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Recent Tasting Notes
There is a cat in my lap, an Espeon to be precise, who is happily keeping me warm. This really has no relevance, but I thought I would share that with you all since she is so immensely cute and cuddly. Today sadly was another day of getting nothing done since I still feel pretty nasty, I truly worry I am coming down with a cold, but considering I always get sick this time of year (mostly because stress causes my fibromyalgia to go bonkers) I am totally unsurprised. With luck this will pass quickly and I can get back to doing my usual routine!
Once again, we look into one of my older notebooks, because I drink too many teas and take too many notes, TBT posts really make me debate reviewing more than one tea a day, but I am pretty sure you all would hate me at that point! Today we are looking at a favorite type of tea of mine, Teavivre’s Golden Monkey Black Tea, a fuzzy golden tea from Fujian, golden and fuzzy just like a monkey, those oh so cute Golden Snub Nosed Monkeys, one of the few monkeys that I actually like. Ok, not true, I am mostly ok with monkeys, but I loathe apes with a passion, I admit it, I have a phobia, but that honestly has nothing to do with tea, so moving on. The aroma of these fuzzy leaves is rather intense! Strong notes of cocoa, yams, roasted peanuts, plum, and a touch of black pepper. It leans more on the side of savory than sweet, though it is not outright savory…just very light in the sweetness department.
Into my old, chipped gaiwan the leaves went for steeping, this gaiwan has moved on to a new home, chips and all. The aroma of the soggy leaves take a turn for the sweet, blending roasted peanuts and yams with a delicate honey and distinct dried plum note. The liquid is creamy and sweet, raw honey and yams with juicy plums and a wee bit of cocoa at the finish.
The first steep is fairly light, a gentle start to the golden fuzzy tea. It starts with a creamy sweetness and moves to juicy plums and rich cocoa, the plum notes linger and blend with honey at the finish. The aftertaste is short but sweet honey, and even though the first steep is light and has a memorable presence.
Whoa, the aroma for the second steep is pretty intense, very sweet notes of honey and juicy plums, with a starchy sweet potato finish. The taste is still pretty light, it is a gentle tea, with notes of cocoa, yams, and plums at the first. As the tea reaches the finish it picks up notes of dried apricots and a slight roasted peanut finish. Even though this is a light tea, it has a powerful sweetness and the notes are very crisp and distinct.
Third steeping, the aroma is very sweet, strong notes of plums and honey, with a starchy sweet potato finish…but there is also a bit of cocoa too! I do not say this very often with black/red teas, but this is a refreshing tea, it is light and sweet with notes of plum and apricots, that moves to sweet potatoes and roasted peanuts. It is a light tea, sweet and fruity and surprisingly refreshing, I find myself drinking this tea in the evening thanks to its lightness.
My first raw pu er, so I don’t have anything to compare but I like it. I steeped it at least 12 times, from 10 secs to more than 3 minutes. The leaves are beautiful. At the second and third step the astringency is quite strong, but then it gets more soft. It was a day home working and kids watching and this nice tea gave me all the required energy !
The more I drink of this, the better I like it; it’s a nice, sweet, mellow tea, and for a black tea it’s very relaxing, and perfect for lazing around with after a heavy Sunday lunch.
My brewing method for black teas changed a few days ago when my new yixing teapot, that I’m reserving for black teas, arrived; it’s nowhere near being fully seasoned yet, and possibly it’s all in my head, but my black teas do taste just a little bit more fabulous when I make them in my new pot.
Flavors: Caramel, Hay, Honey, Malt, Tea
I got up very early this morning so that I’d have plenty of time for making tea before I have to leave for work – because in the past few days I’ve had tons of parcels and packages arriving from China.
The appearance of this is wonderful – loads of bright yellow buds among dark brown, soft leaves. It doesn’t have a strong scent, but it has a fine and very muted one – of hay and a hint of sweet roastedness.
5g in a 90ml gaiwan for 30-60 seconds with off-the-boil water – about 90C. It has a very mild and mellow taste, with a nice astringent kick. My first impression of this is that it’s not strong enough for my preference, but I do like the roundedness of this one, so I think I might try adjusting the amount of tea and steeping time to see if I can get a little more depth to the taste.
The wet leaf of this has an amazing scent, and the brewed tea liquor tastes high and sweet with a caramel note, and a lovely malty taste and smell. It’s a mild tasting black tea, but has a lot of flavour in there – with hints of roast sweet potato, malt and honey. I’ll enjoy this as a nice, sweet, easy-drinking afternoon tea.
I used about 5g in a small gaiwan, using near-boiling water for 30-60s.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
Water: 17oz (2 cup + 1Tbs)
Leaves:medium rolled dark green leaves
Aroma:sweet & vegetable
Color: Dark yellow
Taste: The brewing instructions for this tea were a bit different from what i normally follow. I went with the Western method starting off with a rinse of the leaves, the amount of water need was much larger compared to others I’ve made in the past calling for 17oz for 1 tablespoon of leaves. Brewing time was also longer starting at the 6minute mark. I’m excited to see how this will turn out due to the different instructions. The color produced was a dark yellow accompanied by a light floral aroma. Taste was light w/ a very faint bitterness detected. As for a food pairing I had this tea after my lunch of a vegan veggie soup & rice.
an amazing tea:
little glass pitcher method:
when i smell the ball dry, i smell flowers and pepper.
when i smell the bloomed flower, i smell peppers and flowers,
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell flowers and pepper.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste fruit, flowers and pepper.
the color of the brewed tea is a lime green.
i rate this tea a 100 because its just perfect.
i never thought the ball would open and bloom. so i poked and prodded it and finally it opened.
many thanks to angel and tevivre for this sample.
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Pepper
Going through the last of my Teavivre samples in anticipation of sales next week. Maybe it’s the high rating or loving everything from Teavivre so far, but my expectations were pretty high on this one. Kiiinda disappointed. It looks and smells a lot like Golden Monkey, but tastes so mild and just… I don’t know. Mellow? It is a nice flavour, not particularly sweet, maybe a bit hay-ey/earthy. I just don’t like it nearly as much as Golden Monkey which has a smokiness to it that I dig.
I think I lean towards teas that bludgeon me over the head, whereas this is more like a gentle caress.
Okay, I totally chose this one for the name! It was a free sample with my last Teavivre order, and because I liked the name and am still looking for a decent fruit tea, I thought I’d give it a try. The dry leaf is reasonably encouraging, except that it contains a huge hibiscus leaf. I like to look at hibiscus – it’s a pretty thing, for sure – I just don’t want it in my tea. There are decent sized chunks of pineapple, papaya and apple, though, and a few dried black grapes. The scent to me is very much of blueberry, but there’s no blueberry here as far as I can see…it’s suppose to be a pineapple/papaya “tropical” blend. I guess we’ll see…
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium orangey-red, and the initial flavour is sadly mostly hibiscus/rosehip tartness. There is a pretty good tropical flavour underlying, but it’s a bit overpowered to really make much of an impression. It’s more papaya than pineapple, a little peppery and less sweet than I was expecting.
On the whole, I’m not really struck. Fruit teas without hibiscus are definitely more my thing, but there are so few that are readily available in the UK. I would really like a David’s Tea here sometimes! I wondered for a moment whether this might have been better cold brewed, but still – hibiscus.
Water: 10oz (1 1/4 cup)
Leaves:tiny chopped blackish brown leaves
Aroma: burnt & smokey
Taste: I was browsing the internet trying to figure out how much tea is 5g worth & stumbled upon the Steepster Main Blog (Tips for Measuring Dry Tea Leaf). This afternoon I wanted to start off with something a bit on the stronger side which is why I went with this tea. Upon opening the packed the aroma packed a powerful punch of smokey & burnt. Soon after I went to the website & read how it’s made from there everything made sense. This time around although not using a Gaiwan I followed the Chinese Gongfu Way which started off with a rinse making the aroma standout even more followed by a very quick steep of 15s. The scent remained as I prepared my cup. Taking the first sip It was very nice and light with no bitterness. Note i tried this with 10oz of water as compared to the usual 8oz. The other cups I plan to mix up the water amount to see how that changes the taste. I may not do all 7 steeps but well see as the day goes on.
Pausing for a few moments before beginning what promises to be a very busy Saturday. Felt a strong need for a “black ball” tea so I decided to revisit Teavivre’s Dragon Pearls. Tasty rich brew which warms to my core – just what I needed. Peaceful Saturdays for all….
I really enjoyed this, probably because it reminds me of Bailin Gongfu. I’d like to get a bit more to try the two together and see which I prefer between the two, it’d be a pretty close contest though, they’re very similar to me. Dark, roasty, slightly cocoa-y, but this makes me think a bit of coffee though whereas Bailin doesn’t really. Not for the flavour, just that it’s got a bit of kick to it.
… Definitely going to get some of this with my Black Friday order!
EDIT: Also worth noting that the leaves are humongous! The biggest I’ve seen, which, granted, I’m still a bit of a tea noob, but still. Very long and needle-like.
another amazing tea!
when i smell the leaves dry, i smell toasted chocolate.
when i smell the leaved wet, i smell chocolate.
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell toasted tea and chocolate.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste toasted tea and chocolate.
the color of the brewed tea is a dark orange color.
i rate this a 100 because i love teas like this.
many thanks to teavivre for selling me this sample.
Flavors: Chocolate, Roasted, Toasty
an amazing tea, little glass pitcher method.
when i smell the leaves dry, i smell hints of flowers.
when i smell the leaves wet, i smell strong flowers and sweetness.
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell sweetness and mild floral notes.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste flowers and sweetness.
the color of the brewed tea is yellow.
i rate this tea a 100 because it is lovely with the floral taste.
many thanks to teavivre for selling me this amazing sample.
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Sweet
an amazing tea!
when i smell the leaves dry, they smell green and musty.
when i smell the leaves wet, i smell honey and spices.
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell honey and spices.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste strong honey and strong spices.
the color of the brewed tea is a dark amber color.
i rate this a 99 because it’s missing one thing; Smokeyness.
many thanks to teavivre for selling me this amazing tea!
Flavors: Green, Honey, Musty, Spices
an amazing tea:
when i smell the leaves dry, i smell mustyness and spices.
when i smell the leaves wet, the smell is intensified with hints of chocolate.
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell hints of chocolate and spices.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste hints of chocolate and medium spices.
the color of the brewed tea is a medium yellow.
i rate this tea a 99 because it is almost perfect.
many thanks to teavivre for this free sample.
dont forget to check out www.teavivre.com
Flavors: Chocolate, Musty, Spices
an awesome tea!
when i smell the leaves dry, they smell musty.
when i smell the leaves wet, they smell strongly like honey and spices.
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell strong honey, spices and weak smokeyness.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste strong honey, spices and medium smokeyness.
a note: the tea is a tad bitter sweet
the color of the brewed tea is amber.
i rate this a 100 because everything is satisfactory in this tea.
don’t forget to check out www.teavivre.com
Flavors: Bitter, Honey, Musty, Smoke, Spices, Sweet
Ahh I finally am getting to reviewing this tea, so sorry for the delay Teavivre!! A huge thanks for this free sample!
I was originally just going to make a big cozy mug of this as it’s freezing here on the first day of November and I have been trying to warm up enough to do something all day, but I looked at my little teapot from Crimson Lotus and thought man it’s been a while since I’ve used it! This is the teapot I didn’t season and just went for it when I first used it and it yielded excellent results, so I’m excited to try another shou in it today!
I used probably a little over half of my sample for this session, I was going to use it all but since the teapot is so small I thought I better use close to half to start, plus I will have enough for a Western cup another day! I did a quick 10s rinse with boiling water and poured this over my teapot, mmm there is a lovely musty, almost creamy rich smell about it. Man I always say this – I need to drink shou more often!
The first steep I did for 10s with boiling water as well, and the liquor is nicely dark already, not opaque but a nice rich reddish brown color. It smells sweet and woodsy. As for the flavor, mmmm this is a pleasant puerh, it is actually super sweet!! Like a drippy caramel flavor, toffee-like, melding with a rich mahogany wood with the barest hint of smoke to round it out and make it even cosier. It’s thick and rich and delicious. I’m not sure if some of the flavor of Lake Huron (the last tea I had in the teapot) is adding to the thick, rich flavor, but man is this ever good. I am also detecting a slight floral dryness in the aftertaste, hmm could be interesting to see how that develops!
Steep 2 – 20s with boiling water – also, I am following the parameters on Teavivre’s website haha, the liquor is about twice as dark and the sweet wood smell is growing in intensity. Mmm the woody flavor is growing too, still rich, becoming deeper, still with that mild smoke note. As it cools the sweetness disperses into a mild molasses hint and a great roasted cedar note comes through. The mouthfeel has changed from less creamy to deeper now too. Yum. Amazing how just letting it cool changes the flavor oh so much!
Overall, the first two steeps of this have been great, and I look forward to an afternoon of this, steeping it out and being warm. I’m excited to see how the flavor changes, since there has already been quite a change between the first two steepings. Hopefully I can get some cleaning done too now that I’m warmer, although I feel cozy and content, this tea is evoking a nice relaxed feeling rather than energetic so far haha. Once again, thanks to Teavivre, particularly Angel there, for giving me the opportunity to try this lovely shou!
Another sample from kittylovestea
A amazing tea
This tea restored my faith in black teas
When I smell the leaves dry, they smell nice and spicy.
When I smell the leaves wet, they smell spicy and like chocolate.
When I smell the brewed tea, I smell chocolate and spices.
When I taste the brewed tea, I taste chocolate and spices.
The color of the brewed tea is a dark amber color.
I rate this tea a 100 because it is a wonderful tea.
Many thanks my dear friend.
Special note: i lost my strainer a few days ago so i was using the strainer thingy the staff had. then they found it today and dumped the staff’s strainer out and i only steeped it once. kinda miffed earlier, but im ok now as i still have a little bit left.
Flavors: Chocolate, Spices