1511 Tasting Notes
Inspired by the review from Uniquity and accompanied by not enjoying giving a negative review – I am trying this one again today. First, I don’t mind giving a negative review of crappy tea, if it is crappy tea. In my opinion, once you reach a certain level of quality it should not happen. It is generally a matter of taste preference or bad preparation. I have always been impressed with Teavivre in the past. Yesterday, this turned out just bitter.
My problem with this one was mostly how I brewed it. Today I am doing it my way. Half the sample (2.5g) and 10 oz water heated to 180F. I steeped 1 minute. The liquor is clear, bright, and yellow. The taste is dry and reminds me of the dehydrated camellia flowers. I liked them because they were different. I find this very flavorful with strong cucumber/melon notes and a wood pulp flavor – not the negative version of yesterday, but a very nice one. There is a sort of floral note hanging around, or maybe I imagine it because I expect it. The aftertaste is lingering and mouthwatering. It also seems much sweeter in the aftertaste. No bitterness. No astringency that I notice.
It is not as powerful and deep as Silver Needle but then it is half the price. Messing with the parameters I find this to be quite pleasant. My one negative that I found again today that I did not mention here yesterday is the leaf. It looks like mulch. I don’t recall a Teavivre tea that was not beautiful full leaf. I thought my previous sample had been crushed or something but this one is the same way. This is mostly tiny broken pieces. Any one else notice the same thing?
All these years of drinking this tea and I only this week figured out that a cooler temperature (195 F) would take the heavy bite right out of the Ceylon base – not to be confused with the Cylon base as I first typed it. That bite is probably harder to get rid of – anyway I digress. I have always enjoyed the bite but now that it is gone, I’ve decided I like this smoother cup better.
My package I’ve been tracking from China has left Florida but evading current tracking. It has officially spent more time travelling the US than it did getting here. Go figure. Any one else find tracking great entertainment?
I know we all have different tastes. I followed the website recommendation for brewing in a gaiwan. The whole 5 g sample with 90 ml of water heated to 195 F (90 C). The steep was 25 seconds. That is simply too much leaf for me. This was so bitter it made my mouth pucker. Maybe half the leaf or half the steep time would have been OK.
I decided to lose the gaiwan and grab the press. I used 10 oz of 180 F water and steeped for 25 seconds. This was much improved. Now it tastes like grassy fresh alfalfa hay. There is a light apricot note and the aftertaste lingers.
Honestly though, I thought the lower grade White Peony was more aligned to my tastes. I have never given Teavivre a negative review before, but this one did not grab me.
I have enough to start again on another day. Next time I will only use half the sample and much cooler water. I am not giving up yet.
Afternoon Steepster Dudes and Dudettes! I finally tore myself away from purple teas from What-Cha today as I am seriously in the mood for a subtle white tea. This is a 1st flush from Nepal. Every white tea I have had previously I believe to be of Chinese origin, so I am excited to try this one. The leaf is wonderfully scented of grass and melon. It looks like White Peony with its silver haired buds and big green leaf. I decided to use my 90 ml gaiwan for the first few steeps. 3 g, 175 F, and 15 seconds. The liquor is only the faintest yellow tint. It tastes savory and of cucumber and melon. Second steep was equally excellent. For the third go, I switched to the press so I could steep per What-Cha’s recommended 3 minute steep. As the cup is cooling to drink my wife decides to show me material samples for her latest sewing project. When we are done discussing it, the tea is cold and tastes kind of woodsy and nutty. Fourth cup, has a definite fruity apricot scent. The melon/cucumber notes are lighter but present. This now has a slight mineral note and a cooling sensation. The inside of my cheeks are tingling long after the tea is gone and my breath still feels cool. This stands up to White Peony extremely well.
I don’t normally drink English Breakfast. I find them either too beige or too brutish, but that’s just me. This one impressed me with the dry leaf smell. It was like cherry pipe tobacco and maple syrup. The tea itself is very smooth. I had braced myself for throat grabbing harsh. It was much, much, lighter than I expected, so no brute here. There is an interesting peppery note that wasn’t hot and spicy, just flavorful. It is slightly malty with a lingering aftertaste. Not exactly beige. It may, or may not be what you want from an EB but I liked it. The first mug was 3 g, 195 F, for 2.5 minutes – because EB often hurts my stomach. For giggles, the second mug with new leaf was 3 g, 212 F, for 4 minutes. It made little difference. It was slightly more robust but really still a comfortable, yet forgiving tea. If you need tea to shout at you in the morning, this probably isn’t it. If you prefer a calmer voice saying, you can do it, maybe this will speak to you.
Oh, that sinking feeling when the spoon hits the bottom of the tin and your replacement order is somewhere in a bin in Chicago. It kind of makes you want to be extra appreciative of today’s tall breakfast glass.
I literally start everyday with this stuff. I can’t handle a real breakfast in the early morning but I have to have at least milk with my arthritis medicine. Milk gets boring. Green tea powder and milk make a nice canvas to get creative on. I’m on my way to the world market to look for xanthan gum to up the experience another notch. I just realized I have cacao nibs that I could be using as well. Endless morning fun.
This is the best relax your brain, make you tired, tea I have found. It won’t make you sleep if you don’t want to sleep. It just helps make it possible. None of the flavors jump out. They all play nicely with one another. Not strong enough to overpower prednisone but I slept more than expected and awoke refreshed. So good enough.
There is a downside to drinking fabulous new teas. Your old comfort teas tend to get neglected. I’ve been too busy today for new tea. OK, I got my brain sucked out by my space flight simulator game. Then I researched, and learned a new song, made and printed lead sheets before practice tonight. Now I am sitting with one of my favorite inexpensive loose leaf comfort teas. It tastes like heaven. I used more leaf than normal and lowered the temperature to 195 F. It is creamy smooth with none of its usual heavy bite. The bergamot does get a bit reduced but it is strong enough to survive and linger in the aftertaste. Who knew a tiny little change could make this much difference. OK, I should have, I’ve just never tried before.
I give this a more thorough review on my blog but to keep it shorter and lighter here – this stuff is AWESOME! I had to check the website to see if it was the correct tea. This is not even close to what I expected from an oolong. This is malt, malt, malt, malt, (tribute to Spam) and honey, and malt, and caramel, and did I mention malt? Seriously, this reminds me of a combination of Tan Yang and the Dian Hong Golden Tips I had this morning. There is no bitterness, and only a slight dryness. If feels thick and syrupy. The aftertaste is sweet and fruity/spicy. They call it plum and that does match the other teas I have tried that mention plum in the description. What-Cha is quickly turning me into a fan.
I haven’t given a number rating in a while – this one earns it.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Plums