290 Tasting Notes

More backlog!

Another free sample from Angel at Teavivre. Thank you.

This had an aroma of malt in the dry leaf which was golden and gorgeous looking. I love the colour of this one. The liquor tasted smooth, sweet and malty with a hint of grain. Everyone says ‘sweet potatoes’ of this tea. I’m really going to have to get a load of sweet potatoes and see if they are right, because, judging by how much I enjoyed this tea, I should really enjoy sweet potatoes. I mean, it was rich, sweet, and very moreish. I think this may be my favourite tea from Teavivre’s winter tasting pack.

Flavors: Caramel, Grain, Malt, Smooth, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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I found a sample packet of this in the cupboard and had quite a yen to drink it again. I enjoyed it last time and my previous tasting note still stands. This is one of the reasons I rarely write additional notes for teas: I would really only be repeating myself and life is too short for that. Well … except with repeating means drinking more of a good tea, obviously. It’s a really jolly good tea and I would happily drink more of it.

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A free sample for Angel at Teavivre. Thank you

The dry leaf smelt mainly of hay with an undertone of floral scent. It looked lovely: a lot of little twisty black leaves. The liquor was a dark brown with an aroma of grain and a hint of malt. The tea itself was silky in the mouth with a light, fruity taste reminiscent of raisins, plums and honey. It’s a great afternoon tea with no bitterness or astringency. All it really needed was jam and scones to accompany it, and my afternoon would have been complete.

Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Honey, Plums, Raisins

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for this sample. So, where does all the time go? I spend most of it sitting at this computer writing, so you would think that I would find the time to write up the various teas I have drunk, but, oh no, that does not happen. How embarrassing! It’s just a good job that I scrawl my notes on the tea with pen and paper first.

The dry leaf smells of wet wood, earth and cedar. I brewed it in a gaiwan and poured out a thick and dark liquor. It looked great and tasted pretty good too. The over-riding impression for me was a continuation of the cedar, tempered by leather, a little woodiness and something sweet and caramelly. Is that even a word? It is now. It was smooth and sweet and very enjoyable, although perhaps a little too middle-of-the-road for me. That said, I’m sure this will be many people’s cup of tea.

Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Earth, Wet Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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It’s a beautiful, sunny, Sunday here today, so I spent the morning in the garden catching up on my reading (Ryan Lavelle’s ’Alfred’s Wars’, if you are interested), watching the cats play, and drinking this flowering tea. It looks fantastic and I love watching flowering teas open. Better yet, this tea was still light, slightly fruity and very refreshing despite having been in the cupboard a while. A great start to the day and spoilt only by the need to crack on with some work now.


That sounds like a beautiful morning! I think I might copy you, replacing watching cats with watching my dogs wrestle. Thanks for the inspiration!


I heartily recommend watching pets of all sorts play as being both therapeutic and pleasurable. When accompanied by good tea, it is a definite tonic. :)


did you win that contest for flowering teas? i won some :) i am not sure if i received one of these with it


No, I don’t even recall entering it. This is just part of a variety pack that I bought with an old order to Teavivre.

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Another sample from Angel at Teavivre, for which I am phenomenally grateful.

So, catching up with writing up the teas once more, I find myself coming to my notes on this one. I brewed it in a gaiwan for a change and felt the extra effort was well worth it.

Upon adding water to the leaf I was immediately hit by a waft of malt and raisins, and the resultant liquor was very dark. It tasted primarily of malt and raisins with a pleasing bitterness at the back of the throat. Apart from this bitterness, the main experience was smooth and mellow, developing more rounded fruity notes as it cooled. There was a hint of winter berries in the colder brew supported by notes of allspice that gave it a Christmassy feel. The aftertaste was thick and sweet. Overall, yet another tea that I would be happy to have in my cupboard in quantity.

Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Raisins, Spices

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 170 ML

Hellow Mr R ! Been missin ya on here!


Thanks, mrmopar. I’ve been reading but not writing lately. Lost my writing mojo but I’m hoping to get it back on track, because I have several more Teavivre teas to write up.


Yah I need to clear my back log. Training new employees at work takes a bunch of my time lately.


It’s all job and funding applications for me. Kills the desire to write about much else.

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Free sample from Angel at Teavivre. Thank you for this and apologies for taking so long to review it. Life does not always comply with one’s need to taste and write up teas, sadly.

I am always pleased to write about teas from Teavivre because I have never had a dud one yet, and this did not break with tradition.

The dry leaf gave off an instant chocolatey hit when I opened the packet. I tipped the whole sample into my 250ml pot and set to, starting off at a 1 minute steep and adding 2 minutes to the time for each of two subsequent steeps. The liquor was a dark red brown colour and tasted fruity and light when I first sipped it. A dark chocolate taste developed like a high cocoa butter content chocolate (up in the 85% range for the chocolate fiends). Like the chocolate, the taste was thick with cocoa and a bitter edge to it, but it also had an note of warm hay. This developed into sweetness in the aftertaste that I really liked. The resteeps were similar, although the depth of flavour very quickly dropped off despite the large amount of leaf I used. This is another tea that I would happily buy several packets of.

Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Hot hay

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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Bonnie sent me a sample of this tea some time back and I have only now found myself in the right mental place to taste it. So, I threw the pillow into a gaiwan today after work and set to. I’m glad I did. It’s light, floral and sweet with a vegetal base note. It reminds me of why I really should drink more oolong. I should probably write more about it, but the other two tasting notes tell you as much as I would. Read them for more on the tea, because I am going to focus on drinking it instead of writing about it! Thank you, Bonnie.

Flavors: Floral, Sweet, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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This was a free sample from Paul at white2tea and I am very grateful that he sent it to me. It has been lurking in the back of the cupboard, awaiting the time when I might be able to take a moment from my schedule to fully appreciate it. This morning is that time.

The dry leaf smells green and slightly composty with a note of warm horse. It promises much at first sniff. Looking at it, I see brown, green and silver leaf. It’s chopped but not excessively so. The cake is loose. That might be a result of taking the sample from the beeng.

When I pour the hot water onto it, the leaf immediately releases a thick floral aroma. It’s not cloying though. The liquor is a thick amber colour. The website describes the tea as ‘burly’. There is certainly nothing wishy washy about it so far. All of the elements of it are strong and bold. The taste is the same. There is strong astringency with sweet, floral and fruity notes, and strong spice in the aftertaste with perhaps a hint of pepper. There’s a lot going on there, and I am not sure that I am the best person to parse the range of flavours. I am aware of the range, but at a loss to differentiate all the elements. Perhaps I should lay that out as a challenge to others. I really like this tea. It has great body and good legs, both in the liquor and in the aftertaste.

Flavors: Astringent, Green, Pepper, Spices

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

Actually, why am I even bothering writing my own tasting notes when Hobbes has nailed it perfectly? http://half-dipper.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/2012-ruiyuan-laoshucha.html


Thanks for this I had not seen this post by Hobbes. I love this cake I ended up buying a few to store. When I tried it in my sample it was very surprising to me that such a good tea was plantation. I’m actually happy that the farmer is proud of his crop as it is as opposed to try to pass it for older trees. This one earned my respect in the sense that plantation does not mean weak. :)


I agree with most of this! Like JC I picked up a few of these before it sold out.


Unfortunately I missed out on this one and it is also the one where I learned the lesson — “if you think you want a tea that is not in widespread distribution, buy it for it might be gone when you do go back to purchase it!”


Totally agree, DigniTea. A beeng or brick is a sample. A tong is a basic purchase. Now if only I had enough money to put that into practice! :) But, yes, if you see a tea that you like, buy it immediately if you can because it might not be there later.


Because now its your note we are reading!

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I am a qualified peripatetic berserkerologist peddling berserkjaknowledge at the University of Nottingham.

My favourite teas are Darjeelings, sheng puerhs and Anji Bai Cha. I return to these every time, after whatever flirtation with other teas I have been involved with.

I no longer rate the teas I drink because keeping ratings consistent proved to be rather hard work while not really giving me anything in return.


Nottingham, England



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