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