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Recent Tasting Notes
Another delicious haute black from China. It’s somewhat hard to believe how the flood of mediocrity coming out of that land permanently tarnished our expectations regarding all things Chinese. Fortunately, worthy companies such as Teavivre are working hard to dispel the negative stereotypes…
I have not always been thrilled with Dian Hong teas, but the key words here appear to be ancient wild tree. Very tasty indeed—both the first and the second infusion. This is the sort of fine black tea which makes one wonder why in the world anyone would ever have thought to add flavors or cream…
This sample came from Teavivre a while back. I appreciate getting a free sample, so thank you.
This is a very nice green oolong that comes through with floral and buttery notes. I am also finding the strawberry flavor to be a bit weak. It really needs to be steeped Western style to get any strawberry flavor at all. Hardly any strawberry flavor is present in the 2nd steep for me. If you want a really strong flavored strawberry tea this is not the thing. I was expecting something slightly different from this. It’s ok but I prefer the fruit flavored oolong from Naivetea and Lupicia.
What a lovely tea!
When I taste, the vegetal element is in the forefront, with the sweetness following. Hints of rock sugar and snap peas are present, along with a mineral quality I really enjoy. While waiting for my next infusion to finish steeping, the aftertaste is light and sweet.
This is a very interesting and quite delicious tea, smooth and perfect for a mid morning tea break. :D
The leaves unfurl further with each infusion, turning my gaiwan into an art piece for this tea session…. So pretty!
Thanks Miss-Phi for the sample!
Miss Phi, you have the smallest handwriting that I have ever seen! Somehow you managed to fit the whole name of this tea and the company it came from. I would kill for your fine motor skills, my dear!
Ah, yes. This is my kind of black tea. tippy, more golden fuzzies than not, the leaves are long and skinny and twisty and fun. After the leaves were spent, they were like little leaf noodles in my gaiwan.
The liquor was richly red and brown. The nice and thick malty quality is quite nice. I get some starchy sweet potatoes as well as some light dusting of cocoa powder. It is like some wonderful and delicious monster of sweet potato bread baked with chocolate-covered cherries in the center. So… Yum? Yes. Yum.
Flavors: Cherry, Coconut, Malt, Overripe Cherries, Sweet Potatoes
I ordered this tea from Teavivre, since I didn’t have a single white tea in my cupboard, but was really craving it. My tea arrived on Saturday and was such a happy surprise.
After a day of feeling like I was fighting off a cold on Sunday (I have not been sick in over 2 years, so I have no right to complain, and I think I’ve beaten it off, because I feel almost 100% again this Monday morning) and drinking apple cider vinegar all day, I thought this would taste really nice last night. So, I did this up in my porcelain gaiwan (about 3 grams of tea), using 90C water. I rinsed for 5 seconds, then steeped for 45 seconds (70, 90 second steeps after…). The tea leaves are really beautiful, with their white hairs and delicate structure.
This tea is so lovely! Very light floral, with honey notes and that mouth feel I so desire in whites.
Since it was getting late, I stopped at 3 steeps last night, but have continued on this morning.
This cup in front of me has a honey golden liquor, with sweet floral notes on the tongue, and hints of grass and honey. This cup is like liquid sunshine… I love it.
This is definitely a white tea I’d like to have on hand at all times. :D
First steep smells like french toast, tastes softly floral and vegetal, a little buttery. The second steep had more pronounced and recognizable but still soft gardenia fragrance, just lovely, and the flavor had more personality, floral/vegetal with a bare whisper of vanilla. Third steep was unremarkable, too subtle for me. But there, I remarked it.
This tea is calming both physically and psychologically… like a very gentle cuddle. Understated elegance. It would be a great one to serve to someone who would prefer subtlety to a frank, full-disclosure tea… it retains an air of mystery.
I’ve been waiting a while to get this out and try it. Also, thank you to Angel and the Teavivre team! For some reason I have a hard time with raw pu-erhs. The flavor is always off to me but this one is delicious! It has a juicy raisin flavor with hints of cinnamon and pine. The second steep turns a little more savory/sweet with light smoke notes. There is a soft bitterness that reminds me of a slightly over-steeped green.
I’m going to do more steeps but have to go away from my computer for a minute. I’ll edit it later with the other steeps :)
Flavors: Bitter, Cinnamon, Pepper, Pine, Raisins, Smoke
What a lovely strawberry oolong! Thanks Sil for sharing, this one has been on my bucket list for awhile.
The oolong is very light and refreshing, pairing excellently with the fresh strawberry. Not really tart, but not too sweet either. One day, methinks this will be in my cupboard! I didn’t get to taste it hot so I’ll have to save the more extensive note for next time
Thank you, KittyLovesTea, for a sample of this!
I think I may have slightly oversteeped this one while I was getting my smoothie ready :(. It’s still quite awesome though: a light green tea taste along with jasmine. Yum. I love watching the little pearls unravelling as they steep :)
I wonder if I should get a filter for my water – I always use tap water when making tea and I’m getting a bit of a mineral taste to this tea which I don’t think is the tea’s fault. It might be something to look into…
Leaves: medium green
Aroma: Sweet, Vegetable
Color: Pale almost clear
Taste: A cup of tea before bed paired after eating a ruby red grapefruit . Dragon well was one of the first teas i had in my early tea blogging start. I’m excited to be reviewing a different variation of this tea. A wonderful cup nice & light! Great if you don’t want anything heavy at night.
Leaves: Tiny rolled leaves
Aroma: Sweet Vegetable
Color: Deep golden yellow
Taste: The aroma of this tea was great! I haven’t had loose green tea in quite some time, I need to practice at getting the water temperature correct. This time I decided to go with 5 steeps to see how this tea would last. As for steeping I’ll update this as I go. 1m I didn’t get much of a aroma from the cup of tea it self as i did the leaved. The taste was light with a hint of bitterness that later subsided, i think this was due to the water being too hot. 2m I let my water cool this time for a minute longer than the first, It was the same shade of golden yellow but lacking in any flavor the, 3rd steep revealed the same flavor profile. I stopped here short of my original 5 steeps planned b/c i felt it wouldn’t make a difference. Overall i found this tea to be quite plain.
I’ve always been primarily a flavored-tea girl, but the more quality straight black teas I try, the more I find myself craving them. This one is divine! The dry leaf is gorgeous: super thin, twisty leaves in variegated black and gold. The scent is rich and malty. Brewed, it’s a gorgeous reddish brown with a silky smooth mouth feel and so much flavor! I’m definitely tasting sweet potato and honey, but there’s also a bit of a caramel note to the aftertaste. And – just to make a good thing even better – this is one of those teas you can keep re-steeping all day long and still get amazing flavor in each cup. This one is right up there with Whispering Pines’ Golden Snail as the best black tea I’ve ever tasted!
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
far too long since i’ve been on here to review a tea!
how good is this tea? how’s this for a measure… last weekend the phone rang interrupting my homework. it was my financial institution. i was impatient. i had dropped a class taught by a difficult instructor late in the game and was playing catch up. i was not in the mood for service calls!
‘sir, i just wanted to check…. did you try to use your credit card at abercrombie and fitch online for 427$?’
‘no… WHAT? NO!!!!’
‘future shop online, sir? um… banana republic?’
‘no, i have a future shop just down the road, and definitely not banana republic!’
she continued, the sum total coming to just shy of 2000$. the conversation, beginning with my impatience ended with sincere gratitude! it was a long conversation- nearly 30 minutes. by the end all i wanted was a cup of tea! this was the blend i chose. it was perfect. depth, complexity, muted fruit tones, tempered malt… perfect.
you could argue i was tasting anxiety and then relief, however everytime i’ve had it since it’s been better. my only criticism? that steepster won’t let me rate it higher… c’mon jason, get on that! =0D
I used about half my 10g sample in my “120” ml easy gaiwan. And I’m pouring it directly into two cups, so one cup is steeped longer than the other. Haha. I’m feeling super lazy tonight. I had two cups out, so two cups it is.
I’m guessing that the taste means it was wet stored. It tastes damp. Like wet forest, but not super fresh with pine and clean air. It’s not resinous either. It’s actually pretty smooth yet quite mild. Not that the flavour isn’t strong, just that it’s well blended together so there’s nothing bringing itself strongly to my attention. So far I’m enjoying it, but I’m not sure that this is a flavour profile I adore. Perhaps I’m learning to like a little more bite in my puerh.
And now I have a cat forcefully cuddling me so I can’t reach the kettle.
This tastes like chicken soup! Soup made with roasted chicken and tender greens – a little smoky, a little umami, a little vegetal. I was a little put off when I dumped out the rest of my sample packet and realized how smoky it smelled, but the smoke is a pleasant accent rather than the main focus. As it cools I get more of a green bean flavor. Not sure if it’s the sort of tea I’d drink every day, but it’s darn tasty!
Additional notes: 2014 harvest. 2.5 g dry leaf, ~8 oz water, steeped until it started smelling nice.
Flavors: Chicken Soup, Green Beans, Roasted Chicken, Smoke, Umami, Vegetal
I enjoy this a lot. I have tried it western style, and it was very intense that way. It was equal parts creamy and floral for the first western steep – next time I will do shorter infusions, it was almost too intense. It was creamier and sweeter and fruitier for the following two. I am enjoying it gongfu style today, practicing with my new gaiwan, and it is a lot more nuanced this way. Which isn’t surprising. It hopped between creamy and floral the first several steeps, and moved to primarily fruity/floral for the latter. I steeped it countless times and it retained flavor well. I could see this being an everyday staple, as it is pretty inexpensive for the quality.
Thanks for the samples from a while ago, Teavivre! I love rice flavored pu-erh, so I had to give this one a try in the convenient teabags. The pu-erh consists of larger, great quality leaves, mixed with little green leaves that I think are the rice flavoring. Personally, the teabag doesn’t look like it contains as many leaves as I would usually steep… but I prefer a LOT of pu-erh sometimes (it’s not like pu-erh ever gets astringent because of too many leaves, so I don’t think it matters how many leaves are steeped). The flavor is a standard pu-erh, none of the offending, unlikeable pu-erh notes from this burgundy cup. Very sweet, smooth. The rice is present but very light… I’d love more rice flavor. This pu-erh is a perfect pairing with the rice. The strength does seem lighter, especially the later steeps, again probably because I usually steep more leaves. To be fair, I didn’t use the recommended (very long) steep time. I’ll try that next time. That’s the only negative thing I could say about this pu-erh — the inability to choose how many teaspoons of leaves to steep. Each teabag is probably the perfect amount of leaves for someone else though.
Steep #1 // 4 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 2 minutes after boiling // 3 min steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 4-5 min
The scent of this Puer after rinsing is vegetal with heavy hints of damp forest floor. The lotus scent in this is just barely detectable, a slight licorice-like hint.
The infusion is a sort of dusty yellow and it tastes like paper bag, with lingering flavors reminiscent of fallen tree leaves. The lotus flavor is also just barely detectable.
After the second infusion, the lotus smell is still very subtle in the damp leaves, and there is a scent that reminds you of old, cool weathered enclosures, like an old basement or garage. This infusions yeilds more lotus flavor amid a background of raw puer that is still fairly paper-tasting with vegetal notes as well. There’s a sort of spicy sensation and heat that lingers in the mouth, and a bit of tanginess that sticks to the tongue.
Not having any idea on the age of this tea (it was a sample given to me by an acquaintance), I can already tell it’s somewhat young. On the third infusion, there’s a good deal of bitterness in the taste. I can’t speak for others, I’m sure there are those who would enjoy a tea like this, but I’ve had quality raw puer, and this is not what I consider that to be. There’s not much complexity to the flavor. I’m reminded of sticking a Phenylthiocarbamide test strip in my mouth. Those of you who have done the “supertaster” test, know what I’m talking about, though I’m apparently not a supertaster, so I’m not talking about the full brunt of the bitterness you would get from that experience if you were. As the tea cools, the taste I am getting is more pepper with hints of lotus. I can’t say this is bad quality tea, just as much as I can’t say it’s good quality. It’s just not doing much for me. There’s a lingering sweetness in my mouth now that intrigues me, so I’ll push it one more infusion and see where that leads.
On the fourth infusion I’m getting much more spicy and vegetal notes on the scent of the leaves. It’s more pleasant than before. The taste now is a little more rich and vegetal, less like paper, but it is still a bit bitter and the lotus is a very faint aftertaste. When I have to bend my thoughts to try to accept or enjoy a tea, it just isn’t for me.
Flavors: Anise, Bitter, Paper, Vegetal
This is really good – it is creamy and floral. I like it gongfu and western style, but the gongfu is more nuanced. The first steeps begin very creamy and move to a sweeter, floral flavor, becoming almost juicy at the end. The western brew is similar, but more compacted – first steep being creamiest, second and third steeps being fruitier.
Overboard TTB #9
I still have a pile of teas from this box that I really want to try before popping it back into the mail and onto the next lucky taster and I really really need to get this box back out before the end of the weekend regardless of current crazy life having a TTB for two weeks is my limit. Therefore today my aim is to go on a mega sipping adventure and try as many of the teas I have left as possible… Besides overdosing on caffeine should help me tick off all the items on my to do list right?
So it’s 5am and I’m still lying in bed trying to pretend that I have nothing to do today and I’m sipping on a cup of this to help trick my brain into believing it, just for a minute or so…. I probably shouldn’t have drunk this so soon after the mandala milk oolong because all I find myself doing is comparing this to that tea… Steeped western style this tea is quite nice however it’s a little heavier on the floral notes and not so heavy on the cream or milk flavors that I’m really looking for in a milk oolong and additional steeping continue to expand on the floral notes. I would love to throw this in my Gaiwan and see if that makes a difference but alas, I’m out of time and need to get moving… Back to the box you go for someone else to enjoy