1617 Tasting Notes
When I removed the toucha from the sealed bag, the aroma was incredibly bread. Smells so good. I started with a 40 s steep. The first cup was light and tasted like hazelnut. No bitterness and no astringency that I noticed. Second cup at 30 s was darker and more complex. It started more like a raw pu-erh without the harsh bitterness. It is thick and syrupy with a sweet fruity aftertaste and leaves a sticky lip feel. With the 3rd cup at 30 s, I got a stronger cup, cheek tingle, and a bitterness that I like – not the nasty harsh kind. When it was hot, I thought I briefly tasted leather. As it cooled it became more mineral and almost cave like. In each cup the cooler it got the more I caught the hazelnut flavor.
I did not notice anything I would consider floral and certainly not like any lotus I’ve tried. That doesn’t surprise me. The ripe rose toucha has no rose taste but is one of my favorite ripe touchas. This is definitely a more complex tea than I was expecting. I am looking forward to several more cups – the toucha is loose but largely still intact.
My order arrived yesterday. It’s only been six days since I ran out of this but it seemed like a month. I thought learning to properly whip the green tea powder was tough until I found some xanthan gum (paid too much but only local source I could find). I used a little over a 1/4 tsp. The result is kind of tapioca pudding. My first try. Can anyone offer some tips? I mixed the powder and gum then added a little water to mix before adding the milk.
I love black tea from Nepal. To me it takes the best of India and China black and combines them into one great cup. This one is smooth and malty like my favorite Yunnans. There is just enough fruity edge reminiscent of Assam to build interest without the gut hurting tannins (Or maybe they just don’t hurt me in Nepali teas like an Assam usually does). The taste, of this one at least, is only slightly Darjeeling like. Instead of the Muscat this one leans towards apricot. I don’t recall a single Nepali tea I have not liked. Maybe poor English but you know what I mean. This 1st flush one is very tasty. So much so I did not add sweetener.
My green tea powder arrived today! I can stop watching tracking and start mixing smoothies again – Yeah! (The ‘Yeah!’ is to be said with all the enthusiasm of Kermit the Frog)
I dug to the back of one of the drawers looking for sip down tea. Found this. I am pretty sure it originally came from Nicole and it may have been in the drawer for two years – in a baggie. So not expecting much considering its age. Surprisingly it stills smells wonderfully peachy. The cup is more mango and less peach. Hot it is a very mellow smooth fruity tea. Once it gets cool or you ice it, this really comes alive. I looked at my blog review and this is also how I found this tea when it was newer and fresher. Really got to respect a tea that stands up to age and poor storage.
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.