985 Tasting Notes
Tea of the evening……
After my trials with the Tower of London this afternoon, I decided it was time to start testing a few of the other teas in my cupboard that have the flavors of things I am sensitive/allergic to…. For some reason this one is all right. Maybe because I do eat canned peaches every now and again? It amazes me how there are times when you think you have things figured out, and then, ‘whammy’, you really don’t.
I do remember in past steepings of this one that it helps to have a shorter and cooler steeping than I usually do with black teas. It works pretty well. I have mostly switched to honeybush or a select few rooibos blends for my evening teas as I can usually taste something off in decaf blacks. This is definitely one of the better versions of decaf black, though. Sweet peach flavor and a decent decaf black base.
Tea of the afternoon…..
For some reason this does not taste as good to me as it has in the past. The thing is, it should be a good one for me. The base is, (I think) Keemun and Yunnan. I am thinking, though, it is the stone fruit flavors. I have a weird sensitivity/allergy to fresh plums, peaches, and apricots….any of your basic stone fruits. I just did not make the connection before. It is not like I am actually reacting (the tea uses essences that have likely been heated. This pretty much denatures the proteins to which I do have an allergy, into something I can consume without issue), but the flavor is leaving me uneasy in my head. It is a feeling like I should be reacting to it, but I am not. I know. Strange. The same thing happened with a black tea with notes of walnuts because I react to raw walnuts is a very similar manner. So sad. I loved this one. I need to rehome it.
Who needs Tower of London, about 4 ounces? (US only, please…the recent international mail rate increase was kind of big…)
Tea of the morning……
And the end of this sample. I think I have kind of figured out where this falls….. I think the Grade 2 is the smokiest of the three, slightly more earthy in taste, and the most astringent at the end. The Premium really has very little in the way of astringency, and is slightly smoother and more complex in that there are a few different flavor notes than Grade 1. Grade 1 and Premium are both very light on the smokiness…there is just enough so that you know you are drinking Keemun. The astringency can mostly be controlled by the amount of leaf, steep time, and steep temperature, but in similar steeping parameters, the astringency is greatest in Grade 2 and gets less as you go up in quality. Obviously, more leaf, longer time, and hotter temperature make the tea stronger, too. When I say smokey, of course the notes are light and nothing near that of a true smokey tea. In summary, the Grade 2 is essentially smokier and the Premium is smoother and more complex when compared to this one. I do think the difference in price on this one is worth it. Once my Grade 2 is gone, I am not sure if I will get this one or the Premium.
Usual teapot method…..a little light on the leaf, but for the full 4 minutes. (And it was still a little less astringent than the Grade 2 at 3 minutes….)
I love your very well-thought-out and sensible comparisons. (I think I’d prefer to fill-er-up with Premium.)
Jen, Thank you for your comprehensive TeaVivre Keemun comparison! I truly enjoy waking up with Keemun tea – something to look forward to in the morning. How long after harvesting should the Premium Keemun be consumed? Thanks!
Tea of the late afternoon…..
First of all, “Happy Friday”! I am so thankful the weekend is here. Secondly, thank you to Teavivre for sending this sample along with my first order. (I will just let you know, that I am becoming a huge fan of this company!)
The tea: I have had white teas in the past, but they have mostly been flavored versions. And I probably sweetened them, too. This is a good one because it is good all on its own, no added flavors, no need to add sweetness. It is light and has notes that are both floral and slightly vegetal. It is lighter than my favorite green tea (Premium Dragon Well), and really reminds me of Spring. A very good offering, and since I need some white tea in my life, I will order this at some point. Definitely my favorite white to date. (I have had at least 2 unflavored whites, but they did not impress me much.)
Right about now, I should be asking what Teavivre puts in their tea to make it so good! I think it is excellent, fresh tea, and excellent service.
About 3 tsp tea (it is fluffy!) in a 15 oz mug, about 180 water for 2 minutes. No additions. (I love teas that are great plain!)
I will admit to pulling the trigger just a little too early on this one. Darn it, Teavana. The allure of the free spoon and sample, plus the super low price on the tea itself sucked me in even with the flat rate shipping tagged on. Luckily, I did not have issues with my shipment like some have recently.
I was hoping it was Mercuryhime’s beloved Spicy Chocolate from Specialteas, but I have since learned it is not. Since I ordered 8 oz of it, I have been trying to decide what to do with it. Once I took a whiff, I had my answer. Chai spice mix. I have some tea that my friends brought back from India that is pretty finely ground. The tea really reminded me of the texture of the Tipu’s Chai I had in my cupboard at one time. So, here is where my 3 Roses tea from India and Zocolatte Spice meet…..to make the perfect chocolatey and somewhat mocha-ish (from the chicory, probably) chai.
For two cups of chai, I used almost a perfect teaspoon of Brooke Bond 3 Roses Tea and 2 perfect teaspoons of Zocolatte Spice. Simmered for 3 minutes in 1 1/2 cups filtered water, added just over a half cup of skim milk and simmered for another minute and a half. Strained and then sweetened. Very tasty….and I am going to try a caffeine free version using Herbal Hot Cinnamon from Harney in place of the 3 Roses.
As a chai spice blend, I rate this as at least an 85…..
I’m rather flattered that you bought so much of it on my recommendation. But I’m also feeling kinda bad now since it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. :( I’m glad you enjoyed it though. If I had any Spicy Chocolate left, I’d share some with you so you’d know what it’s supposed to taste like.
Don’t worry about it! It really does make a great chai spice blend (have you seen the price of just the green cardamom pods?). Stay tuned for how it turns out with the Herbal Hot Cinnamon!
It was a pretty good sale. The main reason I couldnt blend it up myself was because I had a heck of a time finding food grade cocoa shells that didn’t cost a small fortune. It’s a byproduct for Pete’s sake! At least we have this to fiddle around with. :) I was thinking it might work with 52teas’ Cinnamon Roll with some chicory picked out of the mix.
Tea of the afternoon…..
This is my favorite green tea. I must have some for my cupboard. It is so smooth, the taste reminds me of very fresh roasted asparagus in a high quality olive oil. Not a hint of bitterness or astringency, just smoooooth, lightly buttery goodness. Thank you so much to Teavivre for the sample. I am hooked!
(And thank you to ashmanra for the recent review that suggested I should be drinking this one right now!)
Mug method with about 180 water. 2minutes first steep, three minutes for the second.
I loved it, too! So much that I already sent a sample to a friend who said she had never had dragon well tea. And I can’t wait for my oldest daughter to try it. I must order this one ASAP!
Yes, I broke my no buy and bought some. My reasoning…..this does not have the shelf life of black teas. If I wait until March, I have only 7 months to drink this particular year’s harvest in its prime. This way I have a little longer. The 10% off code from TeaDeals might have played a role, too. ;) I guess I am waiting until April, now, for more tea!
Second tea of the morning……
And this is the end of my sample! I do think this is the first sample sent from Teavivre that I have finished if that is any indication how good it is for a drinker of black teas. (My samples of the Balin Gongfu and the Yunnan Dian Hong Golden Tip are close behind, though…) While I am sad to see this go, I know their Keemun Grade 1 and Keemun Grade 2 teas are also very good. I do think I might spring for this one once I get through my sample of the Grade 1 and purchase of the Grade 2. It really is just a little extra special when compared to the other two.
Usual teapot method, light on the leaf and 3 minute steep.
Glad you said that, Jen. I am finishing my sample at tea time today, and I noticed that this one from Teavivre is cheaper than what I paid for a lesser tea from Southern Season. Well, the one from SS is stronger, but not in a way I like. I need to try steeping it differently I guess. Still, I save over a dollar an ounce with Teavivre!
Tea of the morning……
Thank you to Amy Oh for this one! I had really been wanting to try this one in my recent quest for a new breakfast tea!
Well, I cannot seem to drink this one without milk! Hello, robust tea! It has a very strong malty flavor, and this one is a bit too strong and brisk for my tastes (I seem to be kind of a wimp when it comes to hearty teas…who knew?) Since I like adding milk to my tea only on occasion, I am pretty sure this is not the breakfast tea for me. However, for those of you who enjoy a good hearty, malty, brisk tea that stands up very well to milk, this is a good one for you to try. I do have some more left and might try a light on leaf cuppa to see how it goes.
Tea of the afternoon…..
I actually bought this tea to give to a friend, but I know she won’t mind if I sample it! I brewed this for a minute and threw out the first steep as kind of a rinsing phase. I can tell you that the smell was not great the first steep. I stuck with it and steeped for a minute the second time around. This time, I got something I actually did not mind the smell, and it was kind of chocolatey and tasted quite a bit like coffee. I am pleasantly surprised! I do see that I could be a real pu’erh drinker someday. While I did enjoy this cup, I don’t see myself drinking this kind of tea very often for now. However, a seed has been planted for sure. It is miles away from my first experiences with tuo cha from another vendor. Definitely an enlightening experience for me.
12 oz boiling water, second steep at 1 minute, 1 tuocha.
Tea of the morning…….
And a crazy morning it was! The school bus was early (the kids missed it), and as I opened the garage door to take the kids to school, the opener went kur-put which meant the car was stuck inside. Everything was resolved, eventually, and this tea along with a breakfast of wheat toast with soft boiled eggs restored my sanity. I am definitely buying some! Thank you to ashmanra for sending me a taste! It is more than a decent cup of tea in my book!