63 Tasting Notes

Yum. I don’t know how this tea compares with other Da Hong Paos, but if it’s at least representative of them, then I’d probably like all the others! But given how much I’ve enjoyed just about everything I’ve tried from Teavivre, this would very likely be among the best of its type out there.

1st steep My fun begins on opening the sample pack. I love the deep, rich scents of burnt wood and roasted peanuts (!) and then there’s a fruity sweetness just lurking in the background. Drinking, it’s so smooth and velvety. I can taste those roasted peanuts and baked stone fruits & berries. Each sip even ends with a juicy feeling that almost splashes on my tongue.

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I’m feeling a little unwell in my stomach, so I’ve made up a pot of this blend. Hopefully the ginger in this will especially give some soothing comfort. Don’t want to get sick just before we go away for a vacation!

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I really wanted a black tea this morning instead of my usual matcha. (I’ll reserve the daily matcha for a smoothie this afternoon!) This is my favorite black tea so far, and it’s an affordable luxury. It’s just such a nice way to start the day. Besides, we’re going away for a few days, and as someone else here mentioned, this tea is really useful when away from home: you just need to put in your regular amount of pearls, no measuring needed! So I needed to open my brand new pack of this before we left in case there weren’t any scissors where we’re staying. Justification enough? :)

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It’s time to make this tea again, and for it to get the Perfect Glass Teapot Treatment with my Teavivre teapot. (I can’t tell you how much I love that little thing!)

I definitely like teas with a more baked or bread-y flavor compared to herbaceous flavors. I enjoy that this tea reminds me of toasted pane di casa with peaches and ricotta that I’ll make for breakfast from time to time. Today I’m having my tea with a modified huevos rancheros (made with a little beef & bean chilli leftovers) and it goes with the tea wonderfully! I’m feeling well-fuelled for the day and don’t mind the storm clouds all around. In fact, I’m feeling quite cosy now.

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
63 tasting notes

Black Cherry-French Vanilla Matcha from Red Leaf Tea

Oh so good. Made two lattes of this for Hubby and me, and it’s the favorite for both of us so far! With each sip I tasted the French Vanilla first, then the Black Cherry followed by more vanilla. It was like the cherries were actually covered in vanilla cream. Fantastic!

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I made this and the French Vanilla matcha as lattes for Hubby and myself to share this morning because I couldn’t bear having one left untasted for single day, and certainly not Black Cherry! Black Cherry anything reminds me of my dad on the other side of the world and so is one of my all-time favorite flavors. I was thrilled to see Red Leaf Tea bring it onto the matcha list and doubly so when it won its race against Pumpkin Pie to be on sale. I simply wanted it available as soon as possible—the sale price was an added bonus! Here’s where you can get yours, and believe me, you should:


For this order I upped things a bit, getting a large size in the basic grade regular matcha (you can get organic now, if you like) and went for the Robust flavor level. When I opened the pack I was in Black Cherry Heaven. I could almost taste that great black cherry ice cream I had at Biltmore House a couple years ago—the last time I had anything black cherry. (It’s not a flavor that’s arrived to Australia yet, the poor things.)

Made as a latte, the scent reaches your nose before the bowl reaches your mouth and you’re smiling before you’ve had the first sip. Well, you keep smiling as you drink it and the smile gets bigger. Truth is, the smile comes back when you think of it again to write a review! That’s how good it is: like a memory that makes you smile every time.

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My newest matcha order at last arrived yesterday afternoon, but don’t think for a moment that’s because my order was slow in being processed: The very next day after placing my order Red Leaf Tea already had it out the door! But dealing with Australian Customs means that international packages can take longer to reach you than they really should.

I’ve been antsy to try the French Vanilla matcha that so many have raved about on here. After reading this, hopefully you’ll want some too, so here’s where to get it:

My specs for this order are such: large size, basic grade of regular matcha (you can get organic matcha now as well), and the Robust flavor level.

I made this as a latte this morning with one Splenda tablet and used cold frothed milk. Normally I would heat up the frothed milk before pouring it into the whisked matcha, but it’s getting warmer here, so a cool drink is nice even for the morning wake-up. It is delightful: creamy without being guilt-inducing, vanilla without making you wish for chocolate, and just the right amount of flavor from the matcha itself to remind you, “Hey, I’m being good here!”

This will make a wonderful addition to a frozen fruit smoothie without needing to add the extra calories of vanilla yogurt. And I’m going to try blending it with orange juice and ice to get an Orange Creamsicle slushie-type thing. I love when matchas are multipurpose! A winner in my book!


I have this one on the way! Squeeeee!

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Ohhh yessss. This is what I’ve been waiting for. It’s taken quite a bit of will power for me to wait making this again until I received my glass teapot from Teavivre. Well, it’s here now (came only yesterday) and I can wait no longer.

I can’t get over how much this makes me think of chocolate croissants with all the yeast, dark cocoa and buttery flavors I find in this tea from its dry state to the wet leaves and all the way into my cup.

On a whim I’ve decided to sweeten the second steep with a Splenda tablet to see how it goes. The tablets are supposed to be equal to 1tsp of sugar, and that’s half a sachet. I think it’s over-sweetened now, so if I want to sweeten it at all in the future I’ll have to try it with a half tsp of actual sugar. Not that it needs it. Just sometimes I feel like I want a little treat and sweet tea can often do the trick, know what I mean?


This tea is great for traveling if you don’t have a scale because you can just count out how many pearls per ounce. I bring it everywhere if I want gongfu black tea

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Now I’ll be honest: I wasn’t interested in this tea, but it came as part of the oolong sampler so I figured I’d at least give it a try. Then I read the reviews here and I’ve decided it will be the tea to christen the new tiny glass teapot from my second Teavivre order that just arrived this morning!

I’m using 3.5g (half the sample pack)—that’s the same as my 1.5tsp tea scoop—for 200ml of boiling water. Steeps are 1, 2, and 3 minutes.
1st steep: Dry it is blue-green pellets with yellow flecks and more resembles small powder-coated rocks than it does tea. It has a sugary wet scent paired with straw. The wet leaf looks more crumpled than anything else after this first steep and smells of toast and well-cooked vegetables (spinach and green beans) with the same sweetness as when dry. Poured out it’s a light golden color. On the first sip I notice an acidity then astringency. On the second sip a sweet taste is added. I can taste toast, seaweed, and a sweetness like sugar cane. Then something remarkable happens: the sweetness starts moving around. It starts by feeling like a vapor that fills my mouth and then it dives to coat my mouth under my tongue! Does any of this sound bad to you? I can’t believe my first prejudiced thoughts about this tea were so wrong!
2nd steep: The leaves look like they could still handle a good bit more; they’re not fully opened for the most part, and the ones that have opened more are still very wrinkly. I don’t notice the toast scent in the wet leaf this time, but I get plenty of sweet well-cooked/roasted vegetables. This cup is more honey coloured, and I also don’t think I’m getting the toast here either. The acidity and astringency is the same, but then the sweetness takes away from that and is actually thicker! After each sip the sweetness becomes thick and honestly juicy right on the tip of my tongue! I’m going to run to the kitchen now to make the third steep….
3rd steep: I may have just been able to detect the toast scent in the wet leaf this time. Now I’m noticing that the acidity and astringency are stronger, but then they’re cut by that delicious, juicy sweetness. All three keep returning, taking turns almost for the attention, but the sugar cane flavor (and the thick feel it gives) wins out, lasting long after each sip.

I’m so glad I got to try this, and also that I can steep all of the oolongs in my new glass teapot where there is more than enough room for them to open out. I think I can safely say that this is my favorite oolong so far, not just because of how it dashed my prejudices for the better, but also because the flavor and sensation of drinking this tea are just so good. If you’re not sure about this one, then trust me: forget about not knowing if you’ll like ginseng… just try this tea!


I do love this one! A friend tried it at my house and told me that she didn’t understand why, but she just had to have me order some more for her! LOL! She was expecting to not like it, but instead is drinking it regularly now.


Yum! I like this a LOT more than I thought I would!

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I’m dealing with a migraine that at this point has stretched into a second day. I’m also starting a few days of nearly fat-free eating to kind of “reset” my stomach and digestion. But when I feel like this, I really just want some comfort food. My best attempt at a solution that keeps both of these things in mind is to have a cup of tea with honey or sugar if that’s what I want!

I noticed this time how much more like a green tea this is compared to every other black tea I’ve had, both in flavor and in the scents of the dry and wet leaf. I used 2.3g for 200ml of boiling water. Since I’m feeling pretty rotten, I’m not going to be spending my tea time analysing and reporting. So besides the green tea-ness I’m keeping this to the basics.
1st steep: This was for 2 minutes, and was a honey color in the cup. I added honey to it, but I ended up feeling that I lost a good bit of the delicate flavors. But I really like honey, so it’s not all bad.
2nd steep: This steep was 3 minutes, and was more of a light orange color. This cup got raw sugar added to it. That seemed to be a nice touch and kept all the flavors more noticeable. Beyond that I didn’t think about it, but just found it a pleasing cup to drink as the kids played.

Now I’m wondering what to drink next!

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I’m an American-Australian living in Sydney with my Aussie husband, very active toddler girl and bouncing baby boy. I need tea to get me just to Lil’ Man’s morning nap, let alone the rest of the day. I’m a newbie to the world of pure teas (and loving every sip of it!), having delighted in flavored teas and blends for years. The hardest part seems to be getting the teas to Australia without exorbitant shipping costs.


Sydney, Australia



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