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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a nice, smooth, creamy, mellow ripe pu-erh. It was received as a free sample with my tea order, so thank you Teavivre. The sample included two generous pieces of tangerine skin. I brewed this gong fu style with an initial quick rinse, then a first infusion of 10 seconds. That produced a light, sweet, mild and mildly earthy liquor, light in color, and containing no detectable traces of citrus to my palate. The second infusion, I went for 30 secs, and this time the liquor is much darker. It is still very smooth and only very slightly bitter at the longer infusion time. I do get a very subtle hint of citrus in this second infusion, but I really do mean subtle. If I didn’t know it had tangerine and wasn’t looking for it, I probably would not have noticed it. The second infusion finishes sweet and leaves a somewhat thick coating in the mouth and on the lips. Only after 5 minutes does a small amount of astringency appear. I wonder if the tangerine was more present when it was younger. I can imagine a bit of fresh tangerine zest in this tea would be delicious, but alas, I have none on hand. Third infusion, I’m letting it steep for a minute with just off the boil water that was poured high directly onto the tangerine skin. Can you tell I’m wanting that tangerine note? :-) This pu-erh doesn’t mind being steeped longer. The third infusion is mellow. No bitterness at all, which surprised me. Caffeine content must be pretty high. It’s producing a nice feeling. Fourth infusion I pushed to 3 mins. Still smooth and mellow, no bitterness. I checked the fridge once more, and found a mandarin orange. I added a squeeze to my cup to see how it would change the tea. Interesting— it was readily absorbed into the overall tea flavor and did not stand out prominently, so perhaps the tangerine has been present all along, influencing the overall flavor, providing a touch of sweetness, but never becoming a prominent note. For anyone wanting to a try a ripe shou pu-erh, but is put off by mustiness, this one is a good one to try. If you were to do a couple of rinses first, you’d bypass the old library book found in some shou pu-erh.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Cocoa, Earth
The first tea to start my day. It is a beautiful tea, very fine leaves, beautiful golden color. Brewed gong fu style in a porcelain gaiwan. 1 rinse, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, etc at 180-190 degrees F. The wet leaves are fragrant with a sweet potato scent and chocolate malt. The wet leaves are copper colored and the liquor takes on this bright copper color. This tea has a long lingering aftertaste of chocolate. There is just barely a hint of bitterness. It’s very mild. There is a bit of chocolate covered raisins in the aftertaste, and something nutty or perhaps pastry-like. This tea pairs perfectly with a bite of Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Almond nut bar. It is so good together.
Flavors: Chocolate, Nutty, Pastries, Raisins, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
Thank you Teavivre for this sample. This tea makes me say ha cha cha cha! A number of people have reviewed this tea, but I think it has continued to improve in the last couple of years. This sheng pu-erh recently passed a decade in age. Even at 11 years old, this sheng still has a somewhat green tea character. After a rinse, the leaves give off a fresh green tea smell. I can’t say I recall any smokey character to the tea, though I had read older reviews where smoke was detected. Maybe the smoke has mellowed out of the tea. I did this sheng pu-erh gong fu style with a couple of rinses sacrificed. I’m not a sheng pu-erh expert by any means, but this tea did offer some notes I think most people associate with shengs. Initial infusions were sweet, hay/grass green, and a little bitter. Later steeps introduced a distinct sour note. When I licked my lips a few seconds after a sip, I was surprised by just how sour it “felt” on my tongue. There was a bit of earthiness in the tea early on, but it was light, and it did not last long. I kept drinking this tea all day. Infusions grew mild, but always remained sweet and bitterness subsided. I experienced no astringency in this tea. The bitterness that was present was in balance with the tea. A few years back, I couldn’t imagine myself enjoying a tea with bitterness, but it works in these sheng pu-erhs. Initially, this tea packed a punch. It’ll wake you up and give your system a buzz.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Green, Hay, Sweet, Wood
This is the unflavored Jin Xuan milk oolong from Teavivre. The tea was produced by pinching off a stem that contains several leaves, and then rolling this into a tight ball. It’s really amazing to see one of these small rolls of tea unfurl. I read a review where someone thought this teas was better brewed western style. I’ll try that next. I brewed this gong fu style. It lived up to its billing. In the first two infusions, it had a distinctive milky, creamy note. As the infusions increased, the milkiness was no longer present, and it took on more of a vegetal taste. The tea remained sweet throughout.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Milk, Sweet, Vegetal
The scent of this is absolutely delicious. But, as my pu-erh has been pounding into my head, remorselessly: smell does not equal flavor — not by far. In fact, sometimes, they go in opposite directions all together. This was one of those times.
The scent of this was very sweet, like glutinous rice — just as the website’s description puts it. But, the flavor and scent upon brewing it was very unappealing to me. It was smoky — more smoky than earthy or woody, but there were earth and wood scents and tastes in there. There was a sweetness still in there somewhere, but it was barely detectable under the smokiness.
Part of this could be because I used a bit more tea this time. The flavor was very strong and the brew was so deep in color that I couldn’t see the bottom of the glass unless I put it in bright light. The other issue could be that I used a lot of pieces of leaves. I also noticed that one of the small chunks I broke up was very easy to break. I tend not to have good results from cakes that just fall apart, but that’s just my own experience.
I will brew this again with pieces from a larger chunk and with less, as this seems to be very strong. That said, smoky is not a flavor that I like so I don’t anticipate liking this one. I’m allergic to smoke, so as I’m sure you can imagine, tasting or smelling smoke is not the most pleasant experience of me. So, while I’m sure that another tasting will give me more details and perhaps a better experience, I still don’t anticipate deciding to buy this one. It’s just not my taste. But, I’m hoping it will at least be a more pleasant experience. This one was not pleasant for me. Even after cutting the brewing time in half for the second steeping to compensate for the strength, it was still just too much. I should have enough left for at least two gaiwan steepings, so I’ll have the opportunity to make adjustments and see how it goes next time. For now, I’ll leave it without a rating as I don’t think I have a good grasp on the experience of it yet.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Rice, Smoke, Smoked, Sweet
This morning, I had Planet Jingmai raw puerh from Crimson Lotus, so this afternoon I decided to have some small moons from Teavivre. Most people seem to be using 3 or 4 balls of Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea, but I went for a full 4 grams, which came out to be 6 balls in a 110ml gaiwan. I did a rinse, then started with a 30 second infusion to open the balls, then went back to 10 secs for the next infusion and began adding seconds from there. Compared to a Laoshan Black, this tea doesn’t have as strong of a chocolate note, and for me it is less of a chocolate taste and more of a faint chocolate smell. There is also that malty note that others have reviewed, and I find that it fades by about the fourth infusion. I get some sweet potato taste. In fact, this dragon pearl tasted a lot of like a more delicate version of Laoshan Black. I never experienced any bitterness or astringency. I could drink this tea as a daily, though I would go with Laoshan Black for the more pronounced chocolate note. I happened to have an Oreo nearby, and I have to say, this tea goes great with an Oreo. As most probably know, this tea is shipped directly from China. Packaging was excellent with sealed foil smaller bags inside sealed foil larger bags, the larger bags being wrapped in bubble wrap and packaged with more bubble wrap inside of the box.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes
My first pu-erh tea. I’ve never tasted something like this before (I’m new to loose leaf tea btw). The moment I tasted this tea, I remembered the vacation place from my childhood. I couldn’t understood why. I think it was because of the wooden taste which took my time to figure out. I enjoyed the tea. It was strong and has different notes to discover.
Flavors: Earth, Wood
See my full review on Sororitea Sisters:
Flavors: Apple, Fruity, Grapes, Grass, White Grapes
My first ever experience with oolong tea. Used amount of 2 teaspoon, rinsed, and waited 4 minute for brewing. However for 1. steep there was a dominant grass taste and nothing else. Maybe it’s because of me since I’m new to this and can’t catch the notes.
2. steep has less vegetal taste but still couldn’t taste something special.
Thanks for having that wonderful giveaway a few months ago, Teavivre! I won a few samples and a $5 gift card. Teavivre is awesome like that. The leaves here are the longest I’ve seen, long flattened lovely green leaves, that peak out of my basket infuser while touching the bottom. The scent of the dry leaves is sweet and heavenly. The flavor is too. There is such complexity here: sugar, butter, creamed corn, even strawberries. Strawberries! And even more little flavor notes that I’m sure I missed. It’s like every sip was different. The second steep was a little more muted than the first cup. I can definitely taste the quality in this one, like I usually can with Teavivre’s teas.
Steep #1 // half sample for a full mug// 33 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 27 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
This is one from Angel at Teavivre. Thank you! I steeped this for about 5 minutes and since that only 1/2 opened the tightly wrapped ball, I probably should have steeped this for longer. Nonetheless, the tea is the typical white tea hue so I figured it might be okay. Flavorwise, it is light but flavorful with notes often associated with white tea like sweet corn, hay and butter. It is good but it is also a plain white tea, which is not something I reach for very often. So, I would recommend this for those who enjoy white teas even though I myself probably won’t revisit it anytime soon.
I’ve decided that this is a tea style (aged white) that needs to be in my cupboard all the time. So far, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have subsisted solely on samples from generous Steepster users and companies, but I think it’s high time I officially invest and stock up!
Why do I love this kind of thing? For starters, it combines my favourite floral, hay, and fruity notes of white tea styles with the smooth, creamy-earth profile of an aged tea. It also proves to the world that you can be the low-grade by-product of Silver Needles, and still retain ALL the class. Dance on, classy tea.
This shou mei has a heady sweetness that I associate with blueberry wine. I can’t say why shou mei’s and blueberries are interlinked in my mind, but there it is. Not sure anyone else would get that particular flavour. It turns into a spiced juniper berry in later steepings.
Steep Count: 3
Sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!
Flavors: Berries, Blueberry, Earth, Floral, Honey, Lemon, Spices, Sweet, warm grass, Wood
Sample from Angel Thank you!
I had gongfu’d this on Sunday and finished the session before work yesterday morning. I first noted that the tea was bitter; however, after realizing that my water temperature was still at 195 F after the sheng I had brewed, I switched the temperature to 165 F. After a couple of steeps with the new temp, the leaf had managed to change. There were grassy & buttery notes, with a touch of astringency. I got to about 9-10 steeps before giving up. At that point, I was pushing the tea, but it was pretty much hot water with a touch of flavor. I had enjoyed this once I realized the mistake with the water temperature.
Angel full hand made rare organic she qian long Jing green tea. Limited edition from Teavivre.
Gongfucha review. Ru Yao dragon teapot.
Dry leaf: green, vegetal, sweet.
Light steep; I taste/smell: (smell) slight —> green, vegetal, chestnut. (Taste) light -→ green, vegetal, sweet, grass, chestnut, mineral, smooth.
Medium steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light —> sweet, green, vegetal, chestnut. (Taste) medium -→ smooth, green, grass, sweet, vegetal, chestnut, mineral, metallic (unknown), green peas, asparagus, beans (?).
Heavy steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light something but I can’t put my nose on it. (Taste) medium to strong —> metallic (iron and copper). slight to light -→ grass (?) green (?) I don’t know…
All in all an amazing tea! I’m not sure if it’s worth the rare status but it’s yummy :D. Nice cha qi! I rate a 75/100.
Flavors: Asparagus, Chestnut, Grass, Green, Metallic, Mineral, Peas, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal
This one falls a bit flat for me. Missing the roasted sweetness while also not offering much in the way of florals and green notes. Maybe this is old tea, as I don’t know when it was harvested. There are better Dong Dings out there.
Thank you, Teavivre, for this sample! I don’t think I ever tried a yellow tea before. I anticipated that it would have characteristics similar to green tea since it was on the lighter side of the color spectrum.
When I opened the silver sample package, long green tea leaves greeted me from inside. The aroma of the unbrewed leaves was grassy and, yes, similar to the grassy smell of green tea.
I brewed the leaves at approximately 185 degrees (I had to estimate using the office microwave machine to heat the water) for eight minutes as recommended on the package. The steeped color was light yellow. The odor was again definitely like that of green tea.
The flavor of this tea was surprisingly full-bodied, distinct, and satisfying. Yes, the taste was similar to green tea, but this yellow tea had its own flavor signature as well. The taste was a bit grassy like green varieties but there was also a blended sweet potato attribute that lay comfortably on my palate. As is common with Teavivre teas, it was extremely smooth without a glimmer of astringency. The aftertaste was light and airy and it quickly dissipated.
I didn’t expect to like yellow tea too much since I almost exclusively favor the robust, high octane, black teas. However, I REALLY enjoyed this one…A LOT! I don’t have a long list of preferred afternoon and evening teas yet but this offering is definitely high up on it!
Flavors: Grass, Sweet Potatoes
Another sample from Teavivre, the first oolong I’ve tried!
I always approach oolong thinking I am not a fan, but I forget that I have always enjoyed the green type, but not the roasted/dark sort. Not sure of the terminology for that, sorry.
This tea was packed amazingly well, and when I opened it the bag was full of little rolly twirly balls of oolong. I made a cup at work, and it was nice to watch it all unravel as it steeped.
I really enjoyed this. It’s floral and sweet and I was struck by how “creamy” it tasted. A nice thick mouthfeel. I never thought I’d say this about an unflavoured oolong, but I might have to put this one on my wishlist!
So glad to get to try all of these delicious teas!
As I was drinking this one I thought I should probably quit my job and move to China and beg someone at Teavivre to teach me everything about tea and give me a job :)
So, I guess that means this is quite the tea!
Another Spring 2017 green tea sample from Teavivre!
Of all the three greens I have tried so far, I found this one the greenest, least buttery and least sweet. I first steeped some in my Contigo to take to the movies and was surprised the lack of amazingness compared to the others, but thought maybe it was the mug not the tea, so I tried again at home.
It’s still good, but I didn’t get the sweet bready flavour burst with this one. A bit too vegetable like without the butter and sweetness I enjoy.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to try it, because it’s helping me decide which ones to wish list!
The golden tips are so plentiful that the dry leaf is soft and spongey, like dry moss. making it a bit challenging to scoop out the dry leaf with my teaspoon.
Beautiful smooth bready caramel sweet way to begin my morning here where the rain either silences or muffles the sounds of my neighbourhood. Already a heavenly day. The sip ends with the slightest bit of stone fruit.
More and more of the sweet potato note emerges in the second and third steep.
Thank you, Angel, for this sample and the chance to try this delightful tea.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Stonefruits, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes