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Recent Tasting Notes
Meh, not really a fan. Vegetal notes, bitter, and seems to lack the complexity of flavor that a lot of similar teas have. The aftertaste is quite good, though. Just wish the rest of the tea was similar.
Edit: Lowering my rating because it seems this tea gave me a TERRIBLE migraine.
Flavors: Bitter, Vegetal
Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – September 2023 Tea #6- A tea with natural cocoa notes
I wanted to try these, as they remind me a little of one of my favorite teas – Phoenix Pearls! Looking at these though, these are almost grayish in color, covered in tiny trichomes, while the Phoenix Pearls I know are very shiny and have no trichomes at all. Really, all they have in common is being rolled black tea. The scent of the dry leaf is exactly like toasted rice or or genmaicha or buckwheat or oats - all of these scent notes very unlike most black tea, so very intriguing! A five gram sample has a little over a teaspoon and a half, so I went with a full sample pouch for a mug. The brew does not get dark like I suspect… it’s very light. The flavor is mostly like a cup of unsweetened cocoa with a hint of smoke. The second steep is much the same and especially when cold, the mug is full cocoa. I can’t help but love Phoenix Pearls more, but this seems to have a slightly different flavor profile than Teavivre’s other Dian Hongs. Though I wish some of the scents from the dry leaf resulted in the flavor… I think I used the proper amount of leaf for a mug. I wouldn’t use less but I wouldn’t be opposed to trying at least two teaspoons. This tea is weighty though! I think I love it best as the leftover tea, cold the next day. I love that Cameron B notices french fries here (-my dinner last night. haha) I didn’t expect this tea to fit a prompt when I steeped it up, but since this cup is full cocoa, it can and it shall. :D
Steep #1 // 1 3/4 teaspoons for a full mug // 24 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Smoke
I really didn’t buy this for flavor — more that I wanted the stress and anxiety reducing properties of GABA and I didn’t have any GABA teas around. One teaspoon of these tiny bundles is enough to unravel in an entire steeping basket. The flavor is quite different from any other oolong I have tried. It’s butternut squash and only butternut squash. Second steep? It’s summer squash and only summer squash. Third steep looks as dark as a black tea and tastes like a variety of squash. I was dreading it being a one note of roasted flavor, but I’m not tasting a roasted note at all. As regards the GABA, I think…. I was feeling the normal levels of stress and anxiety. I also slept about the same, so it didn’t change my sleep. Maybe my stress is too much for ANY GABA to handle. I wouldn’t use more than one teaspoon to find out. hmm… at least when I’m craving a tea with the flavors of squash, there is a definite tea for that.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a mug // 24 minutes after boiling // 1-2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // 2 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Flavors: Butternut Squash, Squash
I was lacking more than one sticky rice option! So I thought I’d try this. Four ounces of this tea is 15 tuochas in the case of my pouch. These are fairly big disc shapes, with a line down the middle. Possibly indicating you could cut it in half to save for later. But Teavivre’s instructions say to use one piece for twelve ounces. And I like my puerh thick, so I definitely went with a whole piece for a mug. The sticky rice scent is definitely abundant here and it’s very quick to unravel! I’d say the sticky rice flavor is so strong that it kind of overpowers the ripe puerh, even if the brew is dark. But there is a lingering coffee flavor following the sticky rice. There was plenty of sticky rice flavor throughout all the steeps. The last one having like a creamy quality to it. I think the focus here is more the sticky rice flavoring, as the puerh is quite mild, even with my standard mug size. Though the infuser is almost FULL of unraveled leaves. I might like that long fourth steep the best with that creamier smooth quality. I’m glad I have this in stock for the sticky rice craving, but I might not reach for it when I’m craving nuanced shou.
Steep #1 // 11 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 11 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // 11 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
Steep #4 // just boiled // 16 minute steep
This is similar to many other green teas in Teavivre’s lineup. It’s incredibly fragrant with sumptuous aromas of flowers and buttered lima beans. Soft dew and a light vegetable broth emerge when heated.
The tea is almost colorless with a light and elegant flavor. I tasted sweet pea, cucumber, and hint of pear like fruitiness in the first infusion. Second steep is a tad astringent but fuller and fresh tasting. Notes of boy choy and stir fried vegetables. The third infusion is clean and breezy with a smooth vegetal flavor. By the fourth steep, the tea fades to a generic green taste.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Cucumber, Flowers, Lima Beans, Pear, Peas, Vegetable Broth, Vegetables
Smells like my ideal tea: thick, malty chocolate with hints of apricot. The taste doesn’t disappoint.
Might be my all time favourite black.
I can’t rate or out in details in my phone, so…
Organic Golden Monkey Black
2 heaping teaspoons in 12oz water
Boiled and cooled to 89C
Steeped Western style, 5 minutes – I lost track of time, and it shows in the brew. Boo.
Flavors: Apricot, Chocolate, Creamy, Malt, Thick
This one didn’t work for me upon first tasting but was delicious once I switched from grandpa style to gongfu. It’s refined and layered with beany, floral, honey, and dew-like flavors. Notes of freshly cut spring vegetables, cucumber, melon, and cannelloni beans. Not as grassy or umami heavy as other greens.
Flavors: Beans, Cucumber, Floral, Honey, Melon
This spring, I caved in to the hype for pre-Qingming tea and picked up this premium Bi Luo Chun as one of the more “affordable” options. It was a good decision, and I finished most of the package in April and May while it was at its freshest. Then, predictably, I forgot about it, so here we are in August. I steeped 4 g of tea in a 120 ml porcelain pot at 185F for 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds. I also bowl steeped 3 g of tea in around 250 ml of water at 185F starting at 5 minutes, refilling the cup as needed.
The dry aroma is of chestnuts, green beans, orchids and other flowers, pear, and pineapple. The first steep has notes of chestnuts, green beans, butter, asparagus, minerals, pear, grass, and other florals. Because of all the trichomes on the tiny snails, the tea feels soft and a little fuzzy. The next couple steeps have hints of pineapple and apricot, plus those nutty and beany notes. Broccoli and lettuce appear in the final few steeps, and the tea loses its fruitiness. However, even near the end of the session, it doesn’t get bitter.
Bowl steeped, the tea is smooth and has no bitterness or astringency, with notes of green beans, butter, chestnuts, grass, minerals, and pear in the first few rounds. Pineapple, asparagus, and spinach come out around the middle of the session, though the tea remains buttery and smooth. The tea has good longevity and fades into grass, beans, and faint florals.
Although this tea has faded a bit from being open so long, I still think it’s very good. It’s more fruity than most of the green teas I’ve had and it’s almost impossible to make it bitter. The price is a bit high, but I think you get what you pay for with this tea. I look forward to seeing what Daylon has to say.
Flavors: Apricot, Asparagus, Broccoli, Butter, Chestnut, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Pineapple, Smooth, Spinach, Vegetal
The tea, brewed, smells malty, thick, sweet, like figs or apricots. Tasting it, it’s slightly astringent, full, sweet with a hint of apricot and more than a hint of chocolate, vanilla, something like cardamom but not quite. It’s a lovely, lovely tea, and unlike most white teas I’ve had. I could drink this all day, every day.
One dragon ball = one cup of tea. It was surprisingly large, and so about a quarter of the tea didn’t steep, because it grew too big in the steeper! I can’t wait for the second, third, fourth steeps to see how it evolves.
As I can’t list the details on my phone:
90C for 3.5 minutes, first steep.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Cardamom, Chocolate, Creamy, Fig, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla
Dry leaf smells sweet and malty
Warmed dry leaf has sticky sweet scent of dried plums.
1st infusion: (90˚C, 0:25)
Liquor smells rich savoury-sweet, reminiscent of something like black chicken soup, with dried flower mushrooms and goji berries. It tastes of delicious herbal medicinal and umami notes.
2nd infusion: (90˚C, 0:30)
Similar profile to previous infusion, but more potent, and a strong woody note and astringency drying the tongue has emerged. Less sweetness than before. Pairs well with food.
3rd infusion: (91˚C, 0:30)
Flavors: Astringent, Chicken Soup, Goji, Malt, Mushrooms, Prune, Sweet, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Umami, Wood
Sample from a pack of spring teas from Teavivre. Loved this – just as others have noted, it’s nutty and sweet. Subtle vegetal notes for me, but I love that! No bitterness, although when I munched on some almonds it did bring out a little bitterness, but blame it on the food, not the tea! I used the whole packet for my session, and used shorter steeps averaging around 6 oz per steep. Got three steeps (counting a quick and not necessary rinse) and it was still going but my belly was full. Rinse, 45 sec, 1:30. I would definitely add this to my repertoire. Excellent as always, Teavivre!
Flavors: Chestnut, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal
I had a good chuckle when I checked to see what this Teavivre sample was, and saw it was the unsmoked Lapsang that ashmanra and LuckyMe recommended to me a few days ago. Didn’t remember I’d grabbed it… oy vey.
Anyway — yes, this is nice. It’s so sweet — reminds me a little of LP’s Shui Xian Hongcha that leaned toward stevia. I get some almond meat/amaretto, roastiness, sweet potato, malt, cocoa dancing in the background. Caramel in the bottom of the cup.
Flavors: Almond, Amaretto, Caramel, Cocoa, Malt, Roasty, Stevia, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
Date drunk: 2023 May 29
Dry leaf smells gorgeous, like a savoury-sweet crispy snack – I think it smells floral and roasted-chestnutty, like almond paste or like fried shallots.
1st infusion: (80˚C, 0:20)
Wet leaf smells like roasted butter asparagus or fried garlic nai bai.
The leaves look really tiny like herb leaves (oregano or thyme), but obviously don’t smell or taste like them. I feel like I’m drinking an exquisite clear vegetable broth with just a tiny hint of fat like butter.
2nd infusion: (81˚C, 0:35)
Colour became dark amber – I could tell I overbrewed slightly. Astringent but still has the nice vegetable broth notes, more like a bitter-savoury herbal broth now but still quite lovely.
3rd infusion: (81˚C, 0:30)
Leaves and liquor still smell like buttered stir-fried veg like green beans. Liquor tastes slightly astringent but less than before, it’s still fairly nice and silky. I think the leaves still have much to give but from this point on I can pair it with food and not feel it’s a waste.
4th infusion: (82˚C, 0:30)
Getting lighter. I’ll push it harder next round.
5th infusion: (85˚C, 0:50)
Overall Rating: 87
Flavors: Almond, Asparagus, Astringent, Bok Choy, Butter, Chestnut, Garlic, Green Beans, Onion, Vegetable Broth
Date drunk: 2023 Apr 26
5g in 100ml porcelain gaiwan
1st infusion: (80˚C, 0:15)
Wet leaf smells sweet and floral – stunning.
- Liquor smells vegetal and a bit nutty, no sweetness. Delicious umami-rich savoury broth
- Rating: 80
2nd infusion: (80˚C, 0:35)
Wet leaf still smells gorgeous.
I overbrewed it. Bitter and very astringent.
Rating: 73 (actually 70 but it’s not entirely the tea’s fault)
3rd infusion: (81˚C, 0:25)
Wet leaf really gives me Longjing vibes.
I steeped this for the correct time now because the astringency is minimal. Liquor tastes buttery and nutty too, like a 2nd or 3rd infusion of Longjing – buttered green beans.
4th infusion: (81˚C, 0:30)
Clearer and cleaner-tasting than the previous infusion, still has buttery and nutty fragrance, but also less sweetness and overall flavour.
5th infusion: (84˚C, 0:30)
A bit too light on flavour now but still very refreshing as an afternoon drink.
Verdict: A very respectable “poor man’s Longjing” that I would buy as a daily green tea.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green Beans, Nutty, Umami, Vegetable Broth, Vegetal
Too many mind-blowers lately; my luck had to run out eventually.
This was pretty unremarkable; no real sweetness to speak of, no bitterness that might transform with age, barely any astringency even when pushed. Nothing revolting, though, and easy enough to drink — fair to middling, I’d say.
Don’t really know what to make of all the glowing reviews on Teavivre’s website. I’m sure people are happy to see organics, maybe that’s skewing things.
I didn’t rinse this because it looked so clean (famous last words, lol). When I tasted the first ~30sec steep, I was struck by a vanilla-floral note that I haven’t yet tasted in a sheng. It was gone after that first infusion, but it was delicious and pungent. Following steeps are fairly straightforward apricot/sweet/astringent, but the balance is such that it just feels of a higher quality than some I’ve been sampling lately. The apricot is pronounced, the sweetness lingers, the astringency dances and cools. Barely-whispers of floral and camphor. Mouthfeel is thick and coating, just lovely. Orange liquor. Minimal bitterness. Mild cha qi. I’ll try my next session in a clay pot. If I were ready to start aging cakes, I’d consider this one… I’m interested to see where it goes from here.
I’ve really been impressed with Teavivre so far, I gotta say.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Floral, Sweet, Vanilla
I’m a sucker for the sticky rice flavor of nuo mi xiang thrown into just about anything. These are cozy and creamy and sensuous; some herbal greenery pokes in here and there. Short steeps of 15-20 seconds keep the shou light and balanced with the herb (longer steeps get a little bitter and disjointed). I must be at 10-12 steeps as I write this, and the herb is persisting right along with the shou — perfection.
The ~6g disc looked very compressed coming out of the foil wrapper, but it bubbled and let water in during a 15sec rinse. After a patient 20 minutes, I opened my gaiwan and found a poofy pile of leaves waiting to make magic happen. :D
The handy little discs make me want to consider this for travel, but the need for babysitting short steeps ruins that dream. I am still turning over a plan for overseas steeping… I sure don’t want to have a vacation full of tea ‘meh’, but I also want to be reasonable with gear. I generally pack ultralight (<25L for 2-3 weeks), and absolutely don’t want to change that. A new field of study and research awaits…
Flavors: Creamy, Earthy, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Smooth, Spring Water, Sticky Rice, Sweet
A sample packet from ashmanra — thank you!
Clear cherry notes coming from the warmed leaves. The little packet had 10g in it, so I took most of the broken material for this 5g/100ml steep in a new cheapy gaiwan. Lots of little junk in the first pour as a result. Hay and more light cherry notes on the nose and in the sip. Astringency in the second steep that reads more as crispness than drying. Very clear apricot notes on the wet leaves.
I appreciate that the gaiwan in general encourages lid-off-between-steeps and really appreciating the look and smell of the leaves; this gaiwan in particular is one that can support the lid between the cup and the saucer as a nice compact package.
I haven’t seen a lot of love for Fengqing puerh. This is pretty mild, one of those shengs that alllllmost leaves me feeling like I missed something. But then it’s refreshing and easy and I enjoy the sip — and maybe that’s enough.
Next steep loses some astringency. That’s fun. Apricot/peach dominate the leaf scent, while the taste rides a pleasant line of refreshment without too much HEY LOOKIE ME flavor profile. I get some wet rock/mountain flashes with the crispness. It’s nice. And it’s lasting several steeps.
I feel quite relaxed, but I know I’m running on fumes and this is the first sit-and-think time I’ve taken in 8 days… not sure if Tea or Tired.
I wouldn’t buy more of this, I guess, but I’d be thrilled if it was offered by a friend. Which it was. <3
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Cherry, Crisp, Hay, Peach, Wet Rocks
A day of yummy tea and a lazy brain. Tired lass.
I officially love sticky rice scented teas. The oolong I had from Alistair, and now this puer: hoo, yum. I gong fu’d this despite it being a tea bag with western parameters stamped on its packaging; I would not recommend a rinse on this one, because it comes out of the gate so so beautifully. The interplay between the sticky rice notes and the foresty puerh is a delight.
These little packets from Teavivre are terribly unassuming, with plainish packaging and leaves broken to bits, but the two I’ve had from ashmanra — thank you for yet another good time — have both been very distinct in character and really just lovely. I’m a baby puer drinker, but the delicacy and flavor precision easily stands up to any loose/caked puer I’ve had.
The puer is lasting longer than the rice, unsurprisingly — but I’m on steep six and the brew, though changing, still has plenty of character.
In other news, I ordered a couple cheapy gaiwans to start playing with smaller volumes and less leaf (been using a 160ml ceramic gaiwan-ish pot up to this point). Some of the teas I’m staring down feel precious, so being able to use less leaf for a session is super appealing. Cutting down on liquid and caffeine consumption per session means I can fit more teas into a day, too, which is thumbs up all around. I’m sc’ited!
Flavors: Creamy, Forest Floor, Rice, Umami
It is so blasted hot. I have been working outside, watering tomatoes from the rain barrels, filling bird baths, hanging out clothes, etc. I absolutely could not bear the thought of lunch on the patio but then I came in and cooled off and decided that a cold salad and cold tea would be good out there after all. Must eat outside all we can before the mosquitoes show up in droves.
Last year, Verdant tea had a blog post and some emails about making flash steeped tea. I usually drink my cold tea (other than cold puerh) sweetened but I loved making a flash chilled shaker of really good leaf and drinking it plain. I decided that was the way to say goodbye to this elderly oolong I found at the bottom of a box. Best by date was 2019.
It was excellent. Nice foam from the shaking comes from natural saponins in the tea. The clear is clear and clean and beautiful, just looking at it is refreshing. Aroma is very floral and complex, taste is even more complex. Floral, nutty, musky seaweed, sweetness, then a little toasty – all swirl around in layers. We have made two big steeps so far and will possibly try another, but because of how we are drinking it we are using a bit more water than gong fu but less than Western steeping.
Age hasn’t hurt this tea at all. Good stuff.
Harvest Year: 2022
Date Drunk: 2023-04-14
5g in 100ml porcelain gaiwan
Dry leaf smells sweet, fruity, grassy and floral – stunning. Nectarines, chestnuts, and almost a cotton-candy-like note.
1st infusion: (85˚C, 0:15)
- Wet leaf smells incredibly nutty and lovely. I’m getting Longjing vibes.
- Liquor itself smells way more grassy/vegetal, slight common floral. Ok the liquor is decent but falls far short of Longjing, not as complex. Not sweet at all when hot, has some chestnut-like sweetness when cooler. Tastes sweet and delicious with my oatmeal. A nice fresh subtle Chinese green tea. Slight flat aftertaste.
- Rating: 74
2nd infusion: (85˚C, 0:30)
- Wet leaf still gives me Longjing vibes, and this time the liquor smells more like Longjing too.
- Liquor tastes more flavourful and nutty now than the first infusion. A bit bitter and flat-tasting – probably overbrewed. Doesn’t pair as well with my oatmeal.
- Rating: 73
3rd infusion: (87˚C, 0:30)
- Ooh that is really bitter and astringent now. Would probably pair well with sweets…
- Rating: 69
4th infusion: (88˚C, 0:45)
- Mellowed out now. Quite nice and less bitter than previous.
- Rating: 73
Verdict: A daily drinker if anything.
Flavors: Bitter, Chestnut, Grass, Nectarine, Vegetal
I received 50 g of fresh spring 2023 pre-Qingming Bi Luo Chun about a week ago, and got this new-to-me tea as one of my two free samples. This is something I probably never would have tried, so thanks to Teavivre for including it! I steeped around 3 g of leaf in an 85 ml teapot at 176F for 20, 25, 35, 50, 80, 120, and 240 seconds, plus some uncounted steeps. I also steeped the remaining 2 g in around 250 ml of 176F water for 5 minutes, topping up the water as needed.
The dry aroma of these flat, almost uniform leaves is of chestnuts, seaweed, and grass. The first steep has notes of chestnuts, green beans, asparagus, butter, umami, and grass. The next steep adds notes of orange peel and florals, and the tea is slightly drying. The tea is less sweet than Dragonwell and has a starchy quality. The orange disappears in the next couple steeps, and stronger notes of asparagus, chestnut, and green beans emerge. The final steeps are a bit more bitter and add kale and grass to the veggie combo.
Bowl steeped, this tea has notes of chestnut, asparagus, spinach, green pepper, faint florals, seaweed, and grass. There’s some bitterness, but it’s not overwhelming. I get more green beans and grass as the session goes on, and the tea becomes slightly sweeter and more floral. It lasts for several infusions.
This is close to the type of nutty, less abrasive Chinese green tea that I like, though Dragonwell appeals to me a little more because it tends to be sweeter. As usual, bowl steeping provided the more pleasant experience, though the citrus in the gongfu session was a nice surprise. This isn’t something I need to rush out and buy, but I’m glad I got to try it.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Chestnut, Drying, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Green Pepper, Kale, Orange Zest, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal