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Recent Tasting Notes


Another generous sample provided by Teavivre

I like black teas and green teas, so you would think oolongs would be up my alley. I honestly still can’t answer whether they are or not because I have been hesitant to take the plunge and order enough to compare them.

That said, I have had TGY before, though it was a while ago. When I sipped this, I suddenly remembered that other tea and could compare their differences, even with that big gap in time. This one was decidedly more floral in taste (both were equally floral in smell) but the other TGY had more of a slick buttery feel on the tongue. This one was very light, and alternated between being vegetal and floral with small hints of that oily/buttery flavor on the swallow, though it didn’t coat my tongue like the previous TGY.

This was great with no additives; I finished my first cup quickly and am contemplating a second, which is atypcial for me – usually I prefer one large cup and am done.

Steeped 2 of the 4 sample sized packets in 500 ml. water at the below parameters in my Breville.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Mmmmmmm!!! This is an incredible jasmine!!! Just the right amount of floral with a green tea aftertaste. The green tea comes out more as it cools. This just might be the most perfect jasmine tea in the world!

The aroma of the dry leaves is awesome. The leaves are dark, wavy, and ultra skinny. This tastes a lot like what you get in good Chinese restaurants, except better.

The last time I had a tea like this, it was an unnamed Jasmine at a Thai restaurant. It was soooo good, but they left the tea leaves loose in the teapot. So 10-15 minutes in, my fantastic tea experience was sullied with overwhelming bitterness. This is that tea minus the bitter. Just plain deliciousness!

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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This tea was amazing! Right after my first sip, my brain said, “This is some good black tea”. The first thing that occurred to me were some citrus notes – perhaps like a sweet lemon or tangerine. As I sipped on, I detected a sort of muscatel flavor that you would expect from a good Darjeeling. Finally, after several cups, the incredible smoothness of this tea is what really won me over. It has a little bit of that muscatel flavor without being abrasive.

This is another excellent tea from Tea Vivre. They’re batting 1000 with me right now, so I’d say any tea in their store is probably a safe bet. Their packaging is great too! I don’t know about their larger quantites, but the little samples they sent me could not have been done better! Four little pre-measured paper sacks with Chinese on them sealed inside of a larger ziplock bag with steeping instructions and info about the tea printed on it! Each paper sack contained about 4.5 grams, so two sacks were just enough to fill my Chatsford 4-cup! All bags are clearly labeled and completely opaque to guard from sunlight. Nice work!

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec


The Tea Show

Yeah, Tea Vivre really has their stuff together over there.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had a straight white tea. Actually, it’s been so long, I’m not even sure if I have ever had it…but I got my package from teavivre this morning, and I opted to try this one out first.

I’ll come out and say that I’ve never been good at picking out subtle flavours in wine, coffee or tea, but I can say that this tea is very light and mild. I admit I did add sugar, just a wee bit. After reading notes that there is a cucumber essence, I’ll have to remember this next time, and try it unsweetened.

The buds in the package are a beautiful green and white, and I can see the fuzzy hairs on the white. The smell of the outer package is somewhat buttery, though the inner package opened, is rather earthy and I suppose grassy would describe it. I can’t really discern a cigar or smoky smell from either pouch.

The liquor brewed up a lovely golden colour, and it smelled very light. In my eagerness, I took a sip right away, but…too hot! So I patiently waited, chatted with a friend on IM about floral teas, and so on, whilst the tea cooled.

There is a tiny bit of floral I suppose, but I think grassy is probably best in describing this flavour. I have a light fuzziness on my tongue.

Interestingly, I just had some leftover turkey (thanksgiving) and herb-crusted roast beef from a few days ago as a light snack, and the flavour has changed…I think it is more peppery from the roast beef seasoning. It is also possible that it has simply cooled and that is what changed the flavour.

I look forward to trying this one again, along with the other 4 teas I got. I admit I had a hard time deciding which one to try first. I opted with this one because it was in the smaller mini bags, more like single serving samples, rather than the bigger AIO bags, but also because I am out of milk, and I know I can do this tea straight, with just a dash of sweetener. The golden tip yunan and the pu-erh tuocha are ones I will probably add milk too. I look forward to trying the oolong and jasmine pearls green tea too.

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This tea tastes for all the world to me like someone made tea out of nori (the stuff sushi is wrapped in)- it’s kind of vegetal and kind of oceanic in a way that manages not to turn me off despite my loathing of all things seafood. In some ways it’s a really typical green tea, and the most reminiscent of Japanese greens among the Teavivre varieties that I’ve tried.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

That sounds yummy! I love nori flavor in tea!

Jim Marks

You think this is more like Japanese green than the Dragon Well?


Hmm I’d have to try the dragon well again, but I thought so.

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This cup is much, much more floral and lacks the offsetting sweetness that the pearls have.

Very high quality, pretty leaves, though.

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I haven’t felt good all week and haven’t gone to class and it sucks. I think it’s a combination of actually being sick and stupid grass pollen. No rest for the allergic. So after whining about not having any soup, it was finally like hey dummy, you have enough tea to supply a small nation-state’s army. Who needs soup?

I’ve been feeling in the mood for white tea so I figured I would revisit this bai mu dan. First time around I was really getting cucumber from it, I remember. Today it reminds me of straw and some light flowers. I feel like maybe even sauteed zucchini is present too. It really is reminding me of cooked zucchini.

This is definitely feeling nice on my sore throat. And even after all the time I’ve had it, it’s still got that lovely fresh aroma and taste, like I rolled around outside in a field. Except I wouldn’t do that right now, it’s too hot.

Invader Zim

Hope you start to feel better soon.

Will Work For Tea

I feel ya – allergies are awful! Drink lots of tea! :)

Hesper June

Hope you feel better soon!


I hate allergy season… I hope you get to feeling better soon. If you can find some locally harvested, raw honey, that will help a bit. You don’t need to add it to your tea if you don’t customarily add honey to your tea, but try it drizzled on toast or something. The honey does really help.


Thank you all! I have an orange blossom honey from south Georgia, which probably doesn’t help much since more than likely, they’re taking the bees to Florida for that. There’s a Georgia-centric agriculture event down at this state farmers’ market this weekend and I really want to go, and then I’ll actually get something far more local.


I hope you get better soon.

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I’ve never been much for white tea, but this one has made me think otherwise.

I always thought they were too light and delicate for my liking. Wrong. I steeped this three times, and I could probably keep going.

The first time it was so sweet and it really tasted like cucumber. The second infusion was super flavorful, less cucumber tasting and more floral and all around good. The third I didn’t like as much as the second, but I really, really liked the second steep.

I love all the information given about the tea on the package. I really like this tea.

(a sample was provided to me to review)

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Several steeps in, and this tea is getting much more floral with that lingering bite to it that heavily floral teas always seem to have.

Still, a green jasmine tea that can produce several steeps is, in and of itself, impressive.

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Like Liz, I’m always amazed at the work that goes into preparing dry teas like this one.

The dry “pearls” are redolent with the scent of the flowers. It is like being in a flower shop, blooming meadow or a perfume counter — if you’re into that kind of thing.

The steeped cup is no less floral. In a way, more so. Fresh flowers instead of dried flowers.

The liqueur is a delicate pale.

Happily, the cup is far less floral in the mouth than on the nose — less room to move around or something. There is a big, thick sweetness to this tea.

Jasmine teas are never going to be my thing. But this is a very good one and I’m glad I tried it so that I can confirm that the issue really just is the flowers, not the quality of the tea hiding under them.

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I have loved saying “Pi Lo Chun” for years. I overheard it in a tea shop, and my husband used to drink it a fair bit, so it stuck in my head as something to mumble absentmindedly to myself. Oh, Pi Lo Chun…..

Anyway, giving this a try using a few rapid steeps as per the husband’s technique. It’s quite a light tea, very grassy. It’s kind of the tea equivalent of rolling in a fresh haystack on a sunny day. (I’ve done this! Girl scouts!)

Relaxing, yes. Perhaps not standoutish to me enough as a genre that I will reach for it over other teas though.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Whenever I see dragon pearls tea I marvel at the labor that goes into hand rolling tea leaves into little balls in such quantity. It makes me appreciate my cupful even more.
I actually was so surprised by the pale tan color of this tea that I thought I’d not followed the directions correctly. The 1-2 minute recommended steep time could be extended a wee bit more without creating a bitter cup of tea, I think- but I’ve been mostly conservative about brewing this.

I find myself reaching for cups of this one more than any of the other Teavivre ones, much to my surprise. The jasmine taste is really pleasant and mellow. The tea feels surprisingly refreshing, and might be good iced when it’s not so cool out. I keep thinking of great food pairings for this one, but again I associate jasmine tea with particular Chinese restaurants in my area… mmm salt baked tofu, cold glass noodles with sesame.

I need to back off- it’s not time for lunch :)
Anyway, a relaxing, mellow cup of jasmine tea. Yum.

Edited to add that I am just learning about multiple steepings and I tried the technique on this one. The second steeping was actually the best because the pearls opened up fully. So give that a try!

Also, if you think you hate jasmine teas this one might win you over. It’s really mild and almost pretty.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I really love Jasmine Pearls with dessert. The jasmine seems to cut through the sweetness a bit.

Jim Marks

Be sure to save me some to see if this wins me over. I’m skeptical.

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A very nice Pu-erh. Pressed inside the little tuocha is a chrysanthemum blossom … making for a “treasure hunt” of sorts. Makes the act of brewing tea a little more fun.

And I like the contrast of flavors that the chrysanthemum provides. It is sweet, but it is a different sweetness than the caramel-y tones from the Pu-erh, which keeps things interesting. It also has a slight sharpness to it that sort of lightens what would otherwise be a heavy, earthy background. This juxtaposition of flavors give the cup an interesting sense of balance that I quite enjoy.

I’m off to write a review for this one.

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This pi lo chun, like many I have had, seems more like a white tea than a green. A fuzzy, fluffy dry life, not entirely unlike the silver needles, but curled in on itself rather than straight.

The scent on both the dry leaf and the brewed cup is also much like the silver needles. Sunny hay on the dry and sweet roundness coming off the cup — but the flavor on the tongue is more astringent and not nearly as sweet.

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As much as I love big, strong, bold, dark teas, my favorite dry leaf is white needles. Big, fuzzy, white buds that look cool, and always smell like freshly rolled hay drying in the sun.

The steeped aroma is quieter, almost shy. There’s a kind of sweet grain essence to it, like opening a fresh box of corn flakes, but not nearly that strong. Like someone opening a fresh box of corn flakes in the other room. Down the hall.

The cup is round, and wet and sweet almost like fresh snow peas or papaya. But again, from very far away. Like you’re tasting what your identical twin is eating downstairs while you sleep in under a huge, downy duvet.

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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Chilled the second cup made from last night and had with a midday snack today.

I love the juicy sweet flavor of the pineapple in this – it is very refreshing and would be absolutely amazing served iced during our long hot summers here.

Upping the rating, as I knew I would. This is fabulous.

Boiling 8 min or more

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(This very generous sample was provided courtesy of Angel Chen at Teavivre. Thank you so much, Angel!)

It was actually kind of hard to put this tisane (7 tsp.-ish of it for 2 cups water) into the steeping basket of my Breville because it smelled and looked so tasty (kind of like trail mix) that I wanted to eat it rather than wait for it to be infused.

When this brews up, it is easily the bright red color of fruit punch. The scent of the steeped tea is heavy on the pineapple to me – it manages to smell both sweet and tart together. The first taste of it is very true to smell – I get the sweetness of pineapple at first and that leads into a very tart hibiscus that dominates the rest of the sip. It is so juicy! At first I thought it was too tart – but even thinking that, I managed to go through about half the mug unsweetened.

I did finally add a little bit of sweetener to it (much less than I normally add to that amount of tea) and the result was a perfectly balanced juicy beverage that, while good hot, will be absolutely amazing iced. The second of the two cups I made hot is currently cooling off to be tried iced to affirm this, and when it does I will likely bump this up a few more points.

Boiling 8 min or more

you’re welcome, I am so glad that you like it! thanks for your review on that tea^^

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To begin, I’m very new to green teas and my previous experiences have not been good so far. (I think I’m to blame for this, however, due to my tendency to make tea with too much gusto. And my long history of loving black teas.)

So anyway, I love the way the bright green, glossy leaves look. So long and flat, almost like preserved grass. As they brewed, the green became more vivid, as if the leaves were still alive. But the scent of it put me off a little… it was strong and reminded me of the ocean. And not in the sea breeze kind of way. But I gave it a chance anyway, as I feel like I’m in need of a green tea education.

I used 2 teaspoons for 8 ounces of water, brewed for 1:45 at 175 degrees. Any critiques you could offer about my preparation? The result was pale yellowy green and tasted much better than I expected. I feel like I understand what people say when they describe green teas as “buttery” now. It also has a sort of veggie flavor, like seaweed. I can’t really say I’m a fan, though. I believe these sorts of teas are going to have to be an acquired taste.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec

I do not know about the method, temperature, but just for the dragon well tea I have, the way i like it best is a LOT of tea for not too much water, not too water – I save the leaves and make tea again (same ammount of not too much water) a few more times in the same day with it, basically till it no longer tastes awesome. First cup I do not usually like much.

(hmm, trying to do some mental conversions on my head, I think I use the same ammount of water, just a little more tea. )

Charles Thomas Draper

Dragonwell is one of Chinas top 10 teas for a reason. When you get a very good one its truly the nectar of the Gods. I have found that brewing them in a glass at lower than 175 is the way to go. Maybe you used to much tea? Experiment. A great green can be poetic….

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I discovered we had a big stash of this from our original sample that never got consumed before the holiday break, so I have been contentedly “sipping it down” each day from my new gaiwan.

This tea fits the gaiwan perfectly. The leaves open up huge and full in the cup, the liqueur is nearly the same color as the cup itself.

I feel like a decadent ex-pat during the 1930’s with this cup and this tea.


“decadent ex-pat” What does this mean? I can’t come up with any ideas.

Jim Marks

An ex-patriot would be, in this case, a Western person living in Mainland China. A great deal of what prompted the [so called] people’s revolution was connected with the imperialistic, decadent lifestyle which was lived by such people.

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This is an incredibly light cup. The liqueur is almost completely clear. Just a faint hint of a pale, sea foam green.

The flavor is similarly delicate, bright, fresh and clean. No bitterness or vegetal notes, and yet also no sweetness. It does have a surprising astringency to it, however.

A very pleasing tea, but I have a mind that I ought to be serving it and sipping it from very fine, very thin, very fragile, delicate, white, bone china.

I could see this making a truly excellent iced tea.

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Most TGY’s share the same floral/buttery characteristics but each one leans more to one or the other depending on the oxidation. This is a nice example of a floral-leaning and delicate TGY. I prepared it gong-fu style and the flavor was consistent throughout the four steepings before it started losing power.
That being said, my preference is for a more balanced, robust, buttery version at the start.
Also noticed a few more broken leaves than I’m accustomed to seeing in an oolong, but overall, not bad.
Full notes and pics on my blog : http://bit.ly/vnfzaP

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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.


Haha, this post cracked me up – I was skimming my way down the dash, and my eyes landed on, “So far I been able to attain a good circular orbit…” and I was just… Wait, WHAT?


:) Except for solitaire type games I haven’t played a computer game in ever – I’m a little hooked on this at the moment.


As a not-so-reformed born gamer, I am so excited to hear that! There are so, so many good ones to be had now, too.

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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.

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