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Recent Tasting Notes


I really enjoyed the aged white tea that I sample from Nannuoshan a while back, so when I placed my Teavivre order for fresh greens I picked up samples of their 2011 and 2012 Shou Mei cakes.

The leaf isn’t pretty, it looks a lot like mulch or something you would rake up in the yard, but and smells a bit like raisins. Brews a gold-orange color. Thick in the mouth and moderately sweet with tastes of raisins, hay, peppercorn, and dried herbs.

It’s a nice and comforting brew, and I look forward to seeing how it compares to the 2012.

Flavors: Hay, Herbs, Medicinal, Peppercorn, Raisins

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
23 tasting notes

This brews up a yellow, golden colour. It’s clear and looks very inviting.

On the nose I’m getting a faint sweetness. As others have said, if you search for it you can find caramel in there.

The first few sips don’t disappoint. You get all of the flavours of the nose, the slight sweetness, and even a faint fruity taste.

Bitterness and astringency? Nope.

This is a gorgeous tea that is very easy to drink and goes down incredibly well. I love it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m an Assam man – but this will be going into my weekly rotation until I run out. I may even buy some more.

Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

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I have 4 balls in my mouth and I like it.

Most people tend to go with 4 balls, and I like a large cup of tea anyway, so that’s what I did. It brews up the most beautiful amber colour. The smell is rich and inviting, and you can just tell that it’s going to be a little malty.

The first sips don’t disappoint. You get the richness and the maltiness that your nose contractually informed you that your tongue would be getting, but we’re also getting subtle chocolate notes and a very, very faint smokiness. When I say faint I really do mean that – it’s hardly noticeable (to me, anyway).

This is a fantastic cuppa, basically. I still prefer my Golden Monkeys and my Assams as my “every day” teas, but one or two of these a week will go down just fine, thankyouvery much.

Thanks once again, Angel… once these sample packs run I’m seriously tempted to get a 100g pouch.

UPDATE: I ordered a 100g pouch, and wow, I’m glad that I did. I’m now down to 3 balls for 2 minutes on the first steep and this give satisfying cup of tea. I’m also picking up a little bit of sweetness now. Can’t wait to try this gong-fu style.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Smoke

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 400 OZ / 11829 ML

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I have a bit of time this morning, so I thought I might do a fuller review for this. It’s been a while. Let’s start the review in the tin, shall we? I never do that, but I feel it needs covering.

The aroma is incredible. It wafts right out of the tin and slaps me in the face, making my mouth water in anticipation. It’s such a strong green bean, sweet buttery aroma that I feel as though I am standing INSIDE the jar. I’ll admit to opening my tea cabinet once or twice just so I can stick my nose in that jar. Once a bit has been separated from its fellows, however, the dry leaf isn’t strong enough to omit much of an aroma.

Once it’s wet, the brew and the leaf exude a strong, sweet chestnut and grassy aroma. It’s almost a bit matcha like in character.

The flavor of the tea actually hits the mouth in stages. The first part is on the front of the palate, where it is sweet, bright, and grassy. On the back of the palate, I get the darker flavors, like chestnuts, umami, and butter. The aftertaste is the tiniest bit astringent, but not in a way that bothers someone who dislikes astringency. I mostly get a slightly toasted matcha-like flavor that lingers on the palate for a while after swallowing.

One of my first fresh greens for the year, and a great experience to start off with!

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 60 OZ / 1774 ML

Coongrats, you have reached anime tea heaven.


glad to hear you enjoyed this tea!

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Ru Yao dragon teapot. Gongfucha.

Dry leaf: musty.

Wet leaf: slight pepper. Strong musty.

1x medium rinse.

Light steep; I taste/smell: (smell) cannot really smell anything. (Taste) light —→ earth, pepper, spicy, minerals, metallic (?).

Medium steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light pepper. (Taste). Light to medium
—→ pepper, earth, minerals (?), metallic (?), burnt toast (?).

Heavy steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light —> pepper, fruity (?). (Taste) medium to strong -→ pepper, earth, minerals (?), burnt toast (?), metallic (?).

All in all, a tasty tea! Very good cha qi. Very clean, and yummy!

I rate a 80/100.

Where to buy: https://m.teavivre.com/product/view/organic-dragon-pearl-black-tea.html

Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Musty, Pepper, Spicy

200 °F / 93 °C 7 g 6 OZ / 165 ML

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I generally love Golden Monkey style teas. I love how smooth and caramell-y they can be. I bought 100g of a Golden Monkey from NBtea that I wasn’t crazy about (tastes a bit too much of hay, weirdly?) but other than that I have been blown away.

This is some top-notch tea. I use a glass teacup so that I can appreciate the colours (granted a large one because I enjoy drinking multiple large cups of tea per day) and after just over two minutes with a heaped tsp it’s a dark amber colour. (I probably should have set my kettle to 80 rather than 100, so I let it cool for a short while before pouring).

The smell is everything that I would expect; slightly rich, a little sweet, even a touch of caramel perhaps. This tea wants you to drink it.

The first sip goes down smoothly. Very smoothly. There is no bitterness, and hardly even the very light astringency that you would expect. As it cools and the flavours open up you are treated to those subtle caramel notes that you get on the nose.

Ah yes, this is an beverage than could easily be quaffed all day long if you were engaging in a hedonistic tea bender (but is probably best enjoyed sipped over about 20 minutes with a break in between like a regular person). Epicurus himself would have been chugging pints of this stuff though if Chinese tea were readily available in 300 BC Athens, I can practically guarantee it.

For me at least, this tea has joined the Pantheon of the Tea Gods and shall be restocked when my paltry 2×7g sample packs run out. Also I need to get paid because I’ve spent like £150 on tea this month (I’ve just got into the hobby) and you have to draw a line somewhere.

But yes, this a damn fine tea. So good, in fact, that I would serve it to my mum as-is (who is British and likes PG Tips with a dash a milk). What’s more, I think that she would like it.

Flavors: Caramel, Honey

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 400 OZ / 11829 ML

Hope your mum will enjoy this tea too!


Thank you!

She really enjoyed a super-smooth Assam without milk that I gave her when she last visited so I’m sure that she would love this :)

I’m already looking forward to ordering my next package from Tea Vivre. Your sample packs (as recommended by a friend) are what got me into tea in the first place… so much tea for so little money!


So glad to hear that. After you place the order on our site, you can send me the order number via steepster PM. Then I can add extra samples to you :)

Have a nice weekend!


That’s so kind and I will take you up on that offer.

Thank you so much! Have a nice weekend yourself :)

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Drinking up a sample of this from way back when. Probably should have drank this a while ago but figured I’d clean a bit of this off today!

Very pretty leaves tightly rolled up. The dry leaf has this sharp, vegetal (?) sort of smell to it that I’m not totally fond of, but I’d chalk that up to a personal preference. Wet leaf also shows a strong, floral aroma. I find this to be a little sharper than the Taiwanese oolongs I’ve tried (such as Jin Xuan or Baozhong) which I believe is mostly par for the course.

I can’t comment too much on the flavor as it isn’t really my realm of experience, but unfortunately I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. I think this has to do with my own personal preference, however, as I prefer fruitier and smoother teas :)

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It’s sweet. It’s floral. It’s alright.

I’ve never met an osmanthus flower in person so I can’t vouch for them.

Had this both in western and gongfu style and it consistently tastes the same.

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Floral, Honeysuckle, Sweet

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec

I’ve had osmanthus tea before and I think you nailed it with the honeysuckle description.


Oh, good. It has pretty distinctive flavouring, but I have pretty poor “flower palate”

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I bought this with the Black Friday sale last year for fairly cheap. Seems tasty enough to me! I poured some in the bottom of the mug and then waited about 40 minutes for the water to cool after boiling (around 175 degrees) then poured the water in the mug while stirring. A little goes a long way to the point where I used the remnants of the powder in the bottom of the mug for a second cup. Even much hotter water the second cup didn’t seem to have much of an impact on the powder flavor which was surprising to me. I thought the hot water would ruin the flavor. The flavor is fairly strong but I like it — I probably used way too much powder. It’s a refreshing cup — such a lovely bright green cup! I like that I can get a decent green tea powder for this price. It does the job!

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This is a great value for money entry level Tie Guan Yin and one to buy for economical daily drinking. The overall flavour profile of the tea was baked and woody with a noticeable taste of dried fruit, a hint of lemon and sweet potato. The texture of the tea wasn’t overwhelmingly astrigent – it did feel like a typical TGY, but it’s also still rather smooth with the third and fourth steep having a more buttery mouthfeel.

My brewing method was gongfu style at boiling, starting off with 30 seconds and adding 5-10 seconds with each steeping, depending on my preference and how the tea responded to the previous infusion. 30 seconds, give or take, is ideal for the first steeping because these leaves do take time to “wake up” and grow. It’s also great when done western style too imo, for whenever you’re feeling too lazy.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Green, Honey, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Meat, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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Flavors: Caramel, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Green, Honey, Lemon, Meat, Smoke, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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Strawberry ice cream with oolong butter icing.

I’m not generally a fan of strawberry flavoured things and wary when it comes to flavoured oolongs, but this has a lovely balance. I can pretend I’m eating strawberry ice cream and actually enjoy it! :P

Steep count: 3

I saw a slight “rawer” mineral green oolong note (touch of floral) and a tangier strawberry flavouring in the additional steeps.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Strawberry

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I am a fan of XG, and it is very hard to find, and it is very to find “real stuff”. I can’t tell you weather or not this was “real stuff”, but it was very good!

The leaves are tightly compressed, and they give off an array of scents including strong high notes of grass, watermelon, and raspberry lemonade. It was sweet, tangy, and aromatic. I warmed my gaiwan and scooped the leaves inside. The scent opens with sweet, smooth, and thick musty tones. I can pick up some florals and spices in the undertones. This reminded me of a nice high end cologne. It has heavy sweet rough tones along with some musk and just a tinge of floral. It was very nice. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste began alike a sugary apple turnover that was heavy on the bread part. I could note a slight viscosity, and it carried a decent kuwei. The next sip brought a distinct bosc pear taste. The brew is thick, fair, and it reminds me of some XG maocha I had in 2015. The brew builds with high notes, and it smoothly goes down. The aftertaste leans towards sour patch kids, with a sharp enjoyable bite and then a gooey sweetness. The liquor thins; however, it is still very fruity and punchy. Then I noticed the qi. The qi starts subtle, but it quickly builds. This was a very intense feeling for me. I took a lot of heat in, I got a little shaky, I even felt a little faint. This was an awesome brew, and it lasted for quite some time. The session ended with me sniffing the cup and relaxing as I spaced out. I really enjoyed this tea!


Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Bitter, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Lemon, Pear, Pleasantly Sour, Raspberry, Smooth, Sugar, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This was a sample from a while ago, thanks Teavivre! Sadly not available on the website at the moment. Maybe because it is GOOD. These are the types of tea that I least enjoy, the roasted oolong, but I should have known I would enjoy the leaf that Teavivre offers. The leaf here is dark brown and twisty with a fragrance of fresh hay. The flavor is mostly SWEET honey with hints of lemon and charcoal. So very sweet — another tea I could swear that has sugar in it. Two teaspoons is perfect for me, it isn’t overboard on the charcoal flavor that I don’t like. Just a hint of charcoal in this yellow cup! The second steep has even more of a fuller flavor with a little more charcoal, but it’s evenly balanced — I like the sweetness with the roastiness. I should have steeped this a third time but it was too late for caffeine. Charcoal teas are my least favorite tea but this is the best of this type of tea that I’ve tried. Teavivre is always fantastic. I’m always surprised by almost every Teavivre tea I’ve tried.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 18 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 13 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Harvest: 2016

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Disclaimer: this is my first ever lapsang souchong.

I mean yeah, it’s smoky. I was expecting that. It’s not horribly overpowering though, it’s actually pretty pleasant. I think that I preferred the second steep to the first as it was a bit more mellow.

Would I drink this every day? No, of course not. You have to be in the mood for it.

Would I ever be in the mood to fancy a cup of this? Absolutely, it’s lovely!

Flavors: Smoke, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

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Here’s Hoping TTB

I was surprised to find this in the “unflavored blacks” section of the TTB instead of in the “smoky tea” bag. Turns out, it was filed correctly. This is a lovely smooth, malty black tea with a warm honeyed sweet potato flavor and not even a hint of smoke. Quite delicious!

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Yeah, this one is definitely not smoky! :D

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Wow, this is a very different-tasting black tea (to me).

Up until now I’ve mostly drank Assams and a few black Chinese teas – nothing too crazy, usually quite smooth and subtle. This is a lovely surprise.

It is certainly smooth and with very low bitterness and astringency, but you can taste a wild earthy note in it immediately. I actually really like this. It is also a lovely amber colour, which adds to the “I am drinking tea leaves from a wild tree” feeling, so to speak :)

It doesn’t replace a good Assam as my favourite, but I can definitely see myself fancying a cup of this over something else from time-to-time.

Flavors: Earth

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

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I think this is a sipdown, or maybe I have another little sample pack lying around somewhere. Regardless, I’m trying it iced with (unsweetened vanilla) soymilk and enjoying it. refreshing, but creamy and flavourful too. Feels good to get through a sipdown considering I just bought three teavana teas. I think I’m at 250 or so. D:

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Lots of peppermint, background of lemongrass and herbs. I think cold brewing is the way to go on this one (hot steeping brings out too much licorice for my liking.)

Flavors: Herbs, Lemongrass, Licorice, Medicinal, Metallic, Mint, Peppermint

Iced 8 min or more 2 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

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This is a fantastic white tea presented in a unique way! Each dragon ball looks to be about an inch across and individually wrapped in tissue paper. It has the appearance of big ole white leaves wrapped into a sphere. Such a lovely sweet flavor results! I could swear there is some sugar mixed in with these white tea leaves. The flavor is light yet smooth and full for a white tea. The second steep is even thicker, like a syrup with a lovely white tea flavor — something deeper than the first steep but not astringent. The third steep is more autumnal flavored — still delicious but I think the third steep could have waited a few more minutes after boiling for the best of that light, syrupy, sweet flavor. I think I could keep steeping this many more times! I’d stock up on this one. If you’re looking for a delicious white tea, this is it. It doesn’t even taste like a usual white tea to me — only sweetness and light.
Steep #1 // 1 piece for a full mug// 20 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 15 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // 5 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep

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One of my favourite greens from Teavivre – lovely vegetal green beany/umami flavour. Shared a pot with a friend a few weeks back, and it was delicious as always.

Thanks to Teavivre/Angel for the free sample :)

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One of the samples from my Black Friday sampler pack. I’m still working through this thing four months later, but there’s only a few left now!

This tea comes in pretty looking needles and smells of corn or wheat or some kind of comfortable grain. The first steep comes out smooth and clear and smells buttery sweet. It somewhat reminds me of a Jin Xuan with its buttery and floral upfront notes. There’s a hint of bitterness, but definitely quite mellow.

Overall, quite an enjoyable green tea.

5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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