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Recent Tasting Notes
This is one of five samples of Taiwanese oolongs provided to me for review by Teavivre. Green oolongs aren’t really in my repertoire, but I am carefully following the guidelines to see if brewing them to Teavivre’s specs makes a difference. I am using 7 grams of tea in a 3 ounce gaiwan with 95 degree water. The dry leaves are curled and twisted, a muted jade green and smelling slightly floral and reminiscent of hay.
After a quick rinse, the first steep is 30 seconds and smells like sweet corn. TV dinner corn, according to the beau. It is a light yellow liquor, with a mild floral taste, that sweetness is still very strong but I get a note of spice like a hint of cinnamon or ginger in a sweet molasses cookie. The beau says he doesn’t get much taste but I find this tastier than I expected. There is no bitterness at all and the flavour that is there is very strong and echoes after the sip.
Steep 2 at 30 seconds is a bolder yellow with similar aromas to the first. The flavour is stronger here, greener. I think of peaches at first, and then more of boiled vegetables after the sip. This is closer to astringent but not quite there.
The leaves are HUGE now and are nearly spilling out of my gaiwan. Getting water in there is about to become a challenge. The leaves are mostly whole, with about 75% or more the leaf intact on the few that were broken. There are some sticks in there which don’t need to be but they don’t take away from the flavour.
Steep 3 at 35 seconds makes my fingers hurt! I spilled a bit on the second steep and now the heat of the gaiwan is stinging more quickly. This is tea making for the tough! :) Again I have a warm yellow liquor that smells of sweet corn, tasting less sweet than before and more of boiled greens than anything else. Again, we are getting closer to astringency. I would prefer to have a bit of that floral sweetness back, maybe in the next steep?
Side note: I do like the smaller three ounce gaiwan Teavivre sent with the teas as it allows me to drink the tea quickly and not have to re-boil the kettle constantly. I also poured the liquor off into another cup and used it as a sharing pitcher so the beau and I had the same flavours in each cup. AND I watered my tea pet. I feel like a rockstar.
4th steep at 45 seconds has finally developed some astringency. It feels like my tongue and throat are dry and I don’t like that. I seem to be losing most of the flavour here. Now the sweetness is gone and so is that nice spice note. I just get boiled greens and a dry mouth. Definitely not a fan of this steep. The beau likes this steep the best so far, saying it’s “like a high quality green but without that grassy spinachy taste.” He also says it’s very smooth. Are we even drinking the same tea?
Supper is ready now, so steeps 5+ will have to wait. I don’t think I would drink this for pleasure after it’s gone simply because I prefer darker roastier teas but it does seem to be good quality. If you are into green or unroasted oolongs, check this one out. I might have gone awry in my steeping to make that astringency come out, though I was quite careful with time and temp.
EDIT to add: The beau gives this an 80 or an 85. His favourite steep was the fourth where I loved the first with the spice note and sweet floral. Different strokes for different folks. I think he is taking the rest of the sample to work. :) Thanks Teavivre!
I like it a lot. Sweet potato and bread notes. its a sample i got in July with my purchase. Very good and flavorful 2 steeps. 3rd one was ok, nothing special but i still finished it. On my list to get during Black Friday sale
I have been drinking this every morning the past few days. Simply delicious and sweet, and perfect with a dash of cream. Best brewed at the recommended lower temperature.
One of the very best – if not THE best – Mao Feng green teas that I’ve yet to try. An outstanding Mao Feng!
Soft, earthy, sweet, creamy … with a creaminess that is somewhere between a milky/buttery creaminess and vanilla. So nice and luxurious tasting.
By mid-cup, I noticed some apple-y flavors with a tangy note. A very well-rounded cuppa.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/08/10/nonpareil-te-gong-huang-shan-mao-feng-green-tea-from-teavivre/
Well I must say that I was excited when I was asked to participate in another tasting of Teavivre tea. Even more excited when it after being sick all last week with bronchitis. This was the first that I decided to try. I went with the green because I heard that green tea can help booster antibiotics. I probably heard it on John Tesh since I produce his show for the station I work at. I opened up the packet and noticed a little bit of roasty aroma. It’s definitely a much lighter green in the color of the liquor. A medium body. I like the slight roasted flavor to this one. It reminds me a lot of the tea my brother gave me a few years ago for Christmas. He got it at an Asian market in Ann Arbor and I tried to see if anyone on Steepster could read it. I’m thinking maybe it’s Lu Shan Yun Wu. They are definitely similar flavor profiles and the leaves are similar. Who knows. It almost tastes like silver needles. I definitely like this one.
Sipdown, 117. I get it. I finally get it. What a really, really lovely tea. Thanks again so much to Teavivre for sending me this.
So the first couple of times I had this I was a bit underwhelmed. I don’t typically looooove high mountain Taiwanese oolongs but I do usually enjoy them. My first gongfu session I used my small teapot (6oz) but that was clearly too much. This time I followed Teavivre’s gongfu instructions on the site exactly and used the gaiwan that they sent to me (3oz). The florals were just intoxicating.
I ended up having one tiny cup from each steep and dumping the rest (only enough for another tiny cup at the end once all the leaves expanded!) into a cup to drink at the end. All of them were lovely, including the final cup. Smooth, luxurious florals, fresh and green. The texture was smooth and silky, and the flavor was rich and complex in every steep. Spring in a cup, which is lovely to have at the beginning of winter.
I knew I had tasted this before but with my hectic schedule I forgot how this tasted. It’s like getting to try it for the first time all over again. I love how the aroma of steeped Chinese green tea leaves often remind me of stew meat. The liquor on this looks green in the press and like white grape juice in the cup. I was expecting a subtle tea. Instead I get BAM! This is a killer tea. It reminds me of a cross between premium Long Jing and Huang Shan Mao Feng. Just an awesome cup!
I stopped putting ratings on teas but this one would be way up there.
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this fantastic sample!
Dry: Twisty longer black tea leaves with tons of lovely golden tips. This is not one of those teas that is supposed to have tips that has a few lighter bits sprinkled into the black leaves. It looks at least half gold in the infuser. The dry aroma is very fragrant, thick and bready.
Steeped: Dark orange-brown clear liquor. Smells earthy and almost a touch smoky-sweet from the tea pot, like roasting sweet potatoes with natural burnt sugar bubbling on the potato skin. The leaves expand and unfurl quite a bit in the infuser, so they need a little extra room to breathe.
Taste: This is my first Golden Monkey black and it is quite lovely! I brewed it with the Western method and it came out as an enjoyable cup. Very mildly fruity with nothing added and there are still those roasty, malty sweet potato notes. In the aftertaste, there is an earthy, almost bready lingering flavor that lasts far beyond each sip. I would agree that this is a distinctive leaf, completely different from the other I’ve tried before and I am looking forward to steeping it again!
This evening I wanted another cup of tea, but only an oolong would do! This one looked like a nice choice. I generally like ali shan oolongs, perhaps not my ultimate favorite, but a solid choice. The scent of this tea is buttery and floral. The floral notes are sweet and simply gorgeous! I’m excited to see what this tea will taste like because the scent is beautiful.
Sipping… this is quite delicate! I was expecting more of a floral smack in the face, but this is very smooth.. it’s almost like a whisper of what I want it to be. A tiny bit of astringency finishes off the cup, but otherwise it’s very smooth and almost milky. I wish that this tea had a little bit more to offer in terms of the flower or butter notes, but it’s nice. I think that this could be a good choice for people who are new to oolongs and aren’t sure where to start.
Even though I could use a little more flavor, I could see myself popping this into my shopping cart. Thank you, Teavivre, for a sample!
I’m enjoying this generous sample from Teavivre this morning! This is an extremely floral oolong. Very light too. The smell is strong and wonderfully complex, but I’m finding the flavor a little weak for my personal tastes. Not bad though and I’m really glad I got to try it. Thanks Teavivre!
I’d like to start the day by saying, “Thank you Sil”
Thank you for being the best tea sister ever, & for sharing this teavivre order with me. Even with the crazy postal mix ups, its SO worth it. This cup of tea is lovely, a perfect start to what will be a busy busy day with me cloistered away in the practice room at UMSL, followed by a rehearsal with the choir, followed by more cloistering, a lesson with my student there, dinner at a BBQ joint nearby, a little more practice, & then the concert tonight. I’m bringing my laptop, just in case I have time to take a break from playing music & work on my novel a little. That’s my day. This tea is wonderful. Like a comforting baked sweet potato, straight from the oven. So rich, malty, & soothing.
This is another Teavivre sample from Sil. I love samples from Teavivre, they are always so generous, & the quality is excellent. This one is no exception. The tea is in nuggets, & once steeped it is an iridescent green. Although I don’t love ‘green’ oolongs as much as I love the more roasty ones, I do enjoy them from time to time. This one has a buttery floral aroma, with a light floral taste. The flavor is also both sweet & savory, with a thick sensation. A pleasant afternoon cup.
Very sweet. The batch I have is more on the green side. So it has the bready/pastry flavor of DD along with some green and some floral tgy like flavor. I like it <3 . Its a different flavor than the medium DD I got from Taiwan tea crafts, but I can say that I like the both of them.
Its pretty darn good. Reminds me of a more complex, less astringent, lipton black.
If you like lipton but want to try some loose leaf black tea this would be a great one to start with.
I followed the gaiwan instructions.
<3 I had to add milk and sugar after the rinse and first infusion but otherwise it was super!
But I still prefer green teas.
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this wonderful sample!
Dry: Short and twisty black loose leaf tea with a few golden tips mixed in. Has a pleasant notably sweet and lightly malted fragrance. I really like Teavivre’s Keemuns apparently because this one is another winner!
Steeped: Medium coppery-brown clear liquor. I didn’t add anything to this and the brewed aroma (Western method) retains a bit of that sweet note from the loose leaf. There is also a touch of smoke and of course that lovely malt.
Taste: I really like this tea, just as much as I enjoyed the Grade 1 I tried recently. They are very similar, but this one seems to be a bit more flavorful perhaps. I may need to do a side-to-side comparison soon so I know which one to order a larger bag of. I love the feeling when you taste a tea and just know you need to keep it around.
Anyhow, this is a wonderful breakfast choice for a Sunday morning. Thick mouthfeel added to a rich, fruity, mellow base. There is a slight pleasant mellow floral and smoke aftertaste. The complexity makes me think of a lower cacao percentage dark chocolate with that sweet aroma and taste dancing around on my tongue. I might need to have a nibble of the hazelnut and currant dark chocolate I have stashed with this tea for just such an occasion. :)
Another sample from my most recent box from Sil.
If you had told me a few years ago that I would grow to love smokey teas, I’m not sure I would have agreed. They used to kind of freak me out, but now I love them. Sometimes I like to sweeten them, which brings out a deep caramelized flavor. Yum! Right now I’m drinking this one plain, & it is very satisfying. I’d like to try it with Maple…if I could just get myself to get up off the couch & walk to the kitchen…ok, I did it, & OMG this is tasty!
Now this is a pleasant cup!
It is a sweet mouth filling dian hong, laced gently with rose. What can I say? I enjoy the rich sweet potato taste of DH, & unlike my tea sister Sil, who sent me this Teavivre sample, I love the scent of roses, & I enjoy roses in my tea from time to time, so long as they aren’t overdone, or fake. This one is nicely done! It’s a sipdown, as I used the entire sample (2 minutes), but I only got it a few days ago & never added it to my database, so I don’t really get to count it. Thanks to Sil, Teavivre, & whomever the sample was originally sent to, for this lovely afternoon cup.
Thanks Dexter3657 for this one :)
This is my first Teavivre tea woot! This is a lovely black tea. It has that natural honey sweetness that I really enjoy.
Once again, shout-out to Teavivre for the tea!
First steep – 15 seconds in a Gaiwan using near boiling water. The aroma is pleasantly floral, doubly so since I have gotten over my brief cold. The initial flavor can have a touch of astringency fading quickly to a smoothness that is unique to high-mountain teas. I put this uniqueness down to the minimal roasting and oxidation used in these tea, which preserves the delicate flavors of the tea. The thing that really makes this tea stand out is how long the slightly-mineral aftertaste lasts. it was lingering for over a minute and half with my tea. That’s almost a record, and the other such tea was a big red robe, which is a much stronger tea. Truly remarkable. The other thing in the palate of the tea is a bit floral, which reminds me of some bushes near my grandmother’s house. I’m not sure what they are, but I’ll call her to see. All in all, this was a great cup of tea, and I’m looking forward to the next one.
Second steep – 5 seconds with near-boiling water. The result is much better, the floral flavors have really matured. Oolongs are almost always better on the second steep, peaking on the third, but improvement this pronounced is pretty rare. It’s like the first steep was a sketch, and the second was the painted final version: There are details and nuances that there not initially present. The aftertaste has also improved, becoming much sweeter. The end result is a much more balanced tea, with the right amount of sweetness to accentuate the other flavors.
Just when I think that I have a break, I find out my roommate is very sick with something that it is actually really serious. This has put a severe damper on my plans for the evening, ans so this will probably be the last note I have time for. Anyways, the third steep was prepared same as the second, and the results were actually a bit less satisfying than the second. It lost enough of the sweetness that the flavor wasn’t as perfect as before, which was a bit surprising. I think that the wash I gave it to begin with was actually detrimental to the flavor, so I probably won’t do that next time I taste the tea. It’s still an exceptional tea, but it lost the perfect balance between smoothness, floral flavors, and sweetness that made it exceptional. Anyway, I wish all of you the best, and hopefully the rest of your weekends will be more relaxed than mine.
I did not realize there was an organic version of this one available. That may explain why this non-organic version is my third favorite white tea. Top honors goes to Teavivre’s organic Silver Needle. Oh my that one is so good. Second favorite is Concept Teas White Peony. The difference between this and the Concept Teas version is the latter is far more fragrant and more developed in flavor. It is a noticeable difference. However, now realizing there is another higher level White Peony by Teavivre this may require further investigation!
Totally unrelated – while sipping this and typing the note I grabbed a generic fudge striped shortbread cookie. When I picked up the cup again for a moment I could have sworn this was puerh. The cocoa brought out all these wonderful earthy notes. Seriously you need to try it. Like you need an excuse to nibble on cookies.
A very nice smooth Oolong with nice subtlety and gentle flavor and aroma. Slight nutty and floral tones blend nicely for a well rounded brew.
Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box #10
I snatched this one out of the box to sample later and I am soooooo glad I did. This was such a delicate white tea I love! The dry leaf was so beautiful. The aroma as it steeped worried me a little… It smelled grassy and savory and I’m not a fan of vegetal teas. But the taste is nothing of the sort. It had this creaminess I was not expecting at all and then when I looked it up it says soy milk notes. I get it now! Ha ha. My favorite steeps were definitely the second and third. Was not a huge fan of the first steep but was definitely worth it to get to the further steepings:) I have enough left to try some other time! Yay!