326 Tasting Notes


Tea provided by Teavivre for review

The scent of jasmine was very noticeable as soon as I opened the tea sample pouch. I love the scent of this flower (more so than others like rose), so I was excited to brew this up and share with my husband.

With the first sip, my worries of an overly scented tea were washed away. I can taste the familiar delicate aroma of white tea and nice hints of jasmine. When I downed the first cup, the tea liquor also made me think of jasmine paired with fresh fruit (like peaches or apples)

The second cup was still quite nice. Jasmine is more prevalent but tolerable. Still no bad flavours such as bitterness.

Third steep was good, but perhaps maybe I steeped it too long. The floral aroma is still going strong, but the more I sip the more I yearn for just regular white tea.

Fourth, fifth, and sixth steeps I am mostly tasting the jasmine aroma. Which I guess helps prolong the flavour of each steep.

Overall I liked this tea but for white tea I still prefer regular silver needle, and for jasmine; the silver jasmine green tea. (Personal bias: I am not a big fan of white teas. They are enjoyable but not my preferred tea.) Teavivre has graciously mailed me quite a bit of this tea, so I will continue to play around with steep parameters to get the best result.

100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 6 steeps (1min, +1min each resteep)

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

First steep had a chocolate smell to the liquor. Upon drinking it, I am reminded of other wonderful yunnan black teas I’ve tried. It is smooth, velvety, with a deep body and notes of chocolate, flowers, maltiness, and spices.

The second steep continued to strength in flavour and body. I also started to pick up on some caramel flavour and a “woody” quality to the familiar yunnan earthy body.

As I was moving onto sipping the third cup, I kept thinking about how strong the tea body tasted.

Fourth through sixth steeps  were great and only weakened subtly with each steep.

The first noticeably weak cup was the seventh. I kept steeping until the ninth just to see (taste) how long it could last. When I short steep this again, I will probably stop on the sixith steep.

This might be a bold statement, but I think this tea is a clear example of black tea done right. It’s smooth, velvety, has a strong body and is full of character.  It’s not the best resteeper, but still worth short steeping for an excellent six cups. Out of the five other Teavivre black teas I have tried this is my second favorite (first being the yunnan dian hong golden tips)

100ml gaiwan, 4 balls, 9 steeps (rinse, 30s, +15s each resteep)

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

With the first sip, the tea liquor fills my mouth with a wonderful texture. I can smell the roasted tea off the liquor and taste it with each sip too. I also enjoyed the light floral and sweet characteristics of this cup.

The roasted flavour became bolder in the second steep. I would prefer if the cup tasted a bit more complete or velvety, but overall the second steep is pleasant to drink.

Third steep continued to maintain the flavour of the second cup. Somehow whenever I take a sip there is a flavour that doesn’t seem right. I don’t know how to describe it, perhaps it is the degree of roasted.

On the fourth steep I am tasting the roasted flavour more than anything else. The “oolong”, floral, sweet flavours are still there but have become more subtle.

Fifth and sixth steeps continued to wind down. Not the most memorable flavour, but still enjoyable. If I were to short steep this tea again, I would stop on the fourth steep.

Overall I enjoyed the sample. Personally, I prefer roasted oolongs, and this one met my expectations. Between this and Teavivre’s regular TGY, I prefer this one. But compared to other roasted oolongs it is not one of my favorites. That being said, it is a good cup of tea. I can imagine that a roasted tea like this is even better experienced in winter.

100ml gaiwan, 1.5tsp, 6 steeps (rinse, 45s, 45s, 1m, 1m15s, 1m30s, 2m)

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

When I received my new samples in the mail today, this tea caught my attention. It’s been raining the past few days, and there is just something about drinking either Lapsang Souchong or ripe puerh that feels “right” when it rains.

Drinking from the first steep after the rinse; it tastes really mellow, earthy, and slightly smoky. Then it made me think of moss and mushrooms.

Second steep became bolder in flavour, but not to the point that it became offensive to my taste buds.

Wrapping up this review on the third steep, the flavour is staying consistent. No bad flavours during the initial sipping or aftertaste. (I’ll probably resteep this a few more times throughout the day and edit the final steep count later.)

Overall it tastes like a decent ripe puerh. The product is sold as loose leaf, so it’s a bit easier to brew at home (no prying leaves off).

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (rinse, 15s, 20, 30, 40, 50, 1m15s)

Note: I tend to always like ripe puerh. If you’re unsure about puerh or find it’s taste offensive, I’d buy a sample or avoid it all together. :)


Thanks for the caveat at the end of your note. I should be receiving a sample of this soon, but I’ve only ever tried puer one other time and it was…interesting to say the least. I’m not sure it’s for me, but your note gives me hope for the best!


I think it’s good to express your tea biases when it comes to such a polarizing tea like puerh (or lapsang souchong).
Hope you enjoy this sample. If it turns out bad, try short steeping it. :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


So lately I have been thinking about making some iced tea, but I have a dilemma. Making iced tea uses up a lot of tea leaf, and it steeps for so long that I don’t usually try to resteep it overnight. So I’d rather not waste money and quality tea all the time.
I’d looked at some cheap options and then I visited bulk barn for some other stuff when I saw this genmaicha. It is about $4.50 (?)/100g! With a price like that I could really care less how old the tea is or how big the leaves are. ;)

After purchasing some I brewed it hot at home. It didn’t taste bad, but it wasn’t really knocking my socks off either. Mostly I taste the rice, but at least there was no bitterness. (I used a gaiwan and steeped 45s, 45s, 1m)

So next naturally I scooped some into my ice tea pitcher, gave it a bit of hot water to help the rice steep, then added a lot more iced water to fill it up.

Now I’m getting to taste it for the first time (about 18 hours later). As I expected there is a nice toasted smell to the iced tea. Drinking it, the rice and green tea taste good together, and again there is no bitterness. I would like to taste more of the green tea, but knowing how cheap this is I can’t complain.

Overall a good iced tea, I will probably buy more when I run out of tea leaves.


Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I’ve been wanting a cheap Yunnan black tea so I purchased this. I figured, even if it doesn’t taste good it’s very cheap. ;)

Looking inside the tea pouch, the leaves look more complete than I imagined. There are some golden leaves, and while the leaves are broken they do not resemble specks of pepper (no tea dust).

The scent of the tea leaves is also encouraging. My senses immediately made the connection to Yunnan black tea.

Onto drinking the stuff;

Sipping from my tea mug, I’m tasting a nice full black tea body, familiar earthy Yunnan flavour, maltyness, and no bitterness (I brewed it to 5 minutes to check this).

Where I live, it is hard to buy any tea that isn’t absolutely rubbish for $7/100g locally. So for the price, it’s an amazing fresh black tea I can drink whenever and not feel guilty about the price.
Even though this tea is not comprised of golden buds, it doesn’t suffer much in the flavour department. Perhaps it’s not a terrific short steeper, but I’ve only met a handful of black teas I can slap that label on anyway.

500ml glass tea mug, 2 generous tsps, 1 steep

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I’ve only tried ginseng oolong once before, when I received it as a sample in an ebay order. But during that tea session my husband tried it and instantly fell in love with it’s unique aroma. Maybe it is because we live in Canada, but we really have not been exposed to the ginseng flavour before. So our first encounter with it was full of exotic charm.

So I was delighted to see that Teavivre was selling ginseng oolong. I have been wanting to place an order for more of their teas lately, and this one got added to our latest one. (As a note, I am also receiving some samples in the future. Like always, I mention in tasting notes whenever I am reviewing free samples)

Moving onto drinking the stuff;

The first steep is good, not too overwhelming. Nice sweet almost licorice-like flavour from the ginseng hits the roof of my mouth and the back of my throat. What I can taste of the oolong base is nice, subtle.

Second steep is still quite nice, I like the extra short steeps to get just hints of ginseng in each cup. It has a powerful effect on me, so I’d rather not steep it all out in one long brew. And with each of these short steeps, I get a bolder ginseng flavour at the back of my throat. Which is a nice sensation. :)

Third steep continued to get more intense, and looking inside the gaiwan the leaves have yet to completely unfurl.

Fourth to sixth steeps had consistent flavour. I’ll end my tasting note here even though I will be resteeping this throughout the day.

To be honest, I did not have high expectations with this tea. I’m not sure how you could screw up oolong + ginseng. Although now that I say that I am sure there are bad examples out there!
Anyway, I quite liked Teavivre’s ginseng oolong and I’m sure my husband will be delighted to take this to work.

100ml gaiwan, 1 generous tsp, 6+ steeps (rinse, short steeps starting at 3s-ish and increasing slightly)


Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Today I received my Teavivre order (yes this is a paid purchase) and I couldn’t wait to tear into their Lapsang Souchong pouch! This type was the first loose leaf tea that got me into the world of tea. So perhaps my expectations for each new encounter are a bit high.

Sniffing inside the bag, the dry leaves smell very smoky.

At this point I wasn’t sure how to prepare the tea, but I thought that if the smoke was too powerful I should short steep it.

So I scooped out 2 tsp of leaves and put it in my gaiwan, then adding the hot water at the suggested 90 c. temperature. Sniffing the tea liquor as it brewed, the scent of smoke is still pretty powerful.

However my fears were washed away when I took my first sip. It’s woodsy, slightly smoky, earthy, very slightly sweet and has a velvety mouth feel. The aftertaste is lighter version of the aroma with the addition of cocoa notes, it’s also not tarry in anyway.

Second steep felt really good in my mouth. The tea leaves are not fuzzy, but still there is a velvety texture that fills mouth. I’m also getting more sweet/cocoa notes in the second cup.

Third steep still tastes great and isn’t bland. Getting more of the smoky aroma now, and less sweet flavours. I could keep steeping but I’m done drinking smoke for now. (Just getting the feeling that if I stretch out the resteeps it might rub me the wrong way.)

I am always a bit worried when I try a new Lapsang Souchong tea. Either they’re good, amazing, or emotionally scarring. ;)
This LS from Teavivre is pretty good, but you’ll either love or hate this type of tea. Even the best LS I’ve tried won’t please everyone because of the smoky aroma. So for anyone wanting to try LS for the first time I recommend a sample size. And as a tip, if you don’t like LS western style… please try it short steeped! I am a big fan of short steeping all black teas, and I feel that this type of tea can benefit from it greatly.

100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 3 steeps (rinse, 30s, 45s, 1m)
I will try this western style sometime in the future, maybe at work.

195 °F / 90 °C

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I’ve had this tea for a while now, but I never took the time to write about it until now. It’s one of those teas that you can easily lose yourself in.

First steep: Smells sweet, tastes sweet too! The liquor is a touch floral, and sweet; almost like the sweetness of caramel. It has a mouth watering juiciness and flavour that reminds me of fruit.

Second steep: I’m noticing more of the texture the liquor leaves in the back of my mouth. The description mentions marzipan which I think is dead on. I can definitely taste that in the smooth texture and flavour.

Third steep: All of the flavours are coming together nicely. It’s usually at about this point where I lose myself in the flavours and look down to see that my cup is empty. ;)

Fourth steep: This cup really struck me as juicy and sweet, but not too sweet. I really dislike teas that are WAY too sweet, but this one is just right. (If you’re curious, I find Bai Lin black tea and Oriental Beauty oolong too sweet sometimes)

Fifth steep: Liquor is getting a bit less floral and the spices are coming out more.

Sixth steep: Both the tea and I are feeling pretty mellow at this point. I could keep resteeping but I’m pretty satisfied ending here.

One thing I really love about Taiwanese oolong, is that your attention to detail pays off. Relaxing and taking time to enjoy each sip brings out such beautiful flavours. Sometimes when I just want my tea fix, I’ll brew up some cheap black tea western style. But when I have the time for it, I like to reward my senses with tea like this.

Not my favourite oolong from this vendor, but it still exceeded my expectations.

100ml purion teapot, 1 1/2 tsp, 6 steeps (rinse, 45s, 45s, 1m, 1m30s, 2m, 2m30s)

195 °F / 90 °C

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Mei Zang by Tao Tea Leaf
326 tasting notes

This is the other black tea I purchased recently from TTL.

Onto the tasting notes;

First steep: Goes down very smooth, slightly nutty, smoky, malty, bit of cinnamon, velvety liquor texture.

Second steep: More bite, still otherwise smooth and flavourful.

Third steep: Much the same, not too strong or weak. Pleasant and relaxing tea.

This tastes like it has a lot in common with Qimen black tea, and is even made in the same province. However it’s much gentler on my taste buds than typical Qimen tea. Which is generally why I don’t like Qimen, it has a distinct taste that I find somewhat off-putting. But I don’t have that problem with Mei Zang at all. I can’t recommend this tea to anyone that wants an out of this world experience, but it’s worth checking out if you like “Qimen types”.

100ml of water in a purion teapot, 2 tsp, 3 steeps (rinse, 45s, 1m, 1m15s)

205 °F / 96 °C

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



Feel free to add me on Steepster, I’ll probably add you back. :)

I don’t log tea every time I drink it. Tasting notes tend to be about either one style of brewing or a new experience. It is helpful for me to look back on my notes and see what a tea tasted like or which steeping parameter worked best for me. I try to mostly short steep tea unless it only tastes better with a long steep. I’d rather experience what a tea tastes like over 3 or 12 steeps than just 1 to 3 long steeps.

When I write “tsp”, the measurement I use is a regular western teaspoon. Not a tea scoop

How I rate tea:

99-100: Teas that blow my mind! An unforgettable experience. Savoured to the last drop. I felt privileged to drink this.

90-98: Extraordinary, highly recommended, try it and you won’t be disappointed (and if you are, mail me the tea!)

85-89: Wonderful, couldn’t expect more but not a favourite.

80-84: Excellent, a treasured experience but not a favourite.

70-79: Good but could be better. Above average.

60-69: Average, unexceptional, not something I would buy again. Slightly disappointed. I’d rather drink water.

50-0: Varying degrees of sadness

No rating: Mixed feelings, can’t decide whether I like it or not, not enough experience with that sort of tea to rate it. A dramatic change of heart.


Ontario, Canada

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer