Recent Tasting Notes


The leaves of this are long and twisted into tight strands. There’s a nice splattering of golden tips, maybe 25-30% golden tips. The dry sent smells like bread honey and a hint of smoke. Like fresh crusty straight from the oven bread that’s got a little bit of charred spots on it, drizzled with a healthy helping of honey. The wet leaf loses most of that smokey note, leaving just perfectly cooked bread and honey.

1.5tsp, 8oz water, 195F, 1,1,2,4, minute steeps. Sweetened with stevia.

Oh wow, definitely a fruity note here. I don’t always get fruity notes in black teas that other people experience fruit notes, but this really tastes like apricots. There’s also the crusty hearty bread, and honey, and some grainy notes. This is a thick slab of fresh baked 9 grain bread, smothered in apricot jam, and drizzled with honey. I should have used a longer steep time with cup two, because it’s a bit more weak, and loses the apricot jam and grain notes.

Third cup I accidentally let go cold, still good, bread and honey, but wish I tried it hot. Forth cup some cocoa comes out to play. And some sweet potato. It’s now light bodied and the texture is a touch thin, though.

Yum. Next time, I think I’ll do 1,2,3 and then maybe 5-6 minute steep. Definitely delicious. More thick slab of bread while the Golden Tip version they have is more sweet potato fries. Both delicious and I don’t think I could choose which I like more!

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This one smells so good. It was honestly a bright ray of sun shine in a storm cloud herd of black tea (too much black tea!!!!). I’ll probably pick up more of this to try at some point- potato teas are pretty awesome.

Thanks for all these Teavivre samples, Amariel! There are some fantastic teas in this sample pile, but I wish I hadn’t finished off all the green varieties first..

Flavors: Cocoa, Hay, Potato

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Strawberry Oolong Tea by Teavivre
487 tasting notes

I was lucky enough to get the third steep of this from my wife, who was sampling it for Teavivre. It was so good! I’m picky about my oolongs, but this one was just gorgeous. Buttery and fresh, and the strawberry flavour was mixed in well with it. Not too floral, a little bit sweet. Excellent.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I was so sure that I would have reviewed this tea already. But I couldn’t find my review, so I thought steepster was eating the reviews again. I then sashayed over to the teavivre website but I had not posted a review there, so I shamefully have to say that this one was my fault. This was a free sample from Teavivre. Thank you so much Angel, you’re the best!

This tea so sooooooooo cute :) It is little, loosely curles leaves of differing shades of green. It is a perfect looking fall tea. The tea has a strong cabbage type smell, which is my favorite.

The first taste I get from the tea is fresh sweetness and a very slightly caramelized flavour. It is smooth and milky. I feel like in the very first part of the sip there is a quick saltiness to the tea, almost like Sencha, but it soon disappears. There is a cabbage flavour but it is very light. There are faint hints of a green tea floral. I feel like I am getting hints of spinach and turnips. To me this feels like an autumn tea. It is very crisp. This tea is very fresh and clean on the palate, I am not getting much of an aftertaste, which is very pleasant.

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Thank you for the samples, Angel!

Brewed gongfu method with a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 5, 5, 5, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60, 90, 120.

The dry leaf smells like…fish. I tried to make out something else, but that’s all there was. Fortunately, my experience improves thereafter. The wet aroma is complex, changing as the temperature cools and the leaf is steeped more: cooked vegetables, maple syrup, brown sugar, cooked meat with honey BBQ sauce, pork in teriyaki sauce, and – near the end – chocolate.

Throughout the session, the liquor is full-bodied, smooth, thick-textured, and, as *Teavivre*’s website says, mellow and sweet. The first infusion is damp earth and leather. The second tastes more like wood, reminding me of a pine forest whose trees and ground are coated with moss. (Infusions three and four, similar). The liquor becomes more broth-like and smoother at the fifth and sixth infusions. Seven’s flavor is lighter, though still sweet, and now a bit chocolatey. The eight infusion has bitterness, but this disappears in the ninth, which resembles hot cocoa (very dark chocolate). Lastly, the 10th infusion tastes weaker and the leathery note returns.

A relaxing and thorough shou. It says, “Take it easy, bro.”

Boiling 10 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Thank you to Teavivre for a sample of this tea! I’m sampling it at the same time as the “Premium” grade of this tea, and I have to say I prefer the latter… it’s more vegetal and has a distinct sweetness, whereas this tea is more on the hay-y, slightly nutty side. Still similar flavour profiles, but I’m a huge fan of vegetal, sweet greens, so the Premium version gets my nod here. As mentioned in my previous note, I did perhaps understeep this (or under leaf), so more to come for my second infusion.

ETA: Second infusion, pretty similar. A bit more on the vegetal side, but the Premium version is just better, IMO.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I believe that monorail is supposed to be higher grade than premium…


Nonpareil = monorail in kindle speak. :-)!


It’s possible that it’s higher grade but older? Alternately, it’s possible that the flavours I prefer aren’t the hallmarks of fancier tea, but instead of lower grade stuff. Either way, my vote goes to the other tea.

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Thank you so much to Teavivre for sending this sample to review, and my sincerest apologies for taking so long in getting to it. I finally dug out my Teavivre packages, and hopefully will get the majority of them reviewed in the next few days.

Anyhow, first up is this delicious-smelling tea. The aroma from the baggie is sweet, vegetal, green beany…. my ideal green tea. I also am brewing up the Nonpareil Te Gong version, and this one was a darker green with a more intense vegetal aroma, although both smell great.

First sips… and I think I’ve made a couple mistakes here. A) contaminated palate (just ate some supper), so the tea tastes weaker than I think it actually is, and B) I think I may have underinfused. I neglected to set a timer, but was pretty sure I’d given the teas about 2 minutes, my standard green infusion (at about 180F); the bag recommends 3-5 minutes, and I think next time I’d go a bit longer. There’s certainly no indication whatsoever of bitterness, just a light, creamy, vegetal green, with a wonderful sweet, hay-like aroma. Comparing to the Nonpareil version, I think this one has greater flavour potential, although I believe both are nice. Looks like, however, I’ll be waiting until the second infusion (during which I will infuse more generously!) to make more detailed notes.

Side note: I did only measure out about 1.5 tsp… it’s possible that I underleafed, since the leaves here were delicate and intact. Hard to say where exactly I went wrong, but personally, understeeping is preferable to overstepping!

ETA: Yep, this one is the more flavourful/vegetal/beany/sweet of the two, and therefore more enjoyable. I added probably another tsp of tea to the infuser, and gave it a 4 minute infusion, and it was great. The original flavours, but amplified. No bitterness. Hard to believe with such a long infusion!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I was up all night with a painful tummy and I feel just awful today, so I was in desperate need of some comfort tea. And oh boy is this it. I love this tea. It’s light and flavorful and refreshing and perfect. I am looking forward to spending my day with this perfect tea.

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This is another sample from Angel at Teavivre. Thank you!

After flying through my cups of silver needle white tonight I thought I would enjoy one more. I reached into my teavivre sample pouch and just picked one. This is the one I pulled out. I tried the Lotus Leaf Raw Pu-erh. I enjoyed that one, but this one seems much smoother/sweeter. I get the tangy fruitiness and sweetness like the previous raw pu-erh. I might have to spend some more time with this tea before I can say too much more. I have enjoyed it so far and look forward to getting to know it better.

Again I am going to leave this unrated for now as I am not too familiar with raw pu-erh.

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Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for this sample!

I had a few really nice white teas when I first started drinking tea. I then ordered 2oz of silver needle from a tea shop and it was awful. It turned me off to straight white tea until this sample arrived at my doorstep!

This tea has renewed my faith in white tea!!!! Oh man this stuff is good. This is one of those tea experiences that makes you want to go out and buy tons of it so you never run out. This is very sweet with hints of floral. There is almost a fruityness to this as well. It is so calming and relaxing. I don’t want this session to end. I will note that I am experimenting with this tea and with brewing white tea gonfu style. I am glad there is enough to prefect the brewing method. Thank you for allowing me to try this wonderful tea!

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Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for a sample of this tea!
(I wrote this review earlier, but for some reason it didn’t go through. I’ll try to recreate it)
This is the taste of fall: dried straw, lights smoke, dried fruits, raw shrooms. There’s also a bitter greens edge to it, which I rather enjoy.
I steeped 5G in my 125ml yixing, combining 2 steeps to a mug. The first round made me want to take a nap, with a powerful head energy, watery eyes, & lots of yawning. The 2nd round was fairly astringent. Round 3 was lightly sweet & woody, reminding me somehow of sassafras root, with a head clearing peaceful mellow vibe, & I’m on round 4, with is sort of a sassafras/licorice combo, with a nice sweet aftertaste.

Today I celebrated 31 years of freedom from active addiction…unless you count tea, tea wares, gardening, & food, LOL.


Way to go! I still struggle with one at times myself…


So proud of you, Terri!


Congratulations, that’s quite an achievement.



Terri HarpLady

thanks you guys!

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drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
274 tasting notes

I’ve been so busy at work this week and it’s taking everything out of me. But if still been finding time for a steep or two of this baby every night. I think I’m on steep 5 or six right now, I don’t remember, but it’s still holding up. This is so fruity and cocoa and delicious. I’ll do a more in dept review when I have a chance to do multiple steeps in a sitting, but for now just know that I think I’m in love.

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Got this during the Teavivre sale as an everyday kind of tea. I can definitely drink this everyday! Smooth but strong, with a hint of cocoa, honey and sweetness to it.

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I love strawberries and oolong so this just seemed like a perfect fit. However, I’m not sure how i feel about this one. When first steeped it has an amazing fruity smell that jumps right out of the cup into your nostrils. But I feel that the oolong has a bit of a bitterness to it that kicks in to the aftertaste that I’m just not liking too much.

With a touch of honey i like it much more.

1 tsp

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I’m enjoying a nice quiet vibe this morning. Slept in until my body was ready to wake, about 8am. I knew I wanted a slow gongfu session to start my day, with something exotic, & this tea from Teavivre fits the bill. When I open the bag, it’s immediately spiced sweet stone fruits, & warming the leaf in a small pot, it becomes a rich fruity desert of some kind. I use to cook steel cut oats in the crock pot over night with peach or apple juice, sliced dry apricots & a few cardamom pods. I can’t say it smells like that, but it reminds me of how the house smelled in the morning, & what a wonderful breakfast that was to wake up to.
Sometimes I miss being a vegan…
5G x 100 ml tiny porcelain pot (rinse) 15/30/45sec/1/2/3/4min
Anyway, this is cup after cup of sweet spicy fruitiness, a very juicy mouth, nice tongue tingle, some pastry, instant clear headed buzz, & really its like drinking the sweetest sheng you ever had. It becomes more herbaceous, like maybe eucalyptus, as I go forward, but still sweet. A wonderfully uplifting start to my morning! Here’s some tea porn for ya :)

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This tea has a sweet fruity & exotic aroma that wafts up to your nostrils the moment you open the bag. The tea is almost syrupy in some steeps, bringing to my mind lychee, raspberry, & dried dark fruits, served over a rich pastry.
I’ve been combining 2 steeps at a time in my mug: 15 & 30 sec, 45 & 60…
The 3rd mugful (2 & 3min) was like a creamy rich plum pudding, drizzled with agave syrup.
There is leo a deep dark savory quality coming forward, not sure how to describe it…kind of like a dark cherry pipe tobacco.
The energy of this tea is comparable to drinking a sheng. I feel a lovely clear headed sense of being, & I think I’ll water my house plants now.

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This is my coldbrew with yesterday’s leaves and it is heavenly. Light, roasty and refreshing, it’s almost taking care of the coffee craving my wife put into my head when making her morning cup of joe.


Seriously! I can’t believe how good it is cold brewed.


I don’t drink coffee at all, but every time I smell my partner’s morning coffee it almost seems like a good idea. It just smells so excellent in the morning.

I’ll have to try a cold brew of Da Hong Pao.

aisling of tea

It is more yummy than can be believed!

I shouldn’t have coffee, it makes me ill, but uuuuugh it smells so good when she makes it…dang her!

Roasted yerba mate fills the craving for me too.

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When Teavivre offered to send me more samples, I immediately had to request this one. Both because the school I went to had a mascot named Big Red (think McDonald’s Grimace, but red) and because our newest baby, a little redfoot tortoise, is named Da Hong Pao! We have three cats and a tortoise, and after the first cat, we got into the habit of tea names. We’ve an orange cat named Pekoe and a grey cat named Earlie. So, of course, when we decided on a red foot tortie, Da Hong Pao made perfect sense! We call her Pao or Pao Pao for short. For the record, our first cat is a brown tabby who is named Rosabella, but would have been Chai if we had been thinking of tea names back then.

Anyhoo, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a Da Hong Pao before this, and I’m not going back through 1000+ notes to figure out if I have. But dang, I should have! This is roasty, toasty goodness and I think I’m in love. Reminds me of home, with tobacco smoke and an underlying nuttiness that takes this tea to another level. I’m on my second steep of a sample packet in a Bubble Teapot (24 ounces) and, as is my habit, I dumped the leaves into a DT Mason Jar (25 oz) to coldbrew overnight. I want to get every last drop of goodness out of these amazing samples, but I’m way too lazy to gong fu. But I see an order in the near future, once the moneytree comes into bloom.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

….you went to WKU?

aisling of tea

LOL Yes, yes I did!


Wow small world, so did I!

aisling of tea

That’s awesome! I was there from 2003 until 2008.


You didn’t have a teacher named Renaud did you?

aisling of tea

Off the top of my head, no, but maybe? What does he teach?


It’s a she, she teaches speech or public speaking or something in that department.

aisling of tea

I don’t think so, but I’m terrible with names :(


She is my sister, and you would probably have hated her! Haha.

aisling of tea

Ha! I remember now, my public speaking class was a summer course taught by some guy. The only thing I remember from the class is one of the speeches we had to do was a demonstration, and so someone showed how to cut a pineapple. I learned that fresh pineapple makes a hangover much, much worse XD


Parties at Western? Nah. At least not that my parents knew.

aisling of tea

It’s a dry campus, dontcha know ;)

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Clearly it’s not my night. xD After the DTT, it all seemed to go downhill. xD
This one is definitely not for me either. Though better than the last one, this one is super strong too.
The main taste for me is leather. What makes it better than the last one is that it also tastes like sweet potatoes. xD Kinda a weird combo. But the sweet potatoes make it a lot more drinkable for me.
This one wasn’t the worst, but not my favorite either.
Glad I tried it…but still don’t get the hype. This one isn’t for me! XD

Flavors: Leather, Sweet Potatoes


I steep this one for two minutes.

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Wow. This tea.
I don’t really know what to think.
I taste leather. Earth. And something else that’s really strong…I’m not sure I like this one too much…
It’s just really strong, almost too strong for me. Ehh, think I will pass.

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I received this sample in the 3rd Anniversary packet that I picked up from Teavivre.

This is a dark oolong that brews up a light brown to yellowish color. This is a really yummy cup. This is very fruity with strong hints of honey and some slight woody undertones. I am surprised at how much fruit flavor shines through on this cup. I think I saw someone mention a juicy peach in their tasting note and that is exactly what I am getting. I am going to try and resteep this one a few times and add quite a bit of steep time as my first cup was pretty light. I am not sure I could see myself ordering a full 100g of this tea, but I would definitely pick up another sample or two when I place an order.

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Got 50g of this one in the big Teavivre sale like a month ago.
Smelled like chocolate when I opened it, which is always good :P
The taste was kinda the same. Chocolate. And raisins too.
Chocolate and raisins….this tea would definitely go well with chocolate covered raisins. And guess what!
I have chocolate covered raisins in my cupboard…
I have a good idea hatching. :O

Flavors: Chocolate, Raisins


Those chocolate covered raisins were so waiting for this moment.


They totally were! :P

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I must now confess that the world Sheng Puer remains a mystery to me and I am a mere neophyte. I think my initial idea of what Sheng Puer is was quite misguided, as my first Sheng Puer experience was with Moonlight White from Jingmai, and the next few I had were equally sweet and mellow types. I had heard people mention things about Sheng Puer being bitter and wondered what the fuss was about since all the ones I had had were very sweet.

Fast forward to the Raw Puer sampler from Mandala tea I received the other day and I finally realized what people were talking about, but look for more on that on my other reviews, this one is about the Fengqing 2006 cake from Teavivre.

It may well be that one of the primary appeals of Sheng Puer is that the sip starts subtle, becomes somewhat bitter (or quite a bit), then recedes to a sweet finish. I don’t personally enjoy bitter flavors, so I would typically not choose to drink a bitter tea more than one time to evaluate it. With Sheng Puer, though, it is not all bitter, so the bitterness presence adds some interesting contrast with the rest of the flavors. Maybe the finish wouldn’t be so sweet if not for that bitterness mid-sip? Perhaps there is a benefit to having that contrast. It makes for a more dynamic experience as opposed to teas that are just naturally sweet throughout (though you won’t hear me complain about those). ;3

This Fengqing Puer has a sweet start, and if you brew it light enough, the bitterness mid-sip is not all that detectable, if at all, but you have to use very quick infusions to achieve this. The sweetness is a syrupy kind of sweetness, but not a thick one, something like light agave nectar. There are little notes of camphor and spice in the aroma, especially as it cools. There’s a hint of smokiness at the end of a sip, but it is subtle. I really enjoyed this tea in later steepings, where it became more more sweet with delicate notes of bamboo and hardly any trace of earthy or bitter flavors, but to achieve this I did flash infusions in my gaiwan, only steeping it for 5-10 seconds each time. I only used 3 grams of leaf for a 100ml gaiwan, which is less than some puer drinkers like to use, but I find if I use more it is quite bitter to me.

Flavors: Bamboo, Camphor, Nectar, Smoke, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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