818 Tasting Notes

When I got this in the mail I couldn’t wait to bust it open! Er, I mean, carefully separate the leaves. ;)

The information card notes that this tea is better in the next 12 months rather than aged…which is weird, but okay, I wanna have it now anyway!

The leaf smelled smoky, the kind of grilled smoke I remember from January’s offering, which I loved! The tea tastes like that too, but with sweet vegetal notes. In later infusions, I noticed a nice lemon note. Overall, I liked it. Maybe not as much as the Jinuo or Naka, but it’s decent. Have I mentioned I really love this club?


I think this is another club I may join soon.


You totally should, mrmopar! It would be interesting to hear what you think of their offerings.

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When TeaVivre posted this on Instagram, I knew I had to have it. It’s just so unique! And at the time, I don’t think I even had 1 traditional gaiwan. I have one now, along with a couple of what I’d consider “easy” gaiwans. I really love brewing things gong fu style now! This is really like an in-cup infuser/gaiwan/serving pitcher. I really like the serving pitcher part, as I still don’t own one…I’ve been using a small Pyrex measuring cup for that (lame, huh?).

Anyway, this came in the mail today, so I tried it out with the Da Hong Pao sample I ordered.

The overall quality is pretty good. One thing that bothers me about one of my easy gaiwans is that the holes look unfinished and have sharp points on the inside. This one has an infuser with both holes and a fine mesh metal strainer inserted inside and the holes look nice and finished. The fine mesh strainer will be nice to catch sediment or little pieces of leaf. I found three scratches on the glass pitcher portion, which worry me a bit regarding its integrity…hopefully they won’t be a problem. The pitcher and infuser portions don’t sit as securely in the base as I expected, but it’s not terrible. I found the lid can double as place to measure out your leaf. ;)

Since you can sit the infuser in the base while you pour from the pitcher into your cup, people used to traditional gaiwans may find themselves almost pouring the water for the next steep into the infuser without putting the infuser back in the pitcher….I almost did this! That would not be wise!

Also, it’s important to watch the water level in the pitcher when pouring into the gaiwan, rather than the water level inside the infuser, as you may overfill and cause a spill. Not a problem if you’re using a gong fu tea tray, but otherwise it would be. Also, overfilling will make the top of the pitcher hotter, making it more difficult to handle/pour.

I know some folks like to agitate the leaves with the lid while brewing, but you can’t really do that with this one, as the water level in the infuser is lower than in a traditional gaiwan, and the infuser is not as wide.

I like the portability of this, as you don’t need a separate pitcher. I also really enjoy watching the color of the liquor change as it steeps, which could also be a very useful indicator of how long to brew it. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and expect to use it often!


Sweet, I was curious about this!


I use a pyrex measuring cup sometimes too. :)


caile -high fives!! ;)


i use Pyrex too when im in my summer place


boychik – I guess I’m not alone! :)

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This is the second Da Hong Pao I’ve had. I thought I’d order a sample in my last Teavivre order and see what they have to offer. Teavivre teas are usually good quality, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This tea is roasty, with a delicious sugarcane sweetness. Yum! It’s smooth, warming and cozy. I didn’t get much of a fruity note, like I did in the other Da Hong Pao I tried, but it was still nice, maybe just a little less complex.

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drank Peach Melba by Lupicia
818 tasting notes

I’ve been meaning to try this tea, as I am generally a fan of Lupicia’s rooibos blends, and Ta Da! It was in this month’s newsletter! Score!

It tastes very mildly of peach and vanilla. Very smooth. Overall, I like piccolo and jardin sauvage better, but I wouldn’t turn it down, if offered. :)

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I am enjoying a long session with this tea this morning and noticing some very nice honey notes in later infusions. Yummy for Saturday morning.

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drank Magnolia Oolong by Tea Ave
818 tasting notes

I bought an ounce of this tea because of the great reviews and my general love for the tea from Tea Ave. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t sure I liked it, but I had it again last night and changed my mind! It’s pretty good! I think maybe the first time I was expecting something different and the floral note wasn’t hitting me right. Last night, I decided that it tasted like floral custard. Sweet, buttery, floral, smooth and delicious! I’m glad I gave it another chance. I usually have to try something twice before deciding that I don’t like it. Fortunately, this one stepped up its game!


I’m going to have to give this one a try. It sounds lovely.


I think that’s how I felt about the Osmanthus oolong. Maybe I had too high of expectations. It was good but I need to have it again to really get a feel for it. Haven’t tried this one yet but I ordered some with my last order.


Ubacat Try with suggested temp. Perhaps you will be able to bring out the flavor more this way :)


Ubacat – definitely try the osmanthus again. Sometimes all it takes is another try. I love the osmanthus one, but I use only about 3-4 grams in my gaiwan and steep it at the recommended temperature and steep times.

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drank Piccolo by Lupicia
818 tasting notes

It’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed a cup of this tea. I still have a tin. I absolutely love Lupicia’s rooibos. It’s not overpowering, and they do the flavoring just right. With my last visit to the store on Friday, the saleswomen tossed in one of the mini holiday tins of this tea “as a gift.” So sweet! The tin had five sachets, which are so convenient to brew in the cute leaf-print double-walled glass cup I also bought! The color of this tea is gorgeous in that cup! I’m tasting honey and berries. Love it!

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I enjoyed another session with this tea today. It has such a rich chocolate brown color and flavor. Today, I also noticed another note, which I’m going to say was cinnamon. Very nice! :)

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drank Dian Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
818 tasting notes

I enjoyed the rest of my sample of this tea today in my new gaiwan and cup from Nannuoshan! I love the buttery grilled taste of this tea and it was so beautiful to enjoy in my new teaware, which is also amazing! I think I did pretty well not burning my fingers with a true gaiwan! Yay! All my previous gaiwans were “easy” gaiwans. I was waiting until one “spoke” to me and this one did! Here are some pics:



How pretty! I love the lined rim. What is the design on the front?


The gaiwan has a bird on a branch and the cup is a grasshopper with some grass! Are you on Instagram? I have some close-up pics from the day it came in the mail. :)


Ah, the bird gaiwan and insect cup. They are beautiful.


Thanks, Ubacat! :)


I am! Must have just missed those. Found the pics and they are lovely!

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drank Tie Kwan Yin Oolong by Tea Ave
818 tasting notes

This was one of the free samples I received with my order. I’ve had unroasted TKYs before, probably before I could really appreciate them, and I’ve also had the one at Peet’s, which I think is roasted, but it didn’t really taste like much to me. That was likely due to me burning my tongue on their ridiculously hot water!

The instructions to gongfu brew this tea said to steep it for 3 minutes for the first infusion! I was totally second-guessing that, because it seemed way to long, but it worked! The tea smells and tastes roasty right off the bat. It also tasted a bit like honey on toast, with a sweet fruity honey-like texture underneath the roastiness.

I used the aroma cup and the aroma was like a fruit pie or pastry! Like a brown sugar crust with jam! Yum! I also found the jam note to linger long after sipping.

I spilled my second infusion all over the place! Yes, sometimes I’m a klutz. The real tragedy of that was that I didn’t get to taste the sure-to-be delicious second steep! :(

Anyway, after cleaning up, I resumed steeping it and enjoyed a few more infusions. The spent leaves are humongous!

I really like this roasty oolong. So good! I wish I had ordered this. If anyone orders this and decides they don’t like it, let me know! I’d be thrilled to take it off your hands! ;)

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Another profile facelift! My tastes have changed a lot from when I first discovered loose leaf tea.

I can trace my tea journey back to October 2012, when I discovered DavidsTea. Before that, I had the occasional cup and enjoyed high tea at An Afternoon to Remember, which has since closed.

I went through a period of wanting to try all the teas, and was really into flavored teas, especially dessert blacks, but my tastes have substantially changed over time.

I still enjoy the occasional flavored black or rooibos, but I’m more into unflavored black teas right now and recently, puerh. Chinese black teas are amazing…with their notes of chocolate or sweet potato, who needs a flavored tea? I had a much steeper learning curve when it came to puerh. I used to dump out cups of puerh for tasting like leather. Now, I am really enjoying them. I think it took finding good quality puerh and steeping them gong fu style to really enjoy them.

I also, on occasion, enjoy a good oolong, white, or green tea.

Favorite tea companies right now include: Mandala, Teavivre, Butiki, Golden Moon, Lupicia, and DavidsTea (for teaware mostly).

Just a note: I don’t rate my teas numerically because my iPad doesn’t like the scroll bar. Maybe someday that will change…hint hint, steepster! ;)

P.S. My profile picture is of one of my 2 cats, Holly, who is a little princess but very photogenic, and she loves boxes, including those that bring me tea! :)


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