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Recent Tasting Notes
My daughter made Swedish Butter Cake to be served with blueberries and whipped cream, so I asked my best friend to stop by on her way to work. She loves trying new teas so I brought out this sample from my last order with Teavivre.
The description extolled the aroma of the dry leaves and the tea while steeping, which made me think that there wouldn’t be much strawberry flavor or aroma to the tea.
Opening the packet, the aroma is strong, fresh and delicious. Steeping, the strawberry scent is still strong. Happily, the aroma is still strong in the cup as we drink. This is light and refreshing. My friend usually doesn’t drink a great deal of tea at one time and I have to be attentive to her cup as she rarely pours herself another cup but waits for me to refill it. Today she was reaching for the pot saying, “Do you mind?” Of course not! That why we have tea!
Great sample, and likely to be on a future order.
mmmm enjoying this beautiful weather outside in the sun with a pot full of flowers. These small little flowers look a lot like a cross between chamomile and chrysanthemum. They carry a dry hay scent and brew into something unique. The flavor is like persimmon, honey and dry grass. The liquor is a golden brass. This is perfect for this kind of day!
Flavors: Honey, Hot hay
Thank you, thank you to Angel/Teavivre for the generous samples! I received this months ago but classic me has been hoarding them.
This is the second time having it and, to be honest, both times it hasn’t been as milky as I had expected. Plus, the base is a little too vegetal for my liking. I’ve also been picking up on a chlorine-like undertone that has been driving me bonkers because it seems like a little more than just chlorine. There’s something more to that specific note.
After all this time, I finally figured out what it is. I don’t know about you, but the mold in cheese like Gorgonzola, and the rind on Brie and Oka all have this chlorine-like flavour that hits my palate the wrong way. This is totally that. So I guess you can say that this kind of tastes like those creamy kinds of cheeses, mold/rind and all. Since I love the taste of Brie/Oka, you’re damn skippy I just take off the rind so I can enjoy the deliciously creamy centre, but I can’t do that with this tea!
Come to think of it, I’ve had milk oolongs taste more like cheese than milk in the past, anyway. For instance, I vividly recall DAVIDsTEA’s Quangzhou Milk Oolong to taste like Havarti. Go figure!
Wow! just wow!
This was not even 10 minutes out of the box before it was in my Kyusu! I even waited outside for the mailman….
I opened the package and was hit with the most enticing scent. I was covered in a deep vegetal aroma and fresh grass. The leaves are stout vibrant green and yellow buds. I placed a generous amount in my warmed kyusu and inhaled. My senses were struck with a nutty and grass sensation. I brewed immediately! The taste was oh so good! A completely refreshing brew with a smooth sugary mouth feel. The initial flavor was watercress, oats, and chestnut. This brew caused some odd descriptive words to come up. These words include juicy, invigorating, refreshment, gushy, and lifey. hahah I thought that were kinda weird, but I guess you just had to “be there”. I’ve also been celebrating this spring tea with a long tea binge so I’m a little tea drunk.
All and all this was unbelievably fantastic!!
Flavors: Chestnut, Oats, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal
Thanks for another sample Teavivre! A couple more to try before another batch of samples arrives! This is another delicious pu-erh offering from Teavivre, Large loose dark leaves. Three teaspoons for an eleven ounce mug result in a deep dark colored brew. The flavor is great: very sweet and smooth. None of the pu-erh characteristics that might scare people away here. I love a good ripe pu-erh because it’s like coffee but without all the things I don’t like about coffee. The amount of leaves I used doesn’t seem like too much or too little. All three steeps were exactly the same – a great example of a ripe pu-erh for beginners or for pu-erh fans to stock up on. Also, some pu-erh really increases my appetite and this one definitely did.
Steep #1 // 3 tsps. for 11 ounce mug // rinse // 4 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2-3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min steep
Today did not go nearly as expected, the car work (that is costing a small fortune, so there goes any fun money for who knows how long) that was supposed to be finished this morning won’t be done until tomorrow. Since my plans did not come to fruition I decided to go visit the Kauffman Gardens, they were beautiful, but oh man I am so tired now!
The journey through Green Tea week continues with Teavivre’s Xin Yang Mao Jian Green Tea, one of my favorite green teas, see, I said I would say that a lot this week. These slightly fuzzy green needles were harvested April 13, 2015 in the beautiful Xinyang County in Henan Province. The leaves remind me of tiny pine needles, and apparently this tea is frequently drunk in China during the summer for its robust and refreshing qualities. The aroma is delightfully savory, mixing notes of sundried tomato. tomato leaves, spinach, and a bit of sauteed mushrooms. At the finish there was a tiny hint of cut grass and a surprising note of dulse.
Into the gaiwan the little needles go for their steeping, and the aroma stays quite savory, with notes of savory sauteed spinach, lima beans, vegetable broth, and a little like sauteed mushrooms. The liquid has notes of edamame, mushrooms, and a slight sweet pea note at the finish. The aroma is very mild, but the trichomes floating along the surface of the water amuses me and makes up for the lack of aroma.
The first steep keeps up the savory notes, blending sauteed mushrooms, some mild bok choy, a bit of edamame nuttiness, and a tiny bit of potatoes and dulse at the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and the taste is mild at the first, but delightfully savory.
Second steep smells so much like sauteed veggies and vegetable broth, with a hint of toasted sesame at the finish giving it a touch of sweetness. The taste is still savory! There are notes of stir fried vegetable with a bit of sesame seeds there are stronger notes of zucchini and bok choy, and lesser notes of asparagus and bell pepper. At the finish there is a bit of potato and dulse, an interesting finish giving it a bit of a starchy finish, and lingering savoriness.
The third steep changes things up a bit by being more sweet than savory, with notes of sweet pea, sesame seeds, and a gentle grass like aftertaste. The taste is also more sweet than savory this time around, with notes of sweet pea and toasted sesame, it does fade to savory with notes of sauteed mushrooms and dulse at the finish. This tea had some notes I do not run into very often, which I found greatly amusing, and I certainly agree that it is refreshing, especially now that the days are getting warmer!
I just finished an epic baking frenzy! I made a Matcha and Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake which is delicious, a chocolate cake mixed with orange blossom water and masala chai spice drizzled with a glaze of saffron, raw honey, and orange blossom water. That one is my invention, turned out really yummy, this is my first time going entirely experimental with baking using gluten free flour, so I am glad it was not a disaster. My potato flour and garlic biscuits, however, they are kinda gross…more proof that I should stick to baking sweets, since my savories almost never turn out! So I am worn out and of course have more cleaning, but I am so waiting to just toss everything that is left into the dishwasher, I am a lazy baker.
And so the journey through China’s spring greens continue, with Teavivre’s Premium Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea! They sell several grades of Long Jing, from their super fancy She Qian at the highest and most expensive (also earliest harvested if I am correct) to this one, the second least expensive of the Dragon Wells. Harvested on April 15, 2015, this tea is delightfully fresh, putting it between Qing Ming and Gu Yu (which was on April 20th this year, according to my handy calender, seriously it is the best app ever because it has all the Taoist holidays, Solar Terms, and things of that nature) two of the big spring harvest periods. The aroma of the little green swords (oh hey, a lucky ball of fuzz! You get those during the processing, I call them good luck because who doesn’t like balls of trichomes?) is sweet, green, and nutty, just the way a good Dragon Well is supposed to smell! There are notes of sharp artichoke, fresh vegetation, sweet peony, toasted sesame seeds, a bit of green beans, and a hint of orchids. This one is surprisingly floral, but it is more like the nectar of the flower rather than a heady scent, it balances well with the green notes.
Into my green tea Yixing teapot it goes! I started having this teapot for all robust, vegetal Chinese greens, but really I use it most for my much loved Long Jing. Brewing the leaves results in a soggy tea that is not longer floral, but is all vegetal. There are notes of artichoke, bell pepper, chestnut, a bit of bamboo leaves, and a tiny bit of chestnut at the finish. The liquid is sweet with notes of artichoke, wildflower honey, spicebush, and a hint of peony. It smells mellow but not delicate.
The first steeping lets me know it is a good, clean, Dragon Well, it does now bowl me over, but it certainly is tasty! It has a rich, full body with a smooth mouthfeel, the taste starts off with bell pepper and green bean, this moves to a tiny bit of artichoke and bamboo leaves, the finish is sweet chestnuts and peony nectar.
The second steeping’s aroma is crispy, yes that is how to describe a smell! There are notes of nutty chestnut and crisp broken bamboo leaves and bell pepper. The taste is rich, delightfully rich and green, with notes of bell pepper, green beans, with a nice slightly bitter cooked kale and a nice smooth chestnut midtaste. The finish, like the previous one, is a nice peony nectar which lingers.
Third steep, woo! The aroma is less vegetal this time around, it is sweet and nutty with a delicate peony flower and bamboo leaf finish. The taste is quite sweet this time around, like chestnuts and those delightful honey and sesame candies (not Halva, like I frequently rave about, but candies that are just honey and sesame…rather addictive) there is a light bamboo leaf and bamboo shoot taste with a gentle finish of green beans and peony nectar. This tea is one of those Dragon Wells that make for an excellent everyday tea without breaking the bank, which is always pleasant because Dragon Well can get really expensive!
Today is tournament day! I am fighting PHR and honestly I have no idea if I can win, see PHR are really good at killing things…and the Scourge (in particular me) is really good at dying. I hold the record for the lowest kill to death ratio, meaning I am really good at dying, which is funny because it doesn’t mean I am bad at winning. Depending on the scenario, I might be very well suited to win, because my big advantage over the PHR is speed, they are super slow and I am the queen of speed!
It is spring, meaning it is time to revel in the spring harvested green teas! This week will be all about greens, specifically a set of five green teas from Teavivre! Today’s green tea of choice is Lu Shan Yun Wu Green Tea, a curly and very green leafed tea from Jiangxi Province in China. This particular tea was plucked April 10, 2015, which, if I remember my calender correctly, means it was harvested between Qing Ming and Gu Yu, making it awesomely fresh. The aroma of the tea (which is also known as Clouds and Mist Tea) is a blend of nutty and vegetal, it has a bit of spinach, some toasted sesame, a distinct yet mild roasted peanut note, a sharp note of artichoke, and a finish of raw asparagus. It smells super green, and very fresh, like a pile of vegetables right out of a garden…and like someone is roasting nuts in the kitchen.
Into my tall plum blossom gaiwan the leaves go, to have their dance with the water. After steeping the aroma becomes really intense, pretty much all the nutty notes have vanished, replaced with a mountain of vegetal notes. It starts with a very strong cooked asparagus, a nice note of cooked spinach, a bit of broccoli, and a finish of bell pepper. It kinda smells like food and honestly makes me more than a little hungry for stir fried vegetables. The liquid is fairly mild on the first steep, with notes of sauteed vegetables (primarily bell pepper and asparagus) and finish of gentle nuttiness.
First steeping, and wow, this tea is not mild, it packs quite the vegetal punch! It starts out sweet and nutty, like roasted peanuts and a hint of honey. Then boom, sharp asparagus, slightly bitter yet leafy kale, crisp bok choy and bell peppers, and a surprisingly sweet finish, kind of like the sweetness of carrots without the taste of carrots.
The aroma of the second steeping is sweet and vegetal, there are notes honey and peanuts, followed by asparagus, spinach, and a bit of bell pepper. The taste, well, remember last steep how the aroma made me hungry for stir fried vegetables, well the taste kinda satiated that craving. It is a blend of stir fried (in sesame oil if we are being really fancy) bell peppers, asparagus, bok choy, and a touch of broccoli. If this sounds delicious to you, then let me tell you, it is. I am a sucker for really vegetal green teas (yes, yes, I am sucker for teas in general, but shush) and this one takes the cake. The aftertaste is a touch of pepper and then a bit later a bloom of honey.
Third steeping time! The aroma is more sweet than vegetal this time around, with notes of honey and toasted sesame overpowering the more gentle notes of bell pepper. Ok, so here is where it gets weird, this steep has one of the best tasting notes ever, it tastes like capers but without the pickle aspect, it is really quite awesome and unique. Mix this in with gentle black pepper, bell pepper, and a touch of bok choy and you have a green end to a very green tea.
so i won one tea ball of this from teavivre
when I smell the tea ball dry, it smells like flowers.
when I smell the bloomed flower it smells sweet and flowery
when I smell the brewed tea, it smells like white tea and flowers
when i taste the brewed tea, it tastes like white tea and flowers
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Sweet
It’s a beautiful, sunny, Sunday here today, so I spent the morning in the garden catching up on my reading (Ryan Lavelle’s ’Alfred’s Wars’, if you are interested), watching the cats play, and drinking this flowering tea. It looks fantastic and I love watching flowering teas open. Better yet, this tea was still light, slightly fruity and very refreshing despite having been in the cupboard a while. A great start to the day and spoilt only by the need to crack on with some work now.
Leaves: small golden rolled leaves
Aroma: regular black tea
Taste: Finally I reached the last tea to review in my collection! This yea had a similar look to the golden tip black tea. I finally found the perfect tea brewing notes as well when using 8oz of water! Upon first sip i got a little bit of bitterness but it quickly went away as i continued drinking. A slightly dry tea finish with almost no tea particle escaping the tea ball. The clarity was great clean and clear! As for taste it was similar to the Keemun tea i had the other day. The longer steep revealed a darker tone w/ slightly deeper flavor.
Leaves: small rolled leaves
Aroma: regular black tea
Taste: One more tea to go in my collection! This is my second Keemun Fragrant Black Tea but this time with a different company. The first steep was light in flavor & aroma so decided to go for 2 more steeps to see if it would reveal any thing different. 2m slightly more flavor but still light. 3m revealed the same even though i slightly over boiled my water lol. Overall a nice light black tea no bitterness & great clarity!
I’m starting to taste black teas on a fruity – chocolaty continuum. Perhaps its more of a triangle – and ‘tobacco-y’ is at one corner, too. This definitely falls into the fruity side of things, with maybe a tiny bit of chocolate manifesting as the dark flavors in the tea.
Flavors: Cherry, Fruity
Drinking my second (and last) of these today. I’m currently on my second steep, and it’s just as I remember from last time. The only thing I’m noticing this time is a greater amount of…something at the bottom of the cup. Some kind of residue that looks reddish-black and cloudy? I did give this a fairly generous rinse to start with, so I’m not sure what that’s about. Either way, it doesn’t seem to be affecting the flavour (although I am trying not to drink to much of it, as it’s a little gritty and odd).
I don’t often find a Pu’Erh that I genuinely like, but this is one of them. I’d happily purchase more of this one once I’ve cleared out my stash a little more!
A sample from Angel at Teavivre. I feel like I’ve said this a fair bit recently, but Pu’Erh is a variety of tea that’s very new to me, and which I’m still learning about. I’ve tried a good few different ones now, and some common characteristics have emerged – probably enough to know that it’ll never be my favourite type of tea, but by no means enough for me to rule it out completely. Some Pu’Erhs I’ve loved, some I’ve hated. In any case, the adventure continues!
This is the latest installment. I used one tuocha, discarded the first steep as a rinse, and then gave it approximately 3 minutes in fresh boiling water. 3 minutes sits right in the middle of the recommended parameters, so I figured it was a fair place to start. The scent is of earth with a slight hint of manure, and the resulting liquor is very dark brown (almost black), and I feared for a moment that the flavour would be far too intense for my tastes. Not so, apparently. This Pu’Erh is actually fairly mellow, with an initial soil-like earthiness (I’m thinking wet soil after a heavy rain shower), which intensifies a little towards the end of the sip and then fades away. A mild orchid note emerges in the aftertaste, lending this tea a fresh and fragrant profile. It just goes to show that a strong-looking dark liquor doesn’t necessarily equate to overpowering flavour, which was a useful lesson for me when it comes to Pu’Erh. Another small piece of my Pu’Erh fear has been dispelled! The thing I like most about this is its almost soft-tasting smoothness. It’s so silky and easy to drink – a real pleasure.
Second steep, again for 3 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is, again, a very dark (almost black) brown. While brewing, it took on a brothier scent (almost reminiscent of beef oxo, although obviously nowhere near as strong!) The underlying earth/manure scent is still present. The taste is much the same, although marginally milder – wet earth, a light orchid floral, but this time with a hint of nuttiness and a fleeting flash of caramel. The second steep is as smooth as the first, but with an even creamier mouthfeel. It’s absolutely delicious, and it’s not often you’ll hear me say that about a Pu’Erh!
Third steep, again for 3 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a dark golden-ish brown this time, so noticeably paler than previous steeps.The scent while brewing is less pungent now as well – hardly there at all, in fact. The taste is very mellow, with hardly any earth/manure notes to be found. There’s a lot more orchid-like floral in the mid-sip, and an almost camphor like coolness in the aftertaste that I can feel at the back of my throat. An interesting progression from steeps one and two.
Fourth steep, again for 3 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is paler still at this stage, now a medium orange-brown. The scent is about level with the previous steep, barely there but still mildly earthy with a hint of manure. The taste is broadly similar to steep 3, although with stronger cooling notes. I’m thinking peppermint rather than camphor now, although very mild. The orchid note is still there in the aftertaste, although it’s fainter and less noticable overall.
Fifth steep, this time for 4 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is again noticeably paler – a medium red-orange with only mild notes of earth and no manure! The taste this time is really barely there. There’s still a coolness, although even that is less intense than previous steeps. The earth, manure and floral notes are all but gone as well, although there’s a mild nuttiness that sets this apart from just warm water. I’m impressed at how smooth this one has remained throughout all of my steeps, including this one. There’s absolutely no bitterness or astringency, even though the leaves have been dunked in boiling water for a combined total of 16 minutes.
I imagine this one could probably go on a bit longer, although I suspect it’d need much longer steeps to really eek out any flavour. This one tuocha has lasted me all day, though, so I’m happy to leave it here for now. There comes a point in the day when I really just want to drink something different, anyway! I’m impressed with this one, though. It’s a great quality tea, and the resteeps make it excellent value. There are very few Pu’Erhs that I can say outright that I enjoyed drinking, but this is one of them! Another excellent offering from Teavivre.
Leaves: large green/brown leaves
Color: dark yellow
Taste: This tea was more messy then the rest in terms of measuring i just pinched off a bit & put it into my tea ball. During the steep quite a few of tea particles escaped, for the 6m brew time. Aroma i didn’t pick up on much of anything it was very light and faint. As for taste it was bland.
For a while in my tea-drinking career, I was reluctant to give up bagged tea in favor of loose leaf tea. I thought that I’d be giving up strength of flavor for complexity of flavor – that loose leaf teas would always be weak compared to the full-bodied (albeit simple) flavors of a CTC tea. If I’d started with this tea, I wouldn’t have had to worry at all. This has all of the immediacy of a quick steeping bagged tea AND all of the levels and gradations in flavor found in a loose leaf. It would be a perfect transition tea for those used to their morning cup of Twinings English Breakfast or the like.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Honey, Malt