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Recent Tasting Notes
The tasting note from KS reminded me that this is almost a sipdown…so I decided to brew up a giant mug of it. Ahhh, bliss.I didn’t appreciate this tea enough while I had 50 g’s of it, and was kind of looking forward to it being gone. Now that I have enough for only 1 more cup, I feel a little bit panicky. Perhaps a Teavivre order is looming sooner than I anticipated.
This was one of the early teas I experienced when Teavivre first introduced me to fine loose leaf tea. I remember being blown away. I added some to my recent order as it has been a long time since I last had Bailin Gongfu and I wanted to see if it stood up to my earlier experience and my memories. The first thing I’ll note is looking back through my notes, this was usually accompanied with food – and almost always food that is bad for the waste line but good for the soul. I don’t currently have any good junk food, so sad as that sounds I’ll proceed. Opening the package fills my nose with cocoa. Brewed this is cocoa, malt, and honey. Man this stuff is almost like junk food all on its own without the bad stuff. It really is as good as I remember.
Tea of the morning……
I was so excited when Teavivre decided to offer a Keemun Mao Feng. This is one of my favorite varieties of tea. Of course, this one does not disappoint. It is not as smokey and earthy as the other variety I keep in my cupboard. This one is much more refined. I get notes of honey, cocoa, and loveliness! I am definitely keeping this around.
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey
This tea really grew on me as worked my way through the sample packets. The balance of strawberry and oolong is just perfect, and it’s a very inoffensive green oolong with no floral grossness. I will definitely be repurchasing this one with my next TeaVivre order, whenever that is. Yum!
Last night was just awesome, it was Thursday meaning Board Game Night at Tabletop, and it was certainly one of the better nights I have had there. I played so many good games (will be discussing some of those tomorrow on my weekly Geeky rambling post) and then after gaming just hung around with friends talking until almost 3AM. I feel wretched today and my sleep schedule is all messed up, but it is totally worth it.Today’s tea is Fengqing Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh Cake 2014 from Teavivre, a Sheng Pu-erh from Alihou Village in Fenging, Yunnan. The leaves were harvested in April-May of 2014 from Large Leaf trees that were 300-600 years old, making this the youngest Pu-Erh I have had the pleasure of meeting. I still have a lot to learn about Sheng Pu-erh, having only had a few examples so far. The aroma of the dry leaf is quite potent and a little pungent, but in a good way. The aroma is at first very sweet, like fresh hay and apricots, this transitions to more of a wet hay mushroom aroma with a strong honey note. There is also a very faint saltiness to it which is quite interesting.
Once I give the leaves a rinsing and then a brief steeping their aroma is still sweet and just a little bit fruity, but it is mostly wet hay, a bit of barnyard, and a sharp almost sour quality that does not really have a familiar aroma note, it is more of a sensation in my nose. I should state that it is not an unpleasant sensation, but it is an unfamiliar one. The liquid is very sweet, a mix of apricots, freshly mown hay, and honey. I was surprised at sweet it smelled.
The taste of the first steep is both sharp and sweet, it causes a very strong salivary response and an intense cooling sensation which is very refreshing. The flavor notes are freshly mown hay, apricot, and a finish of vegetation and a tiny bit of bitterness. There is a sweet honey aftertaste that lingers for a while.
Onto steep two! The aroma is sweet apricot and freshly mown hay, this still might be the sweetest smelling Sheng Pu-Erh that I have ever sniffed, I find that really kinda awesome. The taste this time around is a lot more mellow, no sharpness, no bitterness, no cooling salivary response, just smooth sweetness. The flavors are wet hay, fresh vegetation, and apricots. At the finish there is a tiny bit of camphor, which is something I do not get to say very often.
The aroma for the third steep is honey sweet, apricots, and fresh hay. There is a little touch of wet hay and barnyard this time, but it is very faint. The taste is very sweet and rich, the cooling sensation has returned along with tastes of fresh hay, honey, and apricot. I think this tea still has quite a few steeps in it, but sadly after the second steep I started noticing stomach spasms and knew after steep three that I had to call it quits. This has NOTHING to do with the tea, sometimes my stomach decides to freak out, and I have noticed that it has a mixed track record with Sheng, so don’t let my belly stop you! I really thought this tea was enjoyable, especially with how sweet it is.
I started drinking this yesterday afternoon. It started of with a rich creamy texture, developing into a fruity taste, at least to me. I did a rinse today to freshen the leaves & then drank several more steepings this evening. I’d like to give a much more in depth review, but I’ve been doing desk work this whole time & although I thoroughly enjoyed each steep & am enjoying the good energy, I just don’t really have much else to say.
I’d like to thank Angel & Teavivre for the generous sample, & there is enough that I can drink it again, so I’ll try to be more focused next time :)
I just opened this fresh batch of Lu Shan Yun Wu from Teavivre, and I must say that it smells even better than I recall! The visual appearance is also stunning: all of the beautiful slate green corkscrews!
But the best part of all is of course the brew: a pale greenish yellow liquor with a delicious flavor and sumptuous texture. So happy that I now have a generous supply of this 2014 harvest in my cupboard.
Every review I have read on this one has been positive. This is another one. The leaf smells of fall leaves to me. It looks like bark flakes rather than white tea. The brew is dark honey almost ale. The taste is like sweet hay with grassy notes. Crisp and clean with a mineral fresh spring water taste under the hay. Fruity late in the sip. The taste is definite white tea though everything else about it keeps you guessing. Where silver needle and white peony to some extent are subtle and lean towards cucumber/melon, this one is bigger flavored and leans toward leaf and fruit. A nice peaceful treat on this hectic day.
I did this one today grandpa style for my morning tea. It was a great tea to do this way, at a bit of a cooler temp. Creamy, buttery, sweet, tasty!
It’s a good thing I had good tea to keep me company as my day has just been really cruddy at work. I don’t know when we’ll even see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But good tea to keep one company is a great start. And it’s almost the end of the work day, which really helps.
I liked the sample so much that I had to buy a whole tuocha, success right?
The flavor is not that bold that other sheng that I’ve tried, but I like it that way. Golden-orangeish color with nice aroma, bit hayish. When using my glass steeping mug I can taste some dried fruits like apricot and plum, it so awsome I have never tasted tea like that before. This sheng is very mildy smoky and typical raw pu erh flavours like wood and earth are not so strong.
Flavors: Apricot, Dried Fruit, Hay, Plums, Smoke, Wood
Yet another large thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
Since it is Friday morning and the weekend is ahead as I prepare to try out this new tea, I am already in the mood for something WILD! Ancient WILD Tree black tea will do just fine!
The aroma that oozed from the package when I opened it was malty and bread-like. I steeped the long black leaves for five minutes at 195 degrees. The finished product had a yellow/orange hue. The odor was similar to sweet baked bread.
Even at first sip, this tea had an exquisitely sweet, malty, and velvety taste. There was also a hint of baked bread in the mix. For good measure, a rich Yunnan tea flavor blended masterfully with the other attributes. There was no bitterness. The after taste was peaceful, subtle, and equally delicious. The rest of my cup (which disappeared quickly) had amazingly consistent flavors throughout. I didn’t just drink this tea. I savored it.
This is one of those rare teas that I have to restrain myself from chugging instead of sipping. It is an outstanding new selection from Teavivre. Everything that I want from a black tea is contained within: a robust and wonderful blend of flavors, smoothness, and the extra punch that only black tea can give me.
Congratulations, Teavivre! You have another (WILD) winner!
Flavors: Malt, Sweet
Thanks, Amariel, for this smooth and subtle green. This has some really lovely notes of chestnut, coconut, and even some sugar-like sweetness. It’s a nice balance between savory (nutty) and sweet.
I hope I get around to picking up more of this before the new year, or in time for the latest harvest.. maybe as a reward for when I finally finish The Wheel of Time (I’m so close).
Flavors: Chestnut, Coconut, Sugar
Continue to enjoy this tea and while I get different notions of flavors based upon temperature and steep time, the smoothness of this tea continue to impress.
Shelf life being what it is, time to reorder so the tin is full.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Molasses
This is third time I write this since my computer is one butt.
When Teavivre had their pu erh sale it was really hard for me to decide if I buy this or 2006 tuocha that I had tasted before as a sample. I bought the tuocha and got sample of this.
Dry leaves smell sweet and woody with hint of hay. Wet leaves have kinda same aroma.
Tea itself has golden colour and veery smoky aroma, smokiest tea I have ever tasted. It’s not a bad thing though. Smokiness fades after couple steeps and makes room for sweet, maybe floral and woody taste. I really like this, I might get some more of this too. I start to get addicted into sheng pu erh.
Flavors: Campfire, Floral, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
Again my thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
Unlike some (or many), I happen to enjoy the Pu-erh teas a lot, particularly in the morning. The strong leathery/earthy smell and taste seem to help my brain kick into gear as I start my day. Maybe this species acts as a form of smelling salts for me. Whatever it is, I like it!
When I opened the sample package, the ol’ trusty leathery smell jumped from within. I steeped the “cake” (which resembled matted brown grass and sticks) for nine minutes. The recommended maximum steep time was 10 minutes so I decided to push the envelope today.
With nine minutes of steeping under its belt, the brewed liquor was a very dark brown that almost approached the black end of the color spectrum. The brewed aroma had Pu-erh written all over it: leathery, earthy, robust.
The taste of this tea, even after almost maximum steeping time, was amazingly smooth and delicious. The expected leather and earth flavors were strong and enunciated. But, there was also a slightly sweet characteristic in the taste. My taste buds detected no astringency whatsoever. The aftertaste was surprisingly smooth and did not linger more than a few moments.
This is a greatly satisfying new tea offering from Teavivre. 2008 must have been a superb year for Pu-erh. Folks seem to either love or hate this tea type. If you already love Pu-erh, you will love LOVE this Pu-erh!
Flavors: Earth, Leather
I am wondering if Teavivre found a new supplier for this. This is a brighter green and has a lighter flavor than my last batch. I like this better.
Today the hammers and saws are supposed to start on my property. Reroofing our mobile home next door first, then I finally get my porch. May get loud around here for a while so I am enjoying the quiet peaceful morning with green tea powder and milk.
I tried to broke one tuocha in half for my gaiwan (I know not the best option for puerh), but the tuocha is so hard that I had to use it whole. These are actually kinda cute, like baby tuochas! Cake seems to break apart into small tea leaves and not into leaf particles which is nice.
The smell is nice, they smell like sheng should sweet and smoky, reminds me a bit of bbq sauce? Dry cake is browny green color.
Wet leaves smell still sweet, but new vegetal aroma has emerged. I also enjoy a lot seeing tuocha transform into tea leaves, it fun to watch.
Tea has that typical smoke and woody aroma, I don’t seem to notice any dry fruits in this like some older sheng have, still it doen’t have that typical sourness either that younger ones have. Strong and full flavour and golden liquid, somehow dry tea. (The full tuocha was too much for my 1dl gaiwan.) I might to buy more I really like these.
Flavors: Earth, Forest Floor, Honey, Smoke, Tobacco, Wood
Yesterday was an adventure. I needed to finish my pickles, which take about three days for all the steps. Youngest was waiting for the chance to have the kitchen because she was making an Italian Cream Cake from scratch, from freshly ground soft white wheat. As I was pickling, I managed to set a spoon on fire, scorch my dish towel, and burn my hand (on the flaming spoon whose nylon hanging string melted and burned into my hand). Then the phone rang and the lady who has breast cancer wanted to come over to talk about her surgery and pre-op some more since, like mine, they didn’t get it all the first time, and I had a new student coming just after lunch and needed time to eat lunch myself, and….well, you get the idea.
So today was the first day of school for my final homeschooled child, who is a junior this year, and it was TEA PARTY DAY!!! Yay! It has to be a better day when you are going to have Italian Cream Cake and tea with with friends.
I checked the package today and noticed that this tea is technically expired. It is still truly delicious, and I do have more of their newer harvests as I ordered a couple of different ones because the samples were so, so good. It would be considered expired on 6/12/13. We have actually had it a couple of times lately and it was a favorite with guests both times. In spite of the age, this is a fabulous tea that still shows its fine pedigree. It is almost gone, but expired tea is what happens when you buy way more than you can drink, even when you drink it in groups.
I keep thinking that I will pare down my cupboard, and then I see a tea I must keep on hand for so-and-so, or one that I have been wanting to try, or one that I can’t bear to run out of. Ah well, I will keep I drinking and sharing and it will all work out!