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Recent Tasting Notes

I got a sample of this somewhere and the other day it came up in my attempt to drink down my non-puerh stash. After looking at the leaves, I decided I would western this instead of trying to gongfu it. I used about 3.5g in my 12oz kysusu with water at 200F. It had some nice chocolatey notes, maybe a bit of maltiness, and was totally bomb-proof. I oversteeped brutally almost every time, because I’m easily distracted. After getting around 3 or 4 steeps, I just decided I’d toss the other half of the sample in there with the spent leaves and do a second session that way. Still wasn’t bitter or astringent or anything. A good one to drink if you’re distracted for sure. Pretty tasty, and I’m glad it wasn’t a smoked Lapsang.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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This is a little bit sweet but mostly earthy. It’s just not for me.

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60
drank Cornflower Blue Fruit Tea by Teavivre
1182 tasting notes

Tried it hot, but found it extremely acidic with all the hibiscus. I only steeped tsp with 700 mL water for 1 minute. I think this is best iced or sweetened. The current and blueberry flavours are really nice, but I can’t taste them very well over the sour hibiscus.

Flavors: Black Currant, Blueberry, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Hibiscus, Honey, Sour, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 24 OZ / 700 ML

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I followed up the hakka orange oolong with this when I was sick, and it was an interesting drinking experience. I remember the taste of stewed tangerine zest more than anything. The tea was there, but didn’t really assert itself.

The tea itself was apparently harvested in 2010 and I’m not sure when it was stuffed into the tangerine itself, but I see myself most likely using this as a tea to experiment with in the future. Not bad, and fine for sick tea, but a bit too “old tangerine-y” for my preferences.

Flavors: Citrus Zest

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Sipdown! I still don’t really know what an osmanthus smells like when it isn’t in my tea, but in my tea it’s floral and a touch citrus-y. Other people picked up on an apricot note and I can see where they got that, though I didn’t identify it independently so power of suggestion might be at play here. This was a nice alternative to more typical floral teas like jasmine.

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Sampled from the Here’s Hoping TTB.

Had a gongfu session with a porcelain gaiwan. Gave the leaf a quick rinse. Followed the website’s instructions: 5 seconds, 7, 9, 12, 18, 28, 28, etc.

Not only is the leaf richly aromatic all around, but the aroma is intriguingly complex. The dry leaf has notes of molasses, brown, sugar, sweet potato, and a bit of malt. Sitting in the pre-heated gaiwan, the leaf aroma then becomes sour and sweet – like raisins and cranberries – and also has a fragrance of freshly baked bread. The wet leaf aroma is similar, smelling of fresh cranberry muffins.

The liquor is bright golden-orange, clear, and medium-bodied. While the aroma of the Dian Hong is complex, the taste is much simpler. The flavors do evolve with a gongfu session, but each infusion yields an uncomplicated brew. The first cup is light in flavor, with the sour cranberry note making an appearance. Beginning with the second cup, the flavors are more developed. The second tastes purely of sweet potato. The third and fourth are creamy in texture, bread-like, woody, and sweet potato-like. With cups five through seven, the flavors undergo a drastic change. This Dian Hong shifts from classic sweet potato to a sweet/fruity hongcha. The aftertaste, throughout the session, is very short-lived.

I recommend this to hongcha/Dian Hong lovers and especially beginners to hongcha. As someone who probably appreciates aroma more than taste, I loved this. But since I also evaluate taste by similar weight, I found this to be alright – not spectacular. It’s easy-going. I did enjoy what I had, though I wouldn’t purchase. To more experienced drinkers, this might suit your fancy more than mine.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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95

Another lovely tea I get to try from my last Teavivre order. I have absolutely adored past harvests of the other Iron Goddess oolong that Teavivre sells (I think it’s my favorite oolong ever), so I wanted to try this one. I went with one and a half teaspoons leaving one teaspoon in the sample for later. The dry leaves smell so fresh! The taste could not possibly be sweeter. I could swear there is sugar on these leaves. The main characteristic of this flavor is simply sweetness. The other Iron Goddess oolong tastes like a bouquet of flowers. This one is a sweet and delicious oolong – three solid steeps of this lovely flavor. It’s an amazing result, though I do love the bouquet of flowers flavor of the other oolong. Harvest: May 2016
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 15 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 minute steep

Flavors: Sugar, Sweet

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89

Thanks to my tea friend for the sample!

This reminded me of the unsmoked jin jun mei from Yunnan Sourcing. There’s a light, natural smokiness that isn’t at all overwhelming like a smoked lapsang. It’s sweet, with a bit of cocoa on the finish. There’s a pretty strong molasses flavor in the middle of the palette, which I think is what reminds me of the jjm.

Lasts a good 3 steeps western, so not bad! Lovely warming black tea with a thick, sweet, sappy mouthfeel.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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83

This is my first puerh from Teavivre. It’s relatively new tea territory for me having tasted half a dozen or so puerhs so far. I picked this up because I wanted to try an aged sheng. . My first few cups were delicious, but later on I had to fight through some serious bitterness.

I used just under 8g of tea in a 120ml shibo for this. The dry leaf had a faint smell of sweet earth and incense. It was noticeably less intense than other sheng puerhs I’ve tried. Wet leaf smelled of wet wood and tobacco. Normally I use very short steeping times for puerh, but increased my steep times as recommended by some reviewers.

After a rinse, I steeped it for about 30 seconds using just under boiling water. It tasted of sweet leather with slightly smokey undertones. A second 30s steep was a nice woodsy and wet forest like flavor. The third infusion was for 35s at boiling. Earthy sweet with a little bitterness beginning to creep in.

The next 4 infusions were pretty rough. Encountered lots of bitterness forcing me to reach for some sweets to cleanse my palette. I had to chuck the 7th steep and call it a day because the bitterness became just too much.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the sweet, complex taste of the early steeps but wished the flavor had carried over to the later infusions.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Smoke, Wet Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Ken

Lower the temp 10 degrees, and take 5 seconds off the brew time. Even at 10 years its still kinda green and bitterness can creep in.

LuckyMe

This is interesting, I always thought puerhs needed hotter water. I’ll tweak my brewing parameters next time and see how it goes. Thanks for the tip.

Ken

The older it is the more it needs the heat, a young raw is still pretty green, and you can get away with lower heat. I had to do this with the immortal monkey raw min tou from yunnan sourcing, it was small very green leaves and the first time I brewed it, bitterfest, I lowered the temp to about 190-195 and shortened the steep a little and it was much better.

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82
drank Cornflower Blue Fruit Tea by Teavivre
8271 tasting notes

Sample i picked up from Teavivre. I am a happy camper with this one. It’s blueberry/black currant deliciousness, which is a nice break from hibiscus. I don’t actually MIND hibby, but sometimes it’s nice to have a herbal that doesn’t have it :) Glad i opted to try this one out!

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94

No doubt Teavivre has some excellent green tea but unfortunately most of the ones I tried this year were kinda lackluster compared to the year before. The one exception though was this tea. I wasn’t expecting much from this inexpensive, lesser-known tea but I’m pretty blown away at how good it is.

The aroma of the dry leaf alone is enough to tell you this is going to be good. It smells floral and spinachy, then in a heated vessel intensifies into something like buttered sweet corn, flowers, and honey. After steeping, the tea has a mellow sweet pea taste and fresh grassy flavor. The texture is gentle and refreshing, it feels like a pleasant spring breeze across your face. Not too nutty nor astringent.

This one needs quite a bit of leaf for best results. I usually steep my greens semi-gong fu style using 2g of leaf or less. For this though, I had to use half the 7g sample pack. Also, the flavor seems to fade a little faster on resteep than I’d like.

I would not recommend storing this tea in the fridge. I refrigerate most of my greens which helps extend their freshness but occasionally there are some like this that don’t do well in the cold. The fridge made my second sample pack bitter despite being sealed and stored properly.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Spinach

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 171 ML

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56

Interesting flavor profile for a black tea. This tea tastes like a hybrid of black and puerh. It’s woodsy, earthy, and a little musky. Steeped at boiling it produces a tannic cup. It’s slightly better at lower temperatures but still tastes mostly like a typical orange pekoe to me. Not really my cuppa.

Flavors: Earth, Tannic, Wood

TeaVivre

How about the brewing temperature between 85-90℃? I think it will be tasted better than boiling water!

LuckyMe

@TeaVivre, thanks for the tip. I did try that and it helped a little, but it was still a bit earthy. I think the tea was mostly not suited to my palate.

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74

Sipdown (202)!

Brewed up this sample, which was a freebie that Teavivre tossed into my last order, Western style! I wasn’t really sure what to think because I’m not super familiar with the taste of straight Osmanthus and when I’ve had it in blends I’ve struggled to differentiate it from the flavours of whatever else is in the blend. Due to my lack of familiarity I just brewed this one exactly like the sample package said to – for the time I split the difference of the three to eight minutes and I went with a solid five minutes.

So what were my overall thoughts? This was really nice and smooth; quite sweet and floral overall. The sweetness reminds me of cane sugar, and the floral notes are kind of magnolia-y? There’s also some mild fruity undertones; peaches/apricots. I enjoyed this best while it was still hot; the last little bit I drank pretty cold and at that point it tasted relatively bitter. Still interesting overall though.

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95

Ooo, this is lovely! The dry leaf is beautiful: slender, twisty silvery-green leaves with a rich, nutty fragrance. It brews up to a nice pale green color with plenty of nutty, vegetal flavor and a lingering sweet aftertaste. Smooth, sweet Chinese green teas are my absolute favorite and this is one of the best I’ve tried. I would definitely consider re-purchasing this one!

Flavors: Nutty, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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81

Rich and smooth, with some lingering scratchiness in the throat. I leafed heavy at about 9g to 100ml, just off boiling water. This is pleasant, with a mellow earthiness to the roast that is reminiscent of the decadence and bitterness of fairly dark chocolate. The aroma is roast laced with additional vibes of burnt caramel, although it never gets quite so sweet in the actual cup. It has slow moving energy which leads me to believe it’s not got the greatest caffeine content, but it does the job. Might be good Western to add more flavors to the mix.

Flavors: Burnt, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 9 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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90

I love watching these pearls unfurl in my clear glass steeper: like teeny delicate question marks tinting the water as they steep. Beautiful tea, delicate and fragrant. The jasmine scent is just the right balance for the tea itself. My afternoon had been moving along rather nicely and yet this fragrant tea has made it even better.

Thank you, Angel, for the sample.

Drinking this lovely tea throughout the afternoon brought me back in spirit to this lovely lovely town that I stayed in for a time in China and the teahouses that I spent hours contemplating life in. The teahouses I am talking about and the town that I am referring to are pictured here. (To be clear, this is not my blog.) One of my very favourite places in China. http://www.bootsintheoven.com/boots_in_the_oven/2012/03/zigong-sichuan.html

Flavors: Green, Jasmine

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Inkling

Your description of how these steep is so poetic! I can see it. :)

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Inkling. :)

TeaVivre

I do love the Zi Gong Leng Chi Tu Rabbit Meat, so delicious!

Indigobloom

I second that. Always enjoy reading your posts, regardless of the tea (I’m not a Jasmine fan). And rabbit meat… I’ve never had that before!

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Indigobloom. Very kind.

TeaVivre, I loved ZiGong, the street bbqs, the hotpots, the tea rooms, street noodles on the shopping street, and yes, the rabbit too. I liked everything about it really. Actually, I loved Chengdu as well although they are very different, Chengdu being a big city. But there is something very special about Sichuan and its people and its food and culture. It left a deep impression.

TeaVivre

Yes, Sichuan is a very special province with lots of extremely delicious and great food, people in here are very nice and if you love spicy foods, then you’ll get used to Sichuan food!

Evol Ving Ness

I love spicy food. When I ordered Szechuan hot pot while I was there in a small restaurant in Zigong, ALL the restaurant AND kitchen staff came and stood around my table and watched me eat.

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90

Ooo, this is lovely! Reminds me of Mandala’s Yellow Buds which I tried a while back and really enjoyed. It brews up to a pale yellowish green color with a scent like freshly mown hay. The flavor is light, smooth and sweet with notes of hay and corn. (That tastes better than it sounds, I promise!) I would definitely consider re-purchasing this one when my sample runs out.

Flavors: Hay, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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66
drank Honeysuckle by Teavivre
206 tasting notes

So this tasted nothing like I imagined. I was expecting something floral and instead got a serious vegetal wallop. Arby’s tasting notes are spot on. It tastes exactly like okra and raw zucchini. And it was only steeped for a couple of minutes with a small pinch of honeysuckle buds. It was a slightly palatable once diluted a bit. Definitely not my kind of herbal tea despite being caffeine free, at least not when drunk straight. Might taste better sweetened or blended with something else.

Flavors: Vegetal, Zucchini

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Arby

It’s like drinking okra water. I’m thinking it might be best cold brewed/served iced with lemon? I’m not really sure what to do with my samples because as much as I like okra and zucchini, vegetable flavoured water is just icky IMO. Maybe I’ll use them in savoury cooking.

TeaVivre

This herbal tea called Jin Yin Hua (金银花)in China. If you can’r get used to its taste, you can try add some Chrysanthemums, or Goji for extra taste

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, too bad. The idea of honeysuckle tea sounds delightful.

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Sample provided for reviewing. Thank you, Angel!

Gongfu’d this in a porcelain gaiwan. Gave the leaf flash rinse. Steeping parameters are from the website: 15 seconds, 20, 30, 45, 60 (also did additional steepings at 90 and 120 seconds).

The first time I tried this Tie Guan Yin, I thought the leaf smelled and tasted rather fresh and green for a baked oolong, and that it would need to air after being kept in the airtight packet. This review is based on the session two weeks later (at the time I’m writing this).

The dry leaf smells floral and a little roasted. The roasted note becomes more pronounced after the leaf rests in the pre-heated gaiwan, and a fresh strawberry also pops out here. The wet leaf aroma smells even more baked, a touch more floral, and less fruity.

The liquor is golden in color and has a medium body, light feel, and thick texture. The first infusion is lightest in feel but incredibly juicy, tasting like fresh strawberry juice (reminds me of the juice leftover in a strawberry salad, over which you would sprinkle some white sugar), and the aftertaste is immediate and strong and very sweet. The aftertaste isn’t long lasting – it’s like a burst of flavor as you would get with gum. The second infusion is even juicier and sweeter. Beginning with the third infusion, floral notes show up – staying until the end of the session – and the floral and fruity notes are nicely balanced.

Abstractedly, this Tie Guan Yin tastes and feels like midsummer. Not only because of the height of vegetation growth, but also that’s the time of year in which I eat strawberry salads. This being my first roasted/baked oolong, I was expecting something much less floral and fruity. It barely smells roasted and tastes even less so. A few leaves are tinged with a red though. Floral rolled Chinese oolongs aren’t my favorite tea, but I found this to be alright. If it sounds like your type of oolong, go for it. Nice quality – very clean and bright.

Preparation
Boiling 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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62

As I explore my new found interest in black tea, there are some teas I’ve encountered that remind me of why I used to dislike black tea in the first place. This happens to be one of them.

True to its description, Superfine Keemun has a sweet potato aroma and taste. I like sweet potatoes and all but that earthy flavor doesn’t quite work for me in tea. Most of it dissipates after the 1st steep though. The second steep has a taste I associate with a typical English breakfast tea. There’s a tinge of smoke, a a bit tannic as it goes down but not bitter.

This really isn’t my kind of tea. I don’t get any of the chocolate, malt, or sweetness that I like in black tea. It’s basically a strong musky flavor with sharp tannins and earthy tones.

Flavors: Earth, Sweet Potatoes, Tannic

Evol Ving Ness

I like that you are exploring your new found interest in black tea and happily taking up along with you.

LuckyMe

Totally, I feel you have to fully explore a tea genre in order to understand it and find the ones you like to drink.

Black tea is still fairly uncharted territory for me. Happy to keeping exploring and sharing my discoveries :)

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78

Today’s tasting is white peony by Teavivre. I started by taking out the glass pot for this one, as I want to bleed off the heat as quickly as possible since this is such a delicate tea. Heating up the pot first, but skipping a rinse with this one. I went right to the brew and went for about 30-40 seconds at 175. Then removing the basket from the glass teapot. I got scents of wheat, sugar, grass and possibly something else, hay maybe.

The tasting produced many of the same flavors and aromas and they are very subtle, which is the way with good white tea. The steeping produced a clear very pale yellow liquor with a very nice mouth feel to it, and it has just the hint of aftertaste. A second steeping produced many of the same flavors and aroma’s but slightly stronger which is again fairly normal for a white, the tea intensifies a bit on the second steeping which is usually the best.

I like this tea a lot, its a good relaxing tea which wont overpower you with strong flavors or aromas. I recommend this to any fans of white tea or peony, or silver needle if you are just looking for a nice relaxing tea to treat yourself.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Wheat

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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90

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Sweet

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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