1788 Tasting Notes
With such a long mouthful of a name, this tea sets some strong expectations, before the package is even opened. Knowing Teavivre, I feel as though these expectations will probably be well met. Boasting no less than three organic certifications, Teavivre’s Organic Superfine Dragon Well Long Jing green tea (to which I will just refer as “Dragon Well”) was harvested about a month and a half ago in mid-April of 2014. Much like my last review of one of Teavivre’s spring 2014 teas, the freshness is telling.
As I start to open the sample packet, I have to stop and chuckle. As with their Bi Luo Chun, their Brew Guide on the label states that the tea should be steeped for “1 to 6 minutes.” Already deciding to go with three minutes of steep time and see how it tastes, I finish opening the package and the aroma of Dragon Well hits me from at least a foot away. I must admit that Dragon Well is one of my favorite green teas, and the aroma embodies a sweet nuttiness of the leaves, pleasantly. Layered over the top is the scent of fresh, green, grassy aroma, but not nearly to the same extent as many green teas.
Leaves into the infuser basket. Basket into the mug. Water into both. And now I wait. The smell rising from the steeping tea has grown richer and deeper. The nuttiness still presents itself. The fresh, green scent has become more akin to roasted, loamy notes. Three minutes seem to be a long time in arriving, but the timer finally rings.
Much like the infusing leaves, the smell of the brewed tea gives of notes of richness and roasted aromas. My first sip swells across the tongue and departs, leaving reminders of the aroma, mid-tongue. Surprisingly brisk, the taste nonetheless imparts a sweetness that was originally present in the scent of the dried leaf. While some might think the briskness to be unpleasant, it gives this Dragon Well a good amount of character and body. In fact, without it, I think this green tea might very well be dull. The tongue picks up a number of flavor nuances. The roasted aspect moves along the sides of the tongue, while the sweet nuttiness cascades along the middle. For such a pale tea with an unassuming aroma, Teavivre’s Organic Superfine Dragon Well Long Jing presents itself well and maintains a surprisingly bold flavor profile.
I would definitely recommend this tea for those, who enjoy teas with roasted flavors. I have tried many Dragon Well teas, and this is one of the best. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this green tea a 94/100.
A recent bit of excitement in my life involved the reception of a special box from Teavivre, containing samples of their new green teas for spring 2014. So excited was I to share these teas with you that I decided to share reviews even before the next Tea Review Tuesday arrived!
I cannot say for certain what made me choose Bi Luo Chun as the first of the samples to taste, but I am glad that I did. From the moment in which I opened the packaging, the smell was entrancing. As a bit of a disclaimer, I am not typically one to “oooh” and “aaah” over the smells of green tea. If anytime, I might do so, when drinking a particularly rich shou pu’erh or oolong. But this green tea pulled me into the aroma. Fans of greens will know of the intensity of which I speak, when I describe the tea as smelling sweet, fresh, and vegetal. In some respects, it is akin to fresh grass, but the sweetness embodied within is so much greater. Make no mistake, this is not by any means a sugary sweetness. This sweetness is entirely clean and natural, almost like a fruit, yet not fruity. I had yet to even brew any tea!
Teavivre recommends that this tea be steeped for 1 to 6 minutes. Since I was using enough tea for two cups, due to my choice in mug for the morning, I picked 3 minutes as my steeping time, figuring that such a length would work to gain a good strength in flavor. (The ratio was about 1.5 teaspoons of tea to 8 ounces of water.) Taking a last deep breath of the dry leaf aroma, I pour the water over the leaves and set my timer. In the middle of the steeping, I leaned over the mug and wafted some of the steam toward my nose. Subdued a bit, the sweet grassiness remained! I could tell that this cup was going to be a joy to drink.
At last, the timer rang, and I removed the infuser basket from the mug. The aroma rising from the cup was absolutely bold, and my first sip agreed. Bi Luo Chun might have fruity notes, but this is no weak tea. And to think it was only harvested a month and a half ago (according to their website). The freshness comes through in the taste. I prefer my tea to be a bit stronger. While the flavor was not bitter, I could tell that a longer steep would have caused some astringency. The taste profile seems well-balanced and well-rounded. The aftertaste is full of a memory of the same flavor. Drinking this tea brings one down to earth, rooting the senses with bold aromas and tastes that do not require a connoisseur’s trained nose and tongue to appreciate.
If the other offerings from Teavivre’s spring 2014 green teas are as good as this cup, this will be a line of greens, which you do not want to miss. The Bi Luo Chun in particular is a hit. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would rate this green tea a 95/100.
Flavors: Fruity, Sweet, warm grass