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Recent Tasting Notes

Thank you, Angel, for the sample!

Brewed in a ceramic gaiwan, prepared in a gongfu session. No rinse. Steeping times: 15 seconds, 8, 10, 15, 20, 40, 60, 120, 300.

The dry leaf smells mostly of honey with a little bit of malt. After resting in the heated gaiwan bowl, the leaf smells pleasantly of light smoke and caramel. The wet leaf aroma is very different: chocolate and honey are dominant notes, and there is a hint of malt.

The liquor color is a beautiful burned orange. Just lovely in a white fine porcelain cup. Very clear and very clean.


As expected, this Lapsang Souchong has a full body and flavors which fill the mouth. Unexpectedly, it barely has any smoke – it’s very sweet. The session begins with the first infusion being chocolately, slightly malty, and smooth. There is a dominant smoke in the second infusion, but it disappears completely afterward. Third infusion and onward, the liquor is smoother and sweeter, having notes of chocolate and molasses and honey. The aftertaste lingers for minutes. There is absolutely no malt – a first for me with a chocolate-like hongcha.


Positively delightful. I enjoyed every drop and every aspect of this tea. Very glad to have this on a beautiful day off from work!

200 °F / 93 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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This is a free sample. Thanks to Angel at Teavivre!

Just to get it out of the way: I tried finding info one what “embryo” , means to but had no luck.

Frankly, based on the name, I’m surprised I like this more than I thought I would. I can’t say anything more about the taste other than it tastes like buckwheat, but it has a clean and full, roasted wheat-y flavor. It makes a good evening ‘herbal’ cup, and it sits well in the stomach after a big meal. The kernels, after steeping in the tea pot, smell so good.

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

A baby plant inside a seed is called an embryo, maybe it has something to do with that?

Gooseberry Spoon

What ashmara said. I’m thinking its equivalent to the term “non-degerminated” used on English labels for grains and flours. This means that the germ (embryo) hasn’t been removed meaning 1) the flour has all of the nutrition from the germ and 2) the flour is not as shelf stable because it contains the healthy unsaturated germ oils that have a tendency to go rancid over time.


Thanks, guys! I’m completely unfamiliar with this side of biology and didn’t know how to go about researching.

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Generously given as a free sample. Many thanks to Angel!

Brewed in ceramic gaiwan, had a gongfu session. No rinse. Steeping times: 15, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60; 2 min, 5.

Nearly all of the leaf is dark, dark brown, save for a few golden leaves. They’re short and curly, like black bi luo chun, but thin and without hairs. The dry leaf smells of sweet potato and a hint of chocolate. After the leaf spent a little time in the heated gaiwan bowl, the chocolate note strengthened, and a graham crackers note also appeared. The wet leaf aroma is malty at first; as the session went on, it smelled more like sweet potato.

The liquor has a dark orange color. It is clear and clean-tasting, with a full body but light mouthfeel. The first infusion tastes of sweet potato and malt with clove in the background. Second infusion and onward, the liquor sweetens more and more, consistently tasting of sweet potato. Its texture feels thick and smooth, almost creamy.


Being hongcha, this is a delight to drink on colder, overcast days. Unfortunately, this is only my second keemun – and my first keemun from Teavivre – so I can’t evaluate it fully. I wasn’t wowed by the aroma or the taste, though I did enjoy the full session. I also liked its hug-in-a-cup effect. It reminds me of dian hong. I imagine this would also taste good Western style.

185 °F / 85 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Premium dragon well long Jing green tea from teavivre review.

Ru Yao dragon teapot gongfucha.

Dry leaf: green, sweet, grass, freshly cut grass.

Wet leaf: green, sweet, grass, freshly cut grass.

1x short rinse

Light steep: I taste/smell: light hay.
Medium -> sweetness, grass, freshly cut grass, honey.

Medium steep: I taste/smell medium hay. Strong -> grass, sweetness, honey, freshly cut grass. Slight bitterness.

Heavy steep: I taste/smell; medium -> hay, sweetness, grass, freshly cut grass, honey. Little to no bitterness

All in all an amazing tea! The tastes, smells, the cha qi! Lovely!

I rate a 100

Thanks teavivre, for giving me this since you ran out of the other kind :)


Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Green, Hay, Honey, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 10 g 6 OZ / 165 ML

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I love Tie Guan Yin. Sometimes I crave the greener types and decide they are my favorite, and then I start craving a nice roasty one. Charcoal baked in the title promises this to be roasty, but I was pretty taken aback at the instructions. Six minutes for a oolong? I was chicken and gave it five.

This was served as the first tea of tea party today. We had cream cheese cucumber sandwiches first, followed by fudge pie with homemade vanilla ice cream. The tea was good with the sandwiches but OH MY GOSH it was awesome with the sweets. We make our own vanilla and it seemed really strong in the ice cream today, and when I sipped the tea the floral taste exploded. This is definitely a baked oolong, but it isn’t quite as dark and smokey as some I have had. The sweets really brought a lot of personality out in this. I know how I will be serving it henceforth.


I found this out too when I served a roasted tea with a raspberry chocolate cake. The tea made seconds in everyone’s cup.


this review made me hungry and tea-cravey.


Juliebeth – come to tea sometime if you are ever up this way!

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Fragrant is right on for this tea’s description. Fine tobacconist’s shop springs to mind first. I tried it gong fu and Western and got a whole afternoon’s worth of tea out of one sample packet.

Gong fu – the first steep was mild and pleasant. It had the flavors you expect in a Yunnan Dian Hong – sweet potato, a little walnut. Maybe light molasses. Second steep went a couple of seconds too long. WOW. Dark and rich, slightly astringent but good. Third steep – more careful with time but the leaves are now saturated and it steeps up very quickly. There is that definite aged sheng taste and feel.

Next I tried Western with the same leaves. Yes, got a whole pot that was rich in flavor from those same leaves. This is milder and sweeter. I had the gong fu tea by itself and the Western with a meal. It was great with food. At this price point, this is a fun tea to get to experiment with and try something new and different.


Fantastic description!

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This is consistently a very nice tea from Teavivre. The value for the price is always amazing. I did prefer last year’s harvest (2015) to this year (2016), but this is a minor distinction. It really is consistently good. Last year the tea had a bit more spiciness to it, and a bit more complexity. But this year it is quite fresh and pure – a very good buy for quality LongJing. I rate the 2015 harvest 95, and this year 90.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 9 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Happily, the 2016 harvest is an improvement over last year. Last year it was a pretty good tea, but the packages I had from 2015 seemed overly toasted.
This year, the tea is fresh and balanced and very, very good. It is mildly nutty, sweet and smooth, with a hint of spice.
2016 harvest is recommended. My rating is very high because the quality to price ratio is fantastic.

Flavors: Roasted nuts, Spices, Umami

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 9 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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The 2014 harvest of this tea was MIND BLOWING – fantastic! I have been drinking from a half gallon to a gallon of green tea a day, every day, for the past six years and this was one of my all time favorites. It was a lovely, intense green with a rich, almost meaty complexity, with an amazing aroma – smooth and sweet.

That said, the 2015 and 2016 harvests have been disappointing. The Lu Shan Yun Wu from these last two harvests lacks depth and complexity of the former years, the color is not very green, and the only flavor I really get now is smoke. Kind of tastes like a Gunpowder tea in that regard.

Sadly, I cannot recommend the 2015/2016 versions of this tea. I am now going to Amazing Green Tea to get it, but it costs so much more there I cannot get very much.

170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 15 sec 8 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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This is one of the samples of the new harvest that Teavivre sent me this week. I have had a Tai Ping before but I can’t find my review of it.

I have had a lot of tea lately, but it has been at breakfast or iced at a meal or with lots of company. I looked forward to having a quiet tea time with my best friend, steeping and resteeping and really having a chance to experience our tea.

I love the unique shape of these leaves and the pleasure of steeping them in a glass so you can see them dance and then soften and bend. The long, flat leaves stand straight up at first, and then begin to sag as the leaves saturate. It is really nice to watch in a tall, thin glass. Let yourself go and really lift and turn the glass and enjoy the movement, letting your hands join in the dance of the leaves.

The liquor is pale yellow to medium yellow (second steep). The overall taste is smooth and sweet. The second steep was stronger but never astringent. We kept all steeps at three minutes or less. You can go to five if you like it stronger. I think it would be a great introduction to green tea for people who have been turned off but bitter or sour grocery store, and the beauty of steeping it adds so much.

Then hubby and I had it again for supper tonight, made differently. Instead of drinking three individual steeps I placed the leaves in my large Kamjove that I bought from Teavivre. I made three consecutive steeps and let them combine in the pitcher before pouring any. It made a lovely, smooth green tea with buttery notes to drink along with our Asian takeout.

If I were introducing a tea “scaredy-cat” to green tea, I think this would be a great choice, even over Dragonwell. For those who love the bite of astringency with or after a meal, I am not sure if this would be your best choice unless you give it a full five minutes, which the label says can be done, by the way.

Thank you, Teavivre, for the samples. This is a really good one!

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I get to be first to review this one!

First I have to tell you, when I originally came to Steepster I was drinking all Twinings and Ahmad. Shortly after, Angel sent the first set of samples to me and I was absolutely blown away. Everything I tried was a new eye opening experience. Now several years have passed and I have tried literally hundreds of teas. Teavivre remains the yardstick by which I compare all natural unflavored teas. It is rare when I taste something I enjoy more.

On to this one provided by Teavivre – a simple sniff of the bag was enough to convince me I loved this. It is like sticking your nose in an ear of sweet corn without getting butter all over your nose.

The leaf is cool. Looks for all the world like a white tea. Lots of downy white needles and deep green leaf.

Once steeped the leaf smells of corn and creamy vegetables. The liquor is bright clear yellow with golden highlights. The liquor scent is corn and a comforting spicy/floral mix.

The taste is sweet corn (see a pattern here?) and a stone like mineral spring water. I think Teavivre mentions chestnut, but since I have never tasted one I can only offer from a reference point I know. It feels smooth and kind of thick but not syrupy.

I prepared this western mug style with a 3 minute steep, so I am getting a green briskness late in the sip. It is not bitter or drying. This fades into a leafy plant green aftertaste. I pretty sure short gaiwan steeps would be absent of the briskness.

This is plenty sweet on its own. Any addition of sweetener would ruin a beautiful cup in my opinion. As a former Splenda junkie trust me.

I wrote on my blog this is “Complex enough to entertain but not so much as to demand concentration.” It is more than a comfort tea but not necessarily a deep meditation tea.

Miss Starfish

Sounds like a great tea! I had a very similar experience re: Steepster & Teavivre. I’ll always have a place in my cupboard and heart for them :)


Same here! I did drink DAVIDsTEA at the time as well


I like the “not so much as to demand concentration” aspect. Needing that a lot these days!

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It’s been a while since I’ve had a TGY. Having grown accustomed to Taiwanese tea lately, I found the taste of this tea to be distinctively different from other green oolongs. This is a very flower packed tea, orchid to be precise, with a heady floral aroma. There’s little to no fruitiness or mineral notes. The flavor is like the essence of orchid with buttery tones and a hint of vanilla. I recommend short steeps because the flavor can quickly become overbearing if steeped too long.

While I enjoyed this tea, it’s not one I’d go out of my way for again. The flavor doesn’t change much from steep to steep and it’s floral aspect, though powerful, is one-dimensional. I prefer the more complex and subtle flowery notes of Wenshan Bao Zhong.

Flavors: Butter, Orchid, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I noticed that I started to prefer high mountains to Tie Guan Yin, too. The samples that you sent my way are amazing, by the way. Thank you so much!


No probs glad you liked them!

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My first taste of this year’s crop of this wonderful tea. It has lived up to my expectations!

My first impression of this tea reminds me of a mild dragonwell. It has a very light liquor (almost clear) while somehow still having a full mouth of flavor and a wonderfully pleasant aroma. The taste is very vegetal, and reminds me of cut grass with perhaps a hint of spinach. The taste is light, refreshing, and cooling. It’s a great summertime tea. The taste starts off sweet and ends with a slight astringency in the finish. There is also some undertones of savoriness throughout the cup. Excellent overall.

Flavors: Grass, Metallic, Sweet

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This is my second dragon well from Teavivre. I tried this side by side with their other nonpareil dragon well, She Qian, for comparison. It wasn’t even close. The She Qian, a delicate and sublime green tea, is clearly superior in every regard. The Ming Qian’s leaves have a nutty, chestnut aroma and taste. They aren’t quite as pristine as She Qian nor as tasty. The tea has a basic dragon well flavor and it’s not particularly remarkable. I would describe the flavor as a light vegetable broth. It’s not as sweet nor as refined as the other one. A pretty lackluster tea overall.

Flavors: Broth

175 °F / 79 °C 1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown! I finished this off while watching Lemonade, so I don’t remember a whole lot about it. I do remember enjoying it more Western-style than gong fu, which surprised me. Western-style brought out the honey and dark bread notes more robustly.

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My first spring green of 2016 and definitely worth the wait. The dry leaves in a heated vessel exude a luscious creamed spinach aroma. Tea brews to a delicate, pale liquor that embodies the freshness of the leaves. There is a gentle grassiness accompanied by a a soft chestnut flavor. Eventually it transitions to a light vegetable broth. The mouthfeel is crisp and smooth. Nothing too strong or in your face. This is a pretty mellow tea as far as dragon wells go. It’s thinner than Teavivre’s Premium Dragonwell but the taste is more refined.

I recommend steeping this in a tall glass. Normally grandpa style is annoying because of leaves getting into your mouth, but I didn’t mind it here because the tender buds are so delicious. And the beauty of watching these leaf buds dancing in the water only adds to the enjoyment. A very invigorating and refreshing dragon well tea.

Flavors: Garden Peas, Grass, Spinach, Vegetables

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’m annoyed because I just finished a sample and threw away the bag without making sure what it was! I’m pretty sure it was this; but I’m not sure, so note to self: order a sample so I can get a proper tasting note! If this is the one I’m thinking of its also a surprise favorite.

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Now this is a special tea!
Comparing it with other black teas from Teavivre, it’s in a whole other category.
First, the taste. It’s strong. Then stronger. Give this to your coffee loving friends and watch them overdose… If not, you’re doing it wrong.
Perfect for work, better for overdosing and then leaving home early…
I was getting dried fruit (maybe fig), nuts, honey and then speeding towards some light roast coffee, but without acidity.

Second, the smell is strong. Mostly reminded me of tobacco (the good smelling part of tobacco) and then some wood and malt.

Last part, the price. It’s good, it’s fair, you get more than you pay for. And if you want strong, I don’t think you can find it cheaper.
This is a 9/10 material of black teas, but for the price, it goes almost full perfect.
And strong!

Tea Tumbler 250 ml, 6g for 5/10/20/30… sec @ 90°C

Flavors: Dried fruit, Tobacco, Coffee, Nuts, Honey

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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This tea was delicious- very smooth and sweet, as well as floral and light. It seemed to have a stronger taste of jasmine than other jasmine dragon pearls I have tried, which I enjoyed very much. This is a good tea for any time of day, and I would highly recommend it.

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Good black tea, a bit bitter

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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My last order from Teavivre was mostly black tea. This one is a really nice one for the price.
I was getting coffee, wood and maybe mushroom notes for the first 2 infusions. Later infusions revealed more citrus and cocoa flavors.

This is a good tea for casual drinking. I’m mostly brewing it with my tea tumbler for those long working hours. For gaiwan style brewing I’d recommend the Yun Nan Dian Hong Full-leaf.

Tea Tumbler 250 ml, 6g for 5/10/15/20… sec @ 90°C

Gaiwan 100 ml, 3,33g for 5/10/15/20… sec @ 90°C

Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Orange, Smoke, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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