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Recent Tasting Notes
And now it time for the flavoured version of Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk oolong. The smell that comes from the zip bag is oddly familiar. It smells same that that milk oolong that I bought from Forsman. This thing differs from the unflavoured one with the milk flavouring that is sprayed on the leaves, so this is supposed to have stronger milk flavour. At least it smells like milk, bit vinegary like milk or sour milk.
Nuggets of this tea are more even in size compared to the unflavoured milk oolong. Yellow in colour and has milky aroma, but without that osmanthus. Wet tea has more vegetal aroma.
It has quite sweet milk flavour, with hint of vegetality. Milk flavour could be stronger, now it’s about as strong as the unflavoured tea. It’s still pretty good one but my number one in milk oolongs is still from the local tea shop. It has been steamed with goats milk, and that is the stuff.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Milk, Sweet, Vegetal
Cooking TTB #12
This tea has such great reviews, I was really excited to try it! And I got even more excited when it was steeping because it smelled just like a fresh, ripe strawberry. But the flavor was a huge disappointment…very weak and watery. I’m wondering if I should have used a higher temperature or a longer steep time for this one? I followed my usual parameters for oolong, but the package actually calls for boiling water. Withholding rating until I try this again, following the directions!
I was stuck up north for 2.5 extra days because the planes couldn’t fly due to weather (fog, then freezing rain I think?). Anyway. I’m home now, and apparently all of my Black Friday / Cyber Monday purchases finally arrived last week so now I have All The Tea. I chose this one as my first to try, and I’ll probably do a proper tasting note later, right now I just want to say that this is soothing and delicious and just what I needed. :) Cheers, everyone.
Part of my Black Friday order. Jasmine green tea is one of the first teas I really loved and it’s really what got me into loose leaf tea about a year ago. I love the smell of this tea – super floral! Brewed up, this is just what I expected, very floral and light. For some reason this tastes more jasmine-y than the pearls version, which to some people might be a bad thing, but definitely a plus in my book :)
My oolong package finally arrived, it still annoys me that I didin’t taste that delicious Tie Guan Yin tea before ordering these. I have to wait until next sale.
This was the sample, but I wanted to try this first. Other ones are strawberry oolong and flavoured milk oolong which, I think is same as this but its leaves are sprayed with milk. So now I can compare which is better one.
I have had milk oolong before and they’re still one of my favourite ones, especially in oolongs (at least for now before I go on adventure in the world of oolong). Nuggets are mostly dark green in colour but the also have bit green and brownish hues. It has vegetal aroma, I was expecting something like milk but since this is unflavoured it might be normal. Their size also vary a lot, there is small, medium and large ones.
In Teavivres site it’s said this has a natural milk flavour which is quite cool since I have never before met a tea that tastes like milk, without flavouring.
Leaves have expanded into big pieces and whole leaves and have pretty vegetal and floral aroma.
This yellow tea has that bit milky aroma, there is also bit osmanthus in it, pretty sweet overall and full. It really has that sweet milky flavour and that osmanthus only gives it a push and makes it more delicious. If this flavour comes natural, this tea is amazing in it’s own kind of way. Pretty unique. Full bodied and buttery mouth feeling and flavour. Sadly that flavour won’t linger for long but you can always take a new sip. It gives 7 delicious steeps, I managed to get 8 but after that it won’t give more. It is really relaxing if you drink it by evening, like warm milk. Makes at least me pretty drowsy. Let’s see if flavoured version beats this, I don’t think so.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Milk, Osmanthus, Sweet, Vegetal
Wow, so much rose! From the other reviews, I was expecting the floral flavor to be a bit more subtle, but I found it very strong. It’s a nice, natural rose scent and taste, but just too overwhelming for me. I could see someone who’s really into floral teas LOVING this, however!
A sample from KittyLovesTea. There are few teas as beautiful as this one. The small packet belies the contents, because as soon as it’s opened out tumble whole dried chrysanthemum flowers. There are so many, and they’re so large and springy, it’s hard to imagine how they all fitted in the little sample pouch! There are some loose petals, but in the main these are whole flower heads; creamy yellow in colour, and beautifully preserved.
For my first cup, I gave 2tsp of flowers (about half the sachet) 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-green, and smells very lightly herbal. To taste, it’s a subtle flavour. It’s hard to pin down exactly, but it mostly reminds me of chamomile, with the tiniest touch of mint. I was expecting something much more heavily floral, but it’s not like that at all. It makes me think of daisies.
It’s a very light, refreshing cup. I reckon it would be particularly perfect in spring/summer, or as a relaxing pre-bedtime cup. Definitely one I’d consider purchasing with a future Teavivre order.
Cooking TTB #10
I’ve been having so much fun sampling a bunch of different teas from this box! This was another winner for me. The base is a lovely light, creamy green tea that would be delicious on its own. The peach flavor is natural, juicy, and sweet and the jasmine is very subtle, mostly showing up in the aftertaste. A great calming bedtime cup!
Flavors: Creamy, Jasmine, Peach
After my disastrous cup of Aloha Pu’erh, I decided to try something I was certain to like. Chinese blacks! Golden tips! How could you go wrong?
And I was right – this was AMAZING!
I’ve been steeping my Chinese blacks Western style lately, which has yielded pretty good results, but often a cup that’s slightly lighter than I would like. So I decided to go with lots of leaf and a short steep for this. I used two good teaspoons for an 8oz cup, first steep for 1min and the second steep for 1:45.
So delicious. Bold and full mouth flavour, with bread, malt, caramel and sweet potato, with the faintest hint of smoke. I can see myself drinking this often, and I will have to pick up more than just a sample when I’ve got through all my untrieds.
I enjoyed the first steep a bit more than the second. It was sweeter and more malty. Still, I enjoyed my second cup a whole lot, too.
Sadly, I suck, and dumped out most of the rest of my open sample packet onto the carpet when I was trying to transfer it to a better bag. I picked up what I could, and I still have another sample packet, but still, boo. What a waste.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Malt, Smoke, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
Hey all, still not feeling 100% yet, something about the transition from moderately warm and cold to full on constant cold winter always throws my body for a loop. Luckily taking a chill and getting some much needed sleep last night definitely seemed to help, along with a little thrift store therapy. I found some adorable new tea gear for an amazing price, I will have to have another tea gear show off soon! I am hoping after the ‘Christmas rush’ slows down I can get back to reviewing tea gear and tea books, but for now it is all tea all the time. I hope you all do not mind too terribly much.
So for today we are finishing up the Oolong tasting event from Teavivre with Superfine Taiwan Ali Shan Oolong Tea! This Gao Shan is from the 1,000 meter zone of Ali Shan, this particular tea is a Jin Xuan varietal (one of my personal favorites, in case you were curious) and apparently irrigated with fresh spring water. I want to be irrigated with fresh spring water, that stuff is delicious and so clean tasting, but I am not a plant so I must live vicariously through tea. The aroma of this tea is really quite sweet, like sesame candies with honey (ever had those things, they are delicious!) along with a touch of honeysuckle nectar and sweet cream, the cream notes border on buttery. Ok, so this just might be a Southern thing, but it reminds me a little of that super creamy honey butter for biscuits, yes I have been guilty of just eating the butter and forgoing the biscuit.
The aroma of the brewed leaves is unsurprisingly very sweet, they smell like a blend of honeysuckles and fresh growing things in summer. There are also notes of yeasty baking bread and a touch of chestnuts. The blend of bread and chestnut makes me want to bake, I absolutely love chestnuts, but they are obnoxiously expensive and I was spoiled as a kid since I lived near a chestnut tree. The liquid is no where near as intense as the wet leaves, it is mild and sweet with baking bread notes and a touch of slightly creamy honeysuckle.
The first steep is light in taste but powerful in mouth feel. It is so smooth that I will go out of a limb and say it is silky, it does not fill the mouth, it caresses. The taste is sweet, blending yeasty bread and honeysuckles with a distinct green quality, not vegetal, just green. I find myself wondering if the taste is really that mild or if the sensation of the tea is so intense that I am distracted by it, a very real possibility.
Whoa, the aroma of the second steep really steps up its game, where the previous steep was pretty mild, this one is sweet and yeasty with flower notes and a touch of sweet cream. Surprisingly, the taste is not really sweet, it blends notes of spinach, growing green things, and bread. Specifically either a really mild sourdough or country farm bread. At the finish there is a hint of sweet flowers and chestnuts. I love how bread like this tea tastes, I do not run into a more savory green oolong very often, so it is a bit fun!
The third steep is similar to the second with its delightfully sweet and floral aroma, specifically it is the aroma of honeysuckles, one of my favorite summer flowers. The taste surprises again, it starts off similar to the second, not as green and primarily yeasty. Then it blooms into honeysuckles and honey which lingers to the finish where it is joined with chestnuts at the aftertaste. This is not my favorite ever Oolong, but it is quite enjoyable.
Backlogging from last night.
This is a sample from Angel and Teavivre. Thank you!
I can’t believe I don’t have a note for this one because I’m sure I had it before. It’s a beautiful tea both in appearance and taste. The dry leaves are bright green, uniform in size, and fairly flat. Once steeped they retain their beautiful color. Very pretty.
The taste is nutty and vegetal, and it feels silky smooth. As the tea cools the nutty flavor becomes stronger and has a very slight sweetness to it. It’s very nice and easily the best Long Jing I have ever tasted.
Thanks Teavivre for the sample!
This is a very smooth puerh. It starts off a lot more subtle than most I’ve had. It’s not terribly memorable, but at least it tastes good. :P Just a basic sweet ripe puerh taste.
You can tell that this tea is good quality because it keeps giving and giving! When I was done drinking I brewed it about 8 more times for my yixing pot to soak in.
Flavors: Brown Sugar
I’m a bit obsessed with Yunnan black teas.
This is another tasty one. Lots of orange dust on the dry leaf and pleasant notes of malt, bread and sweet potato. A bit lighter than I would have liked, but maybe a bit more than a teaspoon of leaf is needed.
Still, very delicious.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
My first tea from the Teavivre oolong tasting. Thanks a bunch, Angel!
The dry leaf is tightly rolled and dark green. Before the water hits it, the tea smells vegetal and faintly like the sea. There’s also a hint of nuttiness. I’m a little intimidated, but curious. I’ve been very impressed with Teavivre’s oolongs in the past, so I am prepared to be surprised.
I steeped this in a glass teapot and took a minute to watch the leaves bounce up and down, slowly expanding and unfurling. The water transitioned to a pleasant yellowy green. After three minutes, I stopped them. By that point, I could see that many of the leaves were whole from stem to pointed tip. Beautiful.
The aroma of the finished tea is on the pungent side. However, the flavor is much more tame. The first thing I notice is umami. It’s brothy with a tiny note of seaweed. I’m also tasting salt… that’s a new one for me. But all that is balanced with floral, springlike flavors, and oolong’s nuttiness. It’s a very satisfying tea with a lot going on!
Flavors: Broth, Floral, Nuts, Nutty, Salt, Seaweed, Umami
Thank you Angel for these samples!
I absolutely positively LOVE oolong teas. I cannot say that enough. This one is great! It is a green oolong. I love how it is all balled up then unravels as it is steeped. It is fragrant and floral and green. I love it. It steeps to a nice pale yellow. The flavor is light and floral. There is just the right amount of natural sweetness to it and there is no astringency that I can detect. Delicious!! This can be steeped several times.
This is a odd one, in a good way. I ordered a sample because this might be only Teavivres tea that has scored five stars. (At least was, checked it)
As usual it’s a small chunk from the cake, it’s made from whole leaves that are pretty big, also some stems are visible. It has different shades of brown, from dark to light brown and smells bit fermented and hay. I used western style 7mins and 100C, when I poured water on the leaves they started to smell something like dried rhubarb. It smells really much like black tea, and tea is also yellowish-red in color. I didn’t expect this. Also leaves turned into reddish brown.
It has honey like flavour that has raisins, dried fruit and malt in it. It’s like black tea with white tea like note in it. I can’t decide if I like it much or not. I really like that raisin and dried fruit notes but it’s still too black tea like for me. But everyone who like black teas should try this at least once.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Hay, Malt, Raisins
I enjoyed many many steepings of this tea today. The tuocha is very compressed and was kind of difficult to break apart, but I was careful and there was no bleeding! ;) I really liked it. It has that tobacco smokiness at the beginning and gets more apricot sweet in later steepings. Yummy!
A sample from KittyLovesTea. Pu-erh still scares me, but I’m determined to keep trying until I understand it. I think I’m making progress with that, slowly but surely! I used 1 tuocha, and gave it 1 minute in boiling water. The liquor is surprisingly light in colour – a golden orange. Many of the pu-erh touchas I’ve tried thus far have verged on dark brown/black even when brewed for a very short time. This makes an encouraging change.
The scent is probably, for me, the worst thing about pu-erh. This one is no exception. The whiff of farmyard at 11 o’clock in the morning is never going to be particularly welcome. Still, I can get past that.
For good reason, it turns out. This is a pu-erh I could actually say that I…like. It tastes fairly mild, but has a warm, earthy, slightly dank flavour, a little like compost mixed with wet mud. I’m not screwing my face up, and I can actually sip this one happily and think about the flavour without wishing I really wasn’t. I guess this is called progress?
A sample from KittyLovesTea. I’ve tried Teavivre’s unflavoured Jin Xuan before, and I enjoyed it a lot. It had a natural butteriness that was very pleasant, very smooth, and very easy to drink! I suspect my heart really belongs to flavoured milk oolongs, though, so I was very interested in trying Teavivre’s flavoured version. At last, the time has come!
I used 1 tsp of leaf, and have it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. I felt bad about the water, but that’s what the sachet recommends, so that’s what I did. The resulting liquor is pale yellow gold, and smells of butter and green veg. It’s a scent I’d expect more from a green tea, but there you go.
The first sip reveals a lovely milkiness that almost borders on caramel, which fades into a butteriness by the mid-sip. The vegetal, green-tasting oolong emerges right at the end of the sip, and lingers in the aftertaste. It’s a fresh, almost mineral counterpoint to the sweet, creamy opening flavour.
I like that the flavouring doesn’t drown the oolong completely, and that it complements the oolong’s natural flavour, rather than just covering it up. I’m not sure I would have liked it had it been the first flavoured milk oolong I’d tried, but now I have a little more experience with oolong (milk or otherwise) I can appreciate it for what it is.
This is a tea I wouldn’t mind keeping around. It’ll definitely make it into a future Teavivre order!
OMG, SO FRUITY!!! I had two gorgeous steepings of this tea this morning. This is the fruity-est (ha!) unflavored black tea I’ve had! Why would you ever need a flavored tea, when your have this one? Honestly, it’s better than fruity flavored teas I’ve had. I think it’s definitely a stone fruit flavor. Peaches and plums. It’s smooth, a bit malty, and freaking delicious! Yum yum. Oh man, I should have just bought a bag rather than this tiny sample!
After my wife got two steeps out of her leaves yesterday, I claimed them for my daily overnight coldbrew. It’s really good! Kinda creamy, definitely nutty, green and delicious.
It is very good, but if I had to choose between the two, I would choose the Taiwan Monkey Picked Tie Guan Yin. Let’s see how I feel after trying that one coldbrewed tomorrow. But while this tea is good, it isn’t something I feel the need to get any more of.