During my first forrays into tea, I bought a sample of what I suspect was an inferior Liu An Gua Pian, and then I mistreated it terribly. Thinking it was something else, I dumped boiling water on it and kept it in my Finum infuser for five minutes. (I’m sure you’re all reporting me to the tea equivalent of PETA now.) I chose this TeaVivre sample partly to make amends, and partly because even with my non-traditional brewing methods, that tea tasted good.

I followed TeaVivre’s instructions and steeped about 3.5 g in a 120 ml teapot at 185F for 30, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

In the teapot, this smells like the popped rice used in genmaicha, with a bit of florals and seaweed in the background. The first steep has quite a punch, with notes of seaweed, iodine, florals, toasted rice, spinach, and kale, and a long, drying aftertaste. The second steep has a good balance of sweet, vegetable, and umami flavours. There are other vegetable notes in this tea, maybe green peas and asparagus, but I’m having trouble picking them out. The next couple steeps are sweet, vegetal, and a bit mineral and drying. The final steep, which was not in TeaVivre’s instructions, was still tasty and refreshing.

A lot less subtle than many green teas, Liu An Gua Pian might be more up my alley. Judging from the reviews, my experience of tasting seaweed and toasted rice seems to be unusual, but maybe it’s because of the slightly hotter water? I might not want 100 g of it, but I’ll have no problem finishing the rest of my sample.

Flavors: Asparagus, Floral, Garden Peas, Iodine, Kale, Mineral, Seaweed, Spinach, Toasted Rice, Umami, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Since I discovered Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong four years ago, I’ve been fascinated by loose-leaf tea. I’m glad to say that my oolong tastes have evolved, and that I now like nearly every tea that comes from Taiwan, oolong or not, particularly the bug-bitten varieties. I also find myself drinking Yunnan blacks and Darjeelings from time to time, as well as a few other curiosities.

However, while online reviews might make me feel like an expert, I know that I still have some work to do to actually pick up those flavours myself. I hope that by making me describe what I’m tasting, Steepster can improve my appreciation of teas I already enjoy and make me more open to new possibilities (maybe even puerh!).



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