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Recent Tasting Notes
So I requested samples of all three of the Yun Nan Dian Hong and unintentionally started with the most affordable. As such I won’t give this a numerical rating until I’ve tried the full leaf and the golden tips, which hopefully will be today.
However initial observations are that while this is a very good value and has decent leaf, it is not well suited to short steep times, which is fine as I am looking for a Yunnan for my husband who prefers western brewing anyway and I will prepare it for him in that matter. At the moment I am just trying to educate myself on this variety, I’m very curious how my taste buds will react to more tea buds.
This third steep at around a minute is really quite delicious and has much more flavor that the two previous at 15 and 30 secs. I unfortunately have a sore throat today, but this is quite soothing. This is the sweetest of the infusions and it also has some initial spice that smooths out later in the cup. Thank you Angel and Teavivre, I will add more are I do a side by side brewing this weekend with the husband.
I’m at work, gulping down a glassful of this tea.
Pleasant. Malty. Slight fruitiness present, could be more. Thinnish.
This works fairly well brewn in a glass grandpa style.
Colour is beautiful golden brown, as it should be. Leaves are shorter than I would have expected from Dian Hong-
This isn’t very interesting. Not particularly intense, not complex, no notable qi, npt strikingly harmonious.
This is a good, pleasant, casual Dian Hong.
(This is the GRADE 1).
I found this tea to be somewhat bitter. I steeped it only three minutes at just under boiling temperature. Its not a “bad” bitterness, though. It has a nice aroma that seems slightly perfumed, and a subtly smooth mouthfeel. Drinking from a black mug (since my white one broke!) brings out the dark reddish undertones in the liquid- very pretty. For me, this is a tea I might drink as a morning pick-me-up, perhaps because of the slight bitterness. It’s not one of my favorite teas, but definitely not one I’d want to discard. I need to drink it more in order to appreciate its qualities.
I bought a sample sized pouch of this and made a quart of iced tea with it last night. It was probably only enough for really half that, but I let it sit for a nice long time so I think it all worked out in the end.
I feel like this is what that “blueberry merlot” tea from TeaForte should be. This definitely reminds me of a red wine. I was worried I was going to need to add sugar, which I completely forgot and wanted to do while it was hot, but it’s perfect. It’s tart, but not mouthpuckering tart. It could probably use being a little sweeter, but I like it how it is. Definitely tastes like it’s been sweetened by blueberries.
I needed more fruit after having some peach Pinkberry for lunch (SO GOOD.) and now I think I’ve had enough for at least now. I’ll go have my fruit and added sugar to yogurt sugar high somewhere outside!
I’m surprised nobody has logged this one yet. I should probably start with the one without flavoring, but I was more curious to know if all the other milk oolongs I’ve had are definitely flavored. This is the first that has actually been upfront about it.
When I took the steeper basket out, all I could smell was the milky scent. I can definitely say that I’ve never had that happen before.
So then I was worried it was going to be SUPER strongly flavored but it’s not. It does though taste like a couple milk oolongs I’ve had, namely the first one I ever bought from a local shop.
Not really a problem, because I bought 100g of this tea. I like to have the milk flavor last for a couple infusions, as I’m sure it will given the smell of the leaves. First one was very creamy and buttery, with a floral aftertaste.
Second one coming up after I finally call my mom to wish her a happy birthday. Although I may not return because the person who has just moved in above me is extremely obnoxious after two days. So, if I kill him, bail me out with tea.
Oddly this empty threat made him and his buddies go inside. I was getting really mad last night because he dropped something RIGHT above where I was sitting while working on my paper and I nearly had heart failure since I was really into the paper at that point.
Anyway. Second steep. I was distracted on the phone while drinking it, but it really tasted very similar to the first steep. A bit more floral, for sure, but still good on the creamy taste. I can’t help but go with one more for the night now…
Still creamy on the third steep! I think all my other oolongs have probably been flavored just a tiny bit judging by this and what others have said about the unflavored version of this tea.
Though I must say, I love that Teavivre even puts the name of the flavoring company on the product page for the tea. Cool to know!
This tea is fun to watch steep. Not as fun as flowering teas, but close.
This tea is really sweet and chocolatey. It actually kind of reminds me of a mocha. It’s a bit malty too. I’m not getting much of other notes than that. That’s not to say it’s boring. It’s super smooth, and the flavor is really enjoyable.
I imagine this will be good for a couple resteeps since the pearls didn’t entirely come apart. I think this would be really good to have in the morning too! I’m hoping it’ll get me back to working on my paper but I had so much tea arrive today I just want to try it all. A cup of something new per page, perhaps?
I am trying the very last sample of this tea brewing it with the mug style. I have a nice clear mug that I can see my leaves in. I am mostly waiting for the tea to cool down to a drinkable temperature and trying to figure out how to drink it without chugging down the leaves. They are halfway unfurled at the moment and half of them are floating.
The color is a nice clear pale green. It smells wonderfully fruity which I have come to expect. It also smells faintly buttery. I feel like I am doing an experiment in tea leaf reading.
It is very light and delicate. I have a feeling the flavor will get slightly stronger the longer I let it sit. I am learning how to drink tea all over again. I have to keep my lips far away from the leaves as I sip out of my mug and it is starting to look like a forest in there. I will update later as I finish my tea and make more steeps this way.
Edit: It tastes like I’m getting a more of a nutty flavor out of it and it is less sweet than when I steep it in the press. Still delicate and I have no idea how long the leaves have technically been steeping in the water. Almost done with the mug. I might pout some more water on it later because it filled me up.
Try that again…entered this under the wrong oolong.
After my parents decided to do a date night of a movie and snacks after, my fiancee and I decided to go out and have a dinner and game date night. Then we got into the hot tub for a while. When I got back home I brewed another steep of this to wind down for the day.
This is the farthest I have pushed an oolong so far. Four steeps with the last at six minutes. The flavor is still nice, light, and stomach settling. The fruity taste has dwindled but I am still getting sweetness. Instead of the fruity sweetness it reminds me of a slightly saltier dew. Well, not so much saltier as more savory. More like a sweet grassy dew the morning after a rain storm. I wasn’t expecting it to morph like that. It is nice.
I have one more sample packet of this before I am out. I think I am still going to explore green oolongs. I feel like I have discovered a brand new tasty world!
After reading some more tips on steeping oolong, I tried brewing it western style to see if I could get the right flavor. This time I got the right water temperature and it tastes awesome! Delicate and fruity! It also tastes sweet. I can’t wait to steep it again for supper. I am pretty sure I have at least two more good steeps like this. Maybe more. I’ll be drinking it all night long!
So, the last steeps I had of this I actually shared. My friends said it was ok, but I had the fifth steep and it still tasted similar to the second steep. I think the leaves were exhausted by the fifth steep or that the brewing method I was using didn’t use the tea to my full advantage. This is why I have more samples, I’ll figure out how to brew it yet.
I decided to make a cup of tea today and this oolong won over my other oolong that I got from the fantastic people at Teavivre. I brewed the water and took it off the heat as soon as I heard the slightest noise come from the kettle, exactly as if I was going to be brewing my green tea.
I put one sample packet into my french press and did about a 15 second rinse on the leaves. Then I steeped my first cup for two minutes. The liquid came out a very light tint of yellow. I wasn’t expecting it to be that light in color. It had a very light sweet scent. At first it didn’t taste like much, but it did have some sort of flavor.
The second steep was three minutes. The color was slightly darker and the taste was slightly stronger. Strong enough that I could taste fruit in the tea. What? Fruit in a non-fruity tea? This is amazing! Sweet and fruity. If I knew that, I would have saved this tea for the afternoon because it is really light. I’m not sure how I like it yet, but I have three samples left and I am more than willing to try it again.
I probably still have a good two steeps left in these leaves, but I’m going to save them for later. The leaves don’t have that much liquid left in them and I have the plunger down on my french press, so they should keep until the afternoon.
From what I read, this is similar how you treat an oolong when you make it in a gaiwan. But how else can you steep the tea? Is it possible to just throw it in a mug and steep it without it coming out really bitter? If it is then it would be a nice tea to drink throughout the day in classes.
I saved the last of this sample so that my fiance could try it too. I learned the importance of eventually getting a “fair pitcher” so that we get even flavors out of my press. My first cup was a little bitter while his was light and sweet. The flavors went back to normal for the second cup.
I am sad that this sample is gone, but I am happy that I was introduced to such a yummy type of tea. I will have to try some more Fujian blacks in the future.
Mom was watching me very closely when I made my first cup of this tea. She was fascinated by the loose leaf brewing process and she said the tea looked really dark. I offered her a sip and she took it and made a face. It was too strong for her. Which I find really funny because I only brew this at 3 minutes.
She did say she would like to try more of my teas, but she is afraid of my black teas now. This will be an interesting expirament. Maybe I will try her with the last little bit of my rose black tea.
Backlog #8: I was drinking this and all of the sudden it hit me! This tea tastes almost like the bubble tea I was drinking obsessively when the Chinese Club was selling it. The base is a medium body with just a touch of a caramel. Not much, but enough that I can tell it is sweeter than my Yunnan. I need to try this in a latte now and find out if my hunch is right.
My Teavivre samples came in! I am so excited. I managed to pick this one to try first because it is a different black than I have been having.
For having such a short steep time, the tea came out surprisingly dark. It has this nice toasty aroma to it that is making my mouth water. I am slightly sleep deprived right now and head deep in literature, so I might get a little flowery with my description later on. Or I might not, but I figured I would give warning just in case.
I think I might have gotten the water a little too hot for the first steep. It tasted earthy and black. A pleasant taste, but kinda flat. It could be because it is a new tea to me and I’m just not picking everything up right now.
The second steep was better. I brewed it a few seconds longer and I started to get a hint of caramel. The water was cooler at this point. I’m thankful that Teavivre sent such a large sample of this tea because now I can play with it and get my brewing method down for me.
I’m too full of tea right now to try for a third steep. I think the tea might be able to take it though. It is good, but I’m going to wait to rate it until I get a few more cups of it under my belt. I’m going to use a little bit cooler water next time. I wish I had a variable temperature water kettle, but I’ll stay with my stove top kettle for now.
Edit to Add: the last of my cup was cold by the time I drank it. Cold enough to make me think that this would be a really good lightly sweetened iced tea. Like a two serving bottle of tea with a teaspoon of honey dissolved in it kind of lightly sweetened. That would make an even better iced tea than our normal iced tea.
I love the aroma as this tea steeps. It smells fresh and earthy, like walking through a forest after a rain. The flavor is also earthy, but my tea vocabulary is too lacking to describe the tea well- I’ll leave the description to more experienced members. The tea’s aroma is so prominent that it is a true part of the drinking experience- I love it.
I am so very grateful to Teavivre for this sample which I am long overdue on reviewing. I tried it over a month ago when I was just getting over a cold and didn’t get a great tasting from it, so I wanted to revisit it to give it a fair rating and review, and just . . . got distracted. It’s horrible of me but here I am now, hoping that a good solid review helps make up for my faults.
I did two steeps of this one tonight, both with water that was filtered through a Brita since my tap water can be fairly chemical. I followed the package instructions for brewing temperature, amount, etc., for the first steep. This meant a 90 degree C steep for one minute. The colour of the tea was a light yellowy-green, and my first sips were . . . not much flavour at all. In fact I got halfway through the cup and still hadn’t much flavour. Knowing that second steeps are always the better, I dumped the rest of cup one and eagerly went on to cup two.
This time I did the same temperature but for twice as long, this time two minutes. The tea was the same colour but slightly more intense, which left me hopeful. There was definitely flavour here this time. And as I sipped more and more I got floral notes.
Now I’m still fairly new to straight teas, especially whites since quality whites can run top dollar sometimes. And while I am extremely grateful for this amazing sample from Teavivre it has helped me realize that Bai MuDan teas just aren’t going to be one of my favourite types. It wasn’t until tonight as I was sipping this one that I put together the Peony in the english name with . . . floral. Stupid of me I know, but truth! I’m not a big jasmine fan so I’m not surprised to also not be a large fan of peony, but I wish it was different since this is clearly a quality version of the type of tea.
I’m not giving it a rating since it isn’t the tea but my tastes that would give it a lower number. Again, a huge thank you to Teavivre for letting me try this tea!
Another sample from TeaVivre.
Leaves are whole, long as they should be. These aren’t handcrafted premium Taiping Houkui leaves, but quantity-produced, decent looking stuff. Colour varies from fresh grass to darker seaweed, stored properly.
Dry leaves smell like dry grass, I get a surprisingly strong association of Japanese green teas. Something oceanic here.
Taste of the first brew is surprisingly thick, somewhat slimy, or swampy. Not unpleasent, but not something I’d expect from a green tea. I guess it’s because this isn’t exatly fresh anymore. My water was also cooler than necessary.
Second brew, with warmer water, brings more natural results. Fresher, this time I associate vegetality with jungle, rainforest maybe. Still far from fresh orchid garden I expect from TPHK, this is going that direction.
Third brew doesn’t bring anything new out.
Overall, I’m slightly disappointed with this tea. I wasn’t able to get out much more than “usual” green tastes, this isn’t very strong example of Taiping Houkui. Although leaves look fairly well preserved, I’d say this tasted much better nine months ago.
TeaVivre sent me some samples of their greens from last year.
When I received the package, I was quite impressed with labels. They have marked down production dates and manufacturers! Bag also had some storage and brewing instructions, and it was nice to note that wulongs, greens, white and blacks had distinctive shelf lives. Aluminium bags with TeaVivre’s labels contained smaller, sealed bags used by manufacturers.
This is fairly cheap, and judging be the leaves pricing seems fair. These aren’t strictly Mao Feng, bud and leaf. There are some lower leaves, some leaves have a bit of oxidation, some twigs etc. Leaves are generally whole. Leaves are fairly long, making production date (5/20/2011) seem realistic.
There seems to be two major tastes whirling around here. Weird, little ill-balanced round, almost milky taste, which changes into a light vegetality. I didn’t like the initial milky taste, and the vegetality should have been little stronger to balance that out, methinks. Aftertaste is fairly pleasant, round and soft, if slighly uninteresting.
Overall, I think this is fairly priced, quite decent tea. I have had a couple of casual glasses of this, and those I enjoyed a lot. Now that I sit down and drink this properly with focus, tea feels lacking in many ways. Then again, which green from 2011 isn’t now? This isn’t top tea, but TeaVivre isn’t asking a price of such from this. I would be happy to recommend this for a casual drinking, and I have very positive image of TeaVivre now.
Second tea of the morning…….
I received this sample a several weeks ago from TeaVivre and have been putting off reviewing due to my seasonal allergies. It is hard to taste things very well when your sense of smell is off. I am a little sad it is out of stock, but am hopeful that there will be more for the next season.
This is nutty, and more vegetal than the Premium Dragonwell. There is the slightest hint of bitterness, but it works to cleanse the palate. It is a surprisingly refreshing tea, and there is not a hint of aftertaste. I would never have guessed that the lightest amount of bitterness could work so well in ones favor. It can be a good thing, when in the right amount. I am sure it will be a great resteeper, and I will thoroughly enjoy the sample. I hope to add a few more notes on this one because it is so interesting how flavors I thought were not of interest to me actually are! Thank you, again, to TeaVivre for the opportunity to sample this one.
190 water, about 2 tsp tea in a 15 oz mug. 3 minutes. No additions.
This is a major backlog as I have been SO stressed lately I can’t even handle it.
I still have a lot more left of this from the sample that Teavivre sent me (thanks again!), and so I’m going to have to re-drink this and write a review for it because I honestly don’t remember that much about it.
I remember it being pretty bold with a nice strong base (a little malty and grainy) and a fruity essence (very wine like, more savory fruit) that kind of grew up from it. It also had a nice smoky background to it that kind of lingered in the background.
It was pretty good but I’m going to re-review it with more detail.