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Recent Tasting Notes
MzPriss inspired me to drink some Bailin this morning.
I need all the yumminess I can get and this is a full cup of exactly that.
I so love this tea, it’s like a comfy pair of jeans or slippers. You just know it’s going to hug you the right way in all the right places!
Think freshly baked bread, with honey and cocoa notes. It’s creamy and malty, with some hay.
It might not the be the most complex tea, but it is so good and tasty, it makes everything right.
This has been a permanent tea in my collection, and it’s not going anywhere!
Several months ago Angel at Teavivre sent me five black teas to review. If I had known how absolutely nummy this one is, it wouldn’t have taken me until now to try it out! It’s slightly toasty, with a rich, creamy maltiness that I can just sink into. This tea is a new favorite, and hopefully I can talk hubby into getting me some for my next birthday!
For some pretty pictures, you can visit my blog at:
One of my requested free samples from Angel at Teavivre. I was very surprised when I saw this tea. Usually when a tea is called golden tips it means there are golden tips included. This one looks like it’s almost all golden tips! It smells malty and there is a strong apricot scent along with some honey.
First time, I did a 4 minute steep at about 190 degrees. The aroma is very malty with honey and a light stonefruit note along with some raisin. It tastes like yummy toasty bread with some honey over the top. Maybe a tiny bit of peach or apricot jam. Very tasty!
I saw that a lot of people had mentioned sweet potato so I tried a 3 minute steep. The flavor is definitely lighter, but it’s still primarily malt. I can see how it might be a little sweet potatoey. The honey is still there but I don’t really taste fruit anymore. Overall, I think I preferred the longer steep, especially with a touch of sugar. And it doesn’t seem to be astringent in the least.
Thanks again TeaVivre!
Edit: I forgot to mention that I also received a sample of this from TeaTiff! Thanks lady! :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Stonefruits
I slept in this morning, and now I feel a little groggy and out of my element. I’ve got a lot of stuff/chores to do, and ‘cos I feel so bleh, it’s gonna be hard to get going.
So to make myself feel better I decided chocolate was the way to go. Chocolate tea, that is. YUM! Malty, chocolatey deliciousness.
Thanks for the sample, Dexter!
Yay I finally got my TeaVivre samples! I’ve been really excited to try their black teas. Thanks Angel for the very generous samples! This tea was the one I was most anxious to try because it’s so unique. :) The pearls are about a half-inch in diameter, and the color is about an equal mixture of brown and golden tips. They smell divine – very sweet honey with some cocoa, malt, and bread notes. I did two separate steeps (4 pearls each) and then a resteep.
The first steep, I followed the package directions and let it go for 5 minutes. The aroma was very malty in a beer kind of way, with bread and honey and some light cocoa. The taste was…meh. It was very one-note and the malt dominated. I was surprised it did not get bitter at all, even with the long steep.
Second try, I went for 3 minutes. The aroma was more sweet honey this time, but the beer scent was still there with stronger cocoa. The taste was more complex, with some strong honey notes and a little bit of bread or malt. Not really cocoa though. I then resteeped the same leaves for 4 minutes, and got a flavor somewhere between the other two.
I feel like I didn’t get the full flavor out of this tea. The steeping parameters that others have used are so widely varied that it’s hard to know what to sweet spot is. My only idea is to try more pearls, maybe 5, and a shorter steep time. Any suggestions would be amazing. :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt
I could’ve sworn that I reviewed this the first time I had it, but I didn’t even find this in my cupboard much less find a review for it. Which is frustrating since I’m missing one packet and I know I drank it and could’ve sworn I reviewed it. huffs Annnnnd found my review. Apparently Steepster had either not registered that I put this in my cupboard or something. And my review was on the very last page of this tea listing. Lol.
OveralltThat’s just par for the course today since I’m missing another tea that my cupboard says I should have, but I can’t find it anywhere in my kitchen and I know I didn’t swap/sell it.
In any case, I wanted to try this (again) to compare it to Andrews&Dunham’s because I’m so tempted to order their Spring Keemun, but I’m looking for excuses not to. XD
1 3/4 tsp (half the sample packet)/12oz water @ 193*
Dry this had a slightly smoky, woody sort of scent when I opened the packet.
Brewed…I’m wondering if I should’ve used 2 tsp since this seemed kinda weak/light to me. Or maybe steeped longer (though I did use right in the middle of their recommendations). Or maybe it’s just too subtle for me. XD I get a hint of smoky sort of taste and it’s vaguely fruit/winey to me when I roll it around in my mouth. And I get a bit of woodiness. Just a smidge of astringency and no bitterness. Maybe a bit of flowery/perfume-yness at the back of my mouth.
I’m not sure what I think overall. It’s not as heavy handed/potent as some of my other teas. I’d almost be tempted to say delicate even? It’s definitely good, and I’ll finish the other half of this sample plus the last full packet, but I’m not sure if I absolutely need this in my cupboard. /ponders/
Method: 1.5 tsp, 8 oz, 205 degrees, 3minutes, French Press
Dry Leaf Aroma: Smells like sweet florals. Very pretty
Brewing Aroma: Roasty, like toasted rice. It smells like a genmaicha!
Flavor: This tastes roasty with a light floral tone. It’s interesting. I’m picking up the same kinds of flavors that I’d find in a genmaicha. It wasn’t astringent or bitter. This was a nice, smooth breakfast tea. Yum!
I feel that maybe I am late to the party reviewing this one, but it’s the 4th of July and I actually have the day off. I just finished roasting some Sumatra Mandheling coffee beans and the wife and little man are both napping so it’s tea time. As far as flavor goes I don’t notice any difference between Monkey picked and non Monkey picked Ti Guan Yin. Not to say it’s bad because I have yet to meet a Ti Guan Yin that I didn’t like. There’s maybe a little more pronounced flavor. The somewhat roasted, hint of honey, hint of flower, I think a little like olive oil flavor. I am a happy camper right now.
Another free sample from Teavivre. Thank you. This is the last of the most recent batch of samples I was sent.
I bought a sample of this tea some time back and really enjoyed it, although I did not remember this until I came to write a note about this new sample. Last time I found it to be a powerful, full body experience. So, how does it fare this time around? The initial impression is woodsy and smoky with a strong, pleasing kuwei after a 5 second steep. Further perusal and steeping suggest prunes or muscatel, and hay notes in the aroma, but less so in the tasting. The aftertaste is sweet with a little smoke and a mild astringency. Like last time, I can feel this tea in my legs first and then the relaxation spreads throughout the rest of my body. I avoid getting tea drunk, but the possibility is definitely there. This is still a powerful tea. I reckon it will really help me through the working day.
Flavors: Hay, Smoke, Wood
I spent yesterday drinking this tea and really enjoying it. I find that it is a tough tea to get the best out of but when you do manage it, it is sublime. There are honeysuckle, peach and spice notes in it that make it really refreshing, while vegetal undertones keep it grounded. I like this tea and find it worth the effort. That is probably just as well, because I have a whole tin of it!
Flavors: Honeysuckle, Peach, Spices
Thank you to Teavivre for for this free sample, and my apologies that I am totally behind on reviewing the teas I was sent. Still, only one left to try. That will be today’s project.
So, I drank this a while back but have not managed to write it up before now. I made it in an yixing pot and managed to get a good few steeps from it. The dry leaf had a strong hay aroma with a slight floral edge. The liquor brewed up yellow with some honey, hay and floral notes. The tea is smoky with vegetal notes. It is sweet and has a lasting aftertaste. There is some puckering of the tongue from the astringency that is quite pleasant. As I resteeped the tea, the flavour deepened and mellowed. I liked the way the tea developed and the flavours became more pronounced for the first half dozen steeps.
One thing I did find a bit odd was the recommendation to brew with boiling water. I normally brew sheng at 85-90 degrees C. With this tea I tried both. I found that I had to wait for it to cool before I could taste anything when I brewed it with boiling water while the cooler brew did not impair the flavour at all. I am still undecided about which is better but probably prefer the cooler brew. Perhaps I need to get some more to experiment a bit.
Flavors: Floral, Smoke, Vegetal
Many thanks to Mary Bao of Teavivre for sending me this! I won one of the free 50g tea prizes from their contest a few weeks ago, and requested this as my prize.
I’m slowly becoming more acquainted with yunnan blacks, and this one is of a deeper, subtler, more complex nature than the others I’ve tried (Simple Loose Leaf’s Yunnan Breakfast Black and RiverTea’s Golden Yunnan). The smell of this one is malty and sweet, slightly leathery, slightly earthy.
I was surprised by the instructions on the label, as they said to use 1 tbsp of leaf for 17 oz (approx 2 cups) of water at 90C. That seemed a bit heavy on the leaf for me, but I followed their instructions for my first steep, and the result is not bad.
I steeped it for 3 minutes, and as others have noted, the liquor here is quite pale compared to other Yunnans – this was more of a thin, clear, umber than the coffee-coloured liquid I’ve gotten from other Yunnans. However, the smell is really complex. I got the characteristic notes of malt and earth, but underneath that I got a deep dark sweetness, like honey or dried fruit like prunes and dates.
The flavour is very gentle. No astringency, rather subtle. I wonder what it would be like to add sweetener to this and see if I can bring the honey/fruit notes to the fore. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much from a second steep. It tasted a bit flat, and I can’t tell if that was due to the water or the leaf.
Method: 1.5 tsp, 8 oz, 195 degrees, grandpa style
Dry Leaf Aroma: Surprisingly non-floral. I didn’t smell much of anything.
Brewing Aroma: Buttery and floral.
Flavor: This is a great oolong! I have found that lightly oxidized oolongs tend to be my faves. I love picking out floral notes when I know the tea has not been scented with petals. I oversteeped this, because I forgot to set a timer and got distracted, but the tea was forgiving. There wasn’t bitterness in the first cup. I added more water, and the floral was there, but there was also fairly pronounced bite. Not the tea’s fault!
Thanks to Angel @ Teavivre, who provided very generous samples. Because of that, I can try this again and steep it properly. I think this may benefit from short steeps and/or gong fu brewing. I’ll update when I try it again!
Eh, not super strong. Maybe it’s because it’s a bit too hot right now, but even smell wise it’s not strong. I think I like Teavana’s Peach Jasmine better…it’s definitely a lot stronger.
It tastes faintly of jasmine, but nothing really strong. Oh well. Least it was just a sample. xD
Thank you for the sample, darby! (:
Thank you so much Teavivre! My order and contest winnings have arrived. I was very excited to win a pu-erh cake from that awesome contest, and I figured I might as well order with all my reward points I’ve accumulated so that the pu-erh cake didn’t have to travel through the mail so lonely. haha. (I ordered this one, the Keemun #1 which won in my taste test of all four keemuns and the review that won Teavvire’s contest and a bunch of samples, mostly oolong!)
I wanted to try this one right away. My previous sample of this one was almost two years old, so the harvest was bound to be different. It is. I tried to steep using similar parameters. It still has the distinctly bailin gongfu flavor, but it’s lighter than it once was. The flavor before was deep dark chocolate. This is still chocolate, but not dark chocolate! Still no astringency. I will probably find I love it more every time I steep this one, just like the previous harvest. I think this is the tea I’ve written the most tasting notes for.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps // 20 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Steep #2 // 10 min after boiling // 3 min steep
I’ve been hoarding this one, which is silly because it’s not a limited edition, i can get it anytime and i love it. So i dug it out as a little reward today for finishing off my october teas, and because technically i should be working through my 100g of this anyway haha. Added a little maple syrup as i usually do and loved every last drop of it! yay for being back to work after working from home for 4 days lol