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Recent Tasting Notes
So I realize that it has been since June that I have done a tea review….what is wrong with me? Well….life. Let’s see my son Zebedee was born on June and work has been absolutely nuts. One day I’m in at 5:30 am the next it’s 9 or another time. Rarely is there a week where I’m not working 6 days straight and with DJ gigs sometimes is 16 hour days. It’s a challenging time right now in our house. Today I’m celebrating. It’s my birthday. I must have tea! Pulled this one out of the tea cabinet. I love a good Keemun. I opened up the sample and breathed it in! Leathery…malty…the qualities that are awesome about Keemun. It’s a good straight black definitely a good one to have on for number 36.
Another free sample from Angel at Teavivre.
Also, another tea that I have not yet written up. I sampled this a while back but got distracted before writing a tasting note. Bad me!
The dry leaf is thin and twisty, and dark olive in colour. It smells of hay. Wet, the leaf has a slight hint of umami and asparagus. In the pot it looks like a green cave of tea leaf stalagmites and stalactites as the leaves have vertical and some sink to the bottom. The liquor is a pale peach colour and carries little aroma; just a hint of savouriness to hit and something slightly floral or vegetal. Tasting it reveals a very delicate tea. It is lightly floral, smooth, sweet with a savoury edge. The asparagus notes carry through from the aroma and the aftertaste prickles gently on the tongue in a pleasurable fashion. Not as in-your-face as the Long Jing, this Mao Feng is a jolly good, gentle cuppa that is quite relaxing to drink.
Flavors: Asparagus, Floral, Hay, Sweet, Umami
Free sample from Angel at Teavivre.
Another backlog tea. One day I shall catch up … honest!
This is a great tea. It is all warm, summer day, and savoury sweetness. The summery feel is enhanced by the way the leaf blades dance on top of the water. This makes it particularly worth brewing in a glass teapot.
Both the dry and the wet leaf have a grassy, umami, pork chop aroma. The liquor is very pale green verging on colourless. If you are used to Yorkshire Tea, you could be forgiven for thinking you had been given a cup of plain hot water until you smell the vegetal aroma of the liquor.
The taste is quite complex. It comprises vegetal, spinach notes together with the aforementioned pork chop and a solid nuttiness that gives it a truly full-bodied mouth feel, and this is all underlain by a delicate sweetness. The aftertaste is sparkling and savoury, and lasts well. Yum.
Flavors: Nutty, Spinach, Sweet, warm grass, Umami, Vegetal
I had two samples of this, the first of which I had a few weeks ago and it left nary an impression. I’m glad I had another sample to give this another fair shake because boy this turned out great the second time! It was naturally sweet and a bit honey-ish cocoa-y, and I didn’t have to add a thing to it. Sad to see it go, but I’ll be getting more eventually (after culling the cupboard a bit… and landing a full-time job, that would help too).
Very smooth green tea, barely any astringency. It has a kind of Japanese green essence about it without the smack-you-in-the-face (or rather, tongue) with GREENS!!! effect. But, then, thats exactly what I love about those Japanese greens. haha
Nevertheless, this tea is not bad per my standards. It manages to pull off the spirit of the Japanese umami without going all out vegetal. A good green for those who can’t handle the power of the green ;)
Admittedly, even I have overdone it with the heavy greens and needed a break – this would be a good choice when I want to tone it down a bit.
I haven’t been a fan of Sheng puerh in the past. But I also know that I haven’t come close to trying all that’s out there, so I still give it a try once in a while – when I’m feeling brave. So glad I did this time!
This is the best Sheng I’ve ever had. Perhaps I should specify, for anyone familiar with Kant, that it’s the most agreeable Sheng I’ve had. I am not expert enough of puerh to make a judgement as to how good it is ;) (Damn you grad school – messing up my simple thoughts…)
A perfect tea for autumn. I agree with previous reviews about the slightly over-steeped green flavor – but this tea totally works it. It tastes like an autumn forest. That’s the best way to describe it.
I recognize the usual characteristics of raw puerh that usually put me of, but in this particular tea, they are pleasant.
This is definitely a re-purchase for me!
Well, my sleep schedule has gotten a bit confused. New meds and my monthly bout of weird sleep schedule flipping means that I was up til like 2pm this afternoon, and then slept til 8pm. It is very disorienting waking up at night, even me being nocturnal a lot, I prefer late afternoon wake ups. When I was a kid, my favorite thing was the time I didn’t go to work with my family, because it meant that I got to sleep til late in the afternoon, one of the reason I have worked a lot of night shift jobs in my past. I am a night owl…clearly that means I need an owl teapet!
Recently Teavivre introduced a line of herbal teas, this idea intrigued me because they seem to be mostly flower based, tea friends…I have a weakness for drinking flowery teas. When I was younger (wow, lots of younger days stories) I would gather up the edible flowers from my mom’s garden and make teas from them, they were usually loaded with sugar and more like flowery syrup, but I loved them. This love has not died, and is very fitting for Bucolic Jasmine Herbal Tea, a blend of Jasmine, Roses, Chrysanthemum, Osmanthus, and Stevia leaves. If you know from my history of tea rambling, jasmine, rose, and osmanthus are probably some of my favorite flowery notes, so this sounds fun. The aroma is a summer day in a garden, very heady and sweet, strong notes of roses and jasmine with a moderate sweet osmanthus note. The finish is a gentle sweet honey and that hay spiciness that is chrysanthemum.
Into my steeping vessel the tea goes, making me both happy and sad. Sad because the beautiful and vibrant flowers always look so sad when they are steeped, no color and floppy. Happy because it smells really good, like a room of blooming roses and jasmine, with a distant hint of osmanthus. I hope the osmanthus is not overshadowed because it is probably my favorite flower to have as a tea. The liquid is a bit more mellow, the three main flowers are balanced and the chrysanthemum adds a tiny hint at the end.
Ah stevia, you are such a fun thing. It is very sweet and distinct, having a natural sweetness similar to sugar but with more in common with licorice with its lingering sweetness, I like stevia leaves. That is the first thing I noticed, the stevia sweetness, then jasmine and rose, lots of jasmine and rose. Towards the middle and end there is osmanthus with a finish of gentle green and lingering sweetness. I did not really taste chrysanthemum, and other than smelling it a bit, I would not have known it was in there. I steeped it twice since the website recommends it and it was pretty bland, most the taste was in the first steep. I liked it, this is a tea that is unassuming enough I can sip it when I am feeling off and want something flowery without being overwhelmed.
Flavors: Jasmine, Osmanthus, Rose, Straw, Sweet
I got a sample of this with my Teavivre order. It’s nice, light and easy to drink. I don’t get much cocoa, which seems to be the general consensus on this, though might be because I’ve been drinking Teavivre’s Fengqing Dragon Pearls which give me a major cocoa vibe by comparison. This is a lot lighter, sweet, bready, and a bit peppery to me. Not my favourite from Teavivre, but it’s a nice sip.
I have the 2013 harvest, from MissB! Thank you!
I enjoyed it in my neat-o little teapot (see a couple posts ago for a pic? IDK.) this evening. Probably 5 steeps worth. It was delicious. So delicious, that it’s the ONLY TEA I’m taking camping this weekend. Camping in what will possibly be the gross and disgusting rain.
But still. Delicious tea. Rain. Wooly blankets. A book to read. Ooo, a book to read. I should get on that.
I wasn’t too impressed with this tea the first couple of times I tried it, finding it fairly bland and tasteless. All of the positive reviews baffled me so I figured it must be me…and it was! I have lately gotten into the habit of brewing green teas uncovered as many greens fare better that way. But this tea works much better with the lid on. I added enough leaves to cover the bottom of the gaiwan, poured in 175F water, and let it go for 2 minutes. This time, the tea was much better. Creamy spinach and green been flavors emerged along with a faint sweetness. Still a very light tea brew though. I may have to experiment with water temperature and brew times, but this is an enjoyable tea for sure.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Spinach, Vegetal
The first time I brewed this tea, I winged it with 1 tsp of leaf and 4 oz of water in my gaiwan at 175F for 1 minutes. The resultant brew was weak and somewhat vegetal. Even the second infusion with hotter water and a longer steep time turned out weak.
I got better results by following TeaVivre’s guidelines and steeping 2g of tea. I loved the aroma of the dry leaf, nutty and deeply vegetal. But the tea liquor didn’t have the same complexity and flavor that the aroma did. It tastes like a standard Chinese green tea. The flavor is faintly vegetal, mostly chestnut and a few buttery undertones. There’s no bitterness or astringency a characteristic shared by all of the TeaVivre green teas I’ve had so far which I think is a good thing. It’s much lighter in body than most green teas, almost like a white tea.
Not a bad tea, but not one I would return to.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Vegetal
My foray into Chinese greens continues with this unique, long leaf tea from TeaVivre. Their Long Jing dragonwell is already amongst my top 5 green teas and this one looks like a dragonwell with extra large leaves.
What stands out most to me about this tea is the smell of the leaf, both dry and wet. The dry leaf smells faintly of kombu and when the leaves are wet, they smell strikingly similar to dashi (fish broth). Thankfully, very little of the dashi aroma made it into the cup. There is a note of seaweed in there which is oddly contrasted with a fruity note I would describe as melon or pear. Not much vegetal flavor and virtually no astringency at all.
Overall, a very delicate and light-bodied tea. Quite different than the green teas I’m used to. I prefer grassier tea but I wouldn’t refuse this if it were offered to me. Definitely worth a sip and I’m glad I got to try it. I brewed this in a 150 ml gaiwan using about 7.5 leaves (roughly 1 gram) and got 2 good steeps out of it.
Flavors: Fish Broth, Melon
The floral in this is almost non existent. In the early days, when I wasn’t fond of floral, I recall that high mountain oolongs were my less flowery gateway into appreciation of stronger florals, but I don’t remember them being this lacking in the floral department.
Nevertheless, this is a good oolong. Nutty, creamy, bready. It’s like Teavivre’s Superfine Taiwan Qing Xiang Dong Ding Oolong Tea without the floral. If I pay attention, I can detect a slight floral aroma and a mild sweet taste that may or may not be attributed to a floral flavor. Perhaps I’ve become desensitized to the florals and don’t notice them as well when they are subtle.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cream, Nuts, Vegetal
Sweet, roasty, yummy. I like roasted oolongs, but sometimes they get carried away with the roast. It’s nice when other flavors sneak through as they do in this tea. It must be a tieguanyin thing. I’ve only had one other roasted tieguanyin that I can remember and it was sweet too – but more floral sweet where as this one is fruity sweet.
Flavors: Fruity, Roasted, Sweet
Had a gongfu session with a ceramic gaiwan. Since Teavivre recommended only 4g, I split the 7-gram sample packet and had two sessions with two different sets of steeping parameters. The first from is Teavivre’s website: 10, 20, 30, 50, (accidentally skipped 70), 90, 120. The second is my own: 30, 60, 90, 180, 300.
I smelled the dry leaf aroma two ways. First, I stuck my nose into the packet, then I heated the gaiwan bowl with boiling water, poured that out, and let the leaf sit in the bowl for thirty seconds. What a wonderful aroma! It’s one of those you can’t stop smelling. A combination of cocoa powder, gingerbread, and cinnamon. I knew this leaf would smell great if it were amplified by a heated bowl. Great start to the first session. The wet leaf aroma smells differently – sweet potatoes, then, after the leaf aired for a bit, freshly baked muffins.
Against a white porcelain cup, the liquor has a beautiful and clear burnt orange color. The texture is consistently smooth and little thick. Full body. The flavor profile doesn’t evolve, but it’s filled with individual notes that I taste all at once yet can pick out separately. This goes for both sessions. There is the cocoa and the sweet potato, but also subtler notes of wet wood and clover. Sweet and bitter simultaneously, with a coffee aftertaste. This has a soothing and warming effect on me.
This is forgiving and easy to drink, therefore good for the Western brewing method and beginners to Chinese black tea.
This is a sample from Christina. Thanks Christina for the sample! I really enjoyed this tea this morning brewed gong fu. I am finding my list I printed out for doing gong fu really isn’t that good. It’s what everyone says. Just go by the feel. Their recommendation for first infusion is about 6-8 sec. That’s way too short for this green tea so I left it until it had a little colour.
This tea reminds me of an Anji Bai Cha. The leaves look the same – long and straight. This tea also borders between a Japanese and Chinese tea. It has that sweet snap pea aroma (smells soooo good) you find in Japanese teas. It’s also in the taste but this brews up very light. A pale pale yellow. The snap pea taste hits the tongue followed by a light buttery/chestnut taste. These are the things I love about Anji Bai Cha only some of the Anji Bai Cha’s I’ve had have been stronger than this tea. This is a very delicate tea and very tasty!
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Peas
I can’t stress enough how much I suck at picking apart the various flavours in a straight tea, so I won’t even try to go there. But what I do know is that I love this. And it can tolerate my habitual over-steeping, which is always a good quality. I don’t really get the taste of cocoa in this, but a feeling of it, if that makes any sense. Like it’s a dark, rich, smooth taste that is not exactly cocoa, but somewhat similar to it in feeling. Like a cousin to cocoa. Or something. Behold my eloquence!
Either way, great cup, so far everything from Teavivre has been a delight. Will order again once I run out!