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Recent Tasting Notes
Um.. wow. I don’t know why but for some reason I was scared to try this. I thought it would be like eating a bowl of salad or something, I guess I took ‘vegetal’ the wrong way. HOWEVER, this is amazing. I don’t really know how to describe the flavors but it’s delicate, smooth, and a little sweet. Guess this is going on the shopping list…
This one is a sad sipdown as I really like it and will need to get more. Bright air and sparkling minerals meet soft nutty sweet notes. I wish I could describe it in more tangible terms, but it is light and lovely, like the clouds when you are laying on your back in the grass trying to decide what shape they are. I will miss you Huang Shen Mao Feng and will see you again soon. :)
I have an interesting week planned out for myself. Mostly craft related, I want to do a little perler bead crafting while also folding stars, it is my goal to fill up the large pickle jar I have been working on for the past two weeks. Since I feel like I am trying to catch a cold or something I figure a nice relaxing crafty week with lots of tea is in order. If I am really lucky my other plan of finishing my tea research will be finished this week as well. Good times all around.
Today’s tea starts a week looking at some Black and Pu Erh Teas from Teavivre. Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea-Golden Tips was harvested in March of 2013 in Fengqing County, Yunnan, it is one of the most famous black teas in China, this beautiful gold pile of leaves is the highest grade available. The aroma of this golden tea is a blend of roasted peanuts and cocoa, but it is not the sweet aspects of these things, the aroma is quite savory. There is also a finishing note of beet root that gives the tea a slightly earthy quality.
Giving the teas a steeping in my gaiwan sadly removes the beautiful gold flocking (I know that is not the technical term for the beautiful fuzzy trichomes, but it does seem to fit). The aroma is quite sweet now bringing in notes of cherry and sweet cocoa along with roasted peanuts. The poured off liquid smells buttery sweet and creamy with notes of roasted nuts and a hint of cherries.
The first steeping is quite rich and strong, there is a roasted nuts and dark chocolate quality that leaves a dry mouth and slight bitterness. It almost reminds me of a really high quality coffee (specifically it reminds me of Sumatra Mandheling, the only coffee I still can tolerate) but with a much smoother taste. The tea finished with a sweetness that creeps in at the midtaste and blooms into honey sweetness at the end and lingers.
The second steep has the same roasted nuts and cocoa quality of the first steep but the sweetness shows up significantly earlier. There is still a dry mouthfeel and slight bitterness that wakes up the mouth and makes the taste buds alert and happy. There is also a loamy quality which blends really well with the nuttiness and sweetness present in the tea. I really enjoyed this tea, when I drank it, it was with my dinner, but I can certainly see this as a morning tea.
Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Honey, Loam, Nuts
Wow! This is a great Tie Guan Yin!!! It is really balanced with more than just floral notes!!!!!! It has notes of cream, honey, and muffin or bread along with a subtle floral note.
This is the tastiest Tie Guan Yin I have had. I am loving the teas from Teavivre,,,they have all been very delicious and high quality!!!
Thank u Terri Harplady & Teavivre for this sample!!!!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cream, Flowers, Honey
I tried this tea partly because of Project Unflavoured Green, and partly because it’s so pretty. The leaves look like little hedgehog spines. I like hedgehogs. (A lot.)
In the bag, the scent is definitely vegetal, but with a little more punch to it than the green I last tried. This seems more robust. The slightly savoury note carries through into the brewed tea, which smells vegetal and a little brothy, with a metallic undertone.
To me, the taste seems like a very accurate reflection of what I pick up in terms of scent. The aftertaste adds a light, toasted/smoky note to the whole.
Overall, definitely a pleasant tea, but not one that strikes me as very original or that appeals to my personal tastes beyond the ‘I wouldn’t turn down a cup’ level. This is more like something I would enjoy drinking with food than on its own.
Thank you for letting us try this, KittyLovesTea!
[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
I’m so excited to be the first person to review this puerh. Thank you Teavivre for the generous samples for review!
My first steep is extremely creamy and nutty, and just a little mushroomy. It is earthy but not at all dirty tasting. Very full bodied and rich!
2nd steep is woodsy and brighter…this steep is clean but still very rich.
Very nice shu! Glad I have the opportunity to drink it a couple more times :)
2nd Teavivre sample treat of the day! Thanks Teavivre!
This is a very rich, satisfying black. Very honey sweet and malty with faint floral and cocoa notes. This is the kind of tea I could definitely develop a craving for in the future! Absolutely no bitterness or astringency. Top notch stuff!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Honey, Malt
I want to preface this by mentioning that I don’t generally care for flavored teas. They just aren’t… my cup of tea. [sic] But when Angel offered to send this Strawberry Oolong with some other samples, I wanted to give it a try and see if perhaps my tastes had changed or perhaps this was an exception to my “rule”.
The tea itself smells exclusively of strawberry to me. But it’s not a sugary, candy-like strawberry. It’s a natural smell.
Following a brief rinse, I gave it a 15 second infusion and it smelled faintly of sweet strawberries and had a slight buttery aroma. The tea is super light and certainly is not overpowering in any sense. It is pretty easily one of the best flavored teas I’ve had to date.
The second infusion was a little less sweet and there was more emphasis on the buttery/creamy flavor. In a way, it made me think of eating pancakes with a strawberry puree at a local diner here in town. The strawberry flavor is definitely still there and adds a nice extra touch.
The third infusion is where the strawberry really starts to fade and you get a little astringency from the oolong. Overall, I would like to try this as a single full cup from a single, longer infusion. I think I’ll do that next time and let you know how it goes.
I received this tea along with a few others as free samples from TeaVivre, and I can’t be more excited! The dry leaf is a gorgeous dark loose oolong with a rich aroma. Following a brief rinse, the leaves unlocked a lightly vegetal and spicy scent. It reminds me a little of a Da Hong Pao, actually. Just a bit!
With the first 30 second infusion, the liquor is a light amber color and starts to give off a light floral scent. The tea itself is slightly astringent and the flavor is nicely mild. It no longer reminds me of the Da Hong Pao, but I’m intrigued to continue tasting further infusions.
The second infusion pulled out the astringency and led to a more full flavor. I started to identify some floral notes in the flavor. With the third infusion, it left most of the floral behind and went the vegetal/grassy route.
Overall, I enjoyed this tea, but it probably won’t be a daily preference. Definitely one to bring out with company I’m teaching about tea, though!
This is amazing. The dry leaf smells so strongly of malt it seriously smells like something I’d get in trouble for having at work! Steeped it is just as malty. It’s deep, cocoa-y, smooth, buttery and yet not heavy. I had a little square of a Valrhona Guanaja Grue 70% dark chocolate bar with cocoa nibs as I finished the cup and that really brought out the more cocoa-y notes here.
Much like high quality dark chocolate, it doesn’t take much of this tea to satisfy a need. I don’t feel like I’d need to drink a full pot of this or like I’d need to drink it all day long. So while I absolutely adore this, it will last for a little bit at least. :)
I overleafed this by a bit. But this is simply a fantastic tea, heavy on the leaf or not. And I will certainly be resteeping.
A delicious tea for a lazy Sunday! Smooth yet brisk, with some gentle fruity, citrus notes. I’m definitely going back for a second cup!
You can see photos here:
Thanks so much to Teavivre for providing another round of samples for me to review. I just love trying new teas!
This MIGHT be my first straight keemun?? If not, I am definitely not well versed in them, regardless. I am finding this to be a perfectly bold malty breakfast cup, and although it is sweet, there is a twinge of something a tiny bit sour or tart at the end. But don’t get me wrong, not in a bad way at all! I find this element adds some fruity interest and keeps the tea from being too basic or boring. I think I am going to try it again another day before I give it an official rating, as I’m eating oatmeal with spicy Indian pineapple and golden raisins for breakfast and it might be influencing my palate. Also I am not getting any smoke from this tea even though I hear all the time that keemuns are smoky!
Very enjoyable tea :)
Tea of the morning……
There is some new Golden Monkey in town….. Well, at least this one is new to me. It is a new harvest. All of the tasting notes prior to this one are for the 2012 harvest. Now we are onto the 2013 harvest. I have to say, I like this one even better.
I don’t think it is quite as fuzzy. Leaves are long, curly and have golden orange tips. The volume on my 100g pack did not fit into the tin I had been using, so I have about a pot and a half still in the bag. Very fluffy! I do find this one slightly less earthy, and more sweet than the 2012. During my last cup of the 2012, I was almost thinking that I could skip reordering the Golden Monkey, but now I am not so sure. (I know my tea notes seem to focus quite a bit on paring down the number of teas in my possession, but it is hard to imagine that I need 50 versions of straight black tea until I go tasting them!) Yummy good. I will leave you with that!
Usual teapot method, slightly heaping spoons for measure. One if these days I might get out my scale……
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey
Resteep. This actually didn’t work so well. I might try more leaf in my next cup just to see what happens. The oolong flavor is much milder now and the strawberry is stronger, oddly, but in the middle of the sip the oolong taste isn’t strong enough to hold up. It feels as though something is just…missing. The fruit flavor is good but this one actually may be too subtle for me.
A gorgeous LiShan! Of course, I expect no less from Teavivre. They rock when it comes to awesome Oolong teas. (Or any tea for that matter. I haven’t had any real memorable bad experiences from Teavivre … I can only recall pleasant memories!)
Floral but not sharp. More like a sweet orchid with maybe hints of honeysuckle in the distance. As I continue to sip, I notice the floral notes becoming more complex.
Thinned creaminess – that is to say that it’s creamy but it isn’t a thick, heavy creamy taste and texture. Soft and silky!
I almost taste a cake-like flavor to this … imagine if you would an orchid infused cream cake. Sound good? Try this tea!
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/01/14/nonpareil-taiwan-li-shan-oolong-tea-teavivre/
My samples from Teavivre came today! I was not expecting such a large bag, but I think I’m going to be very happy for it. I couldn’t resist brewing one up right away.
This smells delightfully fruity both dry and brewed. The taste is much more subtle than I expected from the smell, but it’s delicious and I wouldn’t change it. The taste that comes first is actually the oolong, with a freeze-dried strawberry taste coming afterward. The oolong itself is green but has a little bit of the roastiness I would expect in a darker oolong. The mouthfeel is amazingly juicy, and I’m liking it more with each sip. This isn’t a fruit oolong that whacks you over the head with the fruit flavor, but everything blends together in a delicious way.
Received this one from Teavivre’s free tasting activity.
This one is an interesting oolong. I was expecting a normal Taiwanese oolong, but there is a bit of a surprise to this one.
It is a light green oolong, with some floral scents. It is smooth and creamy, almost like there is a bit of milk oolong in there. There is also a pleasant metallic taste, as well as a spice to it. On my first sip, I almost thought this was a ginseng oolong, but there is not real ginseng taste to it. The more I drink it, the less like an oolong it tastes to me. It is taking on a more bold, very slightly roasted flavour. I am hardly getting any sweetness. It is reminding me of a green and black tea blend. It is quite good. I am a little sad I have waiting so long to try it.
Dry, this smells like straw. Not hay, but straw, if you are farm enough to know the difference. :) The year that Grandpa planted a field with wheat my brother and I got a straw fort after the harvest. This tea smelled just like that fort.
Steeped, it’s wheaty, sweetish, honeyish, mildly malty and just fantastic. I just got a sample of this one. I wish now I’d gotten a full package. I need to try this back to back with Harney’s Golden Monkey. I suspect this one will come out on top.
The shipping was amazingly fast considering it was overseas. I was a bit disappointed that although the website said free shipping with orders over $30 when I went to Paypal it charged me shipping. But it wasn’t enough to put me off of completing my order. :) Truthfully, it was extremely reasonable shipping for international. Less than some domestic shipping I’ve paid.
And now I’m unsubscribing from the Misc. Sales thread and not trying any more teas from any swaps! Not for awhile. I have been spending like a drunken sailor only on a tea binge. I can’t keep doing this every couple of months! My husband started linking our bank accounts to some financial tracking software and while he never says anything about my tea spending, he can now see just how much I’m buying. Eeek!
I don’t know how to cross out stuff, or I would cross out the shipping part. Angel at Teavivre very helpfully offered to check on the shipping issue and it turns out that although Paypal had me choose shipping with a cost, I was not actually charged any shipping. Add to the excellent tea, excellent customer service, as many others on Steepster have noted. :)
Mmmmm, this smells so good in the bag. VERY sweet. It also tastes very sweet and makes me worry there might be some form of sugar hiding in there because I’m on a diet and don’t want to have sugar. Luckily I only got a sample of this and won’t be able to drink it anymore. I liked this better than DAVID’s milk oolong, but only because it is sweeter. I fyou don’t like sweet teas, I would stay away from this one.
Tea of the morning…..
Do you ever have that moment sipping your tea where you just have to stop what you are doing and savor the moment? Well, that is happening this morning. It is like I chose the perfect tea for the moment and it is perfection. I will admit to having too many choices for great black tea in my cupboard, and it is only occasionally that I have a moment like that.
The tea is wonderful. Notes of honey, maybe raisin, light on the cocoa. Mouthfeel is thick. The leaves are curly brown and golden orange with a fuzz. So glad I have some of this in my stash.
Usual teapot method with the spoons slightly heaping as this is a fluffy tea.
Edit to add: the resteep for 6 minutes was also very good! Bonus!
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Raisins