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Recent Tasting Notes
First sit-down with tea in a while, in the comfort of my tea cave. Happy to be home? It’s nice to be back with Kiki, my old girl and tea but I have a lot on my mind. Travel does that. Seeing backroad towns, exploring the terrain and new environments, meeting locals, learning different ways of life.
I bought a new bowl for tea at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens outside Gainesville, FL. This tea, a spring 2020 harvest, is wonderful prepared in this manner. It’s not a complex green and I think Teavivre captures the character in their description. The tea is soft and sweet spring water and fresh and tender garden-grown green beans with a drop of sugarcane and a sprinkle of tarragon. It finishes with enough briskness to balance the upfront sweetness. There isn’t much aftertaste; the tea is clean and cleansing with a mouth-watering granite- and quartzlike minerality. Warming and sweating eventually cools the body.
The third bowl does tear up my mouth a little with what seems to be enzymes and creates some discomfort in an empty stomach, but I do overall enjoy this clean and sweet green tea.
Flavors: Beany, Floral, Flowers, Green Beans, Herbs, Kettle Corn, Mineral, Smooth, Spring Water, Sugarcane, Sweet, Tart, Thick
Happy National Eat Your Vegetables Day! Today the prompt is to drink a tea with vegetal flavor notes!
This is an old (likely 2017 harvest) sampler pack from Path of Cha, which sources several Chinese teas from TeaVivre (with very reasonable size options, too!) I had a little left in this sampler (I don’t remember when I opened it, but it was opened) and since I love cold brew green tea, I dumped what was left of the sampler into a mason jar and let it brew in the fridge overnight.
It’s very refreshing! The beany flavor I tend to taste first and foremost in Bi Luo Chun isn’t as strong here (not sure if that’s due to the old age of the sample or the cold preparation) but I do still taste it. I think the strongest note I’m tasting is garden peas, followed by green beans and fresh grass, with a very mild florality that pops toward the end of the sip. It isn’t as nuanced as other Bi Luo Chuns I’ve tried, and looking through my past notes, it seems I felt the same of this one previously, logged under Dazzle Deer, who also sources from TeaVivre. The Yunnan Sourcing Bi Luo Chuns I’ve sampled were a bit more complex in flavor.
That said, this is still so smooth and easy to down the whole liter so quickly, as this makes for a very quinching cold brew.
Flavors: Beany, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Peas, Vegetal
The dry leaf was fresh strawberry, but as soon as the water hit the leaves I got a strong aroma of cooked spinach. I used 2.5 grams (all that was left in my sample packet), though Steepster will not recognize it and will say I used only two.
This does taste somewhat vegetal and is very light in color. I don’t taste any of the strawberry, which is disappointing after reading such high praise for this tea in other reviews.
I’ll leave off the rating since this tea seems to be loved by many. It must just be that it’s not for me.
Flavors: Spinach, Strawberry, Vegetal
Sipdown! (37 | 314)
I think I only have one more set of old Teavivre samples after this one. Not that they seem to have lost much flavor with age, but it’s always nice to sip down older teas!
This has a lovely buttery, nutty flavor with a bit of dry grassiness as well. There’s also a creamy vegetal note, like fresh edamame or sweet peas.
It’s not very complex to my palate, but eminently smooth and drinkable. Not a hint of bitterness or astringency. I think this would be a lovely everyday green tea for unwinding in the afternoon!
Flavors: Butter, Cashew, Creamy, Dry Grass, Grass, Nuts, Peas, Smooth, Soybean, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal
Sipdown! (22 | 299)
Another Teavivre sample down. Now that I’ve amassed many more with my recent order… (facepalm)
This isn’t my favorite type of green tea. I find it similar to gunpowder in that it’s quite earthy and mineral with smoky notes. But I do get a bit of a more roasted feel from this tea, and a pleasant nutty quality. And then underneath everything is a pile of hay, straw, and dry autumn leaves. There’s some pleasant bitterness, and perhaps a touch of wood as well.
I noticed the description mentions plum, and I do get a bit of a stonefruity note at the very end of the sip. I would probably describe it as apricot, but I think plum is more accurate. It’s accompanied by a bit of astringency as well, maybe that’s why I’m reminded of a fuzzy apricot.
Anyway, it’s a bit too “rough” to be something I would want to drink on a regular basis. The earthy, smoky notes are pretty in-your-face, and tend to overpower the softer, mellower flavors. That being said, it does seem like a high-quality example of the type.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Earth, Hay, Mineral, Plum, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Smoke, Stonefruit, Straw, Wood
Sipdown! (8 | 285)
So I haven’t been around for the past couple of days. On Wednesday I got my second COVID vaccination shot (yay!), and then on Thursday the reaction pretty much knocked me out all day. I was very surprised to feel pretty much totally normal the next day, but it was also the same day that my husband had his wisdom teeth removed, so all of Friday was related to his recovery from that. He’s feeling much better today, so here I am! And yet, I made this tea this morning, and now it’s 11 PM and I’m just now finishing the pot and writing the note… Oops?
Anyway, this was another one that I ordered a sample of because I hadn’t tried it before (a rarity among Teavivre’s black tea. It’s tasty enough but nothing special I guess? Quite savory with thick bread and sweet potato sort of notes, and a slight smoked meat soft of thing going on. A hint of apricot but not much else in the way of fruitiness. Deep undertones of earth and a bit of molasses.
Sorry, not much of a note I guess. Basically it’s tasty but not one I would order as I don’t really find any distinguishing characteristics compared to some of their dian hong teas (even though this isn’t from Yunnan). But glad to have tried!
Here’s hoping I do better with drinking tea tomorrow…
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Earth, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Raisins, Savory, Smoked, Sweet Potatoes, Thick, Wood
I find myself comparing this to yesterday’s Bailin Gonfu which is unfair since they are obviously different teas, but I do think I prefer the Bailin Gonfu over this one. Looking at Teavivre’s website and comparing the two, they do share some similarities (origin, season, dry leaf, tea bush). It looks like they come from different tea gardens/farmers though. I’m not sure what I like more about the other or less about this one really. I have more of each from Michelle so I can do some more comparisons in the future. I did enjoy this one; maybe it just wasn’t what I was wanting in the moment.
Sipdown! (7 | 284)
This was one of a few Teavivre black tea samples that I picked up just because I’d never tried them before. Not sure if they’re more recent additions to the lineup or if I just missed them on past orders.
I wasn’t expecting a lot from this, as a lot of the ratings are quite mediocre, but I really like it. It’s very thick and malty with a nice chew to it, like a thick slice of soft wheat bread. Maybe the bread has a sprinkling of oats on top of the loaf as well. There’s a slight savory potato-esque flavor as well. And for sweetness, dark caramelized brown sugar and bittersweet cocoa notes along with some slightly tart dried fruit – prune maybe. It’s supremely smooth, without much earthiness to speak of, which I find a bit unusual for a non-golden Yunnan tea.
Anyway, yummy and satisfying! A bit golden monkey-esque perhaps? And it’s reminding me of French fries on some sips, which I’m not complaining about…
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Cocoa, Dried Fruit, Malt, Oats, Potato, Prune, Savory, Sweet, Tart, Thick, Tobacco, Wheat
I’m still making my way through some of the teas Michelle sent for me to try. I drank my first cup of this pretty fast and didn’t stop to take notes, but I do remember that it was rich and caramelly.
6 ounces water + 212 degrees + over 20 minutes
I would say this second cup is just as good as the first. I drank them both so fast and again didn’t take notes, but I very much enjoyed this one. Thanks, Michelle!
Sipdown! (5 | 282)
I just got an order of Teavivre samples today, and it inspired me to finish off some of the older ones that are still hanging around.
This is lovely, especially for spring. Very smooth, creamy, and nutty with notes of spring peas and lima beans. A tiny bit buttery, but nothing too decadent, it’s more like the natural butteriness of a cashew. There’s some fresh grassiness that comes out at the end of the sip, adding a slight astringency.
Very tasty! I’m not sure whether I’d feel the need to keep a Chinese green tea around in my cupboard, but if I did it would be more likely to be a biluochun or long jing. But still happy to have tried this, and the leaves are so pretty!
Flavors: Alfalfa, Astringent, Butter, Cashew, Creamy, Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Lima Beans, Nutty, Peas, Smooth
Sipdown! (4 | 281)
This was my grandpa-style tea of choice today after getting a free sample in my Teavivre order. I used a single dragon ball for my ~16-ounce glass tumbler. It might be my imagination, but I feel like this dragon ball was smaller than the others I’ve tried from them (rose and chrysanthemum).
At first I was very confused by the lack of jasmine flavor, but after reading the description it makes more sense. This is not a jasmine-scented black tea, it’s just a mixture of black tea and dried jasmine blossoms. So the jasmine is very subtle, at least to my tastes.
It’s a pleasant enough dian hong, with a strong woody flavor profile. I feel like the “ancient tree” dian hong often tastes quite woody to me, not sure if that’s just characteristic of the older plants. There are some nice rich malt and brown sugar notes as well, and a hint of dark molasses. Perhaps the tiniest wisp of apricot, which I commonly find in Yunnan hongcha.
Overall, it’s nice enough. I didn’t really get jasmine much, it was a bit too subtle for my tastes. Plus I think I enjoyed the rose version more (gasp!) so I would be more likely to choose that one if I were going to buy some of these.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Jasmine, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Smoke, Smooth, Thick, Wood
Threw this in a Cinderella mug and did grandpa-style while working on a spreadsheet all afternoon. Started out thick and minerally, steadied down to a smooth, thick, earthiness with a bit of sweet on the finish and a lingering umami. Very easy and delightful to drink.
Oh yes, as soon as I opened the package I was hit with a lovely rich smoky smell. Once brewed the taste was equally smoky. It put me in the mood of campfires and smoky bbq meat. I love smoked meat, and smoked cheese so it’s no wonder I love a good smoky tea!
I bought the 100g volume as I figured how can you go wrong with tangerine and puerh? I brewed this cup-style, or more like teapot-style: Threw the whole tangie ball into a big tea pot, rinsed for 30 seconds, then steeped for 5 minutes and decanted to a thermos pitcher. It is a very lovely dark color, and my guests mistook it for coffee!
The tangerine isn’t very noticeable at first, it’s definitely in the aroma but not felt on the tongue. Very mellow, woody, earthy flavor, and a strong mineral finish.
I broke the tangerine skin and did a second 1L steep for 6 minutes, and this time tangerine flavor appeared, along with a hint of wood smoke.
I’m pretty new to the world of puerh, but of the three I’ve had to date this is my favorite.
Flavors: Citrus, Mineral, Sweet, Wet Wood
I got my first dose of the Covid 19 vaccine yesterday! So happy to get started on immunity. Today I’m still a bit tired, with a slight headache. It seemed like a perfect time to grab this tea as it’s my new favourite. Maybe I’ll go for the smoky LS next from Teavivre.
Flavors: Lemon, Pineapple
This is a really nice Yerba Mate tea. It’s definitely got a tropical vibe going from the taste. I’m tasting the pineapple but it’s playing really nice with the lemon. I can’t quite taste the mate but I’ve never had straight mate so that’s on me. I’m also not as good at picking out flavours as others in Steepster so thee’s also that.
So this tea hasn’t been added to the database so I add it! Unfortunately I couldn’t get the picture to work for submission sorry!
Flavors: Lemon, Pineapple