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Backlogging, and based almost entirely on my notes

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online

Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping: Received in the fall of 2011 as a free sample (Thank you Angel!), steeped up March 2012.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: Standard keemun leathery-type smell; the tiny somewhat-broken leaves are a uniform dark brown color.

Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot leaf free to roam; stevia added; standard Chinese red tea steeping times and temperatures; four steepings.

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: Clear, light-copper color, with a mild aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: A little bitter on the first steeping, but it has that characteristic keemun leathery-type taste that I have come to appreciate; second steeping was smooth (so no bitterness) and tasty; third was still flavorful; forth was mild, but still smooth and flavorful.

Appearance of wet leaf: Lots of tiny pieces of tea, such that it looked like large coffee grounds.

Value: This is where this tea really stands out: it’s a great value. I’m a bargain hunter, and I don’t think I could find a decent keemun anywhere better than this price: under $2/OZ.

Overall: I’ve finally got some time to do some backlogging (I don’t like having unfinished business sitting around); I hope to knock out most (if not all) of the teas I have written notes for in the next week or so.

I liked this tea, but my wife didn’t; I think the leathery taste is too weird for her, but that’s exactly why I like keemuns! If you appreciate value, and you like keemun, look no further: this is clearly a tea worth taking a chance on!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
K S

This one does not have a mild smokiness to it? The Hao Ya 1st steep I kind of like but love cup 2 and 3. They lose all the smoke.

SimpliciTEA

Good question. I wish I could answer that. It may have. Now that you mention it, in my experience Keemuns seem to have some similarities to Lapsang Souchongs. Are you thinking about buying some from them depending on how smoky it is (or isn’t)?

K S

I’m thinking I am probably not a big Keemun fan. I like it blended with other teas but it just doesn’t grab me. I was just curious about this one.

SimpliciTEA

Gotcha. I asked because I realized I have what I am guessing is about 3-4 grams of this sample left (When I initially brewed it up I didn’t want to brew up all 15 grams at once), and I am willing send it to you if you were thinking about buying any of it from Teavivre.

K S

Thanks but if I ever get brave enough to try it again I will buy a sample with an order. And I am pretty sure if I am not crazy about Teavivre’s version there is no point looking elsewhere as they definitely know what they are doing.

Bonnie

I didn’t like this at first but gave it another chance and used less leaf the next time to suit me better. I found that the second and third steeping did shine for me.

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Comments

K S

This one does not have a mild smokiness to it? The Hao Ya 1st steep I kind of like but love cup 2 and 3. They lose all the smoke.

SimpliciTEA

Good question. I wish I could answer that. It may have. Now that you mention it, in my experience Keemuns seem to have some similarities to Lapsang Souchongs. Are you thinking about buying some from them depending on how smoky it is (or isn’t)?

K S

I’m thinking I am probably not a big Keemun fan. I like it blended with other teas but it just doesn’t grab me. I was just curious about this one.

SimpliciTEA

Gotcha. I asked because I realized I have what I am guessing is about 3-4 grams of this sample left (When I initially brewed it up I didn’t want to brew up all 15 grams at once), and I am willing send it to you if you were thinking about buying any of it from Teavivre.

K S

Thanks but if I ever get brave enough to try it again I will buy a sample with an order. And I am pretty sure if I am not crazy about Teavivre’s version there is no point looking elsewhere as they definitely know what they are doing.

Bonnie

I didn’t like this at first but gave it another chance and used less leaf the next time to suit me better. I found that the second and third steeping did shine for me.

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Bio

(Updated 6-3-2014)

After about three years I changed my avatar from the picture of a green teacup with steam rising (one I created using Paint) to this dragon gaiwan. This is one of my favorite gaiwans, although I haven’t brewed any tea in it as of yet.

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 150 ml gaiwan (I also own an 11 oz Yixing):
First I do a 15" rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
etc. Until there is no flavor, or I ran out of time and energy.

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf Chinese green, red and ripe pu-erh tea, although I enjoy a white and an oolong tea every now and then as well. Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have three teapots: a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and an 11 oz Yixing (ripe Pu-erh only). (New in 2014) I also one a number of gaiwans ranging in volume from from 125 ml to 250ml.

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.

Location

Midwest, USA

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