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Recent Tasting Notes
i am a puerh lover. die hard (could i be any more clear?). i will love loose leaf for my whole life. i am genuinely contrite that it took me so long to find it: shame on me! while i will study and love and review and resteep tea forever (and build extra sections for tea storage into our kitchen so it knows how much it is loved), puerh will be a special study for me.
these tuocha are ripened. which means (i am simplifying this because i am still wrapping my own head around it) that as opposed to being dried in the sun the leaves go through a man made imitation of the ideal oxidation conditions… sortof like a natural emerald versus a spinel; one happens naturally the other not. now tea, like gemstones holds separate camps of favour. some favour the bricks and tuocha others the more nature reliant method. i fall into the latter category.
because of my allergy to coffee i am very sensitive to caffeine. when i say in a review that there ‘stickiness’ or a ‘lack of stickiness’ on the tongue from caffeine that’s because i am so sensitive to it i can actually get a physical sensation of it when it’s too heavy. my experience with the ripened puerh has been much too much caffeine and a significant amount of harshness. i literally cannot stomach it. so i avoid them.
i have heard great things of teavivre of late, so when angel asked me which samples i wanted i included this as one of them. i cannot love puerh and commit to an endless study and then refuse an opportunity to try one from a company i’ve heard good things about. (that’s not the way it works)
this is a column A/ Column B review:
*i was expecting harshness and it was quite mellow =0)
*i was expecting rose and didn’t get a single hint even after varying my technique and 3 steeps =0(
*i was expecting the flavour of puerh and also did not detect it (or not in the manner that i adore) =0(
*i was not expecting it to fall apart or ‘blossom’ because many of the brick types i have tried where too ripe and too compressed for it to happen, even after soaking, but it did =0)
i will refrain from a numerical assignment.
if you like the ripened puerhs this one is quite gentle! early on in the steep you get a deep amber coloured elixir (as opposed to some i’ve had that go as dark as turkish coffee).
thank you angel for this puerh nest… it was a much improved experience from my other ripened puerh samples!
Sipdown! 813. Thanks to Azzrian for sending this one to me… in April 2012. Haha. I’m terrible…
Anyhow! I don’t think this tea has suffered; it was in a vacuum-sealed gold foil packet, and tastes great. I used the whole packet for a 10oz cup of tea, and I think it’s pretty much perfect. To me, it’s classic example of a tie guan yin; floral but with that turpentiney smell/flavour (this is meant positively), lightly sweet, lingering oolong flavour. I’ve come to conclude that TGYs are not my favourite type of oolong… I prefer ones that taste a bit less “green”, but every now and then, one of these isn’t too bad!
Sipdown, 139. I really need to make some (figurative) room in my cupboard because I am about to have a bomb of oolongs from Teavivre dropped on me soon. I figured I should try to get through this last batch of teas that they sent me, so that’s the goal for the next few days.
I’ve tried this one with my western black tea methods (2tsp, 12oz water, 3 minutes) at the recommended steep temp, and a pseudo-gongfu method, which is the whole sample pouch for a shorter period of time. I find this one yields similar results for me in each method. Even though it’s a Fujian tea, it has some earthy-potatoey Yunnan-like notes to it. There’s a hint of grains like I might expect from a Fujian, but also a very slight cocoa-powder note. All in all I definitely enjoy this tea, and it seems to be a great example of a golden monkey. Now if I loved golden monkeys, I’m sure this tea would be at the top of my list.
Thanks so much to Angel Chen and Teavivre for this sample. When I first tried a Golden Monkey, I like it ok but I didn’t love it. This was of course before I had a black tea revolution and fell in love with Fujian blacks. Even though I started exploring tan yangs and bailins and others, I never really was interested in going back to golden monkey because for some reason I had already decided I only liked it ok. After seeing quite a few steller reviews for this tea, I decided to ask for a sample of it.
I will often split the little sample pouches Teavivre sends into two cups for the black teas, but today I decided to go for a whole pouch at a shorter time to see how it turned out. I will also definitely try this with my ‘usual’ parameters to see how it fares then too. This cup is dark and smells richly of grains and a bit of molasses, although not as honeyed or caramelly as bailin gongfu, for instance. There is a bit of yamminess in this one as well, something I typically associate more with Yunnans than Fujians.
The flavor is very smooth; I had been concerned that it might have gotten a bit overleafed from the scent, which was quite strong, but it seems fine. There is almost a fruitiness to this one, and I couldn’t place the aftertaste until I read K S’s note where he talks about a wine note, and yeah, it does give me the sense of something like a Malbec maybe. It’s sweet and malty, but not in a different way than the other Fujians I know. As I drink it more I am definitely getting an almost pseudo-smoky note to it, not dissimilar to some Keemuns I’ve tried. I interestingly just got a kind of burnt-cocoa powder note from one particular sip, and as it cools its getting even more cocoa powdery, like I made an unsweetened cup of hot chocolate out of dutch-process cocoa.
I’ll give this a preliminary rating but of course that may change as I try out different steeping parameters. Right now it’s meant to reflect that I enjoy this cup, but I’m not in love with it. Which I suppose reflects the rest of my golden monkey experiences. Guess I am just more of a tan yang girl when it comes to my Fujians.
Water: 8oz at 196 degrees
Leaves: green fuzzy leaves
Color: light yellow
Taste: It’s been quite a while since I made any tea,during that time I’ve experimented with coffee Starbucks VIA-Ice Coffee to be exact. So i went with this tea to get back into the swing of brewing. I really enjoyed this tea it was very smooth and had a light floral aroma. I’m sipping on it now as I prepare to watch my favorite anime of the moment Shingeki no Kyojin.
I forgot how amazing this tea was, and I am very sorry I forgot how awesome they are lol, because I would have finished off my final sample of these ages ago. But luckily I didn’t, because this is just what I need on this Monday morning. I am not entirely with it this morning and a fair bit irritable, so hopefully this delicious, sweet, malty tea will help me to smooth out and not be annoyed with certain somebodies at work….ugh. Also listening to classical music, so the combo should do a lot to get me on track haha. See previous notes on this amazing tea!
Ahh, I needed this tonight. Perfectly malty and sweet, without being too much. This is still one of my free samples from the lovely Angel, and when I get around to placing a Teavivre order, this one is definitely on it. I really really like this tea! I used 3 pearls for 2 minutes tonight. Yummm. I’d have another cup tonight, but it’s already pretty late, I need some non caffeinated tea so I can sleep tonight lol. See previous notes on this awesome tea!
I am back! It’s been a while since I wrote a review, but since Steepster was getting updates while I was in the mountains it was all good, as I was too busy to log tea there haha. I will backlog madly after this note.
So I have a massive influx of new teas to try. Like, it’s insane. My awesome free samples from Angel at Teavivre showed up last Friday and I have been itching to try them, so they are first on the list :D so 5 of those to try. I also got my Verdant order today, so there’s another about 7 teas to try that I haven’t yet, and…I also bought some tea at a store in Jasper called the Tea Leaf Boutique, so I have to try 2 from there! Eek! And I haven’t even finished trying my Butiki teas :( oh well, lots of tea drinking to commence now!
So, back to this tea. Oh, and I already mentioned that this came with the free samples from Angel, but I cannot express my happiness enough about the 15 sample packs she sent!! 3 of each kind of tea! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
So, now the review..hehe..
This tea smells heavenly. Honey and malt, and strong honey at that. I immediately thought, Yunnan. Yes indeed this is a Yunnan, possibly my favorite region for Chinese teas! The tea appearance is so cute! I love the little malty balls of goodness, like larger dragon pearls and made with black tea. I used 4 in about 8 oz of boiling water for 1 and a half minutes, based on a few steepster reviews and the package directions. The resulting liquor is a lovely honey colored brown, and smells like, yes, honey! Honey and sweet potatoes.
As for the flavor, yes. This is excellent. The first note is a mild cocoa, and I was like hmm, is it strong enough, but then…that aftertaste…pure dripping honey. And malt. And a touch of hay. Mmmmmmm. This reminds me of Golden Fleece crossed with the aged Yunnan White tea from Verdant. It’s delicious and soothing and cozy. Comforting. So good!
Overall, a delicious black tea! The final aftertaste is of more malt and chocolate than honey. I really like this! Once again, a huge thank you to Angel at Teavivre for suggesting this one as a sample, it is definitely a good pick!!
I don’t actually have much experience drinking Pu-erh, but it has been on my to-do list for awhile. Drink more Pu-erh Check! Thanks one last time to Angel at TeaVivre for providing me with this sample and helping me to check one item off my to-do list.
I began with a very fast rinse before moving on to the first steep. The first steep is not nearly as dark as I normally associate with Pu-erh. This is the first time that I’ve used a Gaiwan so I am sure the color will darken on successive steeps. The tea has a very light mellow earthy taste, but is not nearly as strong as my previous experience with pu-erh.
With the second and third steep the tea continues to darken in color and the flavor becomes more bold. The third steep is when the tuocha completely broke apart. As I continued on with steeps 4, 5, and 6 I was surprised that although the color continued to darken, the flavor remained very similar. It is very possible that I could have gone past 6 steeps, however, I had unexpected (but very welcome) company today and one of the kids thought my pu-erh looked yummy tasting.
The flavor of this tea is very mellow and doesn’t have the depth of other Pu-erh that I have had, which is why I think it is perfect for someone just starting out with Pu-erh. I find that the less complex teas are a great place to start. I do wish that the rose flavor would have been present, I didn’t taste it at all once the tea steeped.
Sipdown, 143. Thanks again to Teavivre for this sample.
This time I brewed the entire sample pouch in my 12oz cup, at the recommended steeping parameters. I did that with my first pouch as well, but my water was off. This time it was totally awesome. The black tea flavor was extra bold, without tasting oversteeped or astringent. It’s rich and a hint cocoa-y. The rose is fairly subtle still, but it is certianly present. It just lets the dian hong really run the show. The dian hong isn’t as earthy when brewed this strong, and the flavors are more complex and interesting. Glad I made my last cup like this, I may actually have to pick more of this up at some point.
I can’t believe that I’m still the only person who has reviewed this tea. I guess it’s still pretty new! I had a cup of this earlier, this time my water was for sure fine. The tea did turn out a bit fuller and more nuanced than last time. Incidentally I used half my sample pouch in a 12oz mug, and brewed at the recommended temp.
This is quite a nicely done scented tea, as I would expect from Teavivre. It’s also been done with a deft hand; the rose is subtle but present enough that you know you are drinking a rose tea. But really it is more like a pleasant accompaniment to the dian hong. The dian hong is on the earthy side of things, with light notes of sweet potato. The whole cup was slightly sweet from the dian hong. For me, I tend to favor the not-so-earthy dian hongs, so the black base totally my style, but it is a lovely tea nonetheless. I will definitely enjoy the rest of my sample pouches.
Backlog from this morning. I wanted to try this one this morning because I wanted to get to the samples that the lovely Angel from Teavivre recently sent me. Unfortunately, I just changed the water filter in my pitcher and I feel like there is always a break in period where nothing quite tastes right. I realized this after I had already put this in my infuser, so I brewed it up anyway.
Anyway, reserving rating this for now, but as it is it has a lot of potential. I do feel like maybe I could go for a hotter temp (this was recommended on the package). Rose, and slightly sweet-potatoey dian hong are a pretty good combo, and one I feel like isn’t common. This was a little flat and not flavorful, but I think that was the water, not the tea. Fortunately I have more of this one to try again!
This is a free sample from Teavivre, provided for review. Thank you, Teavivre!
The aroma was so powerful when I tore open the packet. There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh tea, and it really encourages me to order my greens as I drink them instead of stockpiling a ton and letting them get old. These leaves shouted, “Fresh!”
The leaves are so pretty – light and fluffy, and there are so many packed in here. I decided to steep them in the large Kamjove that I ordered from Teavivre.
We are at the beach right now and I had something after supper that I almost never eat – a Krispy Kreme doughnut with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. I needed something to wash it down, and I once would have poured a big glass of milk or popped open a soda. But we were sitting on the deck and the wind was becoming a little chilly and I thought a good green tea would be perfect.
Yes, it really was. This time, I felt like there was a strong green bean/asparagus scent. It was a little brisk and therefore just perfect for clearing the palate. I think I made a total of five steeps from the sample packet that were all combined in this pot, and even though I gave them fairly short steeps this tea was plenty strong. It could even have used a slightly shorter steep time.
I love asparagus, so this tea was a guaranteed hit with me.
Flavors: Asparagus, Green Beans, Spinach
Dang, this is good!
I had my leftovers from the Asian buffet today and made a pot just for little old me. I usually steep this twice and combine the steeps in a large pot. I also usually start eating before I taste it. Today I steeped only once and even forgot to set the timer so I have no idea how long it steeped. I was afraid it would be bitter, but it isn’t at all!
I sipped it while I waited for my lunch to heat and oh man, it was amazing! It tasted like the freshest peas and green beans! Then the nutty flavor rises high in the palate and there is sweetness at the beginning and after the sip.
Also, this is ridiculously good with candy corn.
All I can say is, wooooooooooooooow! I really enjoyed this tonight. We went to the Asian buffet and got take out. I had made two steeps of this before we left the house and poured it in my tetsubin and put it over the warmer. Hubby and I drank it with our food and it was really good. Then when the food was all gone, I poured some more and had my dessert of three mellocreme pumpkins. (Like candy corn, for the uninitiated.) It was fantastic. I have heard that it is traditional to celebrate special events in Asia with super sweet desserts and tea, and it must say my mouth was celebrating this tea tonight!
This was sweet, smooth, fresh, green, and lightly nutty. It had just enough oomph to go with a meal, and not enough astringency to be bitter.
Thank you, Teavivre, for the delicious sample!
I honestly don’t remember why I picked this one as me of my free samples with my order. Maybe I was broadening our horizons now that hubby and I drink green tea together often, and have it with a lot of meals.
Either way, this is a strong contender for a shelf staple. The aroma of the dry leaves was fresh. I think of green teas as belonging to certain families, like the spinach, buttered veggie, oat, or grassy families. Some are astringent on the sip and give way to sweet rising aftertaste. I wish I was a super foodie who could detect and describe more accurately but I have gotten better since joining Steepster!
This one belonged in the creamed spinach family for me, one of my favorite types. There is none of the bitterness that dark green leaves (like spinach, mustard, turnip) can have, just the smooth veggie taste of spinach – the best part of it.
My description does not match theirs, but honestly I don’t know what chestnuts taste like well enough to say the tea tastes like chestnuts…or not.
We drank three steeps of it and it had a nice amber color every time. The creamed spinach flavor kept coming through, so I call this a winner.
I can really get into a Huangshan Maofeng. The last one sent from Teavivre was quite nice, and this one is even better. It’s very light and crisp, with a simple vegetal and nutty sweetness, a sparkling texture, and fresh aroma. The leaves are consistent and great quality, with fur, not too many blisters from pan-frying, and mainly bud material. They’re quite pretty. While the tea could probably use some depth that the later harvests’ leaves provide, it isn’t lacking much of anything else. It has been a great tea to have this summer for outside sessions, where it really cools me down. It’s simple and it’s good.
Thanks to Teavivre for the sample.
I use seven pearls (a whole sample pack) per gong fu session with flash infusions. This is twice the amount suggested for gong fu brewing on Teavivre’s website, but I prefer my hongcha to be robust. The pearls are very well compacted and fairly consistent in size, but there are some that are much smaller than the others. A good amount of golden bud material can be seen in the layers of the pearl, much more so than those of Teavana.
I wasn’t expecting much from this tea, but as it turns out, it is actually pretty tasty and okay for lazy drinking. The liquor’s depth is nice, with a malty smoothness, and resounding “pure tea” flavor. The lengxiang (cold scent) in the empty cup is subtle, and has characteristics of roasted barley and cooked sugar. Infusions don’t move past five, though, and even that is pushing it. The aftertaste is weak and slightly drying. There is also a faint soapy flavor right on the opening sip and at the end of the finish and seems to be paired with a slightly oily texture, but it isn’t all that apparent unless focused on it.
Looking at the spent leaves, I notice that some seem over-processed. They are totally black, difficult to unroll, and have a “carbonized” look to them, similar to spent shu pu’ercha leaves.
Finally on to the last of the Spring tea samples from Teavivre. Thank you for these most excellent teas and my apologies for taking so long to write them all up.
Dry this tea has a spinach aroma, and the long thin needles look great. The wet leaf is a mix of honey and vegetal notes. It brews to a golden liquor that is silky smooth and very clean. The liquor is sweet with umami and more vegetal notes. There is a tiny hint of astringency that is expressed more in the aftertaste than in the initial tasting and the aftertaste is cooling on the tongue. Just the job for a Sunday afternoon as I deal with the effects of a little too much red wine the night before.
Flavors: Honey, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.
When I opened this packet I was met with a lot of long thin leaves of a darkish hue. The aroma of the dry leaf was like fresh hay that has newly been stored in the barn. Definitely a good smell, then.
I steeped the tea three times in my glass teapot: first for one minute, then two and finally three. The first and second steeps were the best, while by the third steep the tea had definitely faded.
Once steeped, the wet leaves smelt or asparagus, or perhaps that pork chop aroma that I always associate with a good Long Jing. The leaves had lightened to a bright mid-green at this point and the liquor was a pale greenish yellow. When I first started pouring it, I thought it was going to come out almost clear, like my favourite Anji Bai Cha. The dominant flavour was a sweet grassiness and a delicate savoury element, like a lighter Long Jing in many ways. The tea itself was very refreshing and hit the spot beautifully on a warm Summer’s day like today. This is one for the wish list.
Many, many thanks once again to ashmanra for this tea!
I am really enjoying this Golden Monkey! I think it is ever so slightly less sweet than my Harney GM (but the most recent harvest that I’ve tasted of Harney’s GM is less sweet than the previous harvest I had, so it could be the harvest). I also think it’s a little stronger — it’s not going milky on the second steep.
I think this is an incredible bargain (it’s half the price of Harney’s) but I think I do like Harney’s just a wee bit more. $10 more? I am not sure!