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Recent Tasting Notes
Got this from tea-sipper’s stash. The dry leaves smell nice and fresh, and as soon as I pour water over them, I wonder if I’ll regret having only gotten 20g…
Followed Teavivre’s steeping recommendations for gongfu.
The wash smells so good that I taste a sip of it. Nice, light and creamy. The first steep itself is a nice, light, golden-yellow and smells fragrant and milky. The texture is very smooth, creamy but not heavy, and the taste is creamy and lightly floral. The aroma that clings to the empty cup smells just like mango to me.
Second steeps tastes pretty similar, and the third steep comes out creamier to me. With each successive steeps, more vegetal notes start to creep through, which I appreciate greatly, and chestnut starts to shine through later on, as well, with an almost sugary sweetness. This tea carried me right on up to lunch and I enjoyed every steep. I love the fact that it’s fragrant, but not overly floral, and each evolution of the flavor is delicious and satisfying. Definitely enjoyed this one!
Flavors: Chestnut, Creamy, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal
Sample from Angel
This oolong had hit the spot tonight. I’ve been really craving a good oolong, but only seemed to have low quality stuff lying around instead. However, I was grateful to have received this oolong sample, among others, from Angel.
I noted that there were floral, mineral, and nutty notes. There was one point that I verbally stated to the wife that I thought I had smelled cinnamon, but hadn’t tasted it in the tea itself. This tea was complex and layered with many notes that I have either forgotten or couldn’t describe exactly what I was tasting. It was very pleasant, and I’m humbly grateful to have tried this tea. I’m definitely adding this on the to get more of this one list.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Nutty
First review! I haven’t been the first review in a while! Then again, I haven’t written a review in a while haha :) well no time like the present! A huge thank you to Angel at Teavivre for so kindly sending me a bunch of new tea samples!! This is the first of the bunch that I am trying out, and it is a perfect day for a roasty oolong, lightly snowing, miserably cold wind, and very grey out. Time for hot tea!
The dry smell of this tea is lovely, man I haven’t had an oolong in a while, and this one is definitely orchid-like and toasty. I steeped it for roughly 3 mins Western style with boiling water. The steeped aroma is SO LOVELY! It reminds me of my favorite roasted oolong from Verdant that I haven’t had in ages..what was it even called..Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix oolong. This one is a bit different though, the toasted smell is a bit stronger, and the rocky mineral notes are also there. It smells so yummy, like I should be in a tranquil waterfall cave drinking this tea :). Oh, the color is a light orange color too, very pleasing.
As for the flavor, mmmm is this ever good. It’s so very light, the mineral notes are there but quite faint, it is floral and delicious, with a sweetness that lingers almost like a mild ginseng. It’s juicy and a bit toasty. It’s really good! Wow it’s been a while since I’ve had a toasted oolong, I missed it. I was reading that this is kind of like a Tie Guan Yin like rock oolong, and I can definitely see that, it is lighter and creamier than previous ones I’ve had, and the orchid floral notes much more pronounced as in a Tie guan yin. I bet I could even convince my boyfriend to try this toasted oolong, and he really only drinks tie guan yin haha.
Overall, a very relaxing, lightly creamy, and deliciously floral tea. Smooth and serene, I am transported to a waterfall cascading down rocks with spring flowers blooming amongst the moss above. I am feeling poetic today :D
Here’s my favorite link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk5Uturacx8&t=482s
I love this rendition, because everyone is so animated, they all play so well, and the Conductor is so awesome and uninhibited. :)
Note: the above link is NOT the orchestra I’m playing with!
Anyway, I’m taking break from practicing to enjoy multiple steepings of this tea.
Sweet stone fruits, honey, hops, bee pollen, and a little eucalyptus. It’s very sweet. The energy of it reminds me of a Sheng, and the mouthfeel is smooth, thick, & tangy like grapes. The aroma is rich & fruity, and lingers in my sinuses like a primo incense.
Very satisfying! Something about this tea reminds me of those alcohol drenched fruitcakes my mom used to make during the HoliDaze (back in the 60’s). They were loaded with dried fruits, soaked in Brandy, and then allowed to ‘cure’ for a few weeks.
I got a sample of this tea from the GCTTB and I’m always eager to try flavoured oolongs. This one is on the milder end of the flavour spectrum, with the strawberry flavour only really coming out when the tea has cooled off. For the most part it is the buttered-greens flavour of the oolong that takes center stage. The resteep at 4 min had very little strawberry flavour left at all, although the oolong base itself has decent staying power.
Of course I have no idea the age of this sample so my review could be flawed in that sense. But while I was glad I had a chance to try this tea it isn’t one I’d consider purchasing.
How is it that I’ve not tried this one yet? I literally have no idea how that happened. Anyway, better late than never. I’ve also kind of come to the conclusion that I really need to work on reducing my cupboard to a more manageable level before I buy any more tea (how many times have I said that before…) because there’s some good stuff getting neglected and it’s not right. At least I’m back under 200. I’d like to get down to 50 before I really consider stocking up again. That would be a much more comfortable place for me.
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup. It’s kinda hard to measure because the leaves are so big they won’t fit happily in my measuring spoon. To be expected, I guess, given that this is the full leaf version. The leaves themselves are a variagated brown-black-gold-cream, some more than an inch long, most with beautiful downy tips. I gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk because it brewed up so dark. That in itself was unexpected.
To taste, this has all the malty, sweet potato wonderfulness I was hoping for. It’s quite robust in terms of flavour – no watery black tea here! The initial sip is sweet and thick-tasting, there are some chocolate/cocoa notes (albeit fairly fleeting), and then in the mid-sip it’s really all about the yam/sweet potato, and that’s a flavour that lingers well.
I’m enjoying this one. When I next place a Teavivre order (which may not be for a while, but it’ll happen…) I’ll doubtless repurchase this one. I’d happily have a large bag in my cupboard as a staple black – it’s that good.
So, I’ve already had too much caffeine today, but the SO decided she wanted to try a green tea today and this is the one she chose. We couldn’t agree on this one from the get-go. She kept smelling things like rotisserie chicken and other dinner smells, I was getting roasted chestnuts more than anything else, which gave me high hopes for the flavor itself.
I followed Teavivre’s preparation recommendations for this one. She says it tastes like dinner. To me, it tastes like slightly bitter roastiness. Not getting the chestnut or nutty flavors the aroma had me expecting. Neither of us wants another cup at the moment, so I wait an hour to resteep.
The second steep is better, which leads me to believe I didn’t wash this quite long enough the first time around. Smooth in texture, lightly nutty in flavor and lightly vegetal. I guess I’m not used to the concept of the second steep being best applying to green tea. I now take the time to admire the very light golden liquor in my clear cha hai.
The third steep is also light and pleasant, and the leaves seem to have expanded nicely. I’m getting some buttery notes in this steep. Fourth steep is super light and what flavor is there is mostly buttery.
This tea taught me that it needs to be washed in order for me to enjoy it, and for longer than the recommended five seconds. It was a good learning experience, and I’ll finish up the rest of the sample, but I don’t think it’s quite up my alley enough to ever put in a full order of it.
Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Butter, Chestnut, Nutty, Roasted
When I smell this tea, I smell hot water from a bathhouse in India. Steaming hot water with scents of the earth that stew in a water tank before being heated through some pipes and being collected in a giant plastic bucket, which you carry off with you to the shower room to use how you please. A slight scent of Dettol soap. A scrubbed clean feeling, this how clean water can get, that you may find bubbling in a volcanic spring on the top of a mountain.
This is 90% an odorful tea, the 10% is in the taste. The taste is slightly bitter, that is all. Sometimes teas are for smelling, and the drinking is an afterthought, and that is okay. It was nice to be reminisced about the olden days, days of rajahs and ecumenical times.
Notes of scotch, only because the cup had scotch in it prior to the pouring of the tea.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butterscotch, Compost, Custard, Earth, Moss, Peat, Scotch, Vegetable Broth
This is a cool tea to drink in certain situations:
1. Right after you eat a pair of idlies and dosa and finish off with a mysore coffee, heavily milked up to the point where the milk denatures into thick buttery foam and there’s only so much of that to go around on a fall day. And you want to drink more milk. Then you can drink this tea, which smells like steamed milk, but doesn’t taste like much of anything but the slight tasting notes of:
Neem honey, asian pear-apples, pickled umeboshi, extremely watered down scotch, diet coke, cucumbers
2. When you want host a tea party where one of the events is a blindfold taste test and you want to include multiple different teas that could throw off your guests, and with the combination of dropping a hint of steamed milk earlier in the evening, you would find it a small victory when someone tasting this tea blindfolded would claim, “This is not tea, it’s milk!”
On the second steep, it still smelled like milk, but there was no taste anymore.
Flavors: Alcohol, Anise, Caramel, Carrot, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Honey, Milk, Plums, Wet Moss, Zucchini
I bought this earlier in the year and I’ve tried it a few times. However, I should have noticed the ‘gongfu’ in the name and realized that was where the magic would be. I don’t steep teas with the gongfu method, I use the western method. I’m sure this one would taste much different using gongfu. All of those wonderful reviews from others sure set the expectations high! The leaves here are very large and twisted with hints of gold. The dried leaves have the scent of lovely dried hay. The flavor is neither a light yunnan or a dark yunnan. It’s somewhere in the middle. The flavors are tough to describe, mostly bittersweet chocolate with hints of wine. I guess I like a honey Yunnan or a deep dark chocolate Yunnan. This one is in between both of those flavor profiles, so isn’t as special to me as other teas (again, probably because I’m not using the gongfu method of steeping.) I have plenty of other black teas I love from Teavivre though.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
Flavors: Chocolate, Red Wine
Very happy to receive this sample from Teavivre. Upon opening the package my nose was met with a wonderful sweet smell. It is almost akin to a cross between a Silver Needle and Bi Luo Chun. After steeping it quickly, the taste was also very similar to both of these teas. There are floral, sweet, and light tastes along with a new almost buttery and nutty aftertaste. The second steep brought some earthiness to the taste. Not a dirtiness like puerh, but rather just some hints of earthiness—almost like dry autumn leaves. There is also an increased amount of astringency. However, there is still a hint of sweetness and floralness like a Bi Luo Chun. Overall I really enjoyed this sample though. Excellent taste and aroma, not to mention the beautiful dry leaves.
Flavors: Earth, Floral, Nutty, Sweet
The beginning of the cold weather pretty much always signals a return to Keemun for me, and it looks like this year is no exception. I think the rich dark chocolate and smoke characteristics are what pull me back towards it as soon as the mornings turn chilly. They’re not flavours I particularly crave in the summer, but now…
I started this year with the superfine fragrant, and now I’m trying this one. The leaves here are much shorter and a lot less tippy, but still thin and wiry in appearance. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water, splash of milk.
To taste, this is mostly cocoa-like dark chocolate, slightly drying, with a light undertone of smoke. There’s also an edge of juiciness that reminds me of Taiwanese black teas. It’s strong and malty, quite sweet after the richness of the initial sip has worn off. I’m not usually a fan of anything smoky, but on this occasion I’m actually a fan. I think without it this would be a pretty one-note tea, but as it is it’s adding an element of depth that I’m really enjoying, and it stops it from crossing the line into too sweet/cloying. A pretty solid keemun, all in all, and one I’d be more than happy to drink again.
Well, last time I rambled I talked about my frustration with Ark, it seems that the internet’s really angry reaction to the canceling of the Halloween event made it very clear to the devs that this was a bad idea. So they delayed it, later this week I will get to play the event because I can’t quit this game, so I will play it. Of course, the delay of the event means that my plans for Halloween have been canceled so I have no idea what I am doing to celebrate today. Perhaps painting shall keep me occupied on this most spooky of days.
Today I am looking at an orb of goodness from Teavivre, their Yunnan Rose Dragon Ball, a tea after my own heart! Combining a Simao Dianhong with rose petals in a tightly rolled ball individually wrapped making it a really cute gift. Good for either western style brewing or gongfucha, it is a versatile tea, and since it is just tea and roses and no flavoring or oils you get pure rose taste and smell. It is no secret by now that I love roses in my hongcha, but often I find it has been blended with flavorings or oils and I prefer just straight up rose petals in my black tea. Unwrapping the ball and giving it a good sniffing, the aroma is quite pleasant. There are the obvious notes of rose, reminding me of rose water, gently sweet without being perfumey, along with cocoa, malt, and a touch of peanuts. The rose is not at all overwhelming and it is balanced with the notes of the Dianhong, which is good, frequently rose teas have overwhelming rose.
Such an elegant tea deserves an elegant gaiwan, so I used the audacious gold lady for this tea, it also works well since it is a larger gaiwan meaning more room for the ball to expand. The aroma after the first steep has notes of malt, cocoa, yams, peanuts, and gentle roses. The liquid is sweet, with notes of roses and honey giving it a nectar quality, along with cocoa and roasted peanuts. I find myself looking forward to drinking it!
This might be the most perfectly balanced rose Dianhong I have ever tried. The rose is gentle and light, never once overpowering the notes of the Dianhong, but also always being present so there is no mistaking it is a rose tea. That persistent rose note makes it suitable for someone like me who absolutely loves food and drink with a rose theme, but also making it suitable for someone who is only slightly a fan (like Ben, just an example.) Of course, it helps that the base Dianhong is enjoyable, smooth notes of malt and cocoa blend with yams and peanuts with a lingering honey finish. It is a classic Dianhong with all the familiar notes.
As is frequent with these teas that are tightly curled up into balls, the first steep is light, but the second steep is more intense, part of the reason a lot of people either have a longer than normal first steep or rinse the tea. Since I think rinsing would be a waste, in this case, I just go for a slightly longer steeping time. The second steep is still pretty intense compared to the first, stronger notes of all the ones present in the first steep, especially the rose and chocolate with lingering brown sugar and honey. I feel like this would be the perfect tea to drink on some romantic occasion, it just has that feel!
This tea goes for a LOT of steeps, I kept pulling flavor from this ball for a good twelve steeps, and at that point, I switched to just drinking straight from the gaiwan and refilling it as needed for several more refills. It was not a short-lived tea, definitely an all-day session, which was fine by me! There was not a ton of evolution between steeps, just light bit omnipresent roses and classic Dianhong notes til the very end. This tea evokes romance, summer gardens, and just general happiness, I greatly enjoyed my massively long session with it!
4g, 100ml gaiwan, 185F
Dry leaf – yam, malt, fruity
5/10/10/15/20/?/?/? I lost track of steep time. Happily it never suffered from my lack of attention. Tasted of malt, chocolate and yam. Very smooth. The flavors were very distinct and crisp and clean. 86
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Malt, Smooth, Yams
A lovely sheng pu-erh for yesterday, when the weather certainly couldn’t be enjoyed. That means it’s time for a three steeper! Ten year old sheng seems to be my favorite. (Or maybe most of the sheng from Teavivre is what I prefer…) The fragrance of the dry cake is slightly smoky/barbeque and there are hints of that in the flavor. But mostly, following my golden rule of raw pu-erh steeps: 30-35 seconds per steep, the flavor is very sweet for a sheng! So sweet it’s almost like a sweetener was added. The sweetest sheng! It is like the nectar of some kind of fruit. Unraveled, the leaves are huge in this cake. Even the third steep is smooth, when I was really testing the leaves only ten minutes after boiling. This is a great sheng pu-erh… one of the favorites that I’ve tried, though always difficult for me to describe.
Steep #1 // half sample for a full mug// rinse // 20 minutes after boiling // 35 second steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 35 second steep
Steep #3 // 10 minutes after boiling // 40 second steep
This tea is perfection! I ordered this as my free sample, and I am addicted. It’s so lush. It’s like a well balanced white wine with it’s level of flavors. Peachy, buttery, and like the other two reviewers said, oats and hay are lightly present. Just a lovely cuppa tea! I want more….right meow!
I drank this hot, but after I have rebrewed it (which was just as tasty), I am thinking a cold brew (third brew) will be swell. I am wondering if there’s a tea like this out there with this same flavor. Just don’t want to have this be a special occasion tea! Teavivre, you did well with this one!
Flavors: Butter, Peach, Straw
Sample from tea swap
I’m particular when drinking black tea; however I tend to be very open to trying anything once, twice, thrice, or more, until I am able to come to the conclusion on whether liking or disliking a tea. This tea, on the other hand, is astounding. I mentioned to the wife that there are teas that could allow one to totally give up on bread—and here is one of those teas! I’ve recently discovered that, while drinking teas such as this, you kind of give yourself the notion that “This is bread, therefore, I do not need bread otherwise—” which may compel one to forfeit bread altogether, and solely drink bread-like teas.
The color of the dry leaf is nicely dark; the aroma has cocoa notes with a touch of yeast. The wet leaf, as it progresses, changes into a fine hue of scarlet; while the color of the liquor remains that color of scarlet throughout the session.
The body of the liquor is thick, coating the mouth/throat with a layer of solidity, almost—(dare I say it) like bread? I’ve yet to meet a tea where I’ve become “full” similar, but nothing like, drinking too much beer in a sitting or two, thus becoming full (that is until you’ve gone to relieve yourself).
Overall, this was a nice tea to have early in the morning. Fortunately, I’ve had it before I can no longer have a sense of smell due to the oncoming cold stuffing my sinuses with the unwanted “junk” it brings with it.
Side Note: Floral notes (roses?) after the 6th steep. I was unable to detect it, but the wife mentioned it.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Yeast
Watching this tea bloom was a feast for the eyes. Using boiling water, the bulb slowly bounces around the vessel for a bit before gracefully sinking to the bottom to allow the beautiful flower structure to fully unfurl. It’s pretty tall so you want to use a large enough glass or teapot.
The flowers here are supposed to be amaranth and jasmine. I couldn’t taste the jasmine at all, but the amaranth dominated. The flavor of this tea is sweet, nectary, and honey like. There’s no bitterness to speak of even at boiling, a problem I’ve had with other blooming teas. But I didn’t really care for the resin like taste of the amaranth.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Nectar