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Recent Tasting Notes
Well, my sleep schedule has gotten a bit confused. New meds and my monthly bout of weird sleep schedule flipping means that I was up til like 2pm this afternoon, and then slept til 8pm. It is very disorienting waking up at night, even me being nocturnal a lot, I prefer late afternoon wake ups. When I was a kid, my favorite thing was the time I didn’t go to work with my family, because it meant that I got to sleep til late in the afternoon, one of the reason I have worked a lot of night shift jobs in my past. I am a night owl…clearly that means I need an owl teapet!
Recently Teavivre introduced a line of herbal teas, this idea intrigued me because they seem to be mostly flower based, tea friends…I have a weakness for drinking flowery teas. When I was younger (wow, lots of younger days stories) I would gather up the edible flowers from my mom’s garden and make teas from them, they were usually loaded with sugar and more like flowery syrup, but I loved them. This love has not died, and is very fitting for Bucolic Jasmine Herbal Tea, a blend of Jasmine, Roses, Chrysanthemum, Osmanthus, and Stevia leaves. If you know from my history of tea rambling, jasmine, rose, and osmanthus are probably some of my favorite flowery notes, so this sounds fun. The aroma is a summer day in a garden, very heady and sweet, strong notes of roses and jasmine with a moderate sweet osmanthus note. The finish is a gentle sweet honey and that hay spiciness that is chrysanthemum.
Into my steeping vessel the tea goes, making me both happy and sad. Sad because the beautiful and vibrant flowers always look so sad when they are steeped, no color and floppy. Happy because it smells really good, like a room of blooming roses and jasmine, with a distant hint of osmanthus. I hope the osmanthus is not overshadowed because it is probably my favorite flower to have as a tea. The liquid is a bit more mellow, the three main flowers are balanced and the chrysanthemum adds a tiny hint at the end.
Ah stevia, you are such a fun thing. It is very sweet and distinct, having a natural sweetness similar to sugar but with more in common with licorice with its lingering sweetness, I like stevia leaves. That is the first thing I noticed, the stevia sweetness, then jasmine and rose, lots of jasmine and rose. Towards the middle and end there is osmanthus with a finish of gentle green and lingering sweetness. I did not really taste chrysanthemum, and other than smelling it a bit, I would not have known it was in there. I steeped it twice since the website recommends it and it was pretty bland, most the taste was in the first steep. I liked it, this is a tea that is unassuming enough I can sip it when I am feeling off and want something flowery without being overwhelmed.
Flavors: Jasmine, Osmanthus, Rose, Straw, Sweet
I got a sample of this with my Teavivre order. It’s nice, light and easy to drink. I don’t get much cocoa, which seems to be the general consensus on this, though might be because I’ve been drinking Teavivre’s Fengqing Dragon Pearls which give me a major cocoa vibe by comparison. This is a lot lighter, sweet, bready, and a bit peppery to me. Not my favourite from Teavivre, but it’s a nice sip.
I have the 2013 harvest, from MissB! Thank you!
I enjoyed it in my neat-o little teapot (see a couple posts ago for a pic? IDK.) this evening. Probably 5 steeps worth. It was delicious. So delicious, that it’s the ONLY TEA I’m taking camping this weekend. Camping in what will possibly be the gross and disgusting rain.
But still. Delicious tea. Rain. Wooly blankets. A book to read. Ooo, a book to read. I should get on that.
I wasn’t too impressed with this tea the first couple of times I tried it, finding it fairly bland and tasteless. All of the positive reviews baffled me so I figured it must be me…and it was! I have lately gotten into the habit of brewing green teas uncovered as many greens fare better that way. But this tea works much better with the lid on. I added enough leaves to cover the bottom of the gaiwan, poured in 175F water, and let it go for 2 minutes. This time, the tea was much better. Creamy spinach and green been flavors emerged along with a faint sweetness. Still a very light tea brew though. I may have to experiment with water temperature and brew times, but this is an enjoyable tea for sure.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Spinach, Vegetal
The first time I brewed this tea, I winged it with 1 tsp of leaf and 4 oz of water in my gaiwan at 175F for 1 minutes. The resultant brew was weak and somewhat vegetal. Even the second infusion with hotter water and a longer steep time turned out weak.
I got better results by following TeaVivre’s guidelines and steeping 2g of tea. I loved the aroma of the dry leaf, nutty and deeply vegetal. But the tea liquor didn’t have the same complexity and flavor that the aroma did. It tastes like a standard Chinese green tea. The flavor is faintly vegetal, mostly chestnut and a few buttery undertones. There’s no bitterness or astringency a characteristic shared by all of the TeaVivre green teas I’ve had so far which I think is a good thing. It’s much lighter in body than most green teas, almost like a white tea.
Not a bad tea, but not one I would return to.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Vegetal
My foray into Chinese greens continues with this unique, long leaf tea from TeaVivre. Their Long Jing dragonwell is already amongst my top 5 green teas and this one looks like a dragonwell with extra large leaves.
What stands out most to me about this tea is the smell of the leaf, both dry and wet. The dry leaf smells faintly of kombu and when the leaves are wet, they smell strikingly similar to dashi (fish broth). Thankfully, very little of the dashi aroma made it into the cup. There is a note of seaweed in there which is oddly contrasted with a fruity note I would describe as melon or pear. Not much vegetal flavor and virtually no astringency at all.
Overall, a very delicate and light-bodied tea. Quite different than the green teas I’m used to. I prefer grassier tea but I wouldn’t refuse this if it were offered to me. Definitely worth a sip and I’m glad I got to try it. I brewed this in a 150 ml gaiwan using about 7.5 leaves (roughly 1 gram) and got 2 good steeps out of it.
Flavors: Fish Broth, Melon
The floral in this is almost non existent. In the early days, when I wasn’t fond of floral, I recall that high mountain oolongs were my less flowery gateway into appreciation of stronger florals, but I don’t remember them being this lacking in the floral department.
Nevertheless, this is a good oolong. Nutty, creamy, bready. It’s like Teavivre’s Superfine Taiwan Qing Xiang Dong Ding Oolong Tea without the floral. If I pay attention, I can detect a slight floral aroma and a mild sweet taste that may or may not be attributed to a floral flavor. Perhaps I’ve become desensitized to the florals and don’t notice them as well when they are subtle.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cream, Nuts, Vegetal
Sweet, roasty, yummy. I like roasted oolongs, but sometimes they get carried away with the roast. It’s nice when other flavors sneak through as they do in this tea. It must be a tieguanyin thing. I’ve only had one other roasted tieguanyin that I can remember and it was sweet too – but more floral sweet where as this one is fruity sweet.
Flavors: Fruity, Roasted, Sweet
Had a gongfu session with a ceramic gaiwan. Since Teavivre recommended only 4g, I split the 7-gram sample packet and had two sessions with two different sets of steeping parameters. The first from is Teavivre’s website: 10, 20, 30, 50, (accidentally skipped 70), 90, 120. The second is my own: 30, 60, 90, 180, 300.
I smelled the dry leaf aroma two ways. First, I stuck my nose into the packet, then I heated the gaiwan bowl with boiling water, poured that out, and let the leaf sit in the bowl for thirty seconds. What a wonderful aroma! It’s one of those you can’t stop smelling. A combination of cocoa powder, gingerbread, and cinnamon. I knew this leaf would smell great if it were amplified by a heated bowl. Great start to the first session. The wet leaf aroma smells differently – sweet potatoes, then, after the leaf aired for a bit, freshly baked muffins.
Against a white porcelain cup, the liquor has a beautiful and clear burnt orange color. The texture is consistently smooth and little thick. Full body. The flavor profile doesn’t evolve, but it’s filled with individual notes that I taste all at once yet can pick out separately. This goes for both sessions. There is the cocoa and the sweet potato, but also subtler notes of wet wood and clover. Sweet and bitter simultaneously, with a coffee aftertaste. This has a soothing and warming effect on me.
This is forgiving and easy to drink, therefore good for the Western brewing method and beginners to Chinese black tea.
This is a sample from Christina. Thanks Christina for the sample! I really enjoyed this tea this morning brewed gong fu. I am finding my list I printed out for doing gong fu really isn’t that good. It’s what everyone says. Just go by the feel. Their recommendation for first infusion is about 6-8 sec. That’s way too short for this green tea so I left it until it had a little colour.
This tea reminds me of an Anji Bai Cha. The leaves look the same – long and straight. This tea also borders between a Japanese and Chinese tea. It has that sweet snap pea aroma (smells soooo good) you find in Japanese teas. It’s also in the taste but this brews up very light. A pale pale yellow. The snap pea taste hits the tongue followed by a light buttery/chestnut taste. These are the things I love about Anji Bai Cha only some of the Anji Bai Cha’s I’ve had have been stronger than this tea. This is a very delicate tea and very tasty!
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Peas
I can’t stress enough how much I suck at picking apart the various flavours in a straight tea, so I won’t even try to go there. But what I do know is that I love this. And it can tolerate my habitual over-steeping, which is always a good quality. I don’t really get the taste of cocoa in this, but a feeling of it, if that makes any sense. Like it’s a dark, rich, smooth taste that is not exactly cocoa, but somewhat similar to it in feeling. Like a cousin to cocoa. Or something. Behold my eloquence!
Either way, great cup, so far everything from Teavivre has been a delight. Will order again once I run out!
After noticing the flavors listed with this tea’s description, I almost thought I was still on the page for the Qing Xiang Dong Ding that I just reviewed. I wouldn’t have described this one as nutty or bready. Creamier than other tieguanyins, yes. I suppose the creamy texture can easily lead one to think of a nutty flavor. Perhaps it would stand out more to me if I didn’t sample it in such close proximity to the Dong Ding which is super nutty bread supreme, lol.
The floral in this is sweeter, rather than sharp, relative to some others I’ve had. Not much else to say here. It’s a tasty cup of delicate floral with a hint of cream. :)
After a while, all the teas of the same type start to blend together and I forget what an oolong I’ve had in the past tastes like relative to one I’m having now. Or what the difference is between Dong Ding and Tieguanyin. So, After my first isolated cup of this tea, I decided to brew it with two other oolongs I had in my cupboard (one a tieguanyin and another unknown, but I strongly suspect that it is also tieguanyin).
Unfortunately, I have no other Dong Dings to compare it with at the moment, but the tieguanyins definitely helped to put things in perspective and help me to isolate certain characteristics that I would otherwise be oblivious to.
So, without further ado, my tasting notes:
This one has a very creamy mouthfeel. I notice the floral notes first, especially in the aroma. As the tea cools it develops a nutty or bready flavor. Not something I am used to in a green oolong. However, after reading some other tasting notes, it looks like there is some question as to whether or not this oolong is slightly roasted. I’d still say its a green one, albeit unique.
the creamy breadiness sort of works its way into a soupy vegetal flavor — almost. It’s as if it’s trying to become a green tea but not quite. The floral brings it back to its senses. :p
Pretty good over all.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Creamy, Floral, Nuts, Vegetal
This is a tasty smoked tea. I get a lot of the notes listed in the description. Smoke, earth, pine, scotch, leather, molasses, ash and tobacco to name a bunch. Or at least there is one note that tastes like any of those things.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.
This is one of those teas that tastes better when you combine all of the infusions. I brewed it gongfu style following TeaVivre’s instructions (rinse, 30s, 30s, 35s, 45s, 1m, 1.5m). I poured all of the infusions into a pitcher and tasted them as I went along. The individual steeps were unimpressive. Flat and slightly bitter with some unexpected milky notes. Combined though, a honeysuckle sweetness began to emerge. The milkiness was no longer there but some bitterness remained in the after taste. This was a meh sorta green oolong for me. Palatable, but nothing to write home about. Glad to have finished my sample so I can move on to other teas.
Flavors: Astringent, Honeysuckle, Milk
Very unique flavor. There are distinct honey, floral, and fruit notes that I am more accustomed to finding in leafhopper oolong teas, but this tea is not as heavy on my stomach as those oolongs tend to be.
I can’t see myself drinking this tea on a regular basis – I tend to go through alternating phases of craving or being completely put off by honey notes – but it may show up in my cupboard from time to time.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey, Sweet