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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you Angel for this sample.
In raw form the leaves are dark brown/red, curly and smell of malt, wood and treacle.
Flavour reveals fruity raisin and date with sweet wood, brown sugar and malt tones. Rather light in strength with no astringency though slightly sour at times. Clean tasting and fresh throughout. Some dryness in the after taste.
Overall: A delicious Dian Hong with clean tasting and pure characteristics. Soft and sweet which balances nicely with the dark and rather rich malt and wood flavours. Personally, I prefer it creamier but this made a very nice drink this morning and it went down a treat. I would consider buying some of this to alternate with my golden tips.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Dates, Malt, Raisins, Wood
After hanging out in the snowy woods again, I decided to have this tea. There is a sweet, bread like scent, with hints of honey and sweet potatoes. The flavour is more molasses and bittersweet dark chocolate. It is a bit darker than the others I’ve tried this weekend, but still good for snowy evenings.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Grain, Molasses
Thank you to Angel at TeaVivre for this sample!
Let me preface this note by saying that I am a newbie to pu-erh teas. I have only tried a few before this one!
Dry: This came from a cake, but was mostly already broken up into smaller pieces. There were a few larger chunks that I reduced a bit before brewing. The black dry leaf is tightly packed, glossy, and bright. The smell from the sample pack is earthy at first, but reminds me of leather from my saddle after I take a second sniff, with a hint of a thick sweetness at the edges, like molasses.
Steeped: I wanted to brew this with the Western method, since that is what I most often use. When I brewed my last pu-erh and used Gongfu style, I awakened the leaves. I wasn’t sure if you still do this when brewing Western, but I went ahead and did a quick rinse before I fully infused. The leaves immediately started releasing their tannins and the fragrance intensified to sweet, warm dates. After steeping, the tea is a deep rich brown liquor and the aroma is even more potent.
Taste: My first sip reminded me of quality black coffee, but not because of the flavor. I drank coffee for years before I switched to tea and the texture and the hint of bitter/earthiness at the end of each sip is what awakens the memory. The taste itself is overall sweet with notes of worn leather, earth, dates, and even a hint of floral and tobacco. It is not a simple tea, though it does have that same smooth/serene nature as the Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu from earlier (with an entirely different profile otherwise).
I brewed this with bottled Spring water and it resteeped wonderfully so far with the flavor remaining fully intact after 3 in a row. I can see it is good to go for at least a few more. While I am very thankful I was able to try it, I tend to avoid teas with notes of tobacco, earth, etc. I am giving it a high rating though because I try not to rate teas based on whether they match my taste buds, but rather that it was exactly as described on the TeaVivre website. I know there are others that would love this with the deep complexity released from the aged leaves. Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend! :)
Flavors: Dates, Earth, Floral, Leather, Smooth, Tobacco
My room mate ordered this tea to try a flowered tea for the first time, and damn were we impressed. Full body of a black tea, with the sweet touch of rose. Definitely a good sweet tea to have around the house for when your sweet tooth is calling your name!
This was another free sample from Teavivre for which I must thank the lovely Angel.
I broke the first tuo in half to use it and it broke down into teeny tiny pieces. Based on this experience, I left the second one whole. One of the things I like about these tuos is that they come wrapped individually in paper wrappers. The designs on these wrappers (and indeed for most puerhs) have a strong aesthetic appeal for me.
As mentioned, the tuo broke down into teeny tiny pieces when I picked it apart. As it brewed, it became clear that it was largely chopped leaf and that there were quite a few sticks in there too. I did not expect any whole leaf really, because it is a mini tuo.
The dry leaf is honey-sweet and woody. As it brews, a smokiness in the aroma comes to the fore, and the leaf proves to be green. The liquor is yellow-ish green. I found it a tad milky instead of being completely clear, even after a couple of washings.
I liked the lightness and creaminess of this tea. It has floral and vegetal notes to it with a slight astringency that could be ameliorated by shorter steeps. This gives it a thick mouthfeel that is refreshing at the same time. There’s honey in the aftertaste with a wee nip at the end of it. The empty cup smells strongly of honey after drinking too.
For a tuo this is pretty good, although not top of my list of shengs, but then I have been spoilt by tasting some really good shengs in the past!
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Smoke, Vegetal, Wood
This was a free sample from Teavivre. Thank you and sorry for taking so long to write it up.
So, hello, Steepster. Remember me? I stopped coming around over the past few months. I’ve still been drinking tea, but I have not written up any of the notes I made. Time to rectify that problem.
This is a really fresh smelling leaf with a smell of warm hay. The leaves are soft and fuzzy. The liquor is almost clear. There is a fresh sweetness to it that is really lovely, like a cucumber sandwich on a hot summer’s day, or a good melon. The warmth of the hay comes through in the liquor too, with a balanced savoury sweetness that makes the tea both refreshing and moreish. This is a tea that belongs in my cupboard.
Flavors: Creamy, Cucumber, Hot hay, Melon
Thank you so much to Angel at TeaVivre for the samples!
Dry: Fine, airy, short tea leaves with significant golden pekoe that carry the aroma of baked sweet potatoes and fragrant grass hay. Do you ever take a whiff of dry loose leaf and have the knowledge that you will enjoy it before your first sip? That happened this morning for sure. The pekoe is bright and lovely even against the stainless infuser backdrop.
Steeped: Brewed Western style that produces a deep red-brown clear liquor. The thin leaves unfurl and become milk-chocolate colored in the infuser. The scent is malty-sweet with a honey aroma that develops as you keep inhaling.
Taste: This tea is very tasty without being overpowering. Delicate notes of malt and sweet potatoes that are very smooth and light on the tongue. This is not a heavy or thick tea, but rather one that gently envelops the senses with a sweet presence. I saw that some people detected astringency, but steeped at 1 minute, there is absolutely nothing brisk or bitter about it. I think this would be an excellent choice to help someone new to fall in love with Chinese black teas.
Flavors: Malt, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
Thank you Angel for sending me this sample.
It used to be that when I thought of Keemums I thought of smoke, but Teavivre introduced me to a world of Keemuns that have no or very, very little smoke. I think it’s pretty well known that I love a good smoky tea, but I’m also intrigued by all of the layers of flavor that are present in Keemuns when the smoky note is absent. This offer by Teavivre is a great example.
The tea starts off with a moderate malty note followed by a light floral note and something hinting at spice. Kind of an all spice flavor, but not quite. Then there are notes of honey with a dark cocoa flavor underneath. Every now and then I’d taste plum, but I didn’t get too many stone fruit flavors. Overall, this was a very nice cup.
The second steep was completely different from the first except for the malt note. I also tasted baked bread and leather. There was much more of an earthy feel to the second cup as opposed to the first. It was much more bracing and what I’ve come to expect from Keemuns. Again, a very nice cup. I can’t even say which steep I preferred more since they were both quite tasty in their own way.
A really nice offer from Teavivre. I’m looking forward to drinking more of this one.
Thank you Angel for this sample.
In appearance the leaves are: dark brown, thin and curly with some golden tips present. Also has stick/stem pieces. It has a sweet wood and malt scent with a touch of cocoa and smoke.
Once steeped the colour is golden red/brown and bares a rich but sweet malt scent with sour cocoa and fresh wood.
Flavour is medium in strength with sweet malt tones that lighten to reveal fig and prune notes. The fruit lingers in the after taste with some wood and dryness. As it cools it becomes slightly more sour and smoky.
Overall: Other than some sourness it is rather smooth and lightly creamy which makes the delicious malt and fruit flavours linger. Strength remained consistent and pleasing.
Flavors: Cocoa, Fig, Malt, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
Having a little sheng tonight. I thought the first few steeps with a little harsh/bitter but it did mellow out in later steeps. This one is a little bit too green for me. I don’t think this is bad, just not really to my tastes.
Since it’s snowy outside, I decided to have my first Teavivre tea of the year. Yesterday, it was with an Elizabeth Chadwick novel, and today with Stargate SG-1 (my second favourite television show). This tea reminds me so much of dark chocolate. It has that dark cocoa scent, with a little bit of malt. The flavour is a little sweet, and has the chocolate notes. Glad I got to try this, as I haven’t had any keemun in a while. Thanks to Teavivre for this sample. :)
Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Malt
Some quick notes on this one while I listen to music tonight, currently have Nirvana – Bleach playing.
Scent is toasted and floral though subtle.
Flavour is toasted with hay, flower and sweet wood tones. Some astringency with a sour quality. Tastes like an Oolong rather than a green tea, or at least that’s what I found. Like a toastier version of a Cloud Mist green.
Another cup brings out the savoury flavours, resembling a blend of baked broccoli and asparagus. Also the sweetness seems to have increased somewhat.
These meant to be quick notes but I got carried away with the music, moved on to Avenged SevenFold – Beast And The Harlot now. It was a nice green with Oolong qualities that had enough flavour and character to be pleasing, though I don’t think I could drink it all the time. Husband was surprised this was a green tea too.
Still playing with this one and enjoy the variety of tastes I am getting. Smoky but not overwhelming and the undercurrent of malt and spice is really quite nice.
This reserved black is a perfect way to start the day but also can serve very nicely for my 3p cup.
Flavors: Malt, Smoke, Spices
Thank you so much Angel for this free sample. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to the review.
This is a nice, very lightly roasted oolong. The floral notes are still very present but not overwhelming, and just the right amount of roasty. Not quite sweet, but really flavorful. It lasted through several infusions Western Style.
I really enjoyed this.
I really like the roasted chestnut flavor of this tea. There is also a sweet note at the end of the sip while the tea is fairly warm, but as the tea cooled the sweet flavor disappeared, and a bitter note took its place. I’m not sure if the water I used was too warm, or if my two and a half minute steep was too long. I have some of my sample left, so I’ll give this another try with slightly cooler water. If I could keep the chestnut flavor and sweetness throughout the cup this would be an easy favorite green of mine.
I’m withholding my rating until I give this another try.
Thank you so much for the samples, Angel! I am floored by how grassy this oolong smells. As the tea was finishing steeping, the grassy aroma morphed into buttery green vegetables.
This first steep tastes on the grassy side, but it has a smooth, buttery mouthfeel. There’s a touch of bitterness (one-minute first steep after I let the water cool for a minute or two) but overall, quite delicate.
The second steep, with the same steeping parameters (maybe under a minute, however), yields an even grassier profile in both scent and flavour. The butteriness hath faded from this one. The bitterness, on the other hand, has amplified.
I’m grateful that I was able to try this one, but I’ll refrain from rating since I don’t really care for these types of oolongs. That is, grassy/vegetal teas aren’t up my alley.
I do love Teavivre. One of the best companies out there. Seriously. Especially if you’re looking for a top-notch Oolong.
I mention in my full-length review of this tea, found here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/11/20/taiwan-high-mountain-oolong-tea-from-teavivre/ that the wording of the description of this tea sounds as though this is a ‘beginner’ type of Oolong. I certainly don’t consider myself a beginner since I’ve had quite a lot of Oolong teas over the past six years or so as a tea reviewer, but I think that this is a tea that even a more advanced Oolong drinker can enjoy.
It isn’t as creamy as some High Mountain Oolong teas and I also found this to be less floral than most green Oolongs. This has more of a delicate flavor to it and I do understand why this is considered a ‘beginner’ Oolong because sometimes those new to Oolong teas are somewhat put off by the strong floral qualities of green Oolong teas.
This tea is soft, sweet, and subtle. It has a silky texture. Hints of melon in the background. Later infusions proved to be a little more floral than the first, but was still a very pleasant, easy drinking tea.
When looking at the flavor notes for this tea, I was rather confused. All those notes in one tea?
Turns out, yes, yes there are.
This is a lovely oolong, rich, layered, complex flavors that boil down to simple goodness. I may need some more than the little sample Ost was good enough to send to me. Oh yes, I see some tea shopping in my future. Ooooh yes.
Many, many, many thanks to Ost for letting me try this!
Thank you Angel of Teavivire for sending me this sample.
I have never had Tai Ping Hou before. I found the long flat leaves pretty, and since they were too big to properly fit in my infuser I steeped them in my french press. The tea has a green bean flavor with a little sweetness. There was a hint of a grassy note, but the flavor was mostly bean. The liquid was thick. In fact, the consistency reminded me of a thin syrup. Overall I thought this was a nice tea. The flavor was clean and crisp, and there was no mineral note or lingering aftertaste.
This sample came to me from Flyawaybirdie, and I’ve held on to it until I had a day where I could sit down and appreciate it. Today is rainy, cold, and I’m taking it slow and easy. It’s a perfect muti-steep tea sipping day!
The dry leaves are fluffy, soft, and tiny. Little baby tea leaves are so cute! Once steeped there is a pale liquid with a soft melon-like scent. I wasn’t expecting melon, but I like it. The taste is more oat cake than melon although there is a honeydew note as the tea cools. Otherwise, I get oat cake and a bit of a grassy note. The tea is soft, clean, and very pleasant.
The second steep is much like the first, but the melon note is more pronounced. I’m really liking this a lot. It’s like a moment of summer in the middle of winter, and a tasty moment, too! There is still a good amount of oat flavor, but the grassy note is not present. The steep is also slightly creamier than the first steep.
I’ll keep steeping this throughout the day. It’ll be fun to see where this tea takes me.
Thank you, Flyawaybirdie for sharing this with me!