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Recent Tasting Notes
This was one of the free samples that I found in my tea box which I ordered from Teavivre, thank you!
I have love-hate relationship with oolongs, green ones especially, I really love way they looks and those big whole leaves when they are steeped, they have nice aroma and that deep jade green colour. But I avoid them because of that spinach taste I really dislike. I have tried Dong Ding and other Tie Guan Yin oolong before and both had that spinachy taste (Gunpowder also has that). But then this one came, I wasn’t hesitating in tasting this but when I opened the sample really flowery and floral aroma emerged. Before that experience I was wondering what the heck is that wonderful floral aroma that everyone keeps telling me about, now I’ve found it. I wasn’t firstly sure if that flowery aroma came from this tea, I was wondering if it comes from scent candles or something like that. Dammit (Is it ok to say that) Teavivre, now I have to buy bag of this too.
Long story short, leaf nuggets are beautifully dark jade green coloured, bigger and smaller ones. They smell flowery and nicely vegetal with sweetness. I used about 2 teaspoons of nuggets with my 100ml gaiwan. Tea has green-yellow colour and it smell floral with vegetal aroma, aaand surprisingly its really tasty and juicy. Taste manages to stay with all those 7 steeps, I managed to get 8. First steeps aftertaste was really fruity, almost tropical but sadly it disappears after that, but I still love that mellow, sweet, full-bodied taste that lingers on your tongue for a long time.
And those steeped leaves where just awesome, most of them where big and whole, there was also half leaves and smaller ones tree leave style branches.
Overall really really good tea, I finally became into oolong drinker. At least this one earned a place in my cupboard. And my milk and strawberry oolong are on their way, let’s see how they taste. Also does roasting/fermentating/other make oolongs more or less spinachy?
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal
Thanks to Angel for generously sending me an oolong sample package! I have been rather curious about a few of these for quite a while now, but admittedly kept stalling on ordering since I’ve been waiting for the black pearls to go back in stock. Her generous offer actually sparked me to go ahead and make an order the other day, anyway. :)
This is a wonderfully delicate and light oolong. I’ve only steeped this once, but so far, I’m picking up on sweet floral notes nuttiness. As this cools, the nuttiness is overpowering the floralness.
Mmm, there is a bit of creaminess there too.
I’d talk about subsequent steeps but I’m about to indulge in some Tikka Masala, which will clearly cloud my judgement.
Looking forward to trying the others, and of course, to get my BF parcel in the mail.
Yummy but doesn’t shine quite as bright as other teavivre oolongs. I think I hold them to a higher standard than most.
I’m actually enjoying this cooler rather than just steeped. I’m not really good at describing it well right now. I had some wasabi ranch snapea crisps with them and that was a really lovely pairing. I think the creaminess of the tea cut the heat of the wasabi.
I’ll definitely do a couple more steepings of the leaves.
It’s time for next flowering tea. I’m as excited as previously. Opening of the flower was really funny to watch (great if you host tea parties or something). This one opened differently than Family Happiness flower that I reviewed last time. It started opening on the surface instead sinking to the bottom, but then surprisingly the ‘tea part’ dropped to the bottom and flower vine left floating upright, it was almost like yoyo. I’m really looking towards to the other ones, how might they open.
This is really flowery tea, you can smell and taste the flowers. It is really sweet too. Liquid has golden colour. Overall pretty good tasting tea, since I think taste is minor point I will focus more on the looks of the flower than taste.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey
So somehow I’ve misplaced that wonderful selection of Oolong samples for review that Teavivre sent me. I know I’ll find it soon, I just have way too many tea stashes. I decided that I should still have a Teavivre oolong day today and drink from my ample stash of samples I’ve bought. I randomly reached my hand into the box’o’samples and this is what I got.
On to the tea. This tea is like wood nymphs dancing through a forest. Ok that may sound a bit overboard but really somehow it manages to smell perfumey(not in a bad way, something I’d love to wear) but not taste like perfume which I abhor.
It’s definitely floral but not sharp. I don’t taste much fruit while it’s in my mouth but there’s a lovely fruity aftertaste I can’t quite pinpoint. Melon and stonefruits?
This tea is divine and I’m actually smiling right now as I drink the final sips.
This is truly a lovely tea experience. I have enjoyed all Keemun teas from TeaVivre, but I especially like that this is organic. The dry leaf is small, very dark with a few light buds mixed in, and tightly twisted. They feel airy and light as they go into the infuser. The smell is fresh and malty. The liquor is clear mahogany- very attractive to look at. The smell of the steeped tea is something particularly enjoyable as it is an unusual combination of honeyed flowers with malty yams or sweet potatoes. I can see why some people would think of brown sugar or baked goods, though this completely lacks any nuances of yeast or baked breads found in some other teas.
The taste of this tea is a deepening of the fragrance- mild, smooth, malty on the tongue with the notes of sweet flowers, malt, a hint of fruit (apricots?), and sweet potatoes. The malt is fine and low on the flavor profile. This tea takes many common Western black tea flavors and replaces them with delicate sweetness that is difficult to describe other than what I’ve said above. Do I like this tea? YES! I just placed an order with this vendor for Dragonwell and I am already planning my next..
In other news, Steepster is breaking again! Last night I couldn’t get back to reply to a discussion and today I can barely load any other tasting notes or reviews. I am liking other posts and the likes are vanishing right before my eyes. I also went to look at some of my historical notes and the number is there, but the review is gone. Thank goodness for this delicious tea to keep me calm while trying to load pages over and over. :)
Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes
From the Cooking TTB.
I think I like this. The berry flavour is intense, bordering on artificial and candy-like. There’s a pleasant green oolong flavour that is under the strawberry on the first steep and then becomes better balanced with subsequent steeps.
In a lot of ways it reminds me of Teavana’s Six Summits oolong, which is one of my all time favourites. I wish the strawberry was a little more subdued, but this is still very enjoyable.
Flavors: Artificial, Candy, Floral, Strawberry, Tangy, Vegetal
From the Cooking TTB.
Oh this is such a beautiful jasmine. Bright and floral, smooth, light body, with a very full mouth flavour, and slightly fruity notes. A hint of vegetal on the finish.
Definitely a keeper.
35s, 45s, 60s, 65s, 70s and I could probably keep going with these leaves
Flavors: Fruity, Jasmine, Vegetal
From the Cooking TTB.
This is very pretty. Silver needle leaves with whole rose buds and chamomile flowers. The fragrance of rose and chamomile are dominant in the dry leaf and once steeped. This carries through to the flavour – the rose and chamomile are very well balanced, but quite overpower the white tea, which I only get the faintest hint of on the finish.
This is a very nice chamomile – light and floral and inoffensive (I generally like chamomile, but I think the last tea I had with chamomile in it had a note of cat pee which was unpleasant.)
By the third steep, the white tea is starting to show a little more. We got four good steeps out of this and could probably keep going.
This is a very nice rose and chamomile tea, and if you like these flavours a lot then you should try this. I’m enjoying it, but I don’t think I’d ever crave this combination enough to need more than a small sample. But I’m glad I had a chance to try it.
60s, 75s, 90s, 105s.
Flavors: Floral, Rose
Time to rejoin the real world, with much regret. I have been an overstuffed, lazy, derping in front of the TV watching stuff or gaming, lump. In order to celebrate my return to normalcy post holiday, I decided to play with rocks! I went through my mom’s (she gave me a few really pretty pieces, including a very dirty Savannah River Agate) and I collected a few of my old gemstones I had left with her for safe keeping. I then spent several hours researching the Carolina Bay’s geology and formation, spoilers, it is really cool.
So, enough about my nerding out about rocks (though don’t be surprised if they start showing up in my photos) it is time for some Oolong! Today’s tea is Teavivre’s Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea, one of Taiwan’s Gao Shan (high mountain) teas grown at an altitude of 2,000ft on Li Shan. This specific tea is called a Gao Leng (woo, I learned a new tea phrase!) meaning high (I knew that much) and cold, referring to the environment the tea is grown in, this in theory makes the tea sweeter and more valuable. The about section on the website has a lot of neat info about Taiwanese teas, including which ones are grown at different heights, difference between high and low mountain Oolong, and so forth. Li Shan is not the highest grown tea, but it is certainly up there. The aroma, well, often I find myself going ga-ga over the roasted oolongs, but wow, when I have a dance with a Gao Shan I wonder, why did I ever get seduced by roasted tea? It is so sweet and so very floral, like a bouquet of honeysuckles, hyacinth, orchids, and lilies, it is intensely floral and at the same time very delicate, no worry of being blasted in the face by a perfume shop. There are also notes of chestnut and cream with a very sweet nectar finish.
I should point out that I am still not on the best terms with the gaiwan I am using for this tea review, it is a great gaiwan from a functionality standpoint (or I would have smashed it) but it is so not ok visually, grumble grumble. May I will give it a full review tomorrow, spoilers, it won’t be pretty…but I digress. The aroma of the steeped leaves is so immensely sweet, I want to hug it with my nose but that would be just odd. Again with the flowers, it is a blend of honeysuckle as the dominant, hyacinth, lilac, and spicebush. This transitions to a bit of creaminess and honey with a finish of chestnut. The aroma of the liquid (hehe, my notes in my notebook are crooked, always a good sign) is as expected very sweet, a delicate blend of flowers, primarily honeysuckle, osmanthus, and spicebush, this transitions to a sweet finish of chestnut.
First steeping sipping time! First steeps always excite me, they are liking starting a story or journey, you get an idea of how things are going to go, but there is room to grow and evolve. The mouthfeel is quite smooth, it coats the mouth and fills it with floral, sweet, happiness. This steep is pretty mellow, a nice sweet nectar start that blooms into hyacinth, orchids, and honeysuckles. The finish is a delicate honey sweetness with a lingering floral note.
The road goes ever on and on, ok, no…Gao Shan is not really a hobbit tea, it is more a tea you would expect the Sindar who dwelt in Gondolin to sip while writing poetry about how they are better than everyone else. The aroma is again, quite yum, the floral aroma has ramped itself up from delicate to intense, there are notes of spicebush, honeysuckle, orchid, osmanthus, hyacinth. So many flowers! There are also notes of chestnuts and a touch of creaminess. And yeah, the taste is sweet and floral, as expected, where the previous steep was flower nectar, this is full on flower essence and creamy chestnut sweetness. You also get a little bit of green fresh vegetation. The aftertaste is floral honey that lingers for quite a while.
Ok, quick question, have any of you ever licked the condensation of the lid of a gaiwan after steeping tea, if you have not, really I suggest doing it because it will be the best thing ever. So super sweet and like the essence of tea distilled into tiny droplets. The aroma is so much flowers, really it smells like a pile of springtime air while visiting a fancy garden, it is so sweet and full of flower nectar that I swear I can smell spring time. The taste is crazy mellow, very smooth and floral with lots of honey and chestnut, this transitions to a touch of mineral and a finish of spicebush that lingers for a while.
Flavors: Chestnut, Flowers, Honeysuckle, Nectar, Orchid
This very lightly roasted Oolong , I love it. It is exquisite.
Dark green oolong with rolled leaves go for 5 minutes into aboiling water.
The wet leaves look terribly like spinach branchs.
With the taste everything changes. Here is a festival of flavours . Peach succeeds honey, puffed rice to nuts and warm bread… It has also floral notes , characteristic of Tieguanyin but I prefer them in this tea vs the high mountain Oolong tea because these notes are not isolated here.
The texture is also interesting : fluid, light yet creamy , mellow . I really really love this tea.
I cannot resist to reproduce here what Teavivre explains about the name of this tea :
" Legend has it that the cliff is too abrupt for people to pick the Oolong tea leaves. Therefore, monkey is trained to climb the cliff and help tea farmers pick the Oolong tea leaves. Another saying goes that tea farmers need to tie a rope around the waist during the process of picking, just like a monkey. Hence obtains its name"
Lovely tea that offers a very pale yellow liquid.
You can see pics of my session here :http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/taiwan-monkey-picked-ma-liu-mie-tie-guan-yin-oolong-tea-teavivre/
My package said “Anxi Monkey Picked” instead of “Anxi Monkey King.” But from my messages with Angel, I believe this particular sample is the latter. There’s a dark quality to the dry leaf aroma that intensified once it was brewed. I’m not sure about this one…it’s definitely not the Tie Guan Yin I’m used to.
I can definitely taste the darkness that I detect in the aroma. I’m afraid darkness isn’t a very good term because it has a negative connotation. What I’m tasting here isn’t necessarily negative. It is different. It doesn’t have the fresh, clean, vegetal, buttery flavor that I’ve grown accustomed to tasting in green oolongs. Instead, it has this heavier, oaky, almost roasted kind of thing going on, which I’m calling “darkness” for lack of a better term.
The aftertaste is cooling and refreshing in a unique way. This is certainly interesting. I can understand the appeal to many tea drinkers. I don’t quite think it’s a flavor I would regularly seek out though. I prefer the fresher, greener, creamier oolongs. Still, this is definitely a high quality tea. My rating is only a reflection of my personal enjoyment of it. Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for providing yet another free sample!
Flavors: Oak wood
Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for the free sample! This is an all right oolong. It’s vegetal and buttery. I’m not getting anything floral. There’s maybe a hint of minerals, but that’s about it. The aftertaste fades quickly. I think I should have gone for a longer infusion because the flavor doesn’t taste entirely developed yet.
Second infusion for 2.5 minutes is surprisingly not very flavorful either. The aftertaste is weird and mineral-y and just not good. I’m confused. This tea seems like a dud and Teavivre isn’t known for producing duds. I tried a third infusion for 5 minutes before giving up on this one. The initial flavor was slightly better but the aftertaste is still mineral-y and unpleasant. I can’t say I recommend this one, though their other oolongs have been much more enjoyable.
Flavors: Butter, Mineral, Vegetal
Yesterday I went to the post to take what I thought was a letter (that is that the postman had written on the document ) and they brought me a small package … cute with Chinese inscriptions . It was my packet of Oolongs samples generously sent by Angel at Teavivre .
I get nice little oxidized leaves, from an emerald green. After 5 minutes into a boiling water , the leaves swell very impressively.
The liquor is of an exceptional transparency, very pale yellow/ green.
The texture of this tea is very light. It has no velvety body, it’s not smooth at all . Sometimes we get small spikes of bitterness that soar … and immediately fall , caught up , channeled through a certain sweetness .
This is an extremely floral and green tea. The aftertaste is essentially herbal. It leaves an intense feeling of purity . An extremely green and pure tea.
It will delight fans of Oolongs with a low oxidization. I’m more a fan of semi and highly oxidized oolongs , but I must recognize that this tea is from very high quality and very pleasant to taste .
Thank you again to Angel for allowing me to test this tea and to take me out of my comfort zone. It ’s thanks to Angel I am knowing by now I am really enjoying pu- erh teas. I need to be a little pushed and shoved in my convictions and preferences sometimes .
you can see some pics of my session with this Oolong here : https://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/taiwan-high-mountain-oolong-tea-teavivre/
I am 32 weeks pregnant. Only 8 weeks left! I can’t believe it. We still have so much to do. I need a nice relaxing cup of tea before I tackle bolting the bookcases to the wall in the nursery. Thanks to Angel from Teavivre for this free sample!
The dry leaf aroma is fresh green oolong and a scent that I love. The brewed tea aroma is even fresher and greener. It’s such a comforting aroma. The tightly rolled leaves have fully unfurled into giant whole leaves with a vibrant green hue. They look like they’ve just been picked off the branch. The liquor is a light golden color.
The flavor is exquisite. It’s vegetal, a tad both floral and nutty, and buttery most of all. As the cup cools, it loses its floral quality somewhat. The second infusion was for 2.5 minutes. It’s similar but not quite as flavorful and a tad astringent. The third infusion was for 4 minutes. It was good but definitely the last cup for me. Overall, this tea is delicious and I can confidently recommend it to others.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Nutty, Vegetal
I’m really really excited, firstly because I finally got tea flowers! (And I’m first to review this) I promised to myself that I do not buy more tea in this year but thanks to Teavivre and their sales I bought these blooming teas and two 100g bags of milky and strawberry oolong, oh poo.
This little dry ball of tea and flowers smells pretty much like sheng which is quite interesting. I can’t even tell how excited I was when I dropped that ball to water, almost better that christmas. It was so amazing to watch it first floating on the surface, then sinking to bottom and then bursting open. It really pretty looking, and the taste of the tea itself is not bad, sweet and flowery. I really like that jasmine arch that reddish lily is just adorable. My supposition was that these blooming teas are more like eye candy than mouth candy, but this does well in both categories. These things would be excellent at parties.
Flavors: Flowers, Sweet
In a twist of fate that made me laugh, the latest round of sample provided to me by TeaVivre arrived yesterday, just after I placed our black friday order. Hopefully these will tide me over until that order comes in! On to the tea.
This tea, folks. It’s so damn good. The leaves seemed to burst open in my infuser. I was so busy chatting with the wife this morning that I forgot to set a time and yet this tea forgave me. As it steeped, the kitchen began to smell like fresh, buttery vegetables. Man, I was already regretting not signing up for a Mama Earth (organic produce) delivery for this morning, and the yummy veggie smell of this tea only made it worse.
On the sip, at first it’s floral, but then it expands into a buttery, steamed kale deliciousness. Ashmanra put the kale idea into my head and I can’t help but agree. I stood at the kitchen counter just breathing in this tea as my poor wife was shuffling around me trying to get the trash to take it out. But I couldn’t help it, it smelled so dang good. I’ll have to make sure my tortoise doesn’t get a whiff, she loves kale.
Now, I did add sugar. I can’t help it, I sugar every tea I drink. However, I only used about half the sugar I usually do and it is just perfect.
Here comes the honest part. I will recommend this tea with my whole heart and I will love every sip until it is gone…but I will likely never buy this tea. My wife and I just don’t reach for straight teas, we’ve learned that over the years (and seen a lot of Verdant Teas go to waste because of it.) My wife will occasionally go for a straight oolong, so there is a small chance this could find its way into our cupboard, but it is doubtful. But you never know. She could try this tea and absolutely fall in love.
But this is an amazing tea, and if you enjoy straight oolongs, give this a go. You’ll be glad you did.
As I shuffled out of the bedroom this morning to find that my wife was WAY too awake for 5:30am, she very perkily asked me if I wanted some of the Big Red Robe she was brewing. I think I must have grunted yes, because that’s what was in my travel mug when I left the house. It was so good. Woke me up as much as coffee would have (which wasn’t much, I still napped most of the way to work – I wasn’t driving, I take the bus). This tea was delicious. I know I’ve had a da hong pao before, but the flavor has never struck me like this. It was rich and grassy and leafy, tons of depth and interest. Usually oolongs have a bit of a buttery creamy finish, but this had a much sharper flavor – in a good way. Definitely going to be one that I reach for often from now on.
I had this one yesterday, but Steepster wasn’t loading anything. To be brief, it is another exceptional Dragon Well from TeaVivre. I have yet to try a green tea from this vendor that isn’t flavorful and lovely. This one has the classed pressed leaves for this type of tea that unfurl into green beauties in the tea pot. It is naturally sweet, brothy, and has a faint green nuttiness to it. I also love that it is organic. My biggest issue with trying to so many green teas from that I love from the same place means it is that much harder to decide which to keep as staples here.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Steepster friends!
Flavors: Broth, Chestnut, Green
I ache. I have been cooking and cleaning all day preparing for tomorrow and I needed a quiet tea break desperately. My husband and youngest daughter said they would like to have a bit of tea as well and we have made three steeps western style so far.
This smelled really nice right off the bat. It is milder in aroma than the amazing and delicious Ali Shan I have been drinking lately that smells strongly of kale. This is buttery and creamy and a little lighter. It is relaxing, just as I wanted.
I asked my husband what words come to mind as he drinks this and he said, “Good.” I meant how would he describe it, expecting him to say “green”, “floral”, something along those lines, but “good” fits the bill. Now time for bed so I can get up and start again early in the morning!
Happy Thanksgiving, All!
Thank you, Teavivre, for the sample to try!
Quick rinse in boiling water and steeped 7 minutes in an 8 ounce mug.
Brewed color is coffee-like, and smells earthy with the light scent of cooked rice – very fragrant.
Tastes rich and earthy with a hint of sweetness that again would be similar to boiled rice.
Very nice, and I drank it with milk added which increased the sweet taste and added an extra smooth creaminess.
I think this would be an excellent and convenient option to take with you when not at home and craving a nice cup of pu-erh without any fuss.
Thank you to Angel at TeaVivre for sending this sample!
Another sample from my last order! This is an interesting green tea. The leaves are straight, twisted (which the description says is hand rolled) and VERY emerald green. I adore the color. The scent of the leaves are very sweet. The parameters say to use three TABLESPOONS for 17 ounces but I asked Teavivre and they say that is since the leaves are so long it’s actually better to measure with a tablespoon, loosely, but they actually mean 8 grams of the leaves. I’m not following instructions but I went with three loose teaspoons for my 12 ounce mug. The brew color is a very light yellow. If only green teas were actually brewed the color of the emerald leaves, I probably couldn’t resist drinking them every day. The flavor isn’t as different as I thought it would be. It’s definitely green tea flavored, though this one is difficult to describe. A little mild but the second steep was a touch on the bitter side. I’m glad I didn’t use the three tablespoons of leaves. Otherwise it’s a little grassy, soupy, vegetal, buttery and nutty. I thought with the look of the leaves that this green tea would be a favorite, but there are other green teas I like a little more.
Steep #1 // 32 min after boiling // less than two minute steep
Steep #2 // 20 min after boiling // 3 min steep
http://www.teavivre.com/black-friday-sales/ – I just want to shamelessly share the link one more time (sorry – I don’t have a blog or anything.) They have been adding more teas to the sale page. I know the contest is over, but I love how generous Teavivre always is! Thank you!
Thank you Marzipan for the sample! I picked this one out at her house yesterday, because I’m trying to decide which Black Friday Dian Hong I want to order. This is good! I think I WILL order this one, even though its 30% off and the Full Leaf is 40% off. Even with the discount difference this one still ends up cheaper!