457 Tasting Notes
This was my commute tea yesterday. I deviated a little from the instructions this time and let it steep for an extra 30 seconds, which deepened the flavor. This time, I used eight pearls for about 10-12 ounces of water and was very pleased with how it turned out. The cocoa was enhanced and stronger. I’m still loving this tea, and will definitely order it next time I place an order with Teavivre.
My Teavivre samples arrived today! This will be my third round of tasting from this generous company, and as usual, I am like a kid on Christmas. This tea was the one I was most excited about. I read everyone else’s reviews on it and it got me quite excited for my turn. I am in love with Teavivre’s black teas, and when I smelled the pearls, I knew it was not going to disappoint.
As far as preparation goes, I used two pearls in about 10 ounces of water with a steel infuser. It unrolled rather quickly into long, whole, pointed leaves much like their yunnans. I let it go for the whole two minutes because I was a little worried by how pale amber the tea was. But the scent of it as it cooled reassured me that it would be flavorful.
Maybe next time I will use three pearls, but this is still a delicious cup. Malty cocoa is the strongest flavor, I agree. It reminds me a bit of their bailin gongfu, but a little more astringent. Also, there is just the barest hint of smokiness that makes it very satisfying. It is by no means your average black tea, and I can’t wait to get through this cup so I can make another. It’s great.
This is my first of Harney & Sons’ bottled tea line.
First of all, the flavor is light and it isn’t over-sweetened like most bottled teas I’ve tried. In fact, there are only 10 grams of sugar in the whole bottle. The taste immediately makes me think of pairing it with Thai food and how this would go well with panang curry, tom kha gai, or pad Thai.
There is enough lemongrass in this to be the dominant flavor, which is nice, but I was expecting a bit more coconut. The vanilla falls short, as well as the ginger. There is barely a hint of it, so sadly no ginger burn. The green tea might as well be water, because you can’t taste that at all, either. It’s like it’s just there for color. Anyway, it’s refreshing and different, but if you’re looking for a tea that tastes like tea, you might want to try something else.
The dry leaf smells like a very sweet darjeeling — like a fresh, summery “green” black tea without a hint of smokiness or earthiness. After a steep, it smells more vegetal, but still sweet. The tea is pale and yellowy-green and smells a bit like fresh cut grass. (I mean that in a good way!)
The flavor is light and dries my mouth a little bit. It reminds me a bit of local honey in the way that I faintly taste flowers. I think my preparation should have had more leaf, and maybe another thirty seconds since I find the flavor so mild. I will return to this after a second try.
Giving this chai a try over ice. I was right — it’s better this way. Or maybe I’m just biased because it’s 90-something degrees outside. I really can’t imagine having hot tea during the Georgia summer.
The mango flavor still sits on the surface and overpowers the chai spices and black tea. It still definitely reminds me of mango nectar, especially now that it’s cold.
I also want to note that I do have a pretty bad headache and it has helped a little bit. But I think that’s the caffeine talking. A caffeine addiction headache would probably be the only thing this tea actually could cure.
Chocolate tea is still weird to me, but I still like this one, even though it’s a flavored-black-puerh mutt.
I decided instead of having it hot, I’d experiment. I made it the same way I made the Thai Chai earlier — using 4.5 tsp of leaf in half a cup of boiling water, then adding sweetener, milk, and half a glass of ice. Even with the milk and ice, it remains strong. The chocolate is enhanced by the milk, making the tea creamier and calming the black tea’s bitterness. There is a hint of vanilla there as well, and I’m not sure if I mentioned that in my initial review. But it’s not as smooth as a milk chocolate, I’d say. More like baker’s chocolate, or dark chocolate. Strong on the cocoa. Anyway, it’s interesting iced. I might do it again when I’m craving chocolate.
EDIT: Came back to mention that if you choose to prepare it the way I did, expect a pretty strong caffeine buzz!
What was I waiting for? Ninavampi sent me a sample of this months ago!
I’m always willing to try a new variation on chai. Chai has always interested me in its balance of spices, so adding coconut and lemongrass is pretty intriguing. Especially since I planned on having it cold. Anyway, I let it brew for six minutes in about half of the amount of water I would for normal iced tea. I then added a splash of cold milk and two good handfuls of ice.
The result is a delicious summer breakfast. The traditional chai spices are there on the surface; cinnamon, cardamom, ginger. I can’t say I can really taste the lemongrass, but the coconut is there. The coconut is faint, and reminds me a little more of plain vanilla. Since I love vanilla chai, I don’t mind. The black tea is hardly present, but that might have something to do with me neglecting this sample for so long. I would have to try a fresher batch to make any judgements there. In summary, I really like this chai, and it’s great iced.
Slowly cleaning out my tea cabinet still. I just finished my sample of this one.
While this is nice, I probably won’t reorder it. I like a certain amount of bite to my black teas and this one doesn’t really have it. I’m having it over ice, slightly sweetened. It’s a smooth, rather gentle tea with a flavor that reminds me of sweet potatoes and earth. It isn’t very astringent, either, but that’s a good thing. Anyway, this is incredibly ordinary and mild, so I’m not a huge fan.
After getting another tea tasting e-mail from Teavivre (which I’m very excited about), I realized I need to clear out some space in the tea cabinet. I still have a few tidbits to finish up from my previous Teavivre sampling, so I’m starting with this one.
I had forgotten how much I like this oolong. I’m always a little hesitant with this variety, even if it’s flavored, but this tea reminds that I need to be more open-minded. It’s floral with a smooth mouthfeel. There’s no harshness or bitterness in it. And it isn’t heavy on that nutty oolong flavor that I’m still getting used to.