185 Tasting Notes

100

This sample came to Missy by way of Angel from Teavivre. Thank you!

This tea is fantastic. It is very smooth, but has a dark, robust flavor to it. It is malty, with just the faintest hint of a grainy hay-like flavor. There is a sweet fruitiness in the finish that reminds me a lot of a darjeeling.

This tea seems a little unreal. I’m used to getting great quality tea from Teavivre, but this one really takes the cake. Probably the most fantastic straight black tea I’ve ever tasted. This truly is a treat.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Kiaharii

Well this is going on the shopping list.

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88

This is really quite an interesting tea, thank you to Sandy for sending me a sample of this.

It is somewhat shocking how much this tastes like cantaloupe. Cantaloupe with an a (thankfully Steepster spellchecks!). I taste the cantaloupe first, followed by a bit of a dry peppery taste that must be the white tea. I’m not getting the cream so much, but I’m noticing most people did a 3+ steep on this one, and we only did a 2. I don’t know if I’m missing it or not. The tea doesn’t necessarily ‘need’ it.

Another quality, flavorful tea from Butiki. I’m glad to have had a chance to try them!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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81

A big thank you to Sandy for the sample of this one!

The chocolate is very tasty, with a tangy raspberry flavor following it, before the smooth base tea at the end. The chocolate leaves a surprisingly noticeable aftertaste that kind of lingers for a little while, and is very pleasant.

Overall, a very enjoyable tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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62

This is a little perfume-y, a little bitter, and the berry flavoring isn’t exactly what I want, for whatever reason. Maybe I’m just used to Frank’s Razzleberry.

Thanks for sample Sandy, but I think I agree with you on this one :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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96

I think you would be hard pressed, especially in the tea-drinking community, to find someone who was not at least passably familiar with peppermint. Maybe not a fan, but at least familiar.

I’ve decided that there are certain blends of herbs, teas, other such things that I wanted to try my own hand at making. However, I’m pretty self-aware in what I’m lacking, which is a base understanding of what particular ingredients truly taste like. And if I’m going to do this, I need to do it right, and that starts at the basics: stop and understand, truly understand, what each ingredient tastes like.

And what better to start with than something as ubiquitous as peppermint?

The smell of the dry leaf is truly wondrous and powerful. Though, it is an 8 oz bag, so it’s a LOT of mint (think if you stacked three bricks on top of each other, and that’s the approximate size of this bag of peppermint). The smell is sweet, lush and foresty. It feels cool on your nose at first, but with a sharpness at the end. Invigorating.

While steeping, that aroma begins to fill the room, and I find myself challenging my first preconception: the liquor is not green. It’s actually a reddish-amber color, that deepens to an auburn-brown as it steeps. Darker than I expected, more of an earthiness to the color.

The smell of the brew is significantly less powerful than the smell of the dry leaf. It is still sweet and foresty, but the cooling sharpness has mellowed to a more agreeable level.

The taste is sweet and pleasant, Sharp, fresh, cooling. The taste has similar qualities to pine, but less abrasive, muted, like a pine forest after a rain. Powerful from start to finish, from the moment it crosses your lips, to the lingering chill that it leaves well after you’ve swallowed.

This is so amazingly good. I’ve never had fresh, straight, high quality peppermint tea before… and this really blew me away.

I think I’m going to have fun with this.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Scatterbrain

What’s even more satisfying then blending your own teas is growing some of the ingredients. It’s just really cool to know that the tea in your cup was grown from seed by your own hand, it’s something I just took up this year. I’m finding that a lot of herbal tea staples such as peppermint, chamomile and lemongrass are very easy to grow.

Uniquity

I looooooove plain mint “tea.” Mmmm!

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93

The third and final Teavivre Jasmine tea for our face-off… dun dun duuuuuhhhh!

This feels a lot more like the soothing, relaxation medicine that jasmine tea should be. The jasmine flavor is smooth and sweet, but not overpowering. It blends in with the soft, delicate green tea flavor coming from the cute little wrapped up pearls. It really is a great experience.

This will be our permanent collection jasmine, methinks :)

Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this sample, and all of the samples. It is truly awesome that you do this kind of service for your customers.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Another very flavorful, fragrant, jasmine tea from Teavivre… but this one is green!

Thanks again to Angel and the team! Or wait, did I buy this one? Hrmm. Ah well, thanks to them anyway!

Compared to the pearls, I think this one is just a little bit less awesome. The jasmine is much stronger in this than on the pearls, and the green tea seems a little less delicate, a little stronger.

Missy and I both prefer a tad more subtlety in our jasmine teas, so I believe we’re going to be sticking with the pearls. However, this is a very strong contender.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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This was a sample (to Missy!) from the wonderful Angel and the Teavivre crew.

The first thing you notice about this tea is WOW, JASMINE! It is very heavily fragranced, they definitely do not skimp on the jasmine for this particular batch.

The tea itself brews into a beautiful, placid, lightly yellowish-green color. You think for a second that maybe you haven’t brewed it long enough. Especially when you pour it into a big red mug!

The flavor is a really strikingly powerful sweet jasmine flavor, with a secondary flavor that sits somewhere near golden apples. Sweet and fruity, powerfully so. Beneath that, there is a lightly hay flavored, dry white tea taste, with a hint of that brushy-pepper aftertaste that I associate with many white teas.

Overall, a very tasty brew if you’re fond of jasmine. I think I prefer Teavivre’s jasmine pearls to this, but in general I would prefer most green teas over white, methinks.

And after one 2-minute brew, these leaves barely look touched. You could easily go two or three brews off these babies.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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100

This tea is simply too good. I started writing this review, and then took a sip, and then another sip and relaxed… and then started putzing around online, daydreaming…

Anyway, we’ve been hoarding this tea for special occasions, since I don’t think we’re ever going to see it again. And today is a special occasion, so Missy brewed it up for me. She’s awesome, that woman of mine.

This tea is just divine. The sweet cherry flavor rolls in first as a bit of a treat, followed by the toasty goodness of the rice. The creamy cheesecake flavor comes in with the sweet vegetable flavor of the green tea at the end, really rounding off this cup. It is just so good.

It’s taken me about 22 ounces of tea to write this review, just so we’re all aware. It is that good.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 45 sec
tigress_al

What a great way to celebrate…a great tea!

Alphakitty

I love celebrating with special blends—keeping them for just the right moment makes them somehow even more delicious.

Dylan Oxford

It absolutely is:)

ScottTeaMan

Glad this tea made the occasion even more special. :D

Daniel Scott

I just recently tried a genmaicha, and was quite thrown by the toasted-popcorn-ness it added to the tea. This sounds really good, but I’m having the hardest time imagining that flavour blending with anything else.

Babble

Hey, didn’t Frank say he was planning on reblending teas? Never say never ;)

Dylan Oxford

Yeah, but judging by everyone (myself included) wanting to try the Marshmallow Treat Gen Mai Cha, I don’t see him tossing reblending both of those so quickly :).

Made a batch of normal GMC with some organic dried blueberries this morning at work. Really not as flavorful as I had hoped. I’ll probably need to actually figure out how to put flavorings onto teas to try to recreate this one myself! More to learn… ;)

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89

And our last contender, Keemun number 4! Or maybe I should call it Neg One (-1). There’s Grade 2, then Grade 1, then Hao Ya must be Zero, and this would be -1. Anyway, Neg One was courteously provided by Angel and the Teavivre team as a free sample to Missy. Continuing with the Steepster’s Digest layout:

-Similar to the Grade 1 Keemun, I’m kind of thinking of it as 1’s cooler brother
-Sweeter than the other Ks
-More grainy than malty at this point, share’s some similarity with the Bailin Gongfu
-That sweet fruitiness has returned with a passion
-Smokiness has gone away (sad face)

It’s tough to decide between this one and the Grade 1 for third place. The flavors of this tea are probably the most complex out of the Ks I’ve tried today, but I really feel like it’s missing something without that smokiness that I so enjoyed out of the “lesser quality” Ks. I put lesser quality in little quotey bits because calling any of these teas anything but awesome quality is a disservice.

This would be the K from Teavivre I would recommend to someone that was appalled by the thought of smoke flavor in their tea, but still really wanted a K in the cupboard somewhere. I still stick by what I wrote under the K Hao Ya post: depending what you’re looking for, any of the four grades of Teavivre’s Keemun are excellent choices.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

Love how you guys are doing tea comparisons. Very helpful to those of us too lazy to buy everything and compare ourselves! Also entertaining.

Dylan Oxford

It’s actually quite a bit of fun… and it’s nice knowing that you’re going to be drinking your favorite out of the bunch… at least this year’s crop ;)

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Bio

My fiancé and I are beginning to enjoy tea infusion, and it’s slowly becoming an interesting hobby that the two of us can share. Maybe not slowly… it’s somewhat amazing how much tea you can buy when everything looks shiny and new.

Tea Rating system:

90 – 100: This is a tea I will always have on hand at work, and at home. I will leave it on altars as offerings of perfection.

80 – 89: This, or one of it’s close cousins, will likely be in my cabinet at home. When this tea runs out, I will buy more. I’ll always wonder if there is something better, but be too afraid to look to stray from home to find it.

70 – 79: Definitely good, but not a clear winner. I enjoy it, I’ll finish it, but I probably won’t buy it again until I’ve exhausted all other versions of this product from any reputable retailer. Though, it may enjoy a resurrection for custom blending.

60 – 69: This tea is okay, but definitely not something I’m going to brew again. I’m going to give what I have left away.

30 – 59: I didn’t finish drinking this tea. I actually poured it out, and went for something else. I’ll still give this tea away, but I’ll do it with a warning and a plead for forgiveness.

0 – 29: This tea is riding securely towards an iceberg at the helm of the failboat. I’ve taken this out of my tea tin, and laid it on a napkin as potpurri. I do not consider it fit for human consumption.

Location

Tacoma, Washington, United States

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