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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you to Teavivre for the free sample!
Loose leaf is beautiful to look at and smells of delicious toasty oolong tea. I love toasty oolongs, so I was very excited to try this. And, I find myself drawn to visually appealing teas |(even if the flavour is lacking).
Brewed western style with 475 mL hot water for 4 minutes. Liquid was light tan-yellow. Liquid smelled very strongly of seaweed, a bit fishy and salty.
Luckily the brew tasted nothing of fish, was not salty, but was VERY seaweedy. Very buttery, savoury/umami, quite sweet in a toasted oolong way. The sweetness + toasty flavours are actually very nice with how buttery this is. However, I’m put off by just how seaweedy the brew is, but I will try it gong fu method and use cooler water with multiple steeps.
Flavors: Butter, Marine, Seaweed, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Toasty, Umami
This was another free sample from Angel at Teavivre thank you!! As it’s a Saturday, I figure it’s early enough for me to have a black tea. This is my pick, I brewed it Western Style for 3 mins with 195 degree water.
The smell is honeyed and reminiscent of a golden tip tea, which is good. It smells pretty light, not overly rich which is good. Wanted something warming yet not too heavy as it’s the first tea of the day.
As for flavor; this is good! It’s different – the honey notes of other golden tip teas is there but it’s overall lighter in effect. There is a fruitiness, some type of dried fruit, with a light astringency enhancing that flavor. Just what I wanted this morning- a lighter textured Chinese black tea :)
Overall, I like this, it’s just different enough from my other black teas that it’s a refreshing change. It reminds me of warmer days, something like spring. It is also melding spectacularly with my breakfast of steel cut oats, which I sweetened with honey, it’s not overpowering but a good match. Thanks again for the sample Angel!
Thank you Teavivire for the free samples!
This is a very vegetal herbal (because of the lotus leaf) with flavours of lemon/citrus, licorice root, herbs, and roses/flowers mixed in. I’d describe it as a very interesting combination of young spinach, celery leaves, rose petals, dry and woody licorice root, and peppery/lemony chamomile flowers. The dried chamomile also gives it that dry meadow or straw flavour that I really enjoy. Lotus leaf tastes like vegetables (but not in a grassy way, more like a young plant bud or waxy succulent leaf) and I find it makes the blend a bit savoury. I’m not big into savoury and vegetable flavours, but I think I would have liked this tea more if it was lighter on the lotus leaf and heavier on the chamomile and orange peel. Speaking of which, I can’t taste the orange peel. It might be my sample package, though, because I don’t see any pieces of orange peel and it might just be that I happened not to get any large pieces.
Flavors: Bamboo, Celery, Citrus, Dry Grass, Floral, Flowers, Green Bell Peppers, Herbaceous, Lemon, Licorice, Rose, Spinach, Taro Root, Vegetable Broth, Vegetables, Vegetal, Wood
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Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Herbs, Leeks, Plant Stems, Rose, Vegetables, Vegetal
Thank you very much Teavivre for the generous free samples!
This is a slightly vegetal yellow tea, not toasty, tastes a bit like a white tea with some greener notes. I will probably buy a bunch of this, because I love the mellow flavours that yellows have.
Steep 1: 3 minutes hot water
Slightly vegetal, but no specific vegetable. Smells sweet and slightly fruity. Liqour is pale yellow.
Steep 2: 3 minutes at lukewarm water
Sweeter, smells and tastes a little bit like peeled green grapes. There is a strong “tea” flavour with plenty of tannins, but I wouldn’t say this is a robust tea. It would definitely be enjoyed by those who enjoy a lighter cup. Tasting a lot like a steamed black, but has the distinctive yellow tea taste.
Steep 3: 5 minutes at lukewarm water
The vegetal notes are reminding me of snow peas and green grapes. It is different from my other yellows, and I like variety.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Fruity, Garden Peas, Tannin, Tea, Thick, Vegetal, White Grapes
I guess I never knew what honeysuckle smelled/tasted like until I tried it as a tea. I suppose I was expecting dried flowers and honey, but I would describe this mostly as very vegetal. Because I do not like vegetal, I’m not going to give this a number rating. The flowers taste very fresh and look beautiful, I have no doubt this is high quality honeysuckle, but as I found out, I don’t actually like the flavour of honeysuckle flowers.
This smells/tastes exactly like ocra, the same vegal flavours you find in zucchini peel and green beans. No floral notes, but tastes like ocra buds. Slight sweetness.
Liquor brews a pale yellow. I left the leaf in for about 10 minutes and it did not oversteep, which is excellent. I think I will try this iced with cucumber and lemon for when I work out. The vegetal flavour will combine well with the cucumber + citrus.
Flavors: Green, Green Beans, Green Wood, Herbaceous, Nectar, Sweet, Vegetables, Vegetal, Zucchini
I’m not a huge fan of the bitterness than comes from the deep roasting in this tisane, but I also like the complex grainy malt flavour. There are interesting (and expected) flavours of toasty sweetness, dried grain/corn husk, and chestnuts. Very interesting to try, but maybe not something I would keep around all the time.
Flavors: Bitter, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Dry Grass, Grain, Oak wood, Roasted, Rye, Sweet, Toasted, Toasty, Wheat
I had a late session with this tea last night because I was in the mood for an oolong.
I’ve started recording my sessions on a little MP3 recorder so that I don’t have the possibility of skipping anything during the session. I usually jot a brief note on the flavor profile, color, aroma; which can get quite perplex while writing a review (or in my case avoiding the reviewing part via Steepster due to incomprehensible notes).
However, this session ran short due to time/battery life in the device. I noted that there were nutty, floral, & mineral flavors. I also noted that this is a good TGY because it reminds me of other quality TGY that I’ve had int he past, so rated on the scale of “uniqueness” it’s pretty average. It’s a good TGY, but it’s something that I’ve had before.
Thank you for the sample Angel
My goal this year is to write one review per day. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep on this, but we shall see….I wanted to drink 4-5 teas yesterday (and I had); however, I cannot recall anything from the sessions had with the exception of this and another tea.
As I read through my notes on this session, I noted that I hadn’t followed the brewing instructions (194 F for 3-5 minutes). I’m assuming this would’ve been more excellent brewed western style (?); however, I threw the entire sample into my 150 ml Gaiwan at 195 F water w/quick steeps.
I had notes of cocoa, dried plum (?), raisins, malt, and the tea having a thick body.
I’m usually skeptical with brewing black tea and/or having a black tea. 90% of the flavors out there are usually rated at an average 0-60 for me; however, the 10% that remains is usually on the higher scale from 80-95%. It really has to be good for me to consider it, or to truly enjoy it. And despite the ratings of this tea, I think I’m one of the few that likes it as much as I do. There are notes beyond the maltiness (which I must say malt is what turns me off from black tea—cough Assam cough) that gives this tea a unique balance within the black tea spectrum. However, it isn’t as highly favorited as say, Laoshan Black, but it is on the higher end of my rating scale (75%; average). Overall, I like it. I’d drink it from time to time, but it’s neither a daily drinker nor a ‘never have again’ tea.
I’ve had a sample of this sitting around for a few weeks, so I decided to use the opportunity to drink it alongside the sample of W2T’s Fuding that Roswell Strange sent me.
This came from a smaller sample, so upon washing I can tell this one is a bit more broken up, and I get a good bit of fannings and dust that come off during the session. But, as a result, I get a lot more up front flavor, and a darker liquor to start with this one.
This tea tastes of fruit, hay and spices, and has a very smooth mouthfeel with an appreciable thickness that persists throughout the session. I find this one more enjoyable from the first steep, but also perhaps a bit simpler and less complex, and it gives out sooner since it was quicker to open up.
I still find this to be quite good, and I’d be interested in seeing how different steeping parameters would affect the flavor overall. What I enjoy most about it is the immediate flavor and the persistent smoothness and thickness, and I wonder what condition I would find the leaves to be in if I were able to break this one apart myself.
I have a bit more of my sample left, so I’ll be able to play around with it some more.
Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Smooth, Thick
Thank you for the samples, Teavivre! Another solid black tea from Teavivre. The dry leaves are very unique — they look like wild tea with HUGE, wiry leaves, tangled together in shades of black and gold. The scent of the dry leaves have a hay-in-the-field quality. The flavor is a little like that as well, with a medium flavor strength and starchiness (like sweet potatoes!) I’ve been really enjoying the sweet starchy aftertaste of black teas lately! The first time I had this tea, I didn’t think I used enough leaves. But I think because the leaves are so huge (the biggest leaves I’ve ever seen in a tea) the tea has a lighter flavor from the big leaves, just like a CTC tea has a stronger flavor because of the tiny leaves. But stronger does not mean better. Since I probably used a teaspoon more on the second steep session, the steeps were richer in flavor, though still tough to pick out individual flavor notes each time. Simply a satisfying black tea. I think I used close to Teavivre’s parameters minus a teaspoon. I wouldn’t say this is the best black tea from Teavivre, but it is VERY hard to decide which is the worst.
Steep #1 // half of a sample for a full mug// 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
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Flavors: Medicinal, Sweet, Vegetal
This is a solid Chinese green. It’s vegetal and buttery, as you’d expect. It’s also a little more floral than I like, with some notes that remind me of all the things I can’t stand about green oolongs, and for that reason it’s not a total hit with me. But that’s really down to personal preference. Thanks for the sample, Teavivre, and apologies for the belated review!
I enjoyed this tea last week but am just getting to this note now.
This black tea dragon ball is quite pretty with it’s large leaves interspersed with numerous jasmine flowers.
I wanted to try the base tea from Simao first so my first steep was 45s. There was a hint of jasmine-scent over a malty fruity scent. The tea is malty upfront with a slight almost grape like fruit note overlying a touch of honey with a hint of the creamy cool taste of jasmine. Steeped this way as Teavivre notes the tea is very upfront and the floral is a faint echo.
For the second steep I took a western approach and steeped it for 1.5 minutes. There were hints of chocolate added to the scent and flavour and the base tea became much sweeter and creamier. There was a plummy note and a bit of cream added to the flavour. The jasmine was intensifying the creamy and fruity notes of the tea. This was a fruity jasmine note that I often find in well scented teas. It is however still very muted. The jasmine is more apparent as it cools and adds a spice incense like note into the grape notes in the tea.
The third steep at 2 minutes had Hints of sweet potato and stronger malt from the base. Jasmine was still presenting a cool creamy accent. Jasmine became more apparent as it cooled and created a fruity slightly candyish accent over a cool hint of floral spice. This steep was more distinctly floral than the previous steep.
Altogether a very nice tea with the subtle jasmine enhancing the flavours of the base rather than being the star of the show. I will enjoy drinking this again. Thanks Teavivre for the sample!
Used the same amount of tea on this as I would have when making peppermint, 4 tsp of leaf. This tea was significantly weaker than my usual peppermint. It is good, just a little weak for my tastes. Next time I make this I will try increasing the leaf to 6 tsp leaf and see how it is. The aroma of the dry leaf was very strong, stronger it turns out than the taste. I will avoid giving this a rating until I get the leaf to water ratio right.