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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea was my companion in the garden this morning. The task at hand was to water the Northwest Quadrant & dig up the rest of the garlic. While doing so, I came across a burrow of baby bunnies, in a little hollowed out place under the straw. I admire their cuteness, but didn’t touch them, & gently layer the straw back over them & went on with my work.
I grew 6 kinds of garlic this year! My whole house reeks of freshly dug garlic, & that is awesome! There’s lots of hanging & braiding to do, & hopefully I’ll never have to buy garlic again!
Lovely tea, by the way. I’ve reviewed it plenty of times, so that’s all I’m saying.
O-Kay! This took me by surprise. I remembered trying it before and not finding it much better than the standard Yun Nan Dian Hong that Teavivre offers (which I love). I won the Teavivre sampler in their recent contest so I have two more samples of this to try again. I used about half of the pouch as this is a very full leaf tea and 7 g seemed a bit much at one time. Plus I am stingy. This is still priced at 3 times the standard Yun Nan so in my world this is a premium tea (at $15.90 CAD for 50 grams).
The dry leaf was a slap in the face of molasses. Oh my, does it smell good. Like I’m about to make brown bread and I’ve got my molasses, shortening and water mixed up and cooling with the aroma filling the house with sweet hot molasses! First sips do retain some of the molasses flavour but it has morphed more into finished brown bread with some ‘bakiness’ and a bit less sweet. Very tasty and smooooth. No bitterness anywhere ever. I think I could steep a pound of this for an hour and all it would be is strong.
I will definitely give this another steep or maybe two and will enjoy the rest of the samples. I am grateful for the opportunity to try it again (in a punctual manner, haha). It is too expensive for me to stock regularly but this is a nice change from my usual Yunnan rota. Mmm!
(Rating increased because apparently I was insane last time. I am not factoring in the price though, if I were I would have to put it down a bit. Cuz I’m still stingy.)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Molasses, Sweet
This sample is from Nicole. TeaVivre announced their third anniversary event today and when I saw that they’re going to be having a black tea sale, I remembered that I hadn’t tried this one yet. So I figured I would give it a try so I can have some idea of what I want to order during the sale! The leaves are so cute! They’re very petite and extremely slender. Half golden, half brown and quite curly. They smell of honey and malt, and to a lesser extent, raisin. There’s also a tiny baby stonefruit peeking out at me. I went with a two minute steep because it was the average time here on Steepster.
Brewed, it smells quite bready and similar to pastry. That’s not something I’ve really encountered before. There’s also light bread and honey. My first impression after tasting is that this reminds me quite a bit of white tea! Mixed with black tea, of course. There’s a prominent hay note and the texture is rather light. Then there’s a lovely creaminess that conjures up visions of croissants. Mmm… I found myself wishing for just a touch more honey to compliment the lovely pastry aspect. Adding a tiny bit of sugar just pushes it completely over the edge… Luckily I’m in an indulgent mood. ;)
I am so in love with this tea! The only (small) complaint I have is that it is quite astringent in comparison to most teas I’ve had. But a small price to pay for such a delicious croissant tea!
This makes me wonder if I should try other teas with a two minute steep… Hm…
Flavors: Astringent, Creamy, Hay, Honey, Malt, Pastries
Thank you Teavivre for the awesome contest! I won a whole cake of pu-erh and I don’t think many other people would be hoping for a pu-erh among those other amazing teas they could have won! Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s Teavivre’s fault that I’m almost addicted to pu-erh as much as black tea and I REALLY love my black tea. I love that this came wrapped and then in a manila envelope type thing with a string to close it.
Steep #1 // rinse // few minutes after boiling // 2 min steep
It looked like a teaspoon and a half or so of leaves that I broke off. There are hints of gold in these black leaves. At first taste: Oh this is a good pu-erh. I’m already very happy with it! The flavor is already very deep with no astringency – it has hints of the pond flavor when first sipping, but then it’s hints of dark chocolate and even the things I like about coffee. I feel like I’ve tried a pu-erh like this before, probably from Teavivre that tastes very similar. I have sampled a FEW pu-erhs from Teavivre, so it’s tough to tell which one.
Steep #2 // 2 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
Another really lovely cup, of course. More chocolate, more coffee. I really love this pu-erh.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 4 min
I’m surprised at the sweetness of this cup! I didn’t expect a longer steep time to make it sweeter! I think these leaves could keep steeping, and it seems like if it’s a longer steep time it will just keep getting sweeter? It seems like a sweeter pu-erh rather than a deeper, darker tasting pu-erh, if that makes sense. Very delicious! If I had sampled this before I won it for the contest, I probably would have bought it. I think Teavivre’s Fengqing Zhuan Cha Ripened Pu-erh Brick 2006 is still my favorite pu-erh from Teavivre by a tiny bit over this one though.
After a short visit at Amariel’s yesterday, my tea count jumped by 20 to a big 70- and here I was doing so well. I didn’t know where to start so I let my roommate randomly select one of the dozen green tea samples from the bag for the evening’s pot. This one was the winner.
The vibrant green leaves look and smell like seaweed, but once steeped the brew is more akin to beans, with a drop or two of honey. There’s a lot more going on in this tea, especially in the second steep, but I can’t pin most of the flavours. It’s a beautiful and gentle tea to wind down to for the evening. This cup has peace and tranquility written all over it (sappy but true).
Thank you, Amariel, for sharing this lovely sample with me!
Flavors: Green Beans, Honey, Peas
Thank you Angel at Teavivre for my sample of this.
This is my husbands tea of choice for us to sample while we watch the World Cup (Brazil vs Germany) and I carry on with my cross stitch.
The raw leaves are a mixture of dark brown and golden colours which are thin yet long and rather curly/twisted. They have a pure wood scent with a hint of tobacco, at a nice almost mature level.
Leaf – 5g
Vessel – Gaiwan 100ml
Water Temp – 90C
7 Steeps : rinse,10s,20s,30s,50s,70s,90s,120s
First Steep – 10s
Colour is mahogany and it bares a mild yet sweet, malt and wood scent. Flavour is wonderfully smooth and sweet with light malt, wood and maple tones.
Second Steep – 20s
Increasing in strength but still rather smooth and the malt tone is the most dominant. Still traces of light maple too.
Third Steep – 30s
Very smooth, even to the point of slipping down my throat like silk. It’s so very light yet full of flavour, it makes the three steeps so far refreshing and very easy to drink while not compromising on flavour. Still getting dominant malt tones with sweet maple and a touch of wood. It’s holding nicely so far.
Fourth Steep – 50s
Getting lighter in flavour and also less smooth, though only a little. As it’s not as sweet nor smooth the malt and wood tones are equal in strength which make a heavier steep.
Fifth Steep – 70s / 1m10s
Still a nice level of flavour left and with minimum astringency. It’s acquired a light leather flavour at this point.
Sixth Steep – 90s / 1m30s
I’m surprised this still has so much flavour left at this level steep. On the whole the colour is much darker and reminds me of light soy sauce but apart from that this tea is still very sound. It even tastes light enough to be smooth once again and have a little sweetness like rock sugar and malt.
Seventh Steep – 120s / 2m
It remains light and sweet with wonderful malt tones. There was no dryness in this tea and I was left with a refreshed mouth between each steep, a rarity I find with black teas steeped in the gaiwan.
Overall – I wasn’t sure what to expect with this Golden Monkey, it’s a tea I’ve had from many other companies and they tended to be smoky and very strong with lots of astringency and dryness. This was the opposite to others I have tried, throughout it remained flavourful and refreshing with a smooth/silky body. I can’t remember the last time I had a tea remain so consistent throughout a full gaiwan session, it was a very nice treat that pleased both me and my husband. The next time I order from Teavivre I will certainly keep this tea in mind.
Flavors: Malt, Maple, Tobacco, Wood
Morning everyone! I’m trying this same tea again today because I felt like I didn’t really get all it had to offer when I tried it before. scribbles gave me some steeping parameters to try (thanks!) so today I’m trying a 4 minute steep using 4 pearls.
I really love the smell of this tea! It’s very honeyed and has a nice raisin or fig note. I would be in heaven if it tasted exactly like the smell! Sadly, that is almost never the case with tea. :P
Today it tastes quite malty with maybe a touch of honey in there. I maybe get a little bit of cocoa? But it’s definitely bitter cocoa with no sweetness. In fact, I’m getting a little bitterness out of this tea today… That honeyed dark dried fruit that was in the aroma is also there in the aftertaste, yum.
In other news, my boyfriend and I are going to have a new roommate soon. His good friend from California recently graduated from college and my boyfriend managed to get him a job at his workplace. So he’s going to be living with us for a bit at least, which I don’t mind. However, our spare bedroom is full of boxes of shit, basically. So my boyfriend has to go through that and sort out what needs to be tossed, etc. Which means now there’s a humongous pile of empty boxes near the front door, which I will have the pleasure of breaking down and taking to the recycling room today… Hooray? :P
I tried the 2013 harvest of this tea and adored it (as my rating shows) which makes me happy to get my hands on a sample from this year to note any changes. It’s very hard to do…all I have are notes from last year and I only had one sample, the comparing is more or less impossible, but I can at least compare notes and see what differs (if anything).
The leaves are thin and needle like with many silver tips present, last years were more curly and these are straight. Also there are a lot of little hairs present on the silver tips which were not noted last time. Scent remains the same, kale was previously noted and I agree with it still ‘kale mixed with peony and a dash of grass’.
‘Being steeped in my Gongfu teapot three times for 1 minute, 2 minutes and 3 minutes.’ As I did previously.
The resulting liquid is yellow (yep still the same) but it also mentioned it being thick which this is not, it’s very mellow and appears fresher.
First steep is nice and sweet, light yet floral and grassy. Not at all astringent (as was previously noted). Also tasting less vegetal tones than was indicated from last years batch, this is more floral and grassy. The second steep is thicker and comes across somewhat perfumed which gives it some vegetal thickness (which I would liken to broad beans or something similar). So that is a decent change, though from what I remember it is still very similar. My final steep mimics the first one and once again it becomes mellow and freshly grassy.
Some notable changes yet also a lot of similarities, my rating would have been around the same mark regardless so at least that keeps it consistent. I would not say this years batch was better nor worse, it was just different though it remained as much a pleasure to drink as was last years.
Flavors: Flowers, Grass, Kale
I had this last night and forgot to review it so please forgive my lack of a full review for this tea. It’s my fault for getting the drawers mixed up, I have one for Teavivre samples I have not tried and one for Teavivre samples that I have tried, in my sleepy state I got this Puerh from the wrong drawer.
The leaves (from what I remember) were wonderful and musky smelling, very earthy and wooden. Dull-ish dark green and twig like in form compressed to a small piece.
I served this in my 200ml glass Gongfu teapot over three steeps (1 min, 2 min, 3 min).
The resulting flavour was more or less identical for the first two steeps, it had a deep, earthy flavour that reminded me of damp wood. Very musky and musty type of feel from it with some smoke. In a sense it tasted like rain from a forest, at least that is what my tired mind thought at the time. It might not sound nice to some people (musty and damp are not usually flavours I personally like) but it was very pure and that made it nice, it wasn’t too much or too thick. Well until I got to the third steep which was very thick and had to be watered down a little, it became too strong and almost unpalatable.
I enjoyed it as did my husband but it was not a favourite of mine.
Flavors: Musty, Smoke, Wood
These beautiful camellia flowers brew a rather tangy tisane. It reminds me of orange blossoms, but without the bitter intense qualities of those. There are definite notes of hay. The overall flavor is a rather earthy one that is not unlike some white teas I’ve had. It reminds me particularly of a brick-aged white tea I’ve had from Shang Tea.
There’s not a lot to say because this flavor seems unique and I don’t have a great point of comparison. I could see it tasting somewhat persimmon like, as others had said. This is one of those you really have to try yourself!
Flavors: Hay, Orange Blossom
Yay, the last of my provided TeaVivre samples! And I only have one Green Terrace sample left, but it’s slated for gong fu style since it’s a milk oolong. And then that’ll be it for review-required samples for me until I get the ones from Good Life Tea! So, this one. The leaves are dark and slightly twisty, and there are a (very) few golden tips. Mm I love the smell! Very malty with sweet honey and a lovely tart stonefruit aroma. I did a 3 minute steep here.
Brewed aroma is… alarming. Lol. Completely different from the dry version! I immediately detect smoke and earthiness with the ubiquitous malt. Maybe a tiny hint of those stonefruits? Woah, this is quite smoky! There’s also earthiness and the taste of wood. A tiny bit of bitterness that goes well with these flavors. Not as malty as I would expect from this type of tea. There’s a little bit of a deep rich flavor that I would associate with molasses. And when I least expect it, there’s a lovely stonefruit aftertaste! Similar to plums and apricots mixed together.
I can see definite parallels between this tea and the Harney & Sons Tippy Yunnan, which is a good sign because they are both lower-grade. So maybe my taste buds are halfway decent! Lol. I definitely added sugar to this, it’s too powerful for me without it. And it would definitely take milk well if you chose to add some. A definite kick-in-the-pants morning tea! :)
Flavors: Earth, Malt, Molasses, Smoke, Stonefruits, Wood
Hooray for TeaVivre and their lovely free samples! I’m telling myself that I need to try all five of my samples before I start drinking all of the swap tea I’ve gotten lately. Seriously, it’s taking over the kitchen! Since I promised reviews for these samples I feel like I’m making someone wait if I take too long… Which is a weird thing to think. :P
This looks similar to the other golden monkey tea I’ve had (Harney & Sons). The leaves a thin and slightly curly, mostly dark with some golden tips. It smells extremely malty, which is not a bad thing! There’s also some honey and tart stonefruit in there. I walked on the wild side and brewed it for 3 minutes.
Wow, the brewed aroma is even more malty than before, which I didn’t think possible! There’s also a smoky tobacco note along with honey and sweet potato. Oh my… If I had to choose one word for this tea, it would be “masculine”. This is manly stuff! All this maltiness and then that smoky tobacco taste as well. Plus I can taste leather and a dark richness that reminds me of molasses without the sweetness. Sweet potato adds a little cream and butter that helps smooth it out. It’s not super strong but the flavors are bold and really catch your attention! MAN TEA! But women enjoy it too. ;)
Flavors: Leather, Malt, Molasses, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco
I got a sample of this tea from Teavivre as a prize in my sample packet during the Spring Tea Review Giveaway! Thanks TeaVivre!
Oddly enough, this one does not appear to be on TeaVivre’s website for sale yet! Sneak Preview? Count me in! :)
This is a sweet, bold, assertive young sheng. Some apricot notes. I believe this is the first puerh I have drunk that was produced this year! VERY young sheng! Also very strong cha qi. I am super energized :)
Love the lingering aftertaste. This one’s a keeper!
Here we have a more orthodox representative of the Mao Feng genre: Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng from Teavivre. This is quite a bit more vegetal and heartier than the Nonpareil Te Gong (which is also good, but paler and more subtle). I really like this somewhat darker brewing Mao Feng—it has some real oomph to it and is perfect for satisfying specifically Mao Feng cravings!
(This tea is listed twice at Steepster.)
Delicate and delicious are the two words which came immediately to mind upon drinking a small glass of this haute Mao Feng from Teavivre. I had only a smidgeon left, so I attempted a gong fu-type “sipping” experience rather than my usual gulping of gallons.