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Recent Tasting Notes
HOLY MOLY. I received my Teavivre Black Friday order today. Some of my Canadian orders haven’t even shipped yet. This is amazing.
Of course, the first thing I broke into was this blueberry tea. Just opening the package, it smells so good. It’s just dried fruits, and they are intense.
I used one package (about 3 tsp) in 16oz hot water. This dilution actually works well for me.
The roselle concerned me a bit. I’m not a huge fan of hibiscus, although it does work for me in some blends. Here? It’s amazing. The tea brews up and looks like wine. The flavour is hibiscus-y, but also of blueberries, currants and grapes. It’s pretty good with no sweeteners in it, but after adding a bit of honey, it shines. Sweet-tart blueberry juice tea.
I need to get more of this!
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample tea!
The Snow Queen has stretched her Wintry White Robe across most of North America.
Most of us Steepsterites hunker down with copious amounts of tea, hoping to melt the chill from her icy fingers. Burr!
I’ve been drinking Chai, Black Tea and Puerh by the buckets-full! My own additions of cinnamon or ginger to the Puerh warm me head to toe in no time.
Now and then, a reminder of Spring gladdens my heart, and it’s tea that’s able to take me to that golden, glowing place in no time.
While I prefer dark, roasty Oolongs that are cinder-fired and tightly rolled…I love those rare, buttery, floral/savory Oolongs that remind me of the awakening Earth in Spring.
Li Shan is such an Oolong.
Buttery and thickening as it cools, sweet, slightly floral and savory.
I’m not very fond of light Oolongs, but this is perfectly delicious. Not too light and or strong but just right with an aroma sweet enough to make you hunger for vanilla cake.
Winter may be upon us now, but we can remember warm, golden-hued Spring now, thanks to such a tea as this one.
Beethoven’s 6th Symphony http://youtu.be/34dU9RSWf28
Often when I have Jasmine tea, usually from a restaurant, it comes out like I’m drinking hot perfume. With this tea though, the aroma dances in light steps in my mouth, like an expert ballerina. I have also shared the tea with others and they say it does taste like perfume, but they say it with a surprised glee on their face.
Tea number two from my Teavivre Taiwan Oolong sample pack (Thanks again Angel!). Having just gotten over a cold I was hesitating to try out something that might be a bit subtle but this is one that I’ve been wanting to try for a while, (I was really interested to see what kind of milk favors and feelings I would get from a non-flavored tea; would it really live up to its name?) and I’m glad I did.
This is a very interesting looking tea, the leaves are loosely rolled into small balls and then dried. There was a very light and fresh scent coming from them, it reminded me of how the mountain meadows smell in early spring, just lovely. And under it all there were hints of something that made me really excited, creamy milk.
For my first steep I tried the recommended minute, which in retrospect was perhaps a little under steeped for my tastes. The liquor came out a very, very, pale yellow green with floral aromatic notes. These notes actually mixed well with the slight under tones of creaminess that I detected. This is a very smooth, mellow flavored tea, and I definitely get the milk notes (wow, I must say that I was really doubtful about that part but they’re defiantly there.) There is no real aftertaste to this tea but an after “feeling” of a coated mouth similar to what I get after drinking actual milk. As it cooled the mouth feel got a bit creamier/thicker without becoming heavy.
The second steeping was in for 2:45 minutes, and the bit of extra time worked out wonderfully. The liquor is a pastel yellow-gold (with just a tinge of green) and it still has that wonderful floral scent though it’s a bit deeper now than in the first steeping. The creamy undertones are still present as well. Flavor wise it’s a very milky and rich feeling tea, and the floral notes help to brighten up the whole thing. It really reminds me of drinking hot milk with wild flower honey, just not as sweet. Absolutely lovely.
For my third, and last, cup I steeped the leaves for 4:30 minutes. This time the liquor came out a pale gold, and while the aroma still has the floral notes they’re subtle this time as compared to the previous steepings. As for the rest, the mouth feel is still creamy but not as rich, nor so I really get the same milk hits as I did previously. That said, the floral notes in this cup have changed and become deeper and a bit more pronounced. I get definite hibiscus favors, and a few almost peachy notes which I find are a really nice way for this tea to finish out on (though I’m sure I could probably do one more steeping of this before all was said and done.)
In the end it was a very luxurious tea, creamy and rich without being heavy. The perfect end to a cold day spent finishing the Christmas decorations.
Twice now I’ve had the wonderful experience of tasting this Sheng puer, another sample sent from TeaVivre. Both times I’ve been very pleased with the result. This tea held a special interest for me since I’ve visited tea factories in Fengqing before, but never one that produced Puer. The city is known mainly for its Hong Cha (black tea).
The aroma of the orange infusions was deeper than I expected, bringing to mind oak more than the cedar scent that I often find with young and middle-aged Sheng (I consider any Sheng Puer less than 5 years old to be “young”, and more than 10 years to be “old”). This was the first sign that I was getting a tasty cup.
Starting with about a 10-second infusion, the flavor was very smooth and round with more of that oak character. It had a dryness to it that pervaded the mouth, but it was a pleasant dryness, akin to the feeling of a Bordeaux wine. The taste reminded me actually of another one of my favorite Sheng cakes, coincidentally from the same year: the 2006 Lao Shu Bing Cha from Dobra Tea (alas, no longer available in that year).
Check out my full review here: http://someteawith.me/2013/12/06/2006-fengqing-sheng-tuocha-puer/
I previously reviewed this tea but because I recently revisited it, I wrote a new review about it, and you can check that review out here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/01/12/nonpareil-anxi-qing-xiang-tieguanyin-oolong-tea-from-teavivre/
I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I simply love Teavivre. They have some of the very finest teas that can be found anywhere.
Sweet, floral, creamy with notes of vanilla and orchid. You can read about my adventures with each infusion on the full-length review, just click on the link I’ve provided above.
An amazing aroma. Floral and slightly vegetative. I love the fragrance, it’s one of those teas that you want to inhale deeply before you take a sip so that you get the most out of the experience.
The first cup was light, delicately flavored, with a crispness to it. Hints of flower and honey.
The second cup was more broth-like, creamier in consistency, but without being heavily “buttered.” Mild steamed veggie taste with notes of orchid.
The third cup was more of a seamless flavor throughout. The flavors were less individual and more unified. Sweet and floral. Very nice.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/08/31/anxi-superfine-tie-guan-yin-iron-goddess-oolong-tea-teavivre/
I thought I was making another milk oolong when I brewed this up. Oops! I’m going to refrain from rating this one as it was not acquired directly from Teavivre and then stored in less than idea conditions for a year or so (which I also know is getting old for such a green oolong). So, yeah, I’m going to brew the end of this one tonight and maybe add a touch of honey and have it with dinner. Should be rather good that way, but it’s not one to savor.
First of all, thanks to Angel for the sample! I have been absent from tea for a while now, but with the cold coming in and a much needed stress release from finals, this hit the spot very nicely to say the least.
This tea is really yummy and goes well with reading. I steeped it for 2 minutes at 205. The taste is light and florally sweet, much like how I like an oolong. I kinda want to say it’s what I think a standard oolong is like, but a good quality. This tea would probably sit well with people who do not normally drink oolong or who do not like overly strong oolong.
I am very patiently waiting for the timer in the kitchen to go ding, yes it goes ding when there is stuff. Today’s stuff is Sushi rice, and by patiently I mean HURRY UP I AM HUNGRY!! While waiting I thought to myself, this is a perfect time for day 2 of Pu Erh week to come into existence.
Today I am reviewing Teavivre’s Ripened Rose Pu-Erh Mini Tuocha. Initially I reviewed this tea about a month ago and stored it in my notebook, but I decided to toss that review out the window (I actually did tear the page out of my notebook) and taste it again using my new Gaiwan. I want to be fancy while waiting for food! The aroma of this little Tuocha is fairly sweet, mixing faint roses with an underlying yeastiness. There are also notes of leather, earthiness, and a touch metallic. It has that slightly fishy ‘Asian Market’ aroma that I associate with Pu Erh (and really is my favorite thing about them) and makes me feel all tingly with anticipation. Time for some fancy Gaiwan action!
The steeped leaves look a lot less like a Tuocha now, as expected, with a little rosebud resting on the top of them, it is quite pretty. The aroma is intense! Rich earthy and mineral notes mixing with leather and heady rose. The liquid (in my little bubble cup, no less) is rosy, earthy, and a touch of that market aroma.
The first steep is a bit bitter, kinda like chewing on leather. It is earthy and rich with delicate notes of rose that smooth out the edges as an aftertaste. The bitterness is not unpleasant, it is not the ‘too many tannins, turn your mouth inside out’ bitter, but the same kind of bitter you find in certain wood. Yes I have chewed on wood, I like tasting random things. It specifically reminds me of oak. As it cools it gets much smoother, almost becoming buttery with a mildly metallic aftertaste.
The aroma on the second steeping is less like leather and more oak and rose, it is very mild and smooth. The taste is also much more oaky and sharp, this tea certainly lets you know it is there in your mouth. There is a slightly mushroom taste as well as a loamy note. The second steep has transported me to an oak forest and that is wonderful.
The third steep’s aroma is bringing in more of the market smell with a touch of underlying sweetness, like pipe tobacco. The taste is a touch milder, still very oaky but with more sweetness, like baked bread and pipe tobacco. Oddly this steep transports me to a Victorian Gentleman’s library, though oddly he has a few roses in his library. The rose sneaks in as an aftertaste and is very subtle.
The fourth is oak and roses and not much else in its aroma. The same can be said of the taste, mostly oak wood with just a hint of roses. There is a slightly metallic aftertaste and a hint of leather as well when it cools.
The fifth and final steep, only final because my kettle is on empty and my rice is almost ready. I am almost positive this tea has quite a few steeps left in it. The aroma is heady roses and sweet tobacco. The taste is very mild, subtle roses, oak, and a hint of loam. As an aftertaste there is a honey sweetness with a hint of roses. I noticed as I was sipping this tea that I started feeling kinda odd, like sitting in a sauna or the like. I am pretty sure this tea is making me sweat out all impurities (does Pu Erh do that?) and it is making me feel refreshed. This was an awesome tasting experience, I certainly must do it again!
It’s been way too long since I had time for a proper tea tasting. After my last note, where I mentioned that a fried was seriously sick, I cough either the mother of all colds, a mild flu, or some combination of the two. I had terrible cold symptoms for over a week, and it only cleared up on the 29th. I couldn’t smell or taste tea properly because of the disease, and the decongestants and fever meds certainly didn’t help me stay awake.
Anyway, today is mostly free, so I’m going to try to work my way through this and maybe another of Angel’s samples today. Thanks again Angle!
I opened the tea and steeped it in my gaiwan for 15 seconds with near-boiling water. The aroma immediately started to fill the room, even though the gaiwan was still covered. It’s a bit overwhelming for me, I’m not used to tea smelling quite that strongly. Regardless, the taste and mouth-feel are both very pleasant. While the flavor of osmanthus is very prominent the vegetal base green oolong is still present to help balance the flavor out. Also, it’s amazingly sweet, much more so than I expect even from a green oolong. The mouth-feel is a nice balance between buttery and the classic high mountain smooth feeling, which works very well with the flavors of the tea to make the experience very relaxing. The whole experience is very delightful, especially after I got used to the aroma. IT wil be very interesting to see how the flavor develops and how long the Osmanthus flavor will remain prominent.
After Action Report
The next two steeps (Because it was really weak after three) were basically characterized by the osmanthus flavor predictably fading faster than the base oolong. By the third cup the flavor was very generic, but most green oolongs aren’t that great beyond 3 anyways, so I guess that can’t be held against it. It’s a very nice tea, it’s just not great.
I’m thinking that I used water that was too hot—at the forefront of the sip there’s a slightly astringent, bold fruitiness. It mellows out until I’m left with a sweet, smooth, malty caramel coating on my tongue. There’s a light floral undertone beneath the sweet that’s quite nice. I’ll lower my brew temp next time to see if I can lessen the acidity. (:
EDIT: Second steep was MUCH better, with the flavors described above, a bit sweeter, and no astringency/bitterness. This would make a wonderful evening tea!
This is another tea from my swap with stephanie
I’ve been in a green oolong mood these days and I have become particular about what I like and don’t like. This oolong is heavy on the creamy texture side, but lacking in complexity of flavor. It was a pleasure to drink nonetheless.
More backlogging! I woke up the other morning and just knew what I wanted to have after breakfast, this tea. It’s the last of my sample for now but I’ll definitely be putting in an order for more, it’s just that good. Dark warm sweet and yet a bit grassy/earthy, it was a wonderful tea to help me on my way to feeling better.
I particularly enjoyed how the natural honey tones progressed from a dark, almost malt like flavor to a lighter floral tone (I think I termed it clover honey in my initial tasting note.) And the slight bit of astringency is a nice touch to cut through the sweet and creaminess of this tea.
First off, thank you to Angel from Teavivre for the free sample. I got this one as part of the Fall give away that Teavivre did back in September and only now have had the chance to actually sit down and try it at home.
Dry this tea smells slightly floral, but it’s more of a fruit flower scent, with definite hits of honey. There is also a slight vegetal aroma but not so much as to make this tea seem astringent. Overall it’s quite a refreshing scent profile with very little bite.
After a quick rinse I steeped this tea for about a minute, and it gave me a clear orange liquor which smelled like sweet cut alfalfa. This first infusion had a rich, creamy and oh so smooth mouth-feel with a complex flavor profile. Earthy and yet sweet with honey notes. Sweet and yet high fruit notes help bring it all together.
The second steep was 2 minutes long and gave off a pale orange liquor. The aroma profile has become subtle with the honey notes now coming though clearer; it almost reminds me of a clover flower. This infusion has the same rich mouth-feel and creaminess as the previous steeping. Flavor wise I taste honey but it’s not as sweet as before, while the fruit notes have turned citrusy; brighter but still earthy.
My last steeping was 3.5 min long and I ended up with a gold-orange liquor that had very subtle, sweet grass aroma. This last infusion had a lighter mouth-feel but was still creamy and smooth. The flavor profile this time was of subtle honey notes mixed in with a bit of grassiness.
I was really very impressed with this oolong, it was so complex but yet so smooth; a wonderful change from other oolongs that I’ve had in the past.
I received a small amount of this one from Heather. :)
This is the best green oolong I’ve had (So far! I have more on my counter!). It is SO lovely. They say there are orchid notes, but I’m smelling freesias. And maybe some vanilla. The tea tastes very green, a tiny bit minty, and extremely floral. The balance is definitely tipped towards the floral, but it’s just wonderful.
It’s currently out of stock on their website, but I have to say I’d never buy more than a sample. This just isn’t a tea that I could drink every day. It’s extremely lovely to try, and I’ll probably re-visit it in the future.
Just started a session of this one. The dry leaf smells like fresh hay. The liquor is a light amber colour and the taste, so far, is sweet with a slight bitter, but not unpleasant, edge to it. It’s smooth and slightly sweet, and I can feel the after-taste prickling on my tongue, a bit like space-dust.
This is another sample received from either Nicole_Martin or Fuzzy_Peachkin at one of the NYC meetups. This is quite sweet and floral, but not offputtingly so – I find that some very green oolongs are just too strong on the honeysuckle front, but this one had enough savory and vegetal notes going on to keep things balanced in a way I was able to enjoy. Green TGYs aren’t my favorites, but this is certainly one of the nicest I’ve tried.