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Recent Tasting Notes
This is the last of my free oolong samples for review from TeaVivre. I know I’ve had a couple of ginseng oolongs before, but I can’t remember whether I liked them or not, and I figured anything they can do, TeaVivre can do better. :P The pellets resemble tiny moss-covered rocks, and I find them super cute. They’re coated with a dark olive green powder with a somewhat rough texture. Dry scent is deliciously sweet with a definite herbal, almost minty aroma.
The steeped tea has that same sweet smell, but to a lesser extent. I can also smell a strong grassy aroma along with a vegetal scent similar to raw salad greens. Hm, the taste actually isn’t sweet like I expected it to be. There’s a strong grassy presence as well as raw greens. I think the ginseng is adding a sparkling mineral taste to the tea, and I also get a slight creeping sweetness on the back of my tongue and throat after each sip. Very interesting and unique, and I do like it!
Flavors: Grass, Lettuce, Mineral, Sweet, Vegetal
This was a free sample provided in exchange for review by the lovely and sweet Angel over at TeaVivre. I really enjoyed the other Dong Ding sample that I tried, so I’m pretty excited to try this one as well, especially since I tend to love the medium-roast style oolongs. The irregular pellets are a dark olive green in color, with a lot of brown tones from the roasting process. They smell very sweet in a clear, sugarcane kind of way, and I can also smell nutty and grassy notes.
Wow, the steeped liquid smells amazingly sweet and nutty with slight grassy or vegetal undertones. This tea tastes super nutty and comforting, with a bit of that autumn leaf flavor I often find in roasted teas. There’s also a mellow sweetness throughout the sip, and it’s somewhat honey-like but I think it reminds me more of some type of fruit. In fact, there’s definitely a slight fruity note that’s especially clear in the aftertaste, I’m thinking starfruit or apples. I can definitely see similarities between this tea and the Gui Fei that I have in my cupboard. Yum!
Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Floral, Grass, Honey, Roasted nuts, Sweet
This has that same dry grassy smell that pet stores often do! It doesn’t sound like a complimentary association, but it is a fond one in my mind. It tastes like dry malty grass too! Very smooth with a nice finish on the sip. I can see why unflavored tea fans love this stuff!
I could have sworn I’d reviewed this one before because I remember this lovely taste and fragrance. I must stay that Teavivre is my go-to for good straight green teas and I like that they list whether the caffeine is low or higher on their site, too. The dry leaf is dark green, a touch curly, thicker than the Bi Lo Chun from yesterday. It smells fresh, green, light, airy, and floral. The brewed tea is a pretty clear sunshine liquor and smells more green and distinctively Huang Shan Mao Feng for lack of a better description. I know that’s helpful. :P This tea has a special flavor that is for sure floral with perhaps a touch of green beans or another fresh green and crisp veggie. It is also light, with a touch of sweet and mineral that is not bitter at all. All I can say is that it is an enjoyable cup and Happy Tuesday! :)
Flavors: Floral, Green Beans, Mineral
Thank you Angel for this sample.
The blend smells extremely sweet and thickly floral. The sheer fullness of it makes a herbal scent, so sweet that it becomes rather sickly.
Flavour matches the scent rather well, it’s sweet and herbal with thick general floral after taste. It lingers in the mouth and perfumes it sweetly. It is natural tasting but the sweetness and thickness reminds me of straw/hay with manure.
Further steeps bring out a crisp fruitness like sour apple. Considering it’s herbal it doesn’t leave any dryness in the mouth.
Honestly this blend is too sweet for me, I adore rose, don’t mind chamomile nor silver needle but together it’s just too much. I can’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. Not one on my order list.
Opening the pack…smells like grass and fields of flowers. Very pretty
Post brew (and most def do Gaiwan on this one. the leaves unroll like woah)smells Vegetal. Buttery. Soft.
Sipping….sweet, smooth, really nice buttery aftertaste…..light hint of floral on the tongue.
Very relaxing tea actually. A pleasant sip. :)
Thanks Teavivre for the awesome oolong sample! :)
Thank you Angel at Teavivre for this sample. It has taken me a while to get to this tea. I have spent a lot of nights lately avoiding caffeine, plus for a while my taste buds were off and I couldn’t give a tea like this a fair review on the Teavivre site. This was a strong tea. It was sweet in the first infusion. There was a slight bitterness in the second infusion. This soon went away and the sweetness returned. Some of the fermentation flavor was gone, not all, about what you’d expect from a 2008 tea. Other people noted notes of earth, leather and caramel. I definitely noticed the notes of earth and caramel and I think there was a sweet note of dates as well. I did not find any sour notes in this tea. It was good. It was relaxing as any good puerh should be. I did not get tea drunk, it wasn’t that relaxing.
I steeped this tea six times in a 207ml Taiwan Clay Teapot with 10g leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 10 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, and 30 sec. I did not appreciably weaken even in the sixth steep. It is a strong tea. I could have gotten at least six more steeps out of the brew, judging by the strength of the sixth steep.
Flavors: Caramel, Dates, Earth
I’ve been slacking with my free oolong samples from TeaVivre! This is the one that I expect to not like out of the bunch, mostly because I expect it to be floral. The rather eclectically rolled pellets are a lovely range of medium to dark yellow/green. Surprisingly to me, they smell quite grassy and sweet, which is definitely preferred over flowery.
Once steeped, this tea has a very interesting aroma… Yes, there are definite vegetal notes along the lines of spinach, and also a sweet grassiness. There’s also another scent that reminds me of turnips or potatoes – it actually smells starchy. Wow, it actually tastes a lot like potatoes, too! This is definitely something I haven’t encountered before in a tea. There’s also a distinct and almost sharp grassy note, and I find it to be rather energizing. I can taste just a bit of floral at the end of the sip, but it’s a rather mild one and it mixes with a touch of peach flavor. Yum, thanks Angel!
Flavors: Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Peach, Potato, Vegetal
Thank you Teavivre for sending this sample my way!
I was in the mood for some shu this afternoon and hopefully this caffeine will not keep me awake later… instructions say to brew this at 212 F for 3 to 10 minutes? That seemed like a lot to me.
I decided to dump my whole sample in a little yixing and I have been doing steeps for 30 seconds. This is a very nice shu, has pleasant flavors of coffee, cocoa and a fruitiness like dates. This is a very clean tasting tea, without any musty flavors or odors that would signify a bad tea. The reviews on Teavivre’s web site, a couple of people had different opinions and remarked on the fermentation flavor and a mustiness but I didn’t pick this up.
Lately I’ve been wondering about shu pu’erh as it’s fermented with bacterias which might be good (like probiotics) but also aspergillus niger which is a fungus/mold and one I might be allergic to. Right now I don’t notice any bad effects from drinking shu and I know it is supposed to be healthy… so I will keep drinking it anyway.
This is a very good tea. I would definitely consider buying a cake of it for drinking now.
Thanks for the sample TeaTiff
Hmm, I wasn’t sure what to expect here. I don’t have much experience with lotus. The first sip I was convinced I hated it. But as I continued to drink it it grew on me. The lotus adds a savory element that I found disconcerting at first. It seems a tiny bit like a rice scented puerh with a hint of mushrooms or something. Now that I have embraced its savory flavor its kind of nice. I’m not getting a lot out of the sheng specifically though. Anyway, definitely interesting and glad I got to try it!
Thanks to Angel for the sample!
Prepared with the gongfu method. Instructions are from website. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, 75, 85.
The dry leaf aroma evolves as the leaves sit in the gaiwan, in the open air. Roasted vegetable became sweet potatoes, which turns into maple syrup and candy, and then strawberries and blueberries. The wet leaf aroma is similar, but shifted back to roasted vegetables – bitter, like Brussels sprouts.
The liquor is pale gold and clear. Full-bodied and flavorful with a cream texture. Because the leaf was roasted, this Tie Guan Yin feels darker though no less brighter. Reminds me of early autumn, while the sun still shines a lot. The first cup tastes of roasted vegetables, and then of sweet things as the tea stays in the mouth. In the second and subsequent cups, the flavor remains consistently sweet, and also a little tart. Surprisingly fruit-like, as if it were a leaf-hopper oolong, though not quite so juicy.
This Tie Guan Yin leaves a soothing and cozy effect. It’s my first time having a roasted TGY, and it’s a good one!
This Raw puer is really nice, less bitter than some other puer this young. There’s a sweet overtone and the undertone is of wood and white pepper. A little lasting bitterness stays in your mouth, along with the peppery taste.
The funny thing about Puer teas is that there’s so much info out there about how you can steep it 20+ times. Granted, that’s true, the question I find myself asking when drinking a Puer tea is… do I want to?
If I can make it through 5 or 6 steepings and still be interested that’s saying something. I love the Gongfu approach to tea, but for me to really do a lot of extended infusions means it has got to be cream of the crop flavor, or it has got to have some interesting changes from one infusion to the next. Sometimes if I don’t see that really happening over the first 5 or 6 I’ll just stop there because the water I use for tea is expensive relatively speaking… it’s about 35 cents a gallon and I have to walk over a mile with a glass jug weighing over 50 pounds to get more. Thankfully I have a little cart with wheels to help me with this, but pulling it up and down hills can still be tiresome. I’m veering off course a little bit, but these are my thoughts at the moment.
Back to the tea. I like how sheng puer teas tend to mellow out after the first 4 or 5 infusions, and I think this is when I enjoy them the most. Some people rinse them at least twice before drinking to get to this point sooner, and while I don’t do that myself, I can see the appeal. As I move deeper into the infusions on this one, there’s a bit of a sweet floral taste emerging, overtaking the wood notes, but pepper is still the dominant flavor.
This was not a bad puer. It’s not as complex or suited to my tastes as many others I’ve had, but it is also agreeable and nice to drink.
Flavors: Floral, Pepper, Sweet, Wood
A very lovely Pu-erh. A well-defined first infusion that delivered sweetness, vegetation, wood and earth (mushroom-y earth flavor). I also picked up on notes of stone fruit.
The tea became stronger and the flavor deeper with subsequent infusions. An amazing sweetness, lovely fruit notes with hints of grapefruit, and woodsy tones. A vegetal note that reminds me of a green tea. The sweetness is like sugarcane! Lovely!
here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/08/02/2006-fengqing-raw-pu-erh-tea-tuocha-from-teavivre/
Thank you, Angel, for providing me a sample.
Prepared gongfu style with a ceramic gaiwan. Steeping instructions are from the website, save for the second 5 sec rinse. Steeping times: 25, 55, 75, 90, 100, 120, 160.
This wonderfully bright Tie Guan Yin has a powerful yet light floral fragrance. The season of early spring – a garden not quite yet flourishing flowers – comes to mind. The liquor is the color of sunshine yellow and has a slightly thick texture and clear mouthfeel. This was my first time using 7 grams instead of 4 or 5 in a gaiwan – my gaiwan was practically BURSTING with leaf. My cups were incredibly flavorful. Essentially floral, sweet, and candy-like, moving on to more plants fully grown, like in late spring. Peach, banana, and clementine appear in the middle of the session, leaving a fruity aftertaste, which, generally, stays with you for minutes and minutes.
If you live in a colder climate and need a bit of spring in the middle of it all, this is one Tie Guan Yin to drink. A cup of spring for you.
How do I love Teavivre? Let me count the ways!
Really, there is nothing bad about this company. The service is top notch, the packaging is better than anyone else’s, they have amazing teas.
This sample was provided for review by Angel at Teavivre. Thanks Angel! I am drinking this on a Friday afternoon. This week has felt like it was made of Mondays, and I feel the stress just melting off of me as I drink this.
Mostly, I drink Oriental Beauty oolong. This one is more roast and has a little bit of a woody or tobacco note. It’s really nice. It is definitely not floral at all, more fruity – with the fruit being on the raisin end of the spectrum.
By the third steep, it’s very sweet and tasting closer to the Oriental Beauty. Extremely yummy and I’m getting a nice qi from it. This is an extremely good oolong and I highly recommend it!
Thank you for the samples, Teavivre! I was waiting for a rainy day to try this one. I’ve never seen a white tea cake before! It actually looks like compressed white tea, made into a cake like pu-erh. I wonder why other types of tea aren’t made into cakes?
Steep #1 // 15 min after boiling // rinse // 2 min steep
Teavivre suggested using boiling water because this is fermented and also seven grams for a 12 ounce mug, so I used most of my ten gram sample pouch. I didn’t want to use boiling water, especially for the first steep, so I waited 15 minutes after boiling. The scent of the steeped tea reminds me of maple syrup and it’s in the flavor too. A very sweet smooth white tea. It does taste differently than most white teas I’ve tried, except for a Kenyan white tea… I wonder if that one was fermented as well? It also has a mild autumn leaf flavor. This doesn’t look like one of the fuzzy leaved white teas, more like the “rainbow of autumn leaves” white teas.
Steep #2 // 12 min after boiling // 3 1/2 min
I’m noticing that like the maple syrup flavor, the color of the brew also looks like maple syrup! Very interesting. The maple in the flavor is still here, but there is also a tangy flavor (not astringent or oversteeped) that I wasn’t getting before. It could almost remind me of a mild, less sweet apple juice, but that sounds to me like a raw pu-erh and it definitely doesn’t taste like that.
Steep #3 // 8 min after boiling // 4 min steep
Another nice cup.. loses some of the tangy but also loses some of the flavor. I can’t believe how full my infuser basket is! I’ve never seen so many leaves. I really like this one for its seemingly “all the senses” theme: the appearance of autumn leaves in the dry leaf (and the flavor) as well as the scent and flavor of maple syrup while also looking like actual maple syrup in the cup.
Flavors: Maple Syrup
This is worth trying a sample just for the dance of the leaf. The unscented bi lou chun is long twisty curls of delicate silvery and dark leaf. This jasmine version rolls it into balls resembling a cross between dragon pearls and tieguanyin. It is highly jasmine scented dry. In the water the pellets drop to the bottom and bubble. Then like Godzilla rising out of the ocean, the expanding and relaxing whole leaves begin to slowly rise from the bottom. Most fun I have had steeping in a while. Best viewed from the front row.
The tea is delicious. It is fairly heavy on the jasmine up front along the lines of Silver Jasmine Green rather than the more delicate grapey premium dragon pearls. The tea flavor comes in later and is quite nicely brisk and somewhat grassy. I found it a touch drying. In the aftertaste it adds on a fruity element, that I think it was Kitty Loves Tea, compared to melon.
This is the second of my free oolong samples from TeaVivre. I must say, I am somewhat perplexed by the naming of tie guan yin teas. I find it hard to know which ones are roasted and which aren’t, as well as the level of oxidation. Oh well! I can tell this one is roasted by the color and scent of the dry leaves. The pellets are very irregular and seem loosely rolled, and the color is a medium green/brown. Dry scent reminds me of roasted grains and has a touch of sweetness and grassiness.
Once steeped, this tea’s aroma is heavenly. I am definitely reminded of Gui Fei. There’s a rich roasty aroma along with sweet apple notes. Mm, this tea is so comforting. The main event is the soft, but rich flavor of roasted grain or leaves. Then there’s a lovely sweet element that vaguely reminds me of golden delicious apples combined with wildflower honey. The sweetness lingers into the aftertaste where it’s joined by the lightest, most refreshing floral element and a hint of roasty flavor. Yum, I’m in love!
Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Floral, Grain, Grass, Honey, Roasted, Toasted Rice
Hooray, first sample to try from cookies’s swap package! I’ve actually never had a straight Lapsang before, I’ve only tried them in Whispering Pines’s blends like S’mores and Campfire Blend. The leaves are somewhat wiry and very dark, almost black. Dry scent is… odd. It doesn’t really smell smoky to me, it almost smells like menthol or eucalyptus and somewhat chemically. We shall see!
Once steeped, it smells much more like what I was expecting. There’s still a bit of that menthol-ish aroma, which I assume is from the pine. I can also smell smoke and some woodiness that reminds me of scotch. I know a lot of people around these parts recommend maple syrup with smoky teas, but unfortunately I don’t have any at the moment. Hmm, I must say, I don’t love it. There’s a lot of wood flavor as well as a touch of earthiness, with just a bit of smoke over the top. I think I would enjoy it a lot more with maple added, I feel like it needs that bit of sweetness to balance it. Nope, this one’s not for me. Withholding rating.
Flavors: Earth, Pine, Scotch, Smoke, Wood
So, I didn’t end up making this to take to work, but the leaves were waiting quite nicely in my little gaiwan after work. I love that my family doesn’t touch my tea stuff because they know I re-steep my oolong.
This cup holds steeps 5-8 and they are still really, really lovely. The flavor is much more floral and less sweet. Still very creamy bordering on the buttery side instead of the milky side.
I also held the steeps a little bit longer. Just enough for me to swirl the lid around on the gaiwan before pouring it out. I have also decided that I need to get a thermos bottle made to easily pop the top and pour out water into a cup so I can bring my set up into my room.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral