121 Tasting Notes


I got this sample in Teavivre’s Mother’s Day giveaway and wanted to try it while it was still relatively fresh. I steeped 4 g of the long, wiry, slightly fuzzy leaves in a 120 ml teapot at 185F for 10, 15, 20, 25, 35, 45, 60, and 90 seconds.

This is a savoury and vegetal tea. The first steep has notes of green beans, umami, spinach, and a honey-like sweetness, while the second introduces kale, asparagus, and cut grass. These flavours last into the sixth steep, then gradually diminish into that vague vegetal/grassy profile that all green teas seem to get near the end of a session.

I don’t have much of a palate for green tea, but this seems to be a good one. I have three more grams to experiment with Western style, and will add to my tasting note if this method gives me anything different.

Flavors: Asparagus, Beany, Cut grass, Honey, Kale, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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drank Dayulin by IDEStea
121 tasting notes

This is my one hundredth tasting note on Steepster! To celebrate, I’m reviewing a tea that I bought in 2016, but that I only opened a few weeks ago. It was ridiculously inexpensive for a Da Yu Ling, and I’m sad that the business appears to be closed. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

This tea is very sweet for a Da Yu Ling, and has notes of cream, honey, florals, spinach, vanilla, cucumber, and Granny Smith apple in the first steep. It also has a heavy, viscous body and no astringency. Some citrus and slightly herbaceous notes appear in the second steep. A previous reviewer noted that the sweetness is like agave, and this is an apt description; I’d swear there was some form of sugar in this.

The florals all but disappear by the fifth steep, leaving a combination of sweet, vegetal, and creamy. Though the vegetal notes increase in subsequent rounds, with lettuce and spinach predominating, it still retains its sweetness until the end of the session.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable tea, though its sweetness reminds me more of a green Dong Ding than of other Da Yu Lings I’ve had. I enjoyed my sample of IdesTea’s Li Shan a bit more, but this bag will be easy to finish.

Flavors: Citrus, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Green Apple, Herbaceous, Honey, Lettuce, Spinach, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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This is from a spring tea sample assortment that TeaVivre generously gave me earlier this year. The long, olive green, still supple leaves are a joy to behold. I followed the website’s instructions as closely as possible and steeped 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 185F for 30, 60, 90, and 120 seconds.

In the teapot, the aroma of the leaves is vegetal and floral. These flavours come out in the first steep, with notes of wildflowers, green beans, and bok choy. Peas and other veggies appear in the next two steeps as the florals subside. I sneaked in a fourth steep, which was completely vegetal.

This was a pleasant green tea that would probably do well cold steeped. It was also the shortest gongfu session I’ve ever done. Thanks, TeaVivre, for allowing me to try it!

Flavors: Bok Choy, Flowers, Green Beans, Peas, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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As someone who loves teas with natural rose notes, when I saw this Dan Cong on Yunnan Sourcing’s website, I immediately added 50 g to my shopping cart. Then I sat on it for a month because I didn’t want to be the first to review it. However, since there seems to be some curiosity about this tea, I decided to go ahead. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

In the bag, this tea smells like generic florals and grass. But in the first steep, it lives up to its name, with rose, grass, cream, and other florals. (The grassiness becomes very prominent when it cools, so it’s best to drink this tea hot.) The rose is stronger in the next steep, but so is the grassy background note. I think there are some orchids and other flowers in there as well, but the rose is the most apparent, especially in the aftertaste.

By steep three, this tea has come into its rosy glory, but that astringent grassiness is still in the background. It’s kind of like a spicy pink tea rose—or maybe that’s just the power of suggestion. There are hints of cream, honey, and gentle apricot in the later steeps, but really, it’s all about the rose. The rose lasts well into the ninth steep, after which the tea returns to grass and florals.

A complicated tea this is not, but it does deliver on its promise. I kind of wish there was more to it, though. I gave it such a high rating because the rose is lovely, but I can see people getting bored with it.

Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honey, Orchid, Rose, Sweet, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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I bought this tea in 2015 during my “I need to try everything immediately” phase. Eventually, around 2020, I hope to have worked through my stash of old purchases. This was a pretty reasonably priced Jin Jun Mei, so I’m not sure how representative it is.

I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The first steep has notes of malt, honey, and Triscuits (weird, I know), with a punch of tannins and astringency in the finish. The next few steeps add notes of wood, grain, cardboard, and minerals, with an intriguing tomato vine aroma that doesn’t make it into the taste. I find this tea to be very drying in the mouth in spite of its honey-like sweetness. By steep eight, the liquor is mostly malt, tannins, and minerals.

While I enjoyed the honey and mineral notes, this tea is quite astringent if you use too much of it. It’s also rather long in the tooth. That having been said, I’ll have no trouble finishing this JJM and will consider buying another one in the future.

Flavors: Astringent, Cardboard, Grain, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Tannin, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Girl Meets Gaiwan

Wow, Triscuit tea is certainly a new one!


I think it was the combination of grain and dryness that reminded me of Triscuits; it was only in a couple steeps. And yeah, it was weird. :)

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I enjoyed the 2016 version of this tea so much that I bought 25 g of the 2018 harvest. Using the same steeping parameters, I got the same jasmine, citrus peel, orange, guava, and vegetal (broccoli, spinach) notes as were present in the 2016 harvest, making this a refreshing Dan Cong for what I hope will be the last hot day of the summer. I got a good seven steeps before the inevitable vegetal fadeout.

If you like greener, floral- and citrus-heavy Dan Congs, I highly recommend this tea.

Flavors: Broccoli, Citrus, Gardenias, Guava, Jasmine, Orange Zest, Perfume, Spinach, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

Today was very unpleasant indeed. Looking forward to the weekend, the forecast seems good.

As for this tea, it sounds like something I would enjoy :)


I much prefer fall to summer, so I’m looking forward to the cooler weather as well.

This tea has a strong vegetal backbone, but the florals and fruit are worth it for me. I remember it costing around CAD$12 for 25 g.

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This is a free sample I received with my most recent order. My web browser and TeaVivre’s shopping cart system do not get along, and I had to e-mail them my choice of samples after the purchase. Without being able to see the list of samples, I asked for their Li Shan, and they gave me this Ali Shan Jin Xuan instead. While I’m grateful to TeaVivre for their excellent customer service, Alishan is the white bread of high mountain oolongs and I would have picked something else if I’d known that the Li Shan wasn’t offered.

I followed their instructions and steeped 7 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 25, 25, 30, 40, 60, 90, 120, and 180 seconds.

The first steep has notes of white flowers, peas, cornhusk, and cream. Even with 7 g, the liquor is sweet and pungent with no astringency. Subsequent steeps have notes of lettuce, kale, and more flowers. By the fifth steep, this tea is entirely vegetal.

Although the first couple steeps were pretty good, this Alishan faded quickly and was fairly uncomplicated. I imagine it would make a tasty cold brew.

Flavors: Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Kale, Lettuce, Peas, Sweet, Vegetal

Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

Thanks for your review and would you please give me your order number? Then I can check it for you.


The number is 000013153. I did request a Li Shan sample, but I wasn’t looking at the list of offerings available. I appreciate that you were willing to add the samples after I made a purchase and am not bothered by the surprise Ali Shan. :)


Sorry for the mistakes we made, and we’ll add the Taiwan Li Shan Oolong into your next new order

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This is a sipdown of a TGY I bought in the spring of 2016. I steeped 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 120, and 240 seconds.

The first steep is grassy, tangy, and very floral. In the second, notes of orchids, violets, cream, peach, and grass become more prominent. (I never actually thought I’d use the descriptor “sweet, warm grass,” but that’s exactly what this is.) Though the tea isn’t astringent, it has a drying quality in the mouth. The wonderful peachy florals continue for around six steeps, and are joined by herbaceous and vegetal notes later in the session.

I’m finding that the better (and pricier) the Tie Guan Yin, the harder it is to pick apart the flavours. Maybe for this type of tea, quality is measured by its smoothness and consistency rather than its variety or evolution. Anyway, I’m sure this tea also deteriorated somewhat due to age. I look forward to opening my 7 g packet of 2016 Competition TGY.

Flavors: Cream, Drying, Floral, Herbaceous, Orchid, Peach, Round , Sweet, warm grass, Tangy, Vegetal, Violet

195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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I’m surprised this is the first review of this tea. Thanks, TeaVivre, for sending it as part of a free sample promotion earlier this year. I put the entire 7 g sample in a 120 ml teapot, which it filled right to the brim. Steeps were at 200F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 120, and 240 seconds.

This lives up to its name, with honey, orchid, mild roast, and lychee-like sweetness. There’s a slight astringency in the aftertaste, which is not surprising given the amount of leaf. In later infusions, notes of wood, minerals, and veggies emerge.

Although this was by no means a complex tea, its honey and orchid character was pronounced and pleasant. I’ll have no problem finishing the two other samples I have on hand, and would consider buying more if I didn’t already own three other iterations of this type of tea.

Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Orchid, Roasted, Vegetal, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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This is the final Tie Guan Yin in my set of free samples. (Thanks, Teavivre!) I steeped 7 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 120, and 240 seconds.

While the first steep is slightly floral, tangy, and vegetal, the tea really gains its stride in steeps 2-3, with strong grassy, butter, tangerine, orchid, floral, coriander, and tannin notes. Seven grams may have been a bit too much leaf, since the aftertaste is bitter and vegetal. By steep six, a lot of the fruit is starting to disipate, to be replaced by minerals and grass. The astringency is a lot more noticeable in this TGY than in the two others I tried.

Although this Tie Guan Yin had a promising beginning, it didn’t have the staying power of its two siblings. It was also the most vegetal of the bunch. While this would make a good everyday tea, I think TeaVivre offers better options at around the same price point.

Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Citrus, Coriander, Floral, Grass, Mineral, Orchid, Tangy, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

Thanks for the thorough reviews of Teavivre’s TGY teas. I also got some gift cards etc. at the recent generous Teavivre promotion and was actually considering getting one of their TGYs and your reviews came at just the right moment.

I think Teavivre’s teas are quite solid and factoring in all of their promotions/sales are insanely cheap. I just placed an order and realized that it came out 3 times cheaper per gram than my last Yunnan Sourcing order – at about the same quality. Just crazy.


I’m glad you found my reviews helpful. You’re right, with their promotions and free samples, TeaVivre can be a lot cheaper than YS. I think their oolongs are hit or miss, with some being decent and a few being excellent (like the Anxi Monkey King TGY). I really can’t comment on their greens because I don’t drink a lot of green tea, and I haven’t explored much of the rest of their catalog.

Have you had any outstanding teas from TeaVivre that I should consider adding to my order?


Well, you green teas are Teavivre’s strength although it doesn’t do much for you. I think that their selection of Keemuns, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong and Golden Monkey is also solid. Their oolongs and puerhs are uneven as you have already noticed.

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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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