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Recent Tasting Notes
Oh, hello rich earthy cup!
This has been a very long day.
First I had to go by Metro High to pick up a harp that I had placed there a few years ago for a student that was attending there. He graduated in spring, & I’ll need that Harp!
Then I went to Carr Lane, the school I’m teaching at, & got to work about 9am.
I had to move 9 harps from the far wing of the building, where they have been stored in a closet, but first I had to move a bunch of junk out of the closet, because they were in the very back. I use a dolly, & I should have turned on my pedometer, cuz I’m pretty sure I walked at least a couple of miles today!
Once the harps were moved, I had to clear all the junk out of my classroom. The previous teacher had that room for years, & she retired & left tons of stuff in there. I moved it all into the empty classroom next door, which is where everyone is putting stuff they don’t want.
That took hours, & more walking. Now I have an empty closet, lots of open shelf spaces, my harps are lining the walls, & although there’s still a ton of stuff to do, I should be good to go for the first day of classes, & I can do the other things (like spray & wipe the entire room with Ms Meyers clean day – Lemon Verbena, empty the desk drawers that are full of junk, redo the bulletin boards, etc) a little at a time.
I’m on the 2nd steep of this tea. I came home, had the first steep while I taught a student, had a rehearsal with my flute player for 2 hours, drank this 2nd cup, & I’m done for the day.
Teas I brought to school with me:
The Black Lotus
Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha
I was there for 7 hours. That wasn’t enough tea!
I’ve been suffering steepster withdrawals for the last couple of days. So many teas drank & not reviewed…sigh…So I am grateful to the Steepster Gods Who Walk Among Us for getting things back on track. I’m not gonna even try to backtrack & log all the teas I drank this week so far, but I will comment on a few of them in a little while.
For now, I’m enjoying a cup of this one with breakfast (yes, I know it’s almost noon here, & 1:00 on the east coast, but that’s just the way we roll here at Terri’s Airy Fairie World).
Anyway, this is a deliciously awesome Keemun, in my opinion. Bold enough to stand up to brunch, lightly smokey & earthy & leathery & sweet like caramelized brown sugar. There’s alot of depth to this cup, & I find this one to be much more interesting than so many of the other Keemuns out there. Kind of masculine & bassy. I’m picturing an ensemble of upright bass & cello, bass clarinet, bassoon, & the low end of a marimba.
This is exactly what I need this morning!
2tsp + 8oz (194 more or less) X 2 min yielded a deep & perfect brew, rich with earthiness in such a wonderful way that I really just want to keep drinking it.
A resteep at 3 minutes yielded a pleasant & very drinkable cup, though it was a mere shadow of it’s former self.
Out to the garden…so much to do!
I drank this earlier this afternoon, before I left to play an outdoor wedding on the 8th floor patio of a hotel here in St. Louis (photos on my FB https://www.facebook.com/terri.langerak).
It was cold up there, & windy too.
I guess my Keemun ‘trials’ are beginning.
I drank the ‘Superfine fragrant’ yesterday, & I’m drinking this one today. I’d still say that this one is more masculine, more bassy, more smokey. It’s funny, but I do have trouble explaining the difference between teas sometimes.
Looking at the leaf, the ‘super fragrant’ is more tippy, & slightly bigger sized. As for this cup, I’m enjoying it’s light smoke, notes of brown sugar, slightly floral, pine mulch, red grape awesomeness. Oh…& a dark chocolate lingering after – feel.
I need breakfast!
I’ve been composing a piece for tomorrow’s Winter Solstice gig at the Unitarian church, where we’re doing Ceremony of Carols, plus my original song, “Midwinter’s Canon”, from my xmasy CD of the same title, & this original piece, which I haven’t named yet, LOL. For the musicians in the room, it’s new agey, improvising over a framework, a little wierd, haha, starts in C minor, eventually ending in C Major, the theme being light emerging from the darkness. A little cliche, I know, but I’m known around here for my improvisations, & they asked me to create something special, so that’s what I’ve been working on.
And now I’m taking a break with this Keemun, which is tasty! I think I mentioned last time I drank this that it is a more manly Keemun than the Organic Premium Superfine. I think I love them both!
Now back to work…
This is one of the teas that I got in my recent Teavivre order, & I’m glad I did! I love their superfine org keemun, & I wanted to get some of this one, as well as samples of the Keemun Grades 1 & 2, so that I can eventually compare them all.
This one is robust, & I’d even go as far as to say it’s manly, in that the flavor is bold, thick, & husky! I like it! There’s a musky kind of grapiness to it, & a deep forest floor earthiness. I think I might love it. There is also some smoke, but not SO much, just some. It’s a beautifully balanced cup that is much more assertive than the superfine organic keemun, but also not as sweet. I’d say that this one is the yang to the other one’s yin, if you know what I mean.
He’s a rugged, nicely bearded, good looking, outdoors kind of guy, who likes to fire up his smoker.
This tea has a nice dark brown color with a woodsy aroma. This tea has that earthy, woodsy flavor that you usually get with Pu-erh teas with a nice lightness at the end and a tinge of sweet to finish. The flavor is enjoyable and not overpowering with a pleasant aftertaste.
I’m drinking this with milk and maple syrup.
Yep, that’s right. Milk AND maple syrup.
I made it after work (I didn’t get home till 8pm, boo!) because I wanted to go out dancing, but I’ve been having problems with my neck and shoulder all day and it flared up pretty bad so I ended up staying home. Sadness. But I already had the tea made, so I’ve been drinking it. And I like it quite a bit, but not more than other teas I have in my cupboard. I think the “Premium” keemun is better. At least, for my tastes. But I haven’t opened that one yet because I have So Much Tea so you won’t get a comparison from me.
Oh, this is delicious. I wanted a black tea with maple this morning, to go with my frozen berries and maple whipped cream.
This tea is just perfect for this application.
It is sweet and slightly smokey. In some ways it reminds me of Butiki’s PTA. Probably due to the maltiness (or what I’m interpreting as malt!) and the natural sweetness of the leaves. The touch of smoke makes Keemun teas go extremely well with maple. There is no astringency or bitterness. I steeped western style, but I think I could extend the 3 minutes I usually steep to 4 or even 5 minutes with just a richer flavour.
I purchased 100g of the premium keemun, and I don’t regret that at all. The price point makes it more of an everyday tea, and the flavours are not strikingly different. IIRC the premium is slightly less sweet, and slightly stronger.
Highly recommend this one. Even just picking up a sample with another order. Don’t be scared of the “smokey” comment above. It’s not a smoked tea, the flavour is extremely delicate.
This tea is rather wasted on me today. I can’t tell if it’s a gluten reaction (makes sense, I had a migraine yesterday and ate a GF sandwich while I was out on Sunday), but I’m having problems with food. Even food flavoured things. :( (I’m sorry Amoda Butiki box. I can’t drink you today.)
Anyways. This tea is really lovely. I bought 100g of the premium, so I’ll have to compare it to this sample. It’s sweet and rich, almost starchy, and is SO good with a little maple syrup. I only used about 1/2 tsp because of my tummy troubles, but it elevates the tea just that little bit.
I don’t really get smokey from this Keemun. I do get a bit of roasted smell, like the sweet richness you get from roasted sweet potatoes and onions that have a little char on them. So delicious.
I used 2 tsp in 16oz.
Cold brewed overnight. I only had one packet, but used it to make 1L of iced tea. It was mostly tart hibiscus with a hint of blueberry this morning. Good, but not delicious. I think I’ll stick with Juicy Blueberry from Zen Tea as my blueberry herbal tea. Oh, or the Blueberry Rooibos from SOKO.
HOLY MOLY. I received my Teavivre Black Friday order today. Some of my Canadian orders haven’t even shipped yet. This is amazing.
Of course, the first thing I broke into was this blueberry tea. Just opening the package, it smells so good. It’s just dried fruits, and they are intense.
I used one package (about 3 tsp) in 16oz hot water. This dilution actually works well for me.
The roselle concerned me a bit. I’m not a huge fan of hibiscus, although it does work for me in some blends. Here? It’s amazing. The tea brews up and looks like wine. The flavour is hibiscus-y, but also of blueberries, currants and grapes. It’s pretty good with no sweeteners in it, but after adding a bit of honey, it shines. Sweet-tart blueberry juice tea.
I need to get more of this!
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample tea!
The Snow Queen has stretched her Wintry White Robe across most of North America.
Most of us Steepsterites hunker down with copious amounts of tea, hoping to melt the chill from her icy fingers. Burr!
I’ve been drinking Chai, Black Tea and Puerh by the buckets-full! My own additions of cinnamon or ginger to the Puerh warm me head to toe in no time.
Now and then, a reminder of Spring gladdens my heart, and it’s tea that’s able to take me to that golden, glowing place in no time.
While I prefer dark, roasty Oolongs that are cinder-fired and tightly rolled…I love those rare, buttery, floral/savory Oolongs that remind me of the awakening Earth in Spring.
Li Shan is such an Oolong.
Buttery and thickening as it cools, sweet, slightly floral and savory.
I’m not very fond of light Oolongs, but this is perfectly delicious. Not too light and or strong but just right with an aroma sweet enough to make you hunger for vanilla cake.
Winter may be upon us now, but we can remember warm, golden-hued Spring now, thanks to such a tea as this one.
Beethoven’s 6th Symphony http://youtu.be/34dU9RSWf28
Often when I have Jasmine tea, usually from a restaurant, it comes out like I’m drinking hot perfume. With this tea though, the aroma dances in light steps in my mouth, like an expert ballerina. I have also shared the tea with others and they say it does taste like perfume, but they say it with a surprised glee on their face.
Tea number two from my Teavivre Taiwan Oolong sample pack (Thanks again Angel!). Having just gotten over a cold I was hesitating to try out something that might be a bit subtle but this is one that I’ve been wanting to try for a while, (I was really interested to see what kind of milk favors and feelings I would get from a non-flavored tea; would it really live up to its name?) and I’m glad I did.
This is a very interesting looking tea, the leaves are loosely rolled into small balls and then dried. There was a very light and fresh scent coming from them, it reminded me of how the mountain meadows smell in early spring, just lovely. And under it all there were hints of something that made me really excited, creamy milk.
For my first steep I tried the recommended minute, which in retrospect was perhaps a little under steeped for my tastes. The liquor came out a very, very, pale yellow green with floral aromatic notes. These notes actually mixed well with the slight under tones of creaminess that I detected. This is a very smooth, mellow flavored tea, and I definitely get the milk notes (wow, I must say that I was really doubtful about that part but they’re defiantly there.) There is no real aftertaste to this tea but an after “feeling” of a coated mouth similar to what I get after drinking actual milk. As it cooled the mouth feel got a bit creamier/thicker without becoming heavy.
The second steeping was in for 2:45 minutes, and the bit of extra time worked out wonderfully. The liquor is a pastel yellow-gold (with just a tinge of green) and it still has that wonderful floral scent though it’s a bit deeper now than in the first steeping. The creamy undertones are still present as well. Flavor wise it’s a very milky and rich feeling tea, and the floral notes help to brighten up the whole thing. It really reminds me of drinking hot milk with wild flower honey, just not as sweet. Absolutely lovely.
For my third, and last, cup I steeped the leaves for 4:30 minutes. This time the liquor came out a pale gold, and while the aroma still has the floral notes they’re subtle this time as compared to the previous steepings. As for the rest, the mouth feel is still creamy but not as rich, nor so I really get the same milk hits as I did previously. That said, the floral notes in this cup have changed and become deeper and a bit more pronounced. I get definite hibiscus favors, and a few almost peachy notes which I find are a really nice way for this tea to finish out on (though I’m sure I could probably do one more steeping of this before all was said and done.)
In the end it was a very luxurious tea, creamy and rich without being heavy. The perfect end to a cold day spent finishing the Christmas decorations.
Twice now I’ve had the wonderful experience of tasting this Sheng puer, another sample sent from TeaVivre. Both times I’ve been very pleased with the result. This tea held a special interest for me since I’ve visited tea factories in Fengqing before, but never one that produced Puer. The city is known mainly for its Hong Cha (black tea).
The aroma of the orange infusions was deeper than I expected, bringing to mind oak more than the cedar scent that I often find with young and middle-aged Sheng (I consider any Sheng Puer less than 5 years old to be “young”, and more than 10 years to be “old”). This was the first sign that I was getting a tasty cup.
Starting with about a 10-second infusion, the flavor was very smooth and round with more of that oak character. It had a dryness to it that pervaded the mouth, but it was a pleasant dryness, akin to the feeling of a Bordeaux wine. The taste reminded me actually of another one of my favorite Sheng cakes, coincidentally from the same year: the 2006 Lao Shu Bing Cha from Dobra Tea (alas, no longer available in that year).
Check out my full review here: http://someteawith.me/2013/12/06/2006-fengqing-sheng-tuocha-puer/
I previously reviewed this tea but because I recently revisited it, I wrote a new review about it, and you can check that review out here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/01/12/nonpareil-anxi-qing-xiang-tieguanyin-oolong-tea-from-teavivre/
I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I simply love Teavivre. They have some of the very finest teas that can be found anywhere.
Sweet, floral, creamy with notes of vanilla and orchid. You can read about my adventures with each infusion on the full-length review, just click on the link I’ve provided above.