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Recent Tasting Notes
Very easily one of my favorite everyday drinker, type of black tea. This tea has tons of sweet honey and simmered yams likeness – both to the dry leaves and the brewed liquid. It does a good job warming the chest and arms, after a couple cups. After the 3rd steeping, you should expect a slightly aged sheng puerh – just enough edge, mixed with returning sweetness and producing salivation. Very good tea, even better than price reflects.
Flavors: Graham Cracker, Honey, Oats, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Yams
Ru Yao dragon teapot gongfucha style.
Dry leaves: smells floral and somewhat like milk
Wet leaves: smells floral, somewhat peachy and milky
Light steep: I taste/smell light minerals, fruit (can’t distinguish), floral and milky.
Medium steep: I taste/smell medium floral, fruit (still cannot distinguish ) and minerals. I also taste strong milk and light metallic. Special note: with green oolongs the leaves allways smell like weed after a few steeps :(
Heavy steep: I taste/smell medium minerals, milk, metallic, fruit (maybe berries or peach?) and floral.
All in all a amazing tea. The first time I tried it (using western style) I did not like it. Gongfucha is best.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Metallic, Milk, Mineral, Peach
I’ve been bringing this to work each day, and its fantastic! My review won’t be as detailed, for this was done while panicking from one crisis to the next. The leaves are these small delicate little curls, and they have a wonderful aroma. I can spot small gold dusting among the ebony tendrils. They give off a potent scent of dry chocolate and dark wood. The brew is nice and heavy with some decadent tones. The initial sip is thick with warm dark chocolate syrup. The flavor then moves into smooth dark wood with slight malt. This brew isn’t incredibly complex, but it is wonderfully tasty. Also, the brew is pretty durable, so I had no fear of oversteeping (even when I would forget my cup somewhere). I really like this tea, and I’m sad to see it go. I’ll be searching through the stash for another one that makes the “cut” for work tea.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Drying, Malt, Smooth, Sweet
Decaf and Herbal Tea TTB. This is quite good. It’s very mild tasting as chrysanthemum goes. I have had stronger but I like this tea. It has a certain sweetness to it an an earthiness to it that is different from the earthiness of ripe puerh, hard to describe. I had to guess as to the amount of leaf to use. I used about 4.5g leaf for a 16oz teapot. It came out quite tasty.
I brewed 4.5g leaf in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper for 7 min with boiling water.
Sipdown 17 of 2016. Sample. Purchased 2/2015 – Finished 1/2016
This was a sample packet that I bought a while back. This is a really nice tea. It was sweet, not overwhelming with the chamomile and rose. It was a really calming cup. It also gave me an alertness that I really enjoyed. This would be a tea I wouldn’t mind adding to my TeaVivre cart at some point.
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Flavors: Ash, Cedar, Menthol, Pine, Smoke, Wet Wood
Another from the lovely Christina!
I was excited to get to add the flavours of this LS to my yixing pot: I have to say that it’s coming along very nicely. I can take it out of the box it’s stored in and immediately smell smoke notes! I’d love to get to a point where I can pour plain water out of the teapot and have it take on a subtle smoke flavour…
I enjoyed this tea Gong Fu out of the yixing, but also paired with a Pineapple Fried Rice which was phenomenal. Pineapple and LS is one of my favourite pairings because you’re basically pairing the sweet, juicy and tangy fruit notes of the pineapple with the more meaty, savory and smoky LS. It’s sort of the same idea as pairing pineapple and ham. Yummy! It certainly elevated the session, as well.
The tea itself was great too; this isn’t an overly strong Lapsang Souchong. More than anything it’s like a sweet, woody LS with a more smoky undertone/finish. Delightful but overall fairly mild, all things considered. Quite smooth though – as far as LS goes.
I got a pair of samples of this tea during the anniversary sale and decided I would do a side by side to see if I could tell the difference between brewing in a gaiwan and brewing in one of my yixing pot. Turns out the differences seem to be quite minor at this point. I guess with more frequent use the pot might take on more of the oolong character and change the flavor more. I’m not sure which method is best for pairing a pot with a tea so I’m trying different kinds in the pot to see which ones do better.
Anyways..the tea. It’s good. It tastes like a Taiwanese oolong and has a creamy background flavor. The “green” oolong flavor (maybe vegetal is the right word?) is very present and strong in the beginning and as the leaves open up they release more sweetness. At $12.90/100g the price seems right for it to be a solid daily drinker!
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal
Another day, another interesting Teavivre sample to try. I love their vast array of tea and the inexpensive samples which are a great way to try a lot of different teas on the cheap. Green tea, to me is their strong suit and I’ve enjoyed working my way through their offerings.
The latest one happens to be Bi Luo Chun and is the first of its kind for me. This is a light bodied green tea without any astringency and mellow flavor. The dry leaf has a sweet seaweed aroma and the wet leaf has the aroma of grass and steamed vegetables. The first steep is mild, lightly vegetal and brothy. A nice balance of sweet and savory. Later steeps are decidedly vegetal. There is a hint of seaweed as it goes down. Not a whole lot of flavor though. Increasing steep times leads to a marine flavor which I’m not a big fan of.
This is a mild tea that may appeal to people new to green tea. Unfortunately it didn’t do much for me. To me, this is squarely middle of the road and has a very typical green tea flavor. Nothing really memorable about it. I do however like it better in kahva than the gunpowder tea I normally use and it’s also pretty good cold-steeped for a couple of hours.
Flavors: Seaweed, Vegetable Broth, Vegetal
This is one of the free samples that I chose with my Black Friday order so that you Teavivre! I really enjoy Keemun teas, and this one is no exception. The snails are so pretty, dark and all curled up. I like watching them unfurl in my Steeper. The brewed tea is fairly dark.
The aroma is of baked sweet potatoes and it also translates into the taste as well. The mouthfeel is smooth with a slightly sweet aftertaste.
This tea is fairly expensive and there are other Teavivre Keemuns that I enjoy more than this offering, so it won’t become part of my permanent cupboard but I am happy to have tried it and certainly would not refuse a cuppa.
Resteeped for 5 minutes
Flavors: Sweet Potatoes
Sipdown no. 16 of 2016 (no. 227 total).
So this not so happy thing happened.
I was looking forward to trying this sample, which I got when I got my yixing, for days. I even remembered that I’d had peppermint in the Breville last night and did an extra long rinse to get rid of the peppermint aroma so as to be sure it wouldn’t affect the flavor of this sample.
Alas, despite my efforts, I taste peppermint in this. Ugh.
The leaves were so pretty, dark and golden, “superfine” in texture (they weren’t kidding), and smelled so sweet. But I taste peppermint.
I can sort of make out a sweet honey note and a bready note, but mostly I taste peppermint.
And I didn’t win the powerball. Dammit. When I bought my ticket, I asked the woman to sell me the winning ticket, but she didn’t. Fraud!
And then there is the double whammy of David Bowie and Alan Rickman.
Not rating this, because peppermint.
I think I may go back to bed now.
The best dragonwell I’ve had thus far. It came double sealed in two bags and the leaves weren’t broken. It smelled more strongly than the other longjing I’ve had, but not in a bad way. It was toasty, buttery, and dry-hay like, slightly vegetal, and not bitter at all. As far as I can tell (with my limited experience) its perfect. Can’t wait to steep it some more, and play around with the steeping time.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Hay, Toasty, Vegetal
Jasmine is one of those scents that just goes so well with tea. I love to watch these little pellets unfurl as they steep in hot water. Love the cup overall. Just wish the Jasmine is stronger so I don’t have to use as much tea. The green tea gets bitter easily, especially if you use more tea.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Jasmine
Apparently, this particular tea is no longer available. I need to stop hoarding! The packaging says it is the 2013 harvest.
About a year ago, a lady was dropping off her son at my house for a young people’s writers’ group that meets here and decided to come in and visit. Naturally, I offered her tea and she stayed until 1 am!
I got a text a few days ago asking if we could do that again. She asked to bring a young friend as well. While the young folks (age 17 to 23) had their meeting, we drank tea. The young lady had never had anything but Celestial Seasonings and Lipton and such. She said she was adventurous, so we started with pu-erh, but I am reviewing this tea first because it was her favorite.
I am glad this tea was in individual sealed packets, then in a foil pouch, then in a zip top pouch! It has stayed fresh, but I will be diligent to finish it soon.
When I drink tea like this, I wonder why I drink anything else. I just want to buy the really good stuff and keep less around, but have it super fresh. That would be the right thing to do, but we need our daily drinkers and adventure teas as well, I suppose.
This was her favorite of all the teas we drank that night. They remarked on how pale it was. Maybe they expected it not to have much flavor since we had started with a puerh. The young lady loved it and drank cup after cup.
The first sips are sweet and smooth, and as you drink a light creaminess builds and the floral aroma becomes a prominent floral taste and this, too, builds and builds. I did a quick rinse and the first steep was good, but the second was even better. It continued making great tea for several more steeps.
I have four little pouches left and I plan to finish them soon so I can have an excuse to buy the new harvest.
We drank tea from 6:30 pm until 12:30 am! Served with lemon iced cookie bars and cream cheese chocolate chip squares.
Thank you so much for the sample, ashmanra! This tea was sweet and light, with absolutely no smokiness whatsoever. Very good choice for the afternoon, just as ashmanra recommended! This is only my third Keemun, but I’m amazed by how different they were from each other. It seems like there’s a Keemun for every occasion!
Every tea goes through what I call a break in period. This is where you experiment with water, temperature, steep time, and leaf quantity to find the optimal brewing parameters for the tea. In my experience, green teas are more finicky than other kinds of tea. Finally hitting that elusive sweet spot is one of the greatest thrills of green tea for me. The downside though is by the time you’ve figured out how to steep it, your stash is almost gone.
This one took me quite a few tries, but I was rewarded with a marvelous cup of tea. It’s sweet and crisp without the typical grassiness found in most green teas. It has a light body with a flavor resembling white tea. The wiry dry leaves smell of seaweed, although that doesn’t come through in the liquor. The wet leaf smells floral and has a rich aroma of fresh spring vegetables.
I tried brewing it many different ways (grandpa style, test tube, cold steeped, etc.) and found it tasted best in a plain old gaiwan, steeped at the standard 175 F with the lid closed.
First infusion is smooth, crisp, and refreshing. Tastes like a bouquet of spring vegetables.
Second infusion is sweet and clean tasting. Some of the nuances of the 1st infusion are lost but still very delicious.
Third steeping was for 90s. The needle like leaves opened fully and the tea broth became lighter and had a flavor reminiscent of sweet mountain spring water.
Fourth steeping. Upped both the time and temperature to 2minutes at 180 F. Much lighter, maybe I should have steeped longer? Still, it had a lot of flavor and evoked crisp salad greens and snow peas.
Fifth steep was for a long 3 minutes. At this point the tea was done, enjoyable but flat.
I was pretty impressed by the quality of this tea. After Dragonwell this is my favorite of all the green teas I’ve had from Teavivre so far. It resembled Verdant’s Laoshan Pine Needle tea a lot, both in its physical appearance and taste. A great tea for when you want something fresh tasting but that’s not too grassy or vegetal.
Flavors: Lettuce, Mineral, Sweet