Teavivre

Recent Tasting Notes

82
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
260 tasting notes

My Teavivre order finally arrived on Friday! That same day, I got an email from Mary at Teavivre checking to make sure that everything arrived in good condition, which was really nice. Good customer service for sure!

I was excited to try this tea as it’s so highly regarded here on steepster. The leaves are small, dark, and twisted and smell malty, yeasty, and somewhat like cocoa. They yield a very bold sienna brew. The sip is dominated by a very strong sourdough bread note, much like I get from Verdant’s Laoshan Black. The taste is grainy up front, morphing into sourdough with subtle hints of honey and cocoa. The finish, though, was quite tannic to me, which was a slight minus in my book.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Grain, Honey, Tannic

Marzipan

What temp and length did you do?

mj

I did 194F for 2 or 2.5 min (somewhere in that range)

mj

Actually 195F, but close enough

Cheri

I love that they email to make sure everything is there and okay. I feel like if something wasn’t okay, they’d replace it immediately. They have good customer service.

yyz

You could try either brewing it at a lower temp and/or reducing the amount of leaf you used.

boychik

I recommend gongfu. Works all the time;) very short steeps

mj

yyz and boychik, I can try both those suggestions since I have 100g of it lol

yyz

Lots to play with:).

mj

I tried it at 185F this morning and it was much better! I haven’t had a chance to gongfu it yet, but I will try that soon!

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89

This is such an incredible green tea. I did 5 steeps yesterday and drank this tea all afternoon. Bright, beautiful green color and it smells so good. I was happy all day!

Please note that my reviews as not as deep as some of you but I am starting and trying to do my best here. I am sure that after couple months of practice tasting teas my taste buds will detect the different flavours.

Sil

Who cares! Have fun with it! The joy is in sharing and being able to enjoy what you’re doing. As long as you’re writing how you want, that’s what’s important :) bienvenue a steepster ma belle!

Helene

Merci! I appreciate. I want to be able to enjoy a cup of tea during the day.

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93

I chose this as a sample with my TeaVivre (I think it may have been one of my free samples? I don’t remember :P) order. I don’t have much experience with Keemuns, but I’ve liked all of the ones I’ve tried so far. I thought they were supposed to be smoky, but I actually don’t think I’ve tried a smoky Keemun yet. Weird. The leaves of this tea are super thin and twisty. I had a hard time separating out a teaspoon as they all wanted to stay tangled together! :P Dry scent is very sweet and malty with dried apricot, yums! I did a 3-minute steep.

Brewed, the tea smells like rich, deep dried fruits with honey and molasses. I also pick up on a little bit of floral. Oh my, this tea is a wow moment! I think this is the smoothest, creamiest black tea I’ve ever had. The main flavor is creamy, smooth grain with honey dancing around it. In the background, I pick up on that deep, rich dried fruit flavor combined with a bit of molasses or burnt sugar. There’s maybe the tiniest bit of floral somewhere in the middle, but it’s not enough to make me love this any less! When I first started drinking this cup, I noticed a little bit of bitterness, but it seems to have dissipated as I continued to drink.

Thanks TeaVivre for yet another delicious black tea! Love you gals! :)

Flavors: Creamy, Dried Fruit, Floral, Grain, Honey, Molasses, Smooth

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
mj

I’m pretty smoke sensitive (strongly dislike) and I’ve never noticed smoke in any keemuns I’ve tried either…

Tealizzy

Yay! Looking forward to trying my sample of this tea too!

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86

I have to admit that I’m a coffee drinker and green tea lover. I don’t usually pick a black tea during the day. Today I’ve decided to try this tea I have received from TeaVivre. I have to say that it will take me couple days to adjust to drinking black tea, especially after I drank 2 cups of strong coffee. I really like the taste but at the moment cannot distinguish all of the nuance and flavours of this tea. Hopefully with tasting more black tea I will become more knowledgeable and be able to talk about how it taste. Any tips for starters of black teas like me?

Marzipan

Maybe try some vastly different types, like the golden Yunnan types are so different than the Assams, so different from Darjeeling. Maybe if you hit the different ends of the spectrum, then you will be able to more easily see where things fall as you drink them. I have to say that the golden Yunnan teas were a revelation to me.

Helene

Marzipan: really great idea, I will do that. It is easier for me to grasp different flavors in a floral tea. If you have a moment could you kindly look at my cupboard and tell me in which order I should try my black teas? I would appreciate. Thanks in advance.

Marzipan

If you haven’t tried this one yet, it will be very different from the Keemun: http://steepster.com/teas/teavivre/21629-yun-nan-dian-hong-black-tea-golden-tip

Helene

Thanks Marzipan it will be my next one to taste.

Sil

If you’re finding black teas too wimpy compared to your coffee, you could always pick up the sampler pack of puerh that Garrett (mandala) has on right now, to see if that’s more up your alley. It’s reasonable to Canada and comes with the smart soak! Haha

This particular tea is a great Keemun though – teavivre has some great greens and blacks (others so well, but I’m not as much a fan of whites and oolongs personally)

Helene

Hi Marzipan I am trying the Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea Golden Tip this morning. It is nice smooth tea, not strong. Thanks!

Helene

Sil: thanks I will look into this. I could drink green all day but I want to try other teas as well.

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89

In an effort to trying and actually get through some of my puerh samples, i figured i should try to have 1-2 today, since my day is pretty much shot thanks to work stuff. I like this one, for much of the same reason i really love wild Monk from mandala…that smokey taste in the background of a smooth tasting brew. I’m not going to wax poetic about this one, but it’s one that i could see picking up a cake of, in the future when we have a proper place for me to have mountains of puerh!

Thanks for sharing this one with me Cavocorax

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80

Thank you Angel from Teavivre for this sample.
I am very very very far from being an expert in Pu-erh. I am even an absolute beginner at this type of tea. I think I only tried one before this one.

First while opening the sample packet, the aromas are lovely as are the dark leaves, with some white points. Funny leaves. After steeping they are now so long, so green, still lovely.

I steeped this tea western style, 6 minutes as recommended and in a boiling water.
The liquor is very very pale, incredible regarding the dark leaves.
I add 2 brown sugar rocks and the liquor becomes now a pale orange.

Drinking it now it is a little bitter but not that much and a kind of special bitterness which adds personnality to a tea.
The notes are fruity : grapes and apricot maybe ?

This is a pleasant tea and ideal for the season, not too heavy, easy to drink.
I am knowing by now I can and should drink some straight pu-erh without fear.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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Received my Anniversary order today. So happy since we are going to Philly for 5 days. I wouldn’t want to leave my package unattended. Guess what, mail lady left it on a top of the mail box. She didn’t bother to bring it on the deck. Anyone driving by would be able to snatch my box. The saddest part is it probably would be non tea drinker.

Back to the tea. I made it according to Teavivre’s parameters.
175F 3G 8 oz 2 min

The cup is beautiful golden color and very aromatic . It’s chocolaty fruity and very smooth. Perhaps too smooth for me.
i wonder why Teavivre suggests such a low temp.
Last year notes are 195F. Should I increase temp? Anybody tried new harvest and have better parameters? Resteep was not bad but kinda flat.

I think this tea would be perfect for some beginners into loose leaf or someone who is afraid of strong or smoky flavors

Marzipan

The notes on my sample size of this were 194.

boychik

That makes me think that maybe you have last year sample. I went on website and it is 175F. Did you like it? It has profile similar to Bailin.

yyz

Weird, I’ve only needed to go that low with one of my tippy black teas otherwise it would get this vitamin C tinge to it.

boychik

I will try 195F next time. It makes more sense. I’m just wondering if I care for Keemun a all…

boychik

“at all”

Marzipan

Loved it. I reviewed it a few days ago.

looseTman

Perhaps Angel could give us an update on brewing TeaVivre’s 2014 Keemun teas?

looseTman

Marzipan, How did you brew your sample?

Tealizzy

My package says 176 degrees for 1-2 minutes, and my first cup of this tea turned out good, but I may have had it on a day I microwaved my water at work, so who knows how hot that was! Probably was hotter than 176.

Marzipan

195 for I think 2 mins.

Terri HarpLady

Oops! I always brew it a boiling temp!

MzPriss

Me too Terri

looseTman

Marzipan,
What quantities? tsp. (g) / oz. Thanks

TeaVivre

dear all, the Recommend Brewing Guide on our web is the best taste for us. And everyone is different, so the best taste for you is different. You can try different temp./quantities to find a best way for you to brew the tea.
Good luck.

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76

This is a very floral and slightly sweet oolong. It’s not as exciting as other floral oolong teas I’ve tried but it’s nice in a simple way. The broth leaves the sensation of a buttery coating on the tongue- that’s something I usually appreciate!

Flavors: Butter, Floral

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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I ordered this sample with my TeaVivre order. I figured since this was the only one of their Dian Hongs that I hadn’t tried, I should order a sample. The leaves are extremely dark, and they’re long and twisty. They kind of remind me of a smaller-scale version of the “creepy tree branch” Taiwanese teas. Dry scent is sweet honey with malt and some cocoa notes. I did a 3 minute steep at 200 degrees.

The brewed aroma is quite light, with grainy bread and honey scents. Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed with this tea brewed western-style… It was kind of just vaguely bready/grainy with a little bit of honey and a bit of a mineral note. And overall, it felt kind of dusty in my mouth, like it should have been rinsed first. I’m thinking this tea either needs to be steeped longer, or it just doesn’t lend itself well to western style preparation. I’ll definitely try it gong fu style when I get the gaiwan that I ordered recently. For now, I’m not going to rate this.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Terri HarpLady

I also got a sample of this one, for the exact same reason you did :)
It just came yesterday, so I haven’t tried it yet.

Cameron B.

Well, I hope it comes out better for you! :P Can’t wait to see what you think of it.

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80

I picked up this tea by accident. I had meant to purchase the delicious Yun Nan Dian Hong Full Leaf, but somehow I purchased this one instead. Oh well. This is still quite delicious and if I hadn’t tried the full leaf version I would probably have purchased this one anyway as it ended up being a whopping $5.30 for 100g during their sale.
Overall it’s not as rich tasting or intricate as the flavors in the Full Leaf or Golden Tips, but it’s still tasty. The leaves are beautiful twisty things with a surprising amount of gold woven throughout and a sweet scent of dried fruit. The taste is sweet and cocoa-y with a lovely hint of citrus and maybe some molasses as well. I think this would be a wonderful breakfast tea. A flavorful way to start the day without being too overpowering.

Flavors: Citrus Zest, Cocoa, Molasses

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

First quick steep had a light body, and a nice mix of cinnamon, spice, fresh fruit, honey and crisp finish that I expected. It still tastes very much like typical fresh loose leaf white tea.

Gradually from the second on through my sixth steep, leaves of the tea cake unraveled and the liquor color darkened. It tasted less crisp and refreshing, but became sweeter and more mellow. Consistent flavour from each steep until my final sixth cup.

Trying a white tea cake for the first time was a wonderful drinking experience. I’ve only had fresh white tea before, and I didn’t expect this to taste any different. It was surprising to taste a white tea with a much heavier body and darker character. I think it’s a good tea to try if you already enjoy drinking dark teas like black and ripe puerh. It brings a nice balance between fruit and spice with a dark liquor and mellow body while still retaining fresh white tea’s charm.

Preparation
Boiling 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75

I received some white tea samples for review from Teavivre the other day and on this nearly rainy Saturday I am sitting down with the beau to try this one out. Thanks Teavivre! We are brewing Western style according to the Teavivre directions with the full packet of leaves at 90 degrees for about a minute. We’ve got three samples of each tea, so we can try with a gaiwan at another time. For now, my liquor is a light yellow and smells faintly of hay and maybe something cucumber related, but I think that is because I accidentally saw the flavours list on Steepster before beginning my review.

Since it only steeped at 90, I am able to try it fairly quickly. This is the advantage of lower temp teas, I swear! First sips are mild. A light note of hay but not as sweet as the green oolong I had the other day. It is flavourful but light, if that makes sense. Not like weak tea or lightly favoured water but not a bold flavour either. My non-tea drinking brothers might not find any taste here at all, but the beau and I do. It is hard to describe, but hay and a bit of floral are present. I always worry that people will think hay means unpleasant, but it’s not. I love the smell of fresh hay. I am getting some residual sweetness that I think is a result of my earlier Jolly Rancher. Whoops.

The beau reports: “This is good. I like it. It has less of the earthy taste you get in other whites. More like jasmine but less in your face.” He says it has “a hint” of floral. I don’t notice, but I rarely do. We both like it, he more than I as whites are more his forte. For me, as a Chinese black tea drinker, this is a nice cuppa occasionally but not something I’m likely to enjoy regularly. He says it might be under-steeped and isn’t strong enough to get a high rating from him right now. I will do another steep in a bit and put a number on it after that one. I think he is right and a bit more time would have boosted the profile here. Will report back then!

EDIT: Second steep was forgotten in the pot which yielded a more flavourful brew but (surprisingly) no bitterness. It was enjoyable, but maybe a bit too much white tea in one day for me.

Flavors: Floral, Hay

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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85

I’m loving the mulled and mellow taste of this. I got it as a free sample with my last order, used half the sample last night, and I’ve been steeping the other half this morning. It’s deliciously woody with a muted tang of orange in the aftertaste – there are pieces of dried orange rind in the sample, which I put in along with the leaves when I steeped, and as the rind softened, more orange taste came through so later steeps were more ‘mulled’ tasting.

It’s very warming and soothing; I drank this right up until bedtime last night and felt very cosy. I think I’ll be buying more of this before winter comes, and then hoping for snow so I can sit by the fire sipping it snugly.

Flavors: Orange, Orange Zest, Pine, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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Sorry, but I killed this one. I had a hard time deciding what ratio to use, and ended up with the whole packet, which was way too much, and I should not have used the whole packet with my 12 oz of water. What I could taste of it, it was like the sheng from David’s and Verdant that I’ve had.

I am thankful to Angel at Teavivre for sending this one my way. I sent the other pack to a friend to see what she thinks because she doesn’t like pu erh teas, but I told her these were different, and not the thick pu erh teas they’re likely to have had. Anway, I feel bad I busted my only sample. :(

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88

Sipdown! (108)

This tea really grew on me as worked my way through the sample packets. The balance of strawberry and oolong is just perfect, and it’s a very inoffensive green oolong with no floral grossness. I will definitely be repurchasing this one with my next TeaVivre order, whenever that is. Yum!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

This was one of the samples I ordered from TeaVivre. I’m not really into green oolongs, but I do love strawberry so I figured it was worth a try! The leaves are fairly tightly rolled and various shades of green. Dry scent is sweet and tart strawberry candy, and something about it kind of reminds me of pineapple too. I brewed for 3 minutes at 190 degrees.

The brewed aroma is also strawberry candy, but I can smell the fruity green oolong in the background too. I actually like this quite a bit, considering it’s a green oolong. There are fairly strong peach notes that meld really well with the strawberry flavoring, and I don’t really get much floral, which is very nice. The strawberry itself is definitely more of an artificial strawberry flavor, but I find that it works quite well in this tea. There’s a also a lovely creamy texture here, and the tiniest bit of vegetal green taste at the end of the sip. Really, quite nice, especially considering I don’t like green oolong much. :)

Flavors: Creamy, Peach, Strawberry, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Lariel

It’s good with the milk oolong.

Amariel

It’s a very mild strawberry, but at the same time, not cloyingly artificial either, so I really like this one.

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86

From the Round 3 Here’s Hoping TTB

Teavivre has some wonderful teas, and this one is no exception. The strawberry flavor is light but consistent. The oolong is buttery with a light vegetal flavor, and it pairs with the strawberry flavor in a nice way. I can see myself reaching for this when I’m in an oolong mood. Something tells me my daughter will like this one as well.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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80

Backlog.

Lately it’s been too hot for tea, especially the black tea which seems to have finally completed it’s aggressive conquest of my shelf space. Under an Everest of unopened black and puerh samples I found this stranded oolong- originally a smuggled sample from Amariel’s giant Teavivre swap bag (you gave me so much tea, Amariel!).

I’m glad I decided on this one; the minty floral profile is a refreshing thing in a house with no air conditioning. The first steep of the first serving had an interesting curry leaf aroma (I have witnesses that can vouch that this cup smelled distinctly of that plant), but this quality never resurfaced on the subsequent steeps. Probably for the best; mint and flowers are good enough.

Flavors: Floral, Mint

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Inspired by the review from Uniquity and accompanied by not enjoying giving a negative review – I am trying this one again today. First, I don’t mind giving a negative review of crappy tea, if it is crappy tea. In my opinion, once you reach a certain level of quality it should not happen. It is generally a matter of taste preference or bad preparation. I have always been impressed with Teavivre in the past. Yesterday, this turned out just bitter.

My problem with this one was mostly how I brewed it. Today I am doing it my way. Half the sample (2.5g) and 10 oz water heated to 180F. I steeped 1 minute. The liquor is clear, bright, and yellow. The taste is dry and reminds me of the dehydrated camellia flowers. I liked them because they were different. I find this very flavorful with strong cucumber/melon notes and a wood pulp flavor – not the negative version of yesterday, but a very nice one. There is a sort of floral note hanging around, or maybe I imagine it because I expect it. The aftertaste is lingering and mouthwatering. It also seems much sweeter in the aftertaste. No bitterness. No astringency that I notice.

It is not as powerful and deep as Silver Needle but then it is half the price. Messing with the parameters I find this to be quite pleasant. My one negative that I found again today that I did not mention here yesterday is the leaf. It looks like mulch. I don’t recall a Teavivre tea that was not beautiful full leaf. I thought my previous sample had been crushed or something but this one is the same way. This is mostly tiny broken pieces. Any one else notice the same thing?

ashmanra

First of all, I have already “liked” all of these posts and once again they have been erased from existence. I really am reading reviews!

Next, I haven’t had this one, but a neighbor gave me a shou mei for Christmas a couple of years ago and I was really taken aback by the appearance, it seriously looked like someone had raked their yard and then shoved the leaves in a little tin. It was a decent enough tasting tea, though. I can’t say the pieces just terrible small, though. It could easily have been the pile from under my dogwood. Very strange to brew!

mj

Sometimes my likes disappear too, but then if I refresh the page, they’re back. Steepster is so glitchy

K S

I’m having the same problem keeping track of what I have and haven’t read.

No one else has mentioned this leaf looking like mulch. I just really never expected it here. In fact the website pic looks like whole leaf. Just seems strange. I should contact Angel or Mary and ask.

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I know we all have different tastes. I followed the website recommendation for brewing in a gaiwan. The whole 5 g sample with 90 ml of water heated to 195 F (90 C). The steep was 25 seconds. That is simply too much leaf for me. This was so bitter it made my mouth pucker. Maybe half the leaf or half the steep time would have been OK.

I decided to lose the gaiwan and grab the press. I used 10 oz of 180 F water and steeped for 25 seconds. This was much improved. Now it tastes like grassy fresh alfalfa hay. There is a light apricot note and the aftertaste lingers.

Honestly though, I thought the lower grade White Peony was more aligned to my tastes. I have never given Teavivre a negative review before, but this one did not grab me.

I have enough to start again on another day. Next time I will only use half the sample and much cooler water. I am not giving up yet.

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95

Om nom nom nom nom nom
/snuggle /cuddle /purr

Cameron B.

Hooray for happy tea moments! <3

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95

I am acting a little like an idiot in Steepster chat this morning, because I have to keep myself from making every other thing I type how good this tea is….er, was. It’s gone now and I must get more.

Teavivre is quickly becoming one of my favorite companies. Really there is nothing I don’t love about them. Their staff is great, and very much in touch with the tea community. The products are superb and I even love their packaging.

I took a leap of faith and ordered 100g of four different black teas from there. Today as I have my first cup, I am feeling pretty smug and proud of myself. I also pulled out a bunch of teas from my cupboard that I am going to get rid of because really, when I can be drinking THIS, why drink THAT?

Cameron B.

I agree, TeaVivre is awesome. And so is this tea. <3

Cheri

You crack me up. Why aren’t you telling us how awesome this tea is in the chat? You should be.

Lariel

They are my new fave for black teas (well, the Yunnan ones anyway.)

Veronica

Teavivire is a great company. And this tea… so good!

Stephanie

Feel free to rave in the chat LOL

Stephanie

…be like ERMAGERD THIS TEA! ERMAGERD!

Tealizzy

I love this tea! And yes, TeaVivre is awesome!! :)

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84

This is a 2013 sample I got last year, but it’s been stored in its original unopened pouch inside a tightly-lidded tea-tin, so I don’t think it’ll have lost very much flavour and aroma, though both might be more muted than if it were very fresh.

I steeped about 5g of this in 200ml of 95C water or a bit cooler, for 30-45s per steep, and got 4 good steeps from it; I steeped the first time using on-the-boil water (because UK children are taught in primary school that tea is brewed in boiling water and it’s anathema to brew it in anything less) and this made it very astringent, but using cooler water took all the bitterness away.

The scent is like a subdued summer flower-garden, and the taste is mildly sweet with a smoky hint, and lightly oily.

Pleasant and easy-going as a light and uplifting morning drink. I’d rate this in the mid-80s – I like it a lot but it’s not quite as more-ish as my favourite black teas.

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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90

One of China’s 10 Famous Teas on many iterations of the list, Liu An Gua Pian is also called “Melon Seed” tea because the puffy leaves look like melon seeds.

The flavor and scent are both incredibly sweet at first. There’s a lot of vegetation and grassy taste and the usual hints of green bean you get in a lot of chinese green teas. The taste is really nice and complex with a hint of mineral in the background. I am not in the mental state to flesh this out with notes today, but I do like the tea a lot and think that it is a pretty unique tasting green tea. I overbrewed it a bit the first time using my usual green-tea steeping parameters, so you may need to use slightly less leaf or time than usual.

EDIT: Teavivre recommends 3g per 85ml water for 30 seconds if you are brewing gongfu style, then adding 30 seconds each time. That sounded a bit strong for my tastes so I used 3g in a 100ml gaiwan for 15 seconds, adding 5 each time and got really incredible results.

Flavors: Grass, Green Beans, Mineral, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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