Recent Tasting Notes

Hello, hello, hello…. Is anybody in there?

Broken Steepster is not much fun.

I had this one yesterday. This is a really nice young sheng. The first cup is almost subdued. Sure it is slightly bright like raw sheng tends to be but not in an overpowering way. It is slightly mineral and slightly mushroom, yet neither are strong or offensive. Crisp, I think fits this nicely. The aftertaste really hangs on and seems floral to me. The second cup has a bolder but similar flavor. I detect some hints of leather. The third is the brightest, with an almost puckering bitterness. Cup four returns to a much milder cup with apricot notes. The aftertaste lingers and changes from cup to cup. It starts floral then seems more like a tieguanyin. By cup four it has a combination of both. These have all been about 8 oz cups. I have no idea how far it will go but it shows no signs of letting up. Very nice. Thank you Teavivre for this lovely sample.


I’m there :) Nice to see the Dashboard’s activity back – I loved this one too.


I am here! Are you the one that knocks? Steepster must still be buggy – people can’t seem to find my follow-profile-button ;)


Opportunity knocks. I just barge right in and click the follow buttons. I’m a natural born button pusher. Hope we are up and running for real for a long while.


i’m annoyed still at the forum pages not refreshing properly and the 50 notifications coming through all about the same thing lol


I agree. I so need a forum fix.

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Typical green pellets, strong with fresh vegetal scents. The brewed tea is rich orangey yellow with a light floral aroma. Floral notes and a buttery finish complete this simple tea. A good choice for an afternoon cup, or late night, when a stronger black or Darjeeling would be too brisk for the moment.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Angel sent me this tea for review! Thank you!! I’m so grateful to be able to sample some raw puerhs. :)

After yesterday’s excitement of the 2013 old tree raw puerh, I was looking forward to trying this one for comparison. I think some samples of raw puerh will be going on my wishlist. I again brewed this up with my pseudo gaiwan set up. Here are my notes:

Tangy aroma of dry leaf. Wet leaf aroma is more pleasant than the puerh I tried yesterday… It doesn’t make me cough! Ha!

15sec: Really mild, no astringency, tastes like a roasted oolong.
30sec: more flavor, still oolong-like, a little astringent, some tobacco there but in background.
45sec: oolong-like, subtle note of dried fruit,
1min: similar to last steep.
1min30sec: smoother, sweeter.
2min: sweet, like an aged oolong.

Overall, this is fine, but it was a bit boring for me after trying the old tree puerh. I think maybe it has to do with how young it is. Maybe once it ages for awhile, it will have more complexity. The one I loved yesterday was a year older….can they really change that much in a year? What do really old raw puerhs taste like? I’m just embarking on my raw puerh journey, and I have so many questions! So excited to try more!


Glad that you tried two raw puerh to compare .This 2014 produced raw puerh taste better next year. Actually, the puerh tea is varied from time to time. And also the taste and flavor are related to the storage condition. So i don’t know what old raw puerhs taste like. But if you stored it in good condition, the tea will become more complicated and changable.
Good luck.


Thanks, TeaVivre! I’ll have to try this one again after some time passes!

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I am so behind on reviewing some green tea samples Angel and Teavivre kindly sent me earlier this summer. Life keeps getting in the way of things and, being not much of a green tea drinker, I wind up instinctively reaching for a familiar oolong or pu’er tea on most days. But, I’m feeling a little more adventurous right now and thought I’d brew this up and give it a try!

(Spring 2014 batch)

Brewed aroma: Grassy, vegetal. Almost like freshly mown grass.

Taste: Also grassy and vegetal, with a hint of salt and a pleasant, smoky bitterness lurking in the background. Crisp, refreshing aftertaste that’s very satisfying, almost as if I’ve finished a hearty vegetable stew. Sometimes I can also taste some sweetness creeping in a little later.

Like I mentioned before, I don’t usually drink green teas, but this was a nice and enjoyable one! Thanks Teavivre!

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec 0 OZ / 0 ML

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Backlogging and based partly on my memory

This is, I believe, a sample I purchased from Teavivre at the end of last year (2013).

I used my standard raw pu-erh brewing parameters while steeping it: 150ml gaiwan; start water temperature at near boiling and work my way up to boiling; 15’ rinse, 30’, 45’, 60’, etc. Stevia added.

The tea liquor had a nice clear, yellowish color, with the standard raw pu-erh aroma.

The flavor was what I have come to expect from a quality raw pu-erh, although it is not a flavor I particularly like or can get excited about—too fishy, sour, or like bitter greens (I got that phrase from yyz’s review).

Although the wet leaf was largely whole, I noticed that there were a lot of long stems amongst the wet leaf, mostly stems attached to leaves (perhaps that is standard, I haven’t analyzed the wet leaf of enough quality raw pu-erh teas yet).

Overall, having had a number of pu-erh samples from a a few companies over the last 6 months or so, I find Teavivre’s pu-erh to be quality—the leaf is more or less whole, the flavor of the tea is clean, and the tea liquor has a good aroma. This tea is no exception. I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to pu-erh (having been drinking it for about for about 8 – 9 months), especially raw pu-erh, so I don’t have much here to say about this particular tea. I was able to get four good steepings out of it, and it could perhaps have yielded a fifth. Although I did not find anything ‘stand-out’ about this tea, I think it is a tea I could drink on occasion as a kind of tonic for my digestive system.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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This was pretty good – I brewed it four times, and it held strong each time. First steep was a minute, and I added a minute on each resteep. I really like that about the high quality teas – they might be a hair pricier per cup…until you do the math on the resteeps. This started out being very toasty and fruity, but got less and less fruity for me with each resteep. Next time, I will call it quits after 3.

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is my second experience of Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe), thanks to a generous sample from Teavivre. I believe that this one came in the oolong sample pack.

The last time I tried this darker shade of oolong (I believe that one was from Harney & Sons), I appear to have overleafed and oversteeped. Fortunately, boychik corrected the error of my ways, and I am happy to report that I like this tea a lot! I already had three delicious infusions, steeped in a nice ceramic mug with a deep infuser and a lid. It seems the perfect method for preparing multiply infusable oolongs and probably will be my new vessel of choice for this type of tea in the future.

So why is this good? The liquor is dark amber and tastes like a combination of all of the tasting notes listed by everyone else. Basically indescribable, but highly imbibable!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

I’m glad you like it. It became my fav too.


I love this one too.


It’s actually impossible to overleaf Da Hong Pao. Some people will use up to 12gr in a tiny Yixing. They fill it up, crush the leaves, and then fill it up even more. A lot of “tea masters” tend to do this

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Backlog from yesterday morning.

I paid much more attention to this tea yesterday compared to the first time I brewed it, and it tasted a little sweeter, less buttery this time. I steeped it twice – first for 3 minutes, then for 4.

However, the second steep was a little weak in flavour, so I didn’t finish the second pot of tea. This is good, but I’m pretty sure now that I would probably stick with Teavivre’s Bi Lo Chun over this.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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Backlog from a few days ago.

I tried this in the middle of the week right as Steepster was having its meltdown.

I don’t remember a lot about this tea now, but I do remember that I let the entire pot cool down before finishing half of the liquid I brewed, and didn’t even finish it after reheating it once or twice.

Based on that, I’m just going to assume that this tea didn’t grab me when I first tried it. I’m not sure why. I suppose it was far more vegetal and savoury than I expected.

However, I still have a very generous sample of this remaining, and I look forward to seeing if it suits me after all. if not, I’ll probably just order a lot Bi Luo Chun from Teavivre instead.

Thanks very much for the sample, Angel!

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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I’d like to thank the folks at Teavivre for choosing this tea for me.

This smells a bit floral. The flavour is mild, sweet, and somewhat green tasting. Another tea I like, but need to experiment with some more.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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This is the first time I ever tried a tea like this, so I’m not sure if I made it correctly. It smells both like leaves and earth, and light and herby. The flavour is smooth, and mild, but seems like it could have been richer if I brewed it a little longer.

Overall, good. Thanks to Teavivre for letting me try this.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Angel generously sent me a sample of this tea for review. I jumped at the chance to try some raw puerh, as I’ve never had any. I was a little afraid of it, as the ripe puerhs have been hard for me to really enjoy, but I noticed from reviews that raw puerhs were quite different. So, I made this in my pseudo gaiwan setup. Really need a gaiwan.

The aroma of the dry leaf was quite zippy! It had a tang to it. I put half the packet in my little teacup aka gaiwan and rinsed it twice for 10 seconds each. I really don’t know what I’m doing as far as gong fu style steeping of a raw puerh, but I was copying others and also kind of winging it.

My first steeping was 15 seconds. The aroma of the wet leaf had a strong tobacco note that made me cough! The taste however, was surpringly pleasant! I got notes of tobacco smoke, mint….maybe that’s that camphor quality people talk about. Honestly it was like a smokey green tea. Much more accessible than ripe to me! Yay! I’m really surprised because I didn’t think I’d like it.

Second steep (25 sec) had more tang, was more astringent, and I think I got a little wood note. The smoke note is sweet, maybe like pipe smoke?

The third steep (~40 sec) was similar to the second, but the fourth steep (1min) was softer, less astringent, and kind of toasty.

With the fifth steep (1min30sec), there was a dominant floral note! It was also sweeter Wow! Really good!

I finished with a sixth steep at 2 minutes which was similar to the fifth.

Overall, I’m really impressed, and extremely surprised I liked it. Yay! I like puerh! :D


Awesome! Raw puerh is so special :)


I know! I’m so glad to join the raw puerh club! ;)

Terri HarpLady

Yay, another convert! :D


@Terri: haha! :)

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I ordered a sample of this tea in my last order, as I thought it would be fun to try another version of the yunnan Dian hong. I love the golden tips one so much! This version is darker, more malty, but still has some sweet potato goodness. I think I prefer the golden tips, but I wouldn’t pass this up if it was offered to me!


Sweet potato…yum!

Lariel of Lórien

This and the golden tips make good breakfast teas.


I totally agree, Lariel!

Terri HarpLady

Any tea that tastes like sweet potato is awesome in my book :)

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Thank you Angel for this sample! When I first open the package for this tea I was reminded of the sparkling apple cider my family drinks every New Years. The rose and chamomile buds are very beautiful and the tea itself has downy, full buds. I was expecting this to taste more of the white base, but it is more given to the other flavors. I was able to pull about seven equally good steepings from my first try with this tea. I really love the flavors and they all balanced together very well. Since school started this has become my go-to relaxing tea and I am excited to try mixing it with a few of the others in my cupboard. I think this might be one of my very favorites from Teavivre!

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Yes, sweet potatoes. Not a fan of sweet potatoes but somehow a massive fan of this tea.

Smooth and drinkable and refreshing. It’s so light and lovely that I find myself making pot after pot of this, drinking it as if it were a replacement for water and deluding myself about the caffeine content, justifiably paying for it at 4am when I’m as awake as an owl.

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Very mixed feelings about this one. Many popular teas on Steepster live up to their hype, so I was expecting big things from Teavivre’s Golden Monkey, especially after having just tried and loved their Yun Nan Dian Hong Golden Tip.

First try was with my new yixing clay teapot, which had been recently seasoned with an oolong at the tea house where I’d bought it. Was concerned that future cups of black would taste like oolong but the shop owner assured me that it would be fine. Steeped 3 minutes at 90C per instruction. The result seemed to be rather undetectable medley of flavours, perhaps some tobacco and leather but bold and smooth with a tiny bit of astringency. Can’t say I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would though.

So I tried again with my porcelain teapot, same temp and timing. Seemed smoother and minus the slight smoke detected with the yixing.

Leaves were still in the yixing so I steeped them again, this time for five minutes. While it was clearly still the same flavour profile, there were now certain, specific notes making their appearance with gusto. The first thing that struck me was how much it tasted like honey water. Honey water with flowers. Rather too sweet and floral for me, but this would be absolutely delicious for someone who likes honey and flowers.

Brewing a third steep, seven minutes. More honey water and flowers. A little lighter now. Would make a great, naturally sweet iced tea.

Perhaps today I was after something different to this. I do have a feeling it might grow on me though, and am happy to try it again at a different point in time.

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With Steepster being mostly down this week, I haven’t logged any teas, so get ready for quite a few notes from me! I’ve decided I don’t want to wait anymore for the site to be perfectly fixed. At least we can read the latest notes from the link on the explore page.

I ordered a sample of this tea in my last order, because I thought it would be fun to try another Keemun. I am really liking Keemun. This one was really different. It had a nice cocoa aroma, but when I tasted it, I was blasted with this smooth stone fruit flavor…maybe plum? Whoa! Fruity! There was a hint of smoke, but it was very subtle. This was pretty delicious, and not what I expected. I think overall, I prefer other Keemuns, but this was a nice departure from the usual.

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Thank you one more time, Angel and Teavivre, for the sample!

This is my second consecutive day of trying out a white tea. I was quite pleased with the one I sampled yesterday so I was hoping for a similar experience today.

When I opened the sample package, the leaves were long, wide, green, and fresh looking. The aroma was rich and grainy and perhaps a little sweet.

I steeped the leaves for five minutes at 195 degrees (no 194-degree setting on my tea maker). Even with maximum steeping time, the color was a very light (almost transparent) yellow. The faint brewed odor was slightly sweet with a hay-like quality.

The taste was not robust but it was ample and sweet. As I swished the liquor around my mouth, flashes of fresh hay, grass, and honey registered on my palate.

The more I sipped this tea, the more I liked it. The brew was quite smooth without any hint of astringency. The mild flavor seemed to increase its presence as I journeyed toward the bottom of my cup. By the time I finished my first cup, I had achieved enjoyment status. The aftertaste was delicate but also smooth and likable.

As a white tea, this one is quite good. I didn’t find any undesirable characteristics. My only recommendation would be to bring out this fine selection with lunch, dinner, or dessert. There was nothing wrong with it at 8:00 AM, but I personally depend on the stronger and more robust teas at that time of the morning to jerk me out of my sleepy stupor.

Flavors: Cut grass, Hay, Honey

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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I must also thank Angel and Teavivre for this sample!

It’s been a while since I’ve tried a white tea. I’m usually focused on the bold black and Pu-erh teas which help me return to the land of the living each morning.

When I opened the sample package, the flat and clumped “cake” pieces were dark brown and reminded me of raked fall leaves that meld together in the pile after a few days of rain. The emitted odor was earthy like a Keemun black tea.

I set the tea maker on 212 degrees for nine minutes. (The recommended maximum steeping time was 10 minutes.) The brewed color of the liquor was a bright amber. The aroma was interesting and sweet. It wasn’t at all unpleasant but I struggled to identify it. I finally settled on describing it as a mixture of honey and hay.

The taste contained a sweet and medium-powered bounty of honey, hay, and green wood. This fusion was further complemented by grass with light and fresh tea components. The sum of the parts was a delightfully smooth and satisfying cup from start to finish. The aftertaste danced and rolled on my palate with no astringency in its vocabulary.

Teavivre has produced a splendid new white tea with this offering. All of the flavors blend perfectly at the right volume and seem made for each other. I could easily enjoy this selection at morning, noon, or night. Once again Teavivre has made me emerge from my black tea cocoon and be glad that I did!

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Honey, Wood

Boiling 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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This tea has a pleasant smell of rotten leaves when dry. You should brew it with hot water 96°C to 100°C and wait for at least 6 minutes first 3 brewings and add another 2 minutes each next time. The brewing should be quite dark for the white tea. The taste is refreshing and tonic with mild aftertaste. I liked it but in small amounts. Like the another pu-erh tea I’ve got Fengqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh it affects blood pressure and you could feel some negative effect if you have drunk too much of this tea.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Smooth

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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What with one late summer thing and another, I haven’t been tasting too many new teas and certainly have not had time to write ’em up over the last few weeks. I’ll try to rectify that over the coming long weekend and moving forward. I’ve got a whole box of teas that are crying out for some attention.

I’ll start with Tea Vivre’s Yunnan Palace Ripened Pu-ehr 2005 (with apologies to the pu-ehr mavens who could no doubt do a much clearer analysis). So far, I’ve done four steeps: 30/30/45/60 at boiling; I used about half of the sample package in my small gaiwan. The wet leaves are very mushroomy and earthy, as I’d expect a pu-ehr to be, but . . .
1: dark caramel color, almost a sweet nose, with a much lighter and dryer flavor than I’d expected given the odor.
2: much darker liquor, slightly caramel odor. It had the more familiar shen flavor – really earthy – but it was smooth and not heavy at all.
3: do I smell steak?! That would be particularly weird, considering I’ve been a vegetarian since my teen years, but it really seems like that’s the odor (though I have to wonder if it was affected by the onions I was sautéing as I was sipping). Still very smooth texture.
4: again with the dry taste and somewhat flattening out. I’ll let it rest now till tomorrow and see what happens then.

Altogether a fine brew, though it doesn’t knock my socks off. I’ll enjoy the rest of the sample, but I don’t think this is one I’ll stock.

Flavors: Caramel, Earth, Mushrooms

0 min, 45 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I don’t know if this got contaminated or what, but the dry leaf smelled so buttery and creamy and almost cake like. It was in a plastic bag stacked I a pile of my other samples in plastic bags so it’s possible.

I started with a 15 sec rinse, and did three 1 minute steeps. 7g 8oz boiling water.

The rinse was sweet and buttery and creamy and cake like, which I think might have been contamination. The first steep wasn’t as dessert like as the rinse, furthering my conclusion, but it is still buttery and creamy and a bit sweet, but less so than the rinse. The second steep loses more of the sweet, but remains buttery. The third is less buttery, and a tad bit astringent, so I stopped there.

This was surprisingly buttery which I enjoyed, and I’m glad I got to try it.


I love buttery and creamy oolongs. They’re my favorites.

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i can’t remember the last time i had a moment to review!

this tea is beautifully balanced, and a very mouth-round feel. it reminds me vaguely of malt and the sweet smell of pipe tobacco.

i have 10 seconds to review a half hour worthy tea!!!!!! ack!

lovely. worth the money. made my day. wouldn’t change a thing….. my new fave.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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When I opened the package I was greeted with amazing bright long tea leaves. I did a 5 seconds rinse and first steep was 30 seconds. It has a green color and a grassy taste, which I like a lot. This is an afternoon tea that complimented really well my home baked dates squares. 2nd brew time was 1 minute and still a nice color and grassy taste. I love the huge tea leaves.

Flavors: Grass

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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