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Recent Tasting Notes
Happy polar vortex everybody. In other words holy crap it’s cold in the Buckeye state! I started the car this morning because my wife still had to work and my finger tips were red just from pulling the car out of the garage. I’m not complaining though the boss closed the office so I didn’t have to make the the drive to work, the heat works, water pipes are good, and I got to spend the whole day with the little man. In need of an afternoon boost I grabbed this. I’m excited because it’s an oolong so I know I’m going to get a few cups out the leaves and because it’s from Teavivre. Most green oolongs I have tried either tend to be floral(Jasmine) or buttery. This one is definitely more floral. I love jasmine teas and the first cup definitely has some jasmine characteristics that I’m tasting. Really good. I’m finishing up my 5th cup with the same set of leaves. Each consecutive cup seems to be less floral and be more nutty. Another great offering from Teavivre.
Additional notes: Yes, I’m having this delicious tea so soon again after the first time. The rest of my sample package had closer to one teaspoon of leaves, rather than the two teaspoons I used last time and it just isn’t the same. You need those two teaspoons to get the chocolate notes. One teaspoon won’t happen again!
ETA: The second steep hotter/longer was actually quite chocolate anyway!
My smallish Teavivre order has arrived! I couldn’t help it with a $16 in coupons & reward points! I had to steep this one up first, to make sure I didn’t dislike it. After placing my order, I kind of wished I had ordered the Keemun instead of this one, as I was drinking it at the time of the order being placed and kind of fell in love with it like never before… hopefully I won’t regret this one! Teavivre’s steep instructions are 1-2 teaspoons at 194 degrees with a rinse and 1,2,3 min steep times.
Steep #1 // 13 min after boiling // 2 min
This one is tough to measure with long wirey black leaves with touches of gold. After they were in the brew basket, it looked more than two teaspoons. The cup is a medium dark copper color. Luckily, this one is delicious enough. It’s like dark chocolate and sweet potatoes.. so kind of like Verdant’s Laoshan Black but I like this ones deeper flavor. This one lingers so nicely! Why am I always mentioning Laoshan when I love so many other teas more? I’ve tried the Yun Nan Dian Hong Golden Tip from Teavivre. The difference between the two: this one has less golden color, a higher steep temp (and this one is less pricey). Flavor difference: this one is much more dark chocolate while the Golden is much more sweet potato. I think both have their place, but I’m partial to dark chocolate.
Steep #2 // 15 min after boiling // 3 min
I accidentally waited too long for this steep to cool, so the flavor isn’t as nice as if I waited a shorter time than the last. I like the second cup, but it doesn’t have the magic of the first. Not as strong of a flavor but that’s my fault.
I think I’ve adored every Teavivre tea I’ve tried. I just wish they sold their teas in smaller amounts than 100 grams so I could buy many more varieties at the same time. Not disappointed in buying this one, since both teas have the dark chocolate notes I love(even if the Keemun would have been a nice choice). At this point I think I have three teaspoons of various Keemuns though! Oh no! Keemun shortage!
I got a free sample of this with one of my recent Teavivre orders because I wanted to try making tea soda with it. So I made a super strong steep of this with a lot of sugar, then mixed with soda water. Pretty tasty! I think perhaps I need to use more syrup and less water because it mainly tasted sweet and a bit tart. I did get a bit of citrusy lemon, which was nice. This is definitely my preferred way of preparing anything with rosehips or hibiscus in it.
The first time I made this I used too much leaf and found it somewhat bitter. But when I made it again using less leaf to water ratio and a lower steep temperature, I had a delicious and fragrant peachy green tea without the bitterness of my first attempt. Not a lot of jasmine, perhaps just a hint. Re-steeped perfectly. Lovely and refreshing!
So, I put the entire sample package of these little pearls in a 6 oz. glass to brew. In retrospect, I should have used less pearls I think because this amount seemed too strong.
The first steep after a quick rinse was good though – probably only brewed for about 10 to 15 seconds and was lightly peachy, fragrant and smooth.
When I resteeped the leaves, I left them for about a minute and the result was a much darker yellow brew that was bitter to the point I didn’t drink it.
I did experiment a bit more and found that a very short brew with this much leaf in my glass (expanded, the leaf filled the glass) was better. Unfortunately I was distracted and managed to overstep these leaves again with the same bitterness. Perhaps the water was too hot also… I did get fleeting glimpses of the soft and natural peachiness, but the accompanying bitterness was distracting.
Fortunately, I have one or two more sample packs, thanks to the generosity of Angel and Teavivre, so I will be able to try this again with what I am sure will be better results.
Another beautiful sample from Teavivre!
This oolong’s dry leaf smells very different from the last, which was medium roasted. The scent is even sweeter, giving hints of lush floral goodness. Again, the leaves are rolled into little dark green nuggets with a stem pointing outward. I can’t smell any nuttiness in this one, as I usually do with oolongs. Interesting!
I went with 2.5 minutes again this time, as the instructions gave a range of 1-5 to choose from. The water turned to a pleasant, chlorophyll-like green. I admit I played with the used leaves in wonder when it was done. They were complete, still attached to their stem! There is even a little bit that would have been a silver tip there! The stem is literally as long as my hand. I can’t believe it rolled up so small!
The resulting tea smells more pungent than the dry leaf, and more vegetal. The flavor is so creamy. Ohhh, wow. I wasn’t expecting it at all. It’s faintly nutty, faintly veggie-like. And buttery! Again, I am absolutely loving this oolong. I feel like all the teas in this category by Teavivre are something that need to be savored and contemplated on. Mmmm.
Thank you to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
Typically, I have to be in the mood for oolong. I’m not very familiar with them, and I’ve tasted a few I wasn’t very fond of. This is my new favorite oolong! The mild, sweet oolong flavor is definitely the perfect base for the soft and creamy strawberry flavor. It’s not too green tasting (eventually I’ll adopt the term “vegetal,” but I’m still a newb), and I think that’s what put me off with some of the other oolongs I’ve tried. I like that this tea is in the middle of straight tea and frou-frou flavored tea.
For several months now I’ve been preferring black and oolong to green and white teas, but I thought I would try this tea today. Thank you Angel and Teavivre for such generous sample sizes! I have enough here for many many steepings.
This is very pleasant. Mild, sweet, and with the characteristic Dragonwell taste. The green taste is more vegetable than grassy, and like I said, mild. I’ve had many green Oolongs that had a much more vegetal taste, so this tea is a nice break from my usual. Don’t mistake ‘mild’ for flavorless, though. I think this could easily be oversteeped, to my tastes anyway. Keep the water temperature low and don’t overleaf! I used a little over 2 tsp and I think next time I will use less. Lots of flavor in these leaves.
Thank you again Teavivre for the chance to try this yummy tea!
Dry leaf is a medium green color as compared to Teavivre’s organic superfine version which was more of a vibrant green.
Tastes nutty, vegetal and a bit floral, and becomes nuttier and more broth-like in the second steep. Smooth and sweet and very tasty.
Both this and the organic superfine dragonwell are good and I’m not sure which I liked better – I’ll have to try them both again and compare.
Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for the samples!
Enjoyed this white. Tolerated long steeps that I didn’t time, just based readiness on color. Probably somewhere in the range of 2-5 mins. The profile was familiar, similar to other whites I’ve liked. Overall it did not disappoint. Re-steeped about 5 times in my Finum, keeping water temps low and using the entire sample from Teavivre (Thanks Angel!). Liquor was lovely yellow and fresh tasting— lightly sweet, hint of black pepper with notes of hay & cucumber.
Whites tend to be subtle in my experience. This was a bit more overt, but still laying low. I don’t gravitate to white teas as much as I do greens, but I specifically made this note so to remind myself that Silver Needle is the way forward for me.
From my experience this summer, the light sweet grass dry scent and subdued cane sugar and fruity, malty notes in the dry leaves’ heated scent seemed promising for a great session. The first steep confirms my expectations. Strong gao shan flavor with a potent, lingering aftertaste and rear-mouth cooling in addition to what seems like a unique Dong Ding character, distinct from other high mountain Taiwan oolongs I have tasted previously.
Although it isn’t entirely impressive flavor-wise, the development was smooth and interesting. There was a nice “green” bite in the introduction of each sip with a tart finish felt on the roof of the mouth. Complexity was relatively straightforward, but the balance was excellent. The scent remaining in the empty cup was weak and nearly monotonous. However, the gaiwan lid’s scent was well-developed, if perhaps a bit too grassy.
I missed some it the deeper bass notes common in some gao shans in this tea, leaving the first few steeps to feel somewhat unbalanced. The lack of depth is odd considering this is another autumn harvest, yet, when the session lasts upwards of 7 steeps, I cannot complain.
I don’t know much about osmanthus, but I definitely know that I love the scent of it. This oolong’s aroma is an interesting mixture of sweet cream, floral, and gao shan character. The strength of the osmanthus mainly remains in the aromas, primarily adding mouthfeel and aftertaste when it comes to the liquor, which I appreciate. The Ali Shan leaves are nice and I am always happy when added flavors refrain from overpowering the natural components of the leaves.
So, as far as flavored teas go, this one is quite excellent. Great body, nice flavor profile with classic high mountain flavor and just enough added florals to round out the character. While the osmanthus is a little too potent in the wet leaf scent and the aroma trapped under the gaiwan lid, the balance in the liquor is just right. I am perhaps most pleased with this tea’s progression through steeps. Neither the osmanthus or the Ali Shan flavors “win out” at any point during the session, instead gradually rising and falling together. Many times with some jasmine green specimens, for example, it seems as though I am drinking two overlapping teas during one session, as the floral aspect is very strong in the beginning, while the actual tea’s characteristics take a few steeps to shine through. Not so with this tea.
My thanks go to Angel at Teavivre for including me in this tasting again! I always get so excited when I see I have a message from her.
It looks like this time it’s all oolong! Which is great, because I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve tried by Teavivre in the past. As I open the sample packet, I get the sweet scent of flowers and spring. There’s also a gentle nuttiness. The leaves, to me, don’t look roasted at all. They’re dark green, rolled into little clusters. They must be only lightly roasted?
I followed the pack’s instructions and used boiling water. It says I can let it steep from anywhere between 1-5 minutes, so I went for dead-center at 2.5. I loved watching the little nuggets bounce in the in glass teapot as they unrolled. The water slowly changed from clear to a greenish yellow hue. The spent leaves look like a serving of spinach in my infuser, fully unfurled.
The scent is very different from the dry leaf! It smells like nutty bread, almost. Or cereal! Sort of like plain Cheerios, oddly enough. The flavor is delightfully satisfying and smooth. The hints of floral flavor are still there, but not in the forefront. I can certainly taste that this was roasted instead of dried more gently like other oolongs I’ve tried. I suppose the loss of the fruity/grassy/floral flavor comes with that kind of processing. Which makes it come out tasting warmer and heartier. I like it! It really makes me think about the subtleties of harvesting and preparing raw leaves.
4 pearls in a 200ml glass pot
I like short steeps when I’m drinking any Chinese tea. I tried longer steeps like 1min, but it doesn’t work for me. It becomes too bold, sometimes bitter, welcomes some unwanted flavors ( I don’t really like mineral taste). With short steeps I can notice some subtle changes, how flavors and smell progressed.
This tea is no exception to my rule. I tried longer steeps but didnt like it much.
rinse 10/15/20/30 to be cont
Starts kind of earthy but later on i got dark chocolate. Wet leaves smell of pure chocolate. Delicious. Some sugar or agave syrup would transform it into sort of dessert tea.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth
I’m surprised it wasn’t in my cupboard, I bought it last summer during Anniversary sale. I’m sure I got lots of unaccounted teas. Time to do inventory, my cupboard is exploding( nothing new). Today I decided to compare it with thepuritea Red Dragon Pearls( got few samples just before they went out of business). I always feel sad when small business companies close down.
Well, I had total of 5 steeps 1,2,3,4 and 5 min apart side by side. It’s cocoa, bready,sweet with some slight peppery notes at the end. The Teavivre was more flavorful and potent. By 3rd steep thePuritea exhausted itself and was watery.
I’m sure if I wouldn’t compare them and had only thepuritea on hand, I would like it a lot. But Teavivre is a winner
I must thank Teavivre for sending me this sample to try. It reminded me how rarely I actually make green tea for myself lately. Partially that has to do with the season (it’s -19C outside right now) but it also has to do with my tea collection. Green teas last so much less time in storage than oolong and puer that most of my drinking at home is within those two venerable categories. The result? I forget how important the proper water temperature is for a classic green like Dragon Well (Long Jing, Lóngjǐng, 龙井, or 龍井 — I love the traditional character for Dragon).
I played around a bit with the temperature to see if I could find the right balance. First, 75C for 45 seconds. The wet leaves have the aroma of dried figs and moss in the rain. The taste was of coriander and rosemary with a bit of osmanthus flower, quite pleasant. The texture is powdery a bit, drying the front of the tongue (I associate this with Lóngjǐng) and full bodied in the mouth. There’s a gentle sweetness in the aroma and the aftertaste.
For a second infusion I tried 60C water for 1 minute. The tea definitely had a lighter body from the decreased temp. I detected much more of the aroma in the taste this time: more grass and figs and less of the rosemary. My third try was 80C for 1 minute and I noticed that it was sweeter this time with some black cherry in the taste and less grass.
Read my full review here: http://someteawith.me/2014/01/03/premium-grade-dragon-well-from-teavivre/
Whoops! I got confused among the various superlatives and brewed up a pot of Organic Superfine Dragon Well Long Jing, though I meant to brew up one which I had not already tried!
As always, very good. Seemed more chestnuty than usual today.