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Recent Tasting Notes
It is not a great raw pu-erh but not a bad one either. Does not easily turn bitter, pleasantly floral and coppery sour. It takes well to mindless sipping. After the 4th infusion in a gaiwan the tea is somewhat losing the appeal of the first ones and the subsequent steepings are kind of forgettable.
I usually love Yunnan/Dian Hong teas, but this one has left me a bit puzzled. I can see why it’s called “Pine Needle” because the leaves look like exactly that. They’re long, straight, and pointy. The colour is right, too. That’s probably partly why I was expecting a lot more in taste terms than I actually got.
What I got, in very blunt terms, is nothing. I’m reminded most of white tea, in that it has the “sweet water” quality I often find with those. There’s also a coolness on the palate, after repeated sips, which I associate mostly with raw pu’erh. Flavour, though? Really none. Perhaps a very light maltiness, but otherwise…considering the variety of tea it is, and that it brews up a delicious looking amber, it’s a disappointment.
I’ve never found this before with a Teavivre tea, and I’m more than a little surprised. I’m pretty sure this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, but never having tried it before I can’t really comment.
This has to be the strongest, juciest lychee tea I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. Like lychee juice, only with the added joy of black tea. If you like lychee as a flavour, you really need to try this one! The base tea is deliciously smooth and moderately malty, and then there’s just lychee. Sweet, ever-so-slightly tart, but really spot-on flavour accurate. I can see this one being seriously good iced in the summer.
Lychee for days!
I am sitting at work and drink this tea from a big teapot and I like it a lot. It smells like heaven and has a beguiling taste. Thats it, if you like roses. Luckily I do. The base is of a good quality, the taste is not awfully complex but present and STRONG. As a bonus, it resteeps well.
Looks like an ideal tea mindlessly sipping while typing something. there is no need to concentrate on the multiple elusive notes of fragrance and taste, instead it THERE – loud and clear. Oh, and it is quite forgiving with the temperature and steeping time. It reminds me a bit my other Working Teas : one with Ozymandias and another one with Lychee (both from Teavivre).
I will certainly add it in my rotation
This is my fourth Keemun from Teavivre and, unfortunately, the first disappointment. The dry leaf has almost no fragrance sans for a faint general Keemunish smell. Which is quite ironic since it is called Superfine Keemun Fragrant. After a brief steep in a gaiwan with the recommended temperature (185C) it brew a smooth but really unexciting cup with some notes of baked bread, malt and berries. After I steeped the second infusion more aggressively, with boiling water, the bitterness took the front stage. Not good.
All in all, if you keep the temperature low you get a smooth cup of some stereotypical Keemun without much fragrance. So far all other Keemuns I tried from Teavivre have much more appeal and character (the second grade Keemun, Imperial , and Hao Ya). Given that I see no reason to buy this forgettable Keemun again, especially given its relatively high price compared to its siblings.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Berries, Malt
This was the first time experiencing the moonlight dragon ball from Teavivre and I really loved it! As a sprouting tea nerd I was intimidated by the dragon ball (I really didn’t know how to handle this thing with my little gaiwan but didn’t mess up my precious sample) but I got some wonderful results:
First, I gave the tea two rinses (10 sec each) to open up the leaves a bit: the rinses didn’t do much to the consistency of the ball but released the most beautiful, strong and honey-like sweetness that made me really excited for the session.
I decided to go with a bigger teapot and 300ml of water for one ball of tea. Experimenting with steeping time and temperature and settled with 3-4 minutes and about 90-95°C water temperature (cooler water around 75°C did taste watered down). The first 4 steeps were 3 minutes long, after that I decided to go with 4 minutes per steep. Longer than that got too bitter for my taste. After the first steep being very light, like water with a bit of honey, the flavour really opened up in the 2nd and 3rd steep and from the 4th steep on getting woodier. Overall I got 9 solid steeps out of it.
My best description is euphoric honey water that heart- and body-warmingly ran down my throat like sweet nectar. It also has hints of dates and almond milk. From the 2nd steep on you can taste a hint of the darker notes to come. It stayed strongly sweet until steep no. 7 (after that the ball was fully disintegrated) But the taste grew a lot darker, a bit calmer (less euphoric), more like honeydew honey, and woodier, like a forrest (it also reminds me of some kind of black tea). It also got a tiny bit bitter and astringent (but in a pleasant way). From the 8th steep on the aroma didn’t change much anymore.
I really enjoyed this complex evolution of the aroma and figure it to be an effect of the tightly pressed ball shape that releases fresh, dry leaves for many steepings. At least I’ve haven’t had a white tea before that changed so much in one session. On the other hand I am a beginner without great experience in gong fu style brewing or many solid tastings under my belt.
At least with my method (300ml per steep, almost 3 liters of tea overall) the ball size is a bit big for just one person – unless you want to drink big cups of tea all day long. But I can’t wait to prove this to be the perfect party tea! I have a couple of friends who like to enjoy a taste from my little tea collection when they visit. Until now I always was conflicted between sharing my most delicious tea experiences with them (using a small brewing vessel, gong fu style in my gaiwan, many steepings and different teas after one another) and serving 3 to 5 people said tea without getting stressed out (short brewing times, a lot of steepings and teas, spilling hot water over a busy dinner table due to my beginner gaiwan skills, etc.). With longer steeping times, more tea to serve in one batch and a tea that thrives under said conditions (heavenly taste, changing greatly throughout the session plus evoking a bit of tea drunkenness) I am equipped for the next dinner party! So far they’ve loved all of my white teas; this will be a great surprise for them!
Flavors: Almond, Dates, Honey, Honey Dew, Maple Syrup, Rose, Wood
I had this tea right after trying Keemun 2 Grade by Teavivre and wow, what different teas they are. The Imperial has very showy, attractive dry leaves and one of the most heady fragrances I encountered with any tea. The aroma is very sweet and full of honey, tulips, some other flowers, pine needles and rich cake with frosting.
The taste is very smooth and sweet, the typical Keemuny notes are barely discernable. It tastes almost like an oolong. The tea resteeps well: even the fourth gaiwan infusion is sweet and memorable, although the roughness starts to increase after the first two steeps. Despite all of this honeyed sweetness the aftertaste is lingering and unmistakably Keemunish. The infusions need to be short to keep the complexity intact and in no way this brew should be adulterated by the addition of milk or sugar.
This is certainly an excellent desert tea: lazy, voluptuous and decadent. I can’t say it is better or worse than Grade 2 but it is certainly more complex. Just two excellent Keemuns for different moods and different situations. But, of course the Imperial costs three times as the Grade 2, which tells something about how leisure is valued much higher then work.
I probably will have to stock this tea for special occasions because it IS really special.
Flavors: Berry, Flowers, Frosting, Honey, Pine
I like Keemuns and have been always confused by many kinds and names Hao Ya, Mao Feng… I decided to go through all Teavivre Keemuns (and a couple from other companies) to find the one that would become my go-to Keemun. And the package with them finally came today.
The Grade 2 Keemun… I ordered it with hesitation since I usually skip the cheapest options. And boy, was I surprised and rewarded. Robust is the word for this tea. It has the robust aroma and appearance and the taste to match. Malt, roast, leather, spices, and some berry-like sweetness. And the taste is not shy: it strong, persistent and stays for multiple gaiwan infusions. It is by no means refined but its major components come together very well. There is nothing second-grade about this tea.
This is certainly a tea for cold days, for times when you need a beam of energy, the tea that would go well with greasy food and take milk and sugar well. The Clydesdale of teas. I would keep it instead of personally disliked Assams.
All in all, a great find. Really curious to discover what other Keemuns from Teavivre are like.
P.S. Short steepings are key with this Keemun to keep the taste more complex.
I have to agree with the other reviews of this tea. While it brews up a beautiful dark burgundy color, the flavor of the tea leaves a lot to be desired. There’s an unpleasant smell and taste to it that reminds of a generic black tea like Lipton. I’d describe the taste as somewhat earthy and malty. There’s no sweetness to it, no depth, and the flavor is basically the same steep after steep. It brews fairly strong and I reckon it would hold up well to milk and/or sugar.
Flavors: Earth, Hay, Malt
Now, this one was a disappointment, which does not happen with Teavivre often in my experience. The appearance was cool and the aroma intriguing – grass, mushrooms, leather, spices. The taste, however, was quite meh, with astringency and copper predominating. No reason to order it again.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Leather, Mushrooms, Sour, Spices
Received a sample ball of this probably over a year ago but forgot about it. Rediscovered it today and decided to give it a try. I placed the full 6.5g ball into my 90mL jianshui and brewed it up.
I gave it two rinses steeps to let the leaves open up. Once open, the leaves brew a medium yellow and tastes slightly bitter but moderately sweet. Light apricot taste alongside green wood and generic “sheng-y-ness.”
This is a decent tea; above average for balls/mini tuos but not particularly special
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Green Wood
One of the few teas from Teavivre I did not care much about. The roast is pretty strong and as a result the taste of Tie Guan Yin is mostly overpowered. The taste of char, malt, some floral sweetness and grass: it sounds more complicated that the taste itself, which is pretty one-dimensional. It just seems to me that you do not have to start with a good quality tea to achieve very similar results.
As the roasted oolongs go I strongly prefer Huang Guanyin from Teavivre as a a good representation of this style.
Flavors: Char, Grass, Roasted, Sweet
I have been drinking this tea for a while and it has been steadily growing on me. It has a very appealing sweet smell and taste (chocolate, honey, some indeterminate flowers). The taste is not very complicated but consistently pleasant and warming. In addition, it holds extremely well across for multiple gaiwan infusions.
This is not the tea that wows you and stops in your tracks but rather the one you can rely on to cheer you up. A bit of a trusted daily drinker.
Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Honey
I won this in Teavivre’s awesome giveaway… you win something every time you spin the wheel. Love it. So I won a sample package, a couple giftcards (one $10) and many reward points. This is probably the oddest tea I’ve ever seen. It’s a tiny green orange with a whole in the bottom and top filled with tea. However do they get the tea in the orange? (The tea in the sample pouch came wrapped in foil and taped together with a sticker.) The orange might look moldy, but Teavivre says it is just the sugars. You’re also supposed to steep the whole orange — which is fine because it is about 1 1/2 inches across anyway. I suggest pulling out some of the pu-erh into the infuser before steeping the whole orange, otherwise the pu-erh will have nowhere to expand within the orange. I would say the flavor doesn’t have much additional orange and the pu-erh also doesn’t have too much of actual pu-erh flavor either. I like a deep and dark pu-erh. The pu-erh crammed in this orange is fine… sweet and mild. But it isn’t my type of delicious pu-erh. It’s a very special presentation for a tea but the flavor is lacking in both the orange and the pu-erh itself. I love the idea of an orange flavored pu-erh, so I won’t give up searching for the perfect one.
Steep #1 // one whole orange for a full mug// 8 minutes after boiling // rinse // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // half a mug // many minute steep
I had very high expectations for this one based on the ratings by others. It does look gorgeous: wiry and multicolored. And it does taste great: malty sweetness. But when you drink it it feels weird. It has a strong backbone similar to keemuns but it adds to it the sweetness of blackberries, overripe black cherries and mangoes – and it does not blend that well. Maybe because I like keemuns so much …but this tea just comes to me as a worse option for a robust cup of tea.
In the subsequent steepings the taste of berries becomes way less intense but that results in the loss of its most memorable quality. It could be good for someone else but I will stick with my keemuns.
Flavors: Blackberry, Malt, Mango, Overripe Cherries
I like Teavivre. All of their teas I have tried so far are good and reasonably priced. And now there is this Osmanthus Oolong, the first tea from Teavivre that is different and not in a good way.
I liked the name, Osmanthus, which sounded very exotic and promising. When I tried the first steep I was surprised by the taste: it’s like half of it a typical Ti Guan Yin and another half some fruity-flowery component. And these two halves did not blend well. In the subsequent steeps this initial composition disappeared, with Ti Guan Yin taking almost all of the available space. In the steep 4 the offputting sourness appeared: i.e., this tea does not resteep well.
Al in all, the first steep is not bad and kind a unique but overall for me it was a disappointment. Will not order again.
Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Fruity, Umami
I think this will deliver a fine experience for DHP enthusiasts. Personally, though, I found the first infusion nice – caramel-y thick body and powerful flavors – but then it sort of died off. But, that is a complaint that I have with most DHP and quite a few Wu Yi oolongs in general.
The roast is present but not overpowering. Good lasting minerality. Nice fresh flavors in aftertaste of tart red fruit and coriander seed.
There you have it. I have other Wu Yi oolongs that I prefer, but this does deliver a good hit of mineral flavors with some nice fruit flavors in the aftertaste.
Dry leaf – roasted peanut shell, wet rocks, hints of baking spices, freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries. In preheated vessel – charcoal roast prevalent.
Smell – charcoal roast, wet rocks, hint of raspberry
Taste – arrival of charcoal roast, dark caramel, peanut shell, then wet rock minerality. Develops with some hints of cinnamon and baking spice, but overall dry wood and mineral flavors. Finish of coriander seed. Aftertaste of lemongrass, coriander seed, red currant and raspberry.
I didn’t realize until looking up the tea to post this tasting note that Teavivre had a “Golden Monkey” AND and “Premium Golden Monkey.” My sample is the later. The leaves are very furry and delicate, though not quite as tiny and golden as Teavivre’s Tanyang Gongfu. Like the Tanyang there is a slight smokey aroma.
The taste is very mellow and smooth. Tastes of malt (in a lighter way), sweet potato, brown sugar, a faint fruityness, and just a hint of smoke in the background. Very velvety mouthfeel.
Gets tart, but not really bitter when overbrewed. Very different from the Golden Monkeys I’ve had from Teavana and other vendors. This tea is sort of like the missing link between Teavivre’s Tanyang and Bailin Gongfu.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Fruity, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
I got a sample of this simply because of the novelty of the huge leaves. There is something really rewarding about holding a giant tea leaf in your hand.
What’s even more rewarding is a session of this tea! Really nice vegetal flavors of spinach and corn, with hints of honey and floral sweetness, all finished up with fresh grass and mint flavors.
In general, fairly familiar green tea flavors, but the added bonus of some green oolong-like floral notes. The finish is also nice – fresh grass and mint. The thick vegetal notes transform into a really refreshing aftertaste.
Priced as a premium tea, but still very reasonable and affordable. Well worth the experience.
Dry leaf – buttered yeast roll, roasted corn, tomato vine, fragrant floral. In preheated vessel – thick roasted corn sweetness and nuttiness, wildflower honey, cooked spinach.
Smell – corn and spinach, fragrant floral sweetness
Taste – roasted corn, cooked spinach, fresh grass, hints of wildflower honey. Incredibly sweet and fresh aftertaste – honey, honeysuckle, fresh grass, fresh mint