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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
I ordered a sample of this in my last order because I’ve been curious about these tangerine puerhs. So neat, but also kinda gross-looking. Haha! Like, why would I want tea aged in a withered up tangerine? Well, now I know! The answer is, because the taste is awesome!
So, the sample I got had a good number of pieces of dried up peel in it. I guess I should have read the reviews because I was really surprised by the taste. It’s very charcoal smoky and I didn’t expect that at all! It’s like someone just fired up the backyard BBQ, or that smell you get from other people lighting up their fireplaces. There is a nice juicy sweet tangerine taste also, which gets better and sweeter in later steepings. Surprisingly, although I’m generally not a fan of this kind of smokiness, I wasn’t put off by it, but kept enjoying steepings. I think this one would be good for people who like lapsang. I also wouldn’t mind having more of this one, and I’m no longer afraid of the weird-looking tangerine puerh! Yay!
I told my wife what was going on with my neck/shoulder and she came home from work to make me go to emerg. >.< In her defense, though, I probably would have asked her to take me to emerg when she came home at the regular time because nothing is taking the edge off. But the ER doctor said my spine is fine and neurologically I’m fine, so I just need to rest, keep heat on it, and he gave me an Rx for naproxen, which I keep around for my migraines anyway. So….reassuring that it isn’t anything serious, but frustrating because it hurts like hell.
Anyway, so because my wife panics when I’m hurt or sick, she’s home now and we can share a pot of tea, yay! She had the other Tie Guan Yin provided to us by Teavivre last night (she will review soon, I promise!), and it smelled so good that I requested this when we got home from the hospital.
It is so good. I’m not a fan of straight oolongs, but TeaVivre is making me a believer. It’s sweet and roasty and just plain delicious. It’s creamy and vegetal and perfect.
Amber in color with a leathery aroma. This tea has a sweet and savory flavor with a bit of astringent taste in the background. The flavor I get is a mix of plum and wood with a little bit of vegetal notes. Overall quite a pleasant tea.
Flavors: Plums, Vegetal, Wood
Got this as a sample. It’s a very green oolong, and smells distinctly of gardenia; the flavor is vegetal, with pea notes in partcular. It tastes of gardenia too, but lightly. It doesn’t have any of the heaviness or cloyingness that a lot of florals do.
I couldn’t bring myself to steep this at the recommended 212F — it just seemed too hot for something so green — so went with a long steep at 190 and it was still quite flavorful.
Something really awesome happened to me, thanks to some awesome connections I got my hands on a ton of paint, a glorious selection of brushes, and some basing/sculpting supplies. This pretty much tops off my miniature painting supplies wishlist, I mean yeah there are a few things I need with washes, varnishes, and some technicals, but mostly I am set. This means that any money I get I can use for buying the actual minis instead of the painting supplies, so exciting! I expect that a large portion of Christmas monetary gifts will be used to buy things to paint. Currently I am working on a rather sexy and scantily clad lady standing in some fancy looking rock formations with a friendly lizard.
So, today we are having a tea from Teavivire, Anxi Monkey King (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong. This Tie Guan Yin is of the Zheng Cao type of processing, meaning it is only lightly oxidized, making this a vibrant green oolong from Anxi! The name Monkey King, Ma Liu Mie, or Monkey Picked, all refer to the legend that ancient farmers could not pick the tea growing wild on the cliffside, so they improvised by tying ropes around their waists and climbed the cliffs, just like a monkey. Charming, though this myth has led to some pretty wild tales about the tea being picked by actual monkeys or that the farmers would scare the monkeys into knocking branches off the tea tree by throwing things at them. The beauty of legends, trying to sort the truth from the fiction! The aroma of the dry and very green leaves is one of those ‘just right’ combination of notes, it is floral but not too heady, has notes of fresh vegetation without smelling too green, and notes of chestnut without being too nutty. The Goldilocks of smells. It reminds me of morning dew on an orchid, along with the summer aroma of growing things and a touch of sweet nectar at the finish, very lush smelling.
Once the leaves have been given their first steeping, the headiness of a typical green Tie Guan Yin comes out! The aroma is a very floral blend of orchid, hyacinth, and a touch of honeysuckle with an accompaniment of fresh vegetation and chestnuts. I think I even detect a hint of distant lilacs, very much so a summer evocative blend of notes. The liquid, it is hard to describe, the aroma reminds me of flower water and nectar, like some little (very hard working) elf gathered all the raindrops left on flowers after a rain storm. It is floral, green, and just a tiny hint mineral. Just like summer rain off a flower, not that I am a hard working elf who has done that or anything.
The notes in my notebook for this tea are a little giggle worthy, especially when I use the phrase ‘powerhouse of orchid’ yep, that sums it up nicely. I find this kind of Tie Guan Yin very relaxing, something about its mixing of strong floral notes, wet and crushed vegetation, and just that hint of buttery chestnut always put me in mind of the feeling after a summer storm. I feel focused and relaxed, very alive and ever so slightly sleepy. The buttery mouthfeel and honey sweet finish mix well with the earlier flavor notes.
The aroma of the second steep, no surprise, is very floral. A blend of orchids, hyacinths, and a touch of chestnut sweetness at the end, ah the headiness of oolongs. The taste is a delightful blend of floral sweetness, I definitely know I am picking up lilac along with the orchid powerhouse this time! A touch of green things, including a tiny hint of fresh spinach, and a tiny bit of chestnut and honey at the finish. It is not as buttery smooth this time, there is a hint of dryness at the very back of the mouth which causes a distinct honey aftertaste.
I should note, I am not the only one sipping this tea at the moment. Yes yes, I do have the notes in my notebook, but decided I also wanted to drink it while writing this. I got my mom a little yixing teapot as an early Christmas/birthday gift (her first) and she wanted it seasoned for green oolongs, so we are having a nice time with this tea and her pot. The third steep is much the same in aroma as the second, a bit more hyacinth than orchid, more sweet than vegetation. The taste takes a similar tone from the aroma, the taste is still quite floral but it is no longer a powerhouse but a mild floral headiness. It reminds me of flowers in the evening, closing their petals up, you can still smell them but it is not as intense. Everything about this steep reminds me of the evening, it is winding down, soothing and relaxing. There is a hint of mineral along with the green fresh vegetation and spinach notes that make up the finish. A very soothing end, and now I return to painting!
I can definitely get the notes of green beans, spinach, asparagus, and artichoke in this tea. Those or something like them are definitely present. There is also a vegetal quality to it. There is also a slight sour note to it. It not bad, just not great, somewhere in the middle.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 2 min.
Flavors: Sour, Vegetal
The dry leaf aroma is awesome! It smells like a mix between Tie Guan Yin and Houjicha, both of which I love so I’m excited about this one. The brewed tea has a lovely roasted aroma. Now that I think about it, I think this is my first roasted oolong! Yay for fun new things!
The flavor is less roasted than the aroma. This is really interesting tasting! It’s not as roasted as a Houjicha. It’s softer and greener with a lovely nutty, toasted hay profile. I really like this a lot! It does seem a bit astringent, especially as it cools. Second infusion is for 2 minutes 45 seconds. I ate a fortune cookie in between infusions, so that’s kind of confused my taste buds, hahaha. I think this cup tastes a little more like minerals and a little less like toasted hay. This cup is good but I liked the first infusion better.
I think I’m going to have to look into more of these roasted-type oolongs. This is called “moderately-roasted” so I assume there are more roasted versions available. I think this was a good tea to start with, and I can confidently recommend it to others. Big thanks to Angel and Teavivre for the free sample!
On a completely unrelated note, why do cats sleep on their faces? How do they breathe?! http://instagram.com/p/wW3LyOF-gi/
Flavors: Hay, Nutty, Roasted Barley
rinse, 8s, 10s
Goodness gracious! The tea is soooo above my level right now. I’m not ready. I’m clearly not ready for this. Is it called Golden Monkey because it’s supposed to smell like a monkey? woo! O.O Thank goodness it doesn’t taste like how it smells. There’s so much going on with this tea that I really don’t know how to describe the taste at all. Looking at the flavors highlighted at the top I think the malt, leather, and molasses are standing out to me the most right now. That’s such a crazy combo of flavors! Which must mean I’m close because my taste buds were just too confused!
Flavors: Leather, Malt, Molasses, Salt
Cute little curly leaves. They’ve dark green color, bit of greyness. Really strong, sweet and fresh aroma, also there is strong roasted nutty aroma. I enjoy this oily fresh aroma always. Only sad thing is this seems to give only three steepings according to the Brewing guide, which is quite few compared to others.
Wet leaves have also really strong aroma. It’s sweet, nutty and fresh. They seem to be small leaf particles and buds . Tea has golden yellow color and smells really good. It has that lovely oily fresh green tea flavour. Roasted chesnut, nuttiness (althought I don’t know how chesnut tastes). It also has some vegetal notes with sweetness. Getting only couple steepings is a minus, but this is really good tea overall.
Flavors: Chestnut, Nutty, Roasted nuts, Sweet
Thank you Teavivre for this free sample. Alright, here we go. My first unflavoured black tea for a long time, since I’m more into greens, whites etc. lighter teas and don’t really like those strong flavours that shu pu’erh, black tea and other darker teas often have. But blacks will get a chance and this is the one that will either make me black tea drinker or they will just sit in my cupboard longer. Since Teavivres Tie Guan Yin made me light oolong liker in a second, I’m willing to try if this has the same effect.
Dry tea looks really good, it has tiny leaves that reminds me a bit from Bi Luo Chun green tea. They’re black/dark brown colored and some of them have golden hair on them. I can smell some chocolate and maybe some raisins in the dry leaf aroma, not so bad than I expected.
I used Chinese gongfu method and my lovely 1dl porcelain gaiwan. I used fewer leaves that suggested since I think it’s too much for most teas. 85C, lower than 100C that I’m used to. Wet leaves smell just like I remember black tea should, it reminds me of rye bread. Leaves are now chocolate brown in color and tea is reddish brown with orange hue. Tea smells same than wet leaves, but milder.
And now the moment of truth, taste. Not that horrible actually, it has malty flavour and bit bitterness and astringency that bring nice refreshing layer but it’s still quite sweet, honey like sweetness.
It wansn’t that bad, I drank it all. I can recommend it, but black did not become my favourite. But I will get my black teas finished.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Chocolate, Earth, Honey, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wheat
I picked a green tonight because it has less caffeine. This one is not bad, very vegetal. I get the note of spinach too. It has been a long day and my trip to the vet for my cat did not go well. My cat is in the early stages of kidney failure and may have cancer of the eye. I do not have thousands of dollars to spend in attempts to slow down the progression of the disease. It would cost a couple thousand dollars and there is no guarantee of success.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 3 min.
Flavors: Spinach, Vegetal
Morning tea and God knows I prefer black teas or super oxidized Oolongs in the morning … but for one time I decided to try this sample offered by Angel Teavivre .
This tea has a beautiful pale green tea colour, translucent. The infusion lasts 5 minutes but it can be up to 10 minutes according to the information provided by Teavivre .
The coloring process is very slow .
The leaves are whole leaves of course and look pretty “dry” after the infusion . They do not seem to hold water. Funny.
The taste of this tieguanyin is floral, light and extremely refreshing but in my opinion it contains a type of flower I particularly like : the rose.
It also has a creamy texture , slightly buttery . The finish is clear , light , “clean” . An afternoon tea for my tastes and an exceptional tea.
Strangely it is not my favourite from all my Oolong samples kindly sent by Teavivre but I like it.
Pics of this lovely tea are available here : http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/nonpareil-anxi-qing-xiang-tieguanyin-oolong-tea-teavivre/
This tea is excellent. I need a good cup of tea this morning as I wait for the animal hospital to open. My cat is very sick. This tea is sweet with a moderate amount of fermentation flavor. I am only getting the sweet notes, perhaps the various other notes only come out when you gongfu it. But anyway it is good
I brewed this tea once in an 18oz teapot with 7g leaf and boiling water for 30 sec.
Got back really late last night from a quick work trip to Arizona and found my BF/CB teas had arrived! It was a nice sight to see after a flight that was delayed three hours. Ugh! Anyway, still not sure where I’m going to put everything, as my cupboard is exploding now!
I have a bit if a scratchy throat, so didn’t want to try anything too complex, this Shou really hit the spot. These little cubes are convenient and are very clean and smooth-tasting. The tea page mentions a clay taste, and I think I get that in most ripe puerhs. It was evident here, but the flavor was nice and uncomplicated, and sweetened upon further steeps. It steeps out fairly quickly. Overall, it’s a great everyday Shou.
It’s raining here today and in the low 40’s. That is kind of achy weather. So pretending it is sunny and mid 70’s, I finally opened up this sample. Right from the start this smells wonderfully peachy – very natural. I enjoyed reading several of the reviews and what they did or did not detect. I am not sure how to account for all the differences. For me, fixed western mug style, I got a wonderful cup of light peach tea. I am not sure I detect the green tea in the first cup. If I did not know it was scented with jasmine, I don’t know if I could have made that connection. It bounced around from kind of vanilla, to maybe caramel, then into a wine like flavor, and back to peach. All of it was mellow and without bitterness. There is a slight amount of astringency in the form of cheek tingle. On the second mug I got distracted by shiny objects and oversteeped. This produced a mug with a lot of green tea flavor along with more astringency but I like that in a green. The jasmine was far in the background. The peach was light but still present. Very different than the first and still a solid mug. As a peach tea this is pretty good though I have to admit to preferring the Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearls.
Warning ! I am tasting the second “monkey” of Teavivre . This is again a beautiful sample offered by Angel . Slighly roasted . Green . A teguanyin to sum up … but not just any!
A beautiful rolled leaf that unfolds entirely at the first infusion. It Looks like a salad :)
It is a so sweet tea , green , floral even very floral but also a little fruity. A nice fruit , peach, but not from a too sweet variety , too heady .
The long finish is impressive. The taste lasts and lasts … it makes me want to go directly to a second infusion. Let’s do that !
The body and texture of the juice remains intact for the second infusion but the peach is more present. The light creamy taste is still there too. Adorable tea. I don’t know which one I prefer between the first and the second monkey Teavivre . Alike and also dissonant . I like both .
Some pics are available here : http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/anxi-monkey-king-ma-liu-mie-tie-guan-yin-oolong-tea-teavivre/
From the Cooking TTB.
The dry leaf is long and twisty, and covered with lovely golden dust. A generous amount of whole rose buds are mixed in. The rose scent is powerful and masks any other fragrances.
This is a nicely balanced rose tea. The rose is strong for sure, but I can still taste the sweet, malty notes of the tea itself. I think I would like a bit less rose to tea, but that’s personal taste more than anything lacking in the tea.
If you’re a rose fan, I think this is a really excellent choice.
Flavors: Malt, Rose, Sweet
This is one of those teas that I have sitting around that I know I need to try and write a review for but I kept putting it off. I’m not a big fan of Chamomile and rose is so intense (good ) that you really need to be in the right mind set for it. Actually, both of those flavors blend very well in this tea. Though rose is still the dominating flavor the chamomile leaves a gentle cooling after taste. Not something I would drink everyday but better then I expected. That being said I don’t taste much white tea. It’s there a little bit but not enough.