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Recent Tasting Notes
Finished the last of this today, and I’m a little sad it’s gone. It was a really good Tie Guan Yin. My office just got a new water dispenser as part of a switch to a new vending company, and it has a hot water spigot that dispenses clean, hot, and not funny-tasting water on a consistent basis. Yay! This means I get to take teas to work that are better than I would have normally taken, since I’m hesitant to waste good tea on “office water”. Before this I don’t think the hot water dispenser was properly maintained – it always tasted like some cleaning product. 0_o
This was a good work tea since it didn’t get bitter with extended steeping (I tend to throw the leaves in the cup and wing it) and it lasted for more steepings than I expected.
Today is a good day. A co-worker brought me a piece of homemade cheesecake, and it was good. I thought what tea goes with cheese cake? Oooh, Bailin! Low temp water and 2 minute steep. For those who reviewed this recently and thought it rather ordinary, I am so happy that you get to drink black tea this awesome enough that this seems like nothing special. With the combination bite/sip, I got cheesecake just drifting straight into malt that lingers forever with chocolate and caramel notes. No bitterness. No astringency in the taste but does leave you with a very slight dry mouth feel. In my realm of tea experience this stuff is freakin’ awesome!
This is the second of the two oolongs from teavivre from my recent batch. The leaves of this one are a little on the greener side, but still dark. I’m guessing this is not as oxidized as the Oriental Beauty, but more than a Tie Gwan Yin. It smells very tea like, more like a black tea, again probably because of the level of oxidation.
Brewed, this tea has a lovely golden reddish brown, lighter and clearer than most blacks, I think. Upon first (very hot) sip, I noticed it was a bit more astringent than the Oriental Beauty. It was a little tart, or sour…not necessarily in a bad way. This could just be my brewing. I did add some sugar to sweeten, though there is still that tart taste. I have not added any milk, even though this is dark enough to carry it. I’m not really getting much sweet or floral with this. It is possible that I’m just not feeling great lately, and I’m just not feeling it with the stuff I have have been having lately…my buds could be off. I will definitely be giving this another brew, and will try with and without sweetener, though I pretty much always add it once I’ve tried it plain.
Unless this is my brewing, I’m going to say that I like this, but not as much as the Oriental Beauty. Thanks again to Angel for sending this one to me. It proves that I still like dark over light oolongs, but that I like light oolongs over green.
I love a good strong black tea. The stronger the better. This was mid-strong I think, but there were other qualities to make it delicious, like the slightly sweet carmel flavor, a bit earthy with a bit of a floral scent. The flavor here is silky smooth. The steep color is a medium to darker brown. You can really taste the quality of the tea. I’ve tried a couple others from Teavivre and they are excellent. Also, I was sleepy this morning and the tea woke me up enough to write this review.
Check out teavivre.com for generous free samples! I sure appreciated them!
The dry leaf smells very fresh and grassy, and they’re also very long leaves! I used my bamboo spoon, since it is rather wide and flat by contrast to a regular teaspoon.
I brought the water to a boil and let it cool a few minutes before using with about 2 spoons of the dry leaf. I think I may have let the water cool too much, as my brew is very very mild, and I am not getting really much flavour at all. I did notice that some of the leaves hadn’t been fully submerged in the water, so I am having a second steeping to see what happens. So far, I like the Taimu green tea better, but it might’ve been my technique and brewing.
Thanks to teavivre for sending this one to me. I still have one more green to try, the Bi Lou Chun.
Sunday afternoon with the Mythbusters and a cup of yum. (Season premeire tonight!) My wife took one look at my mug and said it just looks like water. I said, yeah and it tastes like cucumber. She said, ewww and walked away. Yep, I know how to keep this stuff to myself. Honest wasn’t my intent. It just does taste like sweet hay and cucumbers. If I heard that description I would be skiddish too. One taste though and you just get it. This really good.
“I was randomly contacted through Steepster by a rep for Teavivre a couple of months back with a glowing opportunity – that being to try several of their wares. The dry leaves for this new batch were all twisty green-’n-gold excellence with a peppery sweet aroma. It reminded me of honey dipped in pyrite. Each and every time, the liquor turned out exactly as I hoped – deep gold-to-amber, reeking of honeynut-chocolate. On taste, it was as I expected, if not a little bit more.”
“Bai Lin Gong Fu – other than sounding like the name of a cheesy 70s martial arts flick – is a black tea hailing from Fujian province, China. Smelling it an experience, for I found it hard to pinpoint what to call the scent; I settled on “caramel musk” – even though that sounds like a male aftershave. This was different from the other two Bai Lins I’ve tried – which both exhibited more earthy, Yunnan-like tendencies – but I still favored its robust roundhouse kick of a taste.”
Full Review: http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/
Teavivre sent me a sample of this tea a while back, and I couldn’t wait until it was all gone to order it. I had to have it on hand so I wouldn’t be without it for even a day. I served this one to hubby tonight since he is warming up to green tea now thanks to Premium Silky Green from Bird Pick.
He liked this one also. I noticed he drained his cup and was refilling, and it wasn’t long before he asked youngest if she would mind starting up a resteep for us.
This is fresh and fragrant with a hint of grain flavor and light drying to cleanse the palate. I follow their recommendation of 176 degrees. The first steep was 1 1/2 minutes, and the second received two minutes. Delicious and satisfying.
First, and most importantly, I apologize for my brief absence. I have had to deal with doggy issues, solving problems at work, dealing with family issues, but now, finally, everything has worked out for the best and I am able to sit down and have my first cup of tea while I finally relax. It is amazing how tension builds up and once everything over, you just suddenly feel like you are a balloon full of stale air that desperately needed to be popped. I am so happy to be back!
I love Ooolongs, and Milk Oolongs have always had a soft spot in my taste-buds. Just thinking about them my mouth waters… So, after all the hype that Teavivre has had on Steepster, I had to try their Milk Oolong. I placed and order, that took forever to get to me (all customs fault, Teavivre service was wonderful. Sometimes shipping to Ecuador is a hassle…). It finally arrived, and being in the middle of all the problems I was having, I didn’t really feel up to trying new teas. So, finally, the storm has passed and I will indulge.
The leaves are nicely rolled and a very enticing green. The scent was fresh, creamy and a tad bit mineral. Not quite as sweet scented as other milk oolongs I have tried, but very creamy and inviting.
I steeped it for 2mins and ended up with a delicate golden liquor. The scent was intensified and the creaminess started prancing about tempting me o gulp the entire glass down. Yuuuummm…
First sip, unsweetened, delicious. All of the creamy smoothness that a milk oolong promises. The first sensation in the sip is creaminess with a tad of creamy sweet flavor, followed by brief mineral savoriness and an ending of sweet aftertaste, all oolong goodness.
The second brew was just as good, but different. The creamy sensation/flavor became stronger and the mineral flavor was played down a bit. The sweet aftertaste was still there and making me smile.
Third brew I lost a bit of the creamy and found a bit of the mineral, but, still delicious.
I never sweetened it, but somehow, Oolongs never seem to need sweetening. The delicate sweet aftertaste gets lost under sugar, honey, Splenda, or any sweetener I have ever tried. So, I don’t think I will be writing about this one sweetened any time soon… It is sooo good plain.
Once again, it feels great to be back in the tea world with fellow Steepters! : ) Also, this tea is really worth a try! : )
Oh, have I missed Steepster and all your great reviews lately, extremely busy at work for the past 3 weeks , and at home with my godchild (babysitting the little angel while my sister is on a well-deserved vacation!) I’m catching up today by reading all of you…
Not only am I Canadian, I’m French Canadian, a proud «Québecoise» to be more precise. That explains why my choice of words or the way I phrase things might be a little incorrect form time to time. I hate using translators, good old fashion Merriam-Webster dictionary is what I go for. Aside from a few English lessons in high school, I learned English by myself. When I was a teenager, I decided I would become bilingual and read tons of English books. I also spoke English as often as I could, to all my friends who didn’t understand a thing and thought I was a little weird. It paid off, by the time I was 18, I was almost perfectly bilingual.
Now in my adult life, I do speak the language every day (I work in the financial world), but from time to time, I just can’t find the perfect word to illustrate to the fullest what I really want to say, the way I could in French.
So today, how do I love this tea??? INCOMMENSURABLEMENT! (google it! ha! ha! I just wanted to show off!!)
This tea, oh my, this tea… I have to thank Teavivre for the sample I got about 3 weeks ago. After drinking the life out of it, I ordered a large supply and decided to wait and drink it again before writing my review. (I wanted to make sure it was for real and that I wasn’t a victim of some kind of tea rush hallucinations).
I finally received it this week… I am sorry to say that this one will not be shared with anybody!!
So many of you have already said many good things about it and they’re all true.
This tea is a symphony for the taste buds and for the soul… Bold and delicate at the same time. It does have a natural cocoa feel to it, paired with a distinct caramel sweetness very hard to describe.
It does remind me of Teavivre Yun Nan Golden Tip, in a more complex way.
Haaa, sip, sip, I am having it right now, sooo freakin’ goood!!
First review of this lovely sample from Teavivre and Angel for which I am greatful!
I woke up with the sunlight trying to get into my bedroom. This can be good for other people but for me it can mean the beginning of a migraine. Light sets them off. I wear sunglasses indoors and out…even now writing this review. Caffeine helps ward off migraines so I went for the best black tea option in my review box! Such a delight too!
My steep time was 2 1/2 minutes at the 185F temp. and the color of the tea liquor is a medium gold with a hint of green. Very pretty! A sniff…vegital just a bit but what kind I can’t figure out…will have to come later.
A sip….honey…really smooth and silky and not a vegital flavor but maybe cookie? At this highest beginning temperature there is a slight bit of acid. I let the tea cool down and then…well…there began to reveal such velvety richness and an open full mouthfeel delish! The vegital was not yam or sweet potato but sauteed, slightly honeyed carrots. I’ve made them so many times and there is a duel vegital and fruity sweetness rolled into one in carrots that is perfect to discribe what I am getting from this tea. (One time I made a carrot pie with pistachios that was awesome). The acid or tannin I felt in the beginning was almost absent when this tea cooled a bit. I didn’t taste any orange. Adding some sweetening was nice but milk is not what I would recommend because it makes this tea look and taste watery…uh no! Straight up this is great and sweetened it’s good too! (Bonus for me…my head is feeling a lot better already!)
I first enjoy tea with its looks, then I smell it, then I drink it. So that’s how I’m reviewing my teas.
Update: I find myself reaching for this one again and again. For me, the sweetness is irresistible. It’s my “I need a looong quiet sip to escape the madness” tea.
Looks: Very very light green toward yellow. The pearls unfurl into a bunch of twisted buds that look like tiny dragons battling it out in your cup. I have to resteep at least 3 times to get the leaves to fully unfurl due to the quick steeping time of this tea.
Fragrance: The jasmine scent is mellow and well rounded. Sometimes jasmines can get cloying with its high notes, but this tea was fantastic. The best I can describe is that it is a sweet, warm jasmine fragrance. Like getting a hug from a big jasmine flower.
Taste: Mild vegetal flavour with slight sweetness. A quick steep is necessary to get a good brew. I have accidentally steeped too hot as well as too long and either way results in an overly astringent tea. It was not undrinkably bitter, but not too tasty either.
Brewing note: I find a quick rinse of the tea helps greatly with the flavour of the first steep.
OK… this was the Pu-erh I was a little afraid to try, because I had a feeling it would end up being a very earthy tasting tea. I think it was the “Ripened Aged” part of it, because the tuocha itself doesn’t have that strong, earthy smell to it.
Yes, it is earthy, but, it has a really nice sweetness to it too and that makes it very enjoyable. My first couple of sips I tried without any sweetener and it had a nice, caramel-y kind of sweetness to it, then I tried it with a little turbinado sugar and found that this addition gave the sweetness a molasses-y kind of taste. Very nice.
Winter is dead and gone. Spring is floating about. Teavivre’s Premium Dragonwell is glistening in the cup.
Chestnuts! This tea has a nutty flavor that most echoes chestnuts. The dry and wet leaf of this dragonwell exhibit a grassy-nuttiness. But in the liquor scent, the chestnuts come out to play. This is not a light and grassy green. This dragonwell is on the heavier side. The pronounced chestnut taste is prevalent throughout the sip. The aftertaste leaves a nutty flavor in the back of the throat and a slight astringency in the front of the mouth. The key to enjoying this tea is to not overbrew. Testing on multiple pots, when brewed for 2:00 and slightly longer at 175, the tea becomes overly heavy and dense. The nuttiness can overwhelm in such a brew. The sweet spot is to brew this right at 1:30 at 175 and not a second longer. Such a brew leaves this dragonwell lighter and in better overall balance.
This is an enjoyable green. It’s not the green that I will reach for daily. It’s one that needs to work in concert with the right mood and setting. Teavivre’s nutty dragon does well.
Love this pu-erh, I use 1 tuocha per 4 oz of boiling water. 45 second rinse, which also begins to break apart the tuocha. First steep for 1 minute and it is a very dark heavy earthy tea. Increasing 30 seconds per infusion, by the fourth infusion the liquid becomes very light and the sweetness of the chrysanthemum really shines.
Okay, I admit my taste buds might already be compromised. The fiancé decided to cook steak and habanero peppers in his cast iron skillet. Basically, he poisoned the air. I had to retreat into the bedroom because the air was so peppery I couldn’t stop coughing and sneezing. My nose is now running like crazy, so I’m not sure how reliable this tasting note will be.
The dry leaves smelled like tea. Yeah, I know, not very descriptive. But really, there wasn’t much to it. No overtly recognizable scents. The brewed tea aroma is a similar experience. It smells like Teavivre’s other black teas.
Now let’s see if I have any better luck describing the taste. It’s much stronger than I anticipated. It tastes like it could be a great base for blending. No bitterness or tannins detected. I feel like it’s a little peppery, but then again that could just be from the air. Toasty might be a better description.
It came in pre-measured, individual, little, red packets. So, maybe it tastes strong to me because the leaf is more proportional. When I measure the tea leaves out myself, I almost always err on the side of too little. Still, I think the Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea was more to my liking. It just had more flavor.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t flavorless. It just tastes kind of standard to me, like something I would drink as my morning cup of tea. Oddly enough though, the Teavivre site says it has minimal caffeine (less than 15% of a cup of coffee). I guess that’s a good thing since I’m drinking it at 8pm on a weekday.
But I usually choose black tea for its taste as well as caffeine content. So, if this doesn’t have much caffeine in it and the taste is lacking, there’s not a whole lot of point for me to drink it. It is a good cuppa, just not my favorite. Despite its high quality, the taste just isn’t enough to my liking for me to reach for it often. So, if you like Bailin Gongfu, you’ll like this one too!
Now it’s time to peek out tentatively like Groundhog Phil and see if it’s safe to come out yet.
First review. Thank you to Teavivre and Angel for this sample that is beautifully packaged with care.
What a beautiful Spring day in the Rockies! The rest of North America seems to be having weather problems but not here..it just split around the mountains and bypassed us. No rain, tornados, snow or wind. So, I washed windows and then made tea! These mini Toucha’s are so cute…wrapped in white paper with red lettering (I don’t have any idea what it says…) . Read the directions and because I like stronger Pu-erh went with 2 minute steep after a quick rinse. I poured a bit in my glass double wall cup and took a whiff. Cinnamon! Oh no, something must have been left lingering in the cup! I quickly got another glass cup. Again, cinnamon! How could that be? I never smelled cinnamon or any spice in my straight, unflavored Pu-erh before! I filled up my glass with the coffee brown liquid and took a nice big swig…rolling it around and swooshing it like a fine aged wine. Hum…a bit of a chickory bitterness but not a tea leaf type bitterness, slight earth, on the heavy side and mysterious. Leather. Believe me…do not steep this longer than 2 minutes. I would even stop at 1 minute. This is potent stuff! I sweetened it a bit. Added milk. Neither changed the character at all so not necessary. I’m puzzeled and don’t know if I like this first pour that much.
Second steep 2 minutes. Wow what a grand difference. This is the best! Mildly smoky and astringent. The blues are gone as though someone opened a window and let the bats out. This is still slightly earthy in a good Pu-erh way with a hint of brown sugar. It is light enough for Spring or Summer. The color is a caramel brown. I added sweetening which was good and then played with ice which was also fantastic. Cream not so much. This is light and delicato. Need to respect the complexity at this stage so better sans milk.
*My Hints…1st steep keep it short…1 minute. 2nd steep… 2 minutes and if you add sugar forget the milk… but iced is good too ( nice warm weather Pu-erh).
Another one of ‘those’ teas that has changed my perceptions. I used to think I didn’t much care for straight green and that they were all alike – they all taste like grass. What a difference a year makes. This stuff is amazing. I think I originally thought this smelled like vegetables. Today it quickly turned to buttered popcorn without the guilt or the salt. I gave up trying to figure out how to measure the leaf. I just get a scoop and then grab a small handful more and toss in. Looks like a forest floating in my press. Maybe there are better versions out there, but honestly, I don’t care. This is awesome tea.
What a lovely cuppa.
When I first brewed this, I thought it smelled nice…sort of warm and earthy, and I tried hard to see what flavours I could pick up. I chose this tea from the Teavivre site for a future tasting based on the picture, and a description somewhere of a honey aroma. I tried to pick up the honey note, but really, I suck at that. Unfortunately, I’m the first to review this tea, and I am not great at picking out the flavours in teas.
It brewed a nice medium golden red shade, and almost seemed like a very mild black tea, like maybe a yunnan or possibly a darjeeling? I guess that’s part of this oolong being more oxidized than some…this tea is definitely on the darker spectrum than the lighter spectrum.
I only had time for 2 steeps of this today: my first was this morning (with my cheese tea biscuits), initially unadulterated, but I added sugar partway in. When I did this, it brought out what honey notes I could perceive (or think I perceived) more…but it could just be that is was sweeter overall. The second time was later this afternoon, after my physio appointment and stroll through downtown while the sun was out and it was kinda warm. Warmish, though I was still bundled in my wool coat and scarf, and had my boots on. I popped into a few tea shops I hadn’t been to in quite a long while (Special Teas and Murchies…our Special Teas here in Victoria, BC is not the same as the one in the states that went under and has been bought by Teavana). Anyhow, back at home I made my second steeping, didn’t use as much sugar, but added a splash of milk. It was nice and comforting.
I think, on my next steeping, I’m going to try honey instead of sugar, and hold the milk.
It was a very enjoyable cuppa, as I said initially. I’m very grateful for teavivre sending this one to me. I know I will enjoy the remaining samples on this one. I look forward to more steepings and tastings.
This one was included as a free sample with my Teavivre order and it’s been poking about on a shelf ever since I found out what sort of tea it was. I’m not really the keenest white tea drinker in the world, to be entirely honest. I tend to get along with added flavour better than without.
The funny thing is that not that many years ago, so recent in fact that it’s documented here on Steepster, I thought BMD was the bestest thing ever. Ever! And then… I just kinda fell out of love with it without even realising it. I even went so far as to toss almost an entire tin of it the other day when I realised that I hadn’t even touched it in years, and that it was so old by now that I wouldn’t even be able to make myself give it away.
Honestly? I felt better for having just taken that particular bull by the horns and cleared out something that would otherwise just have stood there for ever. I even managed to use that same momentum to toss a couple of other things in that same sort of category. One of these days I really have to go through the tea corner and make some tough decisions on what is likely to get used up and what is likely to simply gather dust. I have to say it’s not a job I’m looking forward to, even though I know I’ll feel good about having done it afterwards.
Now, back to this tea. I debated with myself for a bit about whether to brew it western style or whether to attempt to semi-gong-fu it, but eventually decided on western style. As I discussed previously, I often feel that western style gives me a better, deeper sort of idea of the flavour profile at hand, not to mention the fact that drinking seven cups of a tea I felt a little dubious about from the beginning didn’t really sound super appealing.
I patted myself on the back when I saw that the brewing guidelines from Teavivre are actually for a western style cup.
When I opened the little envelope, I was struck by how brightly light green the leaves were. Green tea is usually bright green as well, but this was even brighter, and it was the same thing when they were wet after steeping and a few of them landed in the strainer. I recall a much more sort of brownish and greyish sort of green.
They had a vegetal aroma, rather spicy like Darjeelings and for some reason reminded me or pea pods, in spite of the fact that they smelled nothing like any part of the pea plant at all.
After steeping the tea has a darker sort of aroma, kind of vegetal and grassy. There’s also a strong aroma of something familiar that I couldn’t quite place. This is where I cheated and looked at what other people had noted there. I normally try to avoid this, as I feel it adds a bias to my own experience. If someone says they’ve found for example notes of melons in whatever it is I’m writing about, I end up sitting here trying my damndest to find those melons too. And if I then do find them, I’m never quite certain if I really think there is a note of melons or if I’ve been affected by someone else’s experience. But this time I needed some help with identifying that note.
So I used a lifeline and asked the audience.
A couple of people mentioned cucumber and that rang a bell. For me, though, it’s more along the lines of courgettes, but there isn’t really a very large difference there. Whether it’s cucumbers or courgettes I think is a question of association.
This note is enormous in the flavour as well. Courgette all over the place. Along with those there is definitely a grassy note again, but it’s not as spicy as in the arome and it’s staying in the background.
This cup of
liquid courgette tea is probably not going to bring me back into the white tea fold. I just think that the black teas and the dark oolongs have a so much more interesting flavour than the green and whites. 7 out of 10 cups, I reach for a black tea and I don’t really expect that to change any time soon. The remaining three are typically oolongs.
It does however make me curious about a couple of other BMD samples I’ve got standing around. I’ve mostly found walnutty flavours in BMD in the past and I’m interested to see if this courgette business might happen in others as well.