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Recent Tasting Notes
Last week I received a notice from our Internet provider that halfway through the month we (OK, I) had used 16.9gb of our 20gb allowance. I have avoided getting on line. I’m posting today because I am having Steepster withdrawal. Can’t wait for March!
While offline I built an Excel database of my tea stash. Mostly I was trying to learn Excel – my stash just seemed the natural choice for learning. I also taught myself a tiny bit of Visual Basic to come up with a menu to enter new tea. It is totally pointless but kept me off the streets or at least out of my wife’s hair.
I leaned I have 136 teas. The majority are 20g or less. I have my work cut out to catch up with most of you. I added a column stating whether I had reviewed them or not. This shows I have about 36 I have never reviewed.
This has been my tea of choice the last couple days. It smells intense but the cup taste is much more refined. It is sweet and mellow. No bitterness. So glad I overcame my fear of smoke. This is really good.
Having this one again today. I made it with extra leaf and a minute steep on purpose. I wanted see what would happen. Having my fear of lapsang conquered – they don’t all taste like ashtrays! – its time to abuse this tea and see how it reacts. It passes with flying colors. The smoke aromatic but not overwhelming. It is sweet and reminds me of bacon. It does not mask the tea base. The base is fruity. There is no bitterness even over steeped. I wish I had read the other reviews. There is another element to the base I don’t know how to describe. It is kind of earthy wood or nut. Anyway ready to commit – this is quite good.
Not really ready to review this, just giving more of an update. My tea and my kettle set up were the last things I removed from office. I had two grocery sacks of tea – mostly samples. This morning I finally have my brewing station unpacked. Forced retirement looks pretty good at the moment. My tea is still somewhere lost in the kitchen – I don’t have a spot yet. I do know where my Teavivre stuff is though because it is important. Being laid off is new and a little scary territory so I wanted a tea that scared me a short time ago and now I have learned to love. Lapsang Souchong fits the bill. This smells so incredibly smoky in the press yet is much less aggressive in the cup. I am not sure I got the temp just right as the sound of the kettle is different at home. Yeah, I get to relearn how to judge it.
Most important bonus – I have a Russell Hobbs brewing station that includes a kettle, glass tea pot with infuser, and a warming tray. I use a French press instead of the pot/warming tray. My wife has always thought my obsession was, well… obsessive ;) Today she asked, can I use this to heat water for tea? I don’t mean to make her sound like a doofus, she has always used the microwave and thought a kettle was a waste of time. Anyway, she heated the water and used the infuser and pot to brew, and now has the warming tray going. She is brewing a vanilla hazelnut decaf and commented on how good it smells today :)
Now if I can get her away from my kettle I need another cup of Lapsang.
Tea of the morning……
I am recently back from vacation. I will admit that I don’t drag the tea paraphernalia along with me any more when I travel. Just a few tea bags make their way into my luggage, and even then, I usually just drink coffee. Vacation is time for a change of pace. However, I am definitely ready to greet my tea stash when I get home. It is right up there with getting to sleep in my own bed. Both make me happy.
This is a tea that I thought I could finish up and eliminate from my stash. I know you hear lots of that from me. I mean, how many black teas does a girl need? In a quest for simplicity, I am trying to reduce, but most of the tea I have now are favorites, or very close to them. My last pot of this seemed too earthy and brisk. I am thinking I must have had an issue with my parameters. My guess would be that I added too much tea.
This pot is perfection. Malty breadiness, honey, light cocoa, and yum. How could I ever think I could live without this?
Usual teapot method.
Tea of the morning……
There is some new Golden Monkey in town….. Well, at least this one is new to me. It is a new harvest. All of the tasting notes prior to this one are for the 2012 harvest. Now we are onto the 2013 harvest. I have to say, I like this one even better.
I don’t think it is quite as fuzzy. Leaves are long, curly and have golden orange tips. The volume on my 100g pack did not fit into the tin I had been using, so I have about a pot and a half still in the bag. Very fluffy! I do find this one slightly less earthy, and more sweet than the 2012. During my last cup of the 2012, I was almost thinking that I could skip reordering the Golden Monkey, but now I am not so sure. (I know my tea notes seem to focus quite a bit on paring down the number of teas in my possession, but it is hard to imagine that I need 50 versions of straight black tea until I go tasting them!) Yummy good. I will leave you with that!
Usual teapot method, slightly heaping spoons for measure. One if these days I might get out my scale……
Flavors: Cocoa, Honey
Tea of the morning……
Thank you to all the Steepsterites who have reviewed this before me. It was those reviews that helped me to buy this one without sampling. I love a great tea at a good price and this seemed to fit the bill very well.
I have had at least three versions of Golden Monkey prior to this one. If memory serves, this one is just as good as the others. It is actually probably better in some regards in that it is a wonderfully smooth tea. I think the version from Adagio was not quite as flavorful and sweet. The one from Harney was probably a little more rich and sweet potatoey. I guess it is probably closest to the version I had from Upton (If I still have some, I will try it sometime this week for comparison.) I know one of them was a little more astringent and earthy than I usually like….hopefully I can review my notes and figure out which one it was! (pretty sure it was Adagio…) *edit to add it was Upton. I think Adagio was the lightest tasting of all of them.
All that comparing really seems unnecessary, though. This is a very good tea. Smooth, slight malt, hints of cocoa and honey, light sweet potato. Definitely worthy of being a staple for me. I have not been as enamored with a Golden Monkey in some time. So glad I just bought some of this one! What a bargain!
Usual teapot method. Second steep at 5 minutes and it was good, too!
Deliciously smoky but not over the top. I enjoyed this during a Google+ Hangout dedicated to tea and this was the tea of the week. I picked this beauty out from Teavivre as I knew it just had to be delicious. So far what I have tasted from this company has been wonderful and I will continue to purchase from there.
My very first milk oolong! Fortunately, it’s a tasty one.
The scent of the brewed tea is delightful. There’s something sweet and almost biscuit-like about it. The taste is quite different. It definitely has that vegetal “oolong” flavor that everyone knows, but it’s softened by a buttery texture. Each sip is astoundingly complex, starting off full, grassy, and creamy and rising into a clear, salty, and slightly astringent finish. There’s perhaps a tiny bit of fruitiness at the beginning of a sip. This is a far more vegetal tea. I’m not sure if “milk” is exactly what comes to mind when I drink this, but if this is what a good milk oolong is like I will happily drink more of them!
Tea of the morning……
This was my free sample with my most recent TeaVivre order. I stocked up on the black dragon pearls and purchased some of the Golden Monkey without even sampling based on the reviews of Steepsterverse (thank you for all of your thoughtful reviews). I had been wondering about this one and do appreciate that TeaVivre now allows you to pick your samples along with your order.
The leaves are long, thin, and twisted. It does remind me in look of the Keemun Mao Feng from Harney, but I think the leaves are just a little shorter. I did not brew this according to TeaVivre’s instructions, but used the method by which I usually brew my Keemun Mao Feng as I was hoping this tea might be a good substitution for it. The liquor is lightly noted with cocoa, and a little fruity, floral, and malty. It is very smooth and satisfying. In comparison, this one is lower in smoke and earthiness (which are definitely only slight in the KMF), so this would be a good choice for those who don’t care for the slight smoke and earthiness found in other grades of Keemun. I don’t think I could use it as a substitution for my favorite Keemun Mao Feng, but it is very good on its own. The price on this one makes it into the range of being more of an everyday tea than my KMF.
Usual teapot method.
Appearance: green brown oolong kernel
Aroma when Dry: deeply milky creamy, nutty, hints of floral
After water is first poured: warm, milky, nutty, floral
At end of first steep: honeyed cream
At end of steep: clear
Staple? Type yes, would buy brand
Preferred time of day: afternoon, evening
At first ?: honey cream then nutty notes, closing on buttery cream finish
As it cools?: tea gets sour, brothy, slight salt notes, stays buttery
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? No
Lingers? bearly, buttery cream notes
Second Steep (4 min):
At first: buttery, nutty
As it cools?: bodied, salty, brothy
Third Steep (5min):
Salty, bodied broth, fruit notes
This one has been sitting in my desk un-opened why? Well sometime I forget where I put things and I have random stashes of tea at work. Again contributing to my coworkers asking what are you smoking today. If you have read any of my previous tasting notes. I was pretty much a green hater until I realized that I was brewing them wrong and I had Teavivre’s offerings. This one is so incredibly light, but it still has some body to it. I had to get over the lack of body in green and white teas to enjoy them. I like the full body of black and Pu-erh tea. I’m really starting to like Long Jing as well. The first dragon well that I ever had was a really cheap one and was not good at all. Teavivre’s and the last one that I sampled from Infusion have been great. Slightly grassy, a little like hay, I can see some comparisons to chestnut as well. Over all a great post lunch pick me up. The quality of Teavivre is just outstanding.
A very good silver needle. It is buttery, peppery and very elegant and fragile. I really like this tea. This is a tea for special occasions or when you simply want to splurge like a fine scott or brandy. Its organic to boot so kiddos to Teavivre on this fine tea.
Simply put if you like silver needles you will love this.
I enjoyed this tea yesterday with a dark chocolate banana muffin. Let me tell you, it was amazing that way. The malty notes are greatly pronounced and they complemented each other perfectly.
Now I need to make more muffins…haha.
But seriously, I do thoroughly enjoy this tea.
I ordered this some time ago, I have drank it before but never reviewed it. So here goes:
This is a smooth black (I have come to expect nothing less from Teavivre!), with malty notes. I am definitely getting grainy notes, hay, and some sweetness. I am not really getting sweet potatoe but that might come out a little bit more in later steepings.
If my memory serves me correctly, this has very similar notes to the Bailin black, but I would have to compare them.
See my previous note and Ashmanra’s comment. At her suggestion, I brewed this Western style using 2 generous tsp in 8 oz boiling water, just under 4 minutes. This is how I’ll make it in the future, as there is a lot more flavor and no bitterness or astringency. This is still at the milder end of the black tea flavor spectrum, with some subtle maltiness and sweet potato notes. A very enjoyable cup of tea, nice sweet flavor, and I even got a second steep. I’m glad Teavivre was generous with the samples so that I could experiment a little! (Thanks Ashmanra :)
I agree with some other reviewers, that this is very delicate and light considering its a black tea. I would say its more subtle, and not at all aggressive-a relaxing tea that would be nice in the afternoon. I was pretty generous with the leaf, using 3.5 gms/8 oz water, brewing for 2 minutes, with a 2nd steep for 3 minutes. I have others that I prefer from Teavivre, such as Yun Nan Dian Hong Gold Tip or Bailin Gongfu, I think because I prefer something a little stronger, but this is still very nice, especially for those who prefer a milder tea.
I swear I had already logged this one before… mmmm. Anyway. I’m in a FML day. I only had 45 mins of sleep, so I’m going to be drinking this one ALL DAY LONG
It isn’t my favorite, but it is good. It has a slightly creamy chocolate body and sweetness. But it has a vegetal/bitter aftertaste that I’m not a big fan of. Great tea for work though!
I have no idea what ginseng is supposed to taste like, but I really like this tea! It’s sweet, vegetal, roasty, seaweed-y. This is a nice change up from what I’ve been drinking lately! I can’t decide if this tea is more vegetal or roasty; because of the sweetness I’m leaning towards vegetal. However, most of the green Oolongs I’ve tried were also quite floral. This is not the same- the sweetness could be a floral taste I suppose. Oh, who knows. This is what happens when I try to describe a new oolong, ESP Oolongs! I just confuse myself!
Sum up, this is nummy. Thank you TEAVIVRE for this delicious sample!
I used a heaping teaspoon worth for my 12 oz cup.
So after reading the review KS just did I had to go look to see if I had a sample of this from my last order with Teavivre and lo and behold I DID! Yay!
Full review on http://sororiteasisters.com/ on Feb 9th but here are my snippits:
Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea from Teavivre offers quite a different experience. It has a lot of the same flavor notes that one gets from a Fujian black tea such as sweet potato, malt, and cocoa but Superfine Tan Gong Fu is much lighter both in flavor and mouthfeel.
As I sipped on this tea I found myself so relaxed, and spaced out that I checked my blood sugar (I’m type 1 diabetic) just to be sure I was not running too high. High blood sugars often mimic a spaced out state of dizziness and being sleepy. My blood sugar was perfectly fine. Outside of aliens having zapped my brain I am pretty sure it was the tea. I have had tea highs before, generally with pu’erh but now and then I get it in other leaf types. This is one of those times.