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Recent Tasting Notes
This has been a weekend of constant interaction, the extreme introvert that is me is having a bit of burn out and in response to that, probably getting sick. Of course sickness can be alleviated somewhat with copious amounts of tea drinking, long soaks in a hot bath, and not coming out of my room for a few days. Yet another reason I need an electric kettle. Today we are going to look at a soothing tea, one filled with flowers and fuzzies.
Chamomile Rose Silver Needle White Tea by Teavivre is a beautiful tea blending Silver Needle from Fuding, Fujian, the chamomile is Winter picked in Sinkiang, China, and the roses are plucked in France during Autumn. When I saw this blend of tea and flowers I knew I had to try it, I was so glad they sent me a sample to try! The aroma is delightfully delicate and fresh, like flowers drying on a warm Summer day. I am not sure I have ever smelled a tea so evocative of the idea of Summer. The mix of heady rose and straw like aroma from the chamomile mixes very well with the dry, herbaceous aroma from the Silver Needle. Delicious and filled with the beauty of nature, that is a tea I will enjoy.
I love when I steep a tea and the aroma fills up the area I am in, it really heightens the tea experience and seems to make it last even longer than it would usually. The aroma is heavenly floral and herbaceous, the leaves take on notes of sage and thyme and are much stronger than the floral scents from the dry leaves. The liquid has very faint notes if sage mixing with the rose and chamomile aroma giving it a very clean feeling.
Time for the fuzzy trichomes to tickle my mouth, it is my favorite things about drinking Silver Needle tea. The taste is very clean and pure, it is a tea I would recommend drinking on a hot day or when you need a tea that refreshes you. I can certainly see myself putting this tea aside to drink when I feel feverish or too hot on the inside. The taste is also mildly sweet with a hint of the straw like taste of chamomile flowers, the Silver Needle carries on from the aroma and gives the tea a hint of a sage taste which blends well with the other flavors. But where is the rose you are probably asking, it is there at the end leaving a sweet floral aftertaste that will stay in your mouth for a few minutes. As the tea cools it becomes a little more sweet and a touch more floral. A very balanced and enjoyable drink filled with beautiful flowers.
Ahhhhh yeah…it seems like it’s been awhile since I had a dian hong, which is probably my favorite kind of tea. Smells like fruit preserves, maybe a hint of molasses, and sweet potato both pre-steep and after. Taste reminds me mostly of sweet potato and honey. Very smooth drinking, which is no surprise.
Tea #37 from Another Traveling Tea Box
While I’m normally a fan of a strong black tea, this one isn’t for me. I hate to say that since I’m a huge fan of most of the teas from TeaVivre that I’ve tried. Perhaps I’ll have to order a few different types and see if I stumble across one I do enjoy. I hate to completely give up on a style of tea, but so far my experience with Keemun has been rather lackluster.
The tea is very strong, which would generally appeal to me, but the combination of flavors just don’t suit my tastes. There was a hint of bitterness and a subtle smoky flavor that I don’t think went well with the dark chocolate notes I kept picking up. While I didn’t care for it, I do think this makes a great fall tea for someone who likes straight blacks with a hint of smoke.
I wasn’t very keen on this one with my first sample sachet, a few months ago. I’m loving it as much as my Yunnan White Jasmine today, however. My list of variables include: season change, longer steep time, older age of the batch, and potential mug and steeper contamination from yesterday’s Butiki’s “With Open Eyes”.
The flavour is sweet and saturated, like a banana, with some gentle melon notes. The jasmine isn’t overpowering to taste, although the aroma gives my nose a good kick as per usual. It’s floral and smooth, complimenting the cheese scone I just ate, in a surprisingly flattering way.
When I removed the steep basket from the mug I got some fizzy little bubbles for a few seconds. Hm, maybe I should clean my mug more thoroughly, or give the rest of the unused leaves in the sample a quick rinse before first steep next time!
Edit: bubbles were only on first steep, so quick rinse it is! I think I may like the second steep better, anyways. There’s a little citrus lemon to it.
This will be quick, since I didn’t particularly care for this tea and only steeped it twice. I used 7 g of tea in a 200 ml glass teapot.
The dry leaves smell like fruit roll-ups (I’m not kidding). The dry leaves are a darkish green, and they’re rolled up. They unfurl to reveal high-quality full leaves. I steeped it at 190-195 for 1’ and then 1:45.
The tea flavor itself is acceptable but not particularly impressive. It improves dramatically on the second steep, becoming more buttery. There’s an overlaid floral-fruity flavor which is somewhat pleasant but not very well-integrated with the oolong flavors. This is a problem that many jasmine teas have, and this tea shares it. The scent of the osmanthus is very perfume-like, and it is a pleasant smell, but it is not all that pleasant in a drink, in my opinion. (And please note that I love floral-smelling teas such as light Tie Guan Yins.)
I won’t be ordering a full-size batch of this tea.
Received this one from Teavivre’s Autumn tea contest.
This is a very pleasant oolong. It is lightly floral. There is definitely a naturally fruity taste. Reminds me of stone fruits, apricots, peaches.
I brewed this one 1tsp for about 2 minutes, it was quite thick. Still good, but I think I would prefer it for less steep time.
Edit: Made this one at a 1 min steep. I think the flavours are much better at the lesser steep time. The flavours are much lighter, and subtle, but I find I am better able to distinguish the flavours. Whereas at a 2 minute steep, it still tasted good, but I think some flavours were overpowering others.
I wanted to write a note for this tea because I was very impressed by it, and I’m shocked that it has such a low rating (76 at the time of writing). This is an excellent example of a Taiwan High Mountain Oolong.
The leaves are nicely dark and green with minimal oxidation, and they produce a light golden liquid. The leaves smell much like green tea leaves, which makes sense given the very minimal oxidation.
I brewed them gongfu style, 7g leaves with 7 oz of water, starting at 50s and working up. I’d start with 1 min next time or use slightly less water or more leaves. I used temperatures between 185 and 195 F.
Anyway, the flavor was excellent – vegetal notes are very present but not in your face or like you’re drinking asparagus juice. (The slight oxidation smoothes out the vegetality.) They’re complemented by a little bit of florality – there’s not enough oxidation to maximize florality. There’s a nice subtle sweetness. There’s also a buttery-milky flavor and a light-to-moderate mouthfeel. This tea has much of what I like in green tea without any overbearing vegetality, plus the smooth, complex buttery flavors of oolongs.
The second steep was really impressive – more buttery and milky with a wonderfully long finish and some notes of artificial popcorn butter (trust me, they were pleasant!) The third steep was somewhat weaker, but there were still complex herbaceous (kale-like) notes with good sweetness. The final steep was quite weak but still pleasant.
As you can tell, I really enjoyed this sample, and I’ll be ordering some despite it being a bit expensive (but still more than fair relative to other high-quality high mountain oolongs).
I drank 36oz of this yesterday – and will probably continue on with it later today. I was a bit surprised when I opened the packet. I’ve had a dong ding before and had my mind set on what I was about to experience. Except this is Qing Xiang and I did not know that means it is not roasted. The charcoal scent I was expecting was not there (and I am ok with that – I actually prefer the green oolongs.
I prepared it with boiling water and a two minute steep. There is a lot of leaf. I mean A LOT. The brew aroma is my next surprise. It is floral and spicy. Spicy? My second surprise.
I made the mistake of reading Teavivre’s description at this point. A mistake because I will never know if I would have made the osmanthus association on my own. It is definitely there once I know it but I was leaning more towards cinnamon and possibly ginger. I read Stoo’s review and notice he also made a cinnamon connection. Of course he had to run to the store and buy cookies afterwards. :)
I am liking this one a lot. It is floral, spicy, sweet, and has a long lasting aftertaste.
Drinking an exquisite cup of this before we leave on our road trip to Las Vegas. I won’t be bringing any tea with me on this trip so this will probably be the only good tea I have for awhile. Unless of course I find a good tea house in Las Vegas! Anyone know of one?
This tea is just wonderful. It tastes more roasted today than the last time I tasted it; mood really makes a difference when tasting tea!
Dry leaves smell fabulous! Can’t wait to try this.
I used the entire sample packet, probably two heaping teaspoons worth.
Yes, this is good tea! I’m not in the mood to get all wordy today but suffice it to say that this is green with definite roasty notes, and a bit floral, with the characteristic creaminess and slight caramel flavor that is distinctly from Taiwan tea.
Ahhhh, wonderful. I brewed up what may have been my last package of this tonight (I really couldn’t say, though… I haven’t kept great track lately). I gave the most to my mom, and she’ll likely drink the resteeps tomorrow, but I poured myself a nice small cup too. Mmmmmm… I brought far too few oolongs with me on my holidays this time, so it was a welcome treat. I can’t wait to get back to my full tea stash (although in some respects, being constricted to just a few means I get more sipdowns!)
Roasty green oolong? Unsurprisingly, this one was a big win for me. Absolutely delicious. Roasted, creamy oolong notes, and if there were floral notes, they were masked by everything else (or toned down, and I didn’t notice them). I’ll have to try this one next to an unroasted dong ding oolong, as well as an aged tieguanyin, because in my head, the flavour profiles are all quite similar (and I don’t think that’s quite true).
Second infusion was very similar to the first – these leaves pack a lot of flavour!
A huge thank you to Angel and Teavivre for including this sample in my package!
A huge thank you to Angel & Teavivre for sending me some oolong samples! It was perfect timing, since I have just been refining my ability to taste the differences between different oolongs (instead of saying they all taste oolongy) and be able to figure out which ones are floral (not my favourites), creamy (yes!), roasty (even better!), or various other flavours.
I kind of randomly selected this tea as one of the first two I brewed up (I couldn’t choose…) I was expecting a tea on the lightly creamy side, since it’s a high mountain oolong and that’s the association I have in my head, but instead, it had much more of a green, floral profile, like a tieguanyin. There was perhaps still some creaminess, but floral notes definitely dominated. As I’m not the biggest fan of floral teas, this wouldn’t be one I’d purchase myself, but it’s pretty tasty if you do like that sort of flavour profile. If, however, you want a milk oolong-type tea, my first experience with this one makes me think that you should try something else first!
I think the verdict so far, after 3 days of oolong sampling, is that I’m just not that into oolongs. This is nice, and smooth, and just a bit floral and vegetal and it’s fine, but… I just don’t see that I’d crave it very often.
It’s good, but what would I ever do with an oz of it?
I’ll rate it when I drink the second pack!
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
Sniffing the wet leaves after the rinse stage, I picked up on butter, spices and a sweet flavour (like corn). This scent is very noticeable and not subtle or boring in any way.
Tasting the first steep, the aroma is much more toned down than I imagined. It’s mellow, floral, and slightly sweet. None of the flavours overpower my senses, and I didn’t taste any bitterness.
From the second to seventh steeps, it held a consistent flavour.
My husband and I had very different opinions on this tea. He really enjoys non-roasted oolongs and I do not. That’s my bias, but I can still appreciate the tea (I’m just not crazy about it).
Overall, I think it’s a nice mellow oolong. Its quiet nature is enjoyable. In comparison with cheaper oolong teas, this has a good long lasting flavour that resteeps well.
Tea parameters (Teavivre’s website suggestion):
100ml gaiwan, 7g sample, rinse and 7 infusions (30s, 30s, 35s, 45s, 60s, 100s, 120s)
Sipdown #3 today!
I’m cleaning out my cupboard to make room for new stuffs, so trying to sipdown what I can. Might manage a 4th later.
So, on to this tea. I have not had a straight oolong in some time. I don’t know why, really, because I do traditionally love them. I get so wrapped up in my shiny shiny that I often forget about things I have.
The leaves are quite typically dark green and shriveled and sort of ball like. The brew is still pale, like the first time I made this. There’s a mild floral scent to it, but nothing so overpowering, and you can pick up a little of the roasted flavour. The taste is a little more roasted and less floral.
As I mentioned in my initial tasting note, this is a very basic medium toned oolong, that is a nice starter one. It is not overly complex, which is actually quite fine. Sometimes the simple things are best. Like today, my lunch was spinach linguine tossed in a brown butter sauce, with a little parmesan. Super easy, super tasty. If my lemon half hadn’t gone bad, I’d probably have squeezed a little juice over it all too. Just simple flavours and sooo good.
Anyway, I like this oolong, but it is not amazing. I am thankful to Angel from Teavivre for providing me with this sample to try.
Backlog…had this last night, and a re-steep this morning.
I used about half of the small sample pouch provided by Teavivre for the steep. I got a very standard medium oolong taste. The liquor was still quite pale in my travel mug, but golden yellow. There was a crisp and clean taste, with a medium floral tone as well…nothing overpowering or perfumey, and a light roasted flavour. But in general, it was mostly clean and floral and I can see why they call this an oolong for beginners.
I don’t think this is quite as tasty as the flavoured milk oolong I have had from them, but it is tasty. I know I will enjoy the rest of the sample pouch, and the other oolongs I have been provided with.
Thanks Angel at Teavivre for letting me try this one.
I drank this earlier today and quite enjoyed it! My toddler did too, which is funny because she usually just ignores my tea, but this time she walked up to my cup and kept trying to drink from it. I gave her a few sips and each time she proclaimed, “Mmmmmm!”. So adorable!
I’m hoping to get a variable temp kettle for Christmas and then drinking this one will be easier.