Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Teavivre: Yunnan Chrysanthemum Dragon Ball Tea, A Tea Review

Soon, on the Xbone, Ark will be getting some new creatures, including a favorite of mine, the Megalosaurus! In Ark they are adorable nocturnal death machines that you find sleeping curled up like a cat into a little ball during the day, and that is cool and all, but missing one of the best things about Megalosaurus, and that is how it shaped Paleontology! If you are not familiar with the history of Paleontology, Victorian Paleontologist had a really...unique...way of thinking that dinosaurs worked. Megalosaurus was one of the first non-avian dinosaurs named and became an early poster child for bringing awareness to the general public, problem was the was it was presented was so unbelievably wrong that it was hilarious. Originally thought to be a quadrupedal hunch-backed amphibian who were only carnivorous to old and ill animals. Obviously, we have advanced our understanding of dinosaurs, each year some new advancement seems to completely change the way we think they looked or behaved, but in part we have the incredibly derpy early depiction of Megalosaurus to thank for a lot of advancement. 

You all know me, I could go on about dinosaurs all day (I have done this a few times to people foolish enough to get me started talking about them) but this is a tea blog and not a dinosaur blog, so it is on to today's tea! Teavivre's Yunnan Chrysanthemum Dragon Ball Tea, a hand-rolled ball of Dianhong with an addition of a yellow chrysanthemum flower, combining two of my tea loves into one. I have had several blends of Shou and chrysanthemum and it has never really worked for me, I often thought that blending with a Hongcha would be amazing, so when I saw Teavivre had just that, I knew I needed to try it. Sniffing the tightly rolled ball I was greeted with the sweet pollen, aster, and peppery aroma of chrysanthemum flowers along with malt, chocolate, yams, and honey. Oddly the blend of chrysanthemum and Dianhong give a slightly savory finish, though not necessarily like a specific savory food, just a savory quality, which is pretty neat. 

Steeping time! My large engagement gaiwan got some love with this tea since it is a big ball that needs to expand. The aroma after the first steep is very strong, notes of chocolate and white pepper, malt and yams, and of course, chrysanthemum flowers. It, like the dry ball, is surprisingly savory, almost herbaceous. Similar to a white pepper and, well, the herb savory blended together, it is a surprising thing to smell with the more familiar Dianhong but it really works. The liquid lacks the savory quality, instead, it is sweet honey, peppery chrysanthemums, cocoa, and a rich malt, more what I expected this tea to smell like so no surprises there! 

Oooh this tea is fun! First off, that mouthfeel, combining the usual thick and smooth texture of the Dianhong with the thick and cooling texture of the chrysanthemum makes for quite the thick treat, almost like a high mountain Oolong with how thick it is. The taste is pretty unique too, mixing familiar notes of malt, cocoa, and molasses with undertones of yam sweetness with the peppery and pollen note of the chrysanthemum blend together into something unlike anything I have had before. It was so unique that it took my brain a moment to really process it, but it is not a surprise that I ended up really enjoying it. Especially with the pollen and honey aftertaste that lingers. 

I went for another steep of course, the aroma has a stronger cocoa note with a slightly stronger chrysanthemum note as well, which is not surprising since the ball has unfurled a great bit more. The taste is very similar to the first steep, just more! Stronger cocoa and yam, sweeter honey and molasses, and blooming chrysanthemum coat my mouth with soothing cooling tea. 

This tea has longevity, getting many steeps out of with strong chrysanthemum until the fifth steep, at that point the chrysanthemum has mostly faded and what you are left with is a rich chocolate and yam heavy Dianhong. Since I frequently turn to chrysanthemum when I am unwell, I brewed up one of these balls when Ben recently had that nasty sickness, he found it very soothing and the two of us happily spent the day drinking this tea. 

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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