2008 Menghai Ripened Puerh/Teavivre

I was introduced to Teavivre by a Tea Friend on Facebook. She told me that it was some of the best teas she had ever tried.

With that glowing recommendation I went to check out their site. They had a fantastic promotion going where you could get 5 FREE samples if you paid the $4.90 shipping.

What an awesome deal!

When I opened the sample bag I had a hard time smelling the pu-erh so I poured it into my Gaiwan. Once it was in there I was able to smell a sweet, fruity, honey-like aroma. It was such a nice smell I was excited for my first sip! Teavivre recommends the brew temperature of 212ºF for 3-5 minutes.

However, if you look on their website that is if you are making a full cup. Since I am making my Pu-erh in a Gaiwan they had different instructions!

For the Chinese Gongfu Method they recommend to still use 212ºF water for 12 separate steepings: rinse twice, 15 seconds, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 100s, 160s. It goes on to say that each rinse time is 5 seconds.

As the first and second rinse steeped I could tell why they recommended a rinse, these first steepings had an almost smoky aroma which I wasn’t expecting. I am not a huge fan of smoky teas so I was a little nervous.

By the first 15 second steeping the smoky smell had completely disappeared and I was left with a mild, sweet smell with just the right amount of earthiness. There was a light nuttiness to the flavor which was incredibly pleasant. As I went through each steeping the tea became sweeter and more floral in aroma and kept the sweet but nutty flavor.

I absolutely loved this tea and would highly recommend it to anyone that likes a darker tea or is generally curious about Pu-erh tea. This is a great starter pu-erh, the sweet flavor will pull you in! Also, since it is so low in caffeine (less than 10% of a cup of coffee) it is one that you can drink at any time of day. Also, since you can get so many steepings out of the tea leaves it is absolutely worth the money you spend.

I look forward to adding more of this tea to my cabinet!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy: Teavivre

Description

Soft and smooth, rich and thick texture

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Nonpareil Ming Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea/Teavivre

I have said it before and I will say it again, I don’t love green teas. I especially don’t love non-flavored green teas. However, if someone is kind enough to send me something to try, I will always give it a chance even if I would not have picked it for myself. Such is the case with this Organic Nonpareil Ming Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea sent to me by the very generous Angel at Teavivre.

I brewed this tea for 1 minute in 185F water, per the company’s recommendations.

As far as green teas go, this a nice very nice one. No bitterness and no vegetal flavor. In fact, the flavor is almost closer to a silver needle white tea than a typical green tea. It’s a slight bit floral and a lot beany, as in it has a bean flavor to it. Beans and corn. Fresh and bright. I actually liked this one a lot more than I thought I would and as a testament to that, the mug was emptied before I even fully worked out my review.


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Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Description

Tender, refreshing, no bitterness even over steeped

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jasmine Snow Bud (Mo Li Xue Ya)/Teavivre. . . .

My favorite jasmine teas have come from Teavivre, a tea company located in the Fujian Province in China. My number one jasmine to keep on hand is their Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearl tea, as well as their Peach Jasmine Dragon Pearl, which is a favorite with guests. I think I have owned nearly every type of jasmine tea they have ever carried!

I also kept their “economy” jasmine tea on hand for serving with food, because the meal masks the high quality of the other teas and it made sense to go with something less expensive when I couldn’t taste and enjoy the tea fully. But I really preferred the others for special tea times and gong fu steeping.

Jasmine tea is a great de-stresser for me. It is as effective as a bubble bath, if not more so, for making tight muscles relax and tense nerves mellow. I love to make a pot when there is a lot of hubbub, like lots of guests and mad holiday cooking going on full speed ahead. So when I found out they have added new jasmine teas to their line up, I had to try them!

This snow bud tea is a loose tea that is first scented repeatedly with fresh jasmine flowers and then finally, more strongly scented jasmine flowers are added to the leaves and left to impart even more flavor.

Does this make it too flowery? Too soapy? Not at all. This costs about the same as the economy grade jasmine I used to buy but is far superior to it, in my opinion. At this price point, I will gladly serve it with food, but the flavor and smoothness of the base is so good that I can happily enjoy it all by itself or with a treat. It is a worthy addition to the Teavivre jasmine collection.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Description

Rich jasmine fragrance with sweet aftertaste

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Nonpareil Fujian Black Tea/Teavivre. . . .

This story begins with a tragedy. A tea tragedy.

What is a tea tragedy, you may ask? A tea tragedy is anything tea related that breaks your heart a little bit – or a lot – like dropping the tin and spilling the last of a now-discontinued tea, or forgetting you were steeping a tea you were looking forward to and ruining it, or failing to read the instructions on a special tea that doesn’t go by “the usual parameters.”

The last was my tragedy. I was looking forward to this tea and didn’t look at the instructions. I assumed the sample pouch was heavier than it was and made 22 ounces of tea with enough leaf for twelve. All was not lost, and the tea was nice but it was obviously not all it was supposed to be.

To make up for my blunder, I had a gongfu session with this tea this morning. Many of the finest teas are really good steeped Western style but downright gorgeous gongfu. I gave it the full treatment – traditional Asian music playing, a tea tray on the carpet, and a surprise guest – a ladybug – who wandered around my linen tea towel the whole morning!

To begin: Steep one – much thicker mouth feel than the underleafed Western cup as one would expect. The honey notes are intense. If someone else had prepared this, and said to me “By the way, I took the liberty of adding some honey to the tea,” I would have believed them. The aroma was that sweet and the feel that thick, but not sickeningly sweet. Honey overwhelms me easily, and this was a lovely, natural taste.

Steep two – Oops. Minor tea tragedy. I got lost in thought for just a moment and slightly oversteeped. And I only had to pay attention for twenty seconds! But it turned out to be one of my favorite steeps. Now the baked sweet potato is joined by a hint of orange and the flavor is even more intense than the first steep. The honey aroma is still there, and the sweetness.

Steep three and onward – increasing the time a bit for each steep, this 5 grams of leaf continues to deliver. On steep eight I do see a noticeable decrease in color but the aroma is still at a desirable level. Perhaps because the sweet potato flavor is fading, a light briskness is now present. And on steep nine, I know it is time to stop. The color has lightened further, and the body is thinner. Still good and still drinkable, nevertheless it is time to stop, and to sit back and enjoy the lingering flavors of the tea.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Description

Thick, full bodied texture with pure and clean profile

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Premium Keemun Hao Ya from Teavivre . . . .

Tea heads are often asked if they have a “desert island list” of (usually) ten teas that they would want to have with them if they were stranded on a desert island. The thought of just ten teas makes them shudder, but after shaking off the horror they generally get to work thinking about what would be on that list. How to choose when there are so many we love?

I can tell you right now that “a good Keemun” would be the first thing on that list for me.

Keemun is a highly variable tea type. The word itself is a variation on Qimen, which is the name of the area in which it is grown. As with most teas, there are many grades available. Interestingly, many people have a great love for particular grades and not necessarily the highest and most expensive ones.

Teavivre sells many grades of Keemun tea and they all have their fans. Some of the very highest grades are fragrant and redolent with aromas of wine and chocolate. They can be fruity and even a bit floral. These tend to be lighter and more delicate, with less smoke. Most Keemun teas recommend steeping at lower temperatures and shorter times than other black teas.

While I love the top tier Keemun teas for afternoon tea or evening treat, I want a good Hao Ya with my breakfast, especially if there is maple syrup or something sweet on the table. This one is a premium Hao Ya – fancier than a Hao Ya B or an unnamed English Breakfast, it has the strong aroma and layers of flavor I love.

A good Keemun is raspy, by which I mean that it drags across my tongue with presence, leaving a dry, cocoa-y taste. I don’t mean drying like the astringency of a high grown Ceylon. I wouldn’t really define it as briskness, either. It is deeper and darker, far more enjoyable and impressive to me. There is a hint of smoke, a bit of cocoa, even a little malt in this Premium Grade tea, with the barest floral undertones.

It resteeps well, and I can get my large breakfast cup filled with just one teaspoon of leaf steeped twice, and since it only steeps for a short time, my food doesn’t get cold while I make my tea.

There are a lot of good Keemuns at Teavivre. For me, this is one of the best. If you are in America and this review has made you impatient to get some, go to their website, choose “Teas in the US Warehouse” and choose the zip bag. It will get to you much, much quicker! You can always order the tin later…and you will probably want to. Just be sure you order your refill in plenty of time so you don’t run out!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Teavivre
Description

Rated as the best of Chinese black teas, Keemun is an absolute delight to drink. TeaVivre’s premium Keemun Hao Ya represents the highest quality of this tea generally available to the public, and has a taste, aroma, and appearance that more than justify its reputation as one of the best black teas in the world. Handmade in Keemun’s birthplace of Qimen, this tea is truly astounding.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!