Recent Tasting Notes


It’s 10 degrees in my neck of the woods this morning. That’s a little chilly for South Carolina. Ten degrees is probably a little chilly for polar bears. All is not lost, though, as I am about to try out a new tea (new for me) from Teavivre on this arctic morning!

When I opened the customary Teavivre silver double packaging, my nostrils were immediately greeted by the rich, leathery, sweet, and earthy aroma that is a trademark of my favorite Teavivre black teas. This made me even more anxious to begin the brewing process.

I steeped the long black and brown full tea leaves for three minutes at 195 degrees. The finished color was a dark reddish amber. The aroma was sweet with a slight honey quality.

The taste of this tea was instantly complex. After about my third sip, my taste buds began to disseminate the different flavor sensations. Sweet, fruity, and malty were all recognized. There also was just the right twinge of earthiness to cap off a fine flavor symphony. As with several of Teavivre’s teas, this one was so smooth that I had to force myself to savor each sip and not gulp it down.

There was no astringency to this blend. The aftertaste was light and gentle. It dissipated as if in a delicate mist.

You probably have surmised by now that I like this tea. Wrong! I LOVE this tea! It’s another terrific selection from the folks at Teavivre. This one is a bit more expensive than some of their other black teas but I am already saving my pennies for my next order!

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Malt, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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From the Cooking TTB

Blergh. Probably because by the time this sample got to me it was mostly a broken up mess. I used up the last of this sample.

The smell is really nice, a sweet peach scent that is just a touch floral.

But the tea! Gah! Maybe I overbrewed it, but I used only what I use on most of my other greens (185F for 2-3 min). Nope. It was a bitter mess. So sad. I wish that there was more so I could try again. The resteep didn’t go much better.

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I think I bought a sample of this oolong a long time ago and drank half of it and saved the rest, and here we are! Another rediscovery! Anyhoo, I enjoyed a nice session with this tea today, I love how oolongs can be steeped and resteeped a bunch of times and still put out flavor. This tea is a very light oolong, with notes of orchid and butter. Reminds me of spring!

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Another sample, thank you so much Teavivre! I feel like I’m getting a handle on the general flavor profiles of pu-erh, at least by types if I’m going by Fengqing and Menghai. But of course every pu-erh is different, so I could be wrong, especially if I’m not steeping it entirely the same way. I used an entire 10 gram sample pouch. The reddish leaves do have marine-like scent to them, and the first burgundy steep tastes a little like that, so this one may have more pu-erh characteristics than some of the other pu-erhs that Teavivre has in stock. The flavor isn’t as deep as the coffee & dark chocolate pu-erh I tried the other day. It’s a little difficult to say what this one actually does taste like. Just a standard pu-erh flavor, I guess. This is a good one, but some of the pu-erhs from Teavivre are perfect.
Steep #1 // few minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 1/2 min steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 3 min
Steep #3 // just boiled // 4 min

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Thank you Stephanie for this one. This toucha took me on a wild ride. I used my gaiwan and did 6 cups. It would have gone more. I did not do a rinse – because, lets be honest, I’d just drink it anyway. So the rinse I didn’t do, was breaded deep fried fish and chips meets hazelnut. Yep, that’s what I got and I liked it. Cup two at 10s was bitter spicy barnyard. Almost added sugar or poured it out but did neither. Cup 3 at 5s was spicy, cedar, and underlying leather. Cup 4, 5, 6 @ 10, 12, and 15s, were all similar but each an improvement on the prior. Each mellowed more with the spiciness detaching from the cedar and reattaching on the old book leather. Pu-erh is so much fun!


YAY glad the package go there ok :)


And the contents were correct… unlike the one sent your way. Some people (me) need to wear their glasses.


Haha, it’s really no big deal! :D

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Another rediscovered tea lost in my move that was so graciously given to me by Angel and Teavivre.

The leaves in this tea are stunning in their own right. Gorgeous greens and yellows begging to be steeped to wow your taste buds. Brewed, the liquor was a light, elegant gold. With all this gold one might think I am royalty. Not royalty, just incredibly spoiled with some of the best teas on the face of the planet.

Light, smooth and grassy this pu-erh knows how to treat your taste buds. Never was there any bitterness or astringency. Towards the end of the sip, there is a most gorgeous fruity flavor. Together with the grassy note I can not help but to think of Spring .

I don’t know how Teavivre does it, but their pu-erhs floor me every time. And I was able to get four steepings with maintained integrity while steeping it western-style-Incredible.

Flavors: Fruity, Grass

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Got this as a sample from Teavivre several months ago. Thanks, Angel!

Anyway, I’m not terribly experienced with green teas in general— so far, I know that I really enjoy long jing and bi luo chun, but I’ve admittedly done little else in the exploration of green teas.

I’m presently drinking this grandpa style after a random flash steep with my infuser (I changed my mind and decided to go grandpa style right after).

For the flash steep (a large splash of room temperature with 208F water, so I’d guess somewhere around 170F) : Sweet, creamy/buttery, refreshing. Not at all vegetal.

Grandpa style (probably closer to 180F this time): Vegetal, simultaneously savoury and sweet. Somewhat nutty. Light but pleasant astringency.

Overall, I really like it. Light but flavourful and not too subtle. Quite refreshing. I’m very tempted to get more but good grief my tea box is overflowing.

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So, I have been a very, very bad Steepsterite. Not only have I been completely slacking on writing tasting notes, turns out I misplaced some of my samples that I was given to review during the move to my new apartment. Erf >.

Flavors: Honey, Smoke, Vegetal


a tea story full of suspense and unexpected developments! :)


Well done! Most of my pu-erh stories are preposterous comedies of errors.

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Finally getting around to try this one, which I chose as my free sample with my TeaVivre Black Friday order. Oddly enough, this doesn’t seem to be on the website anymore, and I know for a fact that it was a new tea when I ordered it. I wonder what happened there. Anyway, the leaves are very thin and wiry, and they have a very dark chocolate brown color. Dry scent is a yummy combination of chocolate, honey, hay, and perhaps a touch of rich dried fruits.

The fruit aroma has become much stronger in the steeped tea, and there’s also a strong, sweet honey scent. That sweet honey is also present in the tea itself, which makes me happy since honey is one of my favorite notes in tea. There’s also a thick bready flavor and texture that works well with the honey, as well as plenty of sweet potato. I can taste a slight amount of molasses along with rich and syrupy dried fruits such as prune or raisin. The only thing I wish there was more of is the cocoa, which is present near the end of the sip in a very unsweetened manner. Super tasty and satisfying, and of course, perfectly smooth!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Dried Fruit, Honey, Molasses, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Thick

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

In case anyone is curious, I sent them an email asking about this tea. Mary replied and told me that they sold out of this batch and they weren’t satisfied with the next batch, so they’re still looking for more of it. :) Love their customer service!


That’s good to know. And I agree, their customer service is really great! :)

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Another lovely sample from Teavivre. I feel like I’m getting a proper oolong education through them. Thanks again, Angel! The packaging is very attractive – metallic maroon and gold foil, vacuum-sealed tight.

Now, this is a dark one. The leaves are not green at all, in fact, they’re dark brown. They smell sweet and nutty, like a dessert! Reminds me of baklava. When hit with water, the aroma intensifies. I’m getting a sort of nutmeg and walnut scent. The water changes to a color much like a black tea, sort of ambery brown. By the end of the steep time, the nutty scent was accompanied by a rather strong roasted smell. I am so curious – will this be like a bracing black tea? A mellow dessert? Maybe dark and woodsy?

The instructions on the packet gave a 3-10 minute steep time. I thought that was a pretty wide range! Staying on the lighter side, I went with 4 minutes. Upon first sip, I taste roasted seaweed. Not exactly what I expected, but still nice. I’m also getting notes of toasted sesame seeds. It reminds me of these little crackers I used to get at the Asian markets when I was a kid. There is some nuttiness to the taste, especially in the finish, but I’m mostly getting sesame and I like it. Definitely taking the rest of this pot to work with me.

Flavors: Nuts, Nutty, Roasted, Seaweed, Sweet, Walnut

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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I enjoyed this a lot. It was earthy without tasting rotten or weird like some puerhs can. I found it to be moderately sweet, getting sweeter with later infusions. I infused it for probably ten seconds, then the next couple fifteen, and the couple after that closer to twenty or thirty seconds. The flavors were all similar, they just took turns being center stage. It could have gone much longer, but I really tire of drinking the same tea all day sometimes. It does make dog sitting a little bit easier if I am going to be here all day, as I only needed to bring this one sample packet with me. Of course I brought three full sized tins as options and had ten samples here a few days ago. Because flavor ADD.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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It’s a cold, rainy day here, so I thought I’d break out the green teas in an effort to lighten things up a bit. Green teas always remind me of spring and sunshine.

This. This tea. There is a wonderful chestnut flavor followed by a vegetal note that is reminiscent of sugar snap peas. Yum. The finish has a mineral note that is clean and every so slightly drying. I find this pleasing since it allows me to taste the chestnut note fresh with each sip. I also pick up a very slight buttery note as the tea cools. Very, very nice.

Thank you Angel and Teavivre for allowing me to sample this!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Another from the anniversary sample sale a while back. Thank you, Teavivre! As expected, another lovely pu-erh. I used the entire sample pouch (probably 10 grams) of these reddish gold tinged leaves. The first steep is so sweet and subtle, probably from waiting ten minutes to steep. None of those unlikeable pu-erh characteristics even before the rinse. Any Teavivre pu-erh is excellent if you’re trying to avoid those. The second and third steeps are pure coffee and dark chocolate delicious. Normally I’m not a fan of coffee, but I think a good pu-erh has all of the things I actually like about coffee. I’m also learning that any pu-erh tastes like coffee and dark chocolate if you use THIS many leaves. I probably shouldn’t be using so much for a 12 ounce mug, but it’s delicious this way anyway. But I DID describe the other Menghai 2009 as chocolate and coffee, looking at my review. The last steep had hints of maple syrup. I think I’ve tried so many ripened Teavivre pu-erhs that it might be a little difficult for me to tell them apart (might be my tastebuds aren’t refined enough). All of them are very high quality and have very similar flavor profiles. I end up loving them all so I couldn’t make a mistake buying any of them anyway.
Steep #1 // 10 min after boiling // rinse // 2 min steep
Steep #2 // 8 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #3 // 6 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #4 // just boiled // 5 min

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Flowering tea #3 out of 6 from TeaVivre! I chose this one to try because of the cute name rather than the picture. There are a few hints of orange showing on the outside of the silver needle ball. Dry scent is hay, oats, and vegetables.

This is just as yummy as the others. Main flavors are hay and sweet vegetables such as peas and cucumber. There’s also a bit of stonefruit and sweet undertones of molasses and brown sugar. This one managed to stay completely intact when unfurled (the other two had a couple small pieces that fell off and floated to the surface). The little family of jasmine blossom is adorable! :)


Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cucumber, Hay, Molasses, Oats, Peas, Stonefruits, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 8 min or more 11 OZ / 325 ML

It looks beautiful!

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Another one from my lovely TeaVivre flowering tea sampler! The ball itself is the same size and shape, but I can see some traces of orange from the flower hiding inside. Dry scent is the same sweet hay and oats.

For some reason, this one unfurled much more quickly than True Love. I wasn’t paying attention to it for a couple minutes, and when I looked back it was fully opened! Very lovely. The last is very similar too my last cup, it’s hay and oats but with a slight touch of light vegetal. There’s also a bit of a molasses or brown sugar flavor here, yum!


Flavors: Cucumber, Hay, Molasses, Oats, Sweet, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 8 min or more 11 OZ / 325 ML

So pretty! :)

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TeaVivre offered the variety pack of these silver needle flowering teas for the price of shipping as part of their Black Friday sales. Basically it was 6 different flowering teas for less than $4 so I figured why not? I really enjoy silver needle in general so it seemed like something I would enjoy. Just getting around to trying them out now! From the outside, the unsteeped tea just looks like a ball of silver needle with a round side and a flatter side that I assume is the bottom. Dry scent is fragrant hay and oats.

Even though the directions call for boiling water, I used my usual temperature for white tea as I didn’t want to risk it going bitter. Because of that, my bulb took quite a while to fully unfurl in the cup, probably 10 minutes or so. Even with the long steep, the tea isn’t bitter at all! It has a nice smooth hay flavor with a touch of raw oats and a little bit of floral presence from the amaranth, jasmine, and marigold flowers included. My cup came out pretty strong because of the long steep, but I’m enjoying it. There’s also a little bit of stonefruit and cucumber flavor from the white tea. Once fully unfurled, it reminds me of some kind of little sea creature with two antennas! Cute.


Flavors: Creamy, Cucumber, Floral, Hay, Oats, Stonefruits

185 °F / 85 °C 8 min or more 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Another wonderful free sample from Angel and Teavivre.

This one is definitely a very dark oolong.

The reviews are interesting as they are so varied in what this tea tastes like.

I am finding this smooth, thick, slightly creamy. There is only very light floral oolong flavour. The roastiness of this tea is definitely present but I would not say it is strong. There is definitely a sweet potatoe/kind of yammy flavour. Slightly nutty. This oolong is definitely closer to a black tea than a green.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Thank you very much to Angel from Teavivre for this free sample!

There are a lot of tea companies that have good customer service, and there are a few that have excellent customer service, and Teavivre falls into the excellent category. I do have to apologize that it has taken me this long to review this free tea.

This tea is large rolled nuggets. It brews up a very dark, brown tea. It smells floral, sweet, vegetal, and roasty.

The tea brews up lovely. The nuggets unfurled so large that they almost could not be contained in the regular sized tea basket I always use. The dry nuggets were greenish in colour but the brewed tea leaves are more brown.

The taste of the tea is much less flavourful than the smell. It definitely has the flavours of a green oolong, vegetal, strongly floral, almost perfumey. But there is a light roast flavour on top of that. There is a strong buttery/creamy quality to the tea liquor.

I quite prefer the heavily roasted or darker oolongs compared to a green oolong.

This was is pretty good, not as roasty as I prefer, but I love the buttery quality to this tea.

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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These black pearls are so cute. Makes me think of Pirates of the Caribbean. Arrrrr

This tea is a bit earthy, a little bit malty, notes of raisins, faint chocolate notes. A very good cup and I enjoyed it but it’s not for me. Still a great tea.

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Happy New Year, everyone! Starting my year in tea with something very nice. I made a pot of this for my brother and his girlfriend.

The first thing I noticed about the little green nuggets is the scent. A hint of the ocean, followed by sweet cream and flowers. As it steeps, it comes out to a lovely pale greenish yellow. It’s very light-looking, almost deceptively so. Like the other teas I’ve sampled from Teavivre lately, the leaves are whole and beautiful. Hardly nicked.

I have to say right now, this might be my new favorite oolong. It’s so smooth and it lacks a lot of that pungency that oolongs can have. Most of the ones I’ve tried have had a certain nuttiness about them, but this one doesn’t. I’m literally tasting just floral goodness and cream. Or milk. It’s soothing and fresh tasting. Wonderful.

Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Umami

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Fruity and sweet with a hint of smoke and green pepper. Quietly gentle, and very delicious!

Rinsed twice, and then drank with many steeps 10-20 sec. Made a lot of tea!

Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this generous sample!

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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Here I am to enjoy a big red Robe. Its leaves are long and have an incredible volume .

The smell is forested, mostly wooded . This type of tea is very famous and is even extremely famous but I read anything and everything about it ( picked by monkeys wearing red dresses in honor of the emperor, tea trees dressed with a red dress honoured by the emperor to thank this tea to have healed the mother of the Emperor … ) I cannot tell why this tea is called like that but it grows well on Mount Wuyi and that’s the point.

A translucent orange liquor is obtained.

A the first sip , my olfactory impression is confirmed , I have the impression of riding into a forest : moss, mushrooms , bark, wet earth , nuts … that’s what this tea reminds me immediately.

Mushroom is for me the most prominent flavour followed by wood. This tea also has a mineral note , some rock-y taste , which must be explained by its origin.

Some cocoa notes are also present . The texture is very light, very refreshing , and while cooling I begin to detect a little fruity note .

This tea is complex. I imagine it must be very suitable for Gong Fu Cha session and reveals incredible flavors in short, multiple infusions. But … it is already very good Western style .

You can see pics of my session with this roasted Oolong here : http://thevangeliste.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/fujian-da-hong-pao-big-red-robe-wuyi-rock-oolong-tea-teavivre/

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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This is lovely – I’ve been drinking so much darjeeling and assam from my Golden Tips subscription I’ve forgotten that other blacks exist. This is sweet and smooth and bready. As it cools down I get more of a chocolatey note. Still chocolate bread, and not strong enough to give me that “omg imposter chocolate” sense, but enough to be flavorful. I am so glad I got a sample of this on BF.

Plus, two steeps tastes great. I love when I have the option to resteep.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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