829 Tasting Notes


This was another free sample generously provided to me by TeaVivre. Thank you so much!

Steeping notes: 3 tsp. leaf to 500 ml water at the below parameters. No additives.

Dry leaf: Small, dark, and compact. There was a slight smoky smell but really it smelled more cocoa-y and slightly musty than actual smoke.

Steeped leaf: A dark reddish brown color. The smell was quite similar to that of the dry leaf – a touch more musty once it was wet, though. The taste was not smoky at all, which was a really good thing for me – I was nervous about that aspect of the flavor but it is not present (maybe because I lowered the steep time?), so yay!

Frankly, the strongest taste I’m getting is dark chocolate on the swallow. It’s bitter like dark chocolate, but not bitter like an astringent tea would be, if that makes any sense. The texture is verging on thin, but that’s more down to my chickening out on steep time than anything else. As it cools the musty scent is transferring into the taste, but it’s still not smoky, so I’ll take it.

Overall: I think this must be a milder Keemun, and even though I wouldn’t venture much further as a matter of personal taste, I think it would be a good gateway tea for those who do want to explore smokier teas. As it cools I’m finding it somewhat abrasive on the back of my throat so I could definitely decrease the steep time when I have it again and see if that improves. Not bad at all!

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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This was a free sample provided for me by TeaVivre – thank you so much for your generosity!

Preparation notes: Around 3 tsp. of tea leaves in 500 ml. water at the below parameters, with no additives.

Dry Leaf: Dark green and very thin, like pine needles. There were leaves and bud pairs interspersed throughout and it smelled very clean and floral.

Steeped Leaf: The floral characteristics were still evident after steeping, but with a nutty overtone – and there’s a brownish tint to the pale green liquor that reminds me even more of nuts. It’s not a roasted nutty note like with genmaicha, however – maybe more of raw walnuts or pecans?

The texture is buttery and smooth, and there is no bitterness at all in the taste. This makes me think that it could probably be quite forgiving if the tea were oversteeped. There is some grassy flavor in the tea itself, but it is a sweet grassy flavor, not overpoweringly vegetal.

Overall: This and the Dragonwell are probably my favorite greens from TeaVivre so far – and this would be the one I recommend to anyone who prefers a green tea on the less vegetal side, or someone who is just starting out with greens and needs a wide margin of error as far as preparation goes, and a gentler introduction to the flavor profile. It is definitely going on my shopping list!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ve said everything that can be said about this tea. But I love it bunches, and it continues to be one of my favorite weekend morning teas. Perfect, as always.

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3 tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in the Breville at below parameters. Added half and half and sugar.

This is a very coffee-esque tea to me, and I think it’s mostly because French Vanilla is a popular flavoring in coffee moreso than tea. And because when I used to drink coffee I drank it with milk and sugar, so it really looks and smells the part once it’s been prepped the way I like it.

Fortunately its not coffee – and as strong as the vanilla is at the front of the sip, the Assam comes in just as strong to finish and remind me that it is tea, and a very well balanced one at that. Perfect for a breakfast wake up!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Finished off my sample of this today – it will be missed!

Today I get glimpses of the “orange” flavor that JacquelineM mentioned. I wasn’t as specific with the color, but it did seem bright to me – bright and warm. With a lovely starchy mouthfeel. As it cools I think that some astringence is trying to fight its way through – but for the most part this is a very smooth tea that I am putting on the reorder list – along with the full leaf Yunnan that Teavivre offers – I do so love black teas!

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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3 tsp. tea to 500 ml water, prepped with half and half and sugar.

The smell of the steeped tea as I poured it was AMAZING this morning. Maybe because it’s been a while since I’ve had it? But it was mouthwateringly good-buttery and syrupy. I know that as good as it smells that it needs additives, though, so I made it my usual way before sipping.

Butter and syrup are the strongest tastes as well, finishing up with a bready note. This is really hitting the spot today. I was kind of up on the fence about reordering this, but after this cup, I will most definitely be. Yay for a great addition to Frank’s permanent collection!

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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Backlog from this morning -

This tea woke me up fast and helped me fit in a last hour of studying before my test. Whether that hour made a difference or not remains to be seen….but it tasted sweet and spicy, like always- and that’s never a bad thing.

Boiling 8 min or more

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26 degrees this morning. Bleh. I know there are others who have it worse, and to those who are even colder, my deepest sympathies. Winter is no fun when you have things to go and do.

But at least its cold enough to really want to drink a good hot tea. And this, with some oatmeal, was that tea. Lovely as always, even though I went a little overboard on the sweetener today. Now its off to study for a big test tomorrow!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Colder than that here. I think we’re getting January cold weather in February :// You know what they say about paybacks. This is a great tea for the cold weather.


I just did a Google search. Apparently 26 F = -3 C. If it’ll maken you feel better (I know it won’t!) it’s -16 F (-27C) with windchill here this morning. That is stinking cold for my area.


@ScottTeaMan- You’re right, it is a fabulous tea for cold weather. I hope it warms up for everyone sooner rather than later!

@Uniquity – OMG that is so bloody cold!! I’m so sorry (unless you like the cold, in which case, I’m not sorry :p)! The idea of living on a tropical island always gets really appealing to me this time of year…

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Lately I’ve had the biggest sweet tooth, especially at night. I usually want something desserty but we don’t have sweet stuff on hand because, well, I normally prefer salt. But luckily I have plenty of dessert teas that can fill that void!

This one was prepped with brown sugar and milk at my usual parameters.

What I love about this particular blend is that each cup is a surprise in terms of what note sticks out the most. Sometimes it’s the banana, sometimes the bread/walnut, sometimes the butter. Today I get butter and then banana, but I pretty much enjoy it any way it comes. It isn’t one of the 52teas main blends, though, which makes me sad, as I only have a few cups left. :( Pretty sure I’ll have to suck it up and by a pound of it when that happens.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Did a quick rinse of the leaves, and cold brewed 6 grams of this tea in 750 ml. water for around 12 hours.

I think next time I will go for around 9 or 10 hours instead of 12 – I was worried this wasn’t long enough (it’s a very pale liquor) but it is way stronger than I anticipated! It was overwhelming on my tongue, but in a good way – the peach and nutty flavors rushed at me simultaneously and finished with a surprisingly smoky astringence (another reason why I think I might have gone too long in the brewing process). The aftertaste is very peachy and it lingers for quite awhile after the sip is finished – it is fantastic! Quite refreshing as an iced tea – which is good because I love having iced tea.

So glad I got this at such a huge discount – it makes me feel like I can justify cold brewing such a special tea!

Iced 8 min or more

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I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "


Atlanta, GA

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