011 or 2012, maybe even 2010. Does anyone know if the 2013 harvest is the same/similar?
Additional notes: My original notes for this were in June? Wow.. it seems like it was forever ago. I must have wrote a billion tasting notes since then. Anyway, I’m sipping this again while reading my second favorite internet thingy about books: The Millions Year of Reading: http://www.themillions.com/2012/12/a-year-in-reading-2012.html (My first favorite internet book thingy is the Tournament of Books, but that isn’t until March ( http://www.themorningnews.org/tob ).
Anyway, the second steep seems better than the first this time. But I think I remember liking it better back in June (maybe because my sample package was just opened.. or because I have been spoiled with even more teas since June.. is that even possible? This tea is pretty high up there.) I steeped for four minutes after letting it cool a while. Second steep was just boiled and for five minutes. There doesn’t seem to be any smoke this time, just a solid black tea with malty lingering medium flavor.
This reminds me of why I love black tea — and tea in general! An absolute delicious flavor. It isn’t too strong of a flavor but some black tea is very light but this isn’t too light either. The flavor is a bit oaty in the best way possible. I had a hint of a floral scent for a second. The flavor is very smooth and a bit smokey. (But I like some VERY smokey teas, so it doesn’t bother me!) The unsteeped leaves are definitely a black color! The steep color is a deep brown. A great tea paired with my breakfast of blueberry pancakes, or probably any breakfast really. I only got a few hours of sleep last night, and it seemed to wake me right up too! I’ve tried a few of Teavivre’s teas (thanks to their VERY generous free samples) and they have been so so delicious. I doubt that Teavivre has any tea in stock that isn’t fantastic. They know what they’re doing! I’m looking forward to trying any and all from Teavivre!
I brewed this this other day and my intial reaction was that it was ok. I assumed that I should increase the amount of tea and adjust the steep time. Today with 7 pearls and brewed 1 cup basket style I am loving it. The first steeping was light and flavorful and it gave me a nice wake-up cup. A good energy. The second cup I gave the eternal steep. In other words I lost time. Just like with other pelleted teas the second cup shined. Maybe this tea would benefit from a rinse? Either way my order went out to Teavivre without this. It will be on my next order. I am glad I changed my brewing method on this beauty. A superb selection.
Many thanks to Teavivre for the free sample!
I’m still a bit messed up from jet lag, so this will be shorter than usual. This tea is nice, fairly typical of Taiwanese Oolongs, but it lacks anything truly unique to make it stand out. It’s not very flowery or fruity, the aftertaste lingers, but only for about 45 seconds. The only things that stands out is how creamy it tastes, but that isn’t really interesting. Don’t get me wrongs, it’s still good, it’s just that I’m a bit spoiled but some of my other teas, and this just doesn’t measure up.
This tea has a strong earthy scent which I noticed particularly after brewing. Reminiscent of peat and leather and wood. I like that even though it has the earthy scent, it doesn’t taste as earthy as it smells. It is really quite sweet and smooth. A very rich taste, almost buttery, but not in a green tea or oolong “buttery” kind of way, but more like melted butter with freshly baked bread. Very mellow and nice. I like this one.
Steepster is telling me that I haven’t had this since June! Boy, I have missed this tea. That familiar smooth, malty taste with slight chocolate notes. So comforting on this cold COLD COLD day. It is -45 degrees C with windchill today. I was going to run some errands today. But, I think I will just stay home and enjoy multiple steepings of this tea instead!
I am so glad that I ordered 100g of this tea to enjoy, this is one of my favs for sure!
Teavivre black teas gongfu experiment day!
I drank 3 black teas from Teavivre today. I was curious how the gongfu method would impact the notes in the teas.
I did 5 steeps: rinse, 30s, 50s, 70s, 1.5min, 2min
The colour of the brew is very interesting. I poured all these in quick succession and have each steep lined up in front of me. It starts off a light yellow/amber and shifts to a deep autumn amber.
It takes longer for the malty, sweet, chocolate flavour to develop with short steepings. It doesn’t show up until about the 3rd steep. This is still sweet, malty, with those wonderful dark cocoa notes.
Surprisingly, I think I prefer the Western brewing method in the case of this tea. It really gives the sweet and cocoa notes more time to develop.
I am increasing the rating because this tea is even better than I remember!
And that concludes my Teavivre black teas gongfu experiment for now…..thank goodness I don’t have more of their black teas at the moment! (but there are more on their way ;0)
Very much looking forward to this sample! Thankyou Angel and Teavivre for this generous sample
I used 4 pearls
Dry smell: like smoky hot chocolate
Appearance: golden amber
Smell wet leaf: almost like a malty milkshake
Taste: Delicious, malty, slightly sweet, smooth. Cocoa notes.
It leaves a wonderfully warm and comforting feeling throughout my body.
Delicious to have that cocoa taste but tastes so natural
2nd steep 1.5min—slight astringency in the aftertaste
I would re-steep some more but it is getting late in the day, I will have to save the leaf for tomorrow morning.
Edit: 3rd steeping from last night’s leaves, 3 minutes. This tea is starting to lose it’s sweetness a little bit but it is still delicious.
I would do more steepings, but I have so many other teas left to review!
Thanks to TeaVivre for the generous sample.
By far this has been the best blueberry tea I have tasted. I don’t buy blueberries from anywhere in the world as nothing compares to Northern Ontario blueberries. I have to say this tea as an iced tea delivers almost the same Northern Ontario blueberry flavor. So devine. Must get more.