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Recent Tasting Notes
Appearance: small tu-cha button, Chrysanthemum pressed into the back of it.
Aroma when Dry: toasted nuts, earthy, faint floral notes
After water is first poured: nutty, creamy, buttery caramel notes
At end of first steep: murky, earthy, peaty, floral
At first? Light red brown
At end of steep: opaque black– brown
Preferred time of day: afternoon
At first?: heavy, slightly creamy earthy notes, clay, hints of floral, slight sour finish
As it cools?: notes get more earthy, heavier
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? No
Lingers? Yes, deep earth notes, slight floral leads on sour close
Second steep (3 min)
At first: more Chrysanthemum notes, with floral notes lingering longer, still heavy, earthy
Now this one I like. Never really tried real milky oolongs before, but now I can see why it’s called that. The background is kinda similar.
On a side note, you can try to imagine what’s “local” milky oolong like given how sellers try to buy cheap and be literal with flavoring … XD
Continuing my floral tea route tonight I decided on an Oolong and chose Da Hong Pao from my Teavivre samples. I have a bag from Canton Tea Club that I have yet to brew but I haven’t been in the mood so this will be a test. If this goes down well tonight then maybe tomorrow I can blog it.
Still brewing in my gongfu tonight with my 7g sample.
3 steeps:30s,1m,2m 100ºC/212ºF
The raw tea consists of large, thinly rolled dark brown leaves with light tips. They smell floral and sweet with a wonderful musky autumn leaves scent blended in. I can also note there were no sticks or stems amongst the leaves.
Steep 1 – 30 seconds
Orange gold in colour with a roasted, sweet and floral scent. Lightly roasted in flavour balanced with sweet floral highlights and a little nuttiness. Only a hint of perfume but overall well balanced.
Steep 2 – 1 minute
The orange colour is wonderful to look at. Dominance wise the flowers have taken over the roasted flavour with the dry perfume after taste remaining at the same level. Sweetness still lingers to create a light tea overall that’s smooth and delicate.
Steep 3 – 2 minutes
Now it’s a similar strength as the first steep. It’s still smooth with no bitterness and the dry perfume flavour is at a minimum. There is also still a little sweetness amongst the floral tones and that wonderful roasted almost baked warmth.
I found the quality of the leaves to be very good which was shown in appearance and taste. It’s not my favourite Oolong but as a floral tea it’s great. My mouth is left with a sweet floral after taste that is sitting very nicely with me. I can definitely see why this is so popular.
Thank you to Angel and Teavivre for this sample. I bought a pack of mixed tuocha anyway before tasting them which is a little crazy but I think I’m going to love them.
My sample pack comes with 2 tuocha pieces that look so pretty and delicate. The Pu Erh is nice and darkly brown and the rose petals are notable on the top. In smell they have a slight sweet rose scent which mixes well with the woody Pu Erh.
Brewing in my gongfu with Teavivre’s instructions. I have been told to continue 30 second steeps though instead if it’s too strong. I will see what happens.
Tea:2 pieces 4 steeps:30s,1m,2m,3m 100ºC/212ºF
Steep 1 – 30 seconds
Golden brown and almost treacle like in colour with a strong Pu Erh scent with only a subtle touch of floral sweetness. The taste is smooth with a woody and malty smokiness that is finished with a gentle kiss of sweet rose. The rose seems to be keeping it lighter than usual.
Steep 2 – 1 minute
Colour is now very dark brown almost black. Also now the tuocha have broken up. Considering the colour has changed quite significantly the taste is still very similar. It’s a little richer but still mellow and with only a slight floral sweetness. There is also a leather like charm about it which I am seeing as being a positive thing (despite being vegetarian).
Steep 3 – 2 minutes
Even after a 2 minute steep it remains mellow and refreshing. The rose has blended in a little more but at the same time the Pu Erh has toned down ever so slightly to keep it at a fair strength. I’m still picking up that leather finish.
Steep 4 – 3 minutes
The flavours are very subtle now compared to the strongest steep (number 2). All that remains is the smooth wood finish that has been consistently mellow throughout.
Overall I really enjoyed this Pu Erh and it was exactly what I was after at this time. It was ripe yet mellow and so lightly sweet whilst keeping with the traditional Pu Erh flavours. As a whole this tea is: mellow, leather like, earthy, woody, floral, sweet, musky, rich and smooth. For me it’s perfect.
This may be my favourite black tea. It’s approachable, it’s easy, it takes a beating well and it always yields rich flavours with a lot of depth. It morphs from light smoke to cocoa to milk chocolate to earthy hay/barn. It is a chameleon and has never failed to satisfy. It’s good hot and good cold (I’m not much for iced tea but this maintains a depth of flavour that many others don’t).
I think of myself as a relatively picky tea drinker, but this one is truly impressive. For a long time, I have saved up my favourite things (tea, treats, etc) as I never want to run out. With this one, I’d rather drink it again and again and just keep re-ordering. From me, this is high praise, and I fully intend to keep this in my cupboard at all times.
Increased my rating for it’s long lasting appeal.
I’ve tasted this one twice now. This was the first loose leaf pu’er that I’ve prepared, and I definitely underestimated the amount of leaf that I should use the first time. More is definitely better with this shou. For me, about a third of my gaiwan works pretty well considering the leaves don’t expand much after water hits them.
The dry leaf aroma is spicy, dry, and woody. The leaves are short, stocky, and thin with faded black, and light brown colorations. They remind me of black tea leaves. After a wash of around ten seconds the leaves reveal a thick and earthy aroma like rich and fertile soil. There are also some notes of cocoa, grapes, and the second time I tried it, some faint funky smell like spoiled grapes. Kind of off-putting, but not awful.
The broth ends up being quite nice. The first steep is very thick and dark, but not so much so that I can’t see to the bottom of the cup. Later on, as steeps progress, it becomes darker and murky. Tea oils are also apparent on the surface.
Flavor-wise, it’s a bit of a weaker brew as I alluded to at the beginning. I first began with Teavivre’s recommended steep times, but found them to produce a more one-dimensional and shallow flavor. I do 10" for the first and 20" for the second steep, but usually jump to something above a minute for the third and something like five minutes for the fourth. I can maybe get one or two extra steeps after that, but they typically aren’t note-worthy.
This shou has a very woody flavor, which is always the top note for each steep. Later on, a really sweet and peaty flavor mingles with the woodsy notes while dry, spicy features rise throughout the session. At some points, I can taste some fruity dimensions, like a wine-y aspect that provides both sweetness and a tad bit of tartness. Later on during the session, usually during the fourth steep, it tastes really leathery, with an almost oily mouthfeel to match. Otherwise, I suppose I could describe this tea as “smooth” texturally, but the mouthfeel isn’t very interesting overall, although it becomes faintly sparkly during the very last steep. I can, however, get a decent aftertaste following most steeps, which happens to be very sweet.
Other than a faint metallic undertone in the first steep, a bit of an odd aroma to the wet leaves, and a little oiliness this shou is pretty clean. It provides most of the things I would look for in a shou, but doesn’t really bring anything new to the table.
After getting so utterly wrecked and sore last night from cooking and cleaning, I feel great today. I also have been very lazy and have done little.
I have just finished the fifth steep of one teaspoon of these little pearls, and I must say they have added an elegance and enjoyment to this day as few things can.
The jasmine flavor is still present though fading, and the green base is showing its pedigree. It reminds me a great deal of Huang Shan Mao Feng. This is exquisite, and is one of my panic teas. I panic if it starts to get low and I place an order!
Wow a Teavivre Pu Erh that no one else has reviewed. I feel honoured to be the first :)
I’m full of Chinese food now and I rummaged in my bag to find my sample of this. It’s in a rather large silver sealed bag instead of the usual Teavivre sample bags and I can feel that the tea is a large piece of cake. That sounds nice … a large piece of cake. It would see I have more than one stomach, one for Chinese food and one for puddings.
Anyway I opened the bag and pulled out this large piece of broken off cake. It weighs 21g so I’m going to have to half it. There we are I now have 10g in my Gongfu. It’s a mixture of dark and medium browns in colour with a rich and slightly smoky fragrance.
Tea:10g 5 steeps:30s,1m,2m,3m,4m 100ºC/212ºF
The table above was taken from the Teavivre website so I will try following those rules, if it’s too strong then I will lower the steeping times.
Steep 1 – 30 seconds
The colour is reddy brown similar to mahogany and it smells sweet, woody, earthy but fresh. The flavour is actually quite subtle, it’s fresh and light but it has a mature sort of taste.
Steep 2 – 1 minute
The colour now is almost black and looks like cola. It tastes earthy and thick, a little sweet and woody to. Despite it’s strength it’s still fresh and smooth. The quality is starting to make itself known and I’m impressed so far.
Steep 3 – 2 minutes
It still keeps increasing in strength but remains smooth and rich but fresh. For being ripe there is still a sweetness there and no harshness at all like some lower quality Pu Erh has. This is smooth all the way with that sort of caramel finish. Smoky, woody caramel.
Steep 4 – 3 minutes
The caffeine has made me a little tea drunk, it’s pretty awesome. It’s still the same colour as cola. The sweetness is increasing but not as much as some Pu Erh, this really has balanced perfectly.
Steep 5 – 4 minutes
In a few words this tea is: rich, sweet, woody, earthy, smooth, light, fresh, mellow, smoky and a little fruity. The strength has weakened a little in this steep but I think it would easily hold for another few.
I think this is the best ripe Pu Erh I have ever tasted. It’s not heavy or bitter which is what I was expecting and it was also very consistent throughout. Delicious.
This was a sample generously sent from Mary at Teavivre. It is my second experience with this particular pu-ehr, and I recall enjoying it last time when I prepared it according to the package instructions. This time, I didn’t prepare it the same way. Instead, I went to the Teavivre website brewing instructions for the gaiwan. I rinsed the leaves (7 gm) twice, then steeped for 20s,30s,40s -later realized it should have been 10s,20s,25s,30s,35s etc. I usually add sweetener to all teas, but this time I didn’t. There is some bitterness by the 3rd steeping-still, not bad. Maybe this could be overcome with shorter steep, but the description on the website says it has some bitterness mid-sip. By the 3rd steep, I decide to add some stevia, and for me, this is better, because it cuts the bitterness. Now I wonder though, if perhaps I should just keep the brewing time shorter, because there was no bitterness for the 1st few steeps. And before, when I brewed it with more water, Western style, I didn’t note bitterness either. So now, for the 4th steep, I use 6 oz water for 30 seconds which pretty much eliminates the bitterness. From my relatively limited experience with pu-ehr, I think I prefer those that are ripened, and Teavivre has some that are quite good. Nevertheless, this was interesting to try, and you may need to play with the time and leaf/water ratio for optimal results.
Thank you Teavivre for this sample.
The tea itself is a mixture of dark brown and light brown leaves compacted together into broken cake pieces. They have a sweet and earthy smell equal to most raw Pu Erh. I shall be steeping with a table taken from the Teavivre website.
Teapot Gongfu Tea:2pieces 4 steeps:30s,1m,2m,3m 100ºC/212ºF
Once the tea is rinsed it bears a much sweeter and woodier scent.
Steep 1 – Yellow in colour. A slight smell of fresh cut wood. The taste is sweet and slightly smoky and vegetal. Even though it’s light it’s also on the rich side.
Steep 2 – Darkening in colour to become a little golder. The flavour has increased to double the first steep. Now it’s very rich but still remains sweet. Also picked up floral and perfume tones but on a subtle basis.
Steep 3 – Much sweeter with a dry perfume after taste. The richness has also increased along with smokiness but it manages to stay refreshing.
Steep 4 – I do like that the sweetness has continued all the way through and now that it’s settled it’s become woody again. It tastes like a forest, it has the sweet wood, the green fresh leaves and the rich soil flavours all in one.
Overall I do like this Pu Erh very much as it remained consistently good throughout the 4 steeps. It’s also fairly strong and potent which I have to be in the right mood for. If I was going to say anything negative it would be that the tea left my mouth bone dry and it had that strange perfume taste that gathered at the back of my throat.
Nice ripe pu-erh, deep and not too simple. Chrysanthemum blossom adds some interesting taste at later steeps. http://www.teablr.com/?p=531
I didn’t know anything about ginseng when I first tried this tea. I fell in love with the way it coated my throat and tongue, the way the sweetness grew in volume with each swallow, the way the sweet somewhat floral (to me) flavor blossoms, going from a pianissimo on the first sip to forte after the third little “shot” from my Teavivre double walled glass cups.
Subsequent steeps become less ginseng and more oolong. The color stayed a good solid golden shade through all three steeps, and I will probably steep these leaves some more tomorrow.
My guests loved loved loved it! I love it, too, and right now I am wondering how I keep myself from drinking it every day.
Thanks to Teavivre for this sample!
I’m not the biggest green tea drinker, but this is a new favorite of mine. It’s sweet, fresh, light, and crisp. All the things one usually seeks out in a green tea with the addition of some nice oolong-y characteristics and a basic flavor framework that reminds me of a dragonwell. The leaves are an awesome shade of vivid green and smell very dragonwell-like: oats and nuts and potent veggies. I haven’t decided whether I prefer gong fu or Western style with this one yet, but each has it’s pros.
Gong fu style
This allows for a huge change in flavors from steep to steep, but getting more than three solid steeps is rare. But let me tell you, those three steeps are pretty awesome. It’s like a fifteen-steep session condensed to one fifth! With about 1/4 to 1/3 of my gaiwan full of dried leaf, 175 F water, and a seven second first steep (no rinse) it comes out wonderfully. I receive notes of fresh hay, a malty sweetness, thick and “chewy” vegetal qualities, and faint tones of nuts. Maybe almonds? The liquor’s color has great clarity and is so light and vivid it’s almost neon.
The second steep at about 14 seconds brings a lively mouthfeel with a sort of sparkling texture. A new nuance that reminds me of whole wheat toast becomes most apparent and the nutty qualities become more pronounced. The third steep seems to do well somewhere between 30 seconds and one minute. Twenty seconds is a bit too short and it comes out really weak, and one minute introduces some bitterness and astringency (two things that usually aren’t present with this tea except for extra long steep times). The nutty and toasty qualities subside a great deal at this point and are replaced with a strong herbal quality. It’s far more “green.”
With the aforementioned leaf to water ratio, a fourth steep is possible, but it’s flavor faded and it has a heavy mouthfeel. It comes out like a mixture of steep 2 and 3.
While the flavor doesn’t change dramatically between steeps, each steep is lovely in its own way. Western style produces a light-bodied cup with great character. The “darker” flavors like toast and nuts and such aren’t as apparent this way, but instead blend in with the other nuances so that all the flavors kind of meet in the middle. Yet, a lively, sparkly/fizzy mouthfeel helps add another dimension to keep things interesting.
The main drawbacks to this method, for me at least, is I have to use a ton of leaf. I did 3 heaping teaspoons in my 16 oz cast iron with 175 F water. I performed the recommended one minute steeping time, took the leaves out, and poured some off. Still really weak. So I plopped the leaves back in and went for another minute. This worked much better.
Ultimately, I’ll be using Western brewing when I want a sipping tea and gong fu when I want a short, but power-packed session. I also prefer gong fu to pull out the best flavors this tea offers, like that whole wheat toast note that I look forward to every time I drink this one. I think the textural intrigues of this tea are pulled out much more easily with Western style, though.
There’s a good chance that I’ll be stocking this one as my one green tea on hand at some point. :)
Noooo, Steepster ate my huge tasting note!
Dry, the leaves look thin, dark and spindly. There’s beautiful sea-spray and freshly cut grass scents to the leaves and brewed tea.
Very light liquor – like a green tinted white tea. Smooth, slight hint of seaweed, grassy and “fresh”. Depending on how resteeps go, this could definitely belong in my cupboard.
I have been up since three. I could barely keep my eyes open at work. A friend battled colon cancer for a year and was declared cancer free. Now they say he has a spot on his lung and we are waiting for results. Two weeks from today I will be laid off forcing me into retirement with no insurance and less than half the income. I have no new job prospects on the horizon so I am having a little trouble with Fear Not. As gmathis said the other day, I know how the story ends, but can’t we just skip a few chapters?
I went to my drawer for a little comfort. I was looking for Golden Monkey black tea. When I saw this one I realized I haven’t had it in a long time. It was a great choice. While waiting for the water to heat I started noticing the leaf smell. It is like wheat and malt. Such a nice scent. The cup is so smooth. It is heavily malted with light cocoa notes. I notice today it is even slightly peppery. The malt and cocoa linger long after the sip is gone. It’s funny, not that long ago I had no idea what people meant when they said a tea was malty. I guess it is because I had never tried a tea like this before.
I am more impressed with this today by far than when I first tried it. This I believe is the least expensive version of Dian Hong that TeaVivre sells. I should check that before I say it I guess. Anyway, I think originally I thought it would taste more sweet potato and honey like Golden Tips. You tone those flavors way down into the background and crank the malt and you have this tea. The slight amount of rough edges at the back of the sip I think would even appeal to coffee drinkers. If you enjoy Chinese black tea and would like an everyday affordable version this would do nicely.
Thank you TeaVivre for helping to take my mind off the troubles of the day. Upping the rating.
I had a cup of this last night and a cup of this in the morning even though I am just getting around to saying so. Rich and kinda sweet. Not too complex this time which was nice because I didn’t want something ultra complex, but unexpected since I can normally taste two-three different notes. My tongue must not be up to par yet. Too much cocoa. Lol.