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Five years ago, I had the pleasure of trying Teavivre’s exceptional Premium Golden Monkey Black tea. That tea still stands out as the premier Golden Monkey tea that I’ve tasted.
Recently, Teavivre was selling its “standard” Golden Monkey tea selection at a great price. Even though I had been spoiled by the premium offering, the discount on this one was too good to resist. I decided to take a chance and reasoned that if it had at least an OK flavor, it would be worth the money.
When I opened the silver shipping bag, my nose was greeted with a semi-sweet and earthy Chinese black tea aroma. The leaves were long and brown with equal amounts of golden accompaniments.
I steeped the tea at 195 degrees for four minutes (one degree higher and one minute more than the recommended method) as I like my teas at maximum strength.
The brewed color was dark and golden. The smell was sweet and chocolaty and much more intoxicating than in its pre-liquefied state.
The closest word I could think of to describe the flavor of my first sip was SUPERB! The taste was rich with chocolate, caramel, honey, and other sweet accents, without making it a chocolate drink. The sum total of the flavor recalled my memories of a brown sugar ice cream cone.
This taste remained amazingly consistent through two rapidly demolished cupfuls. Even with the steady bombardment of the robust flavor, I didn’t detect any bitterness whatsoever. The entire experience was incredibly smooth. The aftertaste was delicate and it dissolved quietly.
This is an awesome Golden Monkey tea which I HIGHLY recommend. I will mainly be drinking it in the morning but this selection could just as easily be served to your favorite guests at your most special events.
I am very pleased with myself that I rolled the dice and purchased a pound of this tea at the discounted price. My only concern is that I will devour the entire pound too quickly!
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Honey
I love this tea! I get a lot of jasmine from it, in a good way. I don’t really get a peach flavor, but there is something about the fruitiness of the aroma. It actually makes me think of a specific variety of jasmine my grandfather used to grow. The green tea is present and strong enough without throwing off the balance. This is somehow very refreshing yet comforting.
Flavors: Fruity, Green, Jasmine
I’m beginning to think I’m just a tea drinker along the lines of beer drinkers who think Miller Lite is awesome. I think I just like the Miller Lites of teas. I’m reading everyone else’s notes and this just sounds so lovely. It basically tastes like spinach water to me. I can tell it’s made with care, and the leaves are lovely. I’m not going to give it a numerical rating since apparently I’m too gauche to appreciate good teas. :D
Flavors: Green, Seaweed, Spinach, Vegetables
The flavor has a nice broth aspect, but it’s kind of weak, and I’m really wondering how much leaf I should be using here. I did about 1.5 teaspoons this time (the leaves are wiry, so a bit hard to measure). Is this one of those tablespoon teas?
On the plus side, very smooth and no astringency at all.
Very dark leaves with and obvious roasted aroma. Brews a deep red orange. The dark roast dominates the flavor profile, reminding me a bit of French roast coffee, but there is also a light fruitiness to it that reminds me of strawberries and lemon zest. Not bitter, but it is slightly tart. I get just a hint of something floral in the aroma.
This tea is decent, but the roast is too dark in my opinion.
Flavors: Floral, Lemon Zest, Roasted, Strawberry
Here’s a surprise: I opened the package of Big Dark Leaf and it appears to be filled with big dark leaves! They’re big, twisty, and deep green-brown. Dry aroma reminds me of green beans. Brews a medium yellow, a bit lighter than the Ya Shi Xiang.
Smooth taste with a strong mineral note, green wood, and a bit of half-ripe tangerine rind. Excellent aroma of honeysuckle, citrus, and warm candle. Whereas the Ya Shi Xiang had definite buttery mouthfeel, this tea is more light and clean; maybe watered down milk. There’s a bit of astringency, but practically zero bitterness.
While I prefer roasty-er oolongs, this is a very nice lighter roast and I prefer it to the Ya Shi Xiang.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Green Wood, Honeysuckle, Mineral
This tea has a subtle malty aroma and I can see why it is called pine needle by the way the dry leaves are hard, thin, and pointy. It is malty and earthy but I am not getting much flavor out of this tea. It is bland with an astringent aftertaste. I wish I did not power through it and just made another cup of tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Malt
Wow, this stuff packs a serious lychee wallop. If someone took the essence of lychee and distilled it into tea, I imagine this is what it would taste like. The aroma out of the bag is intoxicating and very powerful. I had a feeling the flavor would be similarly powerful and I was right. This is a very, very sweet tea. It tastes like drinking fruit juice. As it continues steeping, it develops a very perfumey quality that reminds me of rose water and oddly enough, Indian paan masala (a concoction of betel leaf and areca).
I grandpa steeped this in a 10oz glass teapot with just 1.3g of leaf. But this tea is so potent that even this small amount of leaf gave a ton of flavor. As much as I enjoyed the lychee flavoring, I felt it dominated the tea. Next time, I’ll blend this with straight black to balance out the lychee.
Flavors: Lychee, Rose
Apologies in advance: this note contains references to decay and cremation (TW). If you’re not into that or are currently enjoying delicious food, please skip on over.
Nope. Roasted oolong is not for me. Something about burning the florals and char reminds me of one of more bittersweet aromas of Varanasi (not really into thinking of pyres while drinking oolong).
This is actually a nice tea when I can get past my own personal hold-ups. It’s a lot less potent in the burnt department than one would think, and there is a pleasant sour tang of grapefruit for an aftertaste. Lingering notes of sea-salt create a compelling portrait.
Unfortunately, my mind is going back to Varanasi again, and that cow floating down the river. It was very green (but not really), just like this oolong! There’s a part of me that finds it poetic and moving that this tea is like a burnt offering; it’s a shame that aromas, colours, and memories are so strongly linked.
Flavors: Char, Floral, Grapefruit, Marine, Nuts, Salt, Smoke, Wood
Oh happy day, my Teavivre order came in! This was one of the samples. I think I might be getting a bag next time. It’s really good, but how to describe? I’ve gotten some really unusual tasting teas from Teavivre, but this is not one of them. This has got a really classic profile. Rich, smooth, dark. I wouldn’t have thought ‘sweet potato’ on my own, but when I read it in some of the other notes, I could kind of see how that fits. No astringency at all, which is nice. I want to say this reminds me slightly of Golden Fleece, but I drank that so long ago I’m not sure that’s an accurate memory.
This tea has a nice bready aroma. It is rich and sweet with flavors of raisin bran cereal, molasses, and maple syrup. I really enjoy the flavor of this tea. It has a nice balance to it and a pleasing aftertaste.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Raisins
This is only a temporary sipdown; I actually ordered 100g of this on Black Friday. I’m somewhat frustrated with myself though because I ordered it because I thought it’d be really interesting to try, and then immediately after placing my order I went downstairs to find a tea to drink and I saw that I did in fact have a sample ball of this one. D’oh! So lets hope I like it, since I have more coming in…
I’m gonna Gong Fu this one today; but if I’m being honest it’s still very early in the day and I’m still quite tired so I already know this is likely gonna be a sloppy Gong Fu session without a lot of precision. With that said, lets get into it!
Starting with a double rinse; ten seconds x2! Mostly I just want to give the ball its best chance to open up before really digging into this one. After the rinses, we take a rest and we’re ready to really begin!
Steep One – Ten Seconds
Very sweet and mild, with some floral/honeysuckle notes. Not much actually going on yet in terms of flavour, though.
Steep Two – Twelve Seconds
Stronger flavour from this steep; floral undertones and some malt/cream in the body; I still get honeysuckle but it’s also a bit headier than honeysuckle would be. Straw/hay as well.
Steep Three – Twenty Seconds
Kind of the same as steep number two, but a little sweeter and I feel as if I’m getting traces of almond in the finish?
Steep Four – Twenty-five Seconds
Ooh, yes – this is VERY good! Top notes are hay and fresh cream and the body is very sweet honey, almond, and jammy preserves. I want to say more of like a light cherry thing, but I think that’s just ‘cause almond always make me think of cherry (it’s the almond/cherry/marzipan connection). Very soft, jammy red fruits anyway! Really smooth and pleasant!
Steep Five – Thirty(ish) Seconds
Possibly best infusion yet; very, very sweet with strong notes of fresh cream, hay, malt, almond, and honey throughout. Overall I find myself thinking of marzipan or almond infused sugar cookies? Which is a delightful tea session experience. Hints of fruitier undertones here but focus point is definitely on the former notes.
Steep Six – Forty-five Seconds
Same notes are represented as the previous steep but with less overall sweetness. However, there’s also a sharpness to the top of the sip here that makes me think more of a grassy/cucumber skin sort of thing. It feels a little out of left field, in terms of everything else that’s been experienced thus far.
Steep Seven – One Minute
This one will be my last infusion, I think – the flavour is actually still VERY good but I’m getting very bored with the session and I’m ready to move onto something else. It’s still got a fair bit of sweetness and strong notes of malt, hay/straw, almond, honey, and cucumber skins with some really, really light floral things (honeysuckle) going on in the undertones. I know I could very easily continue to push the session and still get several good steeps for this but I’m happy with the experience I’ve had.
So, overall I actually kind of really love this!? The almond was such a pleasant surprise but a really delicious note in this session and I’m very happy that it was so consistent throughout all of the infusions. I can very safely say that grabbing that 100g of Moonlight Dragon Balls on BF wasn’t a mistake at all! This will be a delightful thing to have in my cupboard!
I got this sample because I didn’t notice that I could get black tea samples. I’m really glad I did. I keep thinking I don’t like green tea much, but some of the samples I’ve tried (this especially included) are changing my mind.
The dry leaf was colorful, ranging from deep green to the soft white down of its name. It smelled kind of vegetable, like sugarsnap peas maybe. I steeped it on the lighter end of the recommended time, 3 minutes.
The tea has the same veggie taste I smelled, but only lightly. It’s mostly sweet, and mild. Nothing too sharp or grassy, but definitely flavorful. I think I taste something floral, too, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to steep it again and see. This is one I’d be curious to try gongfu, because I think it’d be fun to explore all the flavors.
I still prefer a rich and comforting cup of black tea, but this is lovely for the evening. I appreciate the chance to try it.
This is a very nicely done tea, I just don’t personally care for it. However, I do think it is high quality – so I won’t leave a numerical rating since it doesn’t seem fair to rate an objectively good tea low. To me, it had too much of the vegetal flavor, almost like (I imagine) toasted spinach tastes like. It was very smooth and somewhat sweet and toasty. Again, high quality, just not my…cup of tea.
Very buttery taste and a strong floral aroma that lingers in the mouth. Slightly “green” taste due to the light roast, and a mild fruity sweetness. I’m having a hard time picking out any specific notes on this tea, but it’s quite nice.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green, Nectar
Moderately sized, dark green twisty leaves that look more like a Baozhong than a regular green tea. Sweet, slightly vegetal aroma. The taste is very clean and predominantly vegetal. Somewhere between kale and edamame. Somewhat buttery and also reminds me of sugarcane and (oddly) pumpernickle bread.
This is a nice green tea, very mellow and refreshing.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Green, Kale, Sugarcane
My five free samples from Teavivre came in the mail yesterday, and I was really craving a roasted oolong so I brewed this one up. The flavor is fairly nice. Mineral, red clay, roasted barley, and ripe plum flavors with an unripe plum tang and astringency. Slightly burnt tasting though. The aroma however is awesome! My cha hai smells of osmanthus and daffodil flowers, burning candle warmth, and something being baked with lots of butter and brown sugar.
This is a nicely aromatic and economical Wuyi oolong with very “warm” tastes and aromas.
I do wish the roast was a little more subtle. I’ve read that a little aging can help heavily roasted oolongs to “calm down” a bit; perhaps this one would benefit from that.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt, Butter, Clay, Mineral, Osmanthus, Plums, Resin, Roasted
OK – yellow tea. Has to be a gimmick, right? So elusive and mysterious…hidden long-lost recipes and all that…
Well, I was still excited to see what the hype was all about.
First, it is not a gimmick. This thing is crazy good. Imagine a vegetal and sweet, nutty bi luo chun crossed with sweet floral Anxi green oolong. Oh, and some sweet grass and fruit flavors of Xinyang Mao Jian. There was incredible complexity to the tea – from the dry leaf scent all the way through the experience in-mouth.
The flavors are strong, but complementary – switching from nutty to sweet, vegetal to floral. Incredibly dynamic. The mouthfeel is thick and unctuous. The aftertaste is expansive and long-lasting.
This is an excellent tea, and the price is great for the quality of the tea. Highly recommended for green tea lovers especially.
Dry leaf – sweet corn (like Bi Luo Chun), creamy fragrant floral (like Anxi oolong), popcorn, speculoos, orange flower. In preheated vessel – candied pecans, praline, sweetcorn, tomato vine, sweet grass
Smell – sweet corn, sweet grass, tomato vine
Taste – arrival of sweet vegetal – sweet corn, green oolong leafiness, sweet grass. Development of complex but muted sweetness (marshmallow, graham cracker) and fragrant floral. Finish of sweet floral – orchid, orange flower, rose. Aftertaste of sweet floral, candied pecan, coconut, with hints of orange soda and red fruit/raspberry.