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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea of the late morning……
If I had to choose one pu’erh to have in my cupboard, this would be it. When deciding how to approach the pu’erh samples sent to me by Teavivre, I decided to save the most expensive for last. Price in tea is usually a pretty good indicator of desirablilty, and in this case for me, it was very true. The price difference is enough that I would want there to be a significant taste improvement over the one with the lower cost, and this tea definitely delivers.
The smell of the dried leaf is less earthy than all of the pu’erhs I have tried (we are only talking about 7 or 8 total…), but only slightly different than the Teavivre 2007 ripened cake. I can see the golden buds in this one. The liquor is only slightly reddish, golden reddish like the 2007 cake. The taste is like you would expect from a pu’erh. Mellow, rich, slightly earthy, and this one is sweet. I am sure that is the first time I have used the word sweet in a review for a pu’erh. Kind of a note of honey which is surprising to me. I do love the mellowness and….I am going to call it the clean-ness of the 2005 Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake as well as the same from the 2007 Fengqing Ripened Tribute Pu-Erh Cake. Very little debris from these two even on the first rinse. Nice high quality full leaves. The liquor still has a clear quality to it rather than a murkiness I have experienced with others. And it is the sweetness of this one that has won me over.
Thank you to Teavivre for the generous samples of their pu’erh cakes. I may become a real pu’erh drinker, yet! It is good to know there are pu’erhs out there that I would enjoy. One just has to know where to shop and who to ask. Thank you for your guidance in choosing these for me to try!
Gaiwan, boiling water, roughly 1 tsp cake, 30 second rinse, 1 minute for steep #1, 1 minute for steep #2…and I am sure it will go much longer!
Tea of the evening…..
First of all, thank you to Teavivre for this sample. I have really appreciated the way their tasting activity has made me expand my comfort zone for tea.
Now that I have a gaiwan, it is much easier to test this kind of tea. I am definitely still new to pu’erh, but I have to say this has been my favorite so far. It could be that I am finally getting better at preparing it, too. Leaf smell is very earthy, but more like the garden smells when you are planting, rather than a barn! I used what roughly looked like a tsp of leaves. I rinsed them. First steep was 1 minute, second was about a minute and a half. The liquor is more golden brown that I would have expected. The other few pu’erhs I have tried definitely had more of a dark reddishness to the tea. First steep smells of hay, but tastes earthy and very mellow. Really, the taste is somewhere between strong black tea and a porter beer. My very first pu’erh tasted of dirt, but this is not anywhere near the same. Earthy and warm. It has a heavy mouthfeel, and there are no small bits of debris like I have had from lower quality tuo chas from other companies (maybe I did not rinse them very well in the beginning…like I said, my preparation has improved, too). I am drinking this after a not so healthy dinner, so it is definitely helping calm my stomach. Second steep is a little stronger due tot he longer steep, but just tastes a little more intense than the first cup.
I do find it interesting that this one seems so much more mellow than the 2010 pu’erh that I recently had from another company. I did ask Teavivre for a beginner’s pu’erh, and I do think this is a good place to start.
I have been feeling a little bit “off” for a couple of weeks now. I am pretty sure it is from too much holiday food combined with getting off of my exercise schedule during the holidays and now trying to put it all back together. After meals I feel especially strange, so I think my digestion needs some TLC.
I turn to puerh tonight to see if that will help. This is the my very last tuo cha from Teavivre, but I do have two kinds of their loose puerh left as well as the beeng Cha I got from Mandala in December. This was actually sent to me by AmyOh way back, but since it is puerh it has only been getting better!
I gave this a 30 second rinse, then a one minute steep. It is nice and dark. I immediately made another one minute steep and combine the two in my fair cup. It is still quite dark. The flavor is rich and the floral aspect muted. The taste is not fishy at all, and very horsey. I think of piles of leaves and mushrooms, nice and earthy.
I will probably go three more steeps on this tonight.
Edited to add: final steeps were so good. The tea seemed to get a thicker mouthfeel, that thing I call a cedar oil coating. It feels so smooth.
I still have a few of these left, sent so generously by AmyOh. My daughter and hubby wanted to drink some puerh last night and so far Teavivre has been hubby’s fave, though he had not tried this yet that I can recall. I made three eight ounce steeps and poured them all together in the larger pot. Both liked it very well, and I am reaching that point where I had better order soon because the night time pot of tea is becoming a ritual and I am getting really low on puerh!
Maybe my palate is not very sensitive, but I do not taste anything floral, and I don’t taste chrysanthemum. I do taste a shu puerh that I like a lot and really enjoy. This one is earthy and horsey with nary a hint of fish.
This tea came from AmyOh and is definitely the chrysanthemum one this time! I think last time I had gotten a rose tuo cha mixed in with the ones Amy sent, but there is no doubt I am looking at a chrysanthemum now.
I did a quick rinse, then made two steeps in rapid succession and poured both into my fairness cup. (During the rinse I left the lid off the pot. The sepals of the chrysanthemum started to unfurl and wave and it was truly creepy and looked like a scene from a horror movie. I guess I have been watching too much Doctor Who.)I immediately resteeped again and carried it all to the tea table, so the different steeps were mixed together.
This was a good puerh. I did not expect to find it very different from the other two from Teavivre, but I do believe it may be just a touch milder. The third steep was especially dark, very inky. We continued steeping to about six I think, and by the end it was getting lighter. The flavor brings to mind earth and leather horse tack, my favorite.
This was very good, and I look forward to drinking them all, but I think I will order the plain Ripened Aged Tuo Cha puerh rather than one of the florals. I really don’t taste the flower and I think the plain puerh is just a bit stronger.
As usually happens, I had probably only had one or two ounces of this tea when my stomach started sounding like the singing of whales, apparently whales with questions, as the musical phrases usually ended with an upward lilt. Puerh makes my tummy feel better when I have been bad, and I was bad twice today – lunch pizza with youngest, and Five Guys with hubby for supper. Oof. But now all is well and tummy will not keep me up tonight!
Thank you, AmyOh, for gifting these to me! I will most likely be drinking this again with my son tomorrow. He liked Teavivre’s puerh well enough to have me order seven ounces for him.
I set up my bamboo tray on the floor in the living room last night, lit candles, and brought in the electric kettle. Hubby and I had seven steeps in my eight ounce glass pot. I love using the tiny double walled glass cups I bought from Teavivre with my glass pot! The tea looks so beautiful in glass and you don’t burn your fingers. A friend had tea with me using these once and made me order a set for her before she left.
This is a good TGY. I don’t taste the honey and I noticed Bliss said it added texture to her tea. Perhaps that is what I should look for next time but nothing about honey stood out to me. I don’t add any sweetener to oolongs (or hardly anything, for that matter) so I don’t need the honey, but it is fun knowing that the honey came from hives all around the tea fields.
I did notice a remarkable difference between the very hot, freshly steeped tea and the tea that sat for a little while in the fair cup. Henceforth, I will most definitely be cooling this tea a bit before drinking, because the flavors really blossom and swell as it cools.
It was a lovely tea experience, very peaceful.
My friend who is trying to learn to like tea other than black tea and puerh came over today to try this. She loved Silky Green from Bird Pick and asked me to order some for her but she wants to try even more. This one was on her list to try because she loves to buy organic and the honey is supposed to come from bees kept around the tea plantation.
I used one pouch of leaves in a six ounce gong fu pot. We probably made six steeps before we stopped. The first steep tasted strongly of oats to me, like Cheerios. Each steep became sweeter until I was getting that plum aftertaste I had with their Chun Mee. And the best part is that my friend really enjoyed it and is expanding her horizons! We have agreed that we want to protect our arteries so we will still know each other’s names when we get old!
I recently placed my first official order with Teavivre. I got free shipping but it arrived quickly. Of the teas I ordered, this was the only I had never tried, and I was especially excited about it. Of course, I could just add a bit of honey to my tea. One of my former music students became an organic farmer and sells honey as well, but I never add it to my tea, though I used to add it to herbals.
There was something special about hearing that this tea is SOAKED in honey produced by bees kept around this tea plantation. Wow! And wow, again!
I made this gong fu style. First steep – very good. Nice TGY and the honey really doesn’t mask the flavor. In fact, if I didn’t already know it was there I might not know it was there, you know? :)
Second steep – darker, more flavor. The leaves have really unfurled now and are quite large. What started as a thin layer of pellets on the bottom of the pot is now a pot bursting with leaves. I am now eating my salad for lunch, and I must say this tea is an amazing pairing for it: baby spring mix, tomatoes, celery, Swiss cheese, and Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing. The TGY just turned my salad into a feast.
Third and fourth steeps – the tea is a little tiny bit astringent now and doing just what the Chinese like for it to do…cleanse the palate after the meal. Perfect timing since my salad is now gone!
Delicious, and oh yes, I would definitely order this again.
I made two steeps of this to go with lunch today. Hubby is either getting used to green tea and wants to drink for health reasons, or his tastes are changing and he is actually enjoying it. As he was working on the kitchen re-do he kept coming in the living room and getting more.
This is a delicious green that goes well with food but is also wonderful as a contemplative cup. Buttery, lightly brothy, fresh.
I had to run errands for hubby and it is about 100 degrees outside. Youngest and I stopped at Taco Bell for takeout and she got a Baja Blast. Soda. Soda. Soda. Cold and bubbly.
But I don’t want to want soda! I got home and I opened the fridge and there was this pitcher of perfectly clear, glowing golden liquid. I made it the regular way for hot but poured it in a glass pitcher and put it in the fridge on Wednesday. I can’t get over how clean and fresh and clear this looks. Not clear as in colorless, clear as in there is no sediment, no particles at all. Beautiful. And satisfying! I don’t want soda anymore. And I believe I owe replacing sugary drinks with tea a lot of the credit for dropping my triglycerides by 103 points in 3 months, without medication. Go, tea!
This was the final tea of tea party today. I saved the green for last. Because I love this one so much, I really wanted to share it with my guest even though she is not a big fan of green teas.
How could she resist? She was very I impressed with this tea and really, truly loved it. It is an excellent green. We even brought out the big bag (that’s right, this one isn’t a free sample, it is the big bag I couldn’t resist after trying my free sample! Woot! Woot!) and poured out some leaves to show her how different they look, how the long, thin leaves have a sheen and an almost silky feel as you run your fingers down the shiny, wok toasted leaf.
I am taking a JoeMo of tea with me every day to work at early voting. I enjoy it early in the morning, but it is getting so hot and muggy I will have have to start taking iced! Yesterday’s tea was this Dragon Well, and we resteeped it last night and I shared a pot with my oldest daughter.
Dragon Well was the first type of green tea that I liked and remains one of my favorites. It isn’t sour or bitter, has a medium body, and resteeps very well. Good stuff, and this one is excellent.
Teavivre sent me a sample of this tea a while back, and I couldn’t wait until it was all gone to order it. I had to have it on hand so I wouldn’t be without it for even a day. I served this one to hubby tonight since he is warming up to green tea now thanks to Premium Silky Green from Bird Pick.
He liked this one also. I noticed he drained his cup and was refilling, and it wasn’t long before he asked youngest if she would mind starting up a resteep for us.
This is fresh and fragrant with a hint of grain flavor and light drying to cleanse the palate. I follow their recommendation of 176 degrees. The first steep was 1 1/2 minutes, and the second received two minutes. Delicious and satisfying.
Oh, yes! This is the kind of green I enjoy most! The dry leaves smelled nice and vegetal when I opened the pouch…not quite as sweet as buttered squash, but maybe a bit like bok choi? The liquor is pale yellow. The taste is so so smooth. I am so glad a made a pot of this and not just a cup.
Long ago I wanted to drink green tea for my health. I bought grocery store bags and prepared them all wrong, drank what tasted like hot water and got a stomach ache.
When Sandy first took me to A Southern Season, I bought a dragon well tea because I had heard they were some of the healthiest. When I made ithe tea, it was such a far cry from the first bagged green I had tried that I could hardly believe it.
This is really excellent. The greens I have had this week so far have been astringent. This one is not. It is smooth, sweet, and wonderful. Here is another tea that needs to go on my Teavivre order. I can’t wait to have my daughter try this one.
Thank you, Angel and Teavivre! This is really hitting the spot!
My eldest daughter gave me this tea for Christmas. I haven’t had any of it in about three years, although I have had lots of other Teavivre shu. The amazing thing about this tea was its staying power.
I used one tuo cha in a small pot, and made pot after pot after pot, often combining steeps. It was lovely after the meal, a little earthy and not too horsey (as my daughter put it), and the rose scent is strongest in the first steeps but is not a big player flavorwise. it adds a nice sweetness to the tea without being heavily floral or peppery as rose can sometimes be.
I love how one little piece made enough tea for five people to drink for two hours.
I haven’t ordered the tuo cha teas from Teavivre in quite a while for myself, although my son gets a big bag every year for Christmas by request! I am glad to have this on hand. It is a reliable old friend.
Last night I asked my son who is here for the holidays if he would like some tea. He said sure! I asked what kind and he replied that he would like the usual. The usual means Teavivre Puerh, usually ripened Tuocha.
This is the final Tuocha that was sent by AmyOh. Thank you, Amy!
This Tuocha is larger than the ones I bought at A Southern Season. I put it in an eight ounce glass pot and gave it a thirty second rinse because I couldn’t remember how well this one breaks up. The rinse was fine, because the next steep, also thirty seconds, was inky black. I made three steeps in rapid succession and combined them in one larger pot.
Great as always. I confess I still do not detect much if any rose flavor, though the pink bud is very pretty in the Tuocha and in the pot! This is a stronger puerh than Mengku Palace. It is not fishy but strongly horsey. Very good, and very soothing for tummies. That is a good thing with all the holiday cooking.
This is a gift from AmyOh! Thank you, Amy! I saved this for drinking with my son and his girlfriend.
This is a really great puerh. We used my gong fu set and made about five or six infusions. This has great, rich flavor. We had Rishi Pu-erh Classic afterwards and NO ONE was impressed. They preferred the Teavivre puerh.
Thank you, Amy! I shall enjoy this with my family very much!
When I made the last Ripened Aged Mini Tuo Cha from Teavivre it took until the third steep for it to really break up. I often do not rinse my tea if they seem to steep to a deep color right away. I hate to waste any of the tea so I drink it and enjoy, but that one really did need the rinse to be strong enough. This one, however, disintegrated as soon as the water hit it. As I poured off the rinse, it was at first very light and then quite dark at the end of the tiny pot.
I then added more water and did a short steep. Delicious! Earth and leather! It takes me back to my childhood when I owned a pony. This is the scent of the field full of horses and my little fellow freshly saddled. (I had prayed every night for a pony and one day a lady asked me to sing “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. Another lady heard me, started crying, said she was from West Virginia and asked me if I wanted a pony. I was about ten years old. I said yes. I named him Sam.)
I do not have the most sensitive or educated palate in the world, but I am not finding the rose flavor. Like KS, I feel that it may be there or it may exist only in my imagination. It may be lending a ghost of a hint of sweetness. The rose bud is pretty and I think this will make a beautiful tea for my son to give his girlfriend for Valentines Day, but the bud is tiny and I just don’t find the flavor of it in my cup. I agree that it might be a good thing.
The bottom line: this puerh has no fishy or shrimpy aroma or taste. There is rich earth and also saddle leather. On the third and fourth steeps the liquor is still quite dark (it was inky black at first) and it is becoming rich, plowed farm soil in summer sun. This is one of the best puerh experiences ever. I may try to have their plain puerh again a little later today to compare and see which I want to put on my order. I definitely want to keep this around, and need to since three frequent visitors to my home have become hooked on it.
I did it again. I was looking for a tea to go with our take-out tonight and gleefully pulled this out. “I thought I was out of this!” said brain, reading Chun Mei and thinking very clearly Pi Luo Chun. One of hubby’s favorites and I thought we were out! (Again, this would be Pi Luo Chun not Chun Mei.)
The instructions were way too conservative (for PLC) so I steeped it extra for that lovely oat taste. I had made two steeps and combined them in a large tetsubin.
Halfway through the meal I notice that this is rather strong, and suddenly my brain, which has been running pretty slow all day, went DING! DING! DING! THIS ISN’T PI LUO CHUN IT IS CHUN MEI! ONE OF YOUR DAUGHTER’S FAVORITES AND NOW WAY TOO STRONG!"
Sigh. Hot water to the rescue. I added about 12 ounces of hot water to the remaining 24-ish ounces of tea left and we were left with a delightful pot of Chun Mei!
This really is a great tea to go with a meal or for cleansing the palate after a meal. It has that little bite, that briskness, with green green flavor to move aside any heaviness of the meal. And I am delighted that it is so easily salvageable when I make a mistake like I did tonight.
I haven’t had a Chun Mei in ages! This is a great tea to pair with food because the briskness lets you taste it and keeps the food from covering up the tea. This also makes it a great tea to serve after a meal to clear the palate, and the briskness is followed by a sweet aftertaste. Served with orange chicken, veggie lo mein, and pepper steak. One of my daughter’s favorite greens.