1126 Tasting Notes
The moment my feet hit the floor I knew I needed a strong black tea. I got up, went to the fridge, grabbed the milk and chocolate syrup. Poured the milk and realized the chocolate syrup was actually pancake syrup. Another trip to the fridge and as I stirred the milk I realized it was not strong black tea. That kind of morning. Chugged the milk and started looking for the tea. Except I couldn’t read the labels, or at least my brain couldn’t decipher them. Decided on this as it was the first label that I understood. It is a beautiful tea even if it isn’t strong black tea. All that to say thanks Teavivre, the life you saved this morning may have been my own.
You can see by the picture this is very pretty to look at straight out of the pouch. I am not accustomed to such large petal pieces. It was a bit difficult to know how much leaf to use even though the instructions are clearly printed on the sample.
The dry scent is much stronger on the bergamot than in the cup. There is a nice amount of briskness in the black tea base. While bergamot is the driving force, the base is easily tasted. The rose is a supporting flavor. You don’t have to search for it, at the same time it doesn’t flower up the cup.
I found the interaction between the rose and bergamot unexpectedly delightful. This is not a big bold cup of citrus and flowers. To my tastes it is a gentler cup for a quiet afternoon with a book or a conversation with a friend. As a guy, this is not so girly that I would be embarrassed to serve it.
Oh, and there were several nice touches that personalized my package. The only one I’ll mention at this time is the samples came in resealable pouches. How awesome is that? Sure beats having to resort to the paperclip method I use now for leftover samples.
After sipping two cups of this tea, writing a review on my blog, and then reading Short Soceress’ review on Steepster it is apparent that how you feel about this tea depends. SS describes this as a strong Earl Grey with a hint of vanilla. To me this is a strong cup of vanilla tea with obvious bergamot once you slow down to notice it.
I prepared my first cup with 200F water and a 3 minute steep. It was slightly drying (read moderately+ Dinosara, we all know I like drying tea the same as some people like in burgundy wine) but there was no bitterness or bite. The bergamot is not perfumey or overly citrus. The Nilgiri base is smooth and though I never felt I could single it out I feel it is responsible for making the cup deep and rich.
My second cup was steeped 10 minutes (because I forgot to pour it) with full boiling water. I actually liked the second cup better. Very smooth.
A few comments-
The leaf I feel certain is orthodox produced. The pieces expand far beyond any CTC I have seen.
The packaging I have not encountered before. I thought at first the pouch had a hole in it. It appears there is a vent attached to the back of the pouch to aid removing air after sealing. Pretty cool idea.
I feel the pricing is very fair based on the quality.
Today was kind of a victory celebration. I turned in the final project for my college course. Yeah! There are a few weeks of class left preparing for the certification test but the class is winding down. So my wife and I did a little Christmas shopping and went to Cheddars for lunch beforehand. The Philly cheese steak was so good. Anyway, even if no one else agrees the iced tea they serve I find to be spectacular. It is brisk as I think any good iced tea should be and it has a roasted flavor similar to that found in a dark oolong.
Oh, and while shopping I found Candy Cane Lane so I grabbed two boxes. They also had an empty spot on the shelf labeled Sleigh Ride – so I’ll be back.
I knew I had tasted this before but with my hectic schedule I forgot how this tasted. It’s like getting to try it for the first time all over again. I love how the aroma of steeped Chinese green tea leaves often remind me of stew meat. The liquor on this looks green in the press and like white grape juice in the cup. I was expecting a subtle tea. Instead I get BAM! This is a killer tea. It reminds me of a cross between premium Long Jing and Huang Shan Mao Feng. Just an awesome cup!
I stopped putting ratings on teas but this one would be way up there.
I did not realize there was an organic version of this one available. That may explain why this non-organic version is my third favorite white tea. Top honors goes to Teavivre’s organic Silver Needle. Oh my that one is so good. Second favorite is Concept Teas White Peony. The difference between this and the Concept Teas version is the latter is far more fragrant and more developed in flavor. It is a noticeable difference. However, now realizing there is another higher level White Peony by Teavivre this may require further investigation!
Totally unrelated – while sipping this and typing the note I grabbed a generic fudge striped shortbread cookie. When I picked up the cup again for a moment I could have sworn this was puerh. The cocoa brought out all these wonderful earthy notes. Seriously you need to try it. Like you need an excuse to nibble on cookies.
I have spent most of the day with my face staring at a computer screen. The final project for my class is due next week and there is still a ton of work to be done. Like Lala I have not been feeling the tea lately. Rather than half-heartedly writing a review on a new one I just haven’t tasted much. Today I decided to shake off the tea blues and finish this one. I put care into the preparation but had it mostly because it is the best white peony I have yet tried. I knew I would love it even if I was only half paying attention. Sipped multiple cups – the present one is ice cold from sitting there. It is still awesome.