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Recent Tasting Notes
I have been drinking a lot of Oriental Beauties lately and I generally like – if not – LOVE them! I try and pick out what makes them different. So…going beyond the stereo-typical O.B. notes, here…
I found this to be wonderfully woodsy-sweet with peachy-nutty-floral notes…but also, more importantly, and more-so standing out from the other O.B.‘s – slightly bakey! It’s almost like a danish type hint underneath! Whatever it is…it’s darned tasty! YUM!
Let me start this review by saying that I come into it somewhat prejudiced as I am not fond of jasmine, in tea or otherwise. However, I do not tackle this sample with as much apprehension as I did before the last Teavivre jasmine tea sample I tried because Teavivre really surprised me with that one. I actually liked it! So, here goes…
I steeped this tea for three minutes at 185 degrees as Teavivre prescribed. The unbrewed tea had a very strong jasmine odor that was also present in the steeped liquid, but the brewed jasmine aroma was not as powerful.
As I gingerly inched down the first sip, I could clearly taste the jasmine, but it was not overwhelming. There was a nice sweetness to the flavor followed by a smooth and delicate white tea taste. Each sip thereafter did leave a jasmine aftertaste but it was not offensive or bitter.
This is another Teavivre tea that is so smooth and light that I had no trouble finishing the pot. Once again, Teavivre has amazed me with a product that was much better than I expected.
Will I now add jasmine teas to my collection? No. But, Teavivre makes jasmine digest very pleasantly in this tea. I guess I would probably have the same reaction from castor oil blended in a rich delicious chocolate cake!
This tea is amazing, I haven’t tasted so unusual black tea with such a delicate taste. It is a little bit sweet, a little bit fruity and very pleasant for drinking in the morning to make your day. And it ends so quickly, I should order some more. I think everyone should give it a try.
Thankyou to Angel and Teavivre for this sample
I was a little scared to try this tea, it smells very smoky. And the brew is golden amber.
The taste is suprisingly good. But really, not much from Teavivre suprises me anymore….everything is so good! I was expecting more of a burnt taste, but it is much sweeter than I thought it would be, and more delicate. I am not sure I would drink this everyday, but I think I could get used to this. I think it would be great to use in cooking.
No resteeps today, I got too busy and then it was too late in the day to drink more black tea.
This was the 4th tea in the comparison today. I enjoyed it but it isn’t quite what I was looking for. It would be a pretty nice morning cup if you wanted some thing rich, smooth and sweet. Very well behaved and full bodied but I thought it didn’t have quite the character that the other 3 did. So while I enjoyed it, it won’t be a keeper for me.
This one surprised me. It’s rich and malty. There was a hint of dry hay like I get with Bai Mu Dan. I did find it to be a tad bit smokey. The hay and smoke were totally unexpected but they did work rather well. If I couldn’t find some thing like tarantula tea I would probably pick this one. It’s totally different but it really has a lot of character.
So we had another tea face off. This is my favorite. It’s pretty much what I was hoping to get but just a tad bit better. I wanted some thing to replace tarantula tea since it was discontinued.
This is malty and velvety smooth. The depth of character here calls up the word earthy in my mind. This tea ends so nicely with chocolate and honey like sweet notes. This is truly and enjoyable cup.
As part of our ‘try every black that Teavivre has’ thing, we also were hoping that this Golden Tip was going to be a replacement for the discontinued Teavana tarantula tea that we had picked a couple packs of when they discontinued it.
Side by side, I cannot make a distinguishing difference between this and Teavana’s Golden Imperial Lotus (though, obviously, it’s not held together by a string in a round formation).
The tea is smooth, but with a very rich, malty flavor to it. There is a sweet, caramel undertone that really finishes off the taste. It doesn’t feel quite as thick on the tongue as say the Bailin Gong Fu, but it still has quite a bit of weight to it. It’s a very, very enjoyable black tea.
We’re definitely going to keep this one around, me thinks.
The other side of the coin, yet again my friends!
The full leaf yunnan brews into a notably lighter colored beverage than the ‘standard’ black tea (now referred to as half-full). To match, the flavor is lighter as well. Less bold than the half-full, it still has some of the same maltiness, but where the half-full leaf ends in a very apparent smoky finish, this has a light fruitiness at the end of the sip. A little sweet, somewhat indecipherable flavor that kind of creeps in while you’re drinking.
A little less economical, at about $3/oz, but could be preferable to folks that like more refinement and subtlety from their tea. We brewed these both a little on the strong side (7g for 16 oz), so I’m not entirely sure how that would change the character.
I can’t really pick a clear winner between the two, they’re just different.
Continuing on with Teavivre Black Tea today… Yunnan! It’s like we’re taking a tour of Chinese tea, ha!
I did order a sample of basically every black tea they had at the time (they’ve added two since). It’s great of them to offer samples so you can get a good sweeping view of their product line.
This is the Black Tea, the most economically priced yunnan black they have, at a little less than $2 an ounce. The flavor is bold and malty, with a hint of smokiness to it. Not a lapsang, and probably not as strong as the keemun I tried from Teavivre, but there’s definitely smokiness to it (which surprised me a bit).
Compared to the yunnan full leaf that Missy brewed next to this one, there are striking differences. This tea is bold and malty, where the full leaf is refined and mellow. It is definitely an interesting comparison.
We brewed these both a little on the strong side (7g for 16 oz). Made the flavor pop out good and strong for comparison ;)
Oh, the winner? Hrmm… hard to say. They’re just different.
The other end of the epic taste-off between Bailin Gongfu and Organic Bailin Gongfu!
Much like the non-organic version, this tea is very malty, with a decidedly grainy flavor and texture. It has a slightly more pronounced caramel flavor that develops into a little more chocolate-y of a flavor with a teensy bit of sugar added. It’s an absolutely delightful, earthy experience similar to a very stout, dark beer.
Compared to the non-organic BGF, I find the organic version to be a bit bolder and more flavorful, but at the cost of some of the fantastic smoothness. It’s stronger, earthier, and a bit heartier.
So who wins? It’s a very close call, but I’d choose the non-organic for myself. I could see how the organic version could easily be someone’s preference.
Either way, you’re looking at a remarkably good cup of tea.
So, in honor of receiving our Teavivre packages yesterday… we’re having our first taste-off! Bailin Gongfu vs. Organic Bailin Gongfu!
Henceforth, references to this tea will be abbreviated to BGF. Act like you know ;)
This tea is malty and smooth, a very grainy flavor and texture. Beneath it all is a caramelly sweetness, and when you add a little bit of sugar it develops into an almost chocolate kind of flavor. This remarkably interesting flavor combination only reaffirms my association of this to a good, dark beer. It’s earthy, and delightful.
So how does it compare to the Organic BGF? Well, to anyone that has drank this tea before, this isn’t going to make any sense… but the non-organic version is… more subtle. The flavor, as deep and rich as it is, pales a little bit in comparison to the Organic BGF.
However, this strength comes at the price of smoothness. The stronger, earthier organic version lacks a teensy bit of that polished, malty smoothness that the BGF has.
So, I think the blue ribbon goes to the non-organic version. As a daily drinker kind of tea, I’d choose the non-organic for myself. But, I could see how the organic version could easily be someone’s preference.
Either way, you’re looking at a remarkably good cup of tea.
This is one of the Teavivre tea’s that I decided to purchase in bulk for daily use. Why?
Originally this pu-erh wasn’t even part of the sample program that many of us have enjoyed receiving from Teavivre.
During the sample mailings I noticed that there was this one lonely
pu-erh with no reviews so I asked Angel if I could have some so that a review could go up on Steepster.
She sent me the sample and..I ended up liking this tea.
But what made me purchase it for daily use? I looked for four things flavor, quality, the company and cost.
I have more expensive pu-erhs than this one, jewels that have exceptional flavor which I drink on special occasions and some just once a week.
My daily pu-erhs tend to fit a flavor profile that I don’t get tired of. This is of good quality from a company that I love doing business with and at a price I can afford. (I am living on a fixed income!)
The tea is a little bit salty and bready which is something I find appealing. The earthiness is not too strong and there is great richness and body that stands up to sweetening and milk if I want a morning latte.
( Please, Rinse the dry leaves 20 seconds)
I recommend Western Style brewing because the Brew takes a good amount of tea leaves (3-4 teaspoons per 8oz) and a short (1-2 minute) Steep.
I have done this method over and over successfully with a rich and dark liquor each time.
I wouldn’t suggest using a gaiwan unless you were cutting the leaf to a minimal amount for 4oz.
Resteeping produces great results!
The price is very good $9.90 for 100 grams.
We got our shipment from Teavivre yesterday. This means we have tea face offs to do today. Yay!
So I’m upping the rating one this one because I found I can truly enjoy it more than I had previously thought. Smooth malty grains with sweet caramel/dark chocolate like notes. I think my previous association with beer almost ruined this tea. While it still has the same grain notes I remember, I’ve picked up other flavors that I enjoy. This is rather good, especially since I can enjoy it plain.
Today we had organic vs regular bailin gongfu. Regular wins out for me. It just seems to finesse me where the organic is more bold. Bold is good, but I really enjoy the way the flavors sneak up on me in the regular.
Alright, after a week of tooling around, drinking iced Earl Grey and bottled stuff, it’s back to my “tea homework”.
I’ve never had a monkey picked oolong, but they seem to be very popular. I’m sure they aren’t actually picked by monkeys… right? That seems like a health hazard. Anyway. It brewed up to a pleasant shade of yellow after two minutes, and smells different from most oolongs I’ve tried. This smells like it has been roasted. I’m getting sort of a nutty scent, along with cooked veggies. Interesting.
As is my habit, I made it over ice. Wow, is this different from any oolong I’ve ever had. Where most of Teavivre’s oolongs have been gentle and fruity or floral, this one is very hearty. It tastes like straight up roasted nuts and maybe a hint of sesame oil. It’s a very foreign flavor to me, but I like it. I could certainly get used to this. I want to pair it with wakame salad or maybe satay chicken. Mmm.
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample
I am not the biggest fan of green tea, but I wanted to try some good quality straight greens to try to change my mind. So, I asked for some samples from Teavivre.
Dry leaf: smells very vegetal
Liquor: still smells vegetal, very light yellow colour
Taste: vegetal, smooth nutty quality, and that “savory” flavour that I am getting like salted butter. I find the taste to be comforting.
2nd steep: 80degrees, 1.5 minutes, much the same as the first
Unfortunately, I wasn’t really feeling well, so I tossed the leaves and didn’t do more infusions but I think this would go a couple of more infusions.
Overall, I like the Pi Lo Chun from Teavivre better, but this company is starting to change my opinion of green tea!