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Recent Tasting Notes


This is an interesting looking tea, and certainly one of the most unique green teas I’ve ever seen. I’ve read tasting notes for this one previously, and I know that people said the leaves were large, but I wasn’t actually expecting them to be this large. Like, so-large-they-won’t-fit-in-my-work-infuser large. They’re very thin and flat, like dried seaweed sheets, and feel similarly brittle. The colour is variagated – from dark green tips to yellow-green leaf base. The scent – in keeping with the appearance – is strong, and quite seaweed-y, or marine-like. I like that you can tell they’re leaves. It seems somehow more honest than a lot of teas, and is surely a more expensive production process. There’s everything premium about this one.

I used approximately 1/3 of the sample pouch for my cup, not really having much to go on. I’m kind of hoping that the leaves will soften and fold into the infuser, otherwise brewing this one is going to be interesting. At the moment, they’re leaning against the side of the infuser basket, and poking out a good couple of centimetres.

Fortunately they do, so it’s all good. I gave them 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The scent is milder than I was expecting, vegetal and a little nutty. The taste is similar – quite subtle, with notes of samphire, salt, and an edge of almost-floral. There’s a slightly mineral aftertaste, like wet rock. The floral is a bit of a surprise, especially in the way it “blooms” at the end of the sip. Up until that point, this struck me as a pleasant – if fairly standard – green tea. That floral, which graually gives way to the more mineral, oolong-like end-note, makes this an altogether more unique experience. Added to its overall smoothness, and complete lack of bitterness or astringency, this makes for a very pleasant cup. I’d happily seek this one out again, from future harvests.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Reviewing a sample of this graciously provided to me! Dry leaf is very small pieces, with a warm chocolate and fruit scent. Wet leaf has the usual black tea smell to me, and the tea brews up dark quite quickly.

First steep is really quite good—definitely much better than other Dian Hong I’ve tried. I’m not an expert on black tea, but I’m enjoying the overall light profile, with a little bit of play in the high notes with a fruitiness and tanginess in the back of the throat, and overall low “burnt-ness” that I usually get with black teas.

Second steep is much more viscous and bready, and flavor wise is much more like I would expect. There is a definite high note here of fruit, and overall I find this to be quite an easy tea to drink. Very full in the mouth and heavy in its low notes.

Overall quite an enjoyable black tea! I find its overall mouthfeel to be quite heavy with a hint of fruitiness to keep it from being just heavy.

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Thanks again for the samples, Teavivre! I’ve seen so many recent Teavivre tasting notes lately! I’m glad they’re doing so well. This tea is divine not so much for the rose but for the black tea. As soon as I opened the sphere from the cute wrapping with little pink stars, the scent of the dry leaves was so syrupy sweet. I knew I’d love this one. There is such a surprising amount of leaves left in the basket after steeping — at least 3/4 basket full of lovely black tea and ENTIRE ROSES. At least two whole roses! How ever did they fit? The flavor is so tasty, even though there are only hints of rose flavor, if some of you are intimated by too much rose. The flavor of the black tea is deep yet very syrupy sweet just like I love the perfect Yunnan to be. Though there seems like a lot of leaves in the basket, the flavor definitely isn’t overdone. All three steeps are delicious yet never astringent. It could be the amount of flowers to black tea or the difference in steeping, but I think this tea seems different than the Jasmine Dragon Ball, even if it might be the same black tea. I didn’t notice the sweetness with the Jasmine Dragon Ball that I notice here. Though the Jasmine Dragon Ball doesn’t look as gold as the Rose, so that must be where the sweetness is from. I love a good Yunnan!
Steep #1 // 1 piece for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Harvest: 2016

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Just opened my order of this tea, freshly harvested at the end of March. Would have loved to get to this sooner, but there are so many fresh greens I’ve been working my way through!

The dry leaves of this tea has a faintly sweet, vegetal aroma and each steep of this pours almost clear. The flavor is light and sweet, with indistinct fruit notes and a bit of a fresh grassy finish. I love how the color of the leaves brighten over multiple infusions as they hydrate, and I enjoyed a good number of infusions of this lovely spring green. I think I will try my next infusion with more leaf and also try this one cold steeped overnight.

Flavors: Fruity, Grass, Sweet

4 g

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Thank you to Teavivre for providing me with some free samples! I brewed up a storm today with some friends and we really enjoyed it.

This tea has convinced me that I can definitely enjoy greens, because this is super fresh (I believe 2017 harvest) and tasted really high grade.

It had none of the astringency or bitterness I sometimes get from greens. While it had some vegetal traits, it was very sweet and fruity. Similar to peach but not any distinct fruit. Very smooth, rebrews well, although the second steep was a bit less fruity and more nutty vegetal.

Flavors: Fruity, Green, Peach, Stonefruits, Sweet, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 30 sec 3 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

Dragonwell is one of the great teas. It’s freshest at this time of year. (I’m waiting for some freshly picked green tea now)


Yes, it’s harvested in 2017!

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Sample from Angel

I had a very quick session with this at home yesterday and have the rest of the leaf cold brewed for this afternoon at work. I’ve been too busy these days (and lazy when I’m not busy) to write a lot of reviews on the tea which I’ve been drinking. I started tea-ing a lot with friends, painting, writing, or working on Grad school stuff; which has been distracting me by allowing me to avoid the computer.

Notes: A very nutty/floral body throughout the tea.

This was definitely a wonderful delight to be had during my time before work yesterday. I’m sure it has bloomed well over night in cold water, too. My coworkers are noticing that I’ve been drinking more tea at my cubicle lately, so they’re always curious what each day will bring in my tea adventures. I would share this with them, but considering they’re all huge “Coffee Fuel Only” types, I’m sure this wouldn’t impress them as much…? One never knows…..

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Silly me finally adding this to my inventory when I only have a few grams left! I ordered this separately from the she qian so I could get that one asap, and this—harvested days later—came not too long after.

Another excellent long jing in my opinion, though definitely distinct from the superior she qian. The initial aroma of this one is nutty, roasty and beany, preparing the palate for the flavors to come. The initial steep is a very light clear yellow, and is smooth with a sweet, roasted chestnut body with almost sugary highlights and subtle florals rounding it out. I love the aroma that fills my space, which is—again—like taking in the aroma of a nice, savory broth. The flavor develops and strengthens in steep two, and even when steeped longer than intended doesn’t become astringent. After subsequent steeps, the florals move more into the forefront of the flavor profile.

While the she qian is, indeed, superior, this is still an excellent long jing and definitely a solid, more budget-friendly choice!

Flavors: Beany, Broth, Chestnut, Floral, Nutty, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 4 g

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Yay for new tea!! A huge thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this sample! I don’t think I have ever tried a yellow tea so this is exciting! Hopefully I’m not up all night from having caffeine so late haha.

The smell of this tea is delicious! Very similar to a dragonwell green I’ve had, bit with a toasty and slightly sweet almond note. Smells so Good! I steeped probably 1/3 of the packet in 185 degree water for my mug for 2 mins. I also made the fiance a mug right afterwards with another 2 min steeping. The steeped liquor is a very pale yellow, and smells very deliciously like dragonwell again but with a strong buttery note.

As for the flavor, wow this is good!! Very much like sweet, crisp corn on the cob, with corn silk and a buttery, slightly toasty note. It’s like a green tea in the first taste, then it morphs into the nutty corn flavor. So much butter! And a sweet note of crisp sugared corn creeps in at the back of my throat after a while. So satisfying!

Overall, I am very impressed with this tea, my first yellow tea. Buttery, silky corn, it truly reminds me of harvest days in the autumn, the sun shining down on corn silk, cobs bursting and ready to be harvested. So yummy and warming on this chilly spring evening. Once again thank you Teavivre for the opportunity to try such a unique tea!


MMMM… I’m sipping this one now and your note made it even better. :D


@tea-sipper – Glad it helped! It is a very tasty tea :)

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I have been doing an awful job at taking notes lately. :( Life has been so busy that when I have been drinking tea, I have just wanted to drink and enjoy it more organically.

Anyhow. I received this tea around this time in April (so been enjoying it for around a month), and it really does deserve a note. Thank you, steph, for recommending this one!

This tea has a lovely, sweet nutty aroma right out of the bag and tastes of sweet chestnuts from the first steep. The liquor is a very clear, light gold. I really enjoy (and recommend) taking it slow with this tea, enjoying the flavor and aroma of each steep /and/ the aroma of the leaves between each steep. After the first infusion, the aroma of these leaves is reminiscent of a nice, umami broth, and it really fills my office. Inhaling deeply is all it takes to find the nuttiness still beneath.

The following steep brings more of the same flavors, but with more depth, and a stronger sweetness kicks in in steep three. Overall, this is a lovely fresh green to enjoy, and I am very glad I got to enjoy the fresh harvest!

Flavors: Broth, Chestnut, Nutty, Sugarcane, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

So glad that you love this tea

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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.

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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.

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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.

(2016 Harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Corn Husk, Floral, Raspberry, Spinach

160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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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

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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.

(2016 Harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Cheesecake, Cream

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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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

(2016 Harvest)

Flavors: Flowers, Milk, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Agreed! I live for flavoured milk oolongs (when I am in the mood for them).

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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!

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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.

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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

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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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

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

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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…

Flavors: Earth

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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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

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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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

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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