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Recent Tasting Notes
My second free oolong from Teavivre! This one was much more up my alley than the previous. The dry leaves smelled very vegetal/green, but the taste was much different.
1st steep: Texture is creamy, and it has a kettle corn-like sweetness with a light roasted flavor. No bitterness/astringency as far as I can tell.
2nd/3rd steep: Same sweetness/roasted flavor, but slightly less creamy and has a tiny hint of bitterness.
4th+ steep: Still sweet, but the flavors are getting weaker and the tea is tasting more watery.
Overall, I’m very happy with the flavors and resteeps with this tea. I don’t know if I will reorder yet (depends on my other samples, etc), but it’s definitely high on the list!
Nostalgia. This smells and tastes like the agar agar jellies my mom and grandma used to make for us when we were kids. I asked mom recently why she doesn’t make them anymore and I was told that it’s a treat for children. Kids get all the good stuff!
Other than that, sweet floral aroma. Light and smooth and brothy. Yum!
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this wonderful sample!
Dry: Lovely short and twisty black loose leaf tea. Has a pleasant lightly malty and mellow dry aroma.
Steeped: Medium brown clear liquor. I didn’t add anything to this and the brewed fragrance is a little bit sweet and vaguely fruity with that nice malty note from the dry leaves.
Taste: I really like this tea! It is so well balanced- probably more so than any other straight black I’ve tried so far. It is also really good for a breakfast selection. Smooth, mellow, naturally on the sweeter side without being overly so, and has a nice malt character without being too earthy or heavy. There are very subtle fruit and smoke notes in the aftertaste that linger on the tongue. This is a tea I can just sit and enjoy while contemplating the activities of the day ahead. It makes me look at my Assam tin sideways and don’t even get me started on some of my less favorite flavored teas. Yes, Keemun- Grade 1, I like you quite a bit! I am excited to try the others that Teavivre sent, but this one has started my day in a lovely and flavorful way.
Too much cocoa. In that sense, this reminds me of the kinds of Chinese black teas I don’t really like—it’s lighter and less malty (although still quite malty for an oolong, I think) than those teas, but still. I’m not even sure I would’ve been able to identify this as an oolong if I hadn’t known; although it does have that light, refreshing oolong aftertaste it also has a lot of characteristics I tend to associate with black teas. In addition to the cocoa, there’s also some honey. There’s not much in the way of florals or roasted notes, which is a minus point for me as I love both those kinds of flavors in oolongs. For reference, I brewed this western style (as I brew most everything).
I got this sample from either Nicole_Martin or Fuzzy_Peachkin —thanks to whichever one of you it was, and thanks to both of you for letting me try some of Teavivre’s teas—although this wasn’t a huge hit, many of the teas I’ve sampled from them have been, and I’m looking forward to placing an order soon.
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
Osmanthus dominates the flavour of this tea, I had a hard time tasting/enjoying the oolong. The osmanthus isn’t an unpleasant or bold flavour, but it’s the primary flavour.
Overall I have mixed feelings about this tea because I don’t enjoy overly floral teas. My husband liked it and said it reminded him of ginseng flavour (I agree). So it’s not something I’d buy, but I know a lot of other people enjoy floral teas. I’d recommend it for people that love floral tea with a mild and unobtrusive tea base.
400ml water, sample (7g), 1 steep (2m)
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
Previously I tried this sample gong-fu style and was a bit disappointed. Today I tried it with a longer steep in a glass mug and it turned out better.
I found the astringency too off-putting with many short steeps, but it isn’t too noticeable with a single longer steep.
The floral and vegetal flavours have a nice balance, and the body is more subtle than it is bold. There are also some nice hints of cinnamon, spice, and honey.
Overall it’s a decent oolong with a good price. However (if I had to choose) I prefer Teavivre’s Jin Xuan (unflavoured) over this.
400ml water in a glass mug, 7g sample, 1 steep (2m)
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
First steep had a nice honey-sweetness and a strong floral flavour.
The floral flavour became stronger with each steep, and the liquor also became increasingly astringent. By the fifth steep, the astringency became a bit distracting.
Ending on the sixth steep, there is still some flavour I tasted at the beginning, but the floral aroma and the astringency are off-putting to me.
Overall, it’s a very flavourful oolong with a nice price. I found it a bit too floral, but I know others find that flavour appealing. Not sure if I’d short steep this again, I’ll have to try the western method sometime to see if I like that better.
Steep parameters (as suggested by Teavivre)
85ml water in a gaiwan, sample (7g?), rinse and 6 steeps (25s, 25s, 30s, 60s, 70s, 80s)
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
First steep had a delicate vegetal flavour, with some sweetness.
Second steep onward, a floral flavour gradually builds up and a bit of spice can be felt at the back of my throat.
Finishing off with the eighth steep, I thought about how well the tea flavour stayed consistent. The last cup didn’t seem too weak at all.
Overall I quite liked this Ali Shan. Perhaps not as flavourful as I’d expect, but still enjoyable. But I didn’t find it bland or uninteresting. Sometimes a tea will grab your attention as you drink it, or you’ll pick something that is so flavourful you don’t need to focus on it’s nuances. This isn’t that kind of tea for sure ;)
Steep parameters (as suggested by Teavivre)
85ml water in a gaiwan, sample (7g?), rinse and 8 steeps (25s, 25s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 90s, 120s, 180s)
Sipdown, 117. I get it. I finally get it. What a really, really lovely tea. Thanks again so much to Teavivre for sending me this.
So the first couple of times I had this I was a bit underwhelmed. I don’t typically looooove high mountain Taiwanese oolongs but I do usually enjoy them. My first gongfu session I used my small teapot (6oz) but that was clearly too much. This time I followed Teavivre’s gongfu instructions on the site exactly and used the gaiwan that they sent to me (3oz). The florals were just intoxicating.
I ended up having one tiny cup from each steep and dumping the rest (only enough for another tiny cup at the end once all the leaves expanded!) into a cup to drink at the end. All of them were lovely, including the final cup. Smooth, luxurious florals, fresh and green. The texture was smooth and silky, and the flavor was rich and complex in every steep. Spring in a cup, which is lovely to have at the beginning of winter.
Thanks to Teavivre for this sample. I actually tried this tea last night in a gongfu session but did not write about it because I didn’t feel comfortable doing so. See, it was really quite bland and uninteresting. Kind of vegetal, but otherwise I couldn’t get much flavor out of it. Perhaps I should have used a smaller brewing vessel, but I dunno.
So, I decided to do a western steep of this. Mash all the flavors together and see what comes out, haha. Unfortunately for me this is still sort of uninteresting. It SMELLS divine. Floral, buttery, creamy. But the flavor falls flat. It is so light, barely there. Slightly floral, a bit vegetal; very similar to the gongfu steeps last night. Perhaps I’m just not one for Ali Shans (I’ve never been wild for them in the past). Other people rave about the flavors in this one so I think it must just be me. I have one more sample pouch of this; perhaps I will try it in a gaiwan session with it.
Really appreciate receiving the oolong sampler from Teavivre. This one is the first one I’ve tried and it was quite enjoyable. As is typical with oolongs, I got several steeps and could have gotten more I’m sure. I haven’t been drinking oolongs too much lately, so when I took the first few sips, it immediately brought back some memories of how nice an oolong can be. I was lazy and brewed it Western style. It was lightly floral and mildly vegetal. Very nice.
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for the lovely samples of this tea!
Dry: Tightly rolled army green buds and leaves that smell very pleasant. The dry scent is difficult to describe because it is subtle and very enjoyable. I would say soft and mild, a bit creamy and sweet, very faintly floral.
Steeped: Sunshine yellow clear liquor. I brewed this with the Western method at 212 degrees for two minutes. Like with most oolongs, this one needs room to expand. The lovely rolled bits unfurled in the infuser into large army green leaves. The aroma is a bit green, a bit milky, and a bit sweet. Holds up to multiple resteeps.
Taste: I agree that this is a good one to start with for those wanting to experience the nuances of mountain oolongs. Naturally sweet, smooth, and brightly floral (I keep thinking of white flowers- maybe subtle gardenia?) without being heavy or overwhelming. This is not roasty at all for those that favor that side of oolongs. There is a very faint almost spice note in the aftertaste that is green and interesting along with a pleasant thick mouthfeel with each sip.
I finally got a tin of this! It took me a very long time to figure out which Teavivre oolong to get a tin of but I finally settled on this one in the Black Friday sale. Next order, I think I will have to order a whole bunch of samples and figure out which oolong it is that I want to permanently stock. Which is everyone’s favourite Teavivre oolong?
This tea smells lovely dry with rolled green leaves. It smells very nutty and roasted. I used 1.5tsp for my glass mug and infuser. When brewed, the leaves (of course) open up and are a little less green. The flavour is still quite vegetal but has a sweet overall roasted flavour. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy.
Thank you Angel at Teavivre for these samples!
I am enjoying these roasted oolongs more and more, and have discovered that I am a huge fan of Taiwan oolongs, it seems they are complex and have sweet notes.
This tea is delicious with a silky mouthfeel and milky notes. I am getting a bit if sweetness, almost caramel notes along with that roasted flavour. This is a wonderful green oolong.
I steeped the whole package (about 3 tsp) in boiling water for 1 min, resteep at 2 min.
I am so glad that I take extensive notes on tea or I would not be able to write a cohesive blog today. Why, you might be asking, well because my Lupus is acting up and it always gives me a serious case of brain fog. I have been lucky to get sentences out today that were not a garbled mess. As per usual, enough whinging and on to the tea, today we are reviewing an Oolong (surprise, surprise, I know) but this is a special one that has been on my ‘to try’ list for a while.
Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong by Teavivre is a fancy Oolong from Alishan, Nantou, Taiwan. As you can suspect from the name, Milk Oolongs are known for their creamy sweetness, sadly a lot of these teas are artificially enhanced. This Jin Xuan, however, comes by its milkiness naturally, which is one of the reasons I was waiting so long to try it, I wanted the pure stuff! The aroma is mostly sweet and floral, like fresh vegetation and lilacs. There is of course a creamy, or more accurately milky, aroma with a slight hint of nuttiness. The sweetness reminds me of honey, so mixing cream, honey, and lilacs together you get an amazingly delicious smelling tea!
The steeped leaves unfurl into a lovely sweet and creamy aroma. Not only is is creamy it is also nutty like chestnuts with a tiny vegetal hint of green beans. Actually mixing the creaminess and nuttiness with that hint of beans vaguely reminds me of a hint of green bean casserole, neat! The liquid is crazy sweet, probably the sweetest aroma that I have found in an unflavored Oolong, I love it. Mostly the smell of honey and milk, but there is a tiny hint of nuttiness as an after thought, it sneaks in as you lean away from the steaming cup.
Time to taste the first steeping! Quoting my notebook directly “Drop the Mic, that is bangin’ sweet” just goes to show that maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to write! Goofiness aside, it is sweet, really sweet and creamy. It is like drinking sweetened cream without the thickness (I actually just drink straight cream on occasion, and not having the heaviness and just the cream taste is a plus). It is more honey sweet than sugar sweet, but there is a slight note of caramelized sugar in there at the end. After the initial creamy sweet taste fades you are left with a mild vegetal taste evocative of green beans and a tiny buttery chestnut aftertaste. As the tea cools it gets even sweeter.
I had to do a second steep, seeing this tea evolve through steepings was too tempting not to. The aroma of the leaves is more vegetal this time around, more of an artichoke and citrus than creamy sweetness. There is still the aroma of chestnut and sweetness in the liquid, though it is not as sweet of creamy as the first steep. The taste is still really sweet though, but it is not quite as creamy. It takes on more of the vegetal notes of green beans and chestnut and continues to become sweeter as it cools. This is a really unusual Oolong, but I like that about it. Well worth the wait and certainly a new favorite.
Dry: This is my first time trying a Teavivre black (I have enjoyed all of the greens and oolongs I’ve tried so far). Right from the first sniff of the loose leaf, I am liking this tea. When I open the bag, lovely long and feathery twisted golden orange variegated tips/buds greet me with an aromatic sweet and malty fragrance.
Steeped: I just worked all night at the hospital so I was wanting to try one of the blacks with a little bit more caffeine. The instructions recommend 2-5 minutes with the Western method, so I went with 3 minutes at 194 for the first steep. I did not overleaf or add anything to the tea and the result was a deep and dark red-brown clear liquor that smells slightly honeyed and earthy at the same time.
Taste: I had no expectations for the flavor as it looked like different people all enjoyed different aspects of this tea. I saw some said maple, earth, sweet potato, caramel, various bakery items, chocolate or cocoa, and more. I personally get smooth and velvet malty notes as the primary (and maybe a touch bready and earthy secondary) with a subtle sweetness along the tongue in aftertaste. This is a lovely breakfast-type tea and one that I find both comforting and a nice way to start the day.