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Recent Tasting Notes

I received the next round of samples from TeaVivre. Thank you Angel for this generous parcel of teas! Admittedly, I’m not as into green tea as I used to be, & most of the samples are of that genre, but I do enjoy a good cup of green here & there, so I’m looking forward to sampling all of these. I’m enjoying this while watching Cardinals baseball.

This is a very mild cup. The peach flavor is lightly sweet & very subtle, a natural peach essence, not some phony flavoring agent. The green tea is a very gentle one, not grassy or particularly vegetal, but more of a creamy cooked cereal flavor, almost more like a white tea, actually. I’m not really picking up much of a jasmine flavor. Kind of reminds me of when I used to cook steel cut oats in the crockpot over night & serve them topped with peaches that had been sauteed in a buttery skillet. There’s a little astringency, but not enough to take away from the pleasantness of this cup. I already know which of my students I will enjoy sharing this with.

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I have truly been enjoying these fresh spring green samples from TeaVivre Thanks so much again for the samples!

Fresh Dragon Well is a simple pleasure. So clean and crisp and sweet! Maybe not as complex as other teas but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes all you need is a little green to brighten your life :)

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I normally don’t read the reviews before I post on a new tea. I did for this one. I did not get the same consistently amazing results others reported. I believe it was my own fault. I insisted on using my standard western big mug approach with half the sample. Do not try this at home! The result was generally an overly weak mug. Go ahead use all the sample and a smaller cup.

Even though I kind of blew this one, the second mug was fabulous. Here are my notes on that one:

For the second mug I steeped about 2 1/2 minutes. This cup fills your mouth with delicious combination of floral and fruit. The first sip was one of those Mmmmm moments, you know when the world goes into momentary freeze frame and you get lost in the cup. Yeah, its that good. It still has that wonderful thick creamy feel and I notice a fair amount of cooling sensation on my breath. The aftertaste hangs around with kind of a melon taste.

Tie Guan Yin normally has a distinctive floral taste, well except this one. I mean it is there, but it is just different. This is so much fresher, lighter, more defined but harder to describe. Normally I think of Tie Guan Yin as tasting like a geranium plant smells. This is closer to something like rose petals with citrus (peach and melon?), and warm spices. It is just Wow!

Not rating until I brew this one correctly. The second cup was easily a 90+.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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Made this one this morning since I had a headache…I do seem to like my straight blacks on such occasions.

The first thing I noticed is how light and fluffy the leaves are, and how lovely they are with the golden tips. Now, perhaps because I have been heavy on the pu erhs lately, this tasted light and sweet. I did use my organic cane sugar, and a little milk.

I can’t really go into too much detail on the intricacies of this steep, as I was in bed with the headache, and this was at my bedside.

This sample was quite tasty though, despite the headache, and I’m glad there is more for me to have. I’m sure I’ll like the rest of the sample, so many thanks to Angel at Teavivre for sending this.

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Ok, so this is one of two black teas I got from Angel at Teavivre in this round of teas. I have liked most of the blacks I have received from her, so I picked either Golden Monkey or Super Fine Tan Yang Gong Fu to replace the Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant Black Tea. I was worried about the fragrant part of the tea. So Angel ended up sending me both of the alternate teas, instead of picking one, so that was too kind of her.

I realized I have not properly reviewed the first black tea, the Tan Yang, aside from saying it is yummy, though I have had a few cups of it. And it is indeed yummy. The leaves on the Golden Monkey are much darker than those of the Tan Yang. The brew of the Golden Monkey turned dark red within a few minutes of the steep.

I did add milk and sugar, as always, to this tea, though I did try a sip without first. Anyhow, the first thing I noticed was the juicy mouthfeel—that saliva inducing feeling. I can’t recall if I noticed that with the Tan Yang. This brew also seems to have more body to it than the Tan Yang also, but that is neither good nor bad.

I get the same malty, bready, yammy taste with this as I do the Tan Yang. I am reminded of the carrot muffins I had recently. I don’t really notice much smokey tones at all in this tea, nor can I detect any cocoa, but I don’t really pride myself on having a refined palate when it comes to picking out the more subtle tones. Also, since I westernize the tea by my additions, I probably loose some of the more subtle tastes that are more present in a straight tea like this by itself.

I can say that, like the Super Fine Tan Yang Gong Fu black tea, this one is equally delicious. I am brewing my second steep right now. I will enjoy the rest of this sample. Many thanks go to Angel at Teavivre again, for including this one in my latest round of samples for review. Teavivre has some excellent straight black teas in their line-up.

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Got this as one of my samples from my first Teavivre order! :D

Well this is my first lapsang souchong. I felt it was a type of tea I ought to try, but so far I’m not terribly sure if I like it! I always thought of myself as someone who liked a smoky taste, but yeah… wow. Heh. One thing I can tell you though, is that it tastes like the old campfires from days dearly missed with the family on camping trips from my childhood.

In the sense of the nostalgia, I love it dearly, as it brings back so many memories. If I close my eyes, I can almost swear I’m in front of a nighttime campfire at Christina Lake. It doesn’t taste entirely like smoke, I definitely can taste the wood they used in the fire. I feel like this would be best drunk outside in the fresh air with the birds chirping. I think I might wander outside with this in fact.

All that said though, while I’m happy to go down a trip on memory lane, I think I’d rather think about my camping memories than drink them. I’m happy I tried this, as I really felt like this was something I should try as a black tea lover.

EDIT: yeah, not loving it. Made it halfway through the cup and just tossed it. xD; Definitely glad it was a sample, and still happy that I finally tried a lapsang souchong for the first time.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Haha. I’m named after Christina Lake! But the nurse spelled my name wrong. :) I feel the same way about lapsang souchong. For me, they’re a tea for sniffing or cooking with.


No kidding? Haha, that’s cool! Well it’s a beautiful lake and area to be named after, that’s for sure. It’s my happy place, full of good memories.

Well it was sort of enjoyable for a few sips, but after that I was done. Definitely loved the smell too though.

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I’m gonna pull a shmiracles with this post, but first let me thank Angel at Teavivre for letting me try this tea.

First of all, as it has been said in other reviews, this tea comes in a vacuum sealed bag inside another vacuum sealed bag. Upon opening the inner bag, the tea immediately makes way into your senses. The smell is fresh, clean, buttery and floral, and the colour is an amazing vibrant green. Like all TGY teas, the leaves of this one are tightly rolled and they open up once they hit the hot water.

Is this not gorgeous?? Assuming it is visible outside the realms of Facebook.


Drinking this tea, I thought of a song called “Shimmering, Warm, and Bright” by Bel Canto (a Norwegian band).


I’m drinking this infusion plain, no sugar or anything. I do tend to drink my lighter oolongs plain, or with a very small amount of sweetener. I can pick up a smooth buttery feeling, slightly drying, and a light and somewhat sweet floral note. There is also a slight savoury taste, like roasted nuts or something. Whatever it is, it is all very good! I hope to get more steeps. Next time I think I may start with a shorter steep time, and build up as I re-steep.

Thanks again for letting me try this tea!


bwhahaha “pull a shmiracles”?!?! oddly flattering yet playfully mocking all at once! megaloveit!
BUT seriously!! when i am doing something fun or meaningful or exciting my basic first thought is, i will mention this on steepster. i have to. i just have to.
i can’t be the only one who thinks this. i try to explain to people who don’t love tea how nice it is to have a ramshackle community that will observe my nonsense and occasionally join in the fun. people with a mix of similar and opposing interests that are all kind and thoughtful and curious.

and bel canto.
i can’t tell you how many mixed tapes i put “Paradise” on!!
also “I’ll Strangle You”.
tons and tons of gothed out 90’s mixed tapes. over and over.


(but bummer, i can’t see the picture link)


I’ll see if I can work around the picture and post it another way. And it was flattering because I posted a picture link and video/music link. It was homage.


Magic Box was my least favourite cd from them. There are good songs on there, but their first three releases are my favourites. Shimmering, Warm, and Bright is super sentimental for me.


Try this link for pictures.



wowz amazingly green!


I know, right?! Truly gorgeous oolong!

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Brought this one with me to make my brother try. This time I rinsed for ~10 seconds, then did a 30 second steep for my mug and a 45 second steep for his mug. His mug smelled so much fruitier than mine! So cool how the tea changes in later steeps.

I left him half of what I had left. I still have enough for 2 smaller mugs of several steeps.

Thanks so much, Heather! We both quite like this tea. I’m going to have to put it, or something similar, on my to buy list. :)

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I apparently lost this tea in the midst of my many small packages. For someone who has 95 teas, a lot of them sure are in small amounts. I should work at finishing some!

Anyways, I’ve only had a couple puerhs before. Golden Phoenix from Silk Road, which is… nothing like this, and Naked Pu-erh from Tealux, which I like in small doses and with a little sugar to counteract the puerh-ness of it. Yeah, IDK.

I didn’t know what this one would be like at all, but I’m trying to try more teas that I wouldn’t normally go for, which is why I asked Heather for this one at the swap/meetup. Thanks, Heather! This tea seems weird, but I’m glad I’m getting to try it. Now if only I could psych myself up to take the first sip! The smell is intimidating.

Ooh. That is good! It’s more like Silk Road’s Golden Phoenix without the cinnamon and citrus. There’s dirt, there’s tea, there’s a lot of deep complex flavours. This one doesn’t need sugar added for me to drink it. I’ll have to note I need to do a comparison of the Naked Pu-erh and this one, to see if I can pinpoint the differences.

I’m gonna pour this in my travel mug and bring it to work with me. This isn’t going to be an every day tea, but now I want to try more puerhs. Success!

(1.5 tsp in almost 16 oz water. IDK that I’d want to use as much tea as they suggest. This is plenty strong for me.)

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

go go sipdowns! clean that cupboard up :)


I don’t have that many teas! Just, most of what I’ve ordered from Butiki are samples, and that’s going to add 23 to the cupboard! And I was thinking of rewarding myself for job hunting with a small order from Zen Tea Life next paycheque, and that would be all samples too. Ack!


Might want to try purearoma if you’re just looking to try a bunch of samples. So far their teas are coming off as pretty decent!


I’ll keep them in mind, but £20 is CAD$31, which is over my budget for a reward. :/ Zen Tea Life does free shipping any size order within BC..


doh. i can get behind that heh


Although, geez. That’s a lot of teas for £20. O.o


LOL yeah i picked up nearly a sample of everything they have to hit their free shipping mark and i’m still working my way through them. so far most of them have been pretty good. Don’t think i’ve had any real misses yet. Kittylovestea inspired me to give them a shot with her reviews for them :)


I’ll definitely keep them in mind for samples! Maybe once I actually have a Real Job™. :)


It’s a pretty strong tea. Some people rinse their pu erhs first, but I never did. I added milk and sugar and it was just shy of coffee with its richness.


Oh yeah. I didn’t bother rinsing this one. I wonder how things would change if I did! :)

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Sipdown, 125. One more sipdown in, yes! Gongfu session.

To me, this is a pretty nice shu puerh, but it doesn’t stand out too much. It is a lot sweeter than a lot of other shus that I’ve tried. This one is woody, with a good bit of earthiness. It is one of those puerhs that really reminds me of a barn… The wood, the dirt, the leather, a bit of hay and sawdust. And sweet. An interesting tea, but not my style. Thanks again to Teavivre for this sample!


go you! with your sipdowns :)


You are my sipdown inspiration :D

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Last night there were too many margaritas, too much mexican food, and too much ice cream, and now they are all having a war in my stomach. I have heard numerous times that puerh is supposed to be good for upset stomachs, so I decided to give this a go, finally. I’ve had this sample for quite a while now, and must apologize to Teavivre for only now getting around to sampling it. The truth is, I’m still a little afraid of shu puerh. But onward!

I remembered why as soon as the water hit the leaves and I got a kind of slightly seaweedy smell. Just now I am realizing I should have rinsed them once, but I didn’t. Ah well. Fortunately any fishiness has gone away after a full steep, and the liquor is opaque and dark as night. It smells like sawdust, pretty much spot on.

The flavor is amazingly smooth. Not a hint of bitterness or astringency, and a thick, luscious texture. It is, also, lightly sweet. The main part of the flavor is earthy, saw-dusty (though without the feeling of ‘dust’), woody. As far as I can tell, its a very nice example of this type of puerh. Not fishy or off-tasting, just smooth and relatively pleasant. I just am not super into drinking earthy sawdust, heh. It may be settling my stomach (hard to tell), but hopefully so!

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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This was one of the free samples I received from Teavivre.

Writers’ Group meets at my house every other Thursday. On some of the first meetings, I hesitantly offered tea because I didn’t know if they would like it. They loved it, and now it is a very big part of group. We drink VAST amounts…so much that I got to use the new German phrase I just taught my daughter (we homeschool), “Ich muß pinkeln.” No translation needed, yes?

I asked one member if she had any special requests for tonight, and she said she wanted the tea that makes her tummy feel better. A couple of weeks ago she told me that she has a lot of digestive issues and usually has a lot of trouble eating meat as she just can’t seem to process it. Then she noticed that she could eat almost anything for several days each time we had tea together.

So tonight’s tummy tea was this! She and I sniffed the dry tea. She was a little scared as it had a really horsey smell. We both like shu puerh though, so she didn’t mind trying it. We actually steeped it western style in an 18 ounce pot, and I think we ended up making 6 or 7 steeps.

The liquor was dark, as in almost inky! It looked like I was handing out cups of coffee. Everyone looked a little scared at first, but everyone loved it. The horsey aroma was absent from the steeped tea and instead there was a nice, earthy puerh taste. The tea had a lot of body, which in a puerh comes across to me as a cedar flavored oiliness. It coated my mouth. There was little aftertaste, but a real sweet, smoothness following. The man in our group, whose wife is Asian and drinks more bitter greens that he doesn’t care for, remarked on the sweet, smooth taste of this, and said he liked how there was no bite at the end.

The first steep was about one minute but the second went much longer as I got distracted. The remaining steeps were all between one and two minutes. Even the forgotten steep did not get bitter or unpalatable. This is a very forgiving, very nice puerh, and I am glad my friend (Hi, Marshain!) is going to have a happy tummy for a few days.

Thank you, Teavivre! This was lovely, and I look forward to the remaining sample!

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Mmm I do like my wuyi rock tea! This is no different, roasted slightly smokey oolong. I only got two infusions out of this cause I had it at work…might try a third for the fun of it now and see if there is anything left. I am hoping to do a side by side comparisons of my wuyi rock teas one day soon, but until then I do enjoy this tea.

ETA: third steep it’s still going strong! Taste: more floral less toasty.

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This morning I got a call from a friend who lives in Charleston. She was here in town and wanted to meet for lunch. I wanted our time together to be special since it is not often that we see one another in person.

We had lunch at my house and I had youngest make some muffins for our dessert. I got out the aroma cup set that Teaave sent. Seriously, you would really enjoy one so order it ASAP!

My friend drinks coffee in the mornings and sweet tea in the afternoons but doesn’t really like hot tea. She had tea with me once and said she was amazed at the difference in taste when you have “the good stuff.”

This tea didn’t disappoint me using the aroma cup set. We smelled the dry leaves – faint, vegetal, a hint of sharp. We smelled the dry leaves in the warmed pot – more intense sharp and vegetal aroma, root vegetable. Then the steeped tea scent from the aroma cup – magnolias and a tiny hint of gardenia!

She loved the experience and the tea! We made six steeps in all, one liter, and each steep was so sweet and floral. She couldn’t believe it didn’t need milk or sugar. The golden color persisted and leaves were expanded impressively by the time we had to say good-bye.

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I saved the leaves from my first sampling of this sample sent by Teavivre for review. I almost didn’t want to use them because the first steep had been so amazingly good that I didn’t want a watered down version of that experience. But today I decided to give these leaves a go and see how they held up.

Oh joy! This is every bit as good as the first steep! And keep in mind that I am making this western style. The tea has a naturally floral quality that is just magnificent.

Here is how I pictured it. Imagine being flustered and distracted and busy, and then an elegant, gracious woman takes you by the arm and leads you to a chair. At her first touch, you feel calm. She gives you a cup of tea, and as sip you become like her – elegant, calm, poised, controlled, focused, peaceful, and gracious.

On my shopping list!


Does it taste like Juicy Fruit? :)


That sounds amazing. I really need to get back to them for some samples I have been wanting to try.

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The girls wanted to have a little tea time together today since the pound cake was sitting there looking tantalizing. I thought this would pair pretty well with it, but I don’t think I will pair this tea with sweets, or much of anything else again, because it is too awesome to let anything distract you from it.

This is a free sample from Teavivre and I have to say thank you thank you thank you! That is how much I enjoyed it.

The liquor was paler than I expected but when I lifted the cup the most amazing aromas came to me; flowers, yes, but something else. A fruity scent almost like sweet lemon candy that has no puckery sour taste. Oh my, oh my oh my. This is good, and I am normally a fan or roasted TGY or buttery oolongs.

This pot of tea gave me the very same sense of calm and peace and sanity that I get from Teavivre’s Jasmine Silver Needle and Jasmine Dragon Pearls.

Excellent. Wonderful. Having some more.

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This is a free sample from Teavivre. Thank you, Teavivre!

The last time I had this tea, it was at bedtime and shared with hubby. This time, I made it as our HUGE pot to accompany Asian buffet takeout. I steeped the leaves in a 22 ounce pot using two of the sample packs, then resteeped and poured all together in my biggest tetsubin.

I tasted a sip from each steeping. The first was much as I remembered it – light, clean, and fresh. It was so light I was afraid I had under leafed. The second steep was left a little longer and was definitely stronger, much stronger than the first steep.

The two steeps combined made an excellent accompaniment to our meal. I had some rather “heavy” and seasoned foods: dumplings with that sauce, lo mein, mushrooms, etc. So as mild as this tea can be, I was shocked when I first picked up my cup to sip. The tea that had seemed so mild had so much flavor and was so cleansing to the palate! It was quite a shocker, and I enjoyed using it between courses to get ready for the next dish. It was not astringent or sour, though. Very good tea!


Interesting review! I don’t always consider that perception of a tea can depend on the foods it is paired with.


I find that cheese is wonderful with tea. It can really make it taste so much sweeter, even when you haven’t added a thing to your cup. And chocolate is great, too, of course!

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I have not had tea for the past few days because I was sick. I am so glad to be getting back to my teapot and my calming evening cup of green tea!

This is a sample of the 2013 harvest sent by Teavivre. Many thanks!

When I made this tea, the kitchen lights were all out but one, so I saw the dry leaves only dimly. Everyone was getting ready to head to bed. After it steeped, it wouldn’t have mattered if all the lights had been out. The leaves were such a vibrant green they would have lit the room. They were so beautiful – fresh, alive, and crying out that they were the newborns of spring!

The aroma was of soft spinach, no hard or bitter edges. The liquor was a much paler color than I expected after seeing those electric green leaves.

The flavor is mild and smooth, nothing harsh or biting is to be found here. There is almost no aftertaste, which is having the effect of making me drink more and more because I want to keep experiencing the flavor.

Hubby came in after I had already finished two cups. He poured himself a cup, then another, and was about to pour another but the pot was empty. I asked if he wanted a resteep and he said, “Yes, please!” I made the second pot and he drank a cup and told me he had to go to bed now. He left the room and was back in less than three minutes pouring another cup of tea.

There is a mineral freshness to this along with the vegetal flavor, rather than the butteriness sometimes found in a vegetal green. My mouth feels so fresh and clean, yet there really wasn’t any astringency. I have really enjoyed these two pots of tea tonight, and hope they go a long way to rehydrating me!

Thank you, Angel and Teavivre, for these beautiful samples!


Sounds awesome Ashmanra! And it seduced the hubby, impressive :-)


+1 what TheTeaFairy said. Glad you are feeling better.

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Mmmm, This is such a great tea. Its my first straight white tea that I have purchased. I thought from what Id read that white tea was all very delicate and subtle, which made me worry that this tea would lack much flavor or be just too delicate for me. Was I ever wrong. It smells like Hay/spinach/forrest ie)very earthy. It steeps to a nice pale yellow color. It tastes so silky smooth and almost syrupy(i read this in another post about this tea). This is my before bed, late night, calm down tea. It is just sooo calming to sit and have a cup, or two, before bed. Another A+++ tea from TEAVIVRE

ohfancythat (whatshesaid)

That just be why I wasn’t a fan… “Hay/spinach”


Yeah, you seem to be a more Sweet/sugary tea fan…this would definetly not be up your alley.

ohfancythat (whatshesaid)

I’m starting to appreciate good quality straight teas but not the grassy sort :)

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I received a wonderful box of samples of the 2013 harvest today from Teavivre. Thank you!

Hubby and I have not had our bedtime green tea lately. We’ve been a little out of sync schedule-wise, so tonight we set that straight.

He really has been enjoying green tea though he is still rather new to it and says he really can’t describe flavors yet, but tonight he said “vegetal, I definitely get that this is vegetal.” He agreed that there is also a hint of butter and a nice toasted flavor. And this was just bursting with flavor! We had five steeps of it, and I have saved the leaves because I think I can get a few more tomorrow.

This is an excellent Dragon Well. I liked the first one I ever had. It was purchased from a tea shop not far away. For some reason I never finished that bag of tea, but when I tried Teavivre’s Dragon Well last year I had to order. This one is every bit as good as last year.

Hubby drank right along with me and kept refilling. He said he found this green tea particularly smooth and drinkable. I, too, found it smooth and easy to drink, and on one steep that went a little long there was a hint of root vegetable flavor (not strong enough to be unpleasantly astringent) that blossomed into sweetness after the swallow. Nice!

Thank you, Teavivre, for the samples! I look forward to trying all of them!


Can’t wait to try them all!

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The best tea I’ve had all week. I want to drink this every day. Jasmine teas have never worked for me before. They all made me think of cheap shampoo. But this one is lovely. It feels elegant, refined, transporting me to a fine Chinese tea house. Nice, warm base, and just the right amount of jasmine.


I love every single jasmine tea they make but one, and I plan to order it as soon as I sip down a few more teas. It is so soothing and focusing, I feel so eceful when I drink it.


You’re so right! Soothing focusing peaceful feeling—perfect description. This tea gave me a few moments of feeling centered during such an odd week.


You inspired me to have a pot, and it was a sip down!


Excellent! My good tea karma for the day! Hope you enjoyed it!

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