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Recent Tasting Notes
No doubt Teavivre has some excellent green tea but unfortunately most of the ones I tried this year were kinda lackluster compared to the year before. The one exception though was this tea. I wasn’t expecting much from this inexpensive, lesser-known tea but I’m pretty blown away at how good it is.
The aroma of the dry leaf alone is enough to tell you this is going to be good. It smells floral and spinachy, then in a heated vessel intensifies into something like buttered sweet corn, flowers, and honey. After steeping, the tea has a mellow sweet pea taste and fresh grassy flavor. The texture is gentle and refreshing, it feels like a pleasant spring breeze across your face. Not too nutty nor astringent.
My one knock against it is it needs quite a bit of leaf for best results. I usually steep my greens semi-gong fu style using 2g of leaf or less. For this though, I had to use half the 7g sample pack. Also, the flavor seems to fade a little faster on resteep than I’d like.
I would not recommend storing this tea in the fridge. I refrigerate most of my greens which helps extend their freshness but occasionally there are some like this that don’t do well in the cold. The fridge made my second sample pack bitter despite being sealed and stored properly.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Spinach
Interesting flavor profile for a black tea. This tea tastes like a hybrid of black and puerh. It’s woodsy, earthy, and a little musky. Steeped at boiling it produces a tannic cup. It’s slightly better at lower temperatures but still tastes mostly like a typical orange pekoe to me. Not really my cuppa.
Flavors: Earth, Tannic, Wood
Brewed up this sample, which was a freebie that Teavivre tossed into my last order, Western style! I wasn’t really sure what to think because I’m not super familiar with the taste of straight Osmanthus and when I’ve had it in blends I’ve struggled to differentiate it from the flavours of whatever else is in the blend. Due to my lack of familiarity I just brewed this one exactly like the sample package said to – for the time I split the difference of the three to eight minutes and I went with a solid five minutes.
So what were my overall thoughts? This was really nice and smooth; quite sweet and floral overall. The sweetness reminds me of cane sugar, and the floral notes are kind of magnolia-y? There’s also some mild fruity undertones; peaches/apricots. I enjoyed this best while it was still hot; the last little bit I drank pretty cold and at that point it tasted relatively bitter. Still interesting overall though.
Ooo, this is lovely! The dry leaf is beautiful: slender, twisty silvery-green leaves with a rich, nutty fragrance. It brews up to a nice pale green color with plenty of nutty, vegetal flavor and a lingering sweet aftertaste. Smooth, sweet Chinese green teas are my absolute favorite and this is one of the best I’ve tried. I would definitely consider re-purchasing this one!
Flavors: Nutty, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal
Rich and smooth, with some lingering scratchiness in the throat. I leafed heavy at about 9g to 100ml, just off boiling water. This is pleasant, with a mellow earthiness to the roast that is reminiscent of the decadence and bitterness of fairly dark chocolate. The aroma is roast laced with additional vibes of burnt caramel, although it never gets quite so sweet in the actual cup. It has slow moving energy which leads me to believe it’s not got the greatest caffeine content, but it does the job. Might be good Western to add more flavors to the mix.
Flavors: Burnt, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Roasted
I love watching these pearls unfurl in my clear glass steeper: like teeny delicate question marks tinting the water as they steep. Beautiful tea, delicate and fragrant. The jasmine scent is just the right balance for the tea itself. My afternoon had been moving along rather nicely and yet this fragrant tea has made it even better.
Thank you, Angel, for the sample.
Drinking this lovely tea throughout the afternoon brought me back in spirit to this lovely lovely town that I stayed in for a time in China and the teahouses that I spent hours contemplating life in. The teahouses I am talking about and the town that I am referring to are pictured here. (To be clear, this is not my blog.) One of my very favourite places in China. http://www.bootsintheoven.com/boots_in_the_oven/2012/03/zigong-sichuan.html
Flavors: Green, Jasmine
Ooo, this is lovely! Reminds me of Mandala’s Yellow Buds which I tried a while back and really enjoyed. It brews up to a pale yellowish green color with a scent like freshly mown hay. The flavor is light, smooth and sweet with notes of hay and corn. (That tastes better than it sounds, I promise!) I would definitely consider re-purchasing this one when my sample runs out.
Flavors: Hay, Smooth, Sweet
So this tasted nothing like I imagined. I was expecting something floral and instead got a serious vegetal wallop. Arby’s tasting notes are spot on. It tastes exactly like okra and raw zucchini. And it was only steeped for a couple of minutes with a small pinch of honeysuckle buds. It was a slightly palatable once diluted a bit. Definitely not my kind of herbal tea despite being caffeine free, at least not when drunk straight. Might taste better sweetened or blended with something else.
Flavors: Vegetal, Zucchini
Sample provided for reviewing. Thank you, Angel!
Gongfu’d this in a porcelain gaiwan. Gave the leaf flash rinse. Steeping parameters are from the website: 15 seconds, 20, 30, 45, 60 (also did additional steepings at 90 and 120 seconds).
The first time I tried this Tie Guan Yin, I thought the leaf smelled and tasted rather fresh and green for a baked oolong, and that it would need to air after being kept in the airtight packet. This review is based on the session two weeks later (at the time I’m writing this).
The dry leaf smells floral and a little roasted. The roasted note becomes more pronounced after the leaf rests in the pre-heated gaiwan, and a fresh strawberry also pops out here. The wet leaf aroma smells even more baked, a touch more floral, and less fruity.
The liquor is golden in color and has a medium body, light feel, and thick texture. The first infusion is lightest in feel but incredibly juicy, tasting like fresh strawberry juice (reminds me of the juice leftover in a strawberry salad, over which you would sprinkle some white sugar), and the aftertaste is immediate and strong and very sweet. The aftertaste isn’t long lasting – it’s like a burst of flavor as you would get with gum. The second infusion is even juicier and sweeter. Beginning with the third infusion, floral notes show up – staying until the end of the session – and the floral and fruity notes are nicely balanced.
Abstractedly, this Tie Guan Yin tastes and feels like midsummer. Not only because of the height of vegetation growth, but also that’s the time of year in which I eat strawberry salads. This being my first roasted/baked oolong, I was expecting something much less floral and fruity. It barely smells roasted and tastes even less so. A few leaves are tinged with a red though. Floral rolled Chinese oolongs aren’t my favorite tea, but I found this to be alright. If it sounds like your type of oolong, go for it. Nice quality – very clean and bright.
As I explore my new found interest in black tea, there are some teas I’ve encountered that remind me of why I used to dislike black tea in the first place. This happens to be one of them.
True to its description, Superfine Keemun has a sweet potato aroma and taste. I like sweet potatoes and all but that earthy flavor doesn’t quite work for me in tea. Most of it dissipates after the 1st steep though. The second steep has a taste I associate with a typical English breakfast tea. There’s a tinge of smoke, a a bit tannic as it goes down but not bitter.
This really isn’t my kind of tea. I don’t get any of the chocolate, malt, or sweetness that I like in black tea. It’s basically a strong musky flavor with sharp tannins and earthy tones.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet Potatoes, Tannic
Today’s tasting is white peony by Teavivre. I started by taking out the glass pot for this one, as I want to bleed off the heat as quickly as possible since this is such a delicate tea. Heating up the pot first, but skipping a rinse with this one. I went right to the brew and went for about 30-40 seconds at 175. Then removing the basket from the glass teapot. I got scents of wheat, sugar, grass and possibly something else, hay maybe.
The tasting produced many of the same flavors and aromas and they are very subtle, which is the way with good white tea. The steeping produced a clear very pale yellow liquor with a very nice mouth feel to it, and it has just the hint of aftertaste. A second steeping produced many of the same flavors and aroma’s but slightly stronger which is again fairly normal for a white, the tea intensifies a bit on the second steeping which is usually the best.
I like this tea a lot, its a good relaxing tea which wont overpower you with strong flavors or aromas. I recommend this to any fans of white tea or peony, or silver needle if you are just looking for a nice relaxing tea to treat yourself.
Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Wheat
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I enjoyed the floral and fruity base used for this. It reminded me a lot of an anxi hairy crab oolong.
The flavouring was distinctly strawberry, but it tasted quite artificial to me. At least the oolong was wonderfully creamy and aromatic.
Flavors: Artificial, Floral, Fruity, Strawberry, Tannin
Second tasting of the day is the Chrysanthemum Mini Toucha Pu’erh from Teavivre. I tried one of the other pu’erh’s from this sample pack the other day, and it was lovely, so I had high hopes for this.
I started this tea like the other with 2 quick rinses. I then did a 5-8 second steep for the first real steep and got a light clear brown liquor. It was absolutely heavenly, caramel, floral, smoke and sweet and just mixing wonderfully with none of the off aromas of some ripes. This tea was well rested and ready to drink. The second infusion was a little better, and I did that one for like 4 seconds, just water in , leave it for a 3 count and then out, and it was slightly darker than the first.
The third and fourth infusions, I poured the water in and out as fast as I could, and I got a dark almost coffee colored liquor that was quite strong. This one was a little too intense for my tastes, but I expected this as this is fairly normal in compressed ripes, as the leaves open up and suddenly burst out with flavor and aroma.
The fifth infusion was slightly stronger to the second and was by far the best.. strong, but not overly so, lovely aroma and taste. Slightly sweet aftertaste at this point as well.
I havent gotten past this but I expect a slow release and even with increasing steep time, to get slightly less and less potent, but I expect to get at least 8-10 infusions , probably more if Im in the mood for a less intense tea later in the day.
I highly recommend this one for value and taste.
Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Oak wood, Smoke, Sweet
First tasting of today is Ripened cube mini brick 2006 by teavivre and again they impress me. Using a 110 ml gaiwan I brewed this at just under boiling, probably 208. Doing 2 rinses because the brick was having trouble opening up, the first infusion produced a nice clear reddish liquor, that smelled faintly of smoke, caramel and wood. There was no hint of the fermentation smell that can sometimes happen with ripe, just smoke, wood and caramel which is wonderful in the morning.
The second steeping was very similar, after that it got much darker and produced a dark red going into black liquor, and the smoke and caramel went up a few notches,still pleasant but a tad strong. After that it mellowed slightly, and this was with flash infusing it too, pouring the water in and right out. And its got a nice little caffeine kick as well, Im awake now.
My recommendations for this are your best brews are going to be the ones around fourth or fifth where its opened up and either just before or just after the big dark infusion. And the price is very reasonable on this too, as you will get A LOT of infusions from this, and you get 4 bags of different mini cakes and about 200 total grams of tea.
Highly recommended, for the price you cant beat this.
Flavors: Caramel, Earth, Oak wood, Smoke
Sipdown! Thanks to Teavivre for the sample. My notes on this tea are chaotically scribbled all over the package but I’ll do my best to organize them into something coherent. I got 7 gong fu steeps out of this leaf. I used 180-185f temp for all of them, starting with a 20-second steep and ending with a 50-second steep. I overdid the third steep at about 60 seconds and it came out undrinkably bitter. Other than that, the flavor profile ranged from brothy seaweed to sweet water chestnut. Not bad!
This tasting is Jasmine silver needle by teavivre. I was really anxious to do a tasting of this after getting the sampler pack. Ive always loved jasmine tea, and it goes so well with the light sweet vegetal taste of silver needle. Doing a very quick brew at about 20-30 seconds with 175 degree water, I got an almost clear liquor, very similar to the regular white needle.
The first thing that I get is a nice mellow jasmine aroma and flavor, then a light sweetness and just a touch of vegetal flavors. Its so sweet and mellow without overstating it, I just adore jasmine silver needles, this is going down as one of my favorite tea’s. The silver needles are a beautiful silver color, that turns a lovely shade of green.
I highly recommend this tea if you enjoy jasmine aroma and flavor, its intense enough without being overpowering.
Flavors: Jasmine, Sweet, Vegetal
I bought samples of this with my last order. A few grams goes a long way with this one. So many leaves in the sample pouch! The scent is very strong, it almost blew me away with the mintiness right from the pouch! The leaves of mint aren’t too broken apart, which is a good thing, as it is already very strong. I figure the same rule applies to mint that applies to small leafed tea: stronger flavor. On Teavivre’s site they suggest 10 TABLEspoons of leaves for a teapot, which seems a little impossible. Even 10 teaspoons would be a lot. I went with 1/3 of a sample pouch of leaves for a mug which ended up being many teaspoons anyway. The taste is so complex, so many layers which is odd because it is simply leaves of peppermint! There is an earthiness, but also obviously a mint flavor, but then there must be a large amount of peppermint oil that lingers in my mouth as it is still very strong after drinking. I probably could have waited a few more minutes after boiling to steep, but the result is fine as is. Basically this was everything I was hoping from a mint leaf. Absolutely perfect herbal and I can definitely mix this with other teas! This could certainly be a mint herbal I’d stock up on, especially for my headaches. I should have went for a second steep with these leaves.
Steep #1 // 1/3 of a sample pouch for a full mug// few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
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