Teavivre in China was kind enough to send me some samples of their teas to try, so over the weekend I decided I would have a bit of a "formal" tea tasting.
The teas were packaged with great care and even had bubble wrap around them. I've never seen such well-protected packages of tea!
I'm always impressed when I see a label that includes all the information I need for preparing tea. Many of them seem to provide only general directions, but this one was very specific about the Keemun Hao Ya. When I opened the tea, I first noticed a very fresh, woodsy scent. During my year of "tea tastings" a few years ago, I developed a real appreciation for that fresh, earthy scent, which usually meant I was going to like that particular tea.
First, I scooped some tea into my tasting cup before adding the water.
Then I let it steep for about 2 minutes, the low end of the timing scale, because I've learned I prefer my teas this way. With the china tea tasting set my husband got me for Christmas, I poured off the tea, which you accomplish by tilting the lidded mug over into the tea bowl.
Here's what the steeped tea looked like, a nice coppery red color.
And this is what the wet leaf looked like. The taste was a brisk black, woodsy tea flavor that I was happy to find had very little astringency afterwards. I very much enjoyed my first experience sampling a Teavivre tea, and in fact I was able to get three more cups of tea from subsequent steepings of these leaves, each one steeped for just a little longer than the first. For more information, visit the Teavivre website here.