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Recent Tasting Notes
OK so I figured at some point I’d start working through my Christmas tea backlog… Here’s the first!
Since it was my first order from Teavivre I decided to get a number of sample packs to see what I liked and what I didn’t. I really love the sample pack idea, it gives a person a chance to get to know the company and try out teas at with very little risk. This is the first tea I tried from the Green Tea Sample pack and it was interesting… I’ve never had a Dragon Well Long Jin tea and I was curious about the reputed chestnut flavors that it contained.
Dry the tea is intriguing, straight and long they almost reminded me (visually) of over sized Fur needles. The scent was fresh but yet warm, much warmer than I was expecting. And there were definite nutty notes, including the chestnut that I was hearing about in other reviews.
After a quick rinse I steeped this (in my brand new glass gongfu pot! Yay for Boxing Day sales!) for 20 seconds; the resulting liquor was a light yellow-green color and had a very fresh scent to it with a number of savory undertones. The flavor profile was filled with chestnuts and butter with just a few darker vegetal flavors. The chestnut lingered on the tongue and while the mouthfeel was quite rich I got a mildly astringent feeling as part of the finish.
The liquor from my second steeping (40 sec) was the same color and warm, fresh scent as the first one. Flavor wise I got a few more buttery notes mixed in with the chestnuts, it was almost like drinking a chestnut pastry filling without all the sweetness (granted the tea was quite sweet on its own, but you know how much sugar is in those fillings!) The mouthfeel was a bit heavier this time around and the chestnut flavor lingered longer.
My next steeping was for a full minute and the scent profile for the pale butter yellow liquor was mellowing out a bit, still warm and nutty but just not as fragrant as it was before. Similarly the flavor profile has shifted a bit as well, warm the vegetal flavors were now showing up more and the chestnut was just a bit softer than previous steepings. This infusion also was a bit bitter while still having that touch of astringency on the finish.
I found the last steeping (2 min) almost too bitter and astringent for my tastes. The yellow liquor had a mellow fresh scent but I just wasn’t able to enjoy it as much as the previous steepings.
I’m going to have to try this one again at a later date… Personally I’m not sure about the chestnut flavor (I’m not a huge chestnut fan but I enjoy it in some things) and how it mixes with the dark vegetal notes. I could see it growing on me though and at the very least though it might not end up being a regular tea for me I could see reaching for it when I’m looking for something different.
Mmm, this is fun and tasty. Fun because the tea leaves tumble out in a surprising, unusual rocky shape teasing me to see how they’ll brew up. I love earthy surprises and this tea did not disappoint.
Pretty color, a lot of smooth sweet flavor without being in-your-face about it. Fairly sophisticated flavor profile, in fact. A little vegetal, a little roasty, and sweet. Trying to place the sweet note, which I am loving, almost but not quite grape, almost but not quite maple, another tease! Moderate lingering astringency on the finish. The second steep holds up well, making it even more worthwhile.
I’d recommend this as a tea to share with friends at a tea tasting. Thanks to Angel for the delightful sample!
Many thanks to Teavivre for this tea!
Roasty AND eye closingly and sighingly sweet? Yes! It would seem that these two things would not go together, but I’m here to tell you that they go together wonderfully in this tea. Moderately, pleasantly green and floral, too. I enjoyed steeping this one the entire day yesterday. I sometimes notice dramatically different flavors depending on what steep I’m on, but for me, this one retained the sweet, roasty characteristics on each steep. I should mention I brewed it Western style. So, so enjoyable.
The dry leaf smells sweet, rich and like an apple – ? When I say apple, I mean the tart skin and a little bit of the fruit itself. Strange…. I haven’t gotten that sort of scent from this particular kind of tea, but it still smells tasty. Once the tea has steeped, I do detect more of an earthy, starchy and almost musky quality.
Sipping… I was expecting something a little bit more milky and sweet. It is sweet, but also almost smoky. It’s dark, syrupy and earthy. I taste raisins, prunes, hay, sweet potato and leather. This is quite an interesting tea! It has such an intriguing depth that makes you want to keep sipping. Even though this tea has some notes that I wouldn’t typically enjoy, it makes my tastebuds curious and I love it when a tea has the ability to do that. I’m not sure if I would add this to my future order, but I do offer my thanks to Teavivre for this sample.
Spring 2016 harvest
I have had this in the past and had found it slightly savory, but this harvest is pure sweetness. It has the aroma of freshly cut hay, and tastes of corn, sweet tiny peas and floral melon. A lovely and delicate, airy nectar.
Brewed lightly in teapot, which was perfect.
Just finished a bag of this tea. I ordered it just to see if it was any different from the ones I get at Chinese Restaurants :P. Well, I guess they are of higher quality, but since I know that I’m not the hugest fan of flavoured teas it was nothing but an ‘alright’ tea. I’d take Gunpowder or Dragonwell tea over this any day, and perhaps that’s why it took me so long to finish this 100g bag. The tea is good for up to 3 steeps, but be careful to watch the steep times since the jasmine flavour can be quite overpowering if steeped for too long. 2min/3min/4min was ideal for me.
Happy polar vortex everybody. In other words holy crap it’s cold in the Buckeye state! I started the car this morning because my wife still had to work and my finger tips were red just from pulling the car out of the garage. I’m not complaining though the boss closed the office so I didn’t have to make the the drive to work, the heat works, water pipes are good, and I got to spend the whole day with the little man. In need of an afternoon boost I grabbed this. I’m excited because it’s an oolong so I know I’m going to get a few cups out the leaves and because it’s from Teavivre. Most green oolongs I have tried either tend to be floral(Jasmine) or buttery. This one is definitely more floral. I love jasmine teas and the first cup definitely has some jasmine characteristics that I’m tasting. Really good. I’m finishing up my 5th cup with the same set of leaves. Each consecutive cup seems to be less floral and be more nutty. Another great offering from Teavivre.
Additional notes: Yes, I’m having this delicious tea so soon again after the first time. The rest of my sample package had closer to one teaspoon of leaves, rather than the two teaspoons I used last time and it just isn’t the same. You need those two teaspoons to get the chocolate notes. One teaspoon won’t happen again!
ETA: The second steep hotter/longer was actually quite chocolate anyway!
My smallish Teavivre order has arrived! I couldn’t help it with a $16 in coupons & reward points! I had to steep this one up first, to make sure I didn’t dislike it. After placing my order, I kind of wished I had ordered the Keemun instead of this one, as I was drinking it at the time of the order being placed and kind of fell in love with it like never before… hopefully I won’t regret this one! Teavivre’s steep instructions are 1-2 teaspoons at 194 degrees with a rinse and 1,2,3 min steep times.
Steep #1 // 13 min after boiling // 2 min
This one is tough to measure with long wirey black leaves with touches of gold. After they were in the brew basket, it looked more than two teaspoons. The cup is a medium dark copper color. Luckily, this one is delicious enough. It’s like dark chocolate and sweet potatoes.. so kind of like Verdant’s Laoshan Black but I like this ones deeper flavor. This one lingers so nicely! Why am I always mentioning Laoshan when I love so many other teas more? I’ve tried the Yun Nan Dian Hong Golden Tip from Teavivre. The difference between the two: this one has less golden color, a higher steep temp (and this one is less pricey). Flavor difference: this one is much more dark chocolate while the Golden is much more sweet potato. I think both have their place, but I’m partial to dark chocolate.
Steep #2 // 15 min after boiling // 3 min
I accidentally waited too long for this steep to cool, so the flavor isn’t as nice as if I waited a shorter time than the last. I like the second cup, but it doesn’t have the magic of the first. Not as strong of a flavor but that’s my fault.
I think I’ve adored every Teavivre tea I’ve tried. I just wish they sold their teas in smaller amounts than 100 grams so I could buy many more varieties at the same time. Not disappointed in buying this one, since both teas have the dark chocolate notes I love(even if the Keemun would have been a nice choice). At this point I think I have three teaspoons of various Keemuns though! Oh no! Keemun shortage!
I got a free sample of this with one of my recent Teavivre orders because I wanted to try making tea soda with it. So I made a super strong steep of this with a lot of sugar, then mixed with soda water. Pretty tasty! I think perhaps I need to use more syrup and less water because it mainly tasted sweet and a bit tart. I did get a bit of citrusy lemon, which was nice. This is definitely my preferred way of preparing anything with rosehips or hibiscus in it.
The first time I made this I used too much leaf and found it somewhat bitter. But when I made it again using less leaf to water ratio and a lower steep temperature, I had a delicious and fragrant peachy green tea without the bitterness of my first attempt. Not a lot of jasmine, perhaps just a hint. Re-steeped perfectly. Lovely and refreshing!
So, I put the entire sample package of these little pearls in a 6 oz. glass to brew. In retrospect, I should have used less pearls I think because this amount seemed too strong.
The first steep after a quick rinse was good though – probably only brewed for about 10 to 15 seconds and was lightly peachy, fragrant and smooth.
When I resteeped the leaves, I left them for about a minute and the result was a much darker yellow brew that was bitter to the point I didn’t drink it.
I did experiment a bit more and found that a very short brew with this much leaf in my glass (expanded, the leaf filled the glass) was better. Unfortunately I was distracted and managed to overstep these leaves again with the same bitterness. Perhaps the water was too hot also… I did get fleeting glimpses of the soft and natural peachiness, but the accompanying bitterness was distracting.
Fortunately, I have one or two more sample packs, thanks to the generosity of Angel and Teavivre, so I will be able to try this again with what I am sure will be better results.
Another beautiful sample from Teavivre!
This oolong’s dry leaf smells very different from the last, which was medium roasted. The scent is even sweeter, giving hints of lush floral goodness. Again, the leaves are rolled into little dark green nuggets with a stem pointing outward. I can’t smell any nuttiness in this one, as I usually do with oolongs. Interesting!
I went with 2.5 minutes again this time, as the instructions gave a range of 1-5 to choose from. The water turned to a pleasant, chlorophyll-like green. I admit I played with the used leaves in wonder when it was done. They were complete, still attached to their stem! There is even a little bit that would have been a silver tip there! The stem is literally as long as my hand. I can’t believe it rolled up so small!
The resulting tea smells more pungent than the dry leaf, and more vegetal. The flavor is so creamy. Ohhh, wow. I wasn’t expecting it at all. It’s faintly nutty, faintly veggie-like. And buttery! Again, I am absolutely loving this oolong. I feel like all the teas in this category by Teavivre are something that need to be savored and contemplated on. Mmmm.
Thank you to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
Typically, I have to be in the mood for oolong. I’m not very familiar with them, and I’ve tasted a few I wasn’t very fond of. This is my new favorite oolong! The mild, sweet oolong flavor is definitely the perfect base for the soft and creamy strawberry flavor. It’s not too green tasting (eventually I’ll adopt the term “vegetal,” but I’m still a newb), and I think that’s what put me off with some of the other oolongs I’ve tried. I like that this tea is in the middle of straight tea and frou-frou flavored tea.