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Recent Tasting Notes


Drank this to wake up. Not thinking too much about it.

It’s doing the job and tasting like hot chocolate minus milk. Me likey. Yay.

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Gongfu, 5g, around 125 ml, 185-190F

Brews a slightly cloudy golden yellow.
Taste is beautifully sweet with a flavorful, savory fruitiness. TeaVivre’s description mentions sweet corn and I find this accurate – this is soft, sweet and mildly nutty without any grassiness. No bitterness. Lovely.

This is the first to try from a sample package of spring 2016 green teas that I won. There was a short delay in getting them as one of the teas wasn’t available yet, so they sent me a silk scarf as an additional gift! Thank you TeaVivre for being so sweet!


190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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Yes, another Teavivre tasting! Thanks again, Angel!

This one piqued my interest the most. I’ve had one wild tree black before, a yunnan by Rishi. However, I found that one a little underwhelming. This tea, however, I could tell just from the dry leaf’s aroma that it was different. The leaves are long and pointed, a sort of dark brown. Most are unbroken and in beautiful shape. They smell sweet and heavily of stonefruit, especially apricots. It’s wonderful, almost like perfume.

The flavor lives up to the scent. It’s a fruity black without any fruit added, with a note of pungency that’s hard to describe. It’s almost like grapefruit? Something I encounter often in puerh that I’ve never been able to nail down. There’s also a very soft mouthfeel that I feel like I should mention. All around satifying black tea with a hint of exotic, unrefined flavor that I love.

Flavors: Apricot, Fruity, Stonefruits, Sweet

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that one must have tea while reading British classics”. When first brewed, it is a tiny bit smoky. There is a malty caramel scent. (And maybe some sweet potato too.) The flavour is sweet, with malty notes, and hints of roasted yams. Comes across darker than yesterday’s selection.

Thanks for the sample, Teavivre!

Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Molasses, Sweet Potatoes, Yams


which classic are you reading?

Lariel of Lórien

I’m re-reading Pride and Prejudice.

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I thought I had reviewed this sample previously…hmm.
I enjoyed this tea. It is slightly floral and malty with a slightly sweet aftertaste. It is not at all astringent or bitter.
I think I will try a longer brew next time to see what happens. I am not sure that I would purchase this as there are a large number of straight blacks that I prefer (like Teavivre’s black pearls), but it was enjoyable.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Steepster’s got to be eating reviews.. We’ve all felt this at some point havent we – unless group tea drunk hallucinations


Haha, both are likely!


I have experienced this as well! With a tea I almost certainly reviewed in the past. Sad that reviews seem to be disappearing :(

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Taking a break from exploring Clock Town in Termina. Decided to try one of my Teavivre samples. (Liked the spiral leaves.) The brew smells so good. There is a scent of sweet potatoes, and some honey. It has a nice honey flavour. And the sweet potato is still present. Very good. Goes well with banana bread.

Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

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I thought my water was hot but it was just luke warm. Also I must confess that I always add honey to jasmine teas. So my taste compared to others will be a bit different. This is a good jasmine. Light like most whites. I love how the honey and jasmine meld and become great combination. The dry scent is also floral and relaxing.

Flavors: Jasmine

3 min, 0 sec

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I’m not going to remember which of the few samples I ordered and which of the few Teavivre sent along, so thanks for all of them, Teavivre! The leaves of this sheng pu-erh cake are huge – probably because they are wild. I was expecting a tough pu-erh since the leaves are ‘wild’, but the result is nothing of the kind! (Maybe the ancient trees are tougher than the wild anyway.) But I’ve also been sipping many wild black teas lately and also assumed this one might have a bit of the tangy characteristic that wild black teas have. But this pu-erh doesn’t meet anything I was expecting. After a thirty second steep, the flavor is very sweet and syrupy for a raw pu-erh, with a starchy texture somehow. The flavor is like creamy lemon and apricot if you can stretch the imagination a bit. All three steeps somehow manage to maintain that very flavor profile and doesn’t get bitter or oversteeped at all. The third steep is still light and sweet and could probably continue for many steeps past the third. I think I’ve managed to perfect how I like my sheng to brew. Very mellow and perfect for someone just starting out with raw pu-erh, to get an idea of the flavor. I think this is a very nice raw pu-erh, though I would prefer it to have a little something special about the flavor for it to really stand out. But I’m happy with the consistency to the steeps that I rarely see with raw pu-erh, especially if the tea is from wild leaves. I’ll be interested to see how this one ages.
Steep #1 // half sample for a full mug (about 5 grams) // 20 minutes after boiling // rinse // 35 second steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 40 second steep
Steep #3 // 23 min after boiling // 40 second steep

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First off.. Thank you to Angel and Teavivre for sending me a generous sample of this tea.
Dragon Well greens have always been a favorite and I thought I’d have a pot while I study. The leaves are gorgeous. Deep forest green. The flavor of the tea is nice. It has a nice thick buttered veggies taste to it.

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Trying to expand my repertoire. I picked this one because it has chamomile and I could definitely de-stress but also because I haven’t really developed the taste for chamomile. I was hoping the silver needle and rose would save me. I really need to include more types and ingredients with my general tea consumption but overall I stick with whites because let’s not forget why I got into this business.

In preparation, I was already using a chamomile hair mask from Lush (the “Marilyn” for us blonde types), and a Klorane eye mask with cornflower, so it was a theme. There was also pound cake and a Netflix marathon of The Vicar of Dibley which wasn’t on theme I think but there’s your stage set anyway. FUN STORY Peter Capaldi just showed up in the second episode and he looks like he could play young Tom Baker. The episode is from 1994.

This pot (30oz) was made from both a sample and a regular bag. Interestingly, the sample was all fuzzy silver needle with what I think was a fragment of a chamomile whereas the bag was a good mix with a lot of large buds.

I used about 1.5 teaspoons per 8 oz, the bag says 1-2 so I tried to be midrange. 194F, 2 minutes.

It’s a light color and smells strongly of honeysuckle. In taste, a delicate white with lots of sweet rose. I like rose so I like this a lot. There’s a slight, very slightly tart or sour aftertaste that I bet is the chamomile.

I know tiny cute teacup is the standard for the fancy loose leaf but I used a big Pinocchio mug. The flavor stays standard even as it cools, which I like. It’s very sweet and floral. I do feel less stressed but it is a holiday weekend, after all. Perhaps I should install this as my official post-work tea.

Flavors: Rose

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

Ohh, I love the smell of Marilyn!

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A sample from a recent tiny order! Thanks again for everything, Teavivre! This tea was intriguing, with the leaves of the silky, dark black, curly type. The fragrance of the dry leaves is just like the flavor: like a sweet, smooth molasses with hints of honey. Also with hints of tanginess that I have been loving in teas lately. One of my favorite types of tea! The unraveled leaves in the infuser are very big. The flavor strength is medium, neither too strong or light. Definitely not as strong flavored as most ‘snail’ types of tea that I’ve tried before. And definitely not smoky like I’d expect keemun to be. The second steep was more mild flavored. I wish there had been more levels or detail or depth to the flavor, but maybe steeping it differently would result in the way I wanted it.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 17 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Harvest: 2015

Flavors: Honey, Molasses

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This sample must be nearly 3 years old..

In the dry leaf I smell tobacco, leather, smoke, red wine, cocoa and sweet potato. Underleafed by accident so the brew is a bit light but all the scents translate into the liquid quite harmoniously. The texture is smooth, the finish is very clean.

Enjoying this very much.

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I’m still working on Lion’s Week of tea. I love black tea so decided to give myself a treat and open a sample I got with my last Teavivre order. Keemun is one of my favorite blacks, so I was looking forward to trying this.

This is a very good tea. The nose gives a strong chocolate aroma with a bit of leafiness underneath. The taste is similar, and the finish is really good: long and luscious. One result of such a long finish is that the tea seemed to improve as I drank it: each sip was reinforced by all the earlier sips. It has strong keemun character: a good example of the type. On an absolute basis, then, this is a very good tea. My only complaint is that on a comparative basis, the tea is only slightly better than keemun #1, which is a fraction of the price, and not IMHO as good as their Hao Ya, at about half the price. So, my real recommendation would probably be to try these other teas at lower price points unless you don’t really have to worry about price.

I used 1.5 g in 6 oz water for 3 minutes (4 min for resteep)

200 °F / 93 °C

When I used to purchase from Upton I would often feel the same way with their higher priced teas in comparison to the same type at a lower price. The significance in price in relation to quality just rarely ever seemed enough to warrant the higher cost.

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Received as a free sample from Angel at Teavivre. Thanks!

Tastes roast-y, wheat-y, and a little sweet. The aroma while brewing is mouthwatering and had I known that the tea was edible after steeping, I’d have eaten it.

Like what the other review mentioned, it’s a great evening tea, especially for anyone who’s caffeine-sensitive. The roastiness is very soothing and the touch of sweetness is refreshing after dinner.

Flavors: Roasted, Wheat

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I requested that this tea be swapped for another that I already owned when I was first offered the sample flight, all for which I’m grateful. Thank you, Angel!

Taken grandpa-style in a glass.


This tea fits the tone of mid/late-spring. I like the appearance of the dry leaf: short, dark green curls. The aroma of the dry leaf is buttery and savory, like a deeply steamed sencha. Of the wet leaf and the liquor, there are sweet notes of sugar snap peas and beans. The liquor is clear, pale green with a creamy texture. Flavorful, tastes briskly fresh, has sweetly vegetal notes, notably beany. Heavy feeling for a green tea.

This is the first time I’ve had a Lu Shan Yun Wu and it’s a good first experience. The heavy/buttery quality in green teas isn’t to my liking, but it’s not exactly repulsive. This is of good quality, one to enjoy every day.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 tsp 11 OZ / 325 ML

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First off.. I have to say thank you to Angel and Teavivre for sending me a generous sample of this. After smelling the dry leaf I’m excited to try it!
The dry leaf has a sweet leafy aroma to it. It’s somewhere between a wet sweet hay smell (like a pumpkin patch in the fall) or bee pollen. It’s fantastic.
The aroma of the tea still has that sweet note like wet hay. The flavor of the tea is awesome. It’s sweet, vegetal, has that sweet hay note. It has a slight bitterness to it but I may have oversteeped and it honestly kind of adds to the flavor. It’s bold for a green tea but it’s quite possibly one of my new favorite green teas.

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Thank you, Angel, for the sample!

Brewed in a ceramic gaiwan, prepared in a gongfu session. No rinse. Steeping times: 15 seconds, 8, 10, 15, 20, 40, 60, 120, 300.

The dry leaf smells mostly of honey with a little bit of malt. After resting in the heated gaiwan bowl, the leaf smells pleasantly of light smoke and caramel. The wet leaf aroma is very different: chocolate and honey are dominant notes, and there is a hint of malt.

The liquor color is a beautiful burned orange. Just lovely in a white fine porcelain cup. Very clear and very clean.


As expected, this Lapsang Souchong has a full body and flavors which fill the mouth. Unexpectedly, it barely has any smoke – it’s very sweet. The session begins with the first infusion being chocolately, slightly malty, and smooth. There is a dominant smoke in the second infusion, but it disappears completely afterward. Third infusion and onward, the liquor is smoother and sweeter, having notes of chocolate and molasses and honey. The aftertaste lingers for minutes. There is absolutely no malt – a first for me with a chocolate-like hongcha.


Positively delightful. I enjoyed every drop and every aspect of this tea. Very glad to have this on a beautiful day off from work!

200 °F / 93 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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This is a free sample. Thanks to Angel at Teavivre!

Just to get it out of the way: I tried finding info one what “embryo” , means to but had no luck.

Frankly, based on the name, I’m surprised I like this more than I thought I would. I can’t say anything more about the taste other than it tastes like buckwheat, but it has a clean and full, roasted wheat-y flavor. It makes a good evening ‘herbal’ cup, and it sits well in the stomach after a big meal. The kernels, after steeping in the tea pot, smell so good.

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

A baby plant inside a seed is called an embryo, maybe it has something to do with that?

Gooseberry Spoon

What ashmara said. I’m thinking its equivalent to the term “non-degerminated” used on English labels for grains and flours. This means that the germ (embryo) hasn’t been removed meaning 1) the flour has all of the nutrition from the germ and 2) the flour is not as shelf stable because it contains the healthy unsaturated germ oils that have a tendency to go rancid over time.


Thanks, guys! I’m completely unfamiliar with this side of biology and didn’t know how to go about researching.

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Generously given as a free sample. Many thanks to Angel!

Brewed in ceramic gaiwan, had a gongfu session. No rinse. Steeping times: 15, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60; 2 min, 5.

Nearly all of the leaf is dark, dark brown, save for a few golden leaves. They’re short and curly, like black bi luo chun, but thin and without hairs. The dry leaf smells of sweet potato and a hint of chocolate. After the leaf spent a little time in the heated gaiwan bowl, the chocolate note strengthened, and a graham crackers note also appeared. The wet leaf aroma is malty at first; as the session went on, it smelled more like sweet potato.

The liquor has a dark orange color. It is clear and clean-tasting, with a full body but light mouthfeel. The first infusion tastes of sweet potato and malt with clove in the background. Second infusion and onward, the liquor sweetens more and more, consistently tasting of sweet potato. Its texture feels thick and smooth, almost creamy.


Being hongcha, this is a delight to drink on colder, overcast days. Unfortunately, this is only my second keemun – and my first keemun from Teavivre – so I can’t evaluate it fully. I wasn’t wowed by the aroma or the taste, though I did enjoy the full session. I also liked its hug-in-a-cup effect. It reminds me of dian hong. I imagine this would also taste good Western style.

185 °F / 85 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Premium dragon well long Jing green tea from teavivre review.

Ru Yao dragon teapot gongfucha.

Dry leaf: green, sweet, grass, freshly cut grass.

Wet leaf: green, sweet, grass, freshly cut grass.

1x short rinse

Light steep: I taste/smell: light hay.
Medium -> sweetness, grass, freshly cut grass, honey.

Medium steep: I taste/smell medium hay. Strong -> grass, sweetness, honey, freshly cut grass. Slight bitterness.

Heavy steep: I taste/smell; medium -> hay, sweetness, grass, freshly cut grass, honey. Little to no bitterness

All in all an amazing tea! The tastes, smells, the cha qi! Lovely!

I rate a 100

Thanks teavivre, for giving me this since you ran out of the other kind :)


Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Green, Hay, Honey, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 10 g 6 OZ / 165 ML

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I love Tie Guan Yin. Sometimes I crave the greener types and decide they are my favorite, and then I start craving a nice roasty one. Charcoal baked in the title promises this to be roasty, but I was pretty taken aback at the instructions. Six minutes for a oolong? I was chicken and gave it five.

This was served as the first tea of tea party today. We had cream cheese cucumber sandwiches first, followed by fudge pie with homemade vanilla ice cream. The tea was good with the sandwiches but OH MY GOSH it was awesome with the sweets. We make our own vanilla and it seemed really strong in the ice cream today, and when I sipped the tea the floral taste exploded. This is definitely a baked oolong, but it isn’t quite as dark and smokey as some I have had. The sweets really brought a lot of personality out in this. I know how I will be serving it henceforth.


I found this out too when I served a roasted tea with a raspberry chocolate cake. The tea made seconds in everyone’s cup.


this review made me hungry and tea-cravey.


Juliebeth – come to tea sometime if you are ever up this way!

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Fragrant is right on for this tea’s description. Fine tobacconist’s shop springs to mind first. I tried it gong fu and Western and got a whole afternoon’s worth of tea out of one sample packet.

Gong fu – the first steep was mild and pleasant. It had the flavors you expect in a Yunnan Dian Hong – sweet potato, a little walnut. Maybe light molasses. Second steep went a couple of seconds too long. WOW. Dark and rich, slightly astringent but good. Third steep – more careful with time but the leaves are now saturated and it steeps up very quickly. There is that definite aged sheng taste and feel.

Next I tried Western with the same leaves. Yes, got a whole pot that was rich in flavor from those same leaves. This is milder and sweeter. I had the gong fu tea by itself and the Western with a meal. It was great with food. At this price point, this is a fun tea to get to experiment with and try something new and different.


Fantastic description!

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This is consistently a very nice tea from Teavivre. The value for the price is always amazing. I did prefer last year’s harvest (2015) to this year (2016), but this is a minor distinction. It really is consistently good. Last year the tea had a bit more spiciness to it, and a bit more complexity. But this year it is quite fresh and pure – a very good buy for quality LongJing. I rate the 2015 harvest 95, and this year 90.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 9 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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