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Recent Tasting Notes
A nice green oolong with a creamy and slightly floral flavour. I am not a huge fan of super grassy green oolongs so this is the perfect type for me. It’s the creamy that has me hooked on milk oolongs.
I brewed this “western style” and love it.
Also “mandatory” for any oolong tea to stay permanently in my cupboard, it must be able to be brewed an extended period of time in my Libre tea glass without getting bitter (if I brew this way it is usually at work and I use far less leave than normal because of the extended brew time). This certainly passes the test. Mmmm.
This is a great all around Pu-erh. If you are strictly a Pu-erh drinker i would not recommend this simply because the full sized cakes are better. That being said, if you like Pu-erh here and there i would say this is the one for you. They are individually wrapped so its very convenient to store, and you use one tuocha per pot. Overall it’s a very tasty tea with a classic ripe Pu-erh taste.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Mushrooms
Thanks again Angel at Teavivre for this fabulous sample!
This tea is so lovely with gorgeous green leaves bursting open in my steeper.
Notes of floral, butter, honey, and green vegetables waft through the air and in mouth. This is luxurious and meant to really be savoured.
Resteep at 2 minutes.
Today was a Minecraft sorta day. I woke up not feeling the best (copious amounts of tea later and I feel a bit better) and decided to devote my time to the craft of the Mine. Ben and I devised some malicious traps and I set up a new farm, good times.
For today’s Teavivre tea, we are looking to Fujian, for a famous Fujian Red (or black) tea. Bailin Gongfu named after the region of Fujian it is grown and the fact that it is made with great skill. These specific leaves are from Mt. Taimu, harvested April 25th, 2013. The aroma is strong, blending roasted peanuts and sweet potatoes. It is not very sweet, but it is very rich, the leaves have body and depth. Sniffing them certainly will make you pay attention!
The wet leaves smell very similar to their dry counterparts, a nice blend of roasted peanuts and sweet ’taters (I am Southern, taters is what we eat, Precious) but with a faintly sweet cocoa finish. Key word is faint, the tea still very much so is not a sweet smelling tea. The liquid, on the other hand, is very sweet, blending stewed plums and sweet potatoes with a gentle touch of cocoa. Still very rich and quite tantalizing.
Rich is certainly the catchphrase with this tea, because upon first sip I was struck with richness. It has a boldness that I usually associate with Indian teas, but with all the subtleties and sweetness you expect from a Fujian Red. The taste starts with stewed plums and sweetness then fades into roasted peanuts and cocoa. There is a delightful finish of sweet potatoes that adds to the richness.
The aroma of the second steep is no longer just stewed plums, but rich dark cherries as well as a hint of sweet potato. The taste is very sweet, a mix of fruity and sweet potato (or maybe yams, not too sure I can tell the difference) with a bold finish of cocoa and roasted nuts. I really enjoy how it starts delicate and sweet and fades to a bold presence.
The third and final steep I have notes one starts off with the same stewed plum and dark cherry aroma, but instead of sweet potato there is cocoa. Holy Batman this tea is rich, this steep really brought out this tea’s true colors. It starts malty and rich with a strong flavor of roasted peanuts. For its next trick it fades to intense sweetness, it is a fruity sweetness that blooms in your mouth, flooding it with rich cooked stone fruit. There is a surprising floral finish that was hard to pin down, it is more the idea of flowers and not really the taste. Perhaps this tea dreamed of flowers. Something odd happened, I remember drinking more of this tea but there are no notes in my notebook. I am pretty sure this tea hypnotized me and made me a bit tea drunk.
I have to offer my sincere thanks to Angel at Teavivre for offering me this low risk opportunity to educate myself about puerh’s by sending me some wonderful samples.
Puerh have many attributes I should appreciate, a rich coffee like texture and in this case mouth feel, spice, long lasting leaves ( I tend to resteep), and interesting and evolving flavour profiles. I enjoy the cheap flavoured one I have on occasion, but I have been hesitant to experiment because I don’t know enough about them and I am afraid of fishy flavours ( this goes to a long standing dislike of fish since early childhood).
I am pleased to say that I need not of worried this tea is quite pleasant and reminds me of the spicy, leathery Yunnan’s I’ve got from a Polish company with the added tingle of a drawn espresso. I steeped this tea 15 times to this point and it still has a pleasant flavour. I found notes of leather, spice sandalwood, cocoa, tangy fruit settling into creamy papaya cream, coffee, charcoal, eucalyptus, earth, and vanilla. I quite enjoyed this tea and it has opened up in me an interest in exploring puerhs further. So thanks for the opportunity Angel!
Faint smokeyleathery note of some Yunnan’s mixed with a hint of hay.broken but tight packed leaves. 2 rinses, 5 second brew
Spicy, with a tangy fruity , note, hint of leather, settled ssmokey scent, like a town where wood smoke is the dominant fuel and has settled in the air, cocoa.
Taste rich and thick, herbaceous bitter note, hint of charcoal, over leather, hint of coffee, powdery spicy note, tingling on the tongue. Sensation of cocoa powder on tongue but not a strong cocoa taste., hint of sweet and tangy fruit..
Need a sieve because tea is very fine and broken leaves.
No astringency, smooth. feeling of cream on tongue. Reminds me of a sunny fall brisk day
5s. Sweeter, with fruitier tones of malt, stronger hint of cocoa, spice and leather, hint of aged straw, spicy fallen fall leaves.
Smooth powdered cocoa, spice and leather, coffee notes on tongue, earthy note with hints of sandalwood. Smooth, sweeter in scent than taste, but hint of creamy sweet fruit, almost papaya like.
7s. Slightly lighter peach tinged colour liquid dark but clear.
Scent similar to aabove.
Leather spice, hint of earth and eucalyptus, fruity slightly tart tone , espresso, slightly sweeter, tint of cocoa.
10s. Scent similar, colour similar to a strongly brewed full leaf Assam.
Hints of malt, eearth/seaweed, leather, spice euca!yptus, malt cocoa, slight hint of tartness and bubly sensation of espresso dissipating.
15s seaweed, tart currant, leather,malt, spice
Eucalyptus, leather, espresso sensation, hint of cocoa, touch of malt and ccurrant, spice.
20s. Malt, leather, spice,cocoa
Earth,spice,cocoa,leather, creamy fruit, touch of sweetness.
Cream,leather,spice, malt, cocoa, a bit of papaya. Espresso tones on tongue.
40s peach coloured same
Same as above but more fruit tinged cream and less espresso.
60s similar sscent with a stronger seaweed note.
Similar ttaste, bright eucalyptus note and slightly weaker.
120s. Peach tinged sepia.
Stronger malt and spicy leather.
Soft leather,spice, eucalyptus, cream, touch of oatmeal, finished by malt, tangy fruit, and a tingling sensation at front of mouth
180 s. Soft cream, leather fruit, spice, tingling.
240s. Sweet cream, leather, cocoa note papaya tinged with vanilla tingling dissipating.
300s. Sweet cream, fruit, malt, leather tingling
360. Cream sweet fruit leather tingling.
Let it be said, I have the best mom ever. Yesterday I found out that Enjoying Tea is having a sale on some of their Yixing pots, and I mean a massive sale. I really wanted the lovely Purple Clay Bamboo teapot (it has a similar theme to my current Oolong Yixing) but had absolutely zilch when it came to money. So she totally surprised me and bought it for me, of course the hard part will be deciding what to season it with while waiting for it to arrive. Roasted Oolong, Fujian Blacks, Sheng Pu Erh, Shou Pu Erh? So many decisions, any suggestions?
Today is another offering from Teavivre: Nonpareil Taiwan DaYuLing High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea, and what a mouthful that name is! Let’s break it down, shall we? Nonpareil is French for without equal (or it is those amusing sprinkles used in baking, but that is another meaning) Da Yu Ling Mountain is mountainous region in Taiwan, and High Mountain refers to the impressive height the tea is grown at. A whopping 2,500 meters above sea level, the highest of the High Mountain teas, nestled in the cold clouds. I believe that Cha Wang means Tea King, and since I have seed Da Yu Ling Oolong referred to as the King of Teas, that makes sense. The aroma is, well, it is a Da Yu Ling, the aroma is spectacular. It is very rich, blending heady orchids and honeysuckle nectar with roasted chestnut and a hint of spinach. At the finish there is a slight sweet bread quality, specifically fresh yeasty bread drizzled with honey.
After I finally manage to pull my nose away from the dried leaves and give the tea its much desired bath time in the gaiwan, the aroma hits my face and I drift off into a happy place. Oolongs just have that affect on me, their aroma is hypnotic, especially High Mountain Oolongs. The wet leaves are sweet, blending honeysuckle nectar and orchids, with a hint of spinach and chestnuts. Very similar to the dry leaves but without the yeasty quality and mostly heady floral. The poured off liquid is very sweet, primarily the aroma of honeysuckle with a hint of orchid and mineral water.
Strap yourself in (if your desk chair has that function, mine sadly does not) because the Teavivre website recommended eight steeps with the gaiwan, and you can bet I put this tea through its leafy paces. Oh that velvety mouthfeel, it just fills up the mouth. The taste is faintly sweet and floral with a mild vegetal midtaste and a faint mineral aftertaste. The first steep is very much so a prelude of greatness to come.
The aroma of the next steep is very heady, mostly honeysuckle and orchid, with hints of vegetal and chestnut. The mouthfeel is more buttery than velvety this time around. The taste starts more vegetal and then pretty quickly fades to honeysuckle sweetness with a mineral aftertaste.
Round three, the aroma is much sweeter and with stronger notes of honeysuckle. As with the previous steep the mouthfeel is still quite buttery and smooth. Also in common with steep two it starts with vegetal (I would venture a blend of spinach) with chestnut notes and fades to honeysuckle sweetness that stays until the aftertaste.
The fourth steep’s aroma is very sweet, pretty much entirely honeysuckle nectar and a hint of orchids. The taste is sweet and creamy all the way through, fading from honeysuckle nectar to sugar cane juice with a finish of chestnut. This steep seems to be the most intense so far, it is quite incredible and worth savoring.
The fifth steep’s time to shine, the leaves have thoroughly unfurled and cause the lid of my gaiwan to rest on a nest of leaves, it is quite pretty. The aroma is pretty much identical to the previous steep. The taste is also very similar but with more of a cane sugar sweetness than floral sweetness. The finish has a hint of fresh plum juice that is just delicious. This one rivals the fourth steep for favorite
Steep number six’s aroma has a surprise for me, it is still very sweet and floral but instead of being mostly honeysuckle and orchid there is also a bit of gardenia, it is such a heady blend. The taste starts off sweet and floral and mostly stays that way until the end where mineral finishes it off. Even though the end is mineral the aftertaste is floral.
The seventh steep’s aroma is faintly floral and sweet, a ghost of its previous glory with orchid and gardenia. The taste starts off delicately sweet and floral and fades to mineral which stays for the aftertaste. The previous buttery mouthfeel is much subdued as well, it is still soft but not as smooth. The tea is certainly on its last legs.
Time for the finish, like any good symphony, it ends gracefully. In fact, I think I will compare this steeping experience to Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony (first movement), because the colors of the music match the colors of the taste. Synesthesia is hard to explain sometimes. The aroma is faint, the whisper of flowers carried in on a breeze. The taste is gently sweet with just a hint of a smooth mouthfeel and a very delicate floral finish. I am not sure if I can say this Da Yu Ling is now my favorite Da Yu Ling, it is certainly a contender! Clearly I need a side by side battle between the two, but regardless the experience was heavenly and I certainly recommend giving it a try if you can!
I expected to spend the day doing my usual blend of crafting, minecrafting, blogging, and tea guzzling, but I was given a surprise! Ben decided to take me on an old fashion dinner and a movie (or matinee and dinner) date. We saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and of course I loved it. Don’t worry I won’t give any spoilers other than it was more intense than I was expecting, which I liked. Afterwards we went for customary post-Marvel movie Shawarma (certainly one of Tony Stark’s better ideas) to discuss the movie. Good times, good food, and now time for tea!
Today I am starting off another Teavivre week with Huang Shan Mao Feng from Mt Huang Shan in Anhui Province. The name of this tea translates to Yellow Mountain Fur Peak (or fur tip, peak shaped fur covered tea, there are various permutations) combining the name of the mountain it was plucked from and the shape of the leaves resembling little fuzzy mountain peaks. Huang Shan Mao Feng is one of China’s Ten Famous Teas, this particular batch was plucked April 4th, 2013, high (1,200-1,400 ft) on the mountain blanketed in clouds. The aroma is very strong, much stronger than I was expecting for such a delicate tea. A mix of strong vegetal (I would say green bean and a hint of spinach) and sesame seeds. There is a finish of yeasty bread and cherries. If I had to use one word to describe this tea it would be complex, the aroma is very much so that.
After a nice soaking (by soaking I mean rinse and 30s steep in my gaiwan, uncovered for those who care about those kinda things) the aroma of the wet leaves is still very vegetal, with notes of green bean and fresh vegetation being the strongest. There are also notes of sage and sesame with a very gentle finish of fruit. The liquid is faint yet intense, does that make sense? There are no overpowering notes, but the ones that are there are very clear and delightful. It is a blend of green beans, sesame, and fresh bread.
The first steeping is smooth, oh my is the mouthfeel smooth. I would even go so far as to say silky! It manages to fill the mouth completely, though not in a buttery way like oolong. The beginning of the taste is sweet, gently sweet like honeysuckle nectar and sesame seeds. It reminds me a of the aftertaste you get when eating sesame Halva but with a vegetal quality. After the initial sweetness it changes to green bean and lastly finishes with honey.
The aroma from the liquid is much sweeter and has a stronger vegetal quality. As with the first steep the mouthfeel is the first thing I noticed, just as smooth and silky as before, but with more of an oily quality, the mouthfeel reminds me very strongly of Long Jing. The taste is sweet and floral at first, and quite delicate. It evolves into strong sesame and green bean notes and finishes with the taste of cherry. The cherry taste lingers for quite a while.
For the third and final steeping I notice the aroma of the tea is much more subdued, but still quite sweet and vegetal. The mouthfeel remains very smooth and silky, truly it might be my favorite part about this tea. The taste, like the aroma, is more subdued, but there is still a strong sesame and green bean quality that fades to a mixture of floral and fruity sweetness. It is a nice finish to a wonderful tea. I really enjoyed this tea and can certainly see why it is one of China’s Famous Ten, it maintains the delicate aspects you expect from a Green tea while having a bold presence. Also, Ben, who historically is not a fan of green teas, really enjoyed trying it, I can think of no better praise than that!
Sipdown! Well, sort of. I think I still have some sealed bags somewhere. But this was a swap sample. An oldish one.
This was buttery and green tasting and milky and vegetal but not overly so.
I resteeped it once, which honestly is about as many times as I ever want to resteep…. Must drink all the teas!
Flavors: Butter, Grass
Let me just start by saying I love milky oolongs! I have had natural ones and those with added flavoring and I loved the flavored ones until I tasted the natural ones. Ha! This one has been on my wish list. I’ve actually thought about ordering the oolong sampler from Teavivre because I really liked the idea of trying a whole array of oolongs.
This is one of the samples Angel sent me. Thanks, Angel!! I was very excited to try this one! The recommended steeping temperature threw me off a bit, because they recommend 212 degrees, and I normally steep oolongs at a much cooler temperature…especially greener oolongs. I went ahead and steeped it at almost the recommended temperature (205 degrees) and it was great! I guess they know what they’re talking about!
They also have a huge range of steep times…3 to 8 minutes. I did 3 minutes, but plan on trying 8 next time! The leaves expand a lot when you steep them, going from small little rolled up balls to full leaves. Pretty awesome!
This milky oolong is probably my favorite. It’s sweet, but not unnaturally sweet. It has a creamy soft mouthfeel, is smooth to drink, and isn’t overly vegetal. I love it! Makes me think of the song from the Lego Movie: “Everything is Awesome!” :) I think the oolong sampler is in my future.
Angel at Teavivre was extremely generous and added me to their free tea tasting activity and sent me free samples of 5 teas. Everything came in pretty silver packaging, and it arrived very quickly from China (like 10 days!) I thought it would’ve taken a lot longer, but that’s great! Also, the sample sizes were quite generous…at least 3 cups worth, but most likely more, of each tea.
This tea was the first one I tried. I actually took it on the go with me in my timolino. Shocking! I know, I felt a little bad drinking these fine teas out of a travel mug for my first taste, but it didn’t seem to matter. This tea is absolutely delicious! The dry leaf is like little pieces of hay, but curly. The aroma is very pleasing…I just wanted to smell it forever!
The flavors I could detect in this tea were definitely sweet potato, caramel, and some warming spice (like nutmeg?) Teas that taste like potato haven’t really been my thing, but I really liked this one. I can tell this tea is high quality…it’s very smooth and the leaves don’t look overly processed. I think this tea would be amazing in the Fall (or now!) I’m really enjoying unflavored black teas right now, so this one is right up my alley. I knew Teavivre teas had good reviews on here, and after tasting their teas for myself, I think they’ve just jumped right to the top of my list. Thanks, Angel!!
Yet another sample from Teavivre. I still have a lot more of these to go. This tea (which name is too long that I’m sure to forget by next morning) definitely has a flavour profile to my liking. Chestnut notes are very obvious as mentioned in the description. It tastes surprisingly close to the “Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea” from Teavivre, but overall it has a slightly lighter feel. Yum.
Wow. This one smelled amazing when I opened the sample packet. Green and fresh (although it’s actually almost a year old now) and oh so delicious. And so bright green, too. Lovely to look at.
I approximated the western brewing directions, using 5g and 14oz of water.
Once the water hit the leaves, the aroma was even more veggie. Mmmmm.
It tastes very green, vegetable, fresh, slightly floral. It’s almost creamy in texture in my mouth. (I guess that’s buttery. Seems a weird way to describe it.) Someone said green beans in an earlier review, and I could buy that, although I thought more spinach. I really like this.
The second infusion was not so spinachy, but it seemed creamier. It was quite satisfying both first and second infusion. I tried a third and it was alright, but not spectacular. It just tasted like average green tea by that point.
I will try the other sample pack of this gong fu style.
Backlog from yesterday. Ok back to trying some non-flavored teas. I’ve been holding off on this particular sample for a while now and this afternoon is the perfect one to give it a shot. Since I only have one sample package, and I was hoping to have enough leaves left to brew this up a second time, I used only 4g and modified the gong fu method that was listed on Teavivre’s site. It worked out pretty well!
The dry tea is very light and wiry, while the scent has many floral notes, along with some deeper sweet tones. After a quick rinse I steeped my first cup for 25 sec; the aroma of this first cup was filled with honey notes and floral undertones, both of which were also present in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel was warm and rich with a slight astringency at end of the sip.
My second cup was steeped for 50seconds and while similar to the first I found the floral notes to be much higher in tone while the honey flavors became almost creamy. The third cup (70 sec) was deeper in both scent and flavor, with fewer floral notes while still being rich and smooth.
I had 3 more cups after this (85 sec, 1:40min and 2 min) and the scent and flavor profiles continued to get softer. After the fourth cup the soft floral notes made a bit of a comeback where as the honey notes, while mild, stayed somewhat consistent throughout. I did also notice a few darker, almost spicy notes staring to come out in the later cups.
In all it’s a really lovely tea, lighter than I was expecting for a chineese black, but not my all time favorite. Though it is one that I would be happy to have again in the future.
I’ve had this for nearly a year and I still have 2 oz of it! :O I nearly forgot how tasty it is. It’s very malty with a bit of honey. It’s dark and rich and a nice start to my morning. I’m off work today and tomorrow to cover for J (he has to invigilate some exams/do office hours) so I’m just hanging out with my toddler, watching her run laps in her room around her train table!
I think today will be another Adagio sampler tasting day as I build a sampling box for Ozli and think she’ll enjoy some of those. Maybe I’ll send her some of this too…. It’s just so tasty and I’m pretty sure I bought it during the last spring sale so it was well priced. Teavivre is pretty great.
Backlog from yesterday.
This time around, I did the tea like you’re “supposed” to – rinsed it in the gaiwan, then did little short steeps.
I do believe this might be my favorite pu-erh so far. The first steeping yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous mix of earth and wood and “atmosphere.” I also love tuochas, I’m finding. One less step to worry about!
I steeped the remaining tea from the sample (about 5 grams) in my 150 ml gaiwan doing a wash and adding stevia on each steeping, water at boiling:
1st – 45 seconds
2nd – 75 seconds
3rd – 60 seconds
4th – about 90 seconds
I like the flavor. Somewhat cloudy orange-ish colored liquor, lots of little pieces of tea, no bitterness on the 1st steeping, but some on the 2nd (that’s why I backed off on the time on the third), none on the third, and just a little on the forth.
Managing the bitterness is the only downside here; I think this is a tea I could easily enjoy.
Until I get more of a reference point of what I like in a raw pu-erh, I am leaving off the numeric rating.
I received this in a swap from ashleyelizabeth. Thanks!
This was a really nice black tea. Casey thought it was excellent. I have more mixed feelings about it. I would have liked this more without the smoky note, or if it had a more robust body. I’m not sure if I would order a bigger quantity of this, but I’m glad I have more to try it again.
Additional notes: I’m trying this again with more accurate steep parameters… two teaspoons, waited 10 mins after boiling, rinse, two minutes. This cup is a LOT better than the last time I had it. This Golden Monkey still isn’t as chocolatey as I’m used to, but there is a taste to it that reminds me of wine, or maybe like the muscatel from Darjeeling, but only slightly to make it different than most other Golden Monkey teas. There is slight chocolate flavor, but not like dark or bittersweet chocolate – more like a candybar. MUCH tastier than the last time I had this tea. Teavivre teas are usually the best, but they also seem to be the most changing depending on how you steep them.
more teas from yesterday! This one gets better and better every time i have it. While it’s totally nothing like LB from verdant, i feel like if i could no longer have LB…this one might be a suitable substitute (note the use of the word substitute, not replacement). Bumping the rating a little because this malty chocolatey tea has been great to drink recently as i work on getting through my bag of this (it’s one of my oldest teas because i always forget about it!)