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Recent Tasting Notes
I am finishing off one the small sample bags today with my husband. It’s our first time using the gaiwan together instead of a traditional teapot so this could be interesting.
I think I may be adjusting to the perfumey taste, it doesn’t seem to be getting to me much today…infact it’s quite nice. Maybe this is one of those drinks that you like the more of it that you drink, I found Lapsang Souchong to be that way for me too.
Such a lovely way to relax on a Sunday.
I made two steeps of this to go with lunch today. Hubby is either getting used to green tea and wants to drink for health reasons, or his tastes are changing and he is actually enjoying it. As he was working on the kitchen re-do he kept coming in the living room and getting more.
This is a delicious green that goes well with food but is also wonderful as a contemplative cup. Buttery, lightly brothy, fresh.
This was a sample pack that I am trying from Teavivre. I will be using my gaiwan for this infusion. Notes state on their website the steeping times as follows: 5 steeps:rinse,20s,40s,1m10s,2m,2m30s.
Raw the tea is thin and sharp and they also snap in half so they are rather dry. They are a lovely grassy green colour with yellow and white whisps. It smells gently floral with a slight astringency.
First steep – 20 seconds – Colour is very pale yellow. Smell is slightly astringent but fresh with it. The flavour is nice and subtle, there is a definite florally perfume taste (similar to jasmine but on a much weaker scale) along with a natural grassy sweetness. There is no real bitterness.
Second steep – 40 seconds – Yellow (darker than the first steep) and with a stronger perfumey fragrance. Taste is also a little stronger, more floral and again a little grassier than the previous steep. Still very pleasant as there is no real bitterness and there is still a hint of sweetness about it. A slight nuttiness peaks through. For me this is about the peak of the tea, any stronger and it would be ruined and any lighter and it loses a lot of it’s character.
Steep three – 1 minute 10 seconds – Colour is yellow with a a fairly astringent and somewhat floral perfume fragrance. Both being slight stronger than the previous steep. The nuttiness is coming through vividly now (chestnut would be an adequate description). The sweetness has now gone and has been replaced with a touch of bitterness leading from the over perfumed taste.
I am not at the point of wincing a little while drinking due to the perfumery and I think this will be my last steep. It’s not badly (fubar’ed) but I don’t see myself enjoying the next two steeps and for now I am happy enough to have good memories of this tea with it’s earliest steeps.
Overall I would say this was of good quality and once steeped for the second time it unleashes it’s sweet, grassy and nutty magic. I would drink this for a change but not sure I could see myself buying it for personal use. It’s a little too perfume heavy for me.
I received this as a sample from Teavivre – thanks! Figured I would try it out as it’s one of the samples I had yet to get to, but the reviews have been good… so why not!
As soon as the water hit the leaves, I smelled a distinct fishy smell. Not super strong, but enough to make me a little wary. I’m still not a fan of pu’erhs with any fishiness, although I’ve found that sometimes, an initial fishy smell doesn’t translate into the flavour. So, hoping for that!
The initial flavour reminded me a ridiculous amount of Verdant’s Cornfields Shu Pu’erh that I tried recently. Except a bit fisher, and a bit stronger. Difficult to describe. A bit of sweetness, a musty flavour, fairly smooth… definitely a pu’erh, but beyond that, I can’t describe much else. It’s actually a bit too strong for me, and making me cringe a bit, for whatever reason. Too much mustiness per mouthful.
I’m not sure that I’m a fan of this one, but will definitely try a shorter infusion time and less lea next time, as I think it’s best drank a bit weak, for me! I’ll reserve a rating until then, but I don’t think this will ever really be a favourite.
I made 3 steeps in my gaiwan for the same times as the not really Keemun: 15, 20, 25 seconds. All into a mug! This is like so complex.
It’s sweet, it’s smoky, it’s sweet, it’s chocolate. That is an accurate summary of each sip.
I’ve just sat here with this open, despite drinking all of this first cup…more? I think so.
And 3 more tastes just the same. I bet this could be steeped like 12 more times and still taste amazing! But it’s getting too late for that. Next time I order from Teavivre, I’m getting more of this. Except I think my last order is lost at sea.
So, I tried doing a short rinse (10-15 seconds) on the leaves tonight before making the first steep. That made the first steep much more flavorful. If I don’t have all three steeps of this tonight, I might have the last in the morning. It is better than the one cup of hot chocolate I have been having before bed though. I discovered that hot chocolate keeps me up if I have it too late.
THANK YOU Teavivre for sending me this sample MANY MONTHS AGO. I apologize for not opening it – I was on a tea hiatus of sorts and am now back.
This tea smelled like chocolate when I opened up the package.
The result has very little astringency and a light malty flavor that is slightly sweet. As the tea cools the sweet notes emerge. I really enjoyed this sample and recommend this tea!
Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for this generous sample
First off, I love Teavana’s Black Dragon Pearls. That’s actually one of the only teas I buy from them, & the convenience of being able to zip over to the mall & get some is pretty nice. It’s a yummy malty breakfast tea that I enjoy. SO I thought I would brew a cup of that alongside Teavivre’s Fengqing Dragon Pearls, just to see if there was really any difference.
Dry, the difference was noticeable. The Fengqings were smaller, but more aromatic, with a little more of a malty smell. I used 6 of the teavana pearls in one 8 oz cup, and 8 of the Teavivre in another. The main difference I noticed in taste was that the Fengqing had a bit of a berry flavor, & then I realized that I had ruined the taste test. Damn!
You see, last night I made a cup of decaf blackberry vanilla black from some local tea company. It was a gift from one of my students a few years ago, & I was really just trying to use it up to get it out of my cupboard. I ended up dumping it out, it just wasn’t really a tea that I enjoyed. I swear I washed my tea strainer well! But somehow that flavor stuck, & ended up in the morning’s cup.
SO…the taste comparison was ruined! Luckily, there was enough tea left for another sample, & although I’m not doing another comparison test, I will say that this is a very tasty, malty, satisfying cup of tea, with chocolate croissant undertones, just the way I like it. It is delicious & smooth plain, & also quite tasty with stevia! Yum!
Wow, this name was quite a mouthful. Taking the recommendations of the packaging, I boiled two cups of water and steeped this pu’erh for two minutes (Teavivre recommends one to two minutes). The dry leaves have much less of an earthy smell than I would have expected from a ripe pu’erh, but when the steeping is done, I am left with a wonderfully smooth-smelling pot of shou tea. This first pot is very smooth, a little bit earthy, if not slightly weak (understandable for a first steeping. I finish this first pot and steep another, this time increasing the time to two and a half minutes.
The second steeping strengthens both the aroma and flavor of this pu’erh. The earthy notes have come out stronger in both aspects. However, the tea has still kept its full smoothness. My only disappointment with this tea is the lack of complexity in the flavor profile. It is very much just a straight forward, simple shou pu’erh. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give this tea an 85/100.
Finally getting this sample! Thanks Teavivre!
First impression of the dry leaf is that it smells a lot like DT’s milk oolong. Make you wonder if theirs is flavored. It’s like condensed milk. Yummy!
First steep is more like cream cheese frosting than milk. There is a lot of vegetal flavor coming through. Smooth and sweet.
Second steep is less milky and more vegetal. Maybe like creamed veggies. :)
The leaves expand like crazy, of course. Good old dependable green oolong. :) I think I might like the unflavored version more but this is something I’ll enjoy to the last drop anyways.
If you’ve kept up with my tasting notes, you know that I am a huge fan of Teavivre Teas. I have yet to be disappointed by any of their products.
If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be Teavivre’s fabulous Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea. That tea is nothing short of incredibly fantastic, albeit a little pricey. This time, I thought I would save some money and hope that their Grade 1 Keemun selection was good enough to satisfy my Keemun itch.
I love the aroma of the short unbrewed tea leaves. It is a rich, sweet, and earthy smell that seems to belong only to Teavivre’s Keemun.
I steeped the tea at 205 degrees for three minutes as instructed on the packet. The color of the brewed liquor was golden brown.
As I brought the cup to my lips, I could already smell the savory Keemun. The first sip was absolutely delicious. The taste was sweet, earthy, full-bodied, and very smooth. There was no bitterness to be found. Subsequent sips…and cups…were at least equally delightful.
In my opinion, this Grade 1 Keemun is every bit as delicious and satisfying as Teavivre’s Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea. If you are on a budget (as I am), and you love Keemun, take advantage of the great taste and very reasonable price (currently – 10/24/2012 – Teavivre is also offering 20% off!) of the Grade 1 Keemun tea. I am very glad that I did! By the way, if your budget is even more restricted than mine, Teavivre has a Grade 2 Keemun black tea at even greater savings (and also currently – 10/24/2012 – 20% off)!
This is again thanks to Angel and the Teavivre crew. smiles
This is a better review than the Lapsang Souchong by a mile! LOL. I had wanted to try a more ‘traditional’ Oolong because I’ve had such limited experience so far, and wanted something to compare teas with an Oolong base to, even teas that have a lot in it. I had a imsomnia filled night so if my wording comes across as odd, that is why. Lack of sleep can make me a little loopy.
1st smell Dry: Sweet and uncomplicated. I can easily picture myself relaxing after a long days work with a cup of this, though long before I go to bed, as the minor caffeine amounts may affect my sleep later that night.
Wet: Even more sweet, and maybe because I was expecting it: Creamy.
1st taste: In reading the reviews for the tea before sipping my cup, I noticed frequent mentions of a buttery taste. Truthfully, the idea kind of repulsed me, even though I have had and do enjoy butter tea. But when I took the 1st sip, without any sweetener, Mmm. Nice. I knew I had to add sweetener….I’m getting resigned to that factor…..lol. So I added one at a time, took a sip so I would make sure not to accidently put to much.
Oh, almost forgot to mention: I do not have any traditional tea items for this, I had thought if I did get to where I really like at least 2 of these samples, then I would start saving up for a nice gaiwan. So instead, I was going to use one of my teapots, but one is ridiculously big, to big for 1 cup, and the other is in the dishwasher. So I used my owl cup and favorite strainer. I put the visual equivalent of what I use for other loose tea, rinsed them, preheated my cup and then boiled more water, and set the top on it. When I took the top off, my 1st thought: (Mind you slightly befuddled due to lack of sleep.) that the leaves had exploded! Then I thought….Ooooo I think I put to many in the cup. So I thought to myself that I’d better do at least 1 more steeping of the leaves, that is if I could stand drinking down the 1st cup.
It isn’t the usual type of tea that I’ve gotten used to, so I don’t think I would choose this one very often. It is sweet, creamy, kind of grassy. I just might decide to buy this in bulk form.
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for all the wonderful samples! I was so excited when these came in and I ended up being sent a lot more than I expected to receive!
I decided to start my taste testing out with something I have never had before, White Peony. When I opened the package I took a whiff and got didn’t really get anything worth mentioning. It was light and fresh.
Actually after reading the instructions, I just realized that I have been using only 1tsp per 8oz instead of 2-3tsp. OOPS! Regardless, I cannot stop drinking this. I drank 3 12oz cups, and made 2 8oz cups with the same leaves yesterday, and have had 3 12oz cups again today. Though the taste is really light it’s really great. It’s definitely something I could drink at any time of the day. It’s floral, and calming. The leaves are really cute too. Next time I’ll make it with 3tsp instead of just the one, but I’m really loving this as is.
Time for my green tea after dinner tea plan! Since my white Silver Needle Jasmine tasted better with more leaf, I decided to put in about a teaspoon more leaf than I normally do.
Whoah! It smells green and buttery right from the get-go this time. I don’t even need to get close to my mug to get the yummy buttery smell. I steeped this for two minutes. I am finally getting the butter note that I have missed from my first dragonwell. Then the green tea flavor comes charging in and enveloping my mouth with its wonderful taste. The liquor is still very pale even with the extra leaf. This tea isn’t as astringent as my green jasmine pearls which makes for a lovely bedtime tea.
I think I have been under-leafing my french press recently. I will have to pay attention with my other teas to make sure I am getting the leaf-to-water ratio right and get a new teaspoon for measuring.
Thanks to the Teavivre gang, especially Angel, for these samples.
When I got up today, (Got up really late.) I wanted to start on the tea tasting of the samples I got yesterday. I was most curious about the Lapsang Souchong so that is what I picked.
Dry smell: strongly smokey, not unappealing, but not appealing either.
Wet smell: more or less the same…though the smell reminded me a little bit of hay.
1st taste: Like many Americans, my palate has been affected by the high content of sugar, but I did try a few sips without putting any in, didn’t want to make it to much of a sacrilege. Alas…I knew by the 3rd sip that if I was to be able to finish the cup I would have to add some sweetener, so I added Apriva, (Kroger version, kind of like Splenda.) I ended up having to add ALOT. Which I really winced over, and still wincing as I am writing this. Wincing because I wanted to enjoy this without having to add anything to it.
Even with the sweetener however….can’t say I really like it. sad face this is NOT reflected on Teavivre, but rather on me and my palate. Hopefully this will be the only tea that I dislike from the group.
I will pretty much be reviewing only 1 a day, as I do not want to complicate the taste test with other teas. And hopefully when I get up each day, so that would be the only taste fresh in my mouth.
Gah, I haven’t posted here in such a long time. Midterms and essays, followed by a visit from a good friend whom I hadn’t seen in about a year and a half, followed by getting a cold have been keeping me away from this site. :(
Anyway, I brewed up a cup of this… kind of an odd tea to brew when you’re sick, but I just had a craving for a toasty Oolong. :P
… and I’m going to head back to bed, watch sitcoms, and write. Last day of break, hopefully the worst of this cold will have passed by tomorrow!
This is just what I needed as a hot cocoa intervention. I decided to spoil myself and put in more leaf than I normally would. This adds up to about three or four teaspoons. Oh my! It is so good this way! I was only going to do one steep, but I am going to have another steep later before getting my green tea out for after dinner.
Going off the tea topic for a second, wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a Steepster-like site for hot chocolate, drinking chocolate, and brewable cocoa beans? Ok, Steepster for chocolate lovers and choco-holics. I think it would be amazing.
*Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for this lovely sample!
There are 2 of this adorable mini tuochas in the sample bag. They are wrapped in white paper, and opening one, I find a little birdnest, with a rose petals pressed into the bottom of it. The smell is similar to the other shu puerh’s I’ve tried thus far: earth, mineral, ocean.
I’m brewing the first tuocha americano style, in my cute little glass pot, so I can watch the tea fall apart & swim around, & really see the color. The disintegration is spectacular, with particles almost exploding in all directions! The tea was finely chopped before being tightly compressed, or so it seems, as the pieces are very small.
This made for a very dark & potent cup, & although I was hoping for a little more rose flavor & aroma (as I do like that), it isn’t really there. What is there is a deep, satisfying puerh that brings to mind an old, old forest with ancient trees & layer upon layer of decomposed leaves, acorns, wood, & moss. I have to leave the house for the afternoon, but when I return, I shall re-steep!
Thank you to Angel & Teavivre for this generous sample
These are among the most beautiful tea leaves I’ve seen. Perfectly straight, in shades of olive, wheat, charcoal, & rust. Wet, they swell up lushly, taking on a copper color, with an olive undertone.
The scent is of chocolate & peppercorn, & the flavor satisfies: bold without being bitter, deep & smooth, essence of chocolate, a little spice, & there is the ‘clean’ sensation of linen, but it’s not an astringent type sensation, & it’s not so much a taste either, more a freshness, like sheets drying in the sun on the line. This is the kind of tea I like to start my day with!
I drank the first cup & a half plain, thought I’d add a little stevia to the 2nd half of the 2nd cup, just to see what it brought up, & it ruined it for me. :p
Not so much that I couldn’t polish it off & go for one more steeping, though, & the leaves delivered.