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Recent Tasting Notes
Today’s work cold brew. I’d been meaning to try this one cold for a while (since last summer, I think?) but I always seem to forget. This year, though, I remembered just in time. I’m not typically a fan of jasmine tea, but I do like peach, and this one strikes just the right balance for me. It’s not too floral or perfumey, and the peach isn’t overly artificial or chemical tasting. Instead, there’s a delicate balance of both. The peach is juicy and natural tasting, and the sweetness is augmented by the light heady floral of the jasmine. It’s a good pairing! The green tea base is smooth, with no bitterness or astringency at all. It must have had at least 7 hours in the fridge, so I wasn’t sure what to expect on that front (I don’t cold brew green teas very often, so I’m less certain about steep times and such like), but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. Another excellent Teavivre offering!
I wanted something fairly straightforward this morning, and this fit the bill perfectly. It’s still one of my favourite plain black teas – deliciously malty, with strong chocolate and cocoa notes. It’s very easy to drink, very smooth, and works well both with and without milk. I have a feeling this – or one of Teavivre’s Dian Hongs — will be a permanent fixture in my cupboard. They’re just too good to do without.
Why don’t I drink more green tea?
I always love it when I drink it, and I used to drink green tea every day, but I don’t love it the way I love Black/Red Tea. I guess that’s the reason.
Plus I can’t drink green tea on an empty stomach…there’s always that…
But anyway, this is a lovely one, more delicate in appearance than Dragonwell, with a clean vegetal taste, a buttery aroma, and a thickness that builds on the tongue, sip by sip.
Much gratitude to Angel and Teavivre for the sample.
Speaking of Teavivre, I finally got my sipdown extravaganza down to below 200 teas in my cupboard (190, actually), so now I’m allowed to order from one company per month, with wild abandon. This month it was Teavivre, as their black teas have been missing from my cupboard for quite some time, and I’m getting low on black teas anyway!
sipdown – 189
Oh my goodness. I was not expecting to like this one as much as I do. I was craving a straight black tea this morning and instead of reaching for my usual Nepal Black, I reached for a sample in the sipdowns pile. There was SO MUCH LEAF in this little sample package. Definitely 2-3 cups worth. It has a metallic taste, kinda like licking a penny, but I don’t dislike it. It’s all good.
Thanks again to Angel & Teavivre for this sample.
This is such a beautiful and delicate looking tea, with a flavor that is vegetal, mineral, even floral, and a little nutty as well. I shared steepings of it this afternoon with 2 of my college harp students who came over to work on a duet, and we all enjoy several rounds.
Definitely enjoyable. There’s a fairly strong fragrance to this brewed tea that backed me off initially because I have an aversion to strongly scented teas (like earl grey). Other keemuns I’ve tried haven’t had this. However, it lessened enough as it cooled a bit and I was pleasantly surprised that the flavor wasn’t perfumey.
Really easy drinking tea, fairly smooth and medium body. Sweet potato with a bit of malt, tastes like autumn, perfect for this late-September morning. Just a touch of astringency at the finish which melts away quickly. I brewed it for about three minutes, and based on the reviews I’ll be trying it next time at 1/2 that length. Though Angel sent me this sample a few years ago, just enjoying it happily now.
I have only had Dragon Pearls from another company, and for the price, Teavivre were better!!! Full of flavor. I have been chugging this tea for school, and it’s pretty much my go to for afternoon/early evening.
Medium level of caffeine
It’s just a wonderful black tea. I only like drinking it hot. It needs NOTHING added to it, it’s perfection on its own.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Molasses
Hello, I have taken a huge break from tea reviewing, even though I have drinking tons and tons of new teas! This one made me realize I need to review it, since no one has yet done it!
This one is reminds me of a foggy spring morning…sorry for the flowery description, but that’s what the taste feels to me. It has a strange brewing time for a green tea…5-8 Minutes! I thought for sure that it would be bitter as a lemon. And it has no astringency whatsoever. It’s just mellow. It reminds me of a white tea! You can see the leaves as they open that they are youngsters.
I would gladly have this tea on a break from his bitter green tea cousins. I could see this tea be nice iced, too. I have a pattern I do this with most Japanese green teas. I brew them hot twice, and on my last brew, I throw cold water over it, and let it brew once more overnight in the fridge for just one more go with the leaves.
I am on my 2nd brew, and it’s lost some of it’s depth. Not sure what the steps to rebrew this tea would be.
Flavors: Cut grass, Wet Earth
From the purchased sample pack. Impressions leave an okay thought, an expensive price tag thought and not much steeps before the flavours just fades to an ordinary tea tree bush vegetal taste thought. To be honest I am not impressed and is no where near the taste and quality of the xing xiang oolong. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay but not for $26 /100g
Roast is okay. Leaves are a bit tattered.
Tea is between light and creamy. A distinct smoke note though not very interesting. I ended up throwing the rest of the sample in the garden.
It’s no secret that I drink an obscene amount of tea, most of which is some form of green tea, but I don’t tend to purchase Dragon Well as often as others. I’m a big baby when it comes to astringency, I just don’t care for it (although it’s something many other tea drinkers truly desire.) Dragon Well often has more of an astringent bite than other green teas—especially those picked later in the Spring. What really sets this tea apart from others of its type is the incredibly smooth flavor and lack of astringency. It’s without a doubt the most enjoyable Dragon Well I’ve had the pleasure of sampling, but it’s also one of the most expensive teas TeaVivre has to offer (50 grams will set you back about $34.) You can certainly find many less expensive options if you enjoy Dragon Well, but comparing a She Qian Dragon Well to anything else is like comparing apples to oranges. She Qian teas are picked much earlier in the year (near the Spring equinox on March 20th) and are highly sought after because of the vastly different flavor profile they offer. They’re only produced in limited amounts, but if you’re a fan of Dragon Well you’ll definitely want to put this on your wish list.
You can read the rest of the review on my blog:
Sipdown! I don’t remember whether I got this as a sample from the company or as part of a swap, so I’m sending out a general thanks and hoping the right person gets it.
Honestly, today’s generally rough for me. I managed to get out of bed and putter around for a few hours but now I’m back. Luckily, my tea tray fits perfectly on my nightstand. I have been drinking good teas but having trouble focusing on them. This one managed to cut through the fog when a delightful floral scent wafted up as I poured from brewing vessel to pitcher. This smells and tastes like jasmine and lavender and rolling fields of heather as far as the eye can see. Later steeps are drier but still quite floral and smooth. Even my tea pet likes it. :-)
This is another tea from Angel at Teavivre. Thanks again, Angel! Sorry it took me so long!
The first thing I notice as I open the pouch is a sweet, almost caramellized fruit aroma. Like a grilled peach. The leaves are very narrow and fine. Dark, dark brown. As the tea steeps, the water goes dark very quickly and the leaves unfurl to perfect little spears of young leaves.
The flavor is smooth and has a distinct sweet potato note. I also get a sort of wheat bread and malt flavor, too. It’s a very heavy black tea, but I love it. It’s very satisfying and is definitely going on my order list for Teavivre. Would be a wonderful winter tea. I think it could also serve as a good substitute for coffee.
A note to self, however: Scoop lightly, this stuff is potent! Maybe go with a shorter steep time, too.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
Reviewing the oolongs that came in the sample packs sold quite expensively. This is my second type of oolong testing, first being the Da Yu Ling oolong in the sample pack.
I am liking this one a lot over the DYL, it’s got a creamy, milky, buttery punch with a distinct floral/fruit after tone. Even though appearing to look light the smell is thick on this one. This is a flavoursome one – my mouth and olfactory is filled with it’s flavour. Sitting in front of an empty cup and cha hai that once containted the dong ding, the smell permeates the air in front of me – I am impressed.
The taste isn’t as bright but best described in the milky category, it really reminds me of drinking milk albeit a floral tea one! And you know what? I like it!
Though new to Oolongs, this is my favourite so far from the 8 varieties of oolongs that I have brewed,
I’ve been disappointed with the teas from Teavivre thus far, even their famous blacks like the golden monkey and golden pearl which I am going to give away, but this one I’d recommend and wouldn’t mind stocking up over all the other tea’s I’ve had from them so far.
Brewed gongfu – flash steep – 20s, 30s, 40s
Flavors: Cream, Fruity, Milk, Sweet
My first tasting of this tea was in my gaiwan with about 3 grams of tea and 2 grams of tangerine peel. I did a 5 second rinse then 3 infusions. From the beginning this was a very fun tea just from the packaging. It is so much fun (albeit also frustrating) to open the tangerine and get the tea out. The aroma of the tea was sweet and citrusy to begin with. The taste was light, oily, buttery, and smooth with slight orange/tangerine flavors. The second and third infusions became sweeter than the initial one. The tangerine flavor becomes more subtle and more cohesive. The flavors meld very well. Overall an excellent sweet and refreshing tea for those who like flavored stuff.
Flavors: Butter, Orange
I’ve been reading a book about tea recently, and I just went through a passage about sheng teas. Now I’m conventionally a shu person, but I was hit with a sheng craving that’s been lingering for a few days… luckily, I had a little bit of this left.
I’m doing homework and a little too distracted to do many steepings in the gaiwan, but I gave it a rinse, then did a 3 minute steep. I know shengs are really meant to be made in the gaiwan, and I would probably get so many more flavors if I did, but oh well.
Ahhhhh it hits the spot! So bright and high-pitched and woody. It reminds me of two things at once: 1) snapping a fresh young twig off a tree and chewing it, and 2) someone playing crystal glasses. (Speaking of which! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47TGXJoVhQ8)
It took me a long time to come around to shengs, but I think I almost crave them more than shus. I know shengs are the more “classic” pu erh variation, since shus have only been around since the 70’s, so it makes me excited to try even more varieties than I already have.
It is exactly my bedtime and I reeeeeeally shouldn’t be doing a second steeping of this… but I can’t do just one steeping on these leaves…. aaaaaagh…. tomorrow morning self, I’m sorry.
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Flavors: Caramel, Plums, Raisins, Sweet
A sample that came with my recent order there, there’s a medium roast on this one. For the most part, this is there in a good way, although the roast can tend to over power a little. It adds a sweet caramel-esque touch to the flavors in your cup, though, playing on the edges of the tongue behind the general roasty toasty body.
Opens up sweet, a bit buttery, and a little florally aromatic with a slick, lingering mouthfeel. As the leaves unfurl, it becomes a drying mouth feel tea, loses the bit of flowers, and settles in as a creamy, roasty oolong with sweet edges that confuses my brain as creamy flavor and super dry mouth seems like it shouldn’t be a thing. Quite a nice change up from the normal floral explosion, nuclear green Taiwanese oolongs I’ve mainly tried so far, although still the same light, pure character at heart under the roast. I think I like something more complex and/or heavier, so probably won’t be seeking this out again myself, though.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Roasted, Sweet