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Recent Tasting Notes
Another sample from caile :)
Ahh black teas. They are my weakness. I must have them all.
Oh dear. I just brought this up to take a whiff and I smell smoke. I know it’s there! It’s still cooling, so hopefully it won’t come through in the taste.
Okay so that smokiness certainly isn’t strong at all, but it’s there. Subtle, yes, but still too much for me. It’s not actually in the taste, but seeing as my nose has to come pretty close to the cup to take a sip, I don’t think I can quite handle it. Thank you for letting me try this one out caile!
Jasmine has this magical thing it does where no matter where I’m at emotionally when I start my cup, by the time I finish, I’m in a good place. I think if I absolutely had to decide on one type of tea to drink for the rest of my life, a variety of jasmine would absolutely be in the running. It’s easily my favorite floral flavor.
In this particular one, the silver needle is sweet with notes of honeysuckle and pairs perfectly with the jasmine, which is delicate, floral, and sweet itself. It’s so smooth. I enjoy the first two steeps the most, where the jasmine and silver needle are in harmonious balance, but the jasmine starts overcoming it by about the third steep.
I don’t think jasmine is a flavor. It’s an experience.
Never cared much for black tea until I tasted this tea this morning. I did a quick rinse and and 1 minute steep and it was heavenly. Absolutely no astringency or harsh notes. Seamless and wonderful with a nice medium body malty flavor and a touch of sweetness to round off the flavor. Will be placing another order for more as this was just a sample. Yowzer!
Thanks Angel and Teavivre for another tasty sample!
This is my first osmanthus tea! I don’t like it quite as much as jasmine, but much more than rose. The floral scent is stronger than the actual taste. The floral taste goes very well with the green oolong. Overall, I find this first steep to be creamy, floral, lightly ‘green’, and quite sweet. Really sweet. I used the whole packet, so to avoid it being too strong I only steeped it for 30s, and it turned out perfect for me.
This second steep at 45s is much stronger. The floral is waaay out there now. I probably could have just gone with 30s. I know it’s been said many times, but these type of green and floral teas always make me think of spring and summer. Sitting in a flower garden sipping this (and reading a novel) would be enough to make one feel in complete harmony with the natural world.
I’m going to keep on steeping this! Thanks again Teavivre!
Another first! My first osmanthus tea. I generally like floral teas (violet, rose, lavender, chrysanthemum), so I have high hopes for this one.
Wow, the aroma is strong and pretty thrilling. Very, powerfully floral and maybe a little fruity. It’s sweet, reminiscent of a sort of blend between violet and rose. As far as appearances go, it looks like an ordinary higher-grade oolong. Dark green nuggets with a stem sticking out. However, there are tiny, delicate flowers mixed in. They’re sort of orangish yellow with four petals… and very familiar! Wait, Osmanthus is the same thing as a tea olive tree?!
Long story short: Tea olive blossoms are very special to me in the way that they invoke nostalgia. They grow all over Atlanta, so whenever I smell them, I get flooded with memories of other times I’ve been around them in bloom. Falls and springs.
The brew comes up to a calm yellowish green. There’s the familiar, pungent oolong aroma, as well as the sweet fruity-floral scent. One sip and I’m in love. This tastes exactly like I wanted it to. Gentle oolong flavors with just a hint of nuttiness to base the flowers on. The floral osmanthus taste is right there in the forefront. It’s bright, comforting, and nostalgic. Exactly what I need in the dead of winter. This is going on my shopping list.
Flavors: Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Nuts
The first time I tried this tea, the first steep presented a semi-soapy taste which faded quickly in subsequent steeps. I don’t recall this tea producing that taste consistently each session I tried it, so it may have just been an issue with my water, or a fluke in the leaves. Besides a roasted Taiwan TGY that I tasted last year and disliked, a roasted Mao Xie, and a highly-roasted, aged Dong Ding, I have not tied many roasted ball-style oolongs. I found this one to be enjoyable, though. The roast is not overpowering, but it is close to that line and is very prominent. However, as steeps progress it recedes into something more tolerable. For some reason, I do not have many notes on this tea, which usually means I frequently drank this sample for comfort sipping while doing other tasks. From the notes I have and what I remember, it was a nice daily drink and did especially well in low leaf concentrations and longer steeps.
To my delight, I found another unopened sample packet of Teavivre Liu An Gua Plan. I’ve been doing some homework (ahem…) what with the impending 3rd Anniversary sale.
Congrats to Teavivre! May you continue to flourish in the years to come!
Now that I’ve read everyone else’s reviews and seen the pictures, I am wondering whether my Liu An Gua Plan is from the same harvest. I say this because the leaves are of all different shapes and sizes, but mostly larger and dark shale green and shaped like twisted logs. Very different from some of the other descriptions!
This description does match my previous account, though, so one possibility is that my sample packets were simply drawn from a different lot, perhaps from a different grower.
The flavor is hearty but not very green—not like spinach but more like a cross between artichoke hearts and cooked green beans—with a food-like, satisfying quality. The texture is very smooth and reminds me of Long Jing. The liquor starts out pale greenish yellow and then become pale greenish gold with tiny white filaments floating about.
I like this tea a lot and will definitely consider restocking in the weeks to come…
I’ve been debating which of the many wonderful choices to order from Teavivre, and it occurred to me that I still have not developed a full concept of Liu An Gua Pian. Time to rectify that situation posthaste!
I brewed up a big tetsubin, using the full sample (I believe 7 grams), and the first excitement is just the sight of the gorgeous dark shale green leaves. They are long and log-like—except that they are twisted beautifully. Then, upon infusion, they unfold like papyrus scrolls to reveal the wisdom hidden within. The infused whole leaves—and they are big!—are a bright, vibrant green—a sure sign that this tea is fresh and something of a wonder, given how dark and hard the dried leaves are!
The flavor is more robust but in a unique way. It does not really taste like cooked vegetables and nothing at all like sencha. To me the taste is indescribable, as it does not seem particularly spicy. The liquor brews up yellow tinged very palely green, and the glass becomes more golden after a couple of minutes.
Given how unique and delicious this tea is (now that I’ve given it a full brew and tasting), I’ll be adding Liu An Gua Pian to my upcoming order chez Teavivre. Thanks so much for the generous samples, Angel! I very much appreciate your help as I continue my journey through the vast and fascinating world of China green teas. ;-)
second infusion: this was really delicious
third infusion: I recently discovered that third infusions of high-quality loose leaf green teas make excellent iced tea—and I can even drink it late at night! I’ll no doubt be quaffing large volumes in the months to come as I lie sweating before a fan…
Another first for me, this Liu An Gua Pian was sent to me as a sample by Angel and Teavivre. Thank you again for expanding my horizons!
The liquor brewed up light but also somehow bright—a nice green hue veering toward fluorescence, but gently so… The taste has a bit of a bite to it, but I believe that this is how it is supposed to taste—and I definitely did not oversteep…
Liu An Gua Pian tastes a bit grassier than some green teas, but very far from anything related to darjeeling (which I usually find grassy). I do find this flavor to be more grassy than vegetal, and I do not believe that it has a taste identical with any particular vegetable. Perhaps a little like peas? Yes, on second thought, I do believe that peas are the closest to this flavor. But still I find it more grassy than pealike. Liu An Gua Pian does not taste at all like sencha to me. I’ll have to compare this to some other China greens to be able to say more.
I noticed that there are tiny threadlike white filaments in the liquor. The liquid is still clear, but they are floating about, having snuck through my medium-mesh colander-style sieve.
All in all, I like this tea. It’s good!
second infusion: just like the first. Still a near-fluorescent hue of yellow-green. Same slightly grassy flavor.
third infusion: a bit lighter in flavor and more of a golden color
fourth infusion: this final round was so faint that it was veering toward hot water territory, but I was thirsty so I drank it anyway.
These handmade glass tea cups fit quite nicely into one’s hand and are quite comfortable to hold even when filled with black tea that’s brewed at higher temperatures. The double-wall design insulates like a double-pane window. The clear glass also allows one to truly appreciate the color and clarity of the liquor. Additionally, the clear glass works well visually with gaiwans and yixing teapots of many colors & styles.
I’m starting to make my way through Teavivre’s green tea sample pack and the description on this one caught my interest… We’re currently experiencing some very interesting weather (today sunny with a high of 13c. Tomorrow? Snowing with a high of -12c… No I’m not joking, a 25 degree swing within 24hrs. sigh) and I was looking for something warm but fresh and this sounded like it might hit the mark.
The dry leaf is rolled lengthwise and presents a dark spicy aroma mixed in with some warm grass notes. There were a few nutty hints as well but they were quite hidden among the rest of the scent profile.
My first steeping of 30sec gave a bright, though light, green liquor that smelled of sweet, almost roasted nuts, mixed in with some lovely spicy/smokey notes. It was a warm but yet refreshing scent. The taste was actually pretty similar, roasted nuts (almost like cashews) mixed in with a light bit of spice with a lovely rich sweetness wrapped around it. The finish was slightly astringent and served as a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the tea. And while the mouthfeel was dull and rich it was also very light and refreshing, a very unique combination.
In my second cup (60sec) the bright green liquor picked up a slight floral scent which replaced the slight smokiness of the first cup, while the rest of the notes stayed pretty much the same. The floral not carried though to the flavor as well, while the rest of the flavors mellowed out considerably. The finish was also less astringent.
The pale yellow-green liquor of my third cup (90sec) displayed a soft aroma; the brighter floral notes were mixed in with the sweet roasted nuts. This was quite a mellow cup, subtle in flavor but refreshing. There was still a bit of “spice” in the profile as well which added an interesting contrast to the brighter floral notes.
My last cup (120sec) was even softer than the previous one in both scent and flavor. The floral notes were a nice refreshing highlight and lingered well after the finish. There’s also still just a little touch of the spice left to round out the profile.
This is a dynamic cup of tea, with tons of character. I loved how both the flavor and scent profiles changed over time and how refreshing this was despite the inherent dark"spiciness" of the leaf. This is definitely a tea that I could see keeping in stock for some time to come.
I got this from Stephanie in my Christmas package. I could have swore I ordered this in my BF Teavivre order but I got some other jasmine pearls… Hmm oh well. Anyways, I so wish I would have ordered these! They are heaven and by far my favorite jasmine pearl tea! Wow! I need these in my life. The simplicity of this tea is so indulgent at the same time. Keeps me wanting more and more and more. If I only had this tea to drink the rest of my life I would be more than satisfied with that!
I love that the peach and jasmine pair perfectly together. One isn’t stronger in flavor than the other. A perfect balance. The jasmine isn’t too perfumey like most jasmines!
Thank you so much Stephanie I envy that this is in your cupboard and not mine!
Love at first sip!
Yikes, I just seem to be on a roll of messing up teas. I guess I’m out of practice since it is summertime and I’m drinking less? Anyway, today’s disaster was salty tea. Yes, salty. How did that happen? I’m not quite sure myself if it was the water, the teapot, or the mug, but it definitely threw me off. Not sure if this is related, but this time around, the tea tastes more vegetal than floral. Anyway, I do recall having another sample of this in one of my tea boxes packed up somewhere, so I will make sure not to mess up again next time!
I ordered an oolong sampler from Teavivre when ordering my new teapot, and this was the only one of them that was in super airtight packaging. So of course I was curious and decided to pop it open this morning. I gotta say that so far, this is competing to be one of my favorite oolongs! It’s sweet, floral, and so smooth. It looks like everyone else who reviewed this also thinks highly of it, so I will definitely be putting this back on my shopping list for when my tea buying hiatus is over.
I haven’t been drinking much tea lately… but I think I’m about to get back into it. I woke up craving a black tea this morning. After carefully considering my options in my cupboard, I decided to give this one a try. This is a nice red-brown amber liquid that has just a little bite, a little smoke, and a tad of sweetness. The fact that I’m enjoying it so much gives me hope that I haven’t completely grown tired of tea, maybe I just needed a break to really appreciate all the nuances again.
Tea of the morning. I’ve said this before, but this is an excellent breakfast tea. It’s bold with malt and cocoa notes and a light smokiness at the end of the sip. There’s also a citrus like note in this tea that I find incredibly pleasing in the morning. Just a little bit of brightness to help me wake up and face the day.
This is a sad sipdown. I’m going to miss having this in my cupboard.
Speaking of sipdowns, I’m going to track how many samples I actually manage to finish in the month of September. Hopefully this will help keep me motivated!
September Sipdowns: 2