Review: Teavivre Yunnan Dian Hong Black Tea

Black Tea, Teavivre, Yunnan Tea Add comments
Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Freshly aromatic, interwoven lavender florals flutter through from the bouquet onto the yummier caramel dipped comfort in the cup. "
Raven’s Teaview: 8.5/10
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One never feel quite as alive as when coming in from the cold after icycles fill one’s lungs and you feel like your skin is a sheath of snow, numbed from the cold. As the first gush of heat melts the cold air frosting one’s lungs, they bloom with warmth and one’s fingers and toes begin to pulse again. Yet, only upon grasping a tea cup does one fully come alive and reestablish body temperature. To take the edge off the frost, nothing seems quite so effective as black tea from its bold red fire in hue and heart. As Jack Frost has just started to stake out these parts, finding Teavivre for the first time, and their range of ‘teas for life’, their Golden Tip Yun Nan Dian Hong stood out as golden as the sun itself. With a wide range of Chinese teas of each type, including several organic teas, their website is full of information on each of their teas. While I adore their maps and the details on where their teas are grown, they are a bit over enthusiastic with the health claims, particularly when not backing them up with references. But it is certainly evident, they know a lot about tea and with three grades of Dian Hong, it is most convenient for budgets and tasting experiments. It is a long winter afterall.

Upon seeing the tea, it truly lives up to its name with its tigery ravishing needles with few darker leaves but just enough to have dimension. Thin and finely coifed at just one or two millimeters wide, their smooth down has a lovely bronze sleekness as it catches the light from their slender curves. While their blazing appearance certainly brings some warmth to the frigid air, their scent isn’t as fiery but daintier with a nestling coziness. The medium bouquet radiates notes of dried flower petals, a bit like rose, and hay with an earthy grounding to the sweet, dry neatness. The smell has a nice balance of sturdiness and delicacy to muse over as the kettle gets going.

Teavivre recommends steeping one teaspoon for three to seven minutes at 185°F so I counted snowflakes for the short end with a three minute steep. As it is, the tea still brews up a hefty medium dark solid brown. Its bouquet has an aromatic charm that's gentler as a soft honeyed sweetness prances through more classic black tea notes; laden with rich tannins and a hint of lavender amidst a crispy leafiness. The crispy quality reminds me of the first wave, opening a bag of potato chips, fresh, indulgent and comforting that is wonderfully offset by the glisten of sweet florals to hit in the head and at the gut, so to speak , with a lift and a rumble. While it isn’t an expansive, bold scent, it has a deliciously warming toastiness that is quite inviting.

It only gets better in the cup, enveloped by the tea’s smooth, relaxed medium body. It has a cozying denseness to the feel to give it boldness, yet the flavour isn’t forceful just wholesome and golden brown, if one could taste colour. Interwoven lavender florals flutter through from the bouquet onto the yummier buttery comfort. The flavour spans from toasted whole grains, peaked by a mineral catechin crest, like grape stems, that melts into a tobacco-ish finish, honey cured. With the tickle of butter to the bready flavours, altogether, it is kind of caramelly and graham crackers-like to remind me of pancake syrup, as it sleds along one’s tongue with a short aftertaste, leaving a trace of leafy sweetness on fried pastry. Fresh and clean, like the first snowfall, the flavour hits scrumptious slopes to slide into.

With the thermometer dropped to an empty cup, a second infusion of the leaves is soon aglow. Although the bouquet lightens a touch, it retains its sweetness. The scent seems more floral and more morselly or nourishing, still with a nice balance, as lavender notes skate through toastier ones, like toasted caraway seeds and slightly burnt potato chips. The light to medium body is less toasty with a lighter spirit while still complete. While it’s not a sturdy flavour, it maintains a splendid mealiness and pleasing flow with a soapstone floral melting into leafy, flour or potato flavours as the tea finishes without any aftertaste. A third infusion of the leaves also continues to bring warmth as a light sweetness frosts the light aroma. While still smooth, with a softer finish, the increased dryness keeps a deft glide.

Teavivre’s Yunnan Dian Hong certainly has a warm heart. The cozy feel and tempting flavours radiate through the cup. Despite the toastiness, the tea doesn’t seem as it would stand up to milk and sugar but honey just may be divine. So tasty on its own, the tea's sweet character is bound to turn those brrr's in mmmmm's.

— To purchase Teavivre Yunnan Dian Hong Black Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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