CCU Undercover: Tea Vivre Review Part I

CCU may as well have just gone down to the beach in a tie dye skirt, brushed her hair with a comb made from stitched nettle and started dancing wildly with her flower anklets catching the light of the sunset.

She was drinking so much herbal and organic teas these days, she was actually beyond relaxed. CCU put the bonfire on, shaking her vintage kettle to make sure their was enough water inside and set it to begin boiling. 

The aroma of tea began to fill the atmosphere, as she laid back against the sand and watched the stars filling the sky with their twinkle as the sun went to sleep…

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Well, I may exaggerate a little. I don’t live close enough to the beach to go hippie-swaying-dancing night there! Aaaah… regrets 😛

But no, I have not been exaggerating about the amount of tea I have been drinking for a few weeks now. After reviewing Pukka Teas, I seem to not be able to stop. A perfect remedy in the evening after uni, with a sneaky tim tam on the side (what… who said that? :P), it really helps me unwind!

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I was therefore more than thrilled when Alison @Tea Vivre, a tea company who ships their products from China (the nation is known for their tea!), contacted me, asking me to review a few of their incredibly versatile range of teas available!

With their tagline being ‘Tea for life’, and with a name which changes ‘joy of life’ (joie de vivre) to tea vivre, you know that this company has quite the passion for exotic teas. Although you can read all about them on their websiteTea Vivre‘s focus is on ensuring the highest quality and freshest teas are delivered all around the world, taken directly from Chinese plantations.

Little sample sachets!

Little sample sachets!

When I received this overflowing package of sample teas, I was very excited to share them with you all! Even after reading my interview with Peter Kuruvita, you all expressed how much you enjoy a good tea and all the different types, so I knew this post would be right up you wonderful people’s alleys – wow… that was such an awkward sentence to write 😛

The first tea I decided to try (since it was the first one I randomly picked out of the packet :D) was the Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearls Green Tea. At first, I thought dragon pearls was actually an ingredient to spice up the traditional green tea, but that simply refers to the shape of the actual tea leaves 😛

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From the Fujian region in China, this green tea was very bitter and intense in its flavour, a far cry from the weaker green teas available in supermarkets that I am accustomed to. It was very fragrant due to its strength, and I enjoyed it, even if it did take me a bit of getting used to.

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The jasmine flavour was not overly pronounced in this green tea, which was also good, and did not overpower the green tea’s natural flavour. Now, in the description, it says that when steeped, the colour was meant to be a light yellow, normal for green teas. I was surprised to see that mine turned out almost a peach!

Unfurled!

Unfurled!

Then I reread the instructions on their website’s page and realised it was meant to be steeped only for 1-3 minutes… I may have done so for 5, also resulting in a more bitter taste 😛 But I did try it again and the taste was barely different, so I was able to conclude (look at me being all empirical and stuff!) that this green tea was stronger and fresher than most I have tried.

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The next day, I decided to try something I have never heard of before – the Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong TeaNow, in advance, I would like to apologise for the lack of photos – I didn’t put enough water in when steeping, and as a result, was left with a measly 1/2 cup of tea 😛

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Can I just say, it is very difficult to take photos of that? 😛

Anyways, oolong, thanks to Wiki, I found out is a traditional Chinese style tea in which the tea leaves are oxidised for a certain amount of time. Taiwan first introduced the specific Jin Xuan style of processing, resulting in a slightly milky flavour in the tea. Even on fragrance, there is a hint of cream-like smell in the weedish-looking leaves.

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According to the page, this tea also had an ‘osmanthus’ aroma – what? Osmanthus is apparently a flowering plant found around the Eastern Asian region (as usual, wiki saves my lack of knowledge!). Because of its unfamiliarly, the scent was a bit overwhelming.

My camera underwent steam treatment...

My camera underwent steam treatment…

 

But, when I actually tasted the tea, I enjoyed the earthiness and the slight creaminess, despite the golden colour which didn’t hint to it, Very different and I would say, an acquired taste because despite liking it, I couldn’t drink too much.

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The final tea that I am going to introduce you to in this post (though fear not, since this tea adventure is only 1/2 way there!), is the Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant Black TeaProbably the winner of all these teas tried, this particular black tea comes from the Anhui Province in China.

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Coming in tightly twined black tea leaves, there was a considerably larger amount of this tea in one serve, than say, the green tea pearls, meaning to get a lot of flavour requires more leaves. This tea had a scent similar to my childhood (and current… hood) since my parents are stringent in their black-tea drinking rituals every morning.

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But while my ‘rents have masala tea, their base is black tea and therefore, has a similar aroma, though there was a slight sweetness in this particular tea as there is also some sweet potato and flower scents involved.

I loved actually watching this tea steep – I put straight boiling water in and BAM! The flavour immediately started diffusing into the water, turning it a golden-red.

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As it came closer to boiling point, it became almost sunset red.

And then, once the boil came in, the leaves started to come up from the bottom and it truly was aesthetically pleasing!

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Initially, pre-milk adding (since I always add milk to black tea on the rare occasion I drink it), the colour was dark, almost a cranberry colour but with a tone of orange added to it.

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After mixing in the milk however, it became a lovely toffee colour, and even more aromatic, though losing some of the floral scent. The taste of this tea was quite bitter again, because of how freshly packaged it is, but had a kick that woke you up, despite the distinct lack of caffeine involved.

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I hope you all enjoyed part I of my Tea Vivre review! Next time, we will be focusing in on a more exotic selection 😀

Till then mes cheris (and a recipe is coming soon too!!!)

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Disclaimer: Go Bake Yourself received these teas to test courtesy of Tea Vivre. She was under no obligation to review these teas and did so as a courtesy for receiving them. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are honest and her own.

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46 Comments

  1. rika@vm says:

    What a lovely tea review, I love reading your feedback! I love drinking tea. I had rice dumplings in sweet jasmine tea in HK, it was so good! Yay, Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong Tea, that one was pretty popular in Taiwan.

  2. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says:

    I have some of this too and I saw the directions for 1-3 minutes and 85C max temperature. I did stick my nose in the packet and found it very strong. Did you use the entire little packet in one pot of tea? Your experience might save me a lot of work. 🙂

  3. Eva Taylor says:

    What a coincidence, I won a draw from Charles over at Five Euro Food for these teas but I haven’t had a chance to do anything with them. Good for you for doing such a comprehensive review.

  4. A_Boleyn says:

    What a fun review, it’s surprising how many different teas you can enjoy on an afternoon. It think it’s time to make a batch of madeleines to nibble on with them.

  5. hotlyspiced says:

    When I was growing up tea was tea. Today it comes in so many varieties and flavours. It’s a shame you found the green tea bitter and I agree, photographing tea wouldn’t be easy but you have done a great job xx

  6. I Wilkerson says:

    Is there any such thing as a bad tea experience? And after reading this, I think I may need to try some more herbal teas instead of just my regular black teas (I want to go dancing by the bonfire too 😉 )

  7. Beth says:

    Lovely! I do enjoy my tea, and a tea tasting sounds like great fun. I’m looking forward to reading part 2 of this post. (Also, I’m so impressed with you being … all empirical and stuff! xo)

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