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Recent Tasting Notes
After trying the Keemun Imperial the other day, I thought I would break into some of my other Teavivre Keemun samples to see how they compare! This one is their second-to-lowest grade version (the lowest being Grade 2).
This pot has a bit more bite than the one I steeped yesterday – I wonder if this packet had more broken leaf or something? It’s not horribly bitter or anything, but there’s a bitterness that creeps up around the edges of my mouth starting mid-sip.
Otherwise, this is surprisingly not that different from the higher-grade version. It’s a tad heavier, but has similar baked bread and honey notes. There’s a bit more earthiness, and a bit less honey, and I’m also not getting cinnamon here. I taste hay and oats along with the bread as well, and a hint of mineral smoky note appears alongside the bitterness toward the end of the sip.
I think I get the winey-ness more with this one as it’s tannic and has a darker fruit note, like a dry red wine. This is surprisingly brisk for a Chinese black tea! I still have 3 or 4 different Keemun teas to try, which should be fun. :D
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Earth, Grain, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Oats, Red Wine, Smoke, Tannic
Am I tea, or am I soup? This, I feel, is walking a thin line. It feels like a very thin ‘buckwheat’ minestrone.
Whatever it is, it reminds me of my younger years microwaving Ready brek every morning before trundling off to school . Or babushkas toasting buckwheat slowly over a fire.
It’s nutty, it’s malty, it’s like congee in a teapot. Thick with ‘bits’ in and that nice sweetness you get from those weird roasted pyramidical seeds. It has the hint of a buttery can of creamed corn.
A nice change of pace, but I’d avoid putting in your nice Yixing pot. You don’t want it turning blue do you? Probably best in a gaiwan, or just throwing it in a cup.
All that said, it’s very tasty.
Flavors: Malt, Rice Pudding, Roasted Barley, Vanilla, Wheat
Another yummy Teavivre tea! I admit, I don’t have much experience with Keemun teas… My impression of them is that they’re stronger and smokier than the Yunnan and Fujian teas I generally drink, and I often hear them described as “winey”.
The first time I steeped this tea, I used my usual 200 degree water. This time, I noticed that the packet recommends 185 degrees, so I did that instead. I think I actually preferred the first cup…
This tea is actually quite light and bready. There are some lovely honeyed notes that make me think of toast slathered (or maybe lathered? Just kidding, Kelly) with cinnamon honey. It’s very smooth and some fresh florals pop up at the end of the sip, along with perhaps a hint of stonefruit. A wisp of mineral smoke appears in the aftertaste.
In the other cup, the floral was a bit more muted and I remember tasting more fruit, and darker fruit like berries. So if I ever have this tea again, I’ll stick to my hotter water temperature! :)
Flavors: Berry, Cinnamon, Earth, Floral, Honey, Jam, Malt, Mineral, Plums, Smoke, Stonefruits, Sweet
Another tea from my endless pile of Teavivre samples!
This one falls a bit flat after having their Golden Tips version a few days ago… Don’t get be wrong, it’s a nice enough Yunnan tea. There are notes of soft baked bread and a bit of sweet potato on top of an earthy, mineral base. I find gentle hints of smoke as well, and a touch of caraway. The end of the sip is a bit more interesting, with some light fruity notes that remind me of plum and dried cherry. A hint of molasses or brown sugar there as well.
It was a pleasant cuppa to start my day! I’ve been trying to get up earlier (7:00) to get more “me” time out of my day, as I always feel like the evening slips away from me. It certainly helps to have a nice Teavivre black tea to start off with! :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Dried Fruit, Earth, Mineral, Molasses, Plums, Rye, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wood
My goodness, these jasmine teas from Teavivre…
I always forget how scrumptious a good jasmine tea is. I don’t even like florals, but I somehow love jasmine. Here, it’s so sweet and creamy and delicious! The tea has a beautiful silky smooth texture, like a lighter version of an oolong. It’s always difficult for me to pick apart the green tea and the jasmine, but I am getting a very subtle vegetal note as well as a bit of a minerality and a touch of fuzzy apricot from the base tea.
Teavivre offers several grades of jasmine pearls, this being the cheapest one. Really, their assortment of jasmine teas is quite overwhelming… I think I have two more of their jasmine samples left to try, but I can’t imagine them possibly being vastly better than this one. There’s just not much room for improvement! :D
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Creamy, Floral, Mineral, Smooth, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal
Samurai TTB #57
Michelle kindly included a sample of this one in the TTB for me. I’ve loved most of the golden snail-style black teas I’ve tried in the past, so I was eager to give this one a try! The aroma was very rich with notes of cocoa and honey. The tea brewed up a rich reddish brown with intense chocolatey flavor and a dense, almost chewy mouthfeel. I loved the first steep, but was disappointed by the second, as the flavor became quite thin and the aftertaste was pretty astringent. This is a great one-time steep but I wish I could get more out of it!
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey
Another tea I always sort of thought was smoky and generally avoided (unless it was used as a base tea somewhere along the way and not identified). The leaves are the cutest mini curls!
Hmm. It’s not my favourite. It has hints of maltiness, but with a coppery-ness that I don’t prefer. The Lapsang Souchong had this too, but less in my mind, because I remember not being overly bothered by it. This tea comes off more savoury. Yes, savoury is the key word here. As I sip this cuppa, the coppery flavour falls a bit more to the background and more savoury-ness comes forward, but nothing in particular. It kind of feels like I’m drinking a veg broth. A high quality veg broth haha!
This one is tasty! I’ve always steered clear of Lapsang Souchong due to the smokiness, but when this one was clearly marked unsmoked, I had to pick up a sample.
The flavours here are malty cut through with hints of a coppery-ness, or perhaps brightened honey.
Had a gift card I had no clue what to do with and so decided to try a pu-erh since I had never tried one before.
First off with the sniff test. It smelled like plain tea. Unwrapped it still just smelled like plain tea.
So, I did a quick rinse, dumped the water, added new, walked to me desk and stopped the steep. If it was a full minute, I would be surprised.
The resulting liquid was a very deep black, similar to coffee. The smell was . . . fishy. not a smell that sits well with me. I grew up in the mid west. That smell triggers the “bad fish, do NOT eat” alarm. I tried taking a sip anyway and it tasted like . . .bacon.
What the . . .
Oh yeah, I had just finished eating the last little bit of my breakfast, which happened to be bacon. :) Rinsed the taste of bacon out of my mouth with some water and tried again. And it tastes fishy, and not the good fishy kind of taste.
I knew going in that this was a possibility but hey, you never know until you try.
Maybe I will try again sometime when I don’t have 15 other things demanding my attention and I can afford to sit around playing with bathroom toys and contemplating my navel. Which will be maybe when I am a retired widower some decades down the road. We’ll see. I am not heavily motivated.
This has a lovely dry alfalfa hay scent in the packet.
It came out a tad bit bitter, I think because I used a bit too much leaf. But I didn’t want to have a weird tiny amount left over!
This has a rather robust flavor, mostly oats and creamy edamame with a slight savory smokiness. There’s also a somewhat harsh mineral note, and a fairly present astringency toward the end of the sip. I get a light apricot-like flavor in the aftertaste, which I find common among Chinese green teas.
I will say, this was bit more rough around the edges than I expected! I was quite surprised by its smoky and mineral notes. Very different from other Chinese greens I’ve tried lately! Not something I would order for myself, but it was interesting to try.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Creamy, Hay, Lima Beans, Mineral, Oats, Smoked, Soybean
I love a jasmine tea for the evening, it’s just such a relaxing flavor…
I will say, because the jasmine is quite strong, I’m not sure there’s a big difference between this and a regular jasmine pearl green tea. The mouthfeel is maybe a little silkier? And there’s another light floral coming from the oolong base.
But otherwise, since the jasmine dominates anyway, I wouldn’t see a reason to order this over a jasmine pearl. The jasmine is delicious though, sweet and creamy and luscious!
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Jasmine, Mineral, Smooth, Sweet, Thick
I know I have some of this from Courtney on the way, so I figured I would sip down my one lonely little sample packet of it this morning.
I’m really enjoying this one. It’s quite earthy-tasting, but it also has a lovely dark and rich molasses flavor to it that I find very comforting. Alongside it are some dark dried fruits, a combination of tart cherries and syrupy raisins. I also taste a soft woodiness, and a bit of hay and honey near the end of the sip. There’s also a slight nectarous sweetness that’s not quite floral, and perhaps reminds me a bit of apricot?
I know Courtney found this a bit smoky, which is why she didn’t enjoy it as much, and I can see a hint of smoke here among the earthy and mineral notes.
A very lovely and understated tea, with a nice mix of sweet fruity notes with darker earth and wood. It has a lovely malty, bready flavor and nice body, and in a lot of ways reminds me of an Assam. I wouldn’t call it a standout, but it’s perfectly pleasant to sip on and the comforting flavors warm me from the inside out. ❤
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Dried Fruit, Earth, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Nectar, Raisins, Smoke, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco, Wood
Taking one of my new teapots out for a spin with a single sample packet of this tea! For some reason, I have about a million black and green tea samples from Teavivre… I sort of just picked a green tea out at random.
I expected this to be much stronger and more harsh than it is, just based on the appearance of the leaves. They were a rather muted medium green, thin and somewhat wiry, and curled up into little loops.
But this is actually a very mellow and smooth tea. There are strong and delicious creamy nut and chewy grain notes that I love. It’s definitely a rich nut, like a cashew. There’s a green-ness to this as well, and combined with the creamy quality it reminds me of edamame or lima beans, perhaps approaching sweet shelled peas as well. I do get a light mineral note and there’s a tiny hint of pleasant bitterness at the end of the sip.
Overall, it’s very easy-drinking without much of the grassy or vegetal notes that often turn people off of green tea. And its fairly light flavor is perfect for the afternoon or evening!
Flavors: Creamy, Grain, Hay, Lima Beans, Nuts, Oats, Peas, Smooth, Soybean, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
I have quite a stockpile of little Teavivre sample packets for some reason, not that I’m complaining. Easy sipdowns and a nice variety of mostly straight black and green teas, which I’m lacking a bit in my cupboard at the moment. Also a few jasmine teas, like this one. I must have wanted to try all of them or something… (shrugs)
This is lovely! I’m finding it to be mostly a jasmine tea, the peach is quite subtle. The jasmine is really delicious though, fresh and lush with a honeysuckle-like sweetness. The peach melds into it seamlessly, in fact I’m having trouble telling the two apart. There is an amazing clear and nectarlike lingering sweet note at the end of the sip. Not getting a lot from the green tea other than a touch of minerality and maybe a hint of apricot, but I don’t mind much since the jasmine is so delicious.
Love it! The peach seems like a natural note of the tea, which is lovely. It’ll be interesting to compare it to the other few jasmine samples I have waiting in the wings!
Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Floral, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Mineral, Nectar, Peach, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet
For the past nine years, I’ve become a huge fan and very accustomed to Teavivre’s fine Chinese black teas. When I was out on the Teavivre website a few weeks ago, something new and unusual caught my eye. Teavivre was offering an English Earl Grey black tea made with Sri Lanka tea. Since I love Earl Grey, and trust Teavivre to do something unique and special with this blend, I went ahead and ordered it.
The unbrewed long brown leaves had a fruity and slightly flowery aroma. I steeped them for five minutes at 195 degrees.
The brewed color was a bright amber. The aroma was pleasantly fruity and a tad flowery.
From the very first sip, the tea tasted fresh and fruity with the advertised chrysanthemum accent giving the flavor a slightly sweet attribute. No astringency existed and the experience was a pleasure from start to finish of my cup. A very light and fruity aftertaste appeared when I finished. This also was quite amiable.
As I expected, this tea was quite unique from the many other Earl Grey blends I have tried over the years. The bergamot citrus flavor was present, but with a new tasty dimension resulting from the chrysanthemum notes. Although different, I enjoyed it immensely. As the old commercial goes, “This is NOT your father’s Earl Grey!”
I encourage any English Earl Grey lover to give this unusual blend a try. It opens up new horizons for this type of tea.
Flavors: Flowers, Fruity
DIY Advent Calendar – Day 22
Thank you for sharing this one with me Sil. I noticed the smell of it was not overly smokey but instead it had almost a malty cocoa smell. That took me by surprise. And when it continued through the taste I was even more surprised. So surprised that I even checked the package to make sure it was the right tea. This is my surprise favorite of the day! It’s just so cocoa-y and bready. If someone brewed this for me and didn’t tell me what it was, I would never guess it’s a lapsang. There is hardly any smoke at all. Plus, it’s reminding me a lot of Jiri Horse by teabento. Yum!
Yesterday I received the small Teavivre order I placed on Black Friday. Three weeks in the mail is pretty good, especially considering that it’s the holidays on top of a pandemic. I had some trouble checking out and didn’t request any samples, but Teavivre included two free 7 g packs of this tea, which was incredibly generous. Perhaps they knew I like Taiwanese high mountain oolongs? Anyway, I couldn’t resist cutting one of them open and decided to follow their steeping instructions, brewing the entire 7 g in my 120 ml teapot in boiling water for 25, 25, 30, 40, 60, 90, 120, and 180 seconds.
The dry aroma of these large green nuggets is of orchids, honeysuckle, other flowers, and sugar cookies. The first steep has a nice silky texture and notes of orchids, honeysuckle, butter, cream, spinach, grass, and cookies. I love the lingering, sweet aftertaste. The second steep gives me that sappy note I sometimes get in high mountain oolongs, along with more cookies, some umami, and faint apple and stonefruit. The aftertaste switches from sweet to grassy. The next couple steeps are greener, with notes of spinach and kale, although the tea is still floral, slightly fruity, and sweet. This tea keeps getting greener as the session goes on, but the florals and sweetness keep it interesting.
Having associated Teavivre mainly with Chinese teas, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this Taiwanese oolong. I love its sweet florals, although perhaps due to my brewing parameters, it was greener than I generally prefer. Maybe shorter steeps will make the fruit and florals pop!
Flavors: Apple, Butter, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Kale, Orchid, Sap, Spinach, Stonefruits, Sweet, Umami
7.5g Sample that said best by November 2019 whoops!
This is SOOOO good. Such a Nice and creamy milky orchid flavor. I didn’t really pay a ton of attention when drinking this because I was getting some work done. I would definitely love to purchase some of this for my cupboard.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Grass, Milk, Orchid, Sweet
12/4/2020 Late morning bowl tea using a pitcher to cool down water that is just off boil.
Early impression is the dry smell is pleasant almost fruity. The tea is curly and fun to take a pinch of.
First bowl, the tea sank readily to bottom of bowl – very nice! Flavor is light but gaining strength toward end of bowl. Suddenly hit with taste or fresh corn? I wish aroma identification came easier to me!
Bowl three is a stand out – very smooth liquor. A joy to arrive here.
I’ll be taking a break for lunch and coming back to this later.
Sealed sample packet from a swap. I’m not sure who this was from, I’m guessing either Arby or Kawaii433? Thank you, whoever it was!
I’ve only ever had one other yellow tea, and it looked very different from this one. This looks like a green tea, with thin needle-like leaves. Their dry scent reminded me strongly of white tea, with light and creamy oat and hay notes.
WOW, holy crap this is delicious. It’s blowing my mind right now.
This has such a crazily nutty flavor up front, and it reminds me of deliciously roasted-but-still-creamy cashews or perhaps almonds. It also reminds me of roasted soybeans, which is a flavor that I really enjoy. There are also some soft grainy notes, like chewing on sweet raw oats. Underlying these is a sweet vegetal flavor with the deep spinach notes of a sencha, maybe with some bok choy and fresh edamame mixed in. Overall, it has a lovely thick and silky creaminess, both in flavor and mouthfeel. A hint of minerality also makes an appearance at the end of the sip, along with a clear, refreshing sweetness.
Scrumptious tea! Going on the wishlist! The end.
Flavors: Almond, Bok Choy, Creamy, Grain, Mineral, Nuts, Oats, Peas, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Soybean, Spinach, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal
Another dragon ball sample from Kawaii433!
I’m steeping this one grandpa-style in a double-walled tumbler this afternoon. I started with about 160° water, as last time I felt the temperature was too high. I’m adding cooler water as I refill as well.
The cooler temperature has definitely done some good! This came out much milder and I love the soft apricot fruit leather notes I’m getting, along with pillowy baked bread and honey. I can barely taste the rose, or it just melds so well with the Dian Hong that I’m not detecting it. There is a nice sweet nectar-y note that I bet is coming from the rose as well.
Yum. I’m shocked to say I would consider ordering this one! A rose tea?! O.O
Goodness gracious, what is this world coming to…?
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Earth, Fig, Honey, Leather, Nectar, Rose, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet, Wood