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Recent Tasting Notes
See my previous note and Ashmanra’s comment. At her suggestion, I brewed this Western style using 2 generous tsp in 8 oz boiling water, just under 4 minutes. This is how I’ll make it in the future, as there is a lot more flavor and no bitterness or astringency. This is still at the milder end of the black tea flavor spectrum, with some subtle maltiness and sweet potato notes. A very enjoyable cup of tea, nice sweet flavor, and I even got a second steep. I’m glad Teavivre was generous with the samples so that I could experiment a little! (Thanks Ashmanra :)
I agree with some other reviewers, that this is very delicate and light considering its a black tea. I would say its more subtle, and not at all aggressive-a relaxing tea that would be nice in the afternoon. I was pretty generous with the leaf, using 3.5 gms/8 oz water, brewing for 2 minutes, with a 2nd steep for 3 minutes. I have others that I prefer from Teavivre, such as Yun Nan Dian Hong Gold Tip or Bailin Gongfu, I think because I prefer something a little stronger, but this is still very nice, especially for those who prefer a milder tea.
I swear I had already logged this one before… mmmm. Anyway. I’m in a FML day. I only had 45 mins of sleep, so I’m going to be drinking this one ALL DAY LONG
It isn’t my favorite, but it is good. It has a slightly creamy chocolate body and sweetness. But it has a vegetal/bitter aftertaste that I’m not a big fan of. Great tea for work though!
I have no idea what ginseng is supposed to taste like, but I really like this tea! It’s sweet, vegetal, roasty, seaweed-y. This is a nice change up from what I’ve been drinking lately! I can’t decide if this tea is more vegetal or roasty; because of the sweetness I’m leaning towards vegetal. However, most of the green Oolongs I’ve tried were also quite floral. This is not the same- the sweetness could be a floral taste I suppose. Oh, who knows. This is what happens when I try to describe a new oolong, ESP Oolongs! I just confuse myself!
Sum up, this is nummy. Thank you TEAVIVRE for this delicious sample!
I used a heaping teaspoon worth for my 12 oz cup.
So after reading the review KS just did I had to go look to see if I had a sample of this from my last order with Teavivre and lo and behold I DID! Yay!
Full review on http://sororiteasisters.com/ on Feb 9th but here are my snippits:
Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea from Teavivre offers quite a different experience. It has a lot of the same flavor notes that one gets from a Fujian black tea such as sweet potato, malt, and cocoa but Superfine Tan Gong Fu is much lighter both in flavor and mouthfeel.
As I sipped on this tea I found myself so relaxed, and spaced out that I checked my blood sugar (I’m type 1 diabetic) just to be sure I was not running too high. High blood sugars often mimic a spaced out state of dizziness and being sleepy. My blood sugar was perfectly fine. Outside of aliens having zapped my brain I am pretty sure it was the tea. I have had tea highs before, generally with pu’erh but now and then I get it in other leaf types. This is one of those times.
Yesterday I had a mind blowing Yunnan black. So today I am having this equally amazing Fujian black. I scrolled through my older reviews of this and they seem to bounce all over the place. So continuing the trend… I could swear I smelled grape as I took my first sip. Then I was hit with a brief moment of pepper on the sides of the tongue. The cup then settled into grain, honey, and malt. So very good. Must re-steep.
I accidentally agreed to take over upkeep of the church website. So this morning I spent hours just trying to figure out what was going on and trying to download the files to my computer so I can ‘update’ them. I’ll probably eventually start from scratch so I can eliminate half the code. Why didn’t I slowly walk away when they first said he isn’t working right now…
Anyway that kept me distracted until noon. I took a raviolios break. Yes that stuff you ate as a kid. It’s better than I remember, but not great.
This tea, on the other hand, is so good. Caramel and honey. Sweetness and light cocoa. Smooth with a touch of grain. This is medium bodied. It is not big and bold but the flavor doesn’t hide either. I think I need another cup before going back to the coding.
The dashboard is down and I can’t read any new reviews :( So I will write my own. This tea has its work cut out for it. While brewing it I fixed a ham and turkey sandwich with farmers market spinach, leaf lettuce from our garden, muenster cheese (should have used smoked gouda). I also poured on my new favorite – great value chipotle ranch dressing. It is not overly spicy. Just the right mix of spicy and creamy, but it is more potent than some teas could handle. The tan yang smells so good in the cup. Best of all the sweet potato and honey cut right through the sandwich when sipping. What a tremendous tea. Nudging the rating.
I have a bunch of teas that I haven’t had time to review yet, including some more from Teavivre. Forced retirement has not resulted in the free time to sip that I anticipated. At least not yet. If I owe you a review I promise I will get to it.
I grabbed this one because I don’t have to think. I know I love it. I started this cup in a hurry. I am not even halfway in and I have slowed down and mellowed out.
I read Azzrian’s review of this tea and it was a little different than my experience, though equally cool. I got the ale taste. She got tea drunk. If any of you woke up with a bad headache this morning – blame us.
I decided to have another go at it today. This time I am not getting the sweet potato that Azzrian noted (and which agrees with TeaVivre’s description). I am also not getting the strong yeast and ale that I noted yesterday in the first cup. Today this is more malt, bread or grain, and honey. It is still very good and so mellow, but I must admit I was looking forward to repeating yesterday’s experience.
I am trying to figure out what I did differently between the 2 days. Both days I used my press, 1/3 of the sample packet of leaf, 12oz water heated to 185d, steeped 2 minutes, and added sweetener. The only difference I can see is before I prepared this yesterday, I removed a few leftover dried up leaves of a highly floral oolong from the press. I then took a brown paper towel (the ones you often see in public washrooms for hand drying) got it wet, then wiped down the press to make sure there were no floral scents left over. This always leaves the press smelling a bit like the wet paper towel. I did not wipe down the empty press today because I was using the same type leaf. I have never noticed the towel affecting the taste before.
If that is not the difference then it was just one of those magic moments that happens every now and then that you cannot repeat. It’s all good, because this is a wonderful light Fujian with tremendous aftertaste. The aroma of the wet leaf is calling. Time for round two.
Round two is same as yesterday chocolate malty yum.
Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea
Sample provided by TeaVivre. I opened the package and took a deep whiff. It is like sweet fresh dried tobacco with maybe a hint of fruit. I want to say cherry but that may be because when I smell tobacco it reminds me of my grandfather and his cherry pipe tobacco. He always wore work pants, even after he retired, and a white v-neck T-shirt. He had his pipe in one hand and a glass of ice tea in the other – always. He also had a bottle of Maalox (antacid) next to him that he chugged like milk but we won’t talk about that.
He loved to watch the Flintstones. No, it was not because of he had grandkids he just loved the Flintstones. He also had a battery operated toy train engine that you put on the floor and when it hit something it backed up and turned, taking off again in a new direction. He would sit and laugh at that often. Even as a kid I didn’t understand how he got that much pleasure out of a simple toy. The train doesn’t work anymore but I still have it.
Ok, back to this tea – the leaf is thin twist curls of varying shades of brown. It reminds me of my wife’s needlepoint thread and is quite pretty. I used a generous scoop and steeped per the instructions of 185 d for 1-2 minutes. Once again it just seems all wrong for a black tea but TeaVivre has never led me astray so I am trusting them.
The resulting brew is lighter than most black teas. It is deep golden brown or almost bronze. The wet leaf smells of toasted caramel.
I took my first sip, put the cup down and walked away for a moment. I returned, picked it up again and sipped. My mind is trying to reboot. I saw on the label this is a Fujian tea. So I am expecting a certain flavor profile, yet this is altogether different this morning than my preconceived idea.
I am tasting yeast, lots of yeast. I am getting grain, barley I think. My brain keeps saying beer, no its ale. This tastes like ale without the bubbles, scratchy throat, or hangover. I did add sweetener, and that may bring out these flavors. As the cup cools it turns more towards heavy malt, which is what I expected from this tea.
Cup two at two minutes. I can’t wait to read other reviews on this one. Now this has become a light chocolate malt. A smooth and creamy chocolate malt. Mmmm. I might use that description on a half dozen other teas but this one taste different. It is simply a mellow delight.
I forgot I even had this. And – lo and behold – I finished the whole thing in a two day’s stretch. The pots I brewed of it turned out perfect – smokey, sweet, and…nostalgic?
Hard to explain.
It was accompanied by several other “finali-teas”, which I had to expand upon here: http://steepstories.com/2013/01/29/a-week-of-lasts-finali-tea/
Point being, sometimes a perfect pot o’ tea is the perfect omen for a week of goods and bads.
Posting this twice, once under each tea. I used, by volume, about equal portions of Teavivre Dehydrated Camellia with Single Origin Teas Idulgashinna Ceylon Green Organic. Camellia on its own reminds me of white peony. Idulgashinna is a unique green tea experience. I thought the two would compliment one another. I was right. The camellia really amplifies the leather notes of the Idulgashinna. At the same time the woodsy elements of the camellia shine as the cup cools. More experiments will definitely follow.
Angel told me this mixes well with green tea. So tonight I blended this with Huang Shan Mao Feng. I can definitely taste the Camellia which is actually the flower from the tea plant. It tastes a lot like white tea with a bit more of a woody taste. I mentioned this morning my taste buds are messed up today. I think I burned them yesterday. I know this taste different than straight Camellia but I can’t pick out the green tonight. It’s ok. I still really like it. I’ll try it again when I can taste. Thanks TeaVivre I have really enjoyed this one.
My wife made a pot of vanilla bean chamomile. It smells so good. I am thinking I might mix the two together at some point :)
Another from yesterday. I am still trying to learn the sounds of the kettle at home. I am not good at it apparently. I got the water too hot. This still tastes something like white tea but overcooked it takes on kind a a soft wood flavor. Definitely pay attention to the temperature.
I am finding this stay at home stuff is brain numbing. It has been less than a week and I have already lost all track of time. I have no idea what day it is until I hit the clock on the computer. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Day two with the same leaf… petals… flowers, ummm whatever this is. The second cup is darker in color. Still very see through but with a golden green tint. This has no bitterness. It still makes me think white tea with its melon and light cucumber notes. I thought this last night but wasn’t sure until today – this has a cooling effect making my lungs feel more open. My wife is going to try it later since its caffeine free. It didn’t work as a sleep aid for me like chamomile but it doesn’t pump more stay awake in your veins either. I’m am ready to commit to a rating. I like this.
New Samples from TeaVivre! Woot! Not going to rate this until I get to fix it without the microwave. I quickly looked at the picture and thought what came out of the bag would be hard like nuts. Nope. It’s real soft. I steeped with below boiling water for maybe three minutes. The resulting brew is pretty clear. It has a little bit of honey color but not much. I’m wondering will this have any flavor? But of course. The website says it has a persimmon aftertaste. I was expecting closer to chamomile. It does not taste like our persimmons and definitely not chamomile. What I got is something very similar to white tea. Subtle but deep. Even prepared poorly I like this. If I were to rate it I would say mid to high 80’s. Don’t fear the Herbal. Need more cowbell?
My husband (an oolong fan), and I received a sample of this premium Oolong (October 2012 harvest). My husband asked me to order more, telling me it was the best Oolong he has ever had. It has the floral aroma and taste you would expect from a high quality Tie Guan Yin. It has a clean, refreshing finish. Very nice.
This tea was delicious- very smooth and sweet, as well as floral and light. It seemed to have a stronger taste of jasmine than other jasmine dragon pearls I have tried, which I enjoyed very much. This is a good tea for any time of day, and I would highly recommend it.
I’m finally getting around to opening up this sample so graciously provided by Angel at Teavivre.
It’s really cold outside, and I was looking for a tea that would be clean and clear and very light. I’ve had this one for awhile, so I decided to try it.
Upon opening the package, the leaves are very thin, long and twisted. They have a strong dark green scent, like that of spinach or kale, and they’re the dark grey-green of kale as well.
I put ~2tsp into my 20oz Amsterdam pot, steeped at 180 for 2 minutes.
The liquor is transparent. It looks like nothing more than water. The smell is similar to the kale smell of the leaves, but it is very faint.
The flavor, however, isn’t. It’s not a strong, punch-you-in-the-face kind of flavor, but this definitely isn’t water I’m drinking. It has that sweet grassy sort of taste I like in green teas, with a little bit of natural vegetal sweetness that sparkles towards the end of the sip. It’s a little bit like seaweed, to be honest.
2 tsp. tea to 12 oz. water, below parameters.
I found this in my sample drawer when I was cleaning it out and it sounded like the perfect tea right now. It has such positive reviews but I remember (and my tasting note confirms) that I found it kind of smoky in the smell. It doesn’t taste smoky but I have to hold my breath a bit while drinking so that it doesn’t negatively impact the taste.
The tea itself is amazing, though. Bright and bold, quite reminiscent of a Ceylon really. With a verrry gentle fruity note (I think stone fruit, maybe dried apricots) beneath. It has a starchy mouthfeel with a vague sweetness to it that I love. This is a black tea that is easy to drink without additives. If only it didn’t have that hint of smoke! Admittedly, it does go away as you get deeper into the cup but that’s only because I’ve gotten used to it I think.
Still, I’ll raise it a few points because it does have a wonderfully complex nature. I’ll put up with the smell temporarily if I get such a lovely tea in return.