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Recent Tasting Notes
For part of my Christmas my son put a program on my computer called Kerbal Space Program. You design and launch spacecraft. So far I been able to attain a good circular orbit and today I even made it to the planet’s moon and returned safely. The learning curve is very steep. I have blown several craft up while launching. I have much to learn. I think my son is almost tired of answering questions.
Any way I thought this flavorful tea would go well with amateur rocket science. I brewed 4oz for the first cup. It was light and sweet. The next three steeps I have dumped together and it is much darker and leather. A nice enjoyable toucha.
Getting ready to head off to my first class. I have been craving puerh for days. This seemed the right time. I chose this one because I don’t have time for an extended pu session. This little tuocha will go maybe 3 mugs. It is no rose tuocha but pretty good (Yeah, I know I am in the minority preferring the rose). This I find a little harsher and a little more barnyard. It’s redeeming value is it is sweet and spicy, slightly floral and peaty. It is way better than my description.
Revisited this one today. Steeped 1m in boiling water.
I have loved every sheng I have tried. They just speak to me. Shu, like this, I am working on. They are just so unlike anything else. Cheap grocery store cooked puerh can be really bad – fishy or moldy smelling, and the bagged stuff can be a bit one dimensional. These are not like that. They are fresh and complex. I loved the rose toucha by Teavivre. I wish I had gotten the Chrysanthemum one as well – maybe I’ll order that one down the road. Anyway, this one I am enjoying much more the second time around.
The taste is peaty, mildly saddle leather (even if I am the only one to think so), followed by fruity and spicy notes. There is also a heavier flavor I can’t quite place, woodsy maybe? Hmmm. Guess I should read the other reviews and see if any of the comments register with what I am tasting.
2nd cup, 30 second steep. Very dark. Similar taste profile but a bit too light in flavor. 3rd cup, back to 1 minute. The extra time gave back that fuller flavor of the first cup. Didn’t have time today to go further. It’s no sheng but I like it. Upping my rating a bit.
Steeped 1 minute with boiling water. Toucha remains mostly intact. The brew is dark with a light musty aroma. The wet leaf reminds me of wet musty hay. The first sip is much sweeter than expected. I happily notice the leather notes I got from the rose toucha only much lighter. May be imagination but I pick up just the tiniest hint of smoke. I am also getting that slick slightly tacky lip feel that appealed to me in the China Cha Dao puerhs. No astringency, or fishiness and I don’t find it heavily earthy.
Second cup, toucha completely crumbled. Has a bit more leather and as it cools a bit of bitterness moves in with a heavy dose of hay. Third cup I added a couple small leaves of chocolate mint. Not enough to really flavor it but added a cool mouth feel and evened out the bitterness. Next time I brew this I am going to really short steeps.
The other reviews raved on this tea. I may adjust my rating up or down a bit after I try modifying my steep parameters. I loved the rose toucha. This one I like. Definitely better than meh, but not a wow. IMHO – YMMV (in my humble opinion – your mileage may vary)
More samples from TeaVivre! Once I hammer out some space in the tea cupboard, I’ll DEFINITELY be ordering more tea from this company. I love the freshness of all samples provided thus far.
The man and I tried this tea last night after a shrimp curry dinner (nom). He added milk and sweetener to his, and I drank mine straight (both brewed Western, approx 2 tsp per cup). My non-sweetened tea tasted lightly of smokey malty chocolatey goodness. I really enjoyed how smooth this tasted, and really appealed to me since I am still not quite used to heavy, bold, in-your-face black teas. This was on the sweet side, and I like it that way!
This is a very pleasant, pale sort of jasmine. I think I could actually use more than a teaspoon of leaves per small cup with this one and not have it taste too strong or bitter. It’s funny, at this point I associate jasmine tea with the Chinatown neighborhood of Houston, as we tend to get served it by default every time we go to dim sum or out to any restaurant. Drinking it makes me think that I’m about to eat delicious vegetable bao. Mmmm…
Anyway, if you’re in the mood for jasmine, you cannot go wrong with this one. The aroma is really full, and the taste doesn’t disappoint. It’s a much better jasmine than I’ve had in a while. Definitely more pronounced than the average fare, without being cloyingly floral. Yum!
Finished off my sample of this today – it will be missed!
Today I get glimpses of the “orange” flavor that JacquelineM mentioned. I wasn’t as specific with the color, but it did seem bright to me – bright and warm. With a lovely starchy mouthfeel. As it cools I think that some astringence is trying to fight its way through – but for the most part this is a very smooth tea that I am putting on the reorder list – along with the full leaf Yunnan that Teavivre offers – I do so love black teas!
4 tsp. to 500 ml. water, at the below parameters in my Breville. Taken without additives.
Today when I prepared this the leaves smelled slightly spicy – cinnamon-esque with some cocoa, too. It retained that aroma once steeped, and the dark brown liquor tasted exactly as it smelled. The mouthfeel was starchy and chewy – with light astringency at the finish.
I love this – it’s going to go on my shopping list, as will samples of the other Yunnan black teas offered by Teavivre.
Second of my samples generously provided to me by Teavivire – I am loving them so far!
I’ve had a bad experience with Yunnan’s in the past due to the fact that I found the one I tried (from Upton) to be quite smoky. I just don’t like the smoke, guys. In anything. Ever. It was suggested (by Tabby, I think) that maybe I need to just lower the temperature to reduce/avoid smokiness (despite Upton’s label saying to brew at boiling). I’d already passed the Upton tea on to someone else at that point, but when Angel at Teavivre offered this one I eagerly accepted.
Sure enough, the suggested brewing temperatures on this tea were about 20 degrees lower than my previous one. The leaves in the sample were beautiful – gnarled and golden and huge. The dry leaves were malty smelling – I picked up on a hint of sweetness, cocoa or caramel-ish but only very lightly so. I didn’t pick up on any smokiness in the scent, so I was very hopeful as I scooped about 3 heaping tsp. into my Breville.
Once steeped the liquor was that rich, mahogany dark brown I associate with black teas. No smoke in the steeped smell, either! Instead just an assam like maltiness. On the first sip the first thing I really picked up on was the full-bodied texture of the tea – it has a fabulously smooth mouthfeel. The malty scent carried over into the taste, where it blends with the taste of dark chocolate. I’m loving this without sweetener, but I could see it being strong enough to handle milk and sugar if that’s how you like your black teas.
What a wonderful morning tea – I am so glad to know that Yunnans are a tea that I can and do enjoy very much!
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
Yesterday I prepared this with one long steep, and now I’ll try out multiple short steeps. I think this approach to tasting tea gives you a good understand of what the tea leaves have to offer.
With the initial steep, I picked up on notes of pumpkin spice, grains, sweet honey (not too sweet though), other spices. The liquid had a very silky smooth feel to it.
The flavour continued to strengthen over the second and fourth steeps. It never became too powerful or overwhelming. The black tea base has a nice flavour to it, it was a bit sweet, floral, and earthy.
After those, the flavour started winding down. The fifth had some notes of chocolate, cinnamon, with a slightly weaker flavour than the previous steep. Sixth steep was soft, light and still a bit floral.
Finishing off with the last two steeps, I could begin to taste my original water flavour. But it still had enjoyable qualities from the previous steeps (sweet, earthy).
At the end of all this, I took a moment to look at the leaves in my gaiwan. They were a nice brown colour, and although mostly comprised of broken leaf, there is no “tea dust”. This one turned out to be a fairly good resteeper considering the leaves are not whole.
Now that I’ve tried the two steeping styles, I think I prefer the longer western style. It has a richer, deeper tea flavour and takes advantage of the broken tea leaf, because that type infuses flavour quickly (more so than whole leaf).
This is one of the Teavivre samples I’ve considered purchasing because the price and flavour makes it an excellent every day black tea. I’ve certainly had much worse black tea and for more money.
100ml gaiwan, 1 sample pack (2 tsp? 5g?), 8 steeps (rinse, 45s, +15s resteeps)
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
Down to my last sample from Teavivre to try. For now I’ll prepare it with one long steep, and then later on in the day with at least 8 short steeps.
I was pleasantly surprised with this in my morning’s cup. I’m picking up on lots of flavours; something floral, pepper, lychee, chocolate, honey, spice (makes me think of pumpkin spice to some extent), and of course a good black tea body.
200ml glass teapot, 1 packet (2tsp? 5g?), 1 steep
By the way, I went on their website to check out some info on this tea and I saw that they had some new stuff in stock. When I spotted the Oriental Beauty @ about $15 USD for 100g my eyeballs nearly popped out! I have no idea how good it is, but usually their tea is at an already excellent price to flavour ratio. I’m seriously very tempted to put in an order. There is also some DongDing and Jin Xuan Milk Oolong. I hope they keep stocking more tea from Taiwan. :D MmmmMMMM yeah!
I found a tiny bit of this left over as well, and so I’m in use-up-samples mode before I compile my order of new teas for 2012.
I’m bumping this up a bit having had it on the heels of the Xin Yang Mao Jian. The two are so different that I’m able to appreciate this cup a lot more than the last time I tasted it.
The Xin Yang Mao Jian is delicate and shy. This is big, bold, strong and a bit unrefined (but not in a bad way). I love the Xin Yang Mao Jian in my delicate little gaiwan but I feel like I should be drinking this Chun Mei out of my 16 ounce mug with the Ester Island face on it.
The color is a deep golden and yet the flavor has very little roast this time. This is like an untamed thicket of rioting green foliage.
This is where Chinese green teas start to lose me, I think, and all begin to taste basically the same. But the problem, of course, is me, not the tea.
I’m into my second steep of this, now, and after my enjoyment of the dragon well in recent weeks I had high hopes.
There is a steady transition here as you sip, savor and swallow. Up front you get a strong roasted note and a tiny bite of vegetal bitterness, but then the cup opens up into bright, fresh green sweetness. But, that’s what happens with all the good, green, Chinese teas I’ve had. I just don’t have the palate development yet (for these teas) to discuss the subtle distinctions between a Chun Mei, a Xin Yang Mao Jian, a Taimu Maojin and a Bi Luo Chun.
Hopefully this week’s series of samplings will school me.
The first time I tried Tie Guan Yin, it was while I was watching my boyfriend play Dark Souls on PS3. Just tasting this tea made me think about that game, hahaha.
Anyway, this is a really good oolong. It’s not quite as tasty as Life In Teacup’s version, but it’s pretty close. The aftertaste is just as yummy as the tea itself.
The leaves came a little crushed though. I think they vacuum packed the sample too tightly. But it did come in the most beautiful little packet I’ve ever seen! So colorful with a gorgeous bird on it. Crushed leaves nonetheless, it still brewed a delicious cup. And it holds up to multiple infusions really well too.
This tea is like a meal. Lipsmacking good!
One of the main reasons I love Steepster is because when I haven’t had a tea in a while I can pull up old notes to get those steeping parameters. The other one is my virtual cupboard – I’ve pulled up many teas I’ve forgotten (!!) thanks to keeping track of my inventory online. Of course, part of the reason that my tea collection has gotten out of control might be Steepster related, too….but I digress. :)
This green is more roasted than seaweedy now, but I’m willing to bet that has a lot to do with it being about a year old. Regardless, it’s a nice hot drink on a cold night, and it balanced out a very heavy, warm dinner.
I need a detox soooo bad after this past weekend and the scandalous amount of chocolate and decadent food I ate. Luckily, I had this in my cupboard.
I really like the light, vegetal quality of this – makes me feel a little bit healthier (even though I know it’s a placebo effect) after drinking it. It hit the spot tonight for sure.
Backlogging a cup of this from last night – paired nicely with some chips and hummus for a light dinner. This really is a wonderful green to go with a savory meal. Someone once used ‘brothy’ as a descriptor for a green tea, maybe even this one, but regardless of where I’ve heard it before, I think this tea qualifies.
I will definitely be ordering this one when my sample runs out – it’s a wonderful green!
First off, thank you so much to Angel Chen from Teavivre who provided me with these very generous samples! I am excited to try each one of them!
The mailman brought this box of samples to my door about 30 minutes ago – on a rainy, damp night where I was just beginning to think about what tea I wanted for after dinner. I have been reading everyone’s reviews of these teas and anticipating them all so it was really hard picking a first to sample! Ultimately I went with this one because I’ve been wanting a green tea lately and I’m pretty well versed in Japanese greens, but Chinese greens I’m a lot less familiar with.
So, to start: after opening the packaging the first thing I saw were the bright green, flat leaves. The scent of them dry reminded me very strongly of sencha – spinachy and savory. I brewed about 3 heaping tsp. of leaf to 500 ml. water in my Breville, at the below parameters, and the resulting liquor was almost colorless it was such a light green.
I was initially worried I hadn’t steeped long enough because of the color, but as soon as I poured and inhaled the smell, I knew it was going to be amazing. Think of the smell of freshly steamed spinach or nori, and that is what emanated from my cup. The taste was spinachy too, just like a sencha, but unlike sencha there was a roasted note that was attached to the vegetal flavor throughout the sip.
Overall this tea seems quite versatile, and would go well with a savory meal or as I’m enjoying it now, with no additives as an after dinner winding down drink. It is a great example of a ‘pure’ green. I definitely am impressed, and will be putting it on my shopping list.
Sip down :( I spent the day with this most marvelous of teas. I remember when Angel first offered it to me. I almost turned it down. In fact I did turn down another jasmine green she offered. I hate jasmine. Or I did. Or I still do, if it is that over-perfumed icky stuff in a bag from the grocery store. Its even been true of the few other loose leaf jasmines by other companies I have sniffed. But this, oh this, is so different. It is flowers and sunshine. Its’ taste reminds me of grapes. It is nectar. No it is Ambrosia. It is light and refreshing with a lovely green aftertaste. It is multiple steeps of delight. Oh sadness. After today it will be gone….. sigh. I must have more. The shelf life is three years. Jubilation! So what if I have 50 other open samples.
This one stays hidden in the back of the drawer. I broke it out today to share with a co-worker. He recently let me try the Governor Gray he got on vacation. It peaked his curiosity about tea and I thought I would give him some of what I consider the best. He was impressed that it was Fujian. Was amazed at the little pearls and how much it unfurled after steeping. He told me he wasn’t going to drink it. He was just going to sit and smell the cup :) I know how he feels.
He came in much later and told me he got tied up on the phone and the whole time the aroma of the tea was filling up his room. The tea got cold before he got back to it. He was afraid it was ruined until he tasted it. He poured it over ice shortly after and asked for the web address. Time will tell if I have my second convert. He tends to be a hobby of the month person. At least for the moment he seemed to get it.
I continued to drink on the same leaf the rest of the work day.
I have been trying my hardest to stay away from this tea. I need to drink up some of my other teas before I order more. (When you drink alone and do multi-steeps with each, tea lasts a long time) I just couldn’t resist today. The wonderful grapey smell of the dry pearls made me too weak to fight it. The jasmine aroma of the wet leaf is so fresh and natural. This is my very favorite of the Teavivre offerings. It’s sweet, silky, and not any way overpowering. It definitely has a milky feel on the tongue and even tastes a bit of milk. Can it be milky and silky at the same time? I guess so since that is what I experienced. There is just nothing I can find to write negative about this tea. In the middle of the office chaos I find myself able to shut it all out and just relax with each sip. I had 3 cups before lunch. So much for my brief excursion into the world of decaf.