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Recent Tasting Notes
My last order from Teavivre was mostly black tea. This one is a really nice one for the price.
I was getting coffee, wood and maybe mushroom notes for the first 2 infusions. Later infusions revealed more citrus and cocoa flavors.
This is a good tea for casual drinking. I’m mostly brewing it with my tea tumbler for those long working hours. For gaiwan style brewing I’d recommend the Yun Nan Dian Hong Full-leaf.
Tea Tumbler 250 ml, 6g for 5/10/15/20… sec @ 90°C
Gaiwan 100 ml, 3,33g for 5/10/15/20… sec @ 90°C
Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Orange, Smoke, Wood
Spring 2015 harvest. Despite this tea being almost a year old, the dry leaf smells incredibly sweet and fragrant. Maybe not a pure, subtle, “fresh” aroma but still delightfully intense.
Apr 11: Brewed this Western-style, in a 16oz teapot for 3:00, 179˚F and it turned out pretty luscious, with full nutty sweet toasty flavour, maybe very slightly on the edge of burnt. They recommended 185˚F but I might lower it to 177˚or so next time. Unfortunately I was stupid and needed to insulate the pot base with more than a tea towel, so my solid wood dining table now has a round white burn print on it ໒( •́ ∧ •̀ )७
Any suggestions on removing this burn stain would be appreciated. I might try wiping it down with olive oil…
To be continued…
Flavors: Almond, Chestnut, Toasty
Leaves: tiny curled glossy leaves
Amount:1.5 tsp (light) 2 tsp (strong)
Aroma: Classic black tea
Color: golden yellow, copper (light), red copper (strong)
Taste: The really cool thing about this tea are the leaves they had a glossy finish to them. I haven’t encountered this with any other teas. I decided to do something different with this tea brewing it using two different methods dealing with light & strong flavors. Reverse method the first cup i went with a strong brew using the information i found on the Steepster blog “Tips for Measuring Dry Tea Leaf” which stated using 1.5tsp or 2tsp for 10/12oz. As stated i went with 12oz the cups was a red copper color, the texture was was very smooth mouth feel. The flavor was light but a bit bitter. On to the light brew the color was brighter it starts off as a golden yellow then deepens as more tea enters the cup. Tast wise it was the same as the previous cup but with no bitterness. It was fun trying out a different method with this tea. which lead to a more in-depth review.
Here is a mini behind the scenes story that took place as i was making the second brew:
I already had added my 1tsp into my french press then i measured out my 1/2tsp. once done i was about to add the leaves into the press when some how my left hand bumped the spoon sending tea all over the kitchen counter. so i had to clean up then re-measure it.
Thanks for this one in your sale, Ost! I’m happy I’m able to try it because it doesn’t look like it’s available anymore. I’m a little sad about that. I think I can guess why. The long, dark, wiry leaves have a much different flavor than Teavivre’s much beloved other Tan Yang: the Superfine. Fans of the Superfine might have thought this one would be more like that one. While those leaves were mostly golden and tasted like sweet potato and honey, this one is very much like tangy plums. The light amber brew is just pure tangy plums and I love it. It is almost identical to the Yunnan Dian Hong Ancient Tree that Teavivre sells and I absolutely love. It’s a pity I didn’t know about the similarities sooner, as I would have stocked up on this one. Maybe Teavivre will sell this again some day. I will be waiting! (I asked Teavivre and they replied that they were waiting to find quality Tan Yang again, so there is hope this will be available again.)
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep
Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is one of my favorite black teas. This one, while a little unusual, is really good.
A little lighter than what I’m used to, not as dark, not as rich but still has a really nice mouth feel. The malt and chocolate notes are present, there is definitely a starchy sweet potato thing happening but there is also some fruit – plum maybe. It’s really fruity for a ZSXZ.
This has made me very happy today. :)
Leaves: green tightly rolled balls
Steep: rinse, 5m
Aroma: classic oolong
Color: golden yellow
Taste:It’s been a long time since i had my last cup of oolong tea so this will be almost like a fresh start. To begin i gave the leaves a 10s rinse as i do with all oolong teas because of what i read online. the aroma was that off the classic oolong scent your used to. Steeped for 5m the flavor was nice with no bitterness. Overall i found this to be a great cup & can see myself drinking again. What makes this cup special is that this marks my 100th tea review! I’ve been writing reviews for 3 years & i plan to continue because this is something i enjoy doing. Thank you everyone for your continued support & answering my questions when i stepped into the world of tea :)
Leaves: white/black small twisted leaves
Aroma: sweet,citrus, orange
Taste:The aroma of this tea is great upon opening the packet i noticed a huge piece of tangerine peel surrounded by the white tea leaves. Although i can say these looked different from other leaves i seen in the past they were much darker. As with the last tea this time i used the whole packet. Once brewed it was now time for a taste this is where i probably went wrong b/c I found this tea to be bitter & lacking flavor. Maybe i used too many leaves? After a few more sips the bitterness fades & i can’t pinpoint the flavor. There is also a bitter after taste left on the tongue when finish. Over all didn’t like this tea.
Today was a beautiful day, warm weather (meaning no cold side of the head and ears, mohawk woes) and clear skies…combine that with getting a good night’s sleep (and being woken up by the smell of blooming flowers) for the first time in over a week made for a having a lovely day. I had an adventure to a part of town I don’t normally venture to procure some fried chicken and okra, because nothing says comfort food on a warm day like fried yummies. I am Southern after all, it is what my people feast on, well that and collards but that is sadly harder to find this time of year outside of a can. Now I sit and blog between waiting for coats of paint to try on my miniatures, fun times for me!
Today concludes my week of Teavivre teas with one that is very appropriate to the weather, Zheng Wei Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea, a Fujian Oolong from the An Shan Tea Garden. This Oolong is an autumn harvest and is said to be different from their other Tie Guan Yin by being less green and more floral, and considering their other TGY is pretty floral that is an impressive boast. From the moment I cut open the package I realized this boast was true, this TGY is hands down the most floral smelling one (possibly the most floral tea) I have ever sniffed. It was potent, heady, and intoxicating, notes of hyacinth, orchid, lilac, and daffodils. The last one made me immensely happy because that is not a note I get very often in teas, and I absolutely love daffodil, alongside all these flowers is a touch of green vegetation, the accompanying leaves to all the blossoms in a bouquet.
Once the leaves have steeped (and thoroughly poofed up in my xishi) the aroma takes on a delightful sweetness, one that reminds me of caramel, which I admit surprised me though not in a bad way. Alongside this sweetness was the heady elixir of hyacinth, daffodil, and orchid blossoms and the green notes of bamboo leaves and vegetation. The liquid has a buttery sweet quality, reminding me of buttery cookies and flowers, it is heady and sweet, no greenness to be detected in the steeped liquid.
Holy cow that is one buttery mouthfeel, it took me a moment to focus on what I was tasting because I was too distracted by the buttery goodness, so smooth! The taste, when I finally focused, was light, typical for a first steep, gentle notes of hyacinth and orchid with a daffodil note as well. This moves to a celery leaf almost savory quality at the finish with a lingering flowery note in the aftertaste.
I feel like I am sniffing pure undiluted liquid spring-time, it is intensely floral with green notes as well, really it is spring in a cup. The mouthfeel is still intensely buttery but with a slight slickness at the finish. The taste is light, though not as light as the first, it is intensely floral, so many flowers, like walking in a spring garden when everything is blooming. The midtaste brings in more green, notes of bamboo leaves and a touch of celery leaves, for the finish it is all sweetness, like flower nectar and honey with a very strong orchid aftertaste.
For the third steep I still feel like I am in a garden, like I am slowly sinking into a flowery field, being lulled into a heady slumber in a flower patch, it borders on being narcotic like some flowers can be. This steep is just as floral, but it takes on a real nectar quality, I feel like a hummingbird supping from various flowers in a garden. There is very little green to this steep, just a hint of bamboo. The real shine from this steep is the aftertaste, where the earlier sipping has a nectar quality, the end has a heady orchid note that stays around forever, seriously the aftertaste on this steep just would not stop, it was epic! This might be my new favorite green Tie Guan Yin, it gives many steeps and is like drinking spring.
Yesterday was Ben’s birthday, we celebrated in a nerdy fashion, we played with our miniatures all day. He worked on some of his Malifaux assembly and modification and I worked on putting together my Age of Sigmar box, (I said I would eventually fall into Warhammer and it happened, totally Ben’s fault) It feels so good to be painting again! Working on two separate game armies, random miniatures, presents for friends, and Ben’s armies, my paint table runneth over and it pleases me, maybe I will have all my current projects finished by the time my Reaper kickstarter arrives in October, but I doubt it!
Today I am continueing my look at some of Teavivre’s teas, with a long time favorite tea style of both Ben and me, a moonlight! Moonlight Beauty Raw Pu-erh Loose Tea is a lovely pile of silvery buds that could pass for a Baihao Yinzhen, but this is from Xishuangbanna in Yunnan, and while it is similar in production to white tea, it is technically a Puerh. Of course the real difference is in aroma and taste, and the aroma of these fuzzy leaves is grand. Notes of hay and honey blend with savory (the herb rather than the descriptor) sage, tomato leaves (moonlight always smells vaguely like tomato leaves and I have no idea why) and a finish of pollen and wildflowers. It is mellow but very distinct and sweet with herbaceous qualities.
I got to use my big engagement gaiwan for this session since I was sharing with Ben, the aroma of the not so fuzzy leaves blends sweet and savory notes pretty well, with pollen, hay, and honey on the sweet side and lettuce, sage, and tomato leaves on the more savory side. The liquid however is all sweetness, with notes of wildflowers, hay, honey, and pollen. It has a distinct summery quality, like being in a field when all the flowers are in bloom.
For a tea called moonlight, I have always thought it looks like a cup of sunlight. It kinda tastes like sunlight, mixing smooth honey and pollen with lettuce and sage, and a finish of hay. It has a wildflower aftertaste that lingers for some time, it reminds me of a field again, which is great.
Onward to the second steep without delay, the aroma has taken a creamy note, like creamy raw honey with definite wildflower and pollen notes and a finish of hay and lettuce. The taste does not change much from steep to steep, it stays strong with notes of honey and hay with the lingering wildflower notes that do not quit. Of course the best part of this tea is its staying power, it just goes for a while, I think I got eight steeps before it started fading away.
Overall I don’t think Bi Luo Chun is my favourite type of tea, but the Teavivre version seems to be higher quality than the “Supreme Bi Luo Chun” I got from Dragon Tea House. The leaves are more intact and tightly curled, less ‘dust’, and have a more intense fragrance; floral perfume.
I used about half the sample (3g) in my 150ml glass gaiwan and skipped the rinse.
1st infusion: (30s, 178˚F)
Nutty, slightly savoury aroma with light vegetable broth flavour, and fresh and clear like spring water. (The DTH 碧螺春 had cloudy suspension, probably from the tea ‘dust’.) Ever so slightly astringent, maybe I need to go down to 2g of leaf or lower the temperature.
2nd infusion: (50s, 177˚F)
This was pretty astringent and tastes “off”. I think I overleafed or maybe I need to brew this at 175˚. Will try experimenting with the second half of the sample but yeah, apparently I find 碧螺春s really difficult to brew! Sticking with Dragon Wells as my favourite green for now.
Flavors: Grass, Nuts, Vegetable Broth
Console exclusive games infuriate me to no end, seriously. I have an Xbox, both the One and the 360, mostly because the only people I ever play with have those systems have them and I have gotten used to the Xbox, I like it and will continue to play them, but I really wish I lived in a world where the console war and exclusive games didn’t exist. I love Ark, but I am so sad that it is no available to PS4 players…but they get to have access to two games I want but can’t have because of being on the Xbox. Street Fighter V and more importantly No Man’s Sky, I want that game so badly, it looks amazing but I can’t play it. I AM CRYING BITTER TEARS ON MY CONTROLLER!! It really would be simpler if I had a gaming PC, but that will be something for the future, maybe. Ok, end nerd rant, tea time!
Continuing on with Teavivre week, today I am looking at Yunnan Gongfu Fragrant Black Tea, a hong cha from Fengqing, Yunnan, one of my favorite regions for making the glorious red teas that I’m hopelessly addicted to. Dianhongs are my drug, no lies. The name of this tea is no exaggeration, it is immensely fragrant, you open the bag and whoosh, face full of aroma! There are notes of intensely sweet cocoa and yams with brown sugar, malt, and a finish of gentle woody notes. It is very sweet and rich without being too much of either. I might have giggled with glee sniffing this tea while awaiting my kettle’s heating.
Into my teapot the oh so fragrant leaves go for their first steep, upon steeping it is time once again for sniffing. The notes coming off the wet leaves is intense! Notes of malt, cocoa, yams, peanut, pumpkin, mineral, molasses, and a very tiny hint of rose. It is really complex, pretty much every note I associate with Dianghong is present, which is impressive. The liquid is a touch lighter, sweet notes of brown sugar and pumpkin with a delicate pastry and chocolate note, it is quite sweet.
The first steep surprised me, for such a strong fragrance the taste is really light. Starting with gentle mineral notes and almost effervescent sweetness that dances across my palate. It is reminiscent of both cane sugar and brown sugar with a delicate cocoa woodiness. The finish is sweet and lingering with a light honey quality.
Second steep is where it is at! The aroma stays strong with notes of cocoa and brown sugar with a definite pumpkin and yam quality. Well, the taste takes a hint and brings in the yams and toasted peanuts, but imagine that with notes of pastry and cocoa and a finish of brown sugar and mineral. It almost reminds me of peanut brittle now that I think about it, but with sweet potatoes and cocoa, delicious!
For the third steep the aroma stays strong, but starts to pick up woody and a slight camphor note, at the finish there is a hint of pepper and a stronger mineral note as well, making it less sweet but more complex. This steep surprised me a bit, where the mouthfeel earlier was smooth and a bit thick, this one is thick and slippery with a salivary affect giving it an extra thickness. The taste is woodier, the intense sweetness is replaced with a woody richness reminiscent of cacao shells and a touch of very distant camphor. The finish and aftertaste is where all the sweetness of this steep is, ending with brown sugar and delicate yams. This tea went for several more steeps before giving up the ghost, finishing out with a very pleasant mineral quality.
A sample of the 2015 April harvest, almost a year old and still exquisite. Such a delicate aroma, juicy mouthfeel, and complex yet balanced and soothing taste. I can’t imagine a Silver Needle getting much better than this.
Brewed at 167˚F, 5g leaf, 150ml glass gaiwan. High quality leaves, few broken bits. Skipped the rinse.
1st infusion: (45s)
The aroma is amazing. Beautiful, smooth, reminiscent of roses in moonlight. Such a creamy mouthfeel, not bitter at all.
2nd infusion: (60s)
The liquor has this invigorating yet delicate, musky fragrance. It is full-flavoured, tastes like some creamy fruit. I can see why some people say melon, but that’s not exactly what it tastes like to me. Maybe dragonfruit or something?
3rd infusion: (90s)
Leaves still smell potent. Liquor has not slowed down. Barely very slight astringency in aftertaste.
4th and 5th infusions: (105s, 140s)
Mellowing, getting lighter. 5th is light and elegant. No astringency.
6th infusion: (180s)
Nice finish, still thickish mouthfeel. It’s not water.
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Cedar, Cream, Floral, Hay, Smooth
An Ark update is headed my way that has me full of excitement! Not because of the horribly hard caves or wooly rhinos, not because of breeding phase 2 or the Eurypterid, no my friends, it is for the Dunkleosteus! One of my favorite deep sea monstrosities from the Devonian age, this giant fish had no teeth, instead it had interlocking bony plates and an armored head, but more importantly it had a crazy fast bite speed, making its mouth deadly. Since the only real fossil record is of its bony face, we don’t have a clear idea of what its body looked like, it could have been a longish fish or if you are like me and come up with wild theories, it could have been an eel! Like I said, wild theory that is wildly unlikely, but very fun, I love the Dunkleosteus and I am glad it is getting some Ark love, can’t wait to tame one!
Time to put down the dinosaur geeking and move on to my other major geek out source, tea! Today I am looking at Teavivre’s Tangerine Peel White Tea, a Shoumei White Tea from 2010 shoved into a tangerine peel and then dried in the sun, at least I think these are dried in the sun since that is how Shou shoved in a tangerine is created. It is said that the tangerine peel is good for cough and chest complaints, and white tea is known to have cooling Qi, so I was thinking this would be a great tea to drink during allergy season, plus I love tangerines, so blending the flavor with white tea seems most excellent. The aroma of the leaves and peel is intensely sweet, the comparison the website makes to orange candies is not far off, though conveniently it smells like tangerine and not artificial flavor like so many candies have. Actually candies is not entirely fair, it is more like candied orange peel with a strong honey note. There are underlying notes of hay and melon, but mostly the dry leaves really showcase the citrus.
I tossed the fluffy leaves and peel bits into a teapot and gave them a steeping, the aroma of the leaves is still heavy on the tangerine and intense honey sweetness, but now there are also notes of lettuce and a touch of celery. The liquid is a blend of lettuce, freshly broken hay, tangerine, and sticky sweet honey. It smells warm and sweet and I cannot wait to drink it.
The first steep is very mild, I was expecting a giant tangerine explosion in my face, but the tangerine is more in the aroma and aftertaste. The main notes in this steep are gentle melon sweetness, lettuce crispness, and a sun-warmed hay finish. It has a smooth mouthfeel and a gentle cooling feel in my chest and stomach, refreshing on a warm day!
The aroma of the second steep manages to be even more tangerine, mixing fresh juicy tangerine and candied orange peel with honey and a touch of lettuce and melon. Wow, this steep brings the citrus! It has notes of honey drenched tangerine, slightly sour orange (hello salivary glands) and a definite candied peel note that lasts forever. This tea is not all citrus goodness though, there are also strong notes of lettuce and hay with a slight melon note at the midtaste. It is delightfully sweet and smooth and has a bit of a thickness to its mouthfeel.
For the third steep, the aroma does not change really, pretty sure you could stick the second and third steep under my nose and I would not know the difference. Tasting is pretty similar too, it lacks any sour notes and is all candied orange peel and tangerine sweetness, with strong honey notes and delicate melon. It manages to be both warming and cooling, though the warming comes mostly from the sunny notes present in the citrus, it always registers as summery and warm in my mind. The sensation of cooling is pleasant, not as intense as some shengs can get, but certainly feels soothing on my insides. This tea went for several more steeps, eventually the orange notes faded and I was left with lots of sweet white tea, I really enjoyed it and plan on saving the rest of my sample for a cold steep experiment come summer time!
Happy Monday tea world! This past weekend was very enjoyable and I believe sets up a trend, a trend that will hold until late July, my weekends will be taken up watching fighting games. Yes, the season for watching FGC tournaments on the weekends is underway and I am so full of hype. I am very fond of fighting games, even if I am absolutely horrid at them, long ago in my youth I was an unstoppable force at Mortal Kombat, but my tendons and arthritis hate me meaning no more fighting games or beat’em ups for me, so to get my fix I watch champions play it at a professional level. I don’t really do standard sports, but I sooo get into fighting games!
It has been a while since I had a Teavivre week on the blog, so this week will be all Teavivre, starting out with Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Ancient Wild Tree Black Tea. This is a hong cha from my favorite region for red teas, Yunnan! This specific Dianhong comes from Fengqing, the garden is high and the mountain and these large leafed trees are quite old, it is said in the description that it picks up notes of both Dianhong and Sheng Puerh, and I have loved reds that have that quality. The leaves are large and wiry, and very dark, and this means it is time to give it a healthy sniffing. The aroma of the leaves is very malty and rich, strong notes of chocolate and slightly woody with notes of molasses, honey, and leather. It starts with a heavy richness and ends with a sharpness and a touch of distant roses.
Conveniently my gaiwan is wide so can handle the longest of the leaves, no breaking needed. The aroma of the soggy leaves has notes of malt and sharp woodiness, chocolate and leather with gentle black pepper and a ghostly intoxicating rose. It is like the idea of roses rather than sniffing an actual rose. The liquid is very sweet, oh it is quite intense, notes of honey and chocolate with roses and malt and a rich underlying molasses. Woody undertones and leather are also there, but adding a nice heaviness to the sweetness.
The first steep is light and gentle, the mouthfeel and taste have a summer breeze quality, being light and refreshing with a gentle touch of cooling. The tasting starts with molasses and cocoa notes, this moves to a slightly dry tobacco, woody and leather note, The finish is woody with a sweet nectar rose like quality. The rose is like the aroma, it is light and sweet but more the idea than an exact taste of rose, it is ghostly.
Moving right along to the second steep, because I do love my Dianhongs! The aroma is surprisingly floral, strong notes of roses and even a touch of wildflowers. It is like sniffing a chocolate covered rose, and it is heady and sweet. This steep’s mouthfeel starts smooth and a bit thick with a middle of dry and a finish of smooth slickness. Tasting the tea starts with woody notes and molasses sweetness, then it moves to tobacco and chocolate, but really the finish is the kicker. Notes of roses and honey with milk chocolate dance down my throat and the rose lingers for so long. This might be the most intense aftertaste I have run into with a Dianhong and I love it!
It is no secret that I love teas with a heavy rose note, especially ones that come about it naturally and not by scenting or blending, I am not sure why but of all the various oddball notes that show up in tea rose is the one that seems most magical. The taste of this steep does not change much, the main difference being stronger woody notes and a slightly earthier middle, but wow, the aftertaste on this steep is persistent. I timed it between steeps, how long the rosy aftertaste lingered, it was a full 12 minutes, which was impressive! I was able to get several more steeps out of this tea before it called it quits, while not being the most chocolaty or rich of all the various Dianhongs I chug, it certainly is the most unadulterated rosy which I loved.
Part 4 of my Teavivre Dian Hong series.
Prepared in a gongfu session with a ceramic gaiwan. Brewed with 200 degree temp. water since my kettle doesn’t have 195 setting. Rinsed the leaf for 5 seconds (was supposed to be the first infusion but it didn’t taste like anything). Steeping times: 5, 5, 5, 5, 10, 10, 15, 18, 30, 45, 60; 2 min, 2, 4, 12.
The dry leaf – nearly inch-long, needle-like, wiry – is dark, save for a few golden tips. It has an aroma of dark chocolate with a hint of malt. Surprisingly, the aroma is weaker after I let the dry leaf sit the heated gaiwan bowl, still having chocolate but also bread. In the beginning of the session, the wet leaf smells like tomato soup and oregano. After a time and some more infusions the leaf smells like raisins.
The liquor is a clear, bright orange. The texture is thick off the bat, becoming creamy in the middle of the session. While it has a full-body, it tastes light. The first couple infusions are malty, and tangy and sweet. Thereafter, I taste a consistent note of sweet potato – without the skin, it is worth noting since I couldn’t taste the bitterness that comes with sweet potato skin. Marshmallow might have also popped up, but that was probably just my brain thinking about the Thanksgiving dish.
I experimented by drinking the infusions from two different cups: ruyao and porcelain. I drank the previous Teavivre Dian Hongs with just the ruyao cup, fyi. This Dian Hong tasted sharper from the porcelain cup, whereas it came out muted from the ruyao cup. Also, creamy texture stood out more from the porcelain.
This is my second favorite Dian Hong I’ve tried from Teavivre. It does very well gongfu style, with quicker steeping times. The creamy texture, coupled with the sweet potato note, was very enjoyable. I also felt energetic, a little restlessly so.
Leaves: medium size rose buds w/ purple & beige petals
Aroma: floral rose
Color: medium yellow
Taste:For this tea it’s stated to use 5Tbs/7g but for this batch since i had a sample packet i decided to use the whole pack instead. The rose buds had a pretty color to them a beige base w/ purple tips. Once the tea had been done steeping i noticed much of the color has faded. The rose aroma remained present all during the process. With this tea in terms of flavor it was light & smooth, I didn’t really get a floral taste. Overall i found this to be an okay tea with a heavy rose scent. I might try to mix it with another tea or try some coconut sugar next time. I normally drink my teas without adding anything.
This was a sample from my order a while back. I haven’t had raw pu-erh in a while! But this reminds me of what I’m missing. I used half the sample pouch, so around five grams. The scent of the dry leaves have a fruity lightness to them. With the first sip, I’m surprised at the creamy smooth texture. The deep yellow brew is delicious with hints of apricot or creamy lemon, very sweet. The finest of raw pu-erhs that I have enjoyed. The best raw pu-erh is always smooth with mysterious fruity flavors. The second and third steeps have stronger flavor but aren’t bitter. I really try to keep the steeps around 30 seconds each time or any raw pu-erh WILL get bitter very quickly. The second and third steeps still have a sweet flavor to them, but there is also an autumn leaf flavor happening. The first steeps of raw pu-erh are always the tastiest. I really need to stock up on a raw pu-erh cake, as I barely have any sheng left at all. It might not be this one though… it really increased my appetite and I don’t really want to be drinking more tea AND eating more food. Some pu-erh makes me hungrier faster though and I don’t need those pu-erhs around.
Steep #1 // five grams for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // rinse // 30 second steep
Steep #2 // 15 minutes after boiling // 30 second steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 30 second steep
I’m in one of my comparatively rare raw pu’erh moods today, so I pulled this one out to start the work day with. I gave the leaves a 1 minute rinse, and then went back for a first infusion of 1 minute in boiling water. The tuocha comes apart completely in the first steep, despite seeming initially hard and very compact. The leaves are a medium brown in colour and quite large, the scent very heavily spicy with an edge of raw wood.
To taste, the first infusion is quite potent. There’s an initial smokiness that lingers well into the aftertaste, quite a heavy bitterness, but also a touch of fruitiness that’s very juicy, reminiscent of stone fruit generally and apricot specifically. It’s an interesting combination of flavours, but it seems to work in an odd way. It’s a touch astringent after a few sips, and leaves me feeling a bit dry-mouthed.
I went for a slightly shorter second steep – 40 seconds – to try and combat some of the astringency. It’s worked to a certain extent (there are still hints of it at the end of each sip), but the overall flavour is also less. The second steep is a little smoother, with less juicy fruitiness and a little more woodiness. The smokiness has faded a little, but is still lurking in the background. I can taste a more savoury, mushroom-like flavour this time that wasn’t there before.
Third steep for 40 seconds in boiling water. I’m probably going to stop with this infusion, because I’m not really feeling this one. The flavours are okay – and they work, even though they probably shouldn’t – but the astringency and the dry mouth are too much for a work day when I’m talking a lot on the phone and need to feel hydrated. I have another sample sachet of this one, so I’ll be trying it again at some point in the future. It’s not over until its over.
This was alright. The strawberry flavor tasted pretty watered down to me, like one of the strawberry flavored waters you can buy at stores. All I really got from the oolong was some floral notes and creaminess, which I will say pairs nicely with strawberry, but the strawberry wasn’t really strong enough. However if it were stronger I have a feeling it might taste weirdly artificial. So this sample is ok, and I’ll use it up, but not something I’d buy.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Strawberry
Part three of four in my Teavivre Dian Hong series.
Prepared gongfu style, in a ceramic gaiwan. No rinse. Steeping times: 5, 5, 5, 5, 8, 12, 15, 20, 30, 20, 35, 60, 90; 2 minutes, 5, 12.
Quick side note: Even though the temperature in Teavivre’s directions say 195, I had to lower it to 190 because my kettle doesn’t have that setting. Then I bumped it up to 200 because the liquor tasted weak.
This Dian Hong is also visually appealing. Truly full leaf, many almost up to an inch long. Needle-like. The leaves are mostly dark, a few have golden downy hairs. They smell like a milk chocolate bar. After sitting in the heated gaiwan bowl, the leaves give off an aroma of freshly baked marble cake. (I wanted the real thing….) The wet leaf, at first, smells of malt and herbs. In the middle of the session, the chocolate comes back in the form of brownies.
The liquor is clear and orange-gold in color, having a full body. The texture starts off silky and smooths out by the end. It takes a few infusions for this Dian Hong to decide what it wants to taste like.
2: malt and oats.
3 through 5: chocolate on the tongue, a tangy note on the roof of the mouth.
From the sixth infusion to the end,tThe flavor is consistent – a light sweet potato.
I liked this. The quality is good, but for me it’s OK like the “regular” Dian Hong. So far, the golden tips is my favorite. Aroma-wise, this one is a blast. Taste-wise, I had difficulty distinguishing the different flavors throughout the session. I’m pretty sure didn’t overbrew the first few infusions because they were practically flash infusions. Even so, I enjoyed the session from the middle and onward. Despite the sample being slightly more expensive than the sample for the golden tips, this is actually cheaper – almost the same price more double the amount.
176˚F in my 5oz gaiwan. I don’t often crave jasmine-scented teas, but if I did I would definitely drink this one.
1st infusion: (40s)
The dry fragrance of the jasmine blends seamlessly with the Silver Needle’s haylike fragrance. Much more complex than any jasmine green tea I’ve had (though I want to try Teavivre’s Dragon Pearls too).
3rd infusion: (80s)
Flavour mellowing out, but still lovely.
4th infusion: (120s)
Woops the 4th infusion was supposed to brew for only 100s but even at 120, it’s not bitter or astringent. Beautiful and flavourful.
Flavors: Hay, Jasmine
I think I finally got the parameters right for this one. I used about 3.5g leaf in a 100mL gaiwan with 185f water. The smell of the dry leaves was so floral that I knew there had to be some way to get that in the flavor. This worked pretty well, with early steeps being intensely floral, and the flavor getting more nasal and “green” as I went. Like steeped out flower stems or something. I don’t know if this is what it would actually taste like, but the descriptor of chlorophyll came to mind.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Mineral