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Recent Tasting Notes
The best dragonwell I’ve had thus far. It came double sealed in two bags and the leaves weren’t broken. It smelled more strongly than the other longjing I’ve had, but not in a bad way. It was toasty, buttery, and dry-hay like, slightly vegetal, and not bitter at all. As far as I can tell (with my limited experience) its perfect. Can’t wait to steep it some more, and play around with the steeping time.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Hay, Toasty, Vegetal
Jasmine is one of those scents that just goes so well with tea. I love to watch these little pellets unfurl as they steep in hot water. Love the cup overall. Just wish the Jasmine is stronger so I don’t have to use as much tea. The green tea gets bitter easily, especially if you use more tea.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Jasmine
Apparently, this particular tea is no longer available. I need to stop hoarding! The packaging says it is the 2013 harvest.
About a year ago, a lady was dropping off her son at my house for a young people’s writers’ group that meets here and decided to come in and visit. Naturally, I offered her tea and she stayed until 1 am!
I got a text a few days ago asking if we could do that again. She asked to bring a young friend as well. While the young folks (age 17 to 23) had their meeting, we drank tea. The young lady had never had anything but Celestial Seasonings and Lipton and such. She said she was adventurous, so we started with pu-erh, but I am reviewing this tea first because it was her favorite.
I am glad this tea was in individual sealed packets, then in a foil pouch, then in a zip top pouch! It has stayed fresh, but I will be diligent to finish it soon.
When I drink tea like this, I wonder why I drink anything else. I just want to buy the really good stuff and keep less around, but have it super fresh. That would be the right thing to do, but we need our daily drinkers and adventure teas as well, I suppose.
This was her favorite of all the teas we drank that night. They remarked on how pale it was. Maybe they expected it not to have much flavor since we had started with a puerh. The young lady loved it and drank cup after cup.
The first sips are sweet and smooth, and as you drink a light creaminess builds and the floral aroma becomes a prominent floral taste and this, too, builds and builds. I did a quick rinse and the first steep was good, but the second was even better. It continued making great tea for several more steeps.
I have four little pouches left and I plan to finish them soon so I can have an excuse to buy the new harvest.
We drank tea from 6:30 pm until 12:30 am! Served with lemon iced cookie bars and cream cheese chocolate chip squares.
Thank you so much for the sample, ashmanra! This tea was sweet and light, with absolutely no smokiness whatsoever. Very good choice for the afternoon, just as ashmanra recommended! This is only my third Keemun, but I’m amazed by how different they were from each other. It seems like there’s a Keemun for every occasion!
Every tea goes through what I call a break in period. This is where you experiment with water, temperature, steep time, and leaf quantity to find the optimal brewing parameters for the tea. In my experience, green teas are more finicky than other kinds of tea. Finally hitting that elusive sweet spot is one of the greatest thrills of green tea for me. The downside though is by the time you’ve figured out how to steep it, your stash is almost gone.
This one took me quite a few tries, but I was rewarded with a marvelous cup of tea. It’s sweet and crisp without the typical grassiness found in most green teas. It has a light body with a flavor resembling white tea. The wiry dry leaves smell of seaweed, although that doesn’t come through in the liquor. The wet leaf smells floral and has a rich aroma of fresh spring vegetables.
I tried brewing it many different ways (grandpa style, test tube, cold steeped, etc.) and found it tasted best in a plain old gaiwan, steeped at the standard 175 F with the lid closed.
First infusion is smooth, crisp, and refreshing. Tastes like a bouquet of spring vegetables.
Second infusion is sweet and clean tasting. Some of the nuances of the 1st infusion are lost but still very delicious.
Third steeping was for 90s. The needle like leaves opened fully and the tea broth became lighter and had a flavor reminiscent of sweet mountain spring water.
Fourth steeping. Upped both the time and temperature to 2minutes at 180 F. Much lighter, maybe I should have steeped longer? Still, it had a lot of flavor and evoked crisp salad greens and snow peas.
Fifth steep was for a long 3 minutes. At this point the tea was done, enjoyable but flat.
I was pretty impressed by the quality of this tea. After Dragonwell this is my favorite of all the green teas I’ve had from Teavivre so far. It resembled Verdant’s Laoshan Pine Needle tea a lot, both in its physical appearance and taste. A great tea for when you want something fresh tasting but that’s not too grassy or vegetal.
Flavors: Lettuce, Mineral, Sweet
I have been drinking tons of this tea lately. When I pulled up the page I had to click add to cupboard. Strange, because I think I am on my second pouch of this and have another waiting in the wings.
My first note says it tasted like milk chocolate, but drinking it cold today I am tasting rich, roast grain and walnut, walnut, WALNUT.
I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this before. Is Steepster eating tasting notes again?
My husband bought me these adorable cups with a fish molded in the bottom from an eBay seller and they sent a sample pack of a Lapsang. It was the unsmoked type, and it was super delicious. I realized I had bought some from Teavivre and had not been drinking it as much as I ought so I made a pot this morning.
There are strong notes of chocolate – not cocoa, milk chocolate. The taste is reminiscent of Da Hong Pao. Although not astringent, I do not find it to be a terribly “wet” tea. But it isn’t drying and puckering my mouth.
And remember how hubby used to drink all black tea with lots of milk and sugar, and started only drinking green and white and puerh because he likes them plain and wants to be healthier? He drank this one plain! He had a cup at breakfast with me and I suggested that since it was so mild he might like it just as it was, and he did like it!
I have known for a long time that Souchong means the larger leaves about five leaves in on a branch, not those cherished two leaves and a bud that we so often crave. So I assumed that Lapsang meant smoked, and wondered how we could have Lapsang tea that had no smoke at all. I looked it up and found that Lapsang is an English equivalence for a place name, not for a method of production. Lapsang is so commonly smoked that most people associate it irrevocably with smoked tea.
But both of these that I just tried, the sample and the Teavivre one, were excellent and not smokey at all. So the Souchong leaves are not as inferior as one might think if it brews something this good.
Sipdown 1 of 2016. A Sample. Purchased 11/2015 – Finished 1/2016.
Happy New Year! 2015 was a pretty amazing year. I am looking forward to 2016.
This tea was surprisingly amazing. I could smell the rose and the chamomile in this tea but they were very light in taste. This was floral and sweet. It was a very calming and relaxing tea. I really like this one.
Expectations. Quite high, this is a famous tea after all.
Steeping. 65ml gaiwan and 75-80C water. I tried to steep this tea also with a champagne glass, but the leaves floated on the surface.
Appearance. The leaves were smaller than I thought, about the size of my finger tip (or 0,5cm to be precise.) They were all covered in white fur.
Aroma. Sweet and straw-ish. There was quite a lot of dust (probably loose fur) so I had to sneeze a couple times while appreciating the aroma. Spent leaves have greenish-gray hue. The tea is pale yellow in color.
Tasting. Really light and sweet. I thought this would have more tartness, but the flavor is so delicate. It has only light note of straw and hay, maybe cucumber or melon too. Longer infusions have that nice little kick in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is pleasantly astringent.
Comments. The Silver Needle is really good tea, but to me it doesn’t give that ‘wow!’-feeling. Still, I will see this one again when it’s freshly picked, my sample is 9 months old after all so I’m intrigued to try this one again.
PS. Happy New Year 2016 everyone!
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Melon, Straw, Sweet
Leaves: rose petals, chamomile & more
Color: dark yellow
Taste: The first thing i noticed about this tea is how pretty the colors are the the magenta colored rose petals with a splash of yellow due to the chrysanthemum & chamomile followed by a background of pale green. The aroma was difficult to distinguish dry leaf maybe a floral w/something extra? The wet leaf made the aroma come out even more. For the steep i went with 17oz for a whole sample tea packet. As for the taste i was surprised as the first sip was followed by a slight sweetness which faintly remained as i continued to drink which went nicely w/ the floral taste. Overall I can say i enjoyed this tea quite different from others in my collection.
As for a music pairing I’m listing to Cherry Pie by Lotus it a favorite track of mine to listen to these days for when i want to unwind. Created by my friend I highly recommend listing to it as you go for your next cup of tea.
This brings me to my last review of 2015! I hope all of you have a wonderful NYE!
Lotus – Cherry Pie
I’ve been really wanting to get into straight pu-erh after having fallen in love with more than a few flavoured pu-erhs. Apologies to the gong-fu aficionados out there, I brewed this lazy-style with my new teapot*, as outlined on the bag. Plus a 30ish second rinse to begin with.
Which maybe explains why my experience with this tea is so very very out of line with what I’m reading from other reviews…? This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s going to sound like a bad thing, but steeped this smelt like… a barn. Like hay, leather, dust, and, yes, vaguely of manure, which might be more to do with association after thinking it smells like a barn. Sipped it still evokes hay and leather, and oddly enough, I really enjoyed this. It was a very relaxing cup, quite unlike anything I’ve had before in my thus far short relationship with tea. It reminded me of playing in the hay loft at a neighbour’s house in the summer, watching the same goat get his head stuck in the same section of fence repeatedly and requiring constant human intervention.
*new teapot is a 15oz Bee House that I absolutely adore! It’s weird how having a teapot you love makes preparation all the more enjoyable. Teaware hoarders are making more and more sense to me by the day….
I got this as a sample, brewed exactly as the package said. I’m not much of an oolong person so… forgive the blunt note. This one has the “plastic” oolong note that I can’t peg, which I’m beginning to think is my interpretation of a certain floral flavour. I put it in quotations because it isn’t like it literally tastes like plastic, it’s just something about it makes me think of plastic. So this is quite floral. The dry leaves had smelt quite roasty borderline cocoa which got me excited, but ultimately this tastes like every other oolong I’ve had (few they may be).
Leaving no number ‘cause honestly I’m beginning to think this is just how oolongs are and they personally aren’t my cup of tea (HUR HUR HUR).
I’ve never bought a fuding tea before so I’m grateful for the samples that people have sent me. This one is two years old which makes it a bit more appealing to me, in a way that it is a bit unique in that regard opposed to the others.
This has notes of what I would describe as fading toast as if the flavor is disappearing. It’s a bit more settled than a fresh fuding, but I’m not sure if I can really say that as I’ve only has two. I’ll just say that this was smoother than I expected.
While it was a fun experience, I don’t believe fuding is a tea variation for me; I say this after three different sessions with this particular tea and others.
Leaves: small green & white leaves w/ jasmine flower petals
Aroma: Honeysuckle & Jasmine
Color: Dark Yellow
Taste: Upon opening the package the immediate aroma reminded me honeysuckles you see as a kid, sweet & floral. As i measured and put the leave in the pot the jasmine aroma was more present. I also came across a few flower petals which is a nice touch. The first steep had great clarity w/ quite a bit of small leaf particles that escaped my strainer.The jasmine aroma remained through out the brewing process. As for taste i found this tea to be very bitter & couldn’t finish my cup.
Leaves: mixture of lemon grass & various other items
Aroma: Lemon & Mint
Color: Dark yellow
Taste: The aroma really shined when hot water was poured over the leaves. Boom came the fragrance of lemons and mint! This tea was quite nice very light w/ a hint of flavor and mint. I’m normally not a fan of lemon grass based tea or pure lemon grass. Overall a plain tea w/ simple flavors different from my usual go to.
Having this a third time. The taste really depends what I scoop from the sample packet. I don’t think there is any stevia at all in this cup. There’s also none of that bitterness. Smooth. Tastes like what a summer meadow would smell – a variety of grasses and flowers. Much more enjoyable tonight! (I suppose I’m not a fan of stevia even in plant form.)
Very beautiful dry leaf. Jasmine, stevia, osmanthus, chrysanthemum, and rose: an intriguing line of ingredients in an herbal tea. There is a slight bitterness, and I imagine that the stevia was added to counterbalance it. Personally, it’s a little too much stevia. Not that the amount overwhelms the ingredients, but there could be less sweetness. With that said, the stevia really stands out, but I can also taste the jasmine and chrysanthemum, with the rose lightly lingering in the aftertaste. (I do need to drink osmanthus by itself to tell what it tastes like.)
I feel more relaxed and sleepy, which is saying something since lavender tea is the only other tea to effect me thus so far. I would say try this blend if you’re curious about the combination of flowers.
This is a really nice jasmine green, with a strong, floral jasmine that’s natural rather than perfumey. The jasmine dominates the base, which serves as a fairly neutral background. I have a bunch of jasmine greens to work through, but when I run out I’d definitely consider buying some of this one.
Expectations. Very little, I wanted to try this only because 4,7/5 rating.
Steeping. I didn’t check the steeping temperature (that was 80C) so I accidentally steeped the first pours at 95C. For later steep I let the water cool down for a bit. I used 4g/65ml and porcelain gaiwan.
Appearance. The leaves are really pretty, they are tiny and covered in a golden fur. Tea is bright orange with a little bit of red hue.
Aroma. Dry leaves smell awesome, there are some cocoa, chocolate, honey and caramel notes. Wet leaves have bolder aroma with molasses, sweet potato and smoky tones.
Tasting. I ordered more of those beautiful ‘bamboo hat’ cups so I had a better chance to compare different steeps. My favourite one was definitely the first pour, it had overall stronger flavour with nice chocolate, cocoa and caramel notes. Latter ones had more mild and mellow flavour of honey, smoke, chocolate and cocoa. More interesting flavours, like berries, fruits, citrus and flowers emerge with every pour.
Comments. Really interesting tea experience, as a black tea noob I still prefer Fenqging Dragon Pearls over any other black teas, but Yunnan Dian Hong has really good amount of different and interesting flavours. Really enjoyable for cold winter mornings.
Flavors: Berries, Caramel, Chocolate, Citrus Fruits, Cocoa, Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Molasses, Smoke
Teavivre kindly sent me this sample with my order. I haven’t had gunpowder tea in so long, but this reminds me how much I like it. I wouldn’t say this one is a particular stand out — frankly, all gunpowders I’ve had taste pretty much the same to me — but it’s good, robust without being too astringent.