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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
The pot I made and shared last night left me wanting more, so after running my errands, I immediately came home and made another cup. It has a sort of apricot flavor to it, but only slightly. Caramelly in the finish, but still fruity in a balanced way. Still loving this tea.
My thanks go to Angel Chen, who let me sample a generous amount of Teavivre’s offerings! I was shocked at how much tea was in the package! Thank you!
First of all, I want to mention that the tea geek in me loves the stickers on Teavivre’s pouches. They have all kinds of info about where the tea came from, how much leaf to use, what the perfect temperature for brewing is.
I made a pot this evening and think I have found my new favorite unflavored black tea. The leaves are long and narrow, harvested young, and gently rolled. Even after shipping, they are all long and unbroken. Mine are not as yellow as in the picture. They’re more brown and champagne colored. There is no leaf dust in the pouch at all.
It’s incredibly smooth and almost fruity in some way, like a darjeeling but more creamy and caramel-like. Hard to describe. I have had yunnan in the past before, but it was never like this. Even after such a short steep, it is very flavorful, but not bitter. There is nothing harsh about the taste. I truly love this tea. It has seriously struck a chord with me.
Sip down. Yesterday while I was sipping the Lishan high mountain oolong, I kept thinking it tasted a lot like this tieguanyin. So today I steeped this to confirm. I was wrong. They taste very dissimilar. This is much lighter in flavor with a heavier aftertaste. They do share some characteristics, both are milky, buttery, floral, and freshly green. It’s kind of like different types of apples. They share some basic traits, yet they are vastly different. I can’t say one is better than the other. They are each unique. What gives the high Mt. oolong an edge is the knowledge of how rare it is and how it is grown. This one is still very tasty.
I drank myself half silly with this one all day yesterday at work. Six (12oz) mugs I think – kind of lost track. I came in this morning and the leaf was still lush and green. I thought what the hey, let’s give it a try. The leaf just took right up where it left off. Multiple mugs today. Anyone else notice how hefty this leaf is once it unfurls? It’s like twice as thick and heavy as anything else I brew.
The name of this sounds so heavy and ominous, yet the liquor is so clear and transparent with the lightest yellow/green tint. The scent is lovely, even though someone here describes it as smelling like latex gloves and now I can’t erase that from my mind. Lightly buttery, with a bit of vegetable late in the sip, followed by a pleasant lingering aftertaste. 3 cups before lunch.
Then had a Jalapeno Crunch at SnS. Wow! (no I don’t work there). Double burgers, pepper jack cheese, salsa, jalapenos, onion straws, & chipotle mayo. There is also something smoky in there as well. I do not even want to know how bad it is for me.
Of course I was miserable afterwards and thought I need puerh but there are still a lot of steeps left in this tea. This is too good to throw out before its time. I am going to lie to my stomach and tell it this is now a sheng.
At the end of the work day this was still going strong. Upping my rating.
I used an entire sample pouch. The wet leaf really fills up the bottom of the press. On the second cup you can’t even see through the water in the press for the leaf. That’s a lot of leaf. The brew has the color and feel of chicken broth. The taste is buttery. While this is really good, it is the only one of these samples I have preferred another company’s version. This is not their highest grade TGY and that may be the reason, or maybe I just prefer a little more floral darker taste in this. That being said, I would never ever turn down a cup of this delightful tea.
This is a lightly oxidized full leaf oolong. The dry leaf is rolled into typical nuggets with a faint grassy smell. I used almost a 3g scoop of leaf. First steep, 3 minutes at about 175F. The wet leaf is dark and looks like broccoli leaves and is mildly grassy smelling. The brew was a very pale yellow almost clear. It has a sweet floral aroma. The taste is sweet and floral with a bit of a grassy aftertaste. A bit weak my fault (keep reading).
On the second steep, 2m, the leaves are now open and covering the entire bottom of my press rising up almost to the plunger screen. Slightly darker brew with more pronounced flavor that is a lot closer to what I was expecting. Still a bit green. I am detecting melon(?) in the aftertaste that lingers. Just noticed Teavivre recommends 212F water! Oops!
Third steep, 2m. Got the temp right this time. Well, hello flavor. Feels a little milky to me now. No bitterness.
Fourth steep, 3m. The TGY flavor is a lot milder. Longer steep would have helped. Still tasty.
Fifth and final steep, 4m. The flavor changed to darker and earthier with almost raw puerh qualities. The aftertaste is a mix of floral, grass, and fruity. It no longer tastes like a TGY but I like where it is going. Wish I had time to try one more steep.
So tasty! This has everything that I love about Chinese green teas. The leaves are bright green and fuzzy and lovely. They also smell fabulously like sweet hay and nutty green aromas.
The taste is buttery sweet and sun warmed hay. There’s a savory mineraly finish. It all goes down super smooth and comforting. No astringency, bitterness or harshness at all. This is very good stuff.
This is one tasty tea, and perfect for the mornings. I’m spoiled, because I woke up to this pre-brewed by my lovely husband, who encouraged me to partake. I’ll concede that I had my morning coffee first. This is much gentler on my stomach.
While it’s downright warm right now in Houston compared to the snow covered Northeast (I have a chuckle everytime I imagine what Houstonians would do in a freak blizzard), it’s a bit chilly by local standards. After getting down to the low 40s overnight, it takes a while to warm the house back up. So this tea is so welcome as I sit and feel a little cold.
It reminds me of – forgive me for this comparison- a really, really good version of a standard Lipton tea bag. And that’s why I like it. It’s familiar, but much much better. Yum!
Blessed Feast to everyone of the Western Rite this morning of All Saints Days!
Another one of my free samples from TeaVivre.
Oh how I love Yunnan golden teas.
We made homemade pizza last night, and of course I burnt my mouth eating it (how is it so impossible not to do this?) so my taste buds are a bit dull this morning and even so, all those great citrusy notes are popping through followed by warm, round, soft, sweetness. This variety is a bit more citrusy and a bit less warm, round, soft and sweet than some, but without having that kind of lingering bite that makes your throat tense up late into the cup.
Given TeaVivre’s fantastic pricing, this is probably my new go-to Yunnan golden.
It is “cold” in Houston this morning, by which I mean high 50’s, and this is the purrrrfect cuppa for a morning like this.
I don’t know why this tea appealed to me so much. Normally, I don’t like sweetener in my tea. I supposed I was thinking this would taste like honey but not be sweet. This tea fulfills that ideal.
When I opened the packet, I was surprised to see all the little leaf balls stuck together with honey. I thought it would be only honey flavored! But now that I look at the description, I should have been expecting honey covered tea leaves. :) They come in neat little single serving packs. There’s enough in there for a large pot if you’re brewing it western style. I planned to just take a small portion of the leaves to make a small serving, but I wasn’t sure how the leaves would keep since they were covered in honey, so I had to take out my large teapot and use all the leaves at once.
The resulting liquid is a light brown and slightly cloudy from the honey. It brews up quite strong. This seems to be a medium oxidation. I’ve had greener oolongs, but also darker ones. Honestly, it’s a bit dark for my taste, but that’s purely personal preference. It’s still very enjoyable. It’s not sweet at all, and the honey taste is light but pleasant. There’s a sweet toasty hay flavor and something fruity. It’s all very nice and comforting on a chilly day.
I’ve got a bit of a sore throat so this honey tea is probably pretty good for me right now. :)
Curious and admitting globe amaranth is never going to be a taste I crave I decided for the third steep to cut the string holding the bloom together and remove the flowers. The floral scent is still present in the brew but much reduced. I can even taste tea. What was a beautiful center piece is now a more pleasant drinking tea. I know it kind of defeats the purpose.
After reading this morning of using a 7 oz glass to steep this, I wanted to try it but didn’t have anything that small so I used my press and added 12 oz of water. That is about a third of what I have used in the past for flowering teas. 1 minute steep in boiling water. The globe amaranths were poking out of the water. The bloom was spanning almost the width of the press. Taller and narrower would be better. Using less water brought forth the jasmine scent but the globe amaranth dominates. I do think less might be more with this tea. The flavor is much more intense. I have read a lot of reviews warning of the dread hibiscus, well here it is the globe amaranth. If you aren’t a fan you will have an issue.