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Recent Tasting Notes
Happy New Year, everyone! Starting my year in tea with something very nice. I made a pot of this for my brother and his girlfriend.
The first thing I noticed about the little green nuggets is the scent. A hint of the ocean, followed by sweet cream and flowers. As it steeps, it comes out to a lovely pale greenish yellow. It’s very light-looking, almost deceptively so. Like the other teas I’ve sampled from Teavivre lately, the leaves are whole and beautiful. Hardly nicked.
I have to say right now, this might be my new favorite oolong. It’s so smooth and it lacks a lot of that pungency that oolongs can have. Most of the ones I’ve tried have had a certain nuttiness about them, but this one doesn’t. I’m literally tasting just floral goodness and cream. Or milk. It’s soothing and fresh tasting. Wonderful.
Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Umami
Here I am to enjoy a big red Robe. Its leaves are long and have an incredible volume .
The smell is forested, mostly wooded . This type of tea is very famous and is even extremely famous but I read anything and everything about it ( picked by monkeys wearing red dresses in honor of the emperor, tea trees dressed with a red dress honoured by the emperor to thank this tea to have healed the mother of the Emperor … ) I cannot tell why this tea is called like that but it grows well on Mount Wuyi and that’s the point.
A translucent orange liquor is obtained.
A the first sip , my olfactory impression is confirmed , I have the impression of riding into a forest : moss, mushrooms , bark, wet earth , nuts … that’s what this tea reminds me immediately.
Mushroom is for me the most prominent flavour followed by wood. This tea also has a mineral note , some rock-y taste , which must be explained by its origin.
Some cocoa notes are also present . The texture is very light, very refreshing , and while cooling I begin to detect a little fruity note .
This tea is complex. I imagine it must be very suitable for Gong Fu Cha session and reveals incredible flavors in short, multiple infusions. But … it is already very good Western style .
You can see pics of my session with this roasted Oolong here : http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/fujian-da-hong-pao-big-red-robe-wuyi-rock-oolong-tea-teavivre/
This is lovely – I’ve been drinking so much darjeeling and assam from my Golden Tips subscription I’ve forgotten that other blacks exist. This is sweet and smooth and bready. As it cools down I get more of a chocolatey note. Still chocolate bread, and not strong enough to give me that “omg imposter chocolate” sense, but enough to be flavorful. I am so glad I got a sample of this on BF.
Plus, two steeps tastes great. I love when I have the option to resteep.
This looks like coffee.
But does NOT taste good with eggnog.
I did 2 short rinses, and now I’m doing few-second steeps. So far they are all REALLY strong. It’s like I’m digging through a decomposting tree but it’s hot. Mulch, earth, and autumn leaf pile are good descriptions.
So far it’s tasting too much like tree and bitter for me. I’ll come back in a few steeps.
4 (shorter): Fishy. Hmm.
5: More earthy and mulch like. Wet forest is here too.
6: A little sweeter? Interesting. Still earthy and wet foresty though.
7: I think this is it. I steeped a couple minutes this time, and it’s significantly lighter in colour and flavour.
OMG, I could not imagine steeping this for one to two minutes straight up!
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for the sample.
Rinse x 2. Approx. 4g/3oz x 15 sec/steeps.
Wet leaf has the slightest hint of compost type scent initially but this disappears and switches to fruity apricot after the third cup.
First cup after the rinses tastes tart and cooling, but after that the taste becomes sweet and fruity with apricot and grape-like notes. Very pleasant hints of bitterness sort of like the taste of chewing on the seeds from grapes.
Light and refreshing, but also seems to have a peppery warming sensation awhile after drinking. Soft and lovely, with still more steeping to do.
This tea is tasty, sweet and earthy. The one I received is a 2012 tea although they don’t advertise the production date on the website. It is still fairly earthy for a 2012 tea, I guess mini tuocha do not age fast. In any case it is tasty.
I brewed this once western style with 2 mini tuocha, 10g in an 18oz teapot with boiling water for 30 sec. It makes for a strong tea.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
Ah a good Dan Cong, this is really a great pleasure in the morning too.
This one has lovely long dry leaves and some of them are even incredibly long and folden. This tea looks really like a black tea but from my experience some excellent Taiwanese Oolongs are looking like that.
This is a really strange tea, quite difficult to understand. The dry leaf’s smell is quite malted, woody with touches of fruit. Despite an infusion of 5 minutes into a boiling water, the leaves are still folden.
The colour of the liquor is very pale vs the darkness of the dry leaf, it’s a pale golden brown.
The body is light. This is a very reffined tea, more subtle than most of the Dan Cong I tasted until now.
The dominant notes are fruit, peach mainly but not only as raisin reveals its presence in a supportive role. A little woody taste is there as well. And a touch, but just a touch of honey.
Surprising tea. A little too light bodied regarding my expectations but the taste is there. I’m going to play around a little because it is an extremely complex tea and it doesn’t reveal the same aromas , depending of the infusion and the temperature of the liquor.
You can see pics of my sesion with this beautiful tea here in a new blue glass cup purchased at Mariage Frères : https://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/12/28/guang-dong-phoenix-dan-cong-oolong-tea-teavivre/
I am a big fan of oolongs that are partially roasted. They tend to strike this perfect balance between darker, toasty flavors and the fresh and floral notes of a green oolong. This sample came to me courtesy of Angel Chen and Teavivre (I am consistently blown away by their generosity).
The dry leaf of this brought the concepts of yin and yang to mind. Dark brown, roasted leaf and fresh jade green balancing each other out. The smell was mostly that of a roasted oolong, nutty and earthy, with an undertone of flowers and fruit.
I brewed the tea in a 4-ounce gaiwan with boiling water, one minute and thirty seconds initially, and one minute for two consequent steepings. The flavors that I picked up were mainly earthy and nutty, reminiscent of a blend between very light shu pu-erh and a Wuyi rock oolong. The lighter flavors then presented themselves on the finish, which I would describe as those of jasmine, mineral, a bit of grassiness, and a touch of dairy. All of the aforementioned flavors/aromas were very light nuances, and the dominating flavor profile was that of earthiness. Overall, an enjoyable and somewhat complex oolong.
Flavors: Earth, Floral, Grain, Grass, Nutty
Cooking TTB #6
This has been on my wishlist for a while and was so so nice!! I absolutely will be picking some of this up. I can’t say that it outright tastes like peach, but the peachyness seems to soften and sweeten the jasmine just enough to make it so much different than any other jasmine tea I own. Not to mention that I was able to get 3 steeps in my 12 oz cup with 8 pearls. Love.
Flavors: Jasmine, Sweet
Just as I had expected, my son and his girlfriend were eager to try some new pu-erh teas tonight. This seems to have become a tradition now for family gatherings. They have never had a sheng that I can recall and have asked me to order some puerh for them during this sale, so I am having them sample a number of my teas on hand to see what else they would like.
Even though it is their first sheng, they are drinking it heartily and really like it. We have made about one liter of tea from one little tuo cha. I think they are very interested in having more of this one.
I am tasting very little of the jasmine tonight, perhaps because of how I stored it. I will have to remember that. What I am tasting is a nice young sheng, and we remarked that it would be a wonderful tea for clearing the palate after a meal, especially after Asian buffet takeout.
Now we move on to some shu!
Not long ago I mentioned on here that I had tried every Jasmine tea from Teavivre except this one. What came in the mail today but TWO tuo cha of it from K S! Steepsterites are the best!
We had gone to the big city of Raleigh to top off the Christmas shopping, but mostly just for fun, and we wanted some tea and spice cake when we got home. I made this in my new Kamjove pot that I got from Teavivre.
I didn’t look up the instructions but I used boiling water and kept the first few steps short. My first impression…I took a sip and said, WOW! The first few steeos had that light, natural Teavivre Jasmine flavor that I love. As the Jasmine flavor faded and the raw puerh came forward, I accidentally left a steep too long. That steep was still good, and all it took was a little extra water to tame it. These later steeps had a briskness that turned almost immediately to a rising sweetness that I really enjoyed.
This is on my next order. Thank you, K S, and Merry Christmas! I hope you are feeling better, and I LOVE my card with sparklies. I am a sucker for sparklies and I know Mrs. K S must have made it herself! Many thanks!
Gorgeous leaf with sweet aroma of melon and hay.
Tastes of fresh cucumber, melon and a bit of grain/hay – very refreshing without any bitterness, and is delicious when cool as well.
This is a very lovely tea and I am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Thank you to Angel at teavivre for this sample, especially nice since I haven’t had a lot of white teas.
Thank you for the sample, Teavivre! I’ve recently become obsessed with white teas. I never would have guessed. The flavor is a nice change from other teas sometimes! These leaves are almost green in color and larger sickle shaped, slightly different than what I’m accustomed to for this type(usually wirey, twisty). The scent of the leaves is very sweet and grassy. Teavivre suggests using five tablespoons of leaves for 17 ounces, which I’m not even sure is possible, but I know they mean loose teaspoon measurements since these leaves are so big, they’ll fall easily out of a teaspoon. It should really be 10 grams. I used 2 1/2 teaspoons which seems like half a sample pouch.
Steep #1 // 40 min after boiling // 1 minute steep
The flavor is a great white tea. Refreshing, light, grassy, hints of lemon. This is the white tea flavor I’m addicted to. I can tell the next cup will be even better, the flavor is just getting started, as white teas tend to do. Do NOT miss out on resteeping white teas!
Steep #2 // 30 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Yes, the flavor is better here, it seems to meld together with fuller flavors, as the first cup of white teas seem a little tangy. More sweet lemon flavor, a little nutty, and some sort of flavor I can’t describe that only reminds me of white teas. The flavor brings to mind having a picnic with a fluffy lemon cake in a field of grass. I wish I were there right now with this December weather! I’m sure the other white teas from Teavivre are just as good… I know I’m in love with the jasmine white.
Another sample from Teavivre! Thank you! I’ve only tried a few loose pu-erhs in the past — these leaves are on the smaller side and have hints of reddish gold to them. I used an entire sample pouch of this. This sample was a loose three teaspoons. With the robust flavor, I could have used 1 1/2-2 teaspoons, but three is perfectly delicious! The flavor is sweet, hints of marshmallows, smooth yet deep (the cup is VERY dark.. very coffee like). The other steeps were just as good. The perfect pu-erh, as usual from Teavivre. I could describe most of Teavivre’s ripened pu-erhs the same way but they never fail me! They might be similar but most of them are so delicious, with none of the disagreeable pu-erh characteristics that might scare someone away from pu-erh. You can’t go wrong with any of the ripe pu-erhs I’ve tried from Teavivre. Teavivre is the PERFECT shop to start with pu-erh for beginners.
Steep #1 // 8 min after boiling // rinse // 1 1/2 min steep
Steep #2 // 5 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
Steep #3 // 5 min a. b. // 4 min
I have been drinking this quite a lot and finally I have time (and energy) to review it. Ordered this from black friday sale from Teavivre.
Leaf nuggets are brown/yellow/green coloured their size is pretty even, and they have really strong strawberry smell, bit artificial though.
There was no brewing guide for gongfu so I used classic 25s-35s-45s-55s-etc. and 100C water. Also I got a new gaiwan as christmas present! It some kind of clay but inside is porcelain, it keeps temperature better than my whole porcelain gaiwan.
Tea is bright yellow with green in it. It has vegetal and strawberry aroma, there is that typical oolong tea smell that is you can smell, it’s not overly flavoured which is good. Also you can really taste the green oolong over the strawberry, but that strawberry is still there. You know you’re drinking oolong and not just any strawberry tea. Bit sour and sadly I have to say too that strawberry is quite artificial tasting, it would be a lot better is they would use strawberry oils or something to get that real strawberry flavour. I have to try western way to see how different does it taste. Despite the artificial strawberry, this is not bad I will drink the whole 100g of this, for 7,26e (8,90$) is it worth the money. Also I have to say that strawberry is losing it’s flavour with each steeping, it becomes soft after couple steeping, but I think I have to recommend western way for this, I have to try it myself fist still.
Flavors: Artificial, Sour, Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for a generous sample of this tea! The dry leaf smells sweet and kind of buttery with a touch of floral. The taste is sweet, buttery, smooth, and slightly nutty. It’s very mellow but very easy and smooth to drink. It almost has a silky mouth feel to it :) I really enjoy this green!
Flavors: Butter, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal
Backlog from a few days ago.
I’ve brewed this twice so far, and I have to admit that both times I’ve chickened out and used much less leaf than the steeping instructions from Teavivre recommend. They’re recommending about 3x how much leaf I would normally use for a single teapot – I can’t get over how extravagant the instructions are.
Will I one day dare to use a whole tablespoon of leaf per 8 oz of liquid? Will the results bowl me over? So far, using my wimpier measurements, it’s a decent cuppa, but nothing earthshattering – malty, sweet-potatoey, but nothing too noteworthy.
Of course, I do have a lot of tea in my cupboard now. I shouldn’t be scared to use it all up, because if I don’t, it will go stale before I have a chance to drink it!
I really love oolongs, especially strong and highly oxidised ones, so I was excited to try a few of Teavivre’s.
The Tie Guan Yin has very green leaves, a strong grassy scent (very much like a pure green), and a very solid aroma unsteeped.
Brewed the aromas become very light and airy with lots of floral notes. The brew becomes pale yellow in color. I only steeped for 4 minutes, as I did not want to risk too much astringency.
I was very impressed and surprised by the flavor. I expected the tea to taste much more like the dried leaves smelled, but it was quite herbaceous and fruity – and just lovely all around. It would have still been delicious had it been stronger, but this was perfect for what was craving at the time.
I will be steeping this a couple more minutes next time to see if I get the stronger flavors without too much more astringency. I might also add a tiny bit of honey to go with some of the fruity notes of the tea.
All around, this was an exemplary tea that I will certainly be drinking again. As someone with a higher oxidation preference, I was delighted at how much I enjoyed this very green oolong.
Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Jasmine, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass
Cooking TTB #1
Oh boy. This past week was one of the most stressful weeks I’ve endured in quite a while. We are opening a kindergarten program at the school I teach at and my boss wanted the kindergarten rooms to be painted. Five employees volunteered to help out. He told us it had to be finished in a week so he could show the moms during our Christmas party this past Friday. We thought, “No big deal. It’s only two rooms.” …..yeah….well, what he neglected to tell us was that the walls weren’t simply being painted a solid color….they were instead going to be painted with murals of storybooks characters and woodland creatures. Also, we are not artistic by any means and were relying on one particular employee to plan and draw the entire thing on the walls so that all we had to do was fill in spaces with whatever color she handed us. Needless to say, we did not finish because IT WAS AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK. On the last night, we were there painting until 2 am. I literally made no tea during the whole painting experience (though I had some Starbucks and Coffee Bean stuff that others brought). Anyway….it was terrible but the room looks freaking awesome.
This was the first thing I pulled out of the TTB after looking at it for 3 days but not having a single moment to actually make tea. I have really liked all the rose teas I’ve had before, but this one didn’t exactly taste like I had expected it would. I liked it quite a bit more cold, surprisingly. I don’t know that I’d buy this as my go-to rose tea, but I’d never say no to a cup.
I originally was going to drink a tea purchased from Teavana tonight but I noticed that it is a green tea/green rooibos blend. I am beginning to believe that I am allergic to green rooibos so I picked this one. The last two times I drank green rooibos I was up all night with insomnia and I didn’t want to take a chance.
This tea is somewhat sweet and quite vegetal in nature. The note of green beans is described in the Steepster writeup and is fairly accurate.
I brewed this tea once in an 18oz teapot with 5 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 3 min.
I haven’t had many “raw” puerh teas, but I think that I don’t care for them.
I’ve done 2 steeps and a rinse, and even though I’m keeping the times shorter (10-30 seconds), there’s a bite to the end of the sip and a weird smokiness to the taste.
TBH, it smells REALLY good. Like wood and a green forest. The dry leaves smell amazing as well. But the bitterness is just not something I ever want in the teas I drink. This is why I prefer lower temperatures for steeping my black teas. Astringency? Fine. Bitterness? Milk, please. But milk would really not go with the foresty cedar mineral flavour of this.
I’ll do a couple more steeps, but I don’t think it will (by my tastebuds) improve.
Yay, another Teavivre oolong! This one came as a sample in a pretty, light bronze pouch. Inside, it’s wrapped again in a little square of celophane. The small, bright green nuggets look a bit suspicious in such a package, if you know what I mean. Hehehe.
Anyway, the reviews of this tea here on Steepster are practically glowing, which makes me excited to give it a go. Again, I used a glass teapot so I could watch the leaves expand. Dry, they smell sweeter than your average oolong, with a hint of osmanthus I may or may not be imagining. It’s definitely a very floral and green aroma.
This is another oolong with wonderfully preserved leaves. They’re almost perfect. Whole and pointed, about two inches in length. This is also the brightest green oolong I’ve ever made, both in leaf and liquor. The tea is a spring-like greenish yellow and strongly scented with that characteristic pungency.
The flavor reminds me so much of the gardenias in my mother’s yard. The exhale is very, very floral without any actual floral ingredients, which is a wonder to me. It just naturally tastes like a freshly-rained-on garden smells. As it cools, more woodsy and floral flavors emerge. I know this is pretty unorthodox, but I might chill the rest of the pot I made and see how it tastes iced…
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Gardenias, Osmanthus