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Recent Tasting Notes
The Leaf: densely compressed with marbled black, dark brown, and light brown leaves. All leaves are somewhat similar in size and well degraded. The scent is light but earthy like potting soil, but not musty.
The Brew: The color is ruby red to brown in hue, but crystal clear with no murkiness. The scent is light but the same as the leaf, earthy and rich. The flavor is medium strength, but clean leaving only a slight dryness on the tongue. Most of the flavor is felt on the back of the tongue, earthy, dark, soil-like with a slight bitterness and a slight sourness on the sides of the tongue.
I drink all of my teas cold.
This tea is very pale and fairly mild, in contrast to some oolongs I have had in the past. It is lightly sweet, and a little bit silky and creamy. I don’t catch too much floral in this one, and it almost reminds me of a green tea, but there is just that bit of separation between the two. It is not bitter or astringent at all, and my first cup was straight with no additives, though I did add a little raw sugar to my second cup since I’m craving something sweet right now. Wish I had cookies.
This is a pretty nice oolong…it is mild enough, that I think it might be a nice starter oolong for some.
Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for sending me this sample. I’m just sorry it took me so long to try this one. I have not been in an oolong mood for a while, but I had the urge tonight, so I jumped on the feeling and had this.
The Leaf: Very long and mostly unbroken with some stems present. The scent is light but is reminiscent of a green tea or oolong more so than a pu-erh. Almost a light fluffy texture to the pile, with no compression marks visible.
The Brew: The color is unlike pu-erh showing a fairly light brownish green hue much like a highly roasted green tea or oolong. The aroma is nice and apparent with a slight sweetness; woody and roasted tones mixed with dry grass. The flavor is overly bitter, making it difficult to distinguish any of the other characteristics. However, I can taste roasted straw, slight smokiness, and bitter melon.
I drink all of my teas cold.
Note: This was the first time dealing with this type of pu-erh. When I opened the package, I was very surprised as to how the leaves looked. Considering this, I decided to brew the tea according to the package instructions, 100C for 5 to 10 minutes. I feel this was too long, and resulted in the overly bitter flavor. For a better brew I think 2 minutes would suffice.
A couple days ago when I first tried this tea, I was a little intimidated by it because it is so rare and is the most expensive tea I have tried to date. Today I relaxed at didn’t sweat it. I used 175 F filtered water and a 2 minute steep. That is half the time and 10 F cooler than listed the label.
Wow! Is really all the explanation necessary but in case that isn’t enough for some of you. The wet leaf is creamed corn and steamed spinach. The brew itself is so crystal clear and more honey tinted than the green I got the first time. It tastes of creamed corn with a mild dragonwell bite. It is crisp and now the aftertaste is long lingering.
Once again I am filled with that inner warming sensation Terri called good tea energy. This is truly an awesome cup. I really liked it the first time. Changing the parameters to suit me made this an extremely incredible cup. Wow! Just Wow!
The second of my samples from Angel at Teavivre. This is another win with me! I drank my last cup of Tealux’s Jin Xuan milk oolong last night, and while I found it to be nice enough, it didn’t really make much of an impression on me. That’s why I chose this one to try this morning. It’s much better, and I say that after only a couple of sips!
I used half the sample (approx 1 tsp). Although the guidelines say to use boiling water, I did allow my cup to cool a little before adding the leaves. That’s the way oolongs have worked best for me in the past. Once it reached about 180, I added the leaves and steeped for nearly 4 minutes. The liquor is a pale yellow green, and smells creamy and mildly vegetal.
To taste, this is unbelievably smooth! It has a gorgeous buttery texture and silky mouthfeel, and it tastes DIVINE! For an unflavoured oolong, I was really surprised how well the milk and cream elements came out. Obviously there’s not as much there as there would be in a flavoured oolong, but what is there is very natural tasting. In the initial sip, I get a creaminess first, which seems to “thin” into a lingering milkiness after a few seconds. Then comes the classic “oolong” flavour — a grassy, mildly vegetal flavour, with a tiny hint of mineral in the background. The sip ends on a sweet note, formed from both the remaining milkiness and the spring grass flavour of the oolong.
I went back for a second cup straight away! I’ve never been much of an oolong drinker, but it’s teas like this that make me seriously wonder why not. This is one I would definitely include in a future order — I’d love to try the flavoured version to compare, too! Thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for sending me this sample!
So a little while ago, Angel of Teavivre invited me to taste some tea samples. This is the first I picked out to try from the selection she sent me. I was hooked from first sip. I’ve had one dragon pearl tea previously, but it wasn’t a patch on this one!
I used 4 pearls (which turned out to be exactly half the sample). The pearls themselves are really pretty — chocolate brown and cream — and the scent dry is of cocoa and hay. I added boiling water, and left them for around 4 minutes. The pearls completely unravelled in about two minutes, and I was left with a dark-ish liquor and the strong scent of chocolate.
To taste, this is really amazing. I was expecting something quite sweet, which I got, but it also has a real richness and depth of flavour. I get cocoa first, followed by a mellow nuttiness, and then an almost grapey, wine-like flavour to finish. I loved it so much I brewed the second cup straight away!
This tea has really made me reevaluate Chinese blacks, which for some reason I’ve always neglected. I’ve tried Chinese greens before, but I’ve nearly always chosen Indian teas when it comes to black. This one has made me think, though, and I’ll definitely be looking to expand my experience of Chinese black teas in the future!
Many thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for giving me the chance to try this outstanding tea!
The amazing TheTeaFairy sent me this one in a box awhile ago. Thank you so much.
This is a really nice everyday pu’erh. It’s everything that I think a pu’erh should be – a little musty and a little earthy. There isn’t anything offensive here, just a nice shu. I like it’s simplicity. Some of my absolute favorite pu’erh is more complex than this, but sometimes you just want something nice and easy. This works for those situations.
Thanks TheTeaFairy for sending this one my way – I didn’t find the leather, but was nice to spend a couple of hours with this one today.
This is another from my Teavivire sampler. It’s very dark and roasty—just how I like my oolongs. There’s a nice fruity aftertaste; after reading through some of the other reviews, I’m thinking it’s mostly peach. This is quite a smooth tea, and there’s a bit more sweetness than I’d expected too. There are some woodsy notes, and, although I’m never entirely sure what people mean when they talk about oolongs having mineral qualities, I’m guessing those are present as well. I’m really enjoying this; it’s definitely my favorite of the Teavivre oolongs I’ve tried so far. Thanks for letting me try this one, Angel!
Having this delightful tea as the first cup of the day. I’m nearly done this paper, then it’ll be on to studying for my two hardest exams, but also my two favourite classes.
It seems I’ve finally perfected steeping this to my liking. I can drink it a bit more often now that I’ve managed to decrease a touch of the syrup-ness.
I steeped this according to boychik’s suggestion (I think that was who sent me this…).
I did a short-ish steep for 1 minute, then another minute, then another.
First impression is butter? Shortening? Not texture, but taste. Ah, got it – pie crust! Or a croissant. Not bready but simple pastry-ey. Lightly sweet, very lightly. Smells very strongly of pie crust. This is very light. The second minute it became a little sweeter and much more strongly pie crust. At 3 minutes it is still pie crust but becoming somewhat watery, though I haven’t added any more water to the cup.
This is an interesting oolong and maybe my first Oriental Beauty? Can’t remember. I wish our tealogs were sortable by name, not just most recent and most popular. Thanks for the sample, boychik!
Another beautiful day in the Midwest, really, spring time out here reminds me of the things that I like about this are, it turns out though that most places are pretty in spring. I have a busy weekend ahead of me: big family gathering, candied violets to make, British flapjacks to cook myself, and of course some sort of art project. I am feeling inspired to do something crafty, just not sure exactly what yet.
Today’s tea is a delightfully fuzzy green tea from Teavivre, Bi Luo Chun (or Pi Lo Chun, depending on dialect) from Mt Dongting in Jiangsu Province. The translation of this tea is Green Snail Spring, referring to the curly shape of the leaves. The aroma of the dry leaves is sweet and fresh, blending artichoke and lychee with a delicate hint of floral at the end. This tea smells like nature in springtime, bringing in the notes of fruits, flowers, and vegetation. It makes my nose happy.
Into the basket the fuzzy little leaves go for a nice bath. Sadly this means the fuzzies go away, such is the fate of tea leaves. Holy Lychee, Batman! The wet leaves are so sweet and fruity that it is nothing short of mouthwatering. There is also a touch of artichoke and hay, giving the tea a more vegetal quality at the end of the sniff. The liquid is mild with delicate notes of artichoke and sweet lychee, floating on the top of the tea are the fuzzy trichomes.
The taste is quite delicate (that seems to be the key word with this tea) with a sweet citrus taste reminiscent of lychees. There is also a very mild hint of nuts that fades to a green bean vegetal taste. Of course the trichomes tickle the inside of my mouth making me giggle when I sip the tea. This tea is very mild and refreshing, it reminds me of spring rain.
Giving the tea a second steeping (we meet again curly leaves!) and I notice the aroma of the liquid is much sweeter and heavier of lychee. The taste is also sweeter, instead of being reminiscent of lychees it actually tastes like lychees. There is also a surprising note of violets, and almost no vegetal taste. As the tea cools it gets even sweeter and floral. This tea did not really wow me in taste, but it certainly wowed me at how delicate and nuanced it is. I find this is a tea for special occasions with nuanced tasters, sadly I served it to a bunch of non-tea drinkers and they thought it had no taste. Tragic. At the time of writing these tasting notes in my tea-journal I did not yet have a gaiwan, I am curious to try this tea again with a gaiwan and see how much of a difference it makes.
For review and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/04/teavivre-bi-luo-chun-tea-review.html
Mmmmmm, this tea is so fresh tasting! It’s like tasting Spring! This is another sample Angel sent me. Thanks, Angel! It really makes me rethink green tea. I’ve had a hard time really enjoying green teas, except for toasty genmaicha, but this is really hitting the spot!
It’s so fresh, like the leaves were just plucked from the farm. Amazing! I had a cup directly after another dragon well from another company and this one was noticeably fresher. It could be that the other company’s sample was probably sent to me about a year ago, though, which proves the point that green teas should be enjoyed as soon as you get them. Good to know. ;) I’ll have to make sure of that in the future!
And yet another generous sample from Angel at Teavivre.
I think I may have overleafed this slightly, but the jasmine in this particular tea is a bit strong and one-note for my tastes. I’ve had jasmine dragon pearls in the past with a hint of sweetness underneath almost like orange or honeysuckle, but I’m not experiencing that in this blend.
I steeped the leaves twice, both for 3 minutes: once at 85C and the second time at 80C. Both times the tea was palatable, but I believe that this tea might be better at a slightly lower temperature than indicated on the label.
Maybe this will really blossom if done gong-fu style. I’m withholding a rating for now.
Thanks very much to Angel from Teavivre for this (extremely) generous sample!
Dry, this leaf is quite attractive – it’s very tippy, with stripes of white leaf visible against the green background. There’s also a lot of down/pekoe (fuzz) with the leaf – an indicator to me that this tea was picked when very young. Nice! The smell is very marine and vegetal – I sense a lot of seaweed.
Brewed, this produces a lovely green-amber liquor. The flavour is quite delicate – it’s light, but not weak. A little bit buttery and vegetal, with a hint of seaweed on the back of the tongue.
However, the second steep is where it really shines. This is the second Bi Luo Chun tea I’ve tasted, and both this one and my first had really lovely, sweet second steeps. There’s still the vegetal taste, but it’s lightened a bit and made more floral.
I can definitely see this as a good, everyday sort of “comfort” green tea. Mmm!
Additional notes: I’m having this one again today! Thank you so much Dexter3657 for sending me some of this one and the Tan Yang that I was also enjoying the other day. (Delicious.. I’ve tried some samples of it that Teavivre sent over before.) Both teas are VERY appreciated!
I have a bunch of one serving cups left of most of the pearls in my collection, so I’m going to try steeping them all the same way: five pearls, rinse, just boiled, first steep at two minutes. These pearls are nice, but it doesn’t quite have the chocolate/honey level that I would expect. Good but not the best. I certainly will not say no to the rest of these pearls until I settle on a favorite!
I opened the small sample size pack of this and loved the faint scent that rose from it; it smelled like an early spring day, when things are just starting to get green and grow. (My nose is working mostly now. yay.)
I added water and I was immediately surrounded in this green envelope of aroma. I could taste it in the air.
I steeped this western style in my ForLife mug. I’m at work, so I think the water wasn’t as cool as it should have been. Fortunately for me, things seemed to have survived their somewhat rough treatment. The first sip…much lighter than I had anticipated from how strong the scent was while steeping. But delicious. I really enjoyed the light flavors of this, green but not overwhelmingly so.
This tea did remind me of spring with the lightness of the green flavor, just a touch sweet, very fresh.
I’m excited to try the other small sample pack of this gong fu style.
I am finally busting into these pearls after having them for a while! Mmmm, my favorite pearls. I’ve been drinking a lot of flavored teas lately so it’s always nice to go back to the basics.
I actually had a cup of this yesterday and another today since yesterday’s cup was at “tea time” and made with unfiltered water. But it turns out that that one was the better cup! This morning I wanted robustness so I added an extra pearl to my steeping basket and I think that was my mistake. I didn’t get nearly enough sweet chocolate goodness from this. But I do know that it’s there, it just got overwhelmed by being too robust. I still drank the whole cup, of course! But in the future I have to remember to get my parameters right.
A really nice Pu-erh. The earthiness is more like a vegetal note, notes of mineral and a sort of savory/salt like taste that is an nice contrast to the sweeter vegetal notes. Hints of kelp. Each subsequent infusion delivered a deeper flavor.
Here’s my full-length review with more details about the multiple infusions: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/03/14/fengqing-zhuan-cha-raw-puerh-brick-tea-2005-teavivre/