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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m gonna need to revisit this one, ‘cause while I found it had some of those soft smoke elements and vegetal tones that I’m used to with Gunpowder tea it was also really mild/weak tasting and didn’t form a strong impression with me.
The first 4 steepings of this tea had a gentle/ pleasant bitterness that almost covered fruity notes of apple and a pleasant mix of sourness and sweetness.
After that the bitternesswas more in the background and the fruity notes came foreward, accompanied by a diffuse flowery taste I didn’t quite catch in the earlier steepings. From the 5th steeping on the dark but subtle flowery taste got the dominant note in the tea and developed into a bouquet of violets, jasmine and lilies.
I like the gentle bitternes in this tea that is quite prevalent in the beginning but in itself still smooth and tasty. Also the flowery notes were a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t encountered such such flavors in a sheng pu-erh yet.
5g Tea in a 75ml Gaiwan, almost boiling water fresh from the stove top
8s rinse, 10, 12, 20, 25, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 45, 50 seconds
Flavors: Apple, Astringent, Bitter, Flowers, Fruity, Jasmine, Pleasantly Sour, Violet
I’m much more comfortable with ripe pu’erh these days, although it still seems to be something that goes in phases with me. I’ll drink a lot for a while, then none for ages, but I know I’ll usually come back to it at some point. This sample has been sitting in my cupboard for a while, in amongst some other Teavivre samples I’d also long since forgotten about. It deserves to see the light of day, let’s say!
In flavour terms, I don’t find this one to be particularly exceptional (although I’ve been spoilt a lot by teas from Dark Matter recently). It’s smooth and fairly creamy, with an underlying earthiness that prominent without being overbearing. A good shou, in my book, but nothing amazing. A flavour like this is generally what I’ve come to expect, although with varying levels of mud/earth. This one strikes a nice balance.
It’s not a shou I’d go out of my way to keep around, but it’s a pleasant addition to my drinking choices nevertheless.
This is one of my all-time least favourite raw pu’erhs, and yet somehow more of it seems to keep appearing in my cupboard. I’m not even sure how it gets there, because I thought I’d polished all of this off ages ago! Apparently not.
It has a flavour to it that I find hard to describe – it’s slightly metallic, but with an undertone of decaying fish? That’s not exactly right, but close enough. It’s kind of briney, but not salty…like brine if it wasn’t salty? This was one of the first raw pu’erhs I tried, and unsurprisingly it put me off them for a long time. I now know that they’re not all like this, but then this one’ll come back around and put me off all over again.
This tea makes me sad. I don’t think we’ll ever, ever be friends.
I can smell menthol, and I can just about taste menthol, and that was the first surprise for me with this tea. If it’s subtle in terms of menthol flavour, though, it certainly posesses the effect in quantity – my lips are tingly, and it has the same cooling effect mint tea has for me. Who knew?
In my head, I was expecting this to be a bit like the other Fengqing raw pu’erhs I’ve tried, none of which I’ve particularly enjoyed. This one, though, is more than a little different. It has the underlying brassy flavour I most associate with raw pu’erh (at least of this variety) but it’s also somehow fresher and cleaner. The menthol plays a large part in creating that effect, obviously, but it’s more than that too. It’s like spring leaves as opposed to autumn leaves – it tastes greener, less earthy, brighter.
As ever, this probably isn’t something I’d want to keep around long term. I think on balance raw pu’erh just isn’t really my thing, but this is one of the more palatable I’ve tried.
I’m pretty sure this is the last of the Spring 2015 teas in my cupboard, and it’s a pretty good feeling to get to this point. It also means that I can maybe allow myself some of this year’s spring greens, just in time!
This one isn’t a variety I’ve tried before, as far as I can recall. The leaves are pretty unique looking – long and very thin, but twisted. They can be unfurled into almost whole leaves in most cases. The scent of the wet leaf is strongly vegetal (in the way of spinach, or green cabbage), but the tea itself is a more delicate affair. In some ways, it’s almost more floral than vegetal – drinking this reminds me a little of the scent of lilies. There is a vegetal flavour also, but in truth it’s more underlying than I expected it to be. I have some doubts as to whether spinach and lily really work _all_that well together as a flavour combination, but that’s mostly just me being a baby. It’s okay, really.
It was interesting to try a new-to-me green variety, although it’s not going to become a favourite I don’t think. That’s still Bi Luo Chun for me!
Something about this tea is really comforting to me, like noodle soup on a cold and rainy day. The main taste I am getting is a compilation of old wood, wet earth, coffee, leather and smoke. Below that, there is the tiniest bit of bitterness aswell as sweetness which balances the flavours beautifully. Also I really like the silky mouthfeel of this shou.
The only downside is that the tea doesn’t really develop during the session, so you can get bored fast. But comparing it to the few other shou I have tasted it is quite complex and pleasant (Teavivre ripened aged pu-erh mini tuocha, Teavivre ripened rose pu-erh mini tuocha and Heuschrecke Pu erh-Tee).
Preparation: 2x short rinses, 10/12/10/15/20/30
Flavors: Bitter, Coffee, Decayed wood, Leather, Smoke, Sweet, Wet Earth
Finally getting to some of my older Teavivre samples! I’ve been spoilt for oolong recently, having just worked through Dark Matter 2016. I’m not expecting this one to hold up to those kind of standards, but you never know…
In actual fact, it’s not bad. I’m getting an initial grape flavour that I really like – it reminds me a little bit of darjeeling and a little bit of grape flavour hard candy, and it’s sweeter than I was expecting. There’s a light roastiness underlying, but it doesn’t translate into a metallic/brassy kind of flavour, so that’s a win. I get a little earthiness towards the end of the sip, and maybe a touch of orchid floral, but mostly it’s sweet grape (and I like it!)
As an aside, I noticed it said in the description that Dan Cong oolongs are good for hypertension. Probably it’s a good thing for me to be drinking right now, since the management company of the block of flats I live in are being… * insert appropriate word here*
We had heavy snow last week (really heavy, for my part of the world), and on Saturday, as it started to thaw, one of our communal pipes sprung a fairly spectacular leak. It’s literally gushing, spraying water everywhere, the works. I can’t find the stopcock, and none of my neighbours seem particularly bothered. I’ve reported it to the company who are supposed to maintain our communal spaces, and they’re basically not bothered either. They send incredibly passive, don’t care kind of email responses (eventually…) which give me no confidence at all in their ability to actually fix anything. It’s not the first time, so I don’t know why I’m surprised – maybe I’m not actually surprised at all but just really fucking annoyed. I pay them over £100 a month to fix this kind of shit, and, well…
I think I need some more tea.
This tea merges nicely sweetness, smokyness and fruity sourness. Not super complex but still good. The fruityness mostly reminds me of dried apples and plums (like the dried friut my grandaunt used to make for us) that goes nicely with the smoke.
Just the drying mouthfeel in the first 2 steepings was a bit offputting but from the 3rd on cup it was gone or rather soft and velvety. Also the smokyness comes more foreward und balances the strong sweetness from the beginning.
2 short rinses to open up the leaves. Steepings: 10/ 10/ 15/ 20/ 25/ 25 (still going)
This way it was not bitter at all.
With another sample I did the following session: 1 rinse/ 25/ 20/ 20/ 30/ 30/ 50/ 50/ 60
That way I extracted much more bitterness and mineraly notes that merged in the 4th steeping into a flowery darkness. But with shorter rinses I enjoyed the tea way more and also longer.
From my beginner’s perspective this tea tastes quite similar to Teavivres 2006 Fenqing Raw Puerh Tuocha and also a bit like their Fenqing Ancient Tree Spring Chun Jian Raw Pu-erh Cake from 2012 (although that seems to be more bitter and spicy). I have to do a more in-depth taste test with these three teas!
Flavors: Apple, Plums, Smoke, Sour, Sweet
Acquired on my own and used my personal steeping parameters, keeping the recommended temperature. Brewed in a porcelain gaiwan. No rinse. Steeping times: 20 seconds, 10, 20, 40; 1 minute, 2, 4, 8.
The dry leaf smells mostly of sweet potato skin with just a smidge of dates. The fruitiness begins to come through with the heated leaf, from which I pick out dates and figs, and chocolate as well. At first, the wet leaf aroma disappointingly smells of malt and sweet potato. But as I steep the leaf throughout the session, the sweetness truly comes through at its fullest and holds up strong until after the final steep. It’s fruity, chocolately, and a little nutty. In addition, the liquor leaves behind a berry-filled aroma in my cup.
The liquor is orange and clear, and has a light body. The first infusion is gently fruity with a sharp and light mouthfeel, its aftertaste drying. The creme de la creme of the session occurs from infusions 2 through 6, wherein the liquor is thick and silky, very sweet with dark dried fruits, and astringent in the mouth. The taste is also evocative of the fragrance of dewy flowers in early spring. A surprise – the first time a hongcha reminds me spring! While there was no aftertaste in the first infusion, these infusions have a sweet aftertaste that linger a few minutes. I’m beginning to push this keemun with 4 minutes at the seventh infusion. It still tastes fully sweet and fruity, and also feels peppery on the tongue. I then really pushed this at steep eight – at 8 minutes long – which was just plain done and tired with eeking out flavor. At this point, the aroma of the wet leaf has finished, too.
This is a great keemun. I had a difficulty pacing myself and slowing the session. I couldn’t help but down each cup (50ml – small amount and quickly cooling). I loved the aroma, the taste, and the overall feel. By far my favorite of Teavivire’s keemuns even though I have one left to evaluate.
Since I started getting into loose leaf, I’ve wanted to try all ten of China’s famous teas. After this one, I should only have two more to go (Du Yun Mao Jian and Jun Shan Yin Zhen), although I’d like to revisit a few more. I steeped about 3.5 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain teapot at 185F for 20, 40, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
This Mao Jian is a bit more assertive than other greens I’ve tried, with notes of snow peas, kale, bok choy, and other bitter greens on the first steep. In subsequent steeps, I get a stronger vegetal and umami flavour and a hint of smokiness. The liquor is somewhat astringent and has an oily mouthfeel on the later steeps, combined with a long, vegetal aftertaste. The two last steeps are more astringent than the others, but are still enjoyable.
This was a pleasant green tea that I imagine would be very refreshing cold brewed. It would be fun to compare it with its Du Yun counterpart.
Flavors: Astringent, Bok Choy, Kale, Peas, Smoke, Umami, Vegetal
This tea is very old. I’ve been a bit busy of late. I have two kids now, a 3 year-old girl and an 11-month-old boy. I work full-time too. So between that and daily life, chores, cleaning, laundry, etc., there’s not any time left for tea or blogging. The date on this tea was June 2016 and it’s March 2018. A rating really wouldn’t be fair since it has barely any flavor left. It’s safe to say that this tea is past its prime. But with my kids giggling together in the next room, I feel the trade was worth it.
Good discovery for this Rougui oolong roasting light see average, can allow the discovery of tea wuyi, even if that if not classified in ‘grand cru’, but your even detours. the liquor evokes fruit wall, tobacco, taste of sweet, all in voluptuousness that marries well with a moderate but not heavy burping present.
GongFu cha: 6 infu 15/15/30/35/45/60 Secondes
fruit wall, Tobacco, sweet, light floral, medium roasting see light
A good base to enter the family of rock tea, not very pronounced with a slight torefaction, tea that on the whole and quite round in the mouth.
roast, light bitterness, mellow, round, tobacco, toast, something that evokes heat, plus a flowering touch as a last infusion.
Gongfucha 100°c 8 infu 5/10/15/20/30 Secondes, 1/2/4 min
Flavors: Flowers, Roasted, Toast
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It seems like it has been forever since I have reviewed a Chinese gunpowder green tea. I used to love teas like this when I was a little younger and still have something of a soft spot for them. When I want a green tea to just throw back and not think all that much about, gunpowder green tea is normally one of the first teas I seek out. This one, however, did not do all that much for me. In looking over the other reviews for this tea, you’ll notice that my opinion of this tea most definitely marks me as an outlier. I just do not get the high ratings for this one.
Though I normally brew gunpowder green teas in the Western style, I opted to gongfu this one. After a brief rinse, I steeped 7 grams of loose tea pellets in 5 ounces of 180 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 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 tea pellets emitted vague aromas of grass, hay, lemon, and roasted vegetables. After the rinse, I found emerging scents of cooked spinach and seaweed. The first infusion then brought out hints of smoke and straw on the nose. In the mouth, I picked up notes of smoke, hay, grass, cooked spinach, roasted Brussels sprouts, grilled lemon, and seaweed. Subsequent infusions brought out notes of charcoal, roasted carrot, wood, minerals, earth, broccoli, and cooked cabbage. The later infusions mostly offered notes of minerals, charcoal, earth, smoke, and hay with fleeting hints of seaweed and cooked cabbage occasionally noticeable in the background.
I know that Teavivre lists this as their basic, introductory gunpowder green tea, and it may seem that I am being more than a bit hard on it, but here’s the deal: despite offering a lot of flavor, I did not find this to be all that good of a gunpowder green tea. Once the leaf pellets unfurled, it was obvious that this tea was mostly grit and chop. Each infusion was murky and chalky, leaving a persistently dusty, musty feeling in my mouth. The tea was surprisingly astringent too, though it thankfully never turned bitter. While gunpowder green teas are almost certainly never going to be super high end, this one was decidedly lower in quality than I was expecting. Clearly other reviewers liked this tea, so feel free to take this review with a grain of salt, but I do maintain that there are better gunpowder green teas out there.
Flavors: Broccoli, Char, Earth, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Mineral, Roasted, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Vegetal, Wood
I thought that Teavivre is a place to find just inexpensive passable puerh (with their core competency rather being green and red teas) but I was certainly wrong with this one. These little cubes are solid. The first steeps deliver a good balance of earthiness, mushrooms and sweetness. In later steeps sweetness becomes a dominant flavor. No hint of astringency, funkiness or any fishy flavor.
It comes out good with short light infusions and with longer deeper ones. The taste is not the most original or overly complex but there is enough going on to keep you interested. It also looks and smells right and generally presents itself as a quintessential solid ripe puerh. That combines with the ability to give you many quality resteeps and very affordable price.
I really liked this shou and, inspired by it, will certainly get samples of several more puerhs from Teavivre hoping to find more hidden gems there. Because their puer prices are certainly one of the cheapest I encountered so far.
I used 4 balls…so good. I am on a roll today and wish I was home having a cozy/lazy day sipping down delicious teas. I get notes of chocolate, mineral, autumn leaves, leather, and sweet potatoes. Definitely a good buy. Thank you Teavivre!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Chocolate, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Sweet Potatoes
Purchased a sample for myself. Brewed with a porcelain gaiwan. No rinse. Steeping times: 20, 10, 20, 40; 1 minute, 5.
NOTE: The website’s recommended temperature is 195. I suggest 190 if your kettle doesn’t have 195. 200 burns the leaf and produces bitterness.
The dry leaf has an unexpected aroma of smoke and what I identify as pine wood and sap. The familiar minghong aroma arises when the leaf has warmed in the pre-heated gaiwan. Individually, the heated aroma has notes of chocolate, baked bread, and salt. Altogether, I thought I was smelling chocolate-covered pretzels. Finally, the wet leaf smells like a keemun: honey and molasses. It’s worthy to note that the liquor, too, is fragrant. A molasses/chocolate fragrance sticks to the gaiwan lid and the cup.
The liquor has a fiery yet deep orange color, a full body, and a smooth and thick texture. The first infusion mostly tastes of molasses, a lovely sweetness. Infusions two through four – the most enjoyable – also have the molasses note, but wood and something like myrrh and patchouli also make their way in. Wonderful complex cups. There is also a brief chocolate aftertaste during this part of the session, but it disappears towards the tail-end. The fifth and sixth infusions – long steeps – are a bit of a long shot trying to keep this keemun going and to eek out last flavors. They mostly taste of pine wood, with just some honey sweetness.
Not truly for me, but I did enjoy certain aspects of the aroma and taste. A good quality keemun.
So at long last, I finally got my hands on some duck shit oolong. I have long been intrigued by this funny sounding tea, but couldn’t bring myself to commit to a 50g bag. Thankfully I was able to get a sampler recently from Teavivre. The ability to sample any tea is another reason why I love this tea shop.
This tea has a honey-gardenia flavor profile. It’s on the greener end of the oolong spectrum but has an ever so subtle roast that brings out hints of warm spice, honey, and almond. I enjoyed the crispness and mellow florals of this tea. Mouthfeel is rich and buttery. However around the 4th steep, it began shifting to a more savory flavor. It develops a bit of pungency and leaves behind a leathery aftertaste.
I had mixed feelings about this tea. It starts off great, but eventually turns soup-like with some odd flavors. Nevertheless, as a green oolong lover the roast on this tea is on point. It retains the delicate flowery notes and has a caramel edge without ever tasting roasty. I’ll likely revisit this tea somewhere down the road, this time with a fresher batch and/or a higher grade of duck shit.
Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Gardenias, Honey, Leather
This sample is from the 2017 harvest and is a tea I’ve never tried before. Following Teavivre’s instructions, I steeped around 4 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain teapot at 185F for 30, 50, 70, and 90 seconds.
The first steep has notes of green beans and florals, with a touch of astringency. The second tastes like buttered green beans. I can smell a peach aroma in the teapot, but it doesn’t make it into the tea. Although I wouldn’t describe it as nutty, I get what others are saying about it being reminiscent of dragonwell. The next couple steeps have notes of beans, peas, lettuce, and other veggies.
This was fresh and enjoyable, but it doesn’t make me a green tea convert. I’ll have to try it Western style to see if I can pick up on some other flavours.
Flavors: Beany, Butter, Floral, Garden Peas, Lettuce, Vegetal