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Recent Tasting Notes
Another delicious green tea sample provided by Teavivre!
I brought this one to work because the Brew Guide said 194 degrees and I figured it would be less easy to ruin it using the crappy kettle at work than one that required a lower temp. Also because drinking tasty tea at work makes my day a little bit brighter!
I probably oversteeped this but it still wasn’t bitter. I found it mellow and sweet and still has the umami type brothy flavourful appeal that these fresh greens seem to.
Still need to do a great comparison between all of them to test myself on noting the differences, but as of now I’ll give this one a great big thumbs up for sure. I’m so spoiled now, freshly picked green tea leaves?! Yes please!! Forever!
This super floral tea has soft notes of lilac, violet, orchid, and other sweet and mild flowers. Second steep has an aftertaste of mint that I quite enjoy. A tart note crept into the third steep; it has a “fresh” tang that makes me think of rhubarb, with maybe a hint of strawberry. As the cup cools the tart not fades and notes of butter and cream creep in.
Side note to self: don’t start a gongfu session at 10PM. It’s a waste of good tea. Things were just starting to get good too.
Steep Count: 4
(2016 Fall Harvest)
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Mineral, Mint, Orchid, Rhubarb, Strawberry, Violet
Brewing up a sample this evening. There’s a mix of white and darker leaves, with small fuzz on them. Aroma of the dry leaves is kind of chocolatey. The wet leaf is lightly malty with a fruitiness to it, and the first steep comes out a very pale amber. Lots of presence in the high notes here, with a sweet fruit onset and some kind of sweet lasting aftertaste. There’s a little bit of a low, malty note in the background here.
The second steep follows quite closely in the steps of the first, with a little bit more body coming through.
It’s quite enjoyable! For me personally, it has a lot of the qualities I like from a black tea without the malty heaviness I get from a lot of them.
Sipping this sample down by drinking it western (3min) and gongfu style (10sec, etc) simultaneously. Lots of seaweed and umami notes ensue. Would it be too much if I drank my seaweed tea while eating my seaweed snacks? Only time will tell.
Steep Count: 3 (x2)
(2017 spring harvest)
Flavors: Beany, Seaweed, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
This is much sweeter and softer than the Organic Bai Hao (White Downy) Green Tea I finished up yesterday. Gentle notes of soft grass, spinach, beans and flowers are like a clean balm. It’s a refreshing cuppa in the afternoon sun (starting to get hot). I’m starting to get a sore throat, so smooth, mellow and fresh is ideal right now!
This is the kind of green tea I give newbies who believe straight greens are all bitter and yuck. It’s not all bad!
Steep Count: 2
(2017 Spring Harvest)
Tea sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!
Flavors: Beany, Floral, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet, warm grass
Drinking up an entire 10g sample of this in my yixing pot. Dry leaf is sweetish, wet leaf smells quite Menghai-y. Ripe fruit smell, and a hint of smokiness.
First steep comes out quite as a light amber, definitely lighter than I was expecting. The flavor is quite smooth and creamy, with no bitterness yet. Relatively mild in flavor profile, with a sweet mid-note cream aftertaste holding throughout. No particular high note presence.
Second steep is much darker in color, with a mid bitter note starting to appear in a mildish level. Still definitely a smooth creaminess to it, and a sweetness around the back of the mouth and in the aftertaste. I’m enjoying this one quite a bit.
Third steep loses a little bit of the creaminess and the bitterness gets a tad sharper. Fourth and fifth steeps, despite a longer steep, lose a bit more of the flavor and become watery with bitterness becoming sharper. After this point, it’s mostly fallen off. Around steep 7 I was able to get a little bit of sweetness out of it by steeping for a long time, and the bitterness faded off, but it was mostly done by that point.
The last sample from Teavivre for now. A big THANK YOU again to Teavivre! This is just a baby sheng both being harvested and sold within March 2016. But it is quite delicious now, even if aging the pu-erh should make it better. The leaves in my sample were huge and loose in package (not formed in a cake, but maybe that was just how the sample was packaged.) It had the lovely scent of a fresh creamy corn green tea but the flavor is all of a raw pu-erh. It has such a fresh, bright, smooth, sweet flavor with hints of lemon. Now that I think of it, this could almost taste like a white tea cake. It’s very consistent in all three steeps with no overdone sheng flavor if I stay with 35 seconds. It’s perfect this way and I really love this sheng. I can’t imagine the flavor can get even better with age. Maybe I like brand new sheng flavor more than aged sheng. I think the steeps were only beginning with tasty flavor — I could have kept going. All of samples I received in this round of samples were so delicious. They definitely aren’t hurting their business sending out samples. Teavivre is awesome.
Steep #1 // half sample for a full mug // rinse // 30 minutes after boiling // 35 second steep
Steep #2 // 32 minutes after boiling // 35 second steep
Steep #3 // 32 minutes after boiling // 35 second steep
This nutty and grass-sweet is a beauty to see. The image here doesn’t quite do the trick of conveying all the brilliant shades of silver-green long leaves piled together. The lush sweet and nutty scent is also absent; my nose interprets the aroma as nori with sesame oil.
If my lovebird was still alive, he’d try and be all over this with beak and talon, due to the taste and smell of hot millet. That stuff is the catnip of the granivorous bird world. Sweet and nutty grasses are mainly what I get out of this. When I western steeped it today a corn note became apparent as well.
I personally find there to be a bit of a bitter edge to this tea as well, much like actual grass grains. It really came out during a haphazard gongfu session; it reminded me of a less endearing version of Nepal Silver Oolong (What-Cha), which has distinct floral and orange-citrus notes.
Steep Count: 3
(2017 Spring Harvest)
Tea sample provided by Teavivre. Thanks for the chance to try this!
Flavors: Corn Husk, Floral, Grain, Grass, Hay, Nuts, Seaweed, Sweet
I was quite excited to receive more samples from Teavivre. I have sampled and purchased their teas from the very beginning of the company’s existence (five years). I have found their teas to be consistently superior quality, smooth, and tasty. Will this new offering keep that tradition alive? Stay tuned…
When I opened the silver sample package, inside was a dark, tightly rolled ball of tea and flower buds, about the size of a jawbreaker (candy). Its aroma was so faint that I had to press the ball against my snout to get a reading. It was slightly sweet and a tad flowery.
I steeped the ball in my handy-dandy portable infuser that I use at the uptown Charlotte office for eight minutes at approximately 195 degrees (as prescribed on the package). The brewed liquor was the color of molasses. The smell was strong of tea with a flowery accent.
The brew tasted like tea with well-blended flower undertones. I’m not a big fan of flowery teas. Some are so overbearing that I wonder if I am drinking perfume. However, this selection is so perfectly blended that the flowers truly complement the fine tea flavor instead of stomping all over it. The taste was hearty yet amazingly smooth. It was also completely free of astringency.
The aftertaste was quite pleasant. It remained on my palate briefly and gently.
Teavivre has done it again! This is yet another superb blend from the Chinese tea company. Teavivre says it produces tea using traditional methods, proving that the old ways are often the best ways.
You can proudly serve this selection on your most special occasions. Or, just bring it out on an ordinary work day to start your morning off feeling good (like I did).
Flavors: Flowers, Tea
Thanks so much, Teavivre! I’m enjoying these lovely teas! I tried to steep this using similar parameters to the Fuding 2011 cake I tried the other day. First, the cake looks MUCH different than the 2011, as far as I can remember from the other day. The leaves here seem much more compact, uniform looking (instead of a mix of leaves, at least in appearance), leaves much darker and has a shiny sheen to the cake. So basically completely different from the 2011 cake which is interesting! The leaves look intimidating but the flavor is a lovely white tea – all light and airy and sweet. I think the 2011 was much sweeter though. And it is such a tightly pressed cake that it has hardly unraveled on the second steep. The third steep unravels with such a lengthy steep time so it has more flavor but also somehow is much sweeter than the other steeps. I like overbrewing the last steep. It’s a much different, autumnal flavor that can’t possibly get astringent anyway. I’m not sure how this cake can be so different from the 2011, but I think I prefer the 2011 to this one. This is a great way to drink white tea though — I’m a fan.
Steep #1 // half sample for a full mug// 20 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 17 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 6 minute steep
Another lovely pu-erh from Teavivre! Thanks so much! They have a few loose ripe pu-erhs now. The dry leaves are on the smaller side for pu-erh, with hints of lighter color in the dark and have a fresh hay scent. I decided to steep two teaspoons — that sounds close to the suggested 5 grams from Teavivre. The rinse brew does seem to have a fishy scent but that disappears with the actual first steep. Even before the cup is cool it has a fantastic starchy biscuit flavor with hints of unsweetened chocolate but it also somehow has a thirst quenching quality. I love the flavor of the first steep but the second steep seems a little weaker and doesn’t have that strong biscuit flavor… I possibly could have steeped for another minute or two. The third steep was also like the second. If only the flavor had maintained from the first steep but overall this is a tasty shou! I’ll try to see if this happens again when I try to perfect future steeps. I did like that this wasn’t an appetite increasing pu-erh… it’s interesting when some pu-erh makes me want to eat more but other pu-erh doesn’t. I always have to note those.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 13 minutes after boiling // rinse // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 7 minute steep
Third steep, and I used a half teaspoon of organic cane sugar. Maybe it is the lingering salty starchy taste from the buttered popcorn I had just before this cup, but I feel like I am getting cinnamon raisin toast, Or a cinnamon raisin bun. I can’t say I am actually tasting cinnamon, but I think the other flavours fill in enough of the profile that I can almost see the peppery notes more as spice notes instead. The smidge of sugar here does bring out the sweetness and tone down astringency, of which there is some, but not much in the unadulterated sip.
Enjoying this third cup perhaps best of all. The leaves in my steeping basket are now quite large, and almost an olive green colour. I am very curious to see how this tea will turn out if I do a cold brew. I’m thinking for a 16 oz mason jar, I should probably use the whole second packet?
I was excited to try this tea from Teavivre. I substituted it for one of the pu-erh teas that was on my initial samples list from Angel. She gladly swapped it out for me. I picked this one because I am trying to cut down/out sugar and dairy, and I have always found that most black teas seem to be better for me with a little of both. And I find that the non dairy milks and creamers tend to have too much of their own flavour, and interfere with the taste of the tea, and tend to be a bit thin. I do use organic cane sugar that is minimally processed and have cut down my consumption of it, but as I said, black teas are my weakness for those additions. I had hoped that this tea would be mild enough to have straight.
I tried to follow the instructions from the website that for 12 oz, use 5g/4tsp in 194F/90C water and brew 3-5 minutes. Because the leaves are so long and big, I had to use my wide bamboo spoon, but as they are also twisty, I had a hard time measuring it out. I realized that the sample packet was 7g, so I tried to use this as a guide based on how much of the tea was left in the sample packet. I had to boil the water a few times because the first time I set the kettle to 200 and left it to cool a bit, but I got distracted and it had cooled to 177, so I set it to boil and cool again, this time, watching the temp as it goes down (love this part of the kettle).
In the packet, the leaves smelled sweet. As I said earlier, they are also quite long and twisty, and like to tangle in each other. A delicate touch is required, I think. The golden tips are so pretty. Nature’s ombre tea. :P I have always like golden tips. I find them to be less astringent than other teas, less smoky, and a little sweeter.
This first steep is straight, and my mug is already half empty. I’m a little surprised at how quickly I am drinking this tea with nothing added to it. I was a little nervous at the start because I was thinking it might be too astringent, but after the first few sips, and a few minutes more as it cooled more, I was fine drinking this, sometimes gulping it down with big sips. I am not great at describing flavours/notes in teas, but using the notes from other users, I can agree that there is a little bit of a peppery feel to this. My mouth is salivating a little more, and my tongue feels little dry. There is a rich note that could be cocoa and.or raisin…I think both. I think the slightly bitter and drying might be the cocoa. The light sweetness is the raisin. And the mouthfeel is sort of thick, like maple syrup…not as thick as honey.
My mug is nearly done, and I am about to head out to run some errands, but I am going to resteep this and try to add a smidge of maple syrup or organic cane sugar and just see what the profile is like that way when lightly sweetened. I may try it sweetened with milk a little later on, but I am very pleased to be able to happily drink this unadulterated.
I am very happy that Angel was able to swap the pu-erh on the initial list of samples she was sending for this one. I would recommend it to someone who is new to tea, and maybe wants something a little milder and less astringent to start with. It’s also a great value because the leaves will yield a few more steeps, I think. I am hoping to get a larger gaiwan soon, and would love to try the other sample packet in it.
Flavors: Cocoa, Raisins
Heavy on the hibiscus, some grape, black current, raisin, candied fruit. Mostly hibiscus, though, and extremely tart. I added vanilla sugar because there is no vanilla at all in this, but the sugar wasn’t enough. No vanilla, too much hibiscus to really taste anything, not drinking hot or iced by itself. I’m pretty disappointing. I’ll be sticking to less sour teas in the future.
Flavors: Black Currant, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Grapes, Hibiscus, Raisins, Sour, Tart
Another sample from Teavivre! Thank you! I’m trying to write tasting notes quickly because they were nice enough to send some samples over, and sometimes I don’t try the samples at their freshest. Oh but this one is fresh! Such lovely fragrance even just opening the sample — sweetest creamy corn and the flavor is exactly the same as the scent. And I adore these types of green teas. The flavor is lighter, but so delicious. The brew is smooth and clear even though the leaves have plenty of fuzzies. The dry leaves are extremely spiky, long and twisted together. I used two teaspoons, or possibly more because they were clinging together so much. Over the years of trying Teavivre’s teas, I’ve wanted to stock up on most of them that I’ve tried! How does Teavivre find these amazing teas? They are the tastiest teas! I couldn’t even pick a favorite green from Teavivre because they are all so good. I definitely wouldn’t need to buy my green teas anywhere else.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 33 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Flavors: Kettle Corn, Sweet
Samples provided for review. Thank you, Angel! This review is based on the second session.
Brewed with a gongfu session, in a 120ml porcelain gaiwan. The dragon ball weighed 9.7g. I used 190 degree and then 200 degree water since my kettle does have a 195 setting. I gave the ball a rinse and a quick rest to open up. Steeping times are pulled from the website: 25 seconds, 20, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 80 (etc.)
The dry leaf aroma has notes of rose and typical Dian Hong (malt and chocolate). After I let the ball sit in the pre-heated gaiwan for a bit, I smell freshly baked brownies – incredibly fresh. Makes me want to make brownies. The wet leaf, in order from strongest to weakest, smells of rose, malt, and brownies. As the session when on, an allspice note took over.
The liquor, a clear golden orange, has a full body and smooth texture. The flavor doesn’t evolve; it’s constant. Comparing this to the loose rose-scented Dian Hong that Teavivre also carries, the dragon ball is much more balanced. The rose doesn’t overwhelm the typical Dian Hong notes, which are, again, malt and chocolate, plus a hint of allspice and black pepper. It’s as if the rose is naturally steeped from the leaf rather than an addition. Speaking more the Dian Hong’s overall quality, it’s a very nice quality. Very few broken leaves or buds. It’s delicious, clean, and comforting. Additionally, whole rose buds and petals are pressed into the ball. WHOLE. I like that touch.
I’m not very big on rose when it comes to the tea and flower combination. It’s OK. I do, however, adore Dian Hong. Since I’ve sampled both the dragon ball and the loose leaf, I can say that I prefer the dragon ball. I felt like the rose-scented loose leaf comes off as overpowering. If you prefer a flower “flavored” tea in which the flower isn’t too strong, this is something to try.
However, as someone who watches caffeine intake, I don’t like the idea of dragon balls much because there are so many grams crammed into one piece. Both of these dragon balls provided weighed nearly 10 grams – double my typical maximum. Another thing to consider. At least with the loose leaf I can control leaf amount more easily.
Thanks again for the samples, Teavivre! I think I’ll have tried most of Teavivre’s teas now and it’s unbelievable that most of them are delicious. Teavivre loves what they do, you can tell in the tea they find. This is one of those white teas that look like there are all different leaves pressed into a cake. Like raking leaves in the yard and making tea out of them. The flavor is all sweetness and light. Teavivre mentions white tea has three types of sugar, so I can see where the sweet flavor is from! I’m not really sure how aging this tea is supposed to make it taste differently but this tastes similar (as much as I can remember) to the Shou Mei cake I tried previously. The steeps stay very consistent and you can’t really oversteep it. I wanted to see what would happen on an extreme third steep: The third steep was like a light black tea in brew color, with the flavor of a smooth golden yunnan but with slight notes of autumn leaves. Interesting! The description says that loose Shou Mei and cakes of same quality can have the same flavor, and I can see that. The cakes save space with these big leaves and cakes are better for aging teas. I think the tea tastes sweeter as it ages. White tea cakes are a treasure after seven years, so this one just has one more year to go!
Steep #1 // half sample for a full mug// 20 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 17 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 6 minute steep
I picked the most generic looking Tieguanyin to start me on my +15 guanyin journey.
I did a short rinse, and a first gongfu steep of about “how long it takes to open up a little and for the water to change colour.” The aroma is incredibly floral, like jasmine with a smudge of lilac. This carries over into the flavour profile, which is a buttery floral bouquet.
Second and third infusions are incredibly sweet, with a vegetal element. Just to show that my family doesn’t have a flower nose, my mom said this cup smelled like “rose, dandelion, sweet, orange blossom.” Name all the flowers and eventually one will be right. We can all agree it smells and tastes “beautiful” though.
Fourth and fifth infusions became increasingly mellow and smooth. The floral notes have taken on a backseat role and become more of a soft honeysuckle. The vegetal sweetness is front and center.
I had to cut this session here, which is too bad because this was slowly becoming more and more delicious.
Steep Count: 5
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Jasmine, Peas, Sweet
Aged shou meis are one of the reasons I like whites so much.
Earthy like autumn leaves, very flavourful (lots of tannins), no storage/mold/fishy taste that some puerhs have. It is Earthy a bit like how Taro root is a little Earthy but still sweet. Or like hay/long yellow grass. It kind of has the sweetness of the smell of hay.
Light sweetness, brews a medium amber-brown, can be rebrewed many times. No hint of bitterness/astringency. This is super smooth.
You can’t mess this tea up. Brew hot, brew cold, any temperature and any brew time. Assuming you like Earthy teas, you can’t go wrong. This tea is incapable of brewing a bad cup.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Taro Root
I started this review by entering all of the scents that I could notice whilst I was waiting for it to cool down. Considering that I entered “chestnut”, “ash”, “roasted”, and “musty” I was intrigued (and a little concerned) about how this would taste. My only other experience with oolong is Brandy 18 from Tealyra, which was so smooth, caramelly, and complex that it quickly became one of my all-time favourite teas… although I’m not sure that it is representative of the style.
Once it has cooled down I’m getting a slight chocolate scent. This is quite pleasing. As far as taste goes, it tastes pretty much like it smells.
This is an interesting tea. I think that I could grow to really enjoy oolongs of this sort; right now, however, I mostly just find it interesting. Not un-enjoyable, and I will be getting a second steep out of it, but it hasn’t blown me away. Perhaps I’m just not ready for oolongs yet.
I think that I’ll be sweetening things up after I’m done with these leaves by brewing something with a golden tip :)
Flavors: Ash, Chestnut, Chocolate, Musty, Roasted