513 Tasting Notes
Happy New Year, everyone! Starting my year in tea with something very nice. I made a pot of this for my brother and his girlfriend.
The first thing I noticed about the little green nuggets is the scent. A hint of the ocean, followed by sweet cream and flowers. As it steeps, it comes out to a lovely pale greenish yellow. It’s very light-looking, almost deceptively so. Like the other teas I’ve sampled from Teavivre lately, the leaves are whole and beautiful. Hardly nicked.
I have to say right now, this might be my new favorite oolong. It’s so smooth and it lacks a lot of that pungency that oolongs can have. Most of the ones I’ve tried have had a certain nuttiness about them, but this one doesn’t. I’m literally tasting just floral goodness and cream. Or milk. It’s soothing and fresh tasting. Wonderful.
Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Umami
This tea is a re-visit for me. I tried it for the first time back when Adagio was young, in 2005. Back then, I was really unimpressed. I thought it didn’t taste creamy at all. Just strange and vaguely sharp. But as I’ve mentioned many times before, Adagio has changed their recipes in the past 10 years. For most of the ones I’ve returned to, they’ve been improved immensely.
The scent of this tea makes me think I was right to give it another chance. It smells just like Thai tea! Oh, hell yes. I am such a sucker for Thai tea. Bottled, canned, powdered, boba, I don’t care, I love it.
The flavor lives up to the scent’s promise. It comes out looking like a regular black tea, no cloudiness from actual dairy. The creamy flavor is definitely there, though! It’s sort of like half and half, or non-vanilla whipped cream. That’s one thing I’ve seen a lot in teas like this — tea companies using the word “cream” when they mean “vanilla”. This is not vanilla.
After a few sips, I realized that this would be so perfect with a splash of milk. And I was right. Upping my rating SIGNIFICANTLY because this is not what I remembered at all. I’m going to make it double-strong next and try to make Thai tea out of it. Mmm.
Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Sweet
Yay, another Teavivre oolong! This one came as a sample in a pretty, light bronze pouch. Inside, it’s wrapped again in a little square of celophane. The small, bright green nuggets look a bit suspicious in such a package, if you know what I mean. Hehehe.
Anyway, the reviews of this tea here on Steepster are practically glowing, which makes me excited to give it a go. Again, I used a glass teapot so I could watch the leaves expand. Dry, they smell sweeter than your average oolong, with a hint of osmanthus I may or may not be imagining. It’s definitely a very floral and green aroma.
This is another oolong with wonderfully preserved leaves. They’re almost perfect. Whole and pointed, about two inches in length. This is also the brightest green oolong I’ve ever made, both in leaf and liquor. The tea is a spring-like greenish yellow and strongly scented with that characteristic pungency.
The flavor reminds me so much of the gardenias in my mother’s yard. The exhale is very, very floral without any actual floral ingredients, which is a wonder to me. It just naturally tastes like a freshly-rained-on garden smells. As it cools, more woodsy and floral flavors emerge. I know this is pretty unorthodox, but I might chill the rest of the pot I made and see how it tastes iced…
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Gardenias, Osmanthus
My first tea from the Teavivre oolong tasting. Thanks a bunch, Angel!
The dry leaf is tightly rolled and dark green. Before the water hits it, the tea smells vegetal and faintly like the sea. There’s also a hint of nuttiness. I’m a little intimidated, but curious. I’ve been very impressed with Teavivre’s oolongs in the past, so I am prepared to be surprised.
I steeped this in a glass teapot and took a minute to watch the leaves bounce up and down, slowly expanding and unfurling. The water transitioned to a pleasant yellowy green. After three minutes, I stopped them. By that point, I could see that many of the leaves were whole from stem to pointed tip. Beautiful.
The aroma of the finished tea is on the pungent side. However, the flavor is much more tame. The first thing I notice is umami. It’s brothy with a tiny note of seaweed. I’m also tasting salt… that’s a new one for me. But all that is balanced with floral, springlike flavors, and oolong’s nuttiness. It’s a very satisfying tea with a lot going on!
Flavors: Broth, Floral, Nuts, Nutty, Salt, Seaweed, Umami
The name of this tea has The White Stripes’s “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” on repeat in my head. “Like a summer rose needs the sun and rain, I need your sweet love to beat love away…” The lyrics don’t make sense, but I enjoy Jack White just the same.
The first thing I want to say about this tea is how it doesn’t look exactly like the photo. Rose petals naturally fade when they dry, so they’re not the bright magenta you see here. They’re faintly pink, but mostly a sort of cream color. That said, there is a very generous amount of them in my sample. Lovely!
The smell of the dry leaf is very floral, but not exclusively rose. I’m getting hints of lemon, pepper, and magnolia. Mmm, magnolia! The smell poignantly reminds me of the beginning of summer here in the deep south. I wonder if there are magnolia teas out there… that’s something to research for sure.
The brewed tea also smells of rose and magnolia. So summery, so nostalgic. Upon the first sip I notice that it’s not an overwhelmingly floral tea. It certainly doesn’t beat you over the head with the rose. The black tea base is mild and without bitterness or astringency. Much like a yunnan tip or something. Very smooth. Though that might have something to do with the preparation. On the package, it said to brew for three minutes, so I did. Anyway, it’s very gentle and I look forward to finishing the sample.
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Lemon, Rose
Hmm, I take back some of what I said yesterday. Today I’m having it with less sweetener since I accidentally used too much before.
Yesterday I said I wasn’t getting any smoky flavor, but today I can taste it. It’s subtle, nothing like a lapsang or anything like that. But it’s there. I guess I just muted it.
I got this tea as a gift from Kaliska back in the summer and I’ve been holding on to it. I tried it iced and found that it’s not a very good black tea for that, so I saved it for winter when I’d want it hot.
First of all, this is the first tea I’ve gotten from Harney & Sons that came in both a tin and a foil pouch. Neat! Inside the pouch, the leaves are dark and tiny. Very narrow and fine, but not broken up. They’re so fine that when I scoop them with a teaspoon, I get a very dense amount. That comes into play later.
The resulting tea is hearty and rich, perfect for the first cup of the day. I certainly felt motivated by it! Since you get so much tea leaf per scoop, it’s easy to make it come out strong whether you meant to or not. There’s a hint of bitterness from this preparation, but in a good way. It’s tasty in the way that fancy dark chocolate is tasty. (To be clear, this isn’t a chocolatey tea, I’m just comparing the pleasant bitterness factors.)
I taste notes of honey, malt, wheat, and grains. It’s very satisfying. There’s a fair amount of astringency, but that’s common in keemuns and was expected. Others here on Steepster have called this tea smoky, but I’m not tasting it. Huh. I look forward to going through this tea throughout the winter.
Flavors: Grain, Honey, Malt, Wheat
Another from u/RedSpaceMagic. This tea has been a hit here. I’ve made a few pots with friends and it has gotten a lot of compliments.
It’s a pretty, loosely-rolled oolong. Looks almost like collard greens as it unfurls in the infuser. I served it in a glass teapot, putting the pale yellowy green on display. The aroma is like vanilla ice cream with a hint of springlike earthiness. A lot like the scent of crushed or freshly-rained-on grass. The flavor is creamy, delicious vanilla followed by the oolong’s notes of hay. It’s almost like vanilla pudding or something like that.
This has inspired me to try more vanilla oolongs. It could be the beginning of a new favorite thing… Any recommendations?
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Hay, Vanilla
I got this tea from u/RedSpaceMagic on Reddit’s r/TeaExchange. I wonder if they’re here on Steepster…
Anyway, this tea looks like a chai. Lots of chunks of cinnamon bark, pieces of marshmallow root, and a blend of very dark leaves. It smells pleasantly smoky, with just a breath of spice, and brews up to a lovely shade of amber.
The tea’s aroma is smoky and wintery with hints of pine. It smells like a mild, spiced lapsang souchong. As I taste it, I’m definitely getting a taste of cinnamon graham cracker. Nothing about it seems particularly marshmallowy, which is a tad disappointing. No vanilla. The chocolate aspect is also a natural one, like you taste in the finish of Fujian black teas. No actual cocoa. That aspect is perfect. Actual “chocolate flavor” additives tend to ruin teas to me. The taste of the actual “campfire” the s’more was toasted over is featured the most.
It’s hard to come to a verdict of this tea. While I really like it and find it comforting on this chilly, stormy day… I was hoping this would be more of a dessert tea. I think if it had just claimed to be a smoky spiced blend, it would have been a bit less disappointing for a marshmallow fan.
Flavors: Campfire, Cinnamon, Pine, Smoke
Oh no, I forgot I had this in my cupboard. It’s a single pyramid sealed with only thin cardboard. It’s been there since March-ish of last year. I hope it’s not stale.
I love these little pyramid sachets. I know it’s a gimmic, but the little leaf at the end of a stem is pretty to me. It looks like it’s growing out of my teacup. As it steeps, the water darkens at a slower pace than what I’m used to. During that time, the leaves really expand, filling the sachet to the top. The scent of it brewing is nutty and buttery. It smells like Nutella, almost, but not as sweet.
The tea has a very warm, dessert-like aroma. However, the actual flavor doesn’t pack as much of a punch. It’s mild and tastes more like hazelnut than chocolate. There is a bit of chocolate in the finish and on the exhale, I guess. It’s not that I really mind, but I’m left wondering if this tea grew weak from being old, not because it wasn’t good in the first place. Hard to say.
EDIT: There’s coconut in this tea?
Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Hazelnut, Malt, Nutty