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Recent Tasting Notes
Received a sample from teavivre! I was surprised at how small the flower was – I certainly expected it to be more than 1inch in diameter. However, the tea brews up light and floral with wam honey notes. Definitely a very relaxing a calming flavor. I would be curious to try the cheaper, lower quality versions to see how they compare.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Sweet
Yikes. I selected the wrong Dragon Ball Black Tea. haha Sorry! I deleted it, and am putting here where it belongs. It wasn’t the rose one I tried but the Chrysanthemum. Doh.
Little hand rolled Dianhong Tea balls with a few golden colors and you can see the dried yellow chrysanthemum flowers. The colorful little ball weighed ~7 grams. The aroma was floral, a little apple, maybe a little rose. The liquor is an orange-reddish color, very bright looking. It was a complex tea. Would really like to see a thorough review of this. I love reading the reviews of teas while sipping on it. hehe
It was rich, full-bodied, thick, comforting, warm mouthfeel. It was floral but not perfumey. Sweet potatoes, spices, slight sweetness of yellow chrysanthemum, malt, some bittersweet aftertaste lingers. Very flavorful. On the 2nd steep everything opened up (flower, tea), it became slightly astringent and moderately bitter. It was like eating a delicious yam with cinnamon and butter on it, but with a bitter finish. The 3rd steep was more intense and you could see the yellow flower floating about. Malt, molasses, yams, sweetness, spices, chrysanthemum, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter but still a bitter finish. It wasn’t till the 4th steep that the bitterness subsided. The 5th, 6th and on, the yam notes delightfully continued, and it became more sweet, mellow, silky. Long finish. I didn’t like the bitter long finish in the earlier steeps but that went away. Did I say complex? lol I have quite a few of these so I look forward to trying it again. I’ll probably adjust my rating as well when I get more time to enjoy it.
1 pc, gaiwan, 110ml, 194℉, 9 steeps: rinse,25s, 35s, 45s, 55s, 35s,, 35s, 35s, 50s, 60s
Flavors: Bitter, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Floral, Molasses, Spices, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Yams
Received a sample from Teavivre of this! I enjoyed this tea but have other oolongs that I enjoy more. The first couple steeps are very nice, fruity and floral with nutty undertones. But with each steep the tea progresses into a tangy and slightly astringent taste and gets a very sharp smell. It’s not bad, but I prefer the more mellow front steeps!
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Grass, Nutty, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
On the 10th day of Sara’s Tea Advent Calendar…
It smells very vegetal! Should be good!
Oh wow, smooth and quite vegetal with a bit of artichoke. There’s a little astringency. There’s maybe a citrus note and some kind of spice at the end of the sip. This is some good quality green.
Flavors: Artichoke, Citrus, Spices, Tea, Vegetal
More tea packages rolling in. Free sample from TeaVivre. Happy days hehe.
I love their sample packaging, the tiny bags with detailed instructions, even recommended storage instructions. When I opened it, it was a single dark green tightly hand-rolled ball, wrapped with cotton paper with ribbon. Cute :D. The ball weighed 7 grams.
I followed TeaVivre’s suggestion, and glad I did. That odd decrease in time in the 4th steep, probably helped with controlling the bitterness in the 4th and 5th steep. I used a porcelain gaiwan, 110ml, ~203℉, 1 pc, 10 steeps: 5s rinse, 80s, 70s, 60s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 110s. The bright yellow liquor with green tints had an aroma of pekoe and hay. It was smooth, good mouthfeel, very little astringency throughout the steeps. The 1st and 2nd steep was nice, extremely mellow, hints of stonefruit notes, similar to their moonlight raw pu-erh… Then the 3rd steep was strong bitter with very little sweetness, but then as I journeyed on, the 4th was less bitter and by the 5th steep it was very pleasant because the sweetness entered, bitterness really subdued and balanced, the 6th-10th was enjoyable. Recommended if you don’t mind a bitter phase, otherwise, hard pass.
It was complex because I felt like the tea was leading me on a journey to find that perfect balance between the honey sweetness, stonefruits, light floral and the bitterness. The sweetness would linger on my tongue after the bitterness enters and leaves quickly. Interesting tea.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Hay, Honey, Peach, Stonefruits
It is totally different than their Aged Chenpi Ripened Tangerine Pu-erh which I highly recommended earlier. I just really don’t taste the orange but get the bitterness of the rind instead. On the 4th infusion, I did peel the orange to see if it improved but unfortunately, it did not. I’m on the 6th infusion and it’s supposed to be good to 15 steeps so I’m trying. :P It’s doable though and definitely not “bad” per se. If anything changes, I’ll add it here.
Tea-sipper’s review on this is pretty much spot on so I won’t go on any further. I’m sure there are those that love it (decent reviews on their site) but this one isn’t for me. The tangerine one is another thing altogether. I really loved that one.
Gaiwan, 110ml, 212℉, 1 pc, 15 steeps: rinse 5s, 10s, 10s, 10s, 10s, 20s, 20s, 20s, 35s, 35s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 100s, 110s, 120s
Had this earlier but didn’t take notes. I loved it. At first, I didn’t know how to prepare it. lol No way that huge tangerine would fit into anything I own. I just sprinkled the Pu-erh out from the inside of the tangerine (the whole thing weighs about 32g), then I broke off the tangerine skin to weigh 2 grams. It had that tangy tangerine flavor that I adore, and the Pu-erh was very smooth. No fishy taste, no strong leather taste. This may be a good one for someone who likes tangerine, wants to drink Pu-erh for health benefits but doesn’t like the usual strong earthy taste. Surprisingly it was only slightly earthy, barely any leather (zero fishy, zero dirt) but it was rich, full-bodied. I couldn’t select “tangerine” in the flavors so I selected “orange” but it’s definitely tangerine.
I’ll have to revisit this one soon to get a better flavor profile. My power went out in the middle for about an hour and well, that wasn’t fun lol. I wasn’t quite sure where I left off when it went out.
Yixing gaiwan, 110ml, 5g Tea leaves+ 2g dried orange peel
8 steeps: rinse,10s,10s,20s,30s,50s,70s,90s,120s (I think? Power outage hehe)
Flavors: Citrusy, Earth, Orange, Orange Zest, Tangy
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
I have found that I really enjoy green tea, and my roommate had this tea laying around in our apartment. It has been given to her by her mom a month prior, and she had yet to try it. I decided to make each of us a cup in the afternoon. I really liked the soothing flavor of this tea. It had a very fresh, earthy, green taste. This is a tea that I would love to make in the spring. I think that this tea would also taste great iced, which I may try next time. I might buy some of this tea for my own, because it was very comforting and I enjoyed it a lot.
Flavors: Earth, Green
This tea is charming, full bodied and flavorful thru 6 brews. I was surprised at the richness and full body for a tippy tea. Very classy. One of my will buy again pricey teas because it is so great.
Flavors: Artichoke, Baked Bread, Dates, Marshmallow, Molasses, Peach
I assume at this stage of the game you can brew a pot. Yunnan Gongfu tastes much like a Darjeeling, fruity the first few brews with tones of mango and later honeydew and grapefruit in the finish. Successive brews calm to a more subtle cup- assam like in character.
Flavors: Grapefruit, Honey Dew, Jam, Nuts
Thanks for the samples, Teavivre! This was a while ago that I received this, but I really didn’t want to go longer without writing a review. So this harvest is probably from last year. Just to give a warning that the flavor might not be the freshest. This steep session does taste like it did when I tried it a few months ago though. I must admit, this type of tea is not one I’d consider a favorite. I can never taste distinct flavors from these types of dark, wiry oolongs. The color of the brew is yellow, which is always an interesting contrast to those black leaves. The flavor isn’t strong enough for me. It’s very light, sweet with only hints of cream and minerals. For one sip, there was a moment of peach. In my limited experience with ‘phoenix’ oolong, the leaves usually have a hint of peach flavor. All three cups were very stable and consistent in flavor. When I drink tea, I’d really prefer more flavor. So this tea might not be for me, but I’m sure it’s for someone out there!
Steep #1 // half a sample pouch for a full mug// 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 15 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
This was my first Ginseng Oolong so I was curious. There is not much of smell in dry leaf except for some slight grassiness with a touch of pungency. When sipping first you get a quick impression of a roasted oolong with some grassiness again – but it quickly replaced by a powerful medicinal flavor of ginseng that tapers off into an extremely long and somewhat choking licorice-like aftertaste. And I am not a big fan of licorice.
All in all, it is weird drink that is not much of tea but rather some kind of a miracle health potion. I bet this tea was invented primarily because of a Chinese obsession with ginseng and, undoubtedly, is being promoted as curing a thousand of illnesses. I am glad I tried it but not being a fan of herbal folk remedies nor licorice I will not return to this tea again.
Flavors: Grass, Licorice, Medicinal, Roasted
I keep coming back to this tea, as it is a complex set of tasty flavours, and different from what I’m used to in a black tea. There is a hint of roasted/smokiness in the earlier brews, that gives way for a sweeter, raisin type flavour that reminds me a bit of a Tokay or a Muscat. Very good value for the price.
I chose this for one of my free samples. The wet leaves are dark green, the liquor is bright amber with a slight leather, earthy aroma. The 1st steep, I got fresh hay, leather, maybe some seaweed, sweet tupelo honey, spices, wood and sugarcane with a very slight bitterness. The 2nd and 3rd steep had a much stronger bitterness but was quickly followed by sweetness so I agree with the ‘bitterness of first sip, quick sweet after-taste’ in the description. It actually fits this tea perfectly. The 2nd and 3rd steep was more viscous compared to all the other steeps, almost syrupy. Bold flavors. Sharp… Definitely not shy, mild, timid as say their Moonlight Pu-erh. The most bitter steep was the 3rd but again, a welcomed strong sweet sugarcane wash aftertaste made the bitterness ‘interesting’… Almost like grapefruit bitter, meaning that the bitter part is what makes the fruit tastes so unique, good. The following steeps the bitterness wasn’t nearly as pronounced or maybe at this point, I was used to it. The liquor at this point smelled like one of those honey-citrus coughdrops for itchy throats with camphor, menthol. When I breathed in and out, there was a cooling sensation. In between infusions, I could breathe really well out of my usual allergy ridden stuffed nose. Stone fruit, fresh hay, seaweed, marine, wood, sugarcane, honey, earth, smoke, floral, grapefruit and a bunch of other things I couldn’t decipher. Definitely a complex tea. If you don’t mind bitterness, you may enjoy this tea.
Flavors: Camphor, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Grapefruit, Hay, Honey, Menthol, Smoke, Stonefruits, Sugarcane, Wood
According to their site, this ginseng oolong has 95% traditional oolong tea with 5% American ginseng. Small powdered non-uniformed green nuggets of oolong, coated with American ginseng powder. The nuggets smelled vegetal, floral, ginseng. The liquor was a clear apricot color.
Steep 1 and 2 was very sweet. There was also a strong menthol taste/feeling. The sweetness sat in the back of my throat for a long time after. The 3rd steep was not as sweet, slight tart notes came out, a TGY-ish tart, which I preferred far more than the overwhelmingly sweet taste. The 4th steep all I can think of is ‘green’, perhaps grass. From steep 4 on, the sweet taste was still there but not as strong, but the original sweetness was still just sitting back in my throat. Could it be the powdered ginseng just sitting in there? I don’t know. It felt strange, almost a stevia-feeling sweet which I don’t care for. I rarely experience sweet tea since I avoid them. Because of my taste buds, I don’t think I’m the right one person to judge this fairly. For example, if I order iced tea at a restaurant, I always say unsweetened with a ton of lemon. I am not one for sweet things (typically anyway, there are some exceptions like sesame mochi yum :P and that’s not often.) so this ginseng oolong was not for me. If you like ginseng and if you don’t mind something sweet, perhaps this would be for you. Some of the reviews said not sweet enough. That left me thinking [email protected]?#!? hehe.
The 8th steep was the best to me which I had a few hours later after a break. The original long-lasting sweet feeling was gone, and there was just a normal oolong flavor with a bit of ginseng left.
Porcelain gaiwan, 110ml, 212℉ / 100℃, 7g Tea, 8 steeps: rinse, 25s, 35s, 45s, 55s, 65s, 75s, 85s, 95s
Flavors: Ginseng, Grass, Licorice, Menthol, Root, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal
Home – 11:30 AM
I was really feeling like a straight black tea, so I allowed myself to select one from my pile of unopened samples. What a charming name – I’m picturing a cute little snail wearing cologne and dressed in tiny formalwear… XD
I’ve followed the parameters for this tea from Teavivre’s website. I will say that this is less tea than I would generally use for a pot, and the temperature is extremely low (185°F for a black tea). But I want to try it the recommended way at least once!
Next time I would definitely use more tea, and possibly also increase the temperature just a bit. I thought I remembered Keemun being a strong black tea with a malty and earthy taste, sort of like the Chinese answer to Assam. This is definitely not like that. This actually reminds me more of a Yunnan black tea, or even a Taiwanese black tea.
The color is quite light. There’s a lovely baked bread flavor, and the malty sweet potato that is characteristic of Yunnan. I taste a bit of caraway here as well, which always makes me think of Fujian black teas. They weren’t kidding when they called this one aromatic. It has some lovely light and sweet floral notes – I’m thinking honeysuckle. And at the end of the sip, there’s just a touch of cinnamon honey, reminding me a bit of a Taiwanese black tea.
This is an interesting one. It’s light but flavorful and has components that remind me of many different Chinese and Taiwanese black teas. I’m not sure I would choose this to stock in my cupboard though, as really it’s a bit too light for me, and I think I would rather stock a characteristic example of each variety of Chinese black tea.
I bet this would be really well-suited to gongfu preparation as well!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Malt, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
This was one of my most recent sipdowns. I finished the last of what I had of this tea last night. As the previous reviewer noted, the tea pellets were not as tightly rolled as one would expect from a tea of this type, looking a little more like small snails than round balls. As Chinese gunpowder green teas go, this one was a good bit quirkier, more likable, and more complex than most, but it was still by no means a truly spectacular offering.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. Teavivre recommended a water temperature of 194 F for this tea, but I tend to be more comfortable brewing Chinese green teas under 190 F, so I opted to use 185 F water for the entirety of the session. After rinsing 7 grams of loose tea pellets in 5 ounces of 185 F water, I started my session off with a 5 second infusion. Fourteen additional infusions followed. Steep times for these infusions were 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry pellets emitted aromas of cooked cabbage, straw, hay, roasted carrot, smoke, char, and honey. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of spinach and peas. The first infusion introduced a subtle grass scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of hay, straw, grass, spinach, peas, cooked cabbage, smoke, and roasted carrot that were chased by hints of honey, lemon, and caramel. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cooked green beans, butter, and green olive. Stronger lemon notes appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging char hints. New impressions of minerals, butter, seaweed, cooked green beans, roasted barley, and green olive also appeared alongside hints of malt and wood. By the end of the review session, I was still able to detect subtle impressions of minerals, spinach, grass, and seaweed that were backed by fleeting honey, straw, roasted carrot, and cooked cabbage hints.
This was a pretty solid gunpowder green tea. It was a bit rough around the edges (some fairly pronounced astringency here and there), but overall, it was a likable tea. Gunpowder green teas are rarely ever super high end and are mostly just intended to be regular drinking teas anyway, so it is not really fair to expect them to compare to higher end Chinese green teas. For what this was, it was pretty good. I would imagine that fans of such teas would find it rather enjoyable.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Carrot, Char, Grass, Green Beans, Hay, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Olives, Peas, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Vegetal, Wood
Sipdown! (I think). This was likely a free sample from Teavivre (thanks!) Unfortunately, the note I wrote about it when drinking it for the first time is likely lost in a work email I wrote to myself, which is where I put things when I couldn’t post to Steepster. Sigh. Anyhow, I’m sure it was quite delicious when I first had it; it was good this time but as the packet was opened, I can’t write an accurate review for it, but can just say yum, oolong.
I am eternally surprised how Chinese tea growers come up with so many different variations of Tie Guan Yin. And they are all good! Teavivre calls this tea “slightly roasted” but I found the roast to be pretty strong.
The wet leaf aroma is very distinct, intense and immensely pleasing: a campfire in wet woods, moist grass, sea, mineral. And it is not only leaves: the tea itself is quite fragrant. The taste follows the smell: grass, smoke, minerals, some sourness, some sweetness, a touch of bitterness. It blends together very well. After the tea is gone a long smokey, mineral and spicy aftertaste lingers, and lingers, and lingers… Because the aroma and taste are so well-defined and fairly complex this tea is quite evocative and awakens a swarm of memories and associations.
I usually not big on roasted oolongs because the roast often overwhelms the complexity of the tea, but in this Tie Guan Yin it actually brings together all other elements and creates a distinct and entertaining experience.
Flavors: Campfire, Mineral, Roasted, Spicy, Sweet, warm grass
I find it impossible that I have not posted a note about this one. I am drinking the very last of it! I made two steeps at breakfast and will sip it throughout the morning.
I was really craving some Keemun for breakfast! Honestly, sometimes I prefer a lower grade with waffles and such because they tend to be smokier and have that raspy feel that counteracts sweetness nicely. This one did the job and will be a pleasant companion as I rearrange and clean and declutter and take reading breaks today.
It is a lovely medium amber/orange color with a honey scent. It has a medium creamy body that coats the tongue and yet is brisk so there is a drying sensation at the end. A high note rises into the sinuses and at the mid-palate after your swallow. There is a little malt and a little woody taste, as well.
I was having trouble choosing a tea to go with our sesame chicken and lomein tonight so I asked hubby to choose between a plain green and a jasmine. He chose jasmine, I chose THIS jasmine.
This is one of the newer jasmine teas sold by Teavivre and replaces (I think) what used to be their entry kevel jasmine.
It is excellent for just what we used it for – a great accompaniment to a meal. There are lots of jasmine flowers in this. They look rather pretty in the infuser and then swell to a soft white cloud. There is lots of jasmine fragrance and it tastes just as I expect Teavivre jasmine to taste – natural and not soapy or perfumey.
It was great with the food. The briskness is completely unnoticeable while one is eating and it simply seems to clear the palate. After the meal when we were sipping it on its own, the briskness is more noticeable but is not unpleasant. Indeed, it is often considered desirable specifically for its palate cleansing properties.
It was so good, we resteeped and got another nice pot of tea to enjoy.
These tea “balls” are not as tightly rolled as most I’ve seen in the past. Closer to the snail like shape of other varieties.
The color is a medium-straw and flavor is mild, smooth, and slightly smoky without an aftertaste. It doesn’t have any qualities that make me prefer it over others, but it isn’t bad either.
Flavors: Grass, Smoke, Smooth