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Recent Tasting Notes


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I saved the leaves to see if this can be resteeped. I am happy to say that I did get another good steep out of it. There is still enough rosy flavor left to recognize. The liquor is a little paler and it isn’t a super dark black tea to begin with, but it wasn’t too terribly light and tasted good. I drank some of it cold because of the miserable heat and humidity we have had.

In other news – (stop reading if you are only interested in the part about tea) – I have performed a chicken experiment. Last year, one of my Black Copper Marans got broody and was very hard to break of it. Living in the city limits, I have no rooster. When she went broody again this year, I decided to give in and let her have babies.

I let her sit on three infertile eggs for over a week. (She had been sitting on stolen eggs or in empty nest boxes for at least a week already.) Then one night just after dark, I slipped the eggs out and slipped some one-day-old baby Cuckoo Marans in. She was pleased as punch to become a mother and it is an absolute miracle to watch how she mothers them. She has a special sound that she makes that I had never heard from her or any other chicken of mine before. It always means that she has found food for them. She lets them eat first, and crushes anything too large. She picks up the food and puts it down to show them what they should eat. She summons them when she thinks they have explored too far. She is patient with their constant shenanigans, like repeatedly pecking her head and eye, practicing “scratching” on her back (then hilariously losing their balance and falling off), and getting under her and then poking their heads out between her wing feathers so she looks like a Gary Larson-esque mutant chicken.

They are just over a month old now and they decided they no longer want to sleep in the maternity ward. They fly onto the ramp of the main coop and get in a nest box with their mother.

I really don’t think I fooled Bluebell in the least. I think she knows she didn’t hatch those babies, but she doesn’t care because she got what she really wanted – to be a mom.


What a sweet story!

Terri HarpLady

First, the tea. I had some of this one for awhile, and although it wasn’t bold, it was lovely & enjoyable to drink.

Now on to the chickens! Yay! I love this posting! :D
I have been talking myself into & out of getting hens for a couple of years now, and the rule I’ve made is I can’t get chickens until I build a coop. I’m also just nervous that I might be too neglectful to have them, but I really want the eggs, & the manure for my compost heaps, so I really need to get my act together & get them next spring.


That is so sweet! I’d love to have chickens, but our town doesn’t allow them.


Our city, which is not a huge city, allows ten hens and zero roosters. We did lots of reading to prepare. I buy organic soy free feed. Supposedly you should cull (eat) your chickens around 18 months old because they stop producing eggs as well. My chickens are from 2 1/2 to 4 years old and all lay just like when they were young.

We have an automatic door on an elevated coop. Nothing can get in to get them at night. NOTHING. Hubby built it after reading extensively about what works best. They have both large (for strength) and fine (to keep flies and gnats out) hardware cloth on the vents. They free range all day and we have “chicken powered composters” in their pen. They put themselves to bed and their door closes automatically.

I love cooking breakfast and telling everyone who “provided” their food, since I can tell their eggs apart. I get way more eggs than I need with just seven or eight hens, but I provide eggs to my athlete son and to my married daughter, as well as the four of us.

If anyone wants chicken advice, I am happy to share any knowledge I have gleaned! So far we have stayed totally medicine free and use organic and natural options for care.

I hope everyone who wants to get chickens can experience it someday! It is fun and feels so good, I still get excited going out and collecting eggs, after all this time!


My aunt used to get ticketed by the city all the time because of her chickens.


That sounds so cool— I have chicken envy! We are rural with plenty of space for chickens but not much free time to care for them. Seems like it won’t be possible until I am to cut back hours at work (semi-retirement, which is a long way off) or until the teenagers have flown the coop.


That’s really cute. Friends of mine who bought some land outside of town just got chickens and we were all so excited when they found the first egg.

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I chose this as one of my free samples on my last Teavivre order because I was curious about it. I have had the Rose Ripened Puerh, which has lovely rose petals in it but doesn’t really taste like rose. The rose just makes that one sweeter to me.

For some reason I expected the Rose to be just as subtle in this tea. It is not. It is much stronger, but still not as strong as Rose Scented Black by Harney and Sons, It was very, very good and I plan to try resteeping it tomorrow.

This is a good tea for floral fans, of which I am one.

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Since I found it too smoky for my taste last time, I made a weaker brew this time.

3g tea leaves vs. 240ml boiling water for 2 minutes. I like this much better.

It’s sweet, malty, a little bit smoky, and strong. Comparing to Master Matsumoto’s Supernatural Black tea from Postcard Teas, I somehow really wanted to describe this Keemun as masculine.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 240 ML

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Unbeknown to me, I had similar teas when I was a little kid. I remembered hating it. I grew up in and still live in Hong Kong. All the Chinese / Cantonese restaurants here would serve their customers teas in grandpa style. Now I that start exploring black teas, I just figure out some upscale restaurants serve high grade Keemun tea.

This is one of the promotional discounted teas I ordered from Teavivre.

Brew guide provided by Teavivre: 1 tablespoon for 17oz of water at 90’c (194’f) for 2 to 5 minutes

Since I didn’t want a big pot of brewed tea sitting around for hours, I only made a small cup.

This tea was very smoky. At first sniff, I smelt roasted chestnut. Then I got tastes of lightly roasting dried seaweed and tobacco. No wonder my little kid self hated it. This tea just took me back to my childhood. Now as an almost grown up, I can appreciate its strong characters.

I found the first steep too smoky for my taste. To me, the aftertaste was like I just finished smoking a cigarette. My colleague loved it though.

I preferred the second steep.

Flavors: Astringent, Chestnut, Seaweed, Smoke, Tobacco

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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This tea is so amazing! I was greeted with an explosion of gold dust upon opening this tea. The scent from these curly gold twirls was spectacular! It was a sweet and caramel like scent. I brewed these beauties up gongfu. I placed them in my warmed gaiwan. I was getting the aroma of sweet red potatoes from my brewing vessel. I washed these treasures once and prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves smell of baked bread and malt. The flavor is delicious. This rusted red liquor tastes of malt, dark wood, and buckwheat honey. This brew is more deeper and bold than I thought it would be. Instead of caramel, silky tones I received wooded and hearty. I am in no way complaining. I needed something with some punch to wake me up. This is a beautiful Dianhong, and I am so happy to have tried it.


Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Dark Wood, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Decent milk oolong. Liquid smells caramel. Very light and unobtrusive .
Caramel doesn’t transfer to taste, which is good if you ask me.

Flavors: Caramel

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This is my last tea for the night. I haven’t had white tea in awhile, and I remembered that I had this. The dry leaf looks a little darker. This tea resembles more of a tarnished silver rather than a silver. However, I don’t judge tea solely on appearance. I decided to brew these little needles in my glassware. I used cool (175F) water to brew it up. The liquor was a pale glistening white gold. The taste was incredibly sweet. This brew begins with a dry hay and melon flavor and then smooths out to sweet and honeysuckle. This helped calm me down before bed. it was nice to revisit white tea again.

Flavors: Hay, Honeysuckle, Melon, Nectar, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This was an incredible tea session! I opened my package to reveal these massive forest green nuggets. These beauties carried a creamy watercress scent. I placed them in my warmed gaiwan and shook them up. I removed the lid and took in a fantastic aroma. The warmed leaf smelled exactly like apple oatmeal. It was unbelievable! I knew that this would be a treat. I washed the leaf once and prepared for gongfu brewing. The steeped leaves gave off a complex fuji apple and pear scent. The liquor was a pale translucent jade. The taste was phenomenal! It was a heavy soup with a creamy finish. I could taste butter beans wrapped in magnolia nectar. The aftertaste was sweet with a warming sugared undertone. The leaves are massive! This session began in my gaiwan, and then I moved to my Zisha. Afterwards, the leaves continued to expand, so I moved to my cha hai and brewed grandpa style. The flavor became more floral and more sweet. I loved this so much. I was tea drunk and laughing throughout the session.



Flavors: Apple, Butter, Flowers, Nectar, Oats, Pear, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g

Wow. That sounds impressive!


I loved it :) This will be a definite top 5 oolong for me.

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Good morning fellow tea lovers! This is my morning brew. I’ve gotten a lot of this stuff, and I’ve been meaning to try it out.

The dry leaf resembles a more fragile and darker jin jun mei. These small ebony curls give off a dry currant and baked bread scent. I brewed them up gongfu. I placed a generous fluffy amount (the tea feels soft and silky) into my warmed gaiwan and gave it a shake. The aroma was sweet, yet it was also very dark and crisp. I washed them once and began brewing. The flavor is very heavy. This is a bold black. This still has the yunnan sweet tones, but it leans more towards the malt. I get a lot of dark wood, stain, and baked bread. The most overpowering flavor was that of wood. There is a light honey tone present in this brew. The liquor is a vibrant blood red. I enjoyed this tea, and it did a great job in waking me up. I would use this as an everyday black.


Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Wood, Honey, Malt

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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again, I can’t help but fish out a similar black from my cupboard to taste beside this sample! so out came my Pure Gold black tea.

disclaimer: I do not usually steep gongfu but that should change soon.

they both looked the same, more or less, with this Superfine looking just a bit more golden. they both smelled nice too! (sigh)

first steep: Pure Gold tasted sweet (have to admit that to my simple tastebuds that is almost always the first flavor that i notice, lol) and Superfine, it was also good..

after a couple more steepings, I can say that this has stronger cocoa notes and yes this is a stronger tea than the other but it is just right. It is my first Tan Yang and so I probably shouldn’t compare it with a Yunnan? anyways, I gotta lot more learning to do on Chinese blacks XD

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I thought Dragon Pearls would be bigger coz of the name but it is the same size as my other Jasmine Pearl…steeped side by side with equal amounts.

i read that it is better to steep green tea by soaking them in a bit of regular temp water then adding the warm water later so i tried that here and behold, it was perfect. haha

my other pearl has a stronger flavor but in the 3rd steeping, the delicateness of Teavivre’s Dragon shone through like a beam of light and suddenly, the other pearls I’ve tried seemed too strong.

sipping this tea is like sipping the flower itself! and God knows that throughout my life, i have held many a jasmine flower to my nose until it was all squished up so i should know!

I wonder what it will be like to brew this with hotter water? I was pretty conservative with the temp for these greens.


I just read recently an opinion that high quality Chinese teas can and should be steeped with higher temperature water to bring out the true flavors. The author thought that since we have tended to have lower quality teas available in the west, the lower temps are needed to overcome the inadequacies, but truly high quality tea needs higher temps. An interesting thought. I have always stuck with the lower temps for greens and whites but I admit that I don’t buy a lot of greens and they are probably not the best quality when I do. The known high quality whites I get from Shang don’t suffer at all from higher temps though so that makes me curious to try a high quality green that way.


I was also thinking that quality leaves can be steeped at higher temp :) However both got bitter. Teavivre’s got just a bit more bitter so i just mixed the two of them to balance out and put them on cold steep (end of experiment) Sorry I am not too scientific about it – my thermometer broke and I have no way to measure temp.


Yeah, I would put Teavivre in the high quality category. Likely, the real truth is variable depending on growing season, processing, etc. And I rarely measure temp accurately. I heat to boiling and then let cool till I think it’s good. :) Not very scientific and not easily repeatable but I tend to drink forgiving teas. :)


These are the smallest pearls I have seen from Teavivre. Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearl is a little larger, and their Black Dragon Pearls are much larger!

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Brewed this one at work with high high expectations because of its smell.

This just turns out to be an average keemun and the leaf is a bit smaller than others I have seen (which doesn’t equate to taste always)

note I went from Wild Crafted Dianhong by Whispering Pines to this within a matter of an hour so just imagine the the unfair comparison :p

Louise Li

I just placed an order for this tea. I would pretend that you wrote a raving review.

Liquid Proust

Your taste Your taste may differ from mine. It’s always good to cross reference other steepser’s notes if you are super curious of a tea.

Louise Li

Yes, it is quite possible we have very different taste in tea.
I drink lots of coffee, and am trained to have a palate for coffee tasting. In the world of coffee, any taste of fermentation would be considered a defect. So I can’t stand pu’eh (apologies to all pu’eh lovers).

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I finished this off this morning before heading to work. It was somewhat savoury and a bit malty, but otherwise it didn’t make a big impression on me. Maybe I’m just not a Keemun kinda gal?

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I think I’ve had this tea before, but I never logged it.

Today was a pretty awesome day and I’ll explain why in my next tasting note, but suffice it to say that I wanted to start things off with a breakfast that would be heavy enough to last into the early afternoon until the real day’s eating began. So I whipped together one of my favourites that I make when I have the time: a slice of toast topped with hummus, fried mushrooms, and a fried egg. What’s even better is that we had roasted garlic hummus in the house! Beauty.

I wanted a tea that would complement the flavours in my breakfast, and I thought this would do the trick since Keemuns tend to be grainy and savoury.

Not a bad choice, as it turns out. 3 tsps in my 3-cup teapot, 90C water, 3 minutes, and I got a nice amber liquor with notes of malt and raisin. I didn’t get the “grain” note I was expecting, but it was malty, savoury, and strong enough that it wasn’t overpowered by my food.

As a bonus, I probably have just enough left for a cup or two, so this will make an easy sipdown.

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Had a gongfu session. Prepared with a ceramic gaiwan. 5 second rinse. Steeping times from Teavivre’s website: 25 sec, 25, 30, 40, 60, 90, 120, 180.

I had a odd experience with the dry leaf aroma: it was vegetal like sencha, but after a letting the leaf sit in the bowl for a minute or so, I smelled orange juice. I’m pretty sure of it… It’s not I’ve had orange juice as of late.

Well, the aroma of the leaf – from the rinse – goes back to Taiwanese oolong. Ah, summer flowers. ‘Tis mid-summer, the day of Lughnasadh. You can’t go wrong with an Alishan oolong, for it’s essence is summer. The wet leaf aroma – which follows the first infusions – reflects the fact that these leaves came from a tree called “Jin Xuan tea tree”: the notes are quite milky.

When I read this, while waiting for the water to heat, my insides winced. Jin Xuan makes me feel a little ill. But this tea isn’t called Jin Xuan.

The leaf yields a light green gold liquor, which is clear and full-bodied, and has a thick mouthfeel. The floral notes are consistent and delicate. In the middle of the session, berry notes comet through – strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and other goodies. Nothing other than flowers and fruits.

I wouldn’t call this everyday per se – in no way it’s so pedestrian. But it is something one can drink every day, to relax with all year around. Agreeable and pleasant, this isn’t something I’d tire of easily.

195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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This has that typical green oolong profile, but it’s not as flagrantly orchid or honeysuckle (or whatever that note I can’t stand is) as some. It doesn’t taste super milky or creamy in comparison to other green oolongs I’ve had, but it is very smooth. It almost reminds me of some Chinese greens in its hints of nut—mao feng, maybe? Given my bias against green oolongs, this is much nicer than I thought it would be (though still not something I want to purchase). I think I got this from someone at one of the NYC meet-ups, back in the day.

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Thank you, Liquid Proust! This is a good Tie Guan Yin that comes pretty close to one of my favorites. Orchid, grass, some cream, and a dash of butter is what I get with almost every steep, more so in the second. There is a little bit of sweetness if you drink it very carefully. It also has a really solid mouth feel for me until the last steep. I got three out of this one doing western style. Pretty good, and solid. Just one level too light for me. I’d recommend to almost anyone though.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Grass, Orchid, Vegetal

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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Salty, hay and mineral aroma from the brewed tea.

Savoury roasted flavour. Light matcha-like note. Medium mouth-feel.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 13 OZ / 375 ML

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note to self: when steeping 2 similar looking teas side by side, unbox teas in separate areas. i almost mixed up this one and the heavily roasted! but thank goodness, i can see the slight difference in color as this was just the teeniest bit greener. the color of the brewed tea did show that i was right – and i had put this in my white teapot while the other in my brown kyusu (haha, sorry purists, it was the only other pot i had available!)

on to the taste: like i have read, i fall under the majority preferring lightly/moderately roasted! thank you Teavivre for helping me figure this one out with your nice teas!
this one is naturally sweet but i need to steep it longer (for a minute or so) vs my usual less than a minute steep to get my desired strength but it’s all good coz the instructions say 1-3 minutes. and freshly boiled water (some oolongs need lower temperature and shorter steeps to avoid getting bitter but apparently the really good quality ones like this allow/need higher temp and longer steeps).

edit: i think cold steep can work nicely with quality oolongs..imna try it with these two (heavily and moderately roasted) soon!

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oolongs are harder to steep, i think! i like that it doesnt get bitter so easily and i can steep it over a minute no problem. but maybe not for 3 coz it does get every slightly bitter along the way. i got more of the tgy taste in this one but like the sweetness of the lightly roasted oolong more :)

on the other hand…the flavor of this remains for more steeps. i think i will enjoy this more gongfu style or shorter more frequent steeps

I recommend mixing these two organic nonpareil oolongs (heavily and moderately roasted) together in later steeps to mix the deep and sweet flavors if you are steeping them side by side just for fun :)

edit: i have just tried a reserve oolong and wondered how such an expensive tea can taste so meh. but i had no other teas on me the whole day i was out and thank God, it started to turn sweeter! ah, tea discoveries! so…im gonna try to steep these two lovely iron goddesses again and see how far i can go with them!

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This Silver Needle has made me want to start trying more white teas. I haven’t tried a lot, but the ones I’ve had, I didn’t really care for. They seemed too light…not enough flavor. This one, I’m really liking though. I’m getting a lot of hay in scent and taste. It’s creamy and a little sweet. Something else, I think might be soy milk….it’s been a while since I’ve had any, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it reminds me of.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Pretty excited that I got a Dianhong for Christmas in July :)
Not sure if I am suppose to disclose who got me this…

Anyways, this does not have the furryness to and it is more of a darker leaf which made me curious as to the taste. I’m not sure exactly how the process works with dianhong teas in generally, but this is missing out on the velvet taste that happens all around my mouth with other dianhong teas. This is more of a very smooth black tea. While it will be my breakfast tea for quite awhile as I really enjoy how well it goes down, as a dianhong tea I am missing out on the natural cocoa notes that go down with some sort of texture I can’t touch but I can taste… I’m sure this is fantastic for those who enjoy their straight blacks :)

p.s. no tea will have an easy shot to impress me after the Imperial Golden Bud from Whispering Pines :/

Liquid Proust

@boychik “was it Yunnan Dian Hong Golden tip or Yunnan Dian Hong black? on IG you mention that its golden tip”

It was a Dian Hong golden tip

Daylon R Thomas

I kinda wish I got that instead of the ounce of North Winds. It was a free sample, and I wanted more of it, but no, I had to savor it. I liked it more because it was stronger to me than the North Winds Gongfu style.

Daylon R Thomas

Or well, more flavorful.


Merry Christmas :)

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So this came with the flavored sample set that I mostly wanted to try the jasmine teas contained within. This is the oolong with the added flavoring, rather than the unflavored Jin Xuan oolong. Upon opening the pouch, there is mostly certainly a candy sweet fragrance! With the unflavored Jin Xuan, I can’t really taste much of the qualities that make it a milk oolong. That sweet flavor makes itself known mostly in the first steep, slowly fading after that. The leaves are very dark green. The leaves unravel very fast, already filling the infuser with the first steep. I used an entire sample pouch (two teaspoons) but it seems like the flavor was stronger than necessary with each steep (even with one minute steeps). So I’d also recommend trying this tea with one teaspoon or one and a half teaspoons and/or with lower temperatures. I didn’t ruin the flavor too much, but I know it could have been better with proper parameters. Otherwise, the flavor is milky and candy sweet with hints of butter and some type of fruit – possibly pineapple. This oolong is alright, but I know that Teavivre has better options.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons // few minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 1 min
Steep #3 // 3 minutes after boiling // 1 min
Harvest: 2014
Ah! I won one of the $8 gift cards. Very excited about that! Good luck to everyone else!



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