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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
Trying the third black tea from a sample pack that Teavivre sent me recently. Yet again, I’m using short steeps as suggested on their website to taste test it. Black tea is often prepared western style with long steeps. I prefer to short steep black tea, especially if it’s of good quality because it will yield many good short infusions to taste.
Straight from the first sip, this tea blew me away. The flavours are far from what I expected. Just glancing at the name of the tea I figured, ‘oh ok, here is another yummy Yunnan Dian Hong tea to try’. Sipping the tea and smelling the cup, there is a distinct umami aroma. I’ve yet to try a tea I’d consider to be savory. There is also a very enjoyable woodsy, floral and roasted flavour. Also a bit of earthy, and mild sweetness in the background. The tea base mixed the savory flavour makes for a very bold first cup of tea.
On the third steep, there was more of an almost sour and tart flavour. It wasn’t strong enough to make my face pucker, but because it’s unusual to taste in tea it tastes strong to my senses. As I resteeped all the way to a seventh cup, the tea maintained a consistent bold flavour. It tasted a bit weaker on the sixth and seventh steeps, but the flavour and liquour colour is much stronger and darker than I anticipated.
Overall I was very pleased with this tea. I’d like to use the recommend option on Steepster for this one, but it brings such bold and unique flavours that I know that would be off putting for some people.
I’m used the word bold a lot to describe this tea, and even that doesn’t really fully describe the sensations it brings. It has a balance of potent flavours (roasted, woodsy, earthy, savory, floral, sweetness, spice, and tartness) that you usually don’t taste in tea. Usually if a tea is bold/potent it’s in a bad way, such as being off balanced, bitter, or too pungent (the opposite of what a well balanced, delicate tea would be). If I had to compare this tea with any other, it would be similar in sensation to a strong Sun Moon Lake black tea. Both of them have bold flavours, but still maintain a good balance and are not recommended for tea lovers that want a subtle tea.
On recommendations, I think the savory nature of the tea makes it a good one to sip during winter. Where I live it has been brutally cold the past couple of months. The bold savory characteristics gave me a pleasant feeling of cozy warmth, similar to what I feel when I drink strong chai or Lapsang Souchong.
Short steeping as suggested by Teavivre’s website: rinse, 15s, 25s, 35s, 45s, 60s, 75s, 90s
Flavors: Earth, Floral, Roasted, Tart, Umami, Wood
Sample from Angel – thank you as always for your continuous generosity. this is one of those mineral like teas for me. there’s a bit of sweetness here but mostly it’s that mineral like taste that, in roasty ooolong teas develops in to that taste that i don’t like. However, in this tea it’s pleasant…making for a very light cup. I don’t think i’d pick this one up but i’m really glad for the chance to sample it as would have been one that i would have likely ordered to try out. I see this finding it’s home with someone who likes those sort of roasty mineral like teas….though this is certainly got a sweetness to it that is very pleasant.
I have the day off from work today! Not only is that a great thing by itself, but it also means I can really concentrate on this new tea sample from Teavivre. Thanks, Angel!
When I opened the sample package, the “cake” had the expected matted, grassy, compost-like appearance. The aroma was strong, leather, and earthy, but there was also a sharp edge to it.
I steeped the entire sample package in 16 ounces of boiling water for eight minutes. It seemed like a long brewing time at that high temperature but I was game since I like strong robust teas.
The brewed color was a muddy brown. The odor was, surprisingly, much milder than the unbrewed smell. It was undeniably Pu-erh, but not unpleasant.
My first sip was loaded with the unmistakable Pu-erh taste that I’m accustomed to and actually like. It was deeply earthy and leathery. This selection also had a slightly sweet attribute that I found quite enjoyable. The whole concoction was very smooth. Each swallow streamed gently down my throat with delightful bliss. No astringency appeared on my taste buds and the aftertaste was equally sweet and pleasing.
In summary, this is a very nice Pu-erh from Teavivre. It’s not the strongest one I have encountered (even after brewing at 212 degrees for eight minutes) but it is among the sweetest and most satisfying that I have experienced. Great flavor with no face-scrunching bitterness.
Flavors: Compost, Earth, Leather, Sweet
You can tell this is an Arbor tree by its bold and muddled flavor. Its not as bold and deep as an ancient tree or old tree but still it has a very distinct flavor. It starts with a dark underbrush taste and continues as mellow and fungal. The aroma is one of newt and wet granite. Its almost as a walk through the forest after a rainstorm. The liquor brews into a dirty red liquor, which is a fantastic Shou. The wet leaves let out an encompassing aroma of moss and stone. Arbor tree tea usually has a very consistent taste profile and keeps a very stable brew. I’m sure to get steeps well into the night with these leaves.
Flavors: Wet Moss, Wet Wood
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Thank you Teavivre for these beautiful samples. This Sheng is relatively dark brown with little bits of silver and gold buds. The aroma was intoxicating. I let it rest out for a small amount of time and the scent became stronger. I noted that it hadn’t been aged completely properly but that was not a problem. Upon brewing it was a golden pale stew. The liquor was sweet smelling with a hint of smoke. I was able to steep 12 times before I had to leave my home. I know it would have been able to be steeped more and more. I am always a Sheng fan and Teavivre will help me to continue being one.
Flavors: Leather, Menthol, Plums, Tobacco
The lovely Angel sent this one my way so that i could try it out. I was excited by this one, since i have really enjoyed teavivre’s keemuns in the past and because i am running low on keemuns in my cupboard. this isn’t my favoutite keemun fro teavivre though it’s a really nice cup. It just doesn’t have those slightly almost smokey notes in it that i really enjoy from teavivre’s other keemuns. Ithis one has a smooth body with a tiny bit of malt, a little honey and just some nice tea. While this doesn’t scream keemun to me..it IS a nice tea and it could have a place in my cupboard as just a tea i drink heh
This is another sample from Teavivre – a bit of a puerh tour, how fun is that! Want to start by saying that I am going to have to try short-steeping this next time because it appears my fellow Steeps are appreciating this more than I am; I did like it, though. Did a 10s rinse then 4x 2-3 minute steepings. I kept waiting for the creaminess and other high points to appear, no luck.
All the steepings had earth and just the barest sweetness, with a bit of astringency in the aftertaste. 1st and 2nd steeps had tobacco, 2nd had mushroom with a whisper of chocolate (my favorite steeping), 3rd had damp earth and wood smoke, 4th back to a bit of mushroom and what I could almost but not quite call floral that’s in the tea’s description.
Wondering if it’s my method or my taste buds…
Another sample from the generous Angel!
Before brewing this (Western style for me), I had finished a mug of the Superfine Keemun Mao Feng that I have recently been super impressed by.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of a “red black” tea.
First sip, I was surprised at how…sour (?) it seemed to taste on my tongue!
Not BAD, but nowhere near as sweet as the aforementioned Keemun.
It was a light color, and it had sort of a strange taste that felt somehow familiar to me, but I couldn’t place my finger on it. The closest I came was like kind of a bitter raisins taste. But I’m not entirely sure.
I appreciate the opportunity to try this one, but it’s not one I would purchase.
Perhaps gong fu style would make a big difference overall.
I’m not rating this time around because I feel like I need to try my second sample first :)
This would be a good puerh, as others note, to use as an intro for the uninitiated. It has a pleasant woodsy, fresh-mushroomy, wet-leaf atmosphere without being at all dank (or fishy). Also there’s some distinct clean leather in the first steep, nice. Medium body, not too light. Smooth, no edge. A hint of sweetness leaning toward malt as well. Also leaves a nice little tingle in the mouth.
Thanks to Teavivre for sending a sample of this my way, I am enjoying it!
I am a puerh noob, particularly raw. I think I like it, but it is an interesting flavor. It is a bit sweet but also a bit bitter. There is a quality I was having trouble describing, but seeing the other flavors listed here as including menthol, and it makes perfect sense now. I steeped this four times, then got tired of it and wanted to move on to new things. I think that is my biggest challenge with puerh. I love that it can give and give…but I like too much variety to stick with one thing all day. Perhaps I just need more steepers. Hmm…
Predominant note is chocolate , a little tobacco, a little malt and prune-like sweetness. While that description makes it sound like a rich tea, though, it is fairly light. Smooth and round and delightful to drink with no ‘catches’ to distract from the pleasure. This is a tea I would purchase. Very much enjoyed this sample, thank you, Angel!
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
Without smelling the dry or wet leaves, all my first impressions came from sipping the first steep. I was a bit surprising to taste citrus (or something that tastes similar). There was also a nice bittersweet chocolate flavour (not overly sweet) and a nice woodsy/earthy characteristic to the black tea body.
Each resteep was pleasant. I really enjoyed the blend of citrus/woodsy flavours. It only weakened when I reached the sixth steep. Less of the charming flavours remained, and more smoky/roasted flavours appeared.
Overall I thought Teavivre’s Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Ancient Wild Tree tea brought out some interesting flavours I didn’t expect to encounter. The quality of the tea is present in the resteepings and the good balance of flavours. For tea preferences, I would recommend this to those that may usually find Yunnan black tea boring or average. But also to those that already enjoy black tea from the region, because it brings interesting flavours with a great tea base that you already have learned to love.
Short steeping as suggested by Teavivre’s website: rinse, 15s, 25s, 35s, 50s, 80s, 130s, 210s
This is the first tea I tried out of the generous bunch of samples sent to me by Angel of Teavivre.
I don’t know WHY, given that I’ve only tried a few in my lifetime, but when I see the word “Keemun” I always get a little nervous, because I expect them to be smoky. I don’t really do smoky teas, I don’t really dig them.
I was SO pleasantly surprised when I tried this! I absolutely LOVED it!!
Wow. It was such a rich, bright, flavourful cup of tea. A bit of malt, and honey and raisin notes, and not even 1% smoke!
It’s not at all what I expected. It was such an enjoyable cup that I will absolutely order some in the future. Thanks so much Angel, for allowing me to try something I otherwise would have balked at!
This is a sample from the lovely boychik. Thank you!
This summer I got to try 3 of the Teavivre keemuns side by side. At the time I determined that the Hao Ya was my favorite of the 3. It offered the deep notes of cocoa as well as hints of fruitiness. I think for mornings the Hao Ya may still be my favorite as it offers a tad more briskness, but this is such an elegant tea. It is so smooth. with some of the familiar notes of keemun. When I sip I first am hit with the malt and cocoa aspects of this tea. At the end of the sip in comes a hint of floral followed by a fruity sweetness. I am not getting any woody notes or smoke notes in this tea. When I place an order for the Hao Ya I will add in a sample of all the keemuns to compare again. Thanks again boychik for the sample!
This is one of the free samples that Teavivre recently sent me and I brewed it up this morning at work. I don’t tend to go for teabags or pyramid bags, but I have heard good things about Teavivre pyramid bags, and I love any chance to try shu, especially in a convenient form. Unfortunately, I seem to be contracting the beaus illness so I am not in peak tasting form. I do think that my sense of taste and smell are both still good at the moment though.
There aren’t any reviews on this one yet (what?!) an the brewing directions were quite lengthy (9-12 minutes) so I am winging it. I used boiling water, and I think it got maybe 2 or 3, MAYBE 4 minutes. That is more than I would typically have done for a shou pu but it looked at first like there wasn’t that much leaf in there. That was deceptive though, as it has expanded to fill about 3/4 of the bag.
Despite the lengthy steep time (IMO) this is not too strong. No bitterness or mustiness. Still bold, earthy, and with a smoke note. I don’t notice any rose, but it does remind me of wood fires. My house is heated by wood furnace, so I’m pretty familiar with that. :) I’ve saved the bag so I can steep it throughout the day and I’ll update if anything new and radical comes about. This is a really nice easy drinking shou, even if it isn’t terribly complex. It gets sweeter as it cools as well, maybe that is the rose.
Flavors: Earth, Smoke
This is another sample pack from Angel at Teavivre. Thank you!
I wanted to write about this tea again, because my first impression was very good, but then I had this tea again over the past 2 nights and it was AMAZING! This tea is light floral, buttery and no bitterness. I have to have this tea for the spring. No questions asked. This is so lovely. I can’t wait to place an order!
Thank you to Angel at TeaVivre for this sample!
I have had a few different TGY. Several for me have ended up tasting bitter and not very pleasant to my taste buds. The few that I have gotten right have been wonderful. This tea immediately goes into the wonderful category. I have been sipping on this tea all afternoon with no hints of bitterness. It is sweet and floral. As the infusions go on I get a creamy texture and hints of peach. I have done about 7 or 8 infusions and this tea is still giving! Thanks again TeaVivre for so many wonderful offerings. This is another one that will stay on the wish list!
I want to start of by saying I am not a green tea drinker as I usually lean towards black or Pu-erh. I also stay away from floral teas as I am usually very sensitive to floral notes. Given all that, I still really wanted to try this tea after hearing/reading great reviews about the subtlety of jasmine notes. After opening the sample packet I saw nice tightly balled pearls with a sweet subtle jasmine aroma. I brewed a 2tsp per 16 oz with first steep of 2 min. Tea was a pale golden yellow/green color and you could smell the jasmine as I poured. Mouth feel was smooth and no trace of bitterness some green teas inherently have. Unlike many reviewers I found the Jasmine to be very strong and almost overwhelming, my boyfriend, who was also sampling felt it was very strong as well although not as overwhelming as I did, He described the jasmine notes as more of a strong forerunner in flavor rather than an subtle undertone . The second and third steep mellowed out the flavor a little more and it wasn’t overwhelming to me any longer however it was still very strong. Overall the tea was good, just maybe not the best for me-being so sensitive to florals. I would have to do a little more experimenting with exactly how much tea to use so that my first steep doesn’t end up so strong.
I was very interested in trying this Pu-erh and received it as a sample to try out. I was surprised at how large the tangerine peel chunks were in this blend, and it smelled very sweet and full of citrus. I used half the sample packet and steeped for 8 minutes. The color was a smooth brown with a tint of blood orange. The tea was smooth and hints of cocoa with a very faint citrus aftertaste. The overall flavor was weak and i think I ended up with much more citrus peel than tea in my first steep so I decided to add the rest of the sample for the second steep for a stronger flavor. The second steep had a much stronger earthy cocoa flavor with a smooth citrus flavor coming through at the end. I should have started out with the full sample, or at least more than my original steep. I enjoyed the unique flavor this tea had it was a nice change to the everyday non flavored pu-er choices available. Yum Yum
Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Citrusy, Cocoa
This is a household favorite for myself and my boyfriend. It is what I consider to be good starter Pu-erh for those that want to dip their toes into Pu-erh tea’s. It has a great flavor with a smooth mouth feel. We like to steep this tea dark and tend to steep for 2 minutes. Color is a dark mahogany with a light earthy aroma that reminds me of fresh mushrooms. The flavor is consistent throughout the first several steeps and is earthy with a pleasant bitter note without being harsh.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Mushrooms