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Recent Tasting Notes
I was a bit confused with this tea. I would normally have used about 1.5 tsp for my 12 oz mug, cooler water and a 3-ish minute steep time. Amongst the notes here, I read some that mentioned using the whole sample packet with boiling water for a minute saying that was the directions for it. When I went to the site, it said about 3.5g (half the packet) for 12 oz (I forget the steep time listed). Anyway, my whole infuser basket quickly became full with the dark green leaves. I feel like mine opened up pretty quickly…at least on top where I could see them.
While I have nothing against this preparation, I’m not sure if it actually gave me any different flavour profiles. I did get about 4 steeps…I could have gotten more, but I wanted to switch to something else. The third steep was the least favourite, but mainly because I left it steeping too long. I think that with the other packet. I will stick with my normal steeping, which looks closer to the site anyway.
This was still a very enjoyable tea, and it was the right tea to have on a day that was trying so hard to be spring, but was feeling more like fall. Or early winter. Many thanks to Angel at Teavivre for including me on this recent batch of samples. I am excited to try the others.
This tea has such a unique appearance! It literally looks like something you have raked up in the fall. I have prepared it both Western style and gong fu, and it really keeps on giving. The taste is smooth and creamy, it is very mild, and it doesn’t seem to get bitter even with long steeps. I paired it with chocolate and it was lovely.
In case anyone out there actually thinks I know what I’m doing, I accidentally steeped this poor tea at 160F for 2min before realizing the temperature setting. So much for a controlled steep and properly comparing it to Teavivre’s Flavored Milk Oolong.
It’s not a complete waste though. At first it tasted like annihilated spinach with sad, wilting flowers but the tea still retained some of it’s dignity. It’s sweet like corn with a light layer of butter that coats the tongue. Another fuller mouthful started out as sweet as honey and then tarted up for an overripe raspberry to finish. Even with the steeping setbacks, it’s definitely a more unpredictable cup compared to the flavoured Milk Oolong teas I was drinking all day!
If this is any indication I may forgo steeping up the rest western style and skip right to gongfu steeps. I’d love to linger on these gentler notes.
Flavors: Butter, Corn Husk, Floral, Raspberry, Spinach
Thanks for the samples, wonderful people at Teavivre! It’s always great to receive samples that I know I’ll love. I’m in love with this ripe pu-erh! I used most of the sample, probably seven grams for a full mug (Teavivre suggests five grams). The cake looks lovely with golden leaves threaded through the dark leaves. The flavor is absolutely lovely — all steeps are so smooth and sweet but with a great depth of flavor, but tough to describe specific flavor notes. No offending pu-erh flavors here. The scent of the dry leaves has the scent of hay. This ripe pu-erh is quality delicious. The color of each mug is deep burgundy red. Sitting outside with the mug on a cool day as the cup cools gives the flavor more of a bready biscuit flavor that I just love, with just hints of cocoa. Biscuit bready pu-erh might be my favorites. I don’t think this is a pu-erh that increases my appetite, so I like this pu-erh for that too. I should have steeped these leaves many more times — the flavor would have continued being perfect. I’m not sure if I use too many leaves of ripened pu-erh, but they are impossible to overleaf and I think I prefer the flavor that way anyway. I’d love to buy a cake of this.
Steep #1 // around 7 grams for a full mug// 18 minutes after boiling // rinse // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 6 minute steep
Oh, man. There wasn’t enough leaf left for a full cup. Why did I save this?
At half strength there’s still a lot of flavour. That flavour is cream cheese, which is a lot more delicious than it sounds. There’s a bit of butter too.
I now want toast.
All in all, not a bad send of for this tea, even if it was only a quarter teaspoon amount.
Flavors: Butter, Cheesecake, Cream
Flavoured Milk Oolong often gets a bad reputation for not being as “authentic” as their generally higher grade Jin Xuan counterparts. I have a soft spot for them, however; my very first oolong was David’s Quangzhou Milk Oolong and it opened a whole new world of tea awesomeness for me.
Side note: over the years, David’s Tea has been ambiguous on whether their Milk Oolong has flavouring or not but the website’s current ingredients list is “Chinese oolong, natural flavouring” so I’m going to take that as a yes.
The natural profile of a Jin Xuan can be quite striking and varying, but there’s a lot to be said about the comforting flavouring of these guys. Milk infested floral veggies lay dominion over both tongue and nose and stick around for about a week.
The main con for me is that the best steep is often the first steep, which is pretty much not the case for every other oolong under the sun. The milk flavouring here holds up incredibly well to multiple steeps, but not as well as a natural oolong. It’s also not as dynamic, but that’s the trade-off for flavour consistency.
Anyways, I love that I can pick up 100g of Teavivre’s flavoured Alishan offering for $10.90 USD (atm, 14.87 CAD). The Quangzhou rendition that David’s Tea carries goes for about $26 CAD for the same quantity.
Steep Count: 4
Flavors: Flowers, Milk, Vegetal
The leaves are dark and small and have a rich scent. I gave it a very quick rinse of maybe two seconds. I steeped one tsp. in six ounces water in my Kamjove pot for fifteen seconds and added fifteen seconds for each subsequent steep. My family was drinking this with me and my daughter said right away that she loved how bold it was. The first two steeps reminded me strongly of the smell of dried mushrooms when I am reconstituting them for cooking. The third steep onward became more woody, and the fifth steep had that “horsey” element – which I like! I got seven good steeps from that one teaspoon of leaves. I love Lincang puerh – I imagine this one will get better and better with age!
Drinking up a sample of this. I really enjoyed the tangerine white tea, so I’m hoping this will be a good twist on ripe puer.
The dry leaf smells sweet and lightly citrusy, as well as lightly spiced. The first rinse is pretty standard for ripe puer—creamy, earthy, smooth, but it also has the hint of an orange note behind it, as well as that same sort of spice that I can’t quite pin down.
The second steep and beyond somewhat loses out on the orange flavor. It might be because I’m flash steeping this ripe puer, meaning the orange doesn’t have time to really diffuse any flavor, or maybe the ripe puer is just a little stronger than the orange. Either way, the further I steep, the further the orange somewhat fades away. With longer steeps, it becomes a little more apparently in a mellow sweetness, but overall it’s a very subtle addition to a pretty standard ripe puer.
A new Vietnamese restaurant opened up near my house, so today I stuffed myself with pho! It was quite good too. There’s two other pho places relatively close by, but this one was by far the best. On par with some of the ones I used to eat at in Orlando.
The dry leaves are nice and aromatic, brews an almost clear yellow-green. Very buttery and chestnut-y and fresh with a hint of fruit and floral aroma. Moderately sweet but more savory. Later steeps are more mild and some minerality becomes apparent.Dragonwell used to be one of my least favorite greens, and while it’s still not my favorite, it’s really growing on me lately.
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Fruity, Mineral, Vegetable Broth
I’ve had a few Keemuns but am still fairly new to them, so I decided to try a Keemun sample in order to get more well-acquainted. “Organic Superfine” and “Fragrant” made this one sound appealing, so I went with it.
The instructions said brew for 1-3 minutes, so for the first infusion I went for 1.5 minutes.
As far as colour goes it’s a lovely clear gold/amber. It’s quite pale, probably because I brewed it for such a short amount of time.
The smell is lovely; it’s really rather sweet with tones of honey. It almost smells like candy.
As far as taste goes, it’s very smooth with a touch of caramel. I feel like I’ve brewed it a little too short though, so I’ll just go pop the infuser back in for another minute…
…okay, that’s really nice. It’s still very smooth. While I’m getting the sweetness on the nose I’m not necessarily getting much of it on the palate, and that’s not a bad thing – I’m a huge fan of smooth, caramelly, but not excessively sweet teas.
2.5 minutes was perhaps a bit long (a very slight bitterness crept in) so next time I’m going for 2 minutes on the first steep, and I imagine that would be perfection.
This is a fantastic tea and definitely a strong contender to be upgraded from a sample to a 100g pouch :)
Flavors: Candy, Caramel, Honey
This is my first time drinking both pu-erh, and gong-fu style using a gaiwan. I have to say that I enjoyed both. This is a good thing, because now I have opened up a both a whole new category of tea and a new brewing style. It’s also bad because my wallet is going to suffer deeply.
First, some notes on brewing gong-fu style: I loved it! I currently only have a small set for one person, as I’m the only person in my relationship who loves tea enough to brew this way, but I plan on eventually getting a full set so that I can serve to others. It’s great though… I have a glass teapot that I keep full of hot water on top of a warmer that uses tealights, and that way I can sit down in front of the TV and have small, delicious saucers of tea all night long without getting up. It’s definitely one for when you’re setting in for a quiet evening of tea drinking and relaxation; not for when you’re in a rush.
Anyway, the tea. I didn’t know what to expect from pu-erh but it this one was lovely. It was earthy, slightly bitter but not too much or in an unpleasant way, and not as strong or fermented as I was expecting.
Maybe I was brewing it wrong (it’s my first time and I just used Google) but I don’t really care, because I enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps I didn’t brew it strong enough, but for me the taste was spot-on.
I washed the leaves first, then went for multiple 15-20 second steeps. Eventually I increased this to about 30 seconds. All in all I must have had 20 cups.
Now I just have to find some more tea to brew gong fu style. What is annoying is that the day before I tried this method I placed an order on Tea Vivre, so could have added more. Oh well, looks like I’ll be placing a third order soon!
My wallet is telling me to put the proper set on hold for now, though…
First up today is monkey king Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea from teavivre, I started by brewing about 5 grams of this in a 90 ml yixing pot. I washed the leaves first and the aroma was intense to say the least.
I got floral, fruity notes, a bit of vegetal aromas from it. Brewing the first real steep at just under 200 , the aroma again just utterly popped out of the pots and I got a very clear light yellow liquor. The flavor mostly matched the aroma with just a hint of spiceyness as well. There was also a bit of lingering on the tongue. Which is normal for high quality Tie Guan Yin.
Second and third brewings were very similiar, though a tiny bit stronger as the leaves fully opened up and the pot forces the water to flow all around them. This is what makes the yixing so good with Tie Guan Yin.. you get that beautiful interaction. Im really a little surprised at how intense the feeling of spice on the tongue is with this.
This is a very good tie guan yin and is one of my favorites so far.
I highly recomend this for fans of light green oolongs.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Spices, Vegetal
I really enjoyed the aged white tea that I sample from Nannuoshan a while back, so when I placed my Teavivre order for fresh greens I picked up samples of their 2011 and 2012 Shou Mei cakes.
The leaf isn’t pretty, it looks a lot like mulch or something you would rake up in the yard, but and smells a bit like raisins. Brews a gold-orange color. Thick in the mouth and moderately sweet with tastes of raisins, hay, peppercorn, and dried herbs.
It’s a nice and comforting brew, and I look forward to seeing how it compares to the 2012.
Flavors: Hay, Herbs, Medicinal, Peppercorn, Raisins
This brews up a yellow, golden colour. It’s clear and looks very inviting.
On the nose I’m getting a faint sweetness. As others have said, if you search for it you can find caramel in there.
The first few sips don’t disappoint. You get all of the flavours of the nose, the slight sweetness, and even a faint fruity taste.
Bitterness and astringency? Nope.
This is a gorgeous tea that is very easy to drink and goes down incredibly well. I love it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m an Assam man – but this will be going into my weekly rotation until I run out. I may even buy some more.
Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Sweet
I have 4 balls in my mouth and I like it.
Most people tend to go with 4 balls, and I like a large cup of tea anyway, so that’s what I did. It brews up the most beautiful amber colour. The smell is rich and inviting, and you can just tell that it’s going to be a little malty.
The first sips don’t disappoint. You get the richness and the maltiness that your nose contractually informed you that your tongue would be getting, but we’re also getting subtle chocolate notes and a very, very faint smokiness. When I say faint I really do mean that – it’s hardly noticeable (to me, anyway).
This is a fantastic cuppa, basically. I still prefer my Golden Monkeys and my Assams as my “every day” teas, but one or two of these a week will go down just fine, thankyouvery much.
Thanks once again, Angel… once these sample packs run I’m seriously tempted to get a 100g pouch.
UPDATE: I ordered a 100g pouch, and wow, I’m glad that I did. I’m now down to 3 balls for 2 minutes on the first steep and this give satisfying cup of tea. I’m also picking up a little bit of sweetness now. Can’t wait to try this gong-fu style.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Smoke
I have a bit of time this morning, so I thought I might do a fuller review for this. It’s been a while. Let’s start the review in the tin, shall we? I never do that, but I feel it needs covering.
The aroma is incredible. It wafts right out of the tin and slaps me in the face, making my mouth water in anticipation. It’s such a strong green bean, sweet buttery aroma that I feel as though I am standing INSIDE the jar. I’ll admit to opening my tea cabinet once or twice just so I can stick my nose in that jar. Once a bit has been separated from its fellows, however, the dry leaf isn’t strong enough to omit much of an aroma.
Once it’s wet, the brew and the leaf exude a strong, sweet chestnut and grassy aroma. It’s almost a bit matcha like in character.
The flavor of the tea actually hits the mouth in stages. The first part is on the front of the palate, where it is sweet, bright, and grassy. On the back of the palate, I get the darker flavors, like chestnuts, umami, and butter. The aftertaste is the tiniest bit astringent, but not in a way that bothers someone who dislikes astringency. I mostly get a slightly toasted matcha-like flavor that lingers on the palate for a while after swallowing.
One of my first fresh greens for the year, and a great experience to start off with!
Ru Yao dragon teapot. Gongfucha.
Dry leaf: musty.
1x medium rinse.
Light steep; I taste/smell: (smell) cannot really smell anything. (Taste) light —→ earth, pepper, spicy, minerals, metallic (?).
Medium steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light pepper. (Taste). Light to medium
—→ pepper, earth, minerals (?), metallic (?), burnt toast (?).
Heavy steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light —> pepper, fruity (?). (Taste) medium to strong -→ pepper, earth, minerals (?), burnt toast (?), metallic (?).
All in all, a tasty tea! Very good cha qi. Very clean, and yummy!
I rate a 80/100.
Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Musty, Pepper, Spicy
I generally love Golden Monkey style teas. I love how smooth and caramell-y they can be. I bought 100g of a Golden Monkey from NBtea that I wasn’t crazy about (tastes a bit too much of hay, weirdly?) but other than that I have been blown away.
This is some top-notch tea. I use a glass teacup so that I can appreciate the colours (granted a large one because I enjoy drinking multiple large cups of tea per day) and after just over two minutes with a heaped tsp it’s a dark amber colour. (I probably should have set my kettle to 80 rather than 100, so I let it cool for a short while before pouring).
The smell is everything that I would expect; slightly rich, a little sweet, even a touch of caramel perhaps. This tea wants you to drink it.
The first sip goes down smoothly. Very smoothly. There is no bitterness, and hardly even the very light astringency that you would expect. As it cools and the flavours open up you are treated to those subtle caramel notes that you get on the nose.
Ah yes, this is an beverage than could easily be quaffed all day long if you were engaging in a hedonistic tea bender (but is probably best enjoyed sipped over about 20 minutes with a break in between like a regular person). Epicurus himself would have been chugging pints of this stuff though if Chinese tea were readily available in 300 BC Athens, I can practically guarantee it.
For me at least, this tea has joined the Pantheon of the Tea Gods and shall be restocked when my paltry 2×7g sample packs run out. Also I need to get paid because I’ve spent like £150 on tea this month (I’ve just got into the hobby) and you have to draw a line somewhere.
But yes, this a damn fine tea. So good, in fact, that I would serve it to my mum as-is (who is British and likes PG Tips with a dash a milk). What’s more, I think that she would like it.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey
Drinking up a sample of this from way back when. Probably should have drank this a while ago but figured I’d clean a bit of this off today!
Very pretty leaves tightly rolled up. The dry leaf has this sharp, vegetal (?) sort of smell to it that I’m not totally fond of, but I’d chalk that up to a personal preference. Wet leaf also shows a strong, floral aroma. I find this to be a little sharper than the Taiwanese oolongs I’ve tried (such as Jin Xuan or Baozhong) which I believe is mostly par for the course.
I can’t comment too much on the flavor as it isn’t really my realm of experience, but unfortunately I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. I think this has to do with my own personal preference, however, as I prefer fruitier and smoother teas :)
I bought this with the Black Friday sale last year for fairly cheap. Seems tasty enough to me! I poured some in the bottom of the mug and then waited about 40 minutes for the water to cool after boiling (around 175 degrees) then poured the water in the mug while stirring. A little goes a long way to the point where I used the remnants of the powder in the bottom of the mug for a second cup. Even much hotter water the second cup didn’t seem to have much of an impact on the powder flavor which was surprising to me. I thought the hot water would ruin the flavor. The flavor is fairly strong but I like it — I probably used way too much powder. It’s a refreshing cup — such a lovely bright green cup! I like that I can get a decent green tea powder for this price. It does the job!
This is a great value for money entry level Tie Guan Yin and one to buy for economical daily drinking. The overall flavour profile of the tea was baked and woody with a noticeable taste of dried fruit, a hint of lemon and sweet potato. The texture of the tea wasn’t overwhelmingly astrigent – it did feel like a typical TGY, but it’s also still rather smooth with the third and fourth steep having a more buttery mouthfeel.
My brewing method was gongfu style at boiling, starting off with 30 seconds and adding 5-10 seconds with each steeping, depending on my preference and how the tea responded to the previous infusion. 30 seconds, give or take, is ideal for the first steeping because these leaves do take time to “wake up” and grow. It’s also great when done western style too imo, for whenever you’re feeling too lazy.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Green, Honey, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Meat, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wood