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Recent Tasting Notes
I was surprised, when I opened this up, to be greeted by a nice, smoky aroma. Smokiness is not really something I associate with Keemun, but I’m not complaining. I love smoky teas.
The flavor is more what I was expecting: Lovely and silky smooth. The hint of smoke that came with it just served to bring out the other flavors.
With very few exceptions, I think of black teas as morning teas, delicious but too strong to drink later in the day. This is one of the exceptions; it was nice to wake up to, but I think I preferred the second pot I’ve been sipping all afternoon. It’s too nice and mellow to be relegated to the morning.
(Sample provided gratis by TeaVivre for review.)
I received this after being contact by a lovely woman from Teavivre. Sadly it had been sitting at the post office for over a week before anyone got around to deliver it. (Thankfully my postman rocks and signed for it himself and left it at our place)
Anyway, when I opened the package I smelled the jasmine instantly. I’m not usually a huge jasmine fan, but I was willing to give this a try. I’m very glad I did. This was very yummy. It has a very sweet and crisp taste to it. I can’t wait to try the others as this was a good start to the samples that were sent.
It’s actually a little cold here in Atlanta today. I guess winter really is coming. I was starting to think it had forgotten us.
Anyway, I’m warming up with this tea, which I am just as fond of the second time. It’s smoky but mild, with a decent amount of caffeine. I’m saving the rest of this sample for Kaliska, I think.
The first thing I noticed when I was steeping the tea was a bold, smoky scent. I was reminded of lapsang souchong, as the tiny black leaves also brewed up very dark, very quickly.
The flavor, however, was less smoky than I expected. Which is good, because smokiness is something I’m still adjusting to. Anyway, it’s a strong, hearty tea that would go great with breakfast. There is no harsh aftertaste at all, just a sort of rounded maltiness and woodsmoke taste.
This would be a good segue tea between plain blacks and lapsang, I believe. And I also think a slightly longer steep time is in order. I’d like to taste what this tea is like when it’s stronger. So, next time…
Wow! Mmmm! Yum! This tea is so delicious! It’s the perfect exemplar for this type of tea. Hay and flowers!
I received this as a free sample from the company. So far, I’m really impressed. The packaging is very professional; it’s actually double packaged. The interior packaging is split into individual steeping samples. No measuring required!
This silver needle tea is sweet and lovely with no bitterness at all. The taste lingers long after the sip. Light and pleasant. It’s slightly astringent, but overall just a beautiful tea. Perfect for enjoying late before bed!
Ah, jasmine tea. No matter how many affairs I have with other flavors and kinds of tea, you will always be a constant in my heart. I took this sample with my to my sister’s last night and brewed everyone some tea after dinner. The fragrance of the leaves was lovely. The tea itself is very jasmine-y and very enjoyable. I found a flavor a tiny bit harsh though. It was in no way bad, but it didn’t have the smooth silkiness I’ve had in other jasmine teas. And I found myself wishing the tea flavor was a little more present. It was mostly flower, which is fine with me, but a little more green flavor would greatly enhance the experience.
The second steep was slightly less jasmine-y and more tea-y. The tea seems to be kind of roast-y. It didn’t taste all the green and maybe more like white tea.
I would have tried for a third steep, but it was late.
All in all, this is a great tea. It’s probably one of the better jasmine teas I’ve had. I can’t wait to try the jasmine pearls! :)
Wow, this is a really green green tea!
It’s obviously a very high quality dragon well because I don’t even like this type of green tea, but I thought this was pretty tasty. Did I mention the cool, flat leaves? So cool!
My boyfriend appreciates authentic, grassy green teas more than me, so I gave him the cup to finish. He said, “I like it a lot! Just my style!” Which I knew it would be. :)
I’m afraid this tea is a little too green for me. But even that being said, I can still tell that it would be amazing to others. There’s not even a trace of bitterness. In fact, as soon as I tasted it, I forgot what bitterness tastes like. I can’t even imagine it while drinking this tea.
I’m giving it an 81 because it’s clearly a fantastic tea. It’s just not my tea. So, I don’t want to be responsible for dropping the average because my tongue can’t appreciate Chinese green tea awesomeness.
This is just pure, wonderful tea and the perfect tea to be my 100th tasting note!!! O_O
I’ll be honest- most of the time I find Bai MuDans to be a bit subtle for my liking. But.. there are times when I want something quiet, something warm that doesn’t shout in my face with its aggressive flavor-added gimicky self. This is great for those quiet moments. It’s also surprisingly good with food, for me.
I think I may have brewed this a bit weak- because of the size of these gorgeous leaves I thought “hmmm, this looks like about a pot’s worth”. Maybe not. But it’s a credit to the tea that I’m still enjoying it.
The taste, to me is almost grassy, but in a very light way. There’s something in this that reminds me of wheatgrass, but less aggressive and, um, horsey.
Another offering from Teavivre that I have been excited to try. Tuocha happens to be one of my favorite forms of the glorious tea that is Pu-Erh. I can’t tell you how many times when everything seems to be cramming down on me that I make a cup of Pu-Erh and I don’t know why but Pu-Erh seems to have that Je ne sais quoi that relaxes me and brings me back an even keel. For some it’s a drink of an alcoholic nature however it’s Pu-Erh for me. Now I have tried the rose tuocha from Tao of Tea before and enjoyed it. Again I love the packaging from this company and love how for the shelf life this one says ongoing. First steep the tuocha crumbled almost instantly after a minute. A nice dark liquor was produced. I have noticed with rose teas that the first cup has a bit of bite to it. I don’t know if this is a characteristic of the rose or not. It doesn’t deter from the quality of the tea just a tad bitter. Second Steep lovely and smooth. Third: lighter and tastes more like mushroom water. All said I think this is another fine offering from teavivre. I am enjoying what they have to offer.
I may have had to much tea today, I know that this is technically impossible but to much caffeine is not. Just hoping I don’t screw up my sleep rhythm. Nonetheless today was an exciting day, I compared this tea to two other TGY’s that I had in my cupboard. An interesting experience nonetheless.
I did come to on important revelation however, I really dislike this tea. Because now I realize what I have been missing and have to toss my other TGY’s cause I could never be happy with them again. This is indeed disturbing news.
But I will say it wasn’t even a contest, this tea blew my teas out of the water in every way. This tea is clean, crisp, beautiful and refreshing. The color is a beautiful green whereas my others had a nasty yellow tint to them, and the scent and taste didn’t even compare. Vegetal, buttery, smooth, crisp, clean, floral, refreshing. All things that pop into my head as the liquor hits my palate.
All in all a very nice tea, I am quite certain that there is probably better but this definitely ranks in the upper echelons. I will be keeping this one on hand for a while, at least until I find a better one that doesn’t cost me my friends firstborn, I am really running out of friends this way.
Ladies, gents and goons, the boys are back in town, well there is only one of me and I actually never left town so never mind. I should know better than to try and use pop culture references, never could quite get the hang of them, and if that means not understanding Lady Gaga than I am ok with this fact.
So its been some time since I’ve been on steepster, been quite sometime since I sat down and enjoyed a proper cup of tea as well, this is not an acceptable thing. But my life is beginning to calm a bit and I am indulging my fancies and enjoying my rituals again. Even bought a new pot to kick things off.
So yesterday I received a package in the mail, I like packages :), but this was no ordinary package it had green “China Post” tape all over it, these are very exciting packages. This parcel was particularly intriguing since I wasn’t expecting anything from China. I decided to leave the box unopened until I could remember what I ordered. This game lasted all of .0314159 seconds before I realized that this was a terrible idea for a game, the box probably contained tea or anthrax, either way inquiring minds wanted to know. Fortunately this time it was tea.
I opened the box and curiously discovered 4 high quality, sealed, opaque food grade bags, at this point I am relatively certain it is tea, the fact that the bags proudly proclaimed Teavivre didn’t hurt my theory. At this point I am confused, I really don’t remember ordering these, not that I am complaining however. Took me some time and I remember a lovely young lady contacting awhile back asking if I would review some teas for Teavivre, I know your asking yourself how I know that she was a lovely young lady, the answer should be obvious, she sent me tea! :)
So I should stop rambling and actually review the tea. First off many thanks to Teavivre! Now down to business.
The packaging was quite impressive! The aforementioned poly tea bags were packaged inside a decent size cardboard box with air mailers protecting the valuable contents. All in all the packaging was much larger than it needed to be but it was packaged in such a way to provide protection for the tea, not crammed into the smallest package possible like I have seen other companies do.
Today it was time to try one of them, as the sun decided to grace the pacific northwest with its presence today I settle on the TGY. As I prepared to open the bag I noticed that its contents did not feel like TGY leaves, or any type of tea leaves for that matter. I thought maybe they shipped me the seeds instead for me to grow my own bushes. Not that that wouldn’t be fun but I am glad I was wrong.
So inside of this sealed, opaque, food grade, thick poly bags there were 4 smaller, sealed opaque food grade bags that were vacuum packed with about 5 grams of leave in each bag. So I am officially impressed this degree of care in the packaging shows that alot of time, thought and money went into making sure your cup of tea is going to be the best it possibly could be. Considering these are samples I am a bit blown away. But wait there is more the package contains detailed information about the tea, location picked, manufacturer, production date. I really like that Teavivre went the extra mile here, makes you feel better about the quality of tea you are going to receive.
Now to be fair I do have mixed feelings about the packaging, while I like the care that was involved, the amount of disposable packaging that was used is not the greenest way to go and not terribly environmentally friendly, kinda a catch 22 though. Not really a complaint, more of a general musing.
Well this review is gone on long past long enough and I haven’t even reviewed the tea yet. T provide a fair and accurate review I am going to wait till after I have another sitting with this tea to get a good feel for it. I will say that I am on my seventh infusion and still getting a good flavor from it though. Yeah I’m impressed.
Also I promise the actually review will be much shorter, but I couldn’t help myself, I just missed ya’ll so much!
Normally, I am a fan of black teas when I’m waking up for the day, but I got some samples from Teavivre last night and this smelled so incredible that it was all I could do to wait until morning. (Actually, it smells so incredible that I kept sniffing my teapot while waiting for my water to be ready. Seriously.)
Steeping mellows the scent a bit, of course, but it is still wonderful and jasminey. It brews to a beautiful golden color. The flavor is a bit mellower than I was expecting, but it’s very light and sweet and absolutely delicious. It kind of lingers, almost clinging to the tongue, in a really enjoyable way.
I was expecting to like this one since I’ve been on a massive jasmine kick (my flavors-to-seasons associations are a bit off, I think), but oh my gosh, I think I might be in love.
(Product provided gratis by Teavivre for review.)
I tried this last night, but ended up going out before I could write a review. So I’m having another cup first thing in the morning afternoon. And laughing a little because out of the corner of my eye, I keep reading it as “Ballin’ Gongfu”. Haha.
I read what other have said about this tea and upon smelling the dark, smaller leaves, I definitely agree with people mentioning cocoa. Cocoa is the strongest flavor I taste, along with a sort of light nuttiness that’s mostly in the scent. My brother said something about it reminded him of coffee, since it’s so strong and bold. I think he was onto something. I definitely feel more alert after drinking it.
Anyway, this is a hearty, delicious tea that I could see myself drinking instead of coffee some mornings. I kinda regret not tasting it before I placed my order last night. When I make my next one, I’m going to get some of this as well. It’s delightful.
I also wanted to mention that I love the little red individual pouches it comes in. That’s a nice touch.
I like pu-ehr. It gives me wonderful flashbacks to the acupuncturist I saw in Chicago, who had me drinking daily cup fulls of it in a brew she called “Liver Peace Tea”. It was also a component in a beauty tea she told me to drink if I wanted to soften my smile lines.
Anyway, I came to associate pu-ehr with feeling more relaxed, and as a comfort during what was a particularly severe Chicago winter.
This one comes in beautifully wrapped single serving pucks that can be steeped around six times a piece. If you’ve never tried pu-ehr, this is a good one to start with even if, like me, you mostly drink bizarrely flavored rooibos and honeybush blends. It’s gentle, with a slight backdrop of sweetness to it. Pu-ehr is always a bit earthy, with kind of mossy, loamey-ness to it, but even if that turns you off at first, reading about the health benefits might coax you back. On the first steeping it’s not too strong at all, and would pair really well with all sorts of food.
Amount: 2 tsp
Tool: kati loose tea system
Steep Time: a little over 2 minutes
Dry Leaf Smell: sweet, vegetal, toasty
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, toasty
Flavor: smooth, slightly sweet
Aftertaste: slight astringency
Liquor: translucent dark orange brown
I knew this would be a nice cup of tea from the smell, it was fresh, and sweet. This tea needed no additives.
Resteep: 3 minutes – Good, but not as great as the first cup. I didn’t have time for another steep at work.
I honestly recommend this as a nice solid naturally sweet and smooth black tea to anyone looking to steep tea at work and keep at it through the work day.
Rating: 3/4 leaves
Finishing up this sample before I dive into the next set. When I poured the water in I thought I was making a baked potato from the aroma wafting up. Today this is very smooth almost a comforting flavor. Which is a bit of a contrast from my first review. I don’t know what it is but there is something that reminds me of going to my grandparents when they lived near Erie, Pa. My grandfather was a master craftsman in woodworking so there were a lot of things that he made in the places. I can’t really tell you why drinking this tea is taking me on a trip in nostalgia, but I’m kinda liking it. Not to mention a good tea break before I start afternoon traffic reports.
So I am reviewing this one after my second tasting because sometimes with my palette I have to try it a second time before accurately reviewing a tea. First of all I have to say that I am very impressed with the ATD of this company. In the broadcast industry we call that attention to detail. Never on tea packaging have I seen the origin, factory it was produced in, date it was produced and shelf life. Now about the tea. So as I have matured in my coffee tasting and can pinpoint beans from different regions…so it goes with teas. There is a certain taste quality that you get from Yunnan blacks….slightly smokey…a little peppery…hint of leather…maybe even pumpkin. None the less this is a quality tea and I am quite glad to try it.
I’ve found that people either like Ti Kuan Yin oolongs, or they cannot stand them. I’m in the like camp because, despite its flowery overtones, it’s still a tasty oolong. I’m so pleased that this one is organic too!
Oolongs are great for me during meals or just after, as they really seem to settle my belly. This one actually seems to have hints of jasmine or orchid in it, but not to the extent that it’s as grim as that might sound :) The floral is really delicate, and the leaves huge and beautiful.
I like this one, but I think my taste in oolong is a bit less toward the floral end. Nonetheless, if you’ve had Ti Kuan Yin oolong before, this is quite a good one. I’d love it with dim sum, to contrast the strong tastes of my food.
So I’m on my third steep of this particular pile of leaves, at 1 minute per steep each. Amusingly, this delicate green holds up better to a third steep (at 1 minute each) than the bai lin gong fu robust black tea does, but there you go.
Still buttery and soft, this third steeping has lost all resemblance of a Japanese shaded and now has those sunny hay notes common to Chinese pan fired green teas.
The free sample explosion continues.
I have to confess to always preferring Japanese shaded green teas to most Chinese varieties. Some of the pan fired options bring an interesting, roasted note, but otherwise I tend to find them very flat.
Dragon Well are always the exception to this trend. In fact, I find that most Dragon Well taste very similar to a Japanese shaded green tea — bright, green vegetal notes, a hint of ocean water tang, and high mountain air. Nothing brown, roasted or floral going on here and that’s the way I like it.
Once again, Teavivre is providing exceptional value for money with the quality of what they have on offer. I have to say that so far I am extremely impressed with the amount of flavor in the cup for what their website tells me they charge for these teas.
My teas from Teavivre finally arrived! I had ordered this yunnan after sampling it, but Teavivre also included a lot of other samples for me to review as well. I will be getting to that tonight and tomorrow, which is my day off.
Anyway, I’ve made two pots already since I opened it last night. It’s my current absolute favorite black tea. I was thrilled to see how much 100g actually is. It looked like a bird’s nest as I transferred it from the pouch to a tin, and smelled so deliciously sweet. The boys have been liking it as well, even the ones who aren’t big tea drinkers. I’ll probably be logging this one a lot this winter.
Made another pot to share with my brother. We tried Teavivre’s Bai Lin Gong Fu and he didn’t like it, so I made this again. (Personally, I thought it was great and will write about it later.)
I also mentioned liking it on Facebook, to which my Dad replied that he wanted me to bring some along when I visit on Thanksgiving. But I only have one cup left!
So I broke down and bought the 100g bag. And I’m excited about drinking it all winter.