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Recent Tasting Notes
First off, thank you to Angel from Teavivre for the free sample. I got this one as part of the Fall give away that Teavivre did back in September and only now have had the chance to actually sit down and try it at home.
Dry this tea smells slightly floral, but it’s more of a fruit flower scent, with definite hits of honey. There is also a slight vegetal aroma but not so much as to make this tea seem astringent. Overall it’s quite a refreshing scent profile with very little bite.
After a quick rinse I steeped this tea for about a minute, and it gave me a clear orange liquor which smelled like sweet cut alfalfa. This first infusion had a rich, creamy and oh so smooth mouth-feel with a complex flavor profile. Earthy and yet sweet with honey notes. Sweet and yet high fruit notes help bring it all together.
The second steep was 2 minutes long and gave off a pale orange liquor. The aroma profile has become subtle with the honey notes now coming though clearer; it almost reminds me of a clover flower. This infusion has the same rich mouth-feel and creaminess as the previous steeping. Flavor wise I taste honey but it’s not as sweet as before, while the fruit notes have turned citrusy; brighter but still earthy.
My last steeping was 3.5 min long and I ended up with a gold-orange liquor that had very subtle, sweet grass aroma. This last infusion had a lighter mouth-feel but was still creamy and smooth. The flavor profile this time was of subtle honey notes mixed in with a bit of grassiness.
I was really very impressed with this oolong, it was so complex but yet so smooth; a wonderful change from other oolongs that I’ve had in the past.
I received a small amount of this one from Heather. :)
This is the best green oolong I’ve had (So far! I have more on my counter!). It is SO lovely. They say there are orchid notes, but I’m smelling freesias. And maybe some vanilla. The tea tastes very green, a tiny bit minty, and extremely floral. The balance is definitely tipped towards the floral, but it’s just wonderful.
It’s currently out of stock on their website, but I have to say I’d never buy more than a sample. This just isn’t a tea that I could drink every day. It’s extremely lovely to try, and I’ll probably re-visit it in the future.
Just started a session of this one. The dry leaf smells like fresh hay. The liquor is a light amber colour and the taste, so far, is sweet with a slight bitter, but not unpleasant, edge to it. It’s smooth and slightly sweet, and I can feel the after-taste prickling on my tongue, a bit like space-dust.
This is another sample received from either Nicole_Martin or Fuzzy_Peachkin at one of the NYC meetups. This is quite sweet and floral, but not offputtingly so – I find that some very green oolongs are just too strong on the honeysuckle front, but this one had enough savory and vegetal notes going on to keep things balanced in a way I was able to enjoy. Green TGYs aren’t my favorites, but this is certainly one of the nicest I’ve tried.
This is a nice delicate green – it’s a little bit floral and a little bit vegetal (spinach, more than grass or seaweed) and maybe just very faintly nutty. And I got four solid steeps out of the leaves – the later steeps were more vegetal, but without even approaching the point where I start feeling like I’m drinking leftover spinach-cooking water. I’ve really been enjoying Chinese greens lately, and this is no exception. Thanks to whoever gave me this sample – I’m 99% sure it was either Nicole_Martin or Fuzzy_Peachkin.
This is less mineral and more vegetal than other oolongs I have tasted. I find that it doesn’t taste a lot like milk, but the mouthfeel and aftertaste are kind of creamy. I haven’t had any other milk oolongs so I can’t compare. It is very good but I don’t think I will find myself craving it just because right now I am not liking oolongs as much as I did. I don’t know what happened, when I started drinking them I was amazed that tea could taste like this, but now they are all kind of meh for me. I need something that will knock my socks off!
Another free sample from Teavivre. Thank you. This is the last of the most recent batch of samples I was sent.
I bought a sample of this tea some time back and really enjoyed it, although I did not remember this until I came to write a note about this new sample. Last time I found it to be a powerful, full body experience. So, how does it fare this time around? The initial impression is woodsy and smoky with a strong, pleasing kuwei after a 5 second steep. Further perusal and steeping suggest prunes or muscatel, and hay notes in the aroma, but less so in the tasting. The aftertaste is sweet with a little smoke and a mild astringency. Like last time, I can feel this tea in my legs first and then the relaxation spreads throughout the rest of my body. I avoid getting tea drunk, but the possibility is definitely there. This is still a powerful tea. I reckon it will really help me through the working day.
Flavors: Hay, Smoke, Wood
I bought a sample of this with my last Teavivre order. It’s powerful and I am getting quite the buzz from it. I can really feel the tea’s energy in my extremities. The tea is sweet with some astringency that probably arises because I oversteeped it first off, but I don’t find that to be a problem. There’s a smidgin of smoke at the back of my throat when I swallow too. Overall, it’s jolly nice and just the ticket for an evening’s editing.
This is the last of my free samples from Teavivre. Thank you.
As usual, this tea comprises nuggets of green leaf, ranging from a fairly light green through to dark. They look great. The dry leaf smells slightly milky. When steeped the nuggets unfurl into buds with large leaves attached. The aroma is still slightly milky but with more osmanthus aroma. It is a sweet smell. The liquor is yellow and clear. It looks light and inviting, and smells sweet like the leaves. Tasting it confirms this. It has body (perhaps a light butteriness?) but still remains light and sweet, and the enduring aftertaste is sweet and pleasant. This is a refreshing tea that feels like it belongs in my cup on a hot summer’s day. Shame it is siling it down here now. Given the grey and miserable weather, this tea adds a little ray of sunshine to my day.
Thank you Angel at Teavivre for this sample! My last selection from this bunch of samples.
This is a lovely, floral, green oolong with a hint if creaminess. There is a sweet aftertaste which I am fond of. Overall, very enjoyable
3 tsp of leaf, boiling water, 1 minute
I didn’t get around to a resteep unfortunately
This was a sample sent to me from the lovely folks at Teavivre. Dong Ding (sometimes Tung Ting or “Frozen Summit”) is a very beautiful tea mountain in Nantou county near the west coast of Taiwan. They produce a lot of rolled oolongs in the Taiwan/Fujian style. “Qing Xiang” (清香) means “Fragrant” or “Aromatic”.
The dry leaves lived up to their name with a very pleasant sweet aroma. As expected for a Dong Ding, the leaves are rolled into balls, but somewhat unexpectedly they are many different sizes. Some are quite a lot larger than my usual Dong Ding (indicating a lot of stems, which doesn’t mean anything in itself), while some balls were more like fine gunpowder green tea in size. The variation in leaf size had me on my guard, as such inconsistency can make infusing a tea difficult. The color was a mix of bright green mixed with gunpowder gray, like an evergreen forest in the spring.
The first three infusions did not impress me too much, having a little too green and sharp a taste for my palette. However, as the flavor that was present hadn’t become noticeably weaker I tried a fourth and was very surprised at the improvement. A hint of saltiness crept into the flavor, which changed everything. There was still the bright spring quality, but it became subdued and gentle. The aroma was delicate but unmistakably that of the wonderful sweetness you will find in an oolong withering room. Somehow a bit of cream entered the texture, mellowing the sharpness of the previous infusions. The effect was still there but now it manifested as a dryness on the front of the tongue in the aftertaste, not marring the mouthfeel. My mind wandered away to a green mountainside in Lugu, looking across the lake at the tea fields of Dong Ding. It’s really a reminder that, particularly with a rolled oolong, there can be layers of flavor that lie hidden away behind the initial taste.
A hot rinse of the leaves at the start or possibly beginning with a cooler temperature water might have made for a different beginning entirely for this tasting. Tea is a living creation, and while I love to find a Dong Ding that really wows on the first sip, I very much enjoy a tea that makes me taste and experiment to find its beauty. I’m glad to have had this chance!
(Read the full review here: http://someteawith.me/2013/11/27/teavivre-2013-qing-xiang-dong-ding/)
Thank you Teavivre for this tea sample!
Almost every evening, the sky at the end of my street where the plains meet the bottom of the Rocky Mountains turns radiant! I wander outside regularly with my camera to capture the Cathedral-like stained-glass window array of colors.
Cold winds tumble and dip down to 5000 ft. creating odd shaped clouds that can hover all day in one spot. They catch the setting sun appearing to be an alien spaceship or flat pancakes.
Of all the places I’ve been (Alaska, Greece, Italy, California, Peru and so on) these sky-scapes are the best!
I drank a little tea…this one in particular…and enjoyed the menthol coolness of the leaves when I put my nose close to the gaiwan after a 2 minute steep.
I tasted sweet corn.
Then cool airy menthol with the corn which was refreshing.
The fragrance was floral and corn which I didn’t taste up front, but on my palate as an aftertaste with slight bitterness (not unpleasant), reminding me of lilies.
The term moderately-roasted shouldn’t scare off those who don’t like roasty tea’s. There’s nothing ‘roasty’ tasting about this tea!
What the roast does is bring this Oolong out of the ‘very floral’ tasting Oolong variety but stopping before becoming roasty. (My opinion)
I wouldn’t steep this a long time. 2 minutes after a rinse was very good to my taste.
The reason I wrote about the sky in my neighborhood and this tea is this: When I drink tea, it always makes me a better person in some way if I let it do so.
Before I began drinking tea, I never carried a camera or went out of my way to notice how beautiful nature was unless on vacation.
Tea put my life in the present moment where I have the opportunity to notice what’s around me. Now I notice the sky and so much more!
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for a sample of this! Mmmm I was craving a rich black tea and I hope found my winner! I opened the package and a rich cocoa aroma spilled out. The leaves are beautiful, too. Mmm the flavor isn’t as rich as I was hoping but it’s still very enjoyable. This tea has light cocoa\caramel notes but there is something vegetal to it. Like sweet potato.. or raw string bean. There is a touch of malt, too. I really enjoy this tea. It’s nice and comforting.
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this Sample Tea!
I have simpathy for those of you getting ready for Thanksgiving with the latest Winter storm ready to hit. Freezing rain and/or snow!
The West (and Mountains where I am) has had the storm pass by already. Finally we’re coming out of sub-zero temperatures.
What we all have in common, even those who are in the cold Canadian Winter and those of you in Europe…is the comforting glow of a cup of tea which warms us from head to toe.
This Thanksgiving I’ll be with my daughter, son-in-law and 10 children. (One 2 year old is a short stay foster toddler. Another has been with them almost from birth (about a year). The third is three and awaiting adoption into their forever family of 3 bio and 4 adopted children). Grandma Bonnie will be busy in the noisy mix on the farm this Thursday.
Granddaugher Kiah (16) will be butchering the turkey and several chickens. She’s done this before.(sorry vegans, but this is the way this family feeds their brood by raising their own food!)
I’ve been reading my family history. We go back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony…all the way back to those early Pilgrims. My daughter Annalisa laughs…“The African American part of me came over on a slave ship and cooked turkey for others. The British part arrived on a ship as a Pilgrim and my husband (who is part Native American) shared turkey with my Pilgrim ancestors. So there you go,Thanksgiving!”
Whatever our background and story, we can be thankful for many things. I am thankful for my Steepster friends for sure! I’m thankful for so many blessings…too many to count!
This morning, I made a spaghetti squash crusted deep dish pizza with feta and spinich. While it was baking, I made some Taiwanese Osmanthus Oolong Tea.
The instructions say ‘steep 3-8 minutes’. That’s quite a long time! I chose 6 minutes, poured the whole packet of leaves into my larger gaiwan…then added boiling water.
The aroma that wafted up was lovely floral, slightly vegetal…but tasted too strong. 6 minutes was almost bitter, sweet but too much.
The second steep, at 45 seconds, was perfect. Light, sweet with the aroma of sugar cookies. Osmanthus can smell a bit like vanilla.
The Oolong isn’t very vegetal and reminded me of taking a nibble off a skinny stalk of young, fresh uncooked asparagus. (I detected a hint of butter)
Many steepsters love a sweet tea and wouldn’t dream of not adding sugar or sweetener. Adding a little here (just a little) works well.
My favorite time to drink a tea like this one would be when the first bulbs in Spring are coming up, and the ethereal glow of warm sunshine begins to melt the frost. Hope in a cup!
Blessings to everyone this Thanksgiving and to those who are not in this land, Blessings always!
TODAY is the DAY!!!! It is Grey Cup day!!!!!! And my home town is hosting Grey Cup!!!!!! And the home town team MADE IT!!!!!! Go Riders!!!!!!
For anyone that doesn’t know, the Grey Cup is basically the superbowl but for the CFL (although it is nothing like the superbowl). My home town Roughriders (green and white) are playing the Hamilton TigerCats. Its gonna be aweome! And it is super crazy in the city. I made every effort to run all of my errands on Friday and it took forever, I was out of the house from 11am to 8pm. And then I was going to hide inside all weekend. Away from the crazies, and there are a lot of them, believe me. But then my mom texts me yesterday with a list of things she needed me to pick up for today. Oh man, its nuts out there. Everyone is in a hurry to pick up all the last minute things for the game, or trying to get to the game.
This tea is light and smooth. Today I am finding it to be sweet and the slightest bit floral. It is creamy and buttery. But there is also that nice green vegetal taste. Reminding me of wheat grass today.
So I may be a melon head, and I may bleed green, but I also drink GREEN! Take that Hamilton.
Sipdown (89)! I know I got this from someone on Steepster in a swap, but all the samples got mixed up in my move across the country, so I can’t remember who, sorry! Anyway, I finally got around to trying this one out. Even though I used (visually speaking, not a lot of measuring going on) a pretty hefty leaf to water ratio, the flavor of this one was still pretty mild. I may have let my water cool down a touch too much. The main flavor I was getting kind of rode the line between floral and grassy if that makes any sense. I wasn’t getting much nuttiness as I often do from greener oolongs, but it was still pretty tasty. I’ll probably resteep the leaves with some hotter water when I get back from the gym later, so I will update this note with any new findings if I do!
Sample sipdown! My cupboard is flooded with new Cyber Monday teas, so while I am sad to see this go, it’s a bit of a relief to have one less tea to worry about sitting around and getting stale. This is a nice green oolong that is naturally somewhat sweet and has a bit of a nutty taste to it. I think I prefer darker/roastier oolongs in general, but out of the greener oolongs, I really do enjoy this one. Thanks again to Teavivre for this free sample!
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this wonderful sample!
Dry: Tightly rolled olive bundles that seem to include a bud and full leaves when unfurled. Smells green, almost grassy, and mild. I wasn’t sure what to expect at all in the brewed tea from the package because the dry scent is not anything that really caught me initially, but (spoiler alert) I was very pleasantly surprised.
Steeped: Clear light green liquor. I brewed this with the Western method and it needs even more room than most oolongs to expand as the bundle of leaves are quite large and whole. It smells sweetly floral and fresh.
Taste: As soon as I took my first sip, I was falling in love. It is my new favorite Taiwan oolong. I am greeted with creamy milk blended with soft floral notes. I am not into flower teas usually, but the flavor of this tea is lovely and elegant with a silky mouthfeel. The aftertaste is sweet and mild, leaving me wanting to take another sip time and time again. I daresay I like this even more than the milk oolong with its smooth buttery goodness and natural milk flavor.
Everything is frosted and quiet outside, the sun is just starting to peek over the towering trees, and I am sipping a taste of the mountains on this fine Sunday morning. Yes, please!