Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Tea Vivre review


TeaVivre, a purveyor of fine Chinese teas, sent me another selection of samples to review. I previously reviewed some of their teas so it was nice to hear from them again.

If you haven't been to their website before I'd recommend having a look around;
http://www.teavivre.com/

- they have videos showing how to prepare a teapot, how to properly break up compressed loose tea, and all sorts of information like the health benefits of tea and how tea is made. It's an interesting read!

The first tea that I tried this time was the superfine Taiwan moderately roasted Dong Ding Oolong tea. Aside from the fact that I love the name 'dong ding', I really enjoyed this tea. Oolong is somewhere in the middle of a green tea and a black tea (which in Britain is what we consider 'normal' tea - I remember I was 18 when I learnt that PG Tips was technically a 'black tea'!). I don't generally like green tea but this had the taste of a black tea but somehow seemed much lighter - I didn't need to add any milk. It also had a slightly floral fragrance and wasn't bitter like some green teas - I normally add a sweetener to black tea but this didn't need anything.

The website has some incredibly detailed information about this tea, like the fact that it was harvested on September 10th, 2014,  in the Lugu Village in Taiwan. It also gives advice on how to brew the tea which is helpful; when I'm using loose leaves I never know how long to infuse for.

These teas are not cheap - 100g will cost $26.90 (about £17) but the website recommends you use 1 tbsp or 8 grams for one cup so by my calculation that means it would cost less than £1.50 per cup which is a lot less than you'd pay for a speciality tea or coffee in a café - and this really is good quality tea. Also, you get reward points the more you order through the site - what I really like though is that you can order samples of different teas for just $4 each so you can try as many as you like.

So on to the next tea:
Taiwan Jin xuan milk oolong tea. This tea was more of a yellow/gold colour and both looked and tasted lighter and a little creamier than the first tea I tried. It is low in caffeine. Again I enjoyed a cup of this with my breakfast when in the past I've only ever had the likes of PG Tips with sweetener and milk and never really wanted to switch. I don't think I'd have this every day but would certainly alternate with my regular tea.

Guang dong Phoenix Dan cong oolong tea was the one I tried the next day. It was quite dark and a bit smoky like a black tea - it's interesting how the leaves are different shapes, some are like little buds, these are long and thin. The website says this has the fragrance of sweet potato but my nose isn't that sophisticated - also, it's not something I would have expected!

Finally the last tea I was sent to try was Taiwan osmanthus oolong tea (flavoured). I couldn't tell what flavour, maybe a little floral or citrusy but it was definitely nice. It's quite smooth with a rich flavour though I think the Taiwan Jin was probably my favourite.

If you're a tea drinker, why not have a look at the Tea Vivre website and see which tea you most like the sound of, and order a few samples?

I was sent the tea samples to review free of charge. All comments and views are my own.

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