Teavivre

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

Ok, after receiving advice on smoky teas, I had to revisit this one.

First a story – I shared this with a co-worker today who is an all Twinings and the time kind of guy. He said the brew smells like roasted almonds. Then he tasted it and said, “Dude that’s just wrong. It’s like slapping puppies. It tastes like burnt coffee.” He poured the rest of his partial cup out and went back to his Lady Grey. By the way, the first time I brewed this he had cup number two and loved it.

Today I steeped enough for both of us to try on cup one. So I tasted it, and knowing what to expect this time, I did not find it nearly as off putting as the first tasting. I am not flinching. Progress. As the cup cooled the smoke diminished and the other notes started to emerge for me today. Yeah.

The two or three cups you can get after the initial steep are fantastic and easily deserving of a 90+ rating. My feeling is the average first timer will not get past the initial shock to realize there is a really good cup of tea here. I hope I am wrong. I bump my rating a bit.

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90

Dry leaf is small pieces and smells of hay and unflavored pipe tobacco. I have never smoked and can’t stand the smell of ash trays but fresh tobacco is a pleasant aroma. Used a healthy spoonful of leaf. Steeped longer than intended, about 3 minutes with below boiling water per label instructions. Wet leaf is smoked hay.

First sip, wow, this is smoky. I don’t believe I have experienced this in a loose leaf before so I am a bit taken aback. I can pick out the Keemun underneath and can really taste it in the aftertaste. It is pleasant but the smoke dominates. It may take me a couple cups to decide what I think of this tea. Cup two and three – strange, this isn’t smoky at all. It’s just a good cup of tea. I guess if you really like the smoke this would be disappointing. Personally, I think if there is a lot of smoke involved then there should be pulled pork. Hey, there is a flavor for all you flavor folk – smoked pulled pork, oh yeah.

ashmanra

Sounds delicious!

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97
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1719 tasting notes

This was one of the early teas I experienced when Teavivre first introduced me to fine loose leaf tea. I remember being blown away. I added some to my recent order as it has been a long time since I last had Bailin Gongfu and I wanted to see if it stood up to my earlier experience and my memories. The first thing I’ll note is looking back through my notes, this was usually accompanied with food – and almost always food that is bad for the waste line but good for the soul. I don’t currently have any good junk food, so sad as that sounds I’ll proceed. Opening the package fills my nose with cocoa. Brewed this is cocoa, malt, and honey. Man this stuff is almost like junk food all on its own without the bad stuff. It really is as good as I remember.

Cheri

This note made me really happy for some reason. :-)

Terri HarpLady

I love this note, you have such a way with words :)
I also picked up some of this again recently. Now I need to find time to drink it

Christina / BooksandTea

I really want to try this and a bunch of other Teavivre blacks, but the sampler pack with this tea in it is sold out. :(

Tealizzy

I absolutely love this tea!

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97
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1719 tasting notes

Sip down :( What a great tea! :)

Tea_is_wisdom

This tea is a great example of their high quality teas and fair prices.

K S

Which is your favorite?

Tea_is_wisdom

Well to be honest with you KS I like more traditional teas. I like different teas but the ones I tend to run to most in my steepings are Long Jing or Tie Guan Yin, Dan Cong, Da Hong Pao, Taiwanese Oriental Beauty, ripped & raw puerh. Always looking for the best in each category but within a fair price. I mean I am not going to pay an ungodly amount like 86.00/oz. Which is crazy to me but hey some people take it to that level. LOL!

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97
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1719 tasting notes

The early decades of my tea journey were filled with flavored grocery store bagged black teas. I didn’t know there was anything else and I liked them. Then I met green Earl Grey. This changed my direction and led to loose leaf. Now I can say, generally speaking, black teas are my least favorite type. There are rare exceptions. This is one of them. It is an amazing tea. I don’t find it invigorating. To me it makes a relaxing introspective cup. Assam makes me flinch. This melts the world away with sweet malty goodness.

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97
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1719 tasting notes

I got a buzz on the intercom this morning. I was told to get some tea brewed as donuts were on the way. Custard filled, chocolate covered, I know its bad, but its oh so good donuts. This tea came to mind. The smell of dark chocolate/cocoa filled the air before the bakery box arrived. My new to tea co-worker was impressed with this one and with the Chinese for their brilliance in coming up with this stuff.

I tried, fellow Splenda junkies, not to add it to the cup. I really did try. As I noted the first time I had this one, I don’t think it comes alive until the sweetener hits it. Rather than put up with mediocre according to my tastebuds, I decided to go for awesome by getting honest with myself and ripping the top off the yellow packet. Judge me if you must. I don’t care the tea and the donut were great.

ashmanra

No judging here. Can I have a donut now?

Bonnie

Pass the box and the Splenda!

K S

Should I put another pot on? What am I saying, of course I should.

SimplyJenW

I am just going with my Splenda. I was at the end of a Sam’s Club sized box, and revisited honey, stevia, agave nectar, sugar, etc., but am heading out to buy another jumbo box of Splenda soon. I am at the point that I just want to enjoy myself drinking the tea rather than agonizing over the additions. Luckily, it is getting warmer (which means iced tea, my no-additions to the iced, friend!), and there are tons of greens and oolongs that I like plain. I decided the better way was to not replace as many of the teas that need sweetening as I use them up, and just replace my top picks.

Bonnie

No, you’re going to go get the donuts!

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97
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1719 tasting notes

Today is a good day. A co-worker brought me a piece of homemade cheesecake, and it was good. I thought what tea goes with cheese cake? Oooh, Bailin! Low temp water and 2 minute steep. For those who reviewed this recently and thought it rather ordinary, I am so happy that you get to drink black tea this awesome enough that this seems like nothing special. With the combination bite/sip, I got cheesecake just drifting straight into malt that lingers forever with chocolate and caramel notes. No bitterness. No astringency in the taste but does leave you with a very slight dry mouth feel. In my realm of tea experience this stuff is freakin’ awesome!

TeaBrat

sounds good to me!

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97
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1719 tasting notes

Nothing makes you appreciate really good tea like a weekend with mediocre to just plain bad tea. After the powder room experience of yesterday, I grabbed some of the best of the best first thing this morning. What an excellent choice! I really wanted to just relax and sip this but instead it disappeared in a hurry – multiple times! See tasting previous notes.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

I got some samples of this same tea today in the mail, I havent tried it yet tho, I may have when I get home.

TeaBrat

I really liked this one…

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97
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1719 tasting notes

Had this with sour dough bread today. I was a little concerned the tastes were too similar but it turned out to be a good combination. The wet leaf brought to mind cocoa, or bakers chocolate, heating on the stove. The bread enhanced tasting notes I hadn’t caught before. The main being a cucumber taste. Under that was a sweet fruity something that I couldn’t place but made me think of jelly – kind of went with the whole bread thing I guess. As the cup cooled the malt became more pronounced. The aftertaste pleasantly lingers. There is also a dry mouth feel with this combination. An exceptionally good tea.

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97
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1719 tasting notes

Yeah, more samples from Teavivre! Haven’t even tasted it yet and I am loving it. I used half of one of the 4 sample packets. The dry leaf looks small but smells amazing. First, I noticed malt. As I waited for the water to heat, I keep wondering where is that chocolate scent coming from? Oh yeah, it’s the tea. Steeped 2 minutes (increasing on later steeps) with below boiling water per instructions furnished on the sample label. The brew has a slight caramel aroma and is a deep reddish golden color. The wet leaf has a bit of a coffee edge and swollen leaf reveals small broken pieces.

I tried this without sweetener and thought is was a bit beige. So as is my custom, I used sweetener. Now the sip is what I would classify as medium bodied. You don’t have to work at tasting it, but it doesn’t grab you by the throat and kick your teeth in either. Nice. Smooth caramel taste, lightly malt, and creamy. The aftertaste lingers without being offensive. A civilized cup for when you have the time to enjoy it. Three infusions from the leaves.

I don’t normally drink a lot of straight black hot tea. This is my second black from Teavivre. These teas are really winning me over. I honestly didn’t know a black tea could have this much depth. Only problem is my cup keeps going empty! Very nice tea.

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79

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I really do enjoy the packaging on TeaVivre’s teas. I enjoy knowing where each tea is from, all the manufacturer and storage and use details, right there on the label. It’s a nice touch!

This one smells a tiny bit like sweet clover to me. Very nice, but not purfume-y like a lot of floral teas. Just a nice touch of sweetness.

This one’s a little bit sharp if you drink it too hot, but once it cools enough you won’t burn your tongue, it gets nice and sweet and smooth. It keeps getting sweeter and even a little juicy as it cools, too.

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98

This is my first taste of tea by Teavivre. Samples of this and four other Teavivre varieties came in the mail yesterday all the way from China.

I have to say, I am blown away by the great complex flavors of this bold yet very gentle tea. It’s one of the best black teas I have ever tasted!

This premium tea has a wonderful woody and smoky taste that is fully realized, but not overpowering, after just three minutes of steeping at 194 degrees. I find that worthy of note because I usually have to brew black tea for five minutes at 212 degrees to wring a level of flavor strength from it that even approaches this fine gem from the East.

The rich flavors of this tea are very clear without any bitterness creeping onto your palate. The bright amber color foreshadows the outstanding tasting experience that awaits you.

I am excited to try another tea offering by Teavivre…TOMORROW!

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90

I’ve been enjoying this tea for the past week in all different kinds of steeping scenarios and it’s delicious! Like the others, I’ve noticed notes of citrus. It’s very smooth, slightly sweet, and steeps into a dark, rich cup, but it retains a delicate body.

More thoughts and pics in my full review http://bit.ly/sXlcaY – this is definitely a tea that will take you from your wake-up into your workday. That’s how I’ve enjoyed it – a big vacuum mug that stays warm and flavorful for several hours.

I don’t know that it resteeps as well in the traditional teapot method. Gong-fu style with very short steeps brought out more flavor profiles when I sampled it that way this past weekend.

Definitely one to add to your cupboard!

IllBeMother221B

I have some on the way I enjoyed it that much!

ScottTeaMan

I may have to place an order….this tea looks and sounds so good!

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89

Another offering that I received from Teavivre. I have tried a few Ti Kuan Yin Oolongs and they all seem have different characters. Some more green. Others more oxidized. Some having a nutty or honey characteristic. There is a beauty in watching the Iron Goddess unfurl to present her glorious nectar. I do like how this is packaged, I can make a pot with one package. Opening up the dry leaves….whoa! Very floral. Very green. Smells like packaged summer. I know this is not a jasmine scented or flavored Oolong but it smells very similar. The leaves produce a pale yellow liquor. The smell and flavor remind me of that first part of June when you can really start to smell the Jasmine. Another great offering from Teavivre.

IllBeMother221B

I think this is one of the sample I received too. Can’t wait to try it!

The DJBooth

Yeah they’ve all been pretty good.

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62

Updated on 1/4/2012

Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online

Age of leaf: advertised as spring 2011. Received fall 2011, brewed up days later.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: similar in appearance and smell to other Chun Mee teas I have had before: small chopped and tightly curled leaves, with a grassy and somewhat smoky aroma.

Brewing guidelines: Based on two different steeping sessions; I used a little hotter temperatures than the standard parameters for my green teas call for due to Teavivres web directions. Loose in glass Bodum pot. Stevia added.
2 tsp, 2 cups of water (4 tsp, 4.5 cups)
……….1st: 180, 1’ (187; 1’)
……….2nd: 180. 1.5 (178 trying it cooler; 1.5’)
……….3rd: 185, 2’ (185; 2’)

Color and aroma of tea liquor: cloudy, light honey color, mild vegetal aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: standard vegetal green tea flavor; minor astringency on the second steeping.

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Looks and smells fresh.

Value: Roughly a $1/ounce, and you can’t really beat that for fresh green tea anywhere.

Overall: My wife and I changed our mind on this one after the second session: the flavor is not as good as the flavor during the first session. I am not very taken by the flavor (too astringent, or something). It did hold up with the flavor it had through three steepings. Nothing else really notable about it other than that it is fresh and inexpensive.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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100

This is the first tea I’ve tried from this company, which graciously sent me a number of yummy samples. Boy, am I impressed! A couple of items to note as I wait for the tea to cool off a bit: the packaging of this tea was superb. Individual bags inside a larger bag (which were then inside a box)… and each individual bag looks like it will yield at least two cups, more if you resteep.

The aroma of this tea is so nice. There’s a hint of caramel and lots of hearty warmth.

Now on to the taste: toasty caramel, strong and bold. Now this is an awakening cup of black tea! Lately I’ve been trying to drink my tea straight up with no sweeteners, but honestly, even a sweet-tooth sugar queen like me doesn’t need anything to enhance this tea’s flavor. It’s robust and sweet at the same time.

This is a new cupboard essential. And a new addition to my morning wake-up call.

Heaven!

JacquelineM

I love your phrase sweet-tooth sugar queen! May I steal it in the future? :)

KeenTeaThyme

Definitely! :) From one sweet-tooth sugar queen to another! :)

Kashyap

was one of the last samples I had a chance to enjoy before a cold settled in and took my nose and taste buds away…I’m still waiting for a full recovery before posting again…but I wanted to mention that this was indeed one of the highlights of the samples I recieved from Teavivre. Personally I thought the packaging was a bit over-kill, a tribute to the Japanese tendency to “Russian Doll” every item till there is more packaging than product, certainly not the presentation to a bunch of tea enthuisiasts who are going to have brewing hardware and don’t need self-dosing simplicity. Hope to join your review with my own soon and can’t wait for newly born taste buds.

TeaBrat

@Kashyap – thanks for weighing in, I thought I was the only person on Steepster who was annoyed by the packaging, i’m glad there is someone else. ;-)

Kashyap

@Amy oh…you certainly are not the only one :)

ashmanra

I didnt mind the double packaging because some of my samples would have heavily scented the others, and I assumed that the only reason the tea was in small pouches was because they were prepackaged samples. Surely when you place an order for several ounces or more it doesn’t come in those small packets, does it? I think a few people have placed orders. Chime in on how your tea was portioned when it arrived, please! :)

Stoo

I’ve found that I get three full-flavored eight-ounce cups from one of the little sample bags.

Kashyap

I used a gram/oz scale upon opening any of the ‘pre-portioned’ samples and brewed them both according to industry standard by wt. and then also by ‘sample’ ..figured i might as well be emperical

Steven Cook

i am fairly new at all this and i was curious. how much were the little sample bags and how did you order them???

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91

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91

Forgot to log from yesterday…why not have another today! YAY!

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91

Backlogging a cup from Monday as well as my first cuppa the day today! YAY!

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91

Sipping a sturdy cuppa! See previous notes :)

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91

I got to add a bit of this back to my stash thanks to LiberTeas! I’m having a cup right now! It’s awesome…I’m so happy to have this tea back in my stash! Thanks LiberTEAs!

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91

Backlogging and sipdown…

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91

Backlogging 4 awesome cups from last week and today! Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea is one of my favorite TYPES of Black Teas! This is FAB! See other notes

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91

backlogging from last week – several cups…see previous notes…FAB

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