78

EMPTY THAT BOX!

Another JJM from Spoonvonstrup, this one with a brand name. Like the last one I had, this one is a Yunnan one, so I’ll be honest and say I’m nursing any great expectations, considering the regional differences I noticed between the last one and the others.

Now, before we go on, I should point out that the cup had started to cool a bit by the time I started it. See the boyfriend made it for me, and then I got distracted by Luna who purred so prettily. It’s still warm though, now that I’ve torn myself away from the furry purry cuteness.

The aroma has that strong honey-y note that the last one had as well, supporting the Yunnan origin theory of the last one. This one also has a modicum of grain, though, which the last one didn’t so that’s a plus point, definitely.

The flavour is a two-step one. First it’s one thing, and then it completely changes character and becomes something else. Here we have first a milky and slightly honey sweet phase, and then there is the second step with a pepper-y smoky sort of note. That second step is strong. With the mildness of the first step, it feels like being ambushed when the second step kicks in. Towards the end of the sip, the second step lights up a bit, revealing a slightly grainy note underneath, but it’s not much. Or, it’s not enough that it truly comes through the pepper-y smoke.

Several people have mentioned associations to bread with this one, and I’m sorry to say I really can’t see that. In the veeeeeeery beginning of the first step of the flavour maybe but not so much that I’m really convinced. To me that comes in more as tasting like the tea has had milk added to it.

I have to say, I still prefer the more grainy, darker tasting Fujian-y ones over these Yunnan-y ones. I will agree with Verdant Tea’s description of it as tasting almost sunny, but sunny is just not what I’m looking for.

Spoonvonstup

Is there any more of this sample left? I hope you get the chance to give it another go. To be honest, I included this sample with the other JJM’s because I didn’t think any of the other JJM’s were really… that good. This one was included to be the delicious counterpoint to a batch of tea that was not what I usually hope to share. This one was the really good one.

Almost all of the JJM samples I’ve gotten from friends because they’ve been trying to teach me about them and help me fall in love with them, but apart from one small sample I finished, I usually found them to be either astringent and drying in a way that was not acceptable at all for the price-point (at worst) or at best, kind of boring and not convincing me that JJM is something I would want to pursue as a kind of tea that needs to be in my cupboard all the time. So.. all of these samples sitting in a drawer in my house. But then I saw that you’d never tried JJM, and I was sending you tea anyway, and here was this stash of tea. So I sent them to you.
However, I felt pretty terrible to be sending teas that I didn’t love, that were more educational and interesting on an academic/something-to-learn about level rather than an oh-dear-where-have-you-been-all-of-my-life level. If I’m sharing tea, it should be good tea!
I thought: /I don’t want to send a big packet of JJM without having one in there that I was truly excited for you to try/, that I could stand behind and say: “here’s all of this JJM.. but this one is definitely worth drinking and loving.” You just can’t send a sampler without having a great standout example, otherwise you’ll make people think that this kind of tea just isn’t really worth all that it says it is.
But then I realized that I did have a “JJM” that I loved and was excited for you to try: this one.
So here’s my confession: this is the tea I included in your JJM packet to be the shining positive example of something good, something excellent, something that shows that JJM (at least this one) is absolutely worth having in your cupboard. This was the one I included to redeem all of the other samples which are (at least in my opinion and experience), OK.. boring.. just fine.. not as special as their prices and their hype promised. I didn’t want to just send educational theoretical teas. This was the exquisite, just for super-special-fun sample I was quite excited for you to try.

Which is why I am quite sad to see that this initial experience with it wasn’t what I thought I knew it would be for you. I would have bet money on it in a heartbeat! I regret not writing something to the effect of “super-special-awesome! savor this one- it’ll reward you” on the bag so that you could feel a flutter of excitement as the tea was steeping. Instead, it looks like the word “Yunnan” might have given you lower hopes? Factor in a diabolically cute kitten, and there you go.

I feel like I let you down and also let down this fine fine tea by not writing more about it to you before you tried it. I guess I was remembering how the higher expectations with the LaoShan black made you initially uneasy, and I didn’t want to jinx anything by letting on too much how I was looking forward to you trying this.

I really hope there’s some of this left that you could try again; I don’t have enough to spare of this to resend like I did with the autumn TGY, and because it’s a wild picked beauty, I know that when this batch runs out at Verdant, the next batches will never be exactly the same. It’s the wonderful and terrible thing about wild-pickings.

Either way, your note convinces me that I’ve got to get a real tasting note up for this tea this weekend. And if I send sample batches again, I should be more specific in what I write on samples. Ideally, I’d want to make the tea for you so we could drink and savor together, but better notes might help.

Anyway- if this experience was not as lovely as I know it should be, then it is my fault. Apologies to you, Ang, and apologies to you, Wild Picked Yunnan Jin Jun Mei.

Hope you have fun with the other random blacks (though they are from Yunnan!) and whatever else might have ended up in the package. There were quite a few.

Spoonvonstup

Gah! Wow- I write a lot. It didn’t seem so long when I was typing it.

Angrboda

1. Don’t worry about sending stuff to others that you didn’t particular like. Even if you found something to be absolutely vile, others might have much better luck with it than you, and if they don’t like it either, they can toss it or pass it on. Point is, we try new stuff. :) So don’t feel sorry about adding the others and not feeling they were really up to scratch. I this what I have experienced with them so far is a very good example of others might have better luck. :)

2. In general, I really REALLY need to be in a specific mood to enjoy Yunnan teas, no matter what type. The exception to this is that black pearl type because they rarely actually taste of Yunnan. But for most others, it’s not at all my go-to region. They are interesting, yes, because they are so characteristic, but often I find them way too hay-like, so yeah whenever I’m presented with a known Yunnan tea, I instantly adjust my expectations down a notch. I tend to prefer the more Eastern and South-Eastern parts of China. It’s a learning process, this sort of thing. :) When I AM in the Yunnan mood, I like them a lot more, but I didn’t want to have the samples all lie around and gather dust while I waited for that to happen sometime next year.

3. As for brewing instructions, well… To be completely honest with you, chances are I would have more or less ignored them anyway. I routinely ignore whatever tea shops tell me, because I’ve reached a point where I’ve realised that they way I like it might not fit with the way they like it, and I know how I like it best. I’m especially conditioned to this attitude by AC Perchs who insists on recommending some CRAZY steep times for their stuff. A seven minutes long steep of Lapsang Souchong, for example. I don’t think so! O.o
If it was something super-compeltely new to me, I’ll have a look at instructions and adjust them accordingly, but otherwise I don’t use them. I know other people are very bound by brewing recommendations, though, so they would likely appreciate it.

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Comments

Spoonvonstup

Is there any more of this sample left? I hope you get the chance to give it another go. To be honest, I included this sample with the other JJM’s because I didn’t think any of the other JJM’s were really… that good. This one was included to be the delicious counterpoint to a batch of tea that was not what I usually hope to share. This one was the really good one.

Almost all of the JJM samples I’ve gotten from friends because they’ve been trying to teach me about them and help me fall in love with them, but apart from one small sample I finished, I usually found them to be either astringent and drying in a way that was not acceptable at all for the price-point (at worst) or at best, kind of boring and not convincing me that JJM is something I would want to pursue as a kind of tea that needs to be in my cupboard all the time. So.. all of these samples sitting in a drawer in my house. But then I saw that you’d never tried JJM, and I was sending you tea anyway, and here was this stash of tea. So I sent them to you.
However, I felt pretty terrible to be sending teas that I didn’t love, that were more educational and interesting on an academic/something-to-learn about level rather than an oh-dear-where-have-you-been-all-of-my-life level. If I’m sharing tea, it should be good tea!
I thought: /I don’t want to send a big packet of JJM without having one in there that I was truly excited for you to try/, that I could stand behind and say: “here’s all of this JJM.. but this one is definitely worth drinking and loving.” You just can’t send a sampler without having a great standout example, otherwise you’ll make people think that this kind of tea just isn’t really worth all that it says it is.
But then I realized that I did have a “JJM” that I loved and was excited for you to try: this one.
So here’s my confession: this is the tea I included in your JJM packet to be the shining positive example of something good, something excellent, something that shows that JJM (at least this one) is absolutely worth having in your cupboard. This was the one I included to redeem all of the other samples which are (at least in my opinion and experience), OK.. boring.. just fine.. not as special as their prices and their hype promised. I didn’t want to just send educational theoretical teas. This was the exquisite, just for super-special-fun sample I was quite excited for you to try.

Which is why I am quite sad to see that this initial experience with it wasn’t what I thought I knew it would be for you. I would have bet money on it in a heartbeat! I regret not writing something to the effect of “super-special-awesome! savor this one- it’ll reward you” on the bag so that you could feel a flutter of excitement as the tea was steeping. Instead, it looks like the word “Yunnan” might have given you lower hopes? Factor in a diabolically cute kitten, and there you go.

I feel like I let you down and also let down this fine fine tea by not writing more about it to you before you tried it. I guess I was remembering how the higher expectations with the LaoShan black made you initially uneasy, and I didn’t want to jinx anything by letting on too much how I was looking forward to you trying this.

I really hope there’s some of this left that you could try again; I don’t have enough to spare of this to resend like I did with the autumn TGY, and because it’s a wild picked beauty, I know that when this batch runs out at Verdant, the next batches will never be exactly the same. It’s the wonderful and terrible thing about wild-pickings.

Either way, your note convinces me that I’ve got to get a real tasting note up for this tea this weekend. And if I send sample batches again, I should be more specific in what I write on samples. Ideally, I’d want to make the tea for you so we could drink and savor together, but better notes might help.

Anyway- if this experience was not as lovely as I know it should be, then it is my fault. Apologies to you, Ang, and apologies to you, Wild Picked Yunnan Jin Jun Mei.

Hope you have fun with the other random blacks (though they are from Yunnan!) and whatever else might have ended up in the package. There were quite a few.

Spoonvonstup

Gah! Wow- I write a lot. It didn’t seem so long when I was typing it.

Angrboda

1. Don’t worry about sending stuff to others that you didn’t particular like. Even if you found something to be absolutely vile, others might have much better luck with it than you, and if they don’t like it either, they can toss it or pass it on. Point is, we try new stuff. :) So don’t feel sorry about adding the others and not feeling they were really up to scratch. I this what I have experienced with them so far is a very good example of others might have better luck. :)

2. In general, I really REALLY need to be in a specific mood to enjoy Yunnan teas, no matter what type. The exception to this is that black pearl type because they rarely actually taste of Yunnan. But for most others, it’s not at all my go-to region. They are interesting, yes, because they are so characteristic, but often I find them way too hay-like, so yeah whenever I’m presented with a known Yunnan tea, I instantly adjust my expectations down a notch. I tend to prefer the more Eastern and South-Eastern parts of China. It’s a learning process, this sort of thing. :) When I AM in the Yunnan mood, I like them a lot more, but I didn’t want to have the samples all lie around and gather dust while I waited for that to happen sometime next year.

3. As for brewing instructions, well… To be completely honest with you, chances are I would have more or less ignored them anyway. I routinely ignore whatever tea shops tell me, because I’ve reached a point where I’ve realised that they way I like it might not fit with the way they like it, and I know how I like it best. I’m especially conditioned to this attitude by AC Perchs who insists on recommending some CRAZY steep times for their stuff. A seven minutes long steep of Lapsang Souchong, for example. I don’t think so! O.o
If it was something super-compeltely new to me, I’ll have a look at instructions and adjust them accordingly, but otherwise I don’t use them. I know other people are very bound by brewing recommendations, though, so they would likely appreciate it.

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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

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Website

http://angrboda.livejournal.com

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