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91
drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
1191 tasting notes

Amusingly, it appears that Arison has somehow pulled it off to follow me twice. I’ve checked, they show up twice on my ‘followed by’ list, and I show up twice on their ‘follows’ list.

So far today has been quite rich. I got sung at first thing in the morning and served breakfast of eggs, toast, mushrooms and baked beans. I’ve received a Harry Potter film (DH pt 1) and the Tintin film on blu-ray and I’ve also got the latest Bruce Springsteen cd, which is very good. I wonder if this is all I’ll get because I’m getting a little concerned that the boyfriend is showing me up on the birthday gift giving scale. (And if he sees this, he’ll probably show up in my room saying “It’s not a competition, you know!”) I’ve also got a card from him, and from his parents and his sister. Those latter two are one with cakes and one with kitties. They know me well already, it would seem! :p

So it appeared to me that a Mystery Tea That I’ve Never Had Before was in order. This one came to me from Spoonvonstrup and I’ve been having a plock of a time working out which part of China it comes from. The company didn’t bother mentioning this in their info. All it said was that it was produced by the same people who also produced one of their other teas, so I had a look at that one. Still no clues about region. Hm. I shall have to suss it out for myself then!

The aroma is sweet, chocolate-y and grainy. Normally this automatically makes me think Fujian, but I think this is a trap. It’s not deep enough, particularly on the grain note, for me to be at all certain. Then there’s another thing, which is a tiny, vague note of straw and a wee bit of pepper. Those are Yunnan give-aways, but they’re not quite strong enough to me to be at all certain of Yunnan either. As I very much doubt it’s a mixture of the two, which would be rather bizarre in this particular context, it has to be one or the other.

Perhaps flavour will give us a clue. At first there’s a strong note of brown sugar in this. That molasses-like strength and depth, it’s very strong here. That note is not one I associate with either type. It’s very good, but it doesn’t really help me work this out.

Next I get that note of straw for a second before it turns into something kind of, but not quite, grainy as the cup cools. That’s a Yunnan-y trait. I’ve never come across that straw-y, hay-y note in anything else than Yunnan. A Fujian tea would have been much stronger on the grain note.

But then there’s there cocoa-y note, which I find to be more Fujian-y than anything else. I may have found that in Yunnan teas before, but it’s not one that stands out in my head as an association to that region.

I don’t know what to make of this. I’m beginning to suspect it’s actually out of an entirely third region. It’s time to go and look for some answers. I know black tea pearls are not that uncommon on Steepster, so I have a look at a few others of different brands. Without exception they are all mentioned as Yunnan teas.

I was close then. This is just not one that is very similar to other teas I’ve had from that province. Your average Yunnan black tea, I tend to find to be a mouthful of hay more often than not, and to drink it requires a very specific sort of mood. This one isn’t like that at all. Yes, it has the straw note in it, but it’s much more subdued, and that makes me like this a whole lot better than my usual impression of Yunnans. I especially enjoyed that brown sugar note. That was right up my alley, that was. I loves me some brown sugar!

Dinosara

Happy birthday!

gmathis

May your day be full of lovely and enjoyable “get-to’s.” (As opposed to gotta-do’s.)

ashmanra

Sounds like a great start to the day! Happy Birthday!

TeaBrat

Have a great birthday!

Bonnie

Many years to you!

Yogini Undefined

Happy Birthday to you! :)

Scott B

Happy Birthday!

Missy

Happy birthday!

Dylan Oxford

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you!

Ag

Happy birthday!

LadyLondonderry

Happy birthday, Angrboda!

Azzrian

Happy Birthday!! dang we need a page where we post birthdays so we can send sneak surprises!!

kOmpir

Happy birthday to you with best wishes for even better cuppas to come :)

Joshua Smith

Happy birthday!

Ninavampi

Happy Birthday! : )

oOTeaOo

Happy Birthday :)

DaisyChubb

Happy happy birthday! :D!

Indigobloom

Happy happy birthday!!! let there be tea =D

Roughage

Tillykke med fødselsdagen. :-)

Buy the Stars

Ahaha, I hadn’t even noticed that! My miraculous ability to break things on the internet, I suppose. Happy birthday. :)

Lynne-tea

Happy belated Birthday! Great sounding start to it too

Angrboda

Thanks everybody!

Roughage, OMG!!! :D

Daniel Scott

Seems I’m a day late, but happy birthday!

And I love posts like this! I will have to make notes about the tastes you associate with each region and see if I notice them in the future; I definitely haven’t had a Fujian tea yet.

LadyLondonderry

Daniel, you haven’t had a Fujian yet?! ::clutches pearls:: Jeeves, get the young gentleman some Fujian immediately!

Angrboda

Why do I suddenly get the feeling that LadyLondonderry share at least some of my enthusiasm for this region? :p

Daniel, there are only really three regions, where I have specific ideas of what I expect from them, and that’s because I just have the most experience with them. I haven’t really been very good at exploring the rest of China properly, but have been hovering around the three most well known for black tea. Fujian, Yunnan and Keemun.

I tend to think of Fujians as sort of grainy and sort of fruity with a cocoa-y/chocolate-y note to it. And something else which I can’t actually describe much closer than ‘Fujian-ness’. I get mildly synesthetic reactions to flavours sometimes, so Fujian-ness is mostly a mix of seemingly random associations. Not so much a colour that I’ve noticed, but definitely a certain feeling of a depth and darkness and basically pleasure at the same time. It’s my favourite region.

Yunnan is my least favourite of the three, but I’ve had the most experience with golden yunnans, which I have to be in the mood for in order to drink. They have a strong note of hay and straw for me. Some think they tend to be pepper-y, others think they tend to be smoky in flavour. I started out in the smoky camp but have landed more or less in the middle of the scale now. Sometimes they’re one, sometimes they’re the other. I tend to prefer the smokier end.

Keemun is another favourite tea type for me, but I haven’t found the perfect one yet. These have a very grainy flavour profile, reminding me strongly of freshly baked proper Danish rye bread. The sort you know in North America? That’s not it. Danish rye bread is dark and strong and eaten in thin slices. It seems that people who didn’t grow up on it, often doesn’t seem to like it much. My boyfriend is definitely not a fan. Anyway, like with Yunnans, Keemuns can have two faces. Either they’re very floral tasting or, again, smoky. I’ve noticed that the higher grade of Keemun I seem to try, the more likely they are to be floral, and I really prefer the more smoky ones, so I tend to go for the cheaper end Keemuns when shopping.

Spoonvonstup

Happy belated Birthday! Glad you had fun with this one. Garret at Mandala seems to have a real passion for Yunnan (especially shu pu’er!) so you’re probably right on the money as far as region goes.

Kittenna

Happy belated bday! I’m looking forward to having a palate developed enough to identify the region of a tea, but I think I’m a few years off yet :)

Garret

These are, indeed, a find from Yunnan! I just got back from tea travels in China and spent a majority of time in Yunnan seeing some tea gardens, mountains, sipping and buying tons of teas (including more of these pearls!) and finding more tea wares. Bought much mao cha from a few farmers and will have it pressed soon under our label. I really do love Yunnan black teas. My favorites, though I acquired some great black teas near Huangshan on this last trip, as well!

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Comments

Dinosara

Happy birthday!

gmathis

May your day be full of lovely and enjoyable “get-to’s.” (As opposed to gotta-do’s.)

ashmanra

Sounds like a great start to the day! Happy Birthday!

TeaBrat

Have a great birthday!

Bonnie

Many years to you!

Yogini Undefined

Happy Birthday to you! :)

Scott B

Happy Birthday!

Missy

Happy birthday!

Dylan Oxford

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you!

Ag

Happy birthday!

LadyLondonderry

Happy birthday, Angrboda!

Azzrian

Happy Birthday!! dang we need a page where we post birthdays so we can send sneak surprises!!

kOmpir

Happy birthday to you with best wishes for even better cuppas to come :)

Joshua Smith

Happy birthday!

Ninavampi

Happy Birthday! : )

oOTeaOo

Happy Birthday :)

DaisyChubb

Happy happy birthday! :D!

Indigobloom

Happy happy birthday!!! let there be tea =D

Roughage

Tillykke med fødselsdagen. :-)

Buy the Stars

Ahaha, I hadn’t even noticed that! My miraculous ability to break things on the internet, I suppose. Happy birthday. :)

Lynne-tea

Happy belated Birthday! Great sounding start to it too

Angrboda

Thanks everybody!

Roughage, OMG!!! :D

Daniel Scott

Seems I’m a day late, but happy birthday!

And I love posts like this! I will have to make notes about the tastes you associate with each region and see if I notice them in the future; I definitely haven’t had a Fujian tea yet.

LadyLondonderry

Daniel, you haven’t had a Fujian yet?! ::clutches pearls:: Jeeves, get the young gentleman some Fujian immediately!

Angrboda

Why do I suddenly get the feeling that LadyLondonderry share at least some of my enthusiasm for this region? :p

Daniel, there are only really three regions, where I have specific ideas of what I expect from them, and that’s because I just have the most experience with them. I haven’t really been very good at exploring the rest of China properly, but have been hovering around the three most well known for black tea. Fujian, Yunnan and Keemun.

I tend to think of Fujians as sort of grainy and sort of fruity with a cocoa-y/chocolate-y note to it. And something else which I can’t actually describe much closer than ‘Fujian-ness’. I get mildly synesthetic reactions to flavours sometimes, so Fujian-ness is mostly a mix of seemingly random associations. Not so much a colour that I’ve noticed, but definitely a certain feeling of a depth and darkness and basically pleasure at the same time. It’s my favourite region.

Yunnan is my least favourite of the three, but I’ve had the most experience with golden yunnans, which I have to be in the mood for in order to drink. They have a strong note of hay and straw for me. Some think they tend to be pepper-y, others think they tend to be smoky in flavour. I started out in the smoky camp but have landed more or less in the middle of the scale now. Sometimes they’re one, sometimes they’re the other. I tend to prefer the smokier end.

Keemun is another favourite tea type for me, but I haven’t found the perfect one yet. These have a very grainy flavour profile, reminding me strongly of freshly baked proper Danish rye bread. The sort you know in North America? That’s not it. Danish rye bread is dark and strong and eaten in thin slices. It seems that people who didn’t grow up on it, often doesn’t seem to like it much. My boyfriend is definitely not a fan. Anyway, like with Yunnans, Keemuns can have two faces. Either they’re very floral tasting or, again, smoky. I’ve noticed that the higher grade of Keemun I seem to try, the more likely they are to be floral, and I really prefer the more smoky ones, so I tend to go for the cheaper end Keemuns when shopping.

Spoonvonstup

Happy belated Birthday! Glad you had fun with this one. Garret at Mandala seems to have a real passion for Yunnan (especially shu pu’er!) so you’re probably right on the money as far as region goes.

Kittenna

Happy belated bday! I’m looking forward to having a palate developed enough to identify the region of a tea, but I think I’m a few years off yet :)

Garret

These are, indeed, a find from Yunnan! I just got back from tea travels in China and spent a majority of time in Yunnan seeing some tea gardens, mountains, sipping and buying tons of teas (including more of these pearls!) and finding more tea wares. Bought much mao cha from a few farmers and will have it pressed soon under our label. I really do love Yunnan black teas. My favorites, though I acquired some great black teas near Huangshan on this last trip, as well!

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Profile

Bio

Ang lives with Husband and two kitties, Charm and Luna, in a house not too far from Århus. Apart from drinking tea, she enjoys baking, especially biscuits, reading and jigsaw puzzles. She has recently acquired an interest in cross-stitch and started a rather large project. It remains to be seen whether she has actually bitten off more than she can chew…

Ang prefers black teas and the darker sorts of oolongs. She has to be in the mood for green and white, and she enjoys, but knows little to nothing about, pu-erh.

Her preferences with black teas are the Chinese ones, particularly from Fujian, but also Keemun and just about anything smoky. She occasionally enjoys Yunnans but they’re not favourites. She has taken some time to research Ceylon teas, complete with reference map, and has recently developed some interest in teas from Africa.

She is sceptical about Indian blacks as she generally finds them too astringent and too easy to get wrong. She doesn’t really care for Darjeelings at all. Very high-grown teas are often not favoured.

She likes flavoured teas as well, particularly fruit flavoured ones, but also had an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black and can happily report that this reclusive beast has been spotted in a local teashop near where she works. Any and all vanilla flavoured teas are still highly attractive to her, though. Also nuts and caramel or toffee. Not so much chocolate. It’s a texture thing.

However, she thinks Earl Grey is generally kind of boring. Cinnamon and ginger are also not really a hit, and she’s not very fond of chais. Evil hibiscus is evil. Even in small amounts, and yes, Ang can usually detect hibiscus, mostly by way of the metallic flavour of blood it has.

Ang is not super impressed with rooibos or honeybush on their own. She doesn’t care for either, really, but when they are flavoured, they go usually go down a treat.

Ang used to have a Standard Panel of teas that she tried to always have on hand. She put a lot of thought into defining it and decided what should go on it. It was a great idea on paper, but in practise has been discovered to not really work as well.

Ang tries her best to make a post on Steepster several times a week. She tends to write her posts in advance in a word doc (The Queue) and posting from there. This, she feels, helps her to maintain regularity and stops her from making five posts in three days and then going three weeks without posting anything at all.

Angrboda is almost always open to swapping. Just ask her. Due to the nature of the queue, however, and the fact that it’s some 24 pages long at the moment, it may take a good while from she receives your parcel and until she actually posts about it.

The Formalities

Contact Angrboda by email: [email protected]
Contact Ang on IM on Google chat

Find Ang on…
Steam: Iarnvidia (Or Angrboda. She changed her display name and now is not certain which one to search for. She uses the same picture though, so she is easily recognised)
Goodreads: Angrboda
Livejournal: See website.
Dreamwidth: Ask her

Bio last updated February 2014

Location

Denmark

Website

http://angrboda.livejournal.com

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