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This was a sample generously sent from Mary at Teavivre. It is my second experience with this particular pu-ehr, and I recall enjoying it last time when I prepared it according to the package instructions. This time, I didn’t prepare it the same way. Instead, I went to the Teavivre website brewing instructions for the gaiwan. I rinsed the leaves (7 gm) twice, then steeped for 20s,30s,40s -later realized it should have been 10s,20s,25s,30s,35s etc. I usually add sweetener to all teas, but this time I didn’t. There is some bitterness by the 3rd steeping-still, not bad. Maybe this could be overcome with shorter steep, but the description on the website says it has some bitterness mid-sip. By the 3rd steep, I decide to add some stevia, and for me, this is better, because it cuts the bitterness. Now I wonder though, if perhaps I should just keep the brewing time shorter, because there was no bitterness for the 1st few steeps. And before, when I brewed it with more water, Western style, I didn’t note bitterness either. So now, for the 4th steep, I use 6 oz water for 30 seconds which pretty much eliminates the bitterness. From my relatively limited experience with pu-ehr, I think I prefer those that are ripened, and Teavivre has some that are quite good. Nevertheless, this was interesting to try, and you may need to play with the time and leaf/water ratio for optimal results.

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Tea became a passion for me a year or so ago. I fell into it almost by accident, but now I would say it has captured me. Tea is more than something tasty to sip on, it is an experience-it helps create a mood and is quite interesting to read about and study. I discovered loose tea at the tea store at my mall. I was looking for alternatives to Coke Zero and white wine. Say what you will about that mall chain, but I’m sure it has raised awareness about tea where I live, in the land of bagged mass produced black tea prepared with lots of sugar, Atlanta, Georgia. That’s what happened with me, and then I started perusing the internet and found Steepster.

When I take on an interest or a hobby, I go into it full force and become a little obsessive about it in the beginning. I have always been adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, and once I discovered there was so much more out there than the Lipton tea I saw my mom drinking when I was growing up, I started trying many different varieties of loose tea. I have discovered I like all kinds of tea. I I veer a lot toward straight teas, especially blacks, but occasionally drink flavored also, especially Earl Grey. I like flavored Matcha lattes too. I’ve completely given up diet cola, which was becoming too much of a habit. I think tea is a lot healthier. When I rate a tea, it’s just my personal taste, so I don’t tend to post on things I don’t care for. Also, I tend to sweeten my tea with natural stevia (a no no for some!) I am a married Registered Nurse, with two kids in college and one in medical school. My husband is not hooked like I am, but he often enjoys a cup with me. I enjoy many other interests, including reading, gardening, and the arts. I’ve taken up hiking in the past year too. Anytime I can include tea in these pursuits, I do! It has become a bit of an obsession for me.

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Atlanta, GA

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