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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a sample I found last night as I was making supper. We were having Japanese eggplant and red sweet pepper (from our garden) with carrot and onion tossed with Asian noodles and a lightly creamy sauce made with beef broth, soy sauce, and mayo. Since the meal had an Asian vibe even though it wasn’t strictly Asian, I thought I would pair it with a green tea rather than serving the sweet hibiscus tea already iced in the fridge.
Wow. This was amazing with the meal. When a green tea has some astringency or briskness, you can eat a fairly heavy or flavorful food and still REALLY taste the tea. This one came across as super sweet vegetal. Think of ultra sweet sugar snap peas. It also put me in mind of some raw corn on the cob that an old farmer at the state farmer’s market would entice people to try. It was so sweet, some people preferred it uncooked. THAT was what this tea reminded me of.
Once the food was gone, I kept sipping. Now the briskness is apparent, but not unpleasant. The flavor has a real mouth-filling richness.
I told my husband that my affection for this tea has tied it with my love for HuangShan Mao Feng. Alas, it is no longer available. Good thing I just got a big pouch of HuangShan in the mail….
I have tried several of Teavivre’s flowering tea blends. The three I was most impressed by was True Love Flower Tea, Two Dragons and a Pearl, and Osmanthus Dancing Flower Tea.
Osmanthus Dancing Flower Tea
- Osmanthus Dancing is a nice flowering tea. The small osmanthus buds float around adding whimsy and charm to the tea.
- The taste of this tea is smooth and fresh — the flavour call to mind hay, petals and a spring morning.
- The aroma is pleasant, and the smell of lily and osmanthus intermingle well.
Flavors: Floral, Vegetal
I have tried several of Teavivre’s flowering tea blends. The three I was most impressed by was True Love Flower Tea, Two Dragons and a Pearl, and Royal Lilly Flower Tea.
Two Dragons And A Pearl Flower Tea:
- You can taste the green tea, and flavours of the Globe Amaranth, Marigold and Jasmine in the tea.
- The aroma of flowers lingers in this tea and comes out in the taste, which is fresh.
- When the tea ball expands, the visual is dramatic and pretty! Two Dragons And A Pearl Flower Tea is a great tea to prepare when you have guests.
I have tried several of Teavivre’s flowering tea blends. The three I was most impressed by was True Love Flower Tea, Two Dragons and a Pearl, and Osmanthus Dancing.
True Love Flower Tea:
- The aesthetics of this tea are terrific. Watching this tea unfurrow is strikingly beautiful.
- Flowering tea doesn’t always allow for multiple good steeps. So, I appreciate that True Love Flower Tea allows for two steeps.
- True Love Flower Tea has a soft, mildly sweet, nutty flavour, and floral taste. It’s worth noting that the floral taste is well balanced and not overpowering.
Flavors: Flowers, Smooth
Thank you, Teavivre, for the sample of this tea! I’m finally ready to try it! Black teas are my favorite, particularly in the morning when I need to shake the cobwebs off of my brain.
I opened the silver rectangular sample package and was greeted with brown and golden brown leaves. The aroma was malty and like bread.
I steeped the leaves for three minutes at approximately 185 degrees as recommended on the package. The brewed color was a bright amber. The aroma was faintly sweet and malty.
The taste of this tea was mild and smooth. There also was a sweetness to malty and bread flavor attributes. The aftertaste was gentle and lingered for a few minutes.
Although I prefer to be jolted with bolder flavors in the morning to defibrillate my brain, I found this selection tasty enough to help me face the workday ahead. I liked it!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Sweet
Because of my restricted tea budget these days, I’m always on the prowl for sales. This month (August 2019) happens to be Teavivre’s 8th anniversary. Coincidentally, it is also my 8th anniversary for entering the scrumptious universe of loose leaf tea. When I saw ads for Teavivre’s anniversary sale, I considered it my destiny to make a purchase at this time.
I had never tried Golden Snail tea before. When I opened up the silver package, the leaves were dark brown and firmly curled with a multitude of golden points. The aroma was moderately rich and earthy.
I steeped the leaves according to Teavivre’s recommendations, eight minutes at 195 degrees. Actually, Teavivre recommends 194 degrees, but who’s counting? The brewed liquor had a deep amber color. The aroma had characteristics of a honey-like sweetness.
The taste of this tea was silky smooth with absolute zero astringency. It was full-flavored, yet mellow. An underlying sweet honey attribute was easily recognized but not disagreeable in any way. There also was an identifiable and quite pleasant Yunnan taste, which is one of my personal favorite tea flavors. The aftertaste was delicate and affable. It sweetly and quickly rolled off my palate.
This is a delicous and sweetly mild Yunnan black tea that I enjoyed at breakfast but could also be well-placed at brunch, lunch, and early supper. I would love to experience it with several Scottish tea biscuits (that I’m not supposed to have).
Flavors: Honey, Tea
This tea is “palace-grade” where they sift the shoot tips (the ‘golden buds’) for the tea after the pile fermentation step. Unlike other palace-grade tea, according to TeaVivre it is 100% pure palace-grade with no additives or substitutes, not a mixture. Sounds good to me. lol
The dry tea consisted of golden brown and dark leaves with not much of an aroma, to be honest. The liquor begins as a light red but becomes a very dark, bright red color. The taste is a very pleasant, clean, mild Puerh, with nutty, woody and smoke notes. There are sticky rice notes throughout the infusions, some cream. As usual with Menghai, there are the classic earth and mushroom notes in both aroma and flavor. Some slight bark notes, and sweetness developed somewhere in the middle. Many reviews said it wasn’t quite smooth enough for them. Maybe because they were from years ago but the one I tried was very smooth with no bitterness, mellow. Lots of notes of roasted nuts, mainly of chestnuts and walnuts. The sweetness was more like caramel, not honey. There is a thick slickness feeling on the tongue. Buttery almost. Maybe a little sticky. At the end of the sip, there is almost a mint or cooling feeling on the tongue. I enjoyed it. I think it’d be good for beginners because it has a very clean taste to it, not heavy on fermentation notes.
Gaiwan, 10g, 212℉, 110ml, 11 steeps: rinse, 10s, 10s, 10s, 10s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 90s, 120s
Flavors: Bark, Chestnut, Earth, Mushrooms, Smoke, Walnut
Gongfu Sipdown (714)!
Pulling the tasting description from Instagram…
“a little rough around the edges but beautiful floral lychee, white grape, and plum notes persist if you push past the first couple steeps along with a pleasant and mild roast – though a little bit of a sharp sour note in the finish. Still, an excellent way to start the morning overall…”
Six resteeps, I do believe.
I had an opened packet of this that I thought I’d reviewed recently… but as I see no note, I guess it’s been open longer than I thought! It didn’t really seem to affect it, though – this was a deliciously full-bodied, rich, beany green tea. The first two characteristics are probably a bit due to overleafing a tad, but the resulting brew wasn’t astringent at all, so it was definitely worth it. This isn’t a super delicate green, though – lots of flavour. It really hit the spot last night, and I actually had finished the entire cup within maybe 20 minutes of steeping it? Rare for me.
Thanks to Teavivre for the fantastic free sample!
This tea is amazing, even when you don’t use enough tea for brewing it. I ordered several sample packs from Tea Vivre, and this was one of the samples. On the label, they don’t give a quantity for brewing, only steep time and temperature, so I’ve been splitting the samples in half, and brewing each half with 500 ml of water. This worked okay for the first one I brewed, but not this one. I’m pretty sure I should have brewed the entire 5 grams in 500 ml of water. The first time I made it, I steeped for 5 minutes and had a not bad brew. This time I’ve steeped for 8 minutes, in the hopes that it would be a more full-bodied brew. I’m definitely going to add this one to my to-buy list. I’m pretty sure I have one more sample of this that I can brew at the proper strength another time.
Sipdown and I really liked this. :)
Malty, smooth, mellow, fruity, lightly sweet of a mixture of honey, molasses and brown sugar notes. Lots of berry fruity goodness along with sweet potatoes. I got some slightly good bitter dark cocoa notes which really played well with the fruitiness. I liked that it was a stronger flavor, full-bodied. I think I would really enjoy this with a teaspoon of milk in the mornings because of the stronger flavor/notes. It’s a drag that I have to have a little milk in my tea in the mornings now but I still can enjoy nekked tea :P in the evenings since it’s not on an empty stomach.
Prepared it gongfu 5g, 6 steeps: quick rinse, 5s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 50s at 185℉.
Mood: A little somber, thinking of the El Paso shooting. Thinking of them and their families. I was just at a busy shopping center the other day…
Flavors: Berries, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes
This was a free sample from my order of samples. Thanks, Teavivre! I will say right away that this is probably the type of tea that is LEAST to my tastes. Water Sprite – I was intrigued by the name of the tea and wasn’t thinking about what the tea might actually taste like when I selected my free samples. It’s the sort of oolong that just tastes like charcoal to my palate and I can’t get past the charcoal to taste anything else. It’s just charcoal, charcoal, charcoal. Sweet, mineral charcoal, but still charcoal. Though I’m sure the quality is great, I’m not the person to ask about roasty oolongs. The leaves look like a dusty black tea. All three steeps were tasting identical. Roasty charcoal. It’s always disappointing that I can’t enjoy these roasty oolongs. Half the second mug spilled — luckily it wasn’t my favorite tea. I won’t cry over this spilled tea… I know others have a much better experience with these types of tea.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 13 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // 2 minutes after boiling // 4 min
This tea is a medium oolong with interested leaves that are a mix of green, brown and black. It has a light baked taste with flavors of flowers and fruit. It is a good tea, but again the fruitiness just doesn’t do it for me. This is more of a personal preference than a knock on the tea, which is of high quality.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity
If I were consistent and scientific enough to numerically rate what I drink, the gold standard would be 33.3% malty/bready flavor, 33.3% enough caffeine to get my eyes fully open within 10 minutes of the first sip, and 78.7% UNGOOFABLE. Can’t ruin it no matter how distracted you get trying to decide what to take to work for lunch.
We have a winner here. I accidentally let my travel tumbler stew for a good seven minutes this morning (oh, look! a bunny!) and was sure the first sip would take the skin off my tongue.
Skin is still intact and this is still tasty. Instead of three-grain wheat bread, we’ve got dark rye here (with cherry preserves?) but still sippable, even without diluting with ice.
Oh, and lunch is going to be a Lean Cuisine frozen glazed chicken entrée and lemon meringue Greek yogurt. I’m not sure that was worth almost ruining a perfectly good tumbler of tea.
Yesterday was a hit-the-ground-running Saturday; despite my feeling like I was just running on a hamster wheel, I do have a tidier living room and a finished writing project to show for it. But before I started scrambling, I sat down and savored a good cuppa and this was in it.
My first taste and first review emphasized the baked bread notes, which I see listed in the flavor thesaurus that goes with this tea, but with a little more leaf and a little more time to let it cool, I got a sweet molasses vibe as well. Delicious, and a hint that autumn is waiting in the wings. (A pleasant thought on a day with an expected heat index in the low boil range.)
Ashmanra was evidently tired of my bewailing and bemoaning that I could no longer buy my beloved Fujian Congou from Nature’s Tea Leaf :) and sent me a Teavivre sample as a possible alternative.
I am in rebound love. This steeps dark and sweet and I just want to keep my nose in the cup. It affects me like 19th century smelling salts to calm me down and make me docile.
There is an entire thesaurus of descriptor names that have already been assigned to this little gem by other Steepsters, so I don’t have to invent new ones, but those that trip my trigger are hay, wood, leather, and brown sugar—which intensifies as the cup cools. Sweetness. (Thanks, friend!)
It is 0 dark thirty and the dogs wanted to go out, so here I am. Who knows how long this visit to the great outdoors will last, so I thought a cup of tea would be just the thing, considering that I don’t think I’m going to get back to sleep.
I’ve lost interest in drinking the August Uncommon Teas now that my order from Tea Vivre arrived. I bought one 100 gram bag of one black tea (the name escapes me at the moment), and a bunch of samplers—one gift box of green tea samples, one of black tea samples, another black tea sampler that wasn’t in a gift box (maybe because those are the less fancy black teas?), and a ton of samples, since they had a special where you could get five samples free, plus then there were another three available when I checked out. My tea cupboard runneth over into a giant silver bowl on the counter filled with silver sample packs. It’s going to take me a while to work through all of them, and I’m ridiculously looking forward to the experience. there is something deeply pleasurable to me about just plunging my hand into the bowl and grabbing a random tea for the day. It brings a tiny bit of novelty to my well-ordered world.
This bai hao tea is my first of the samples. Its taken a few days to drink it, since I’m getting multiple steeps out of the leaves. I got three steeps from my first serving of the tea. The tea leaf has a delicate aroma, and the brewed liquid has a light vegetal, rather seaweed sort of smell. Flavor-wise, it has a creamy, nutty note that I’m really enjoying. I don’t find it to have a strongly grassy taste, which a lot of greens seem to have. I don’t think my palate is refined enough to pick up any fruity notes the tea profile mentions. I feel rather proud that I can identify some, even if it is by looking at a list of potential flavors and saying, “yeah, I get that.” Anyway, this is a fabulous tea that will probably go on my buy again list for green teas. I’m really enjoying it.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Nutty, Seaweed
As soon as I opened the sample, I was hit with a strong smell of sweet hay from the leaves. The tea has a very pleasing aroma, but not as strong as the leaves. The texture of the tea is amazingly light, it takes a second or two for the flavor to hit after a sip, gradually growing. It is sweet with flavors of wheat toast and maple syrup. This tea is complex and tasty, definitely a winner.
Flavors: Maple Syrup, Toast, Wheat
Another sample I bought around a year ago. sigh. So this is the 2018 harvest. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I love Teavivre’s jasmine so much that I’m up for trying ALL their jasmine teas. Somehow this one isn’t as amazing as their other jasmine teas. Even upon opening the pouch, rather than the essence of jasmine, there is really only a hint of sweetness. That is also true with the flavor. I don’t think this is best quality oolong and the leaves looked a little broken in the infuser. But the flavor of the oolong is decent enough to pair with jasmine. Sweet, bright, buttery, a bit creamy. If I had approached anywhere near a two minute steep time, I think this would have been astringent. So I possibly should only use one teaspoon of leaves in the future. Though the third steep with a hot temperature and long steep time was fairly smooth and sweet anyway. Many of Teavivre’s other jasmine teas have much more jasmine flavor and seem better quality with the leaf. Teavivre is my must-go-to shop for jasmine teas, but I won’t need to buy this one. I like FULL jasmine flavor. Again, I’m happy to try all of Teavivre’s jasmine teas anyway. I’m GLAD I don’t love ALL of them.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 8 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min