Recent Tasting Notes

drank Blueberry Fruit Tea by Teavivre
1588 tasting notes

This is the last of my blueberry fruit tea from Teavivre! Sad!! This is perfect weather for cold-brewed or room-temperature brewed tea. I love to brew fruity teas cold or room-temperature. Yum! The hibiscus in this lends itself toward cold brewing. I didn’t try to brew it hot just because I like blueberries and hibiscus cold. Delicious! Just the right amount of smoothness and tartness.

Flavors: Blueberry, Fruity, Tart

Iced 8 min or more

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Backlog from yesterday:

Maybe I was really spoiled from last week’s sample of Premium Taiwanese Assam from the GCTTB3, but I didn’t enjoy this tea as much as I had the first time around. I think I messed up the steeping parameters on this one, as the flavour wasn’t as deep or fruity as hoped it would be. It was a bit more leathery this time.

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Backlog from earlier this week


I think that I didn’t mix these pearls up enough, as there wasn’t much peach flavour the further down I went into the bag. However, I am seriously considering buying the peach pearls on their own at some point.

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Hello everyone, I hope you’re all having good weekends! I decided to do gong fu with this tea today because I felt like I wasn’t getting the full potential when I tasted it western-style. I mostly used TeaVivre’s parameters, but adjusted the amount of water to 4 ounces and then used 4 grams of tea, which turned out to be 4 pearls. I also used 200 degree water instead of boiling.

The method: 4g tea per 4oz water, 200 degrees, 10s rinse/30/50/70/90/120s

Rinse (10s): very light, woody, golden raisins (the pearls puffed up but held their shape)

Steep 1 (30s): strong bitter cocoa with some woodiness, burnt sugar (the pearls fell apart completely!)

Steep 2 (50s): very earthy in a mineral sense (licking a rock comes to mind), bitter cocoa

Steep 3 (70s): mellower earthiness, autumn leaves, dark but not bitter cocoa

Steep 4 (90s): very similar to steep 2, earthy and highly mineral

Steep 5 (120s): similar to steep 3, mellow earth with autumn leaves, buttered toast!

So, I was not a big fan of those highly earthy and mineral steeps… In fact, I didn’t finish either of them. Just blegh. My favorites were the first and last steeps, which suggests to me that maybe I should try this again with shorter steeps? Or maybe I’ll just stick to western-style with this one.

Any suggestions for a gong fu method that won’t bring out so much earthy/mineral flavor would be greatly appreciated! I only have enough of this left for one more cup or session… So I want to get it right! :P

I also noticed that there’s a tad bit of water left in the bottom after I drain the leaves. I’m assuming this is okay, since I don’t see how I would get all of it without dumping into a strainer. Would love to be corrected if I’m wrong!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt Sugar, Cocoa, Earth, Mineral, Toast, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

This is a great tea! Hope you are having a good weekend too! I’m at work actually, boo.

Cameron B.

Thanks Stephanie! What’s your favorite way to brew this one? And I’m sorry you have to be at work! :(


I like it semi-western! Long and super rich steeps for me :)

I usually only get 2 or 3 steeps that way though. Sorry it’s not tasting like you’d hoped!

Cameron B.

How long do you usually let it go for? The website recommends 5-10 minutes, sheesh. :P


4-5 mins usually


It DOES take a while for those pearls to unfurl!


I am dying to try this!!!!


Oh Sars – I have a shitload and I don’t love it so I can send you plenty

Cameron B.

MzPriss, I don’t love it either so far. Going to try the Stephanie method last and hopefully that makes it for me!


I can try the Stephanie way – people seem to love it, but I havent so far


Cam sent me some, MzP. I’ll try it and report back. :o)


It sounded like just the kind of thing I would love so I got one of those Teavivre tins of it. I can’t get it to the point where it tastes the way others describe it tasting.

Cameron B.

Luckily mine was one of the free samples I chose, so I didn’t pay for it. It’s not bad, but it seems fairly nondescript to me, and I don’t seem to get chocolate like others do. :(


I used 4 pearls in 6 oz. for 5 min. Seemed to work pretty well. I thought it was good! I definitely found a little cocoa.


Interesting that everyone’s experience is so different!


Stephanie it always surprises me how differently people experience tastes and smells in tea

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The black long dry leaves were nothing like the small green pellets I expected to see when I opened the bag. A strong sweet scent filled the canister, a promise of a good brew to come.

As the leaves are quite bulky I used 2 tsp. per cup of 210F water, and steeped at 2 minutes.

A lovely rich reddish orange liquor was the result. It was mildly fragrant, but richly flavorful. Despite the resemblance to black tea, this was all Oolong. Vegetal and sweet with a rich floral finish. It reminds me of a mild muscat tasting Darjeeling.

A good drink when something lighter than the heavy blacks (which i usually prefer) is called for. This is one rich flavorful Oolong tea.

Flavors: Fruity, Vegetal

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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(SAD) SIPDOWN! (104)

Aw, my very last cup of this tasty tea (for now). Gotta love the light and delicious pastry notes, the honey, the mild fruitiness. Sigh… Soon it will return to me! I want to try gong fu brewing with this one, since the name pretty much demands it.

I also found out today that Tan Yang Gong Fu (also called Panyang Congou apparently) comes from the same varietal as Golden Monkey! They’re also processed in the same way, apparently Tan Yang is slightly higher grade though. Interesting! They were listed as the same tea in The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook, so I looked it up and found more information here:


Gotta love learning! I will definitely be repurchasing this tea when TeaVivre’s black and oolong sale starts! SOON.

200 °F / 93 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I want pastry notes. I hear people talk about them, but I don’t often find them myself. :)

Cameron B.

I’ve found them in this tea and the very tippy Yunnans so far, especially with shorter steeps. I also got pastry when I did that Eastern Beauty gong fu style! Yum yum yum!


Thanks for the learnin’!

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drank Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre
349 tasting notes

This is a fluffy tea with long roughly wound leaves with about 50% being golden tips ranging in tone from flaxen to copper.

I used the following parameters:


Its scent is rich and spicy, and similar to one of my other less tippy golden monkeys, with scent of spicy fall leaves, wood smoke,sweet potato, cocoa, malt mash, and caramel.

The taste has deeper malt and bitter cocoa base notes than my similar smelling tea and comes off as very rich tasting after my first short steep of 50s. It has sweet potato, grain notes, cocoa, roasted spice notes up front. This is followed by a brief mention of burnt sugar caramel, and then the tea lightens with malt and fruit tones, which are tart like unripe plums. The aftertaste is a nice blend of all the flavour notes.

The tea resteeps quite well I did two other short steeps of 35 and 60 s, before extending my timings to 2 and 5 minutes. In later steeps the grain, yam and roasted notes faded but the Cocoa, deeper malt and fruit tones intensified and often were fairly well balanced with a hint of butter and cane sugar.

This is quite a nice and robust tea. I would consider buying it once I finish my similar tea.

Thanks to Dexter, who sent me this a while back. I’ve been sipping on it all day.


I love golden monkey. :)

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No new revelations to report from today’s two-glass tetsubin of Teavivre Huang Shan Mao Feng. Just the usual song of praise: Yum!

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Thank you, Teavivre, for this sample!

I do like to drink tea with jasmine, but only every so often (at least a month in between) because it’s a scent and taste that I don’t want to become accustomed to it. I prefer to experience it as if I were having the first time. That said, this one heck of a jasmine green tea. The dry leaf smells freshly of jasmine and other flowers in full bloom. I felt like a honey bee enticed by nectar. The jasmine intensifies once the leaves haves steeped. There is something else in the aroma but I can’t put my finger on it. Freshly baked pastry with coconut or pineapple? Melon? The liquor is medium-bodied, the jasmine flavor light. Very pleasant.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 8 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

I’ve liked jasmine teas that I’ve tried, but for some reason it’s not something I reach for. I have some jasmine pearls somewhere that I should be drinking. :P Maybe I’ll do it as an evening thing!


Seems like we’re on the same page. I still wanted to try some of Teavivre’s though (awkward shrug)


I dig jasmine but I have to be in the right mood. Most of the time lately I’ve been wanting something a little more bold I guess…

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Thank you ANGEL for these generous samples! I have never tried this before, so I was excited to try it today. Opening the silver packet, I saw small, dark green, powdery spiral leaves. It smelled so delicious and green and fresh! WOW! It was even nutty smelling, kind of like a darker oolong.

Upon steeping, I steeped for 45 seconds and saw that the liquid was a light-medium yellow. It smelled great and seaweed-like. YUM! It tasted excellent. There was a good amount of character to the taste. Mildly nutty, dark, green, fresh, and vegetal. I love it. There is no bitterness to it at all, which is a huge plus. Overall a great tea! I will have to add this to my staple greens.

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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Having now had numerous efforts with this tea, I confirm my rating and find this black tea simply delicious. I have experimented with temperature and steep time and while there is a difference in flavor produced, I experienced no difference in enjoyment.

This tea will be in my cupboard for as long as I can obtain it.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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This Dian Hong sort of smells like an Earl Gray. I’m getting fruity hints similar to bergamot accompanied by warm bread and honey. The taste is a little deeper and more malty with honey and apricot notes. It’s got a nice lightness and sweetness too it, while still being rich and syrupy. The scent really is so wonderful. There’s a subtle floral quality as well.

I’m impressed. I think this tea has great depth and quality and I could drink it regularly.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Bergamot, Honey, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I ordered this quite a while ago as part of the pu-er sampler from TeaVivre. Then it sat because I decided I wasn’t ready for it.

Today, I decided I was ready.

So I brought it to work, and I’m pseudo gongfu-ing it, following the gaiwan steeping directions from their website.

The first few infusions after rinsing were still…not quite right. Heavy, kind of earthy. Something that just wasn’t quite right for me. I couldn’t identify what that was. It was just an off flavor for me. It was just kind of bitterish. The aroma, on the other hand, really nice. I admit it, I dumped out half of the third. It just wasn’t working for me.

Starting with the 4th steeping…I started to really dig this tea. Woody, a little sweetish. Different. And it’s getting better with each infusion.

By the tenth infusion, it’s starting to really mellow out, sweeter and tasty. That woody is almost gone. I can’t stop drinking this tea. But I’m only half way there.

And yes, this is a lot of tea I’m drinking. The worst part is that it’s not actually waking me up.

And there’s some flavor here that I just don’t know how to describe. It’s interesting. Unique. I like it a lot. What it is? Gah. I hate this. It’s driving me crazy that I can’t identify it.

But I am downing cup after cup of this tea like a mad woman. It’s good. It’s really good. (Well, after the first few infusions, anyway.)

And maybe that energy is starting to come.

And I keep drinking this tea.

Nom nom nom nom nom!

All this tea nomminess is mine!

I wish I had more time (and a bigger bladder.) Unfortunately, the fifteenth infusion will have to be my last.

This beautiful sheng has kept me company at work all afternoon. It has made a crazy draggy day seem to go a little faster.

But I am officially a sheng pu-erh lover.


(Maybe you should consider that girly pink catheter)


Fifteenth! Wow.


The Tea had more to give, even after 15. I threw the leaves in for a cold brew with my leaves from the morning. (yes, girly pink would work. Might be necessary.)


Awesome review! This is helpful since I am new to pu’erh. I would have given up after 3 steeps. Glad you kept going!!!


TeaVivre says this one is good for at least 22 on their website.


22 infusions? Wow!!!!


sheng high fives!

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Creamy, slightly sweet, floral goodness. It’s so good. Ugh. Just. I love it. So much. Drink it.

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Let me preface this with emphasis that I am rating this tea based on what it is supposed to be. I actually discovered I don’t like Lapsang Souchong at all, but Teavivre makes a good one for what it is.

Dry: Small tightly rolled black tea leaves. The package reminds me of the stables- the dry leaf smells very leathery to me with considerable smokiness and another aroma that reminds me of dry cedar chips.

Steeped: Deep red-brown clear liquor. The smokiness is a bit less present in the steeped tea than in the dry leaf. A hint of malt plays around the edges of the mug.

Taste: Holy smoke, Batman! This one is bold on flavor. Strong smoke with a hint of sweet. Very smooth, with pine, leather, and cedar notes. If I were to taste a tea that reminded me of a campfire, this would be the one. Not for me and I honestly couldn’t even finish the pot, but nonetheless, a quality tea and definitely worth a trial if you enjoy potent smokey notes in your tea. For some weird reason, I imagine that someone that might like this tea may also like whiskey, cigars, and horse races, lol.

Flavors: Burnt, Cedar, Leather, Pine, Smoke

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

I love your objectivity. It is a hard thing to review something you don’t like on its own merits. Good job! And this is a good one.


Thank you! :)

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I’m not sure the taste of this tea is too different for me than most other Chinese greens I’ve had. It is vegetal, nutty, and mildly sweet with a bit of green bean flavor.

What does stand out to me immensely is how thick the mouthfeel is. It is very heavy and very syrupy. I wasn’t expecting that at all. I really like that. As for the flavor, however, I feel a bit non-reactive. It’s very Zen and all, but I prefer to be wowed by my teas.

Flavors: Green Beans, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for the generous samples!

I could smell the dry leaf from the moment I opened the sample pouch. A savoury, roast-y aroma.

Steeped, the aroma becomes a bit more vegetal. The taste is quite light, still sort of savoury with a hint of nuttiness and to my surprise, a slight hint of sweetness. There’s a lightly astringent finish.

I usually don’t drink green teas (longjing being an exception), but I could see myself drinking more of this!

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Time for a full review :)

the leaves look almost like black pine tree needles :D

when i smell the dry leaves/flowers, it smells like a very good black tea should :) nice and peppery :)

when i smell the liquid it smells nice and peppery :)

when i drink the tea its peppery and spicy :)

the best black tea i have ever tried! thank you angel teavivre for selling me this great black tea! :D

I’m adding 5 points to the score

Flavors: Black Pepper, Pepper, Spices, Spicy

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

Sounds lovely…

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This is a tea that I’ve been wanting to try for a while now and thank you tons to Sil for sending this tea my way!
Ahh busy busy life right now with Disney, but I’m glad that I’m slowly adjusting and making time for tea :)

I think it was with December’s Steepster Select box that I fell in love with golden teas so anything golden is just… gold hahah. What makes these golden tipped teas so special? Or golden oolong, or golden curls or GOLDEN EVERYTHING. That’s a thing I’ll need to research soon :)

But this has a very lovely and dark liquor to it as it steeps, and it has that rich, dark, malty smell to it. It’s been a while since I’ve had a really great, straight, black tea, and this definitely is one of my favourites. I still absolutely love the Golden Yunnan from the December box, and my Vanesheh Persian Black tea from this local tea garden back home, but this tea comes as a close third!

This tea just gets better and better as I resteep it :)

I associate every golden tea as like a separate special tea okay. So pls excuse if they’re like… different


glad you liked this one..it’s lovely imo

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Thank you Teavivre, from this sample!

Not using a rating because I’m inexperienced with sheng pu’erh and don’t have the proper palate. Gongfu method with 4oz gaiwan. 10 second rise. Steepings time were 10, 15, 3, 30, 45, 60…

The dry leaf aroma consists of mushrooms, smoke, sweet spices, and peppercorns. After the rinse, the aroma was savory. I picked out sauteed mushrooms, BBQ’d London broil (medium rare), honey, and honey mustard BBQ sauce. I thought I felt my stomach rumble…

The liquor has a pale peach color and is clear and full-bodied. The first infusion was earthy and sour and had a hint of mushroom. At the second infusion, the aroma resembled cherries and the texture became creamy. Still could only taste earth and sourness. The texture went back to being clear for the third. Sourness waned a little, fruity note appeared. I could have probably gone for more infusions for the sake of the review, but I had to stop at the fifth. The flavor notes – earth, sour – pretty much remained the same. I tried my darndest detect flavors beyond what I was already tasting. Props to me for smelling those weird notes in the aromas (I have a crave now).

2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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