76
drank Long Jing Huang Pao by TeaSpring
1269 tasting notes

This stuff is bagged!

Bagged tea from TeaSpring. Now I’ve seen everything.

Each bag is wrapped in its own little colourful foil satchet, and I’ve seen that from TeaSpring before, but I never suspected there would actually be a bag inside. I thought it was just fairly costly stuff and therefore portion wrapped. I’ve seen that before from TeaSpring. I can’t remember exactly which tea it was, but it was a very special, blessed on an alter sort of ceremonial leaf for a specific sort of occasion. Which I’ve also forgotten what was. I can’t even remember what the type was, but I think it might have been oolong. Anyway, that’s not important for this one. It was just to say that I’ve seen TeaSpring sell portion satchets before.

This one is the last tea from my Explore China order from TeaSpring uh some time ago. This last tin somehow managed to hide among the parcels I received from other, generous Steepsterites and has gone untried.

This tea is from Zheijang, which is on the East coast of China, just north of Fujian. As far as I can tell, in spite of the name, it has little to do with the Long Jing we know as a green tea (Dragonwell). As I understand it, it is made from the same leaves also used to produce Dragonwell, but these have gone through a different preparation and taste nothing at all like Dragonwell.

It’s not really a black tea either. Not as such, because the process is not the same as for black tea. What it actually is is unknown because the producers are keeping it as a closely guarded secret, but it is apparently a reinvention of a method lost for 300 years. (How this is possible is rather beyond me. How can they know if they’re even close to getting it right? It’s not like they can do a direct comparison) It is apparently somewhat similar, but not the same as, the method used for producing pu-erh, so this tea therefore also has some of the same qualities as pu-erh, including the tendency to age well.

At first this smelled like steam-ironing cotton. No really. That smell you get when you release steam from the iron and get a cloud of it in your face. Steam and cloth. Probably especially if you use laundry soap without perfume in it like we do in this house. I swear I even heard that sound the iron makes, the blob and hiss, in my head.

After a moment, this goes away and is replaced by something that reminds me strongly of licorice root. This note first snuck into the ironing cotton note and then gradually took over, as though it was heavier than the steam and needed more time to actually rise from the cup.

There’s something else in the aroma too, something which I can’t really place. A bit like caramel, but not quite. A bit like fruit, but not quite. A bit like something creamy sweet, but not quite. A bit like marzipan, but not quite. I’m sure I know what this smell is, but for the life of me I can’t get any closer than this.

The flavour has a strong note of licorice root and ginseng. So much so that I had to go and check the details to see if there might have been additions made to the leaf. This does not appear to be the case. It is, in fact, not even mentioned anywhere in the company’s notes.

How odd! Me, I don’t understand how they could possibly miss it. And no, it absolutely can’t be contamination carried over from other teas I’ve had today. I don’t even own anything with licorice root or ginseng in it at the moment. (Except the vile Throat Tea, which totally doesn’t count as we only ever touch that one when ill)

I don’t think I’ve ever come across this note naturally occurring before. How interesting. It is definitely licorice root and ginseng, though. With each sip, I’m more certain. I even get a hint of that funny licorice root-y feeling on the soft palate when swallowing.

Underneath the licorice root-y and ginseng-y note there is something that does taste akin to the average pu-erh. It has the same sort of earthy taste, but it’s milder. It’s not as deep and dark, less broth-y. Pu-erh is for me a very strong tea, one that reminds me of caves and dirt and great big holes. This is sort of the same thing, only up in the sunlight.

I’m rambling, aren’t I? These associations that different flavours invoke are fun, but sometimes they rather get in the way of things. It’s easier when all I get is a colour.

So what I’m trying to say is, it’s kind of like a very mild (possibly slightly thin) average pu-erh, with natural notes of licorice root and ginseng.

I don’t much care for licorice root or ginseng in my tea, to be honest. I love licorice, proper Danish licorice which has nothing, nothing I tell you, to do with anise. Anise does not taste like licorice and supposedly licorice flavoured jelly beans are anise flavoured, actually. FYI. Come to Scandinavia and I’ll show you real licorice. And it doesn’t even have to be the salty sort or the salmiakki sort either (although you’re welcome to try those too if you’re feeling brave. Personally I think those two are the best sorts of licorice in the world).

I’m rambling again. What I’m trying to say here is that I otherwise really enjoy licorice flavoured things, but not in tea. For some reason I just don’t feel these days that licorice root and tea go all that well together. (A couple of years ago I was of a vastly different opinion) So these notes in this tea is rather a turn off for me, and will cost some points here.

Bonus points for being interesting though, because it really is! If you are a pu-erh enthusiast, then I would suggest that you try this one out, bags and all, because I think you would find it really interesting.

Liz

“…also has an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black.” Ahh we’re almost twins!

Angrboda

I haven’t had any luck with it yet. I’ve had a few nearlies though. Mostly they fell on not being available for me to actually buy without the aid of a middleman. :)

cteresa

I agree emphatically about anise and liquorice having nothing to do with tea. Will admit that likely there is a difference. But either, oh, it´s one of those things I am just culturally not into – with a couple exception, both strongly associated with the month of November, funnily enough.

canadianadia

“smelled like steam-ironing cotton” – such a great description I can almost smell it

Babble

I love your tasting notes! Silly question but is anise the same thing as licorice? I know I hate licorice in tea blends. I’ve also been to Denmark & Norway, and never had licorice. Now I feel like I missed out :(

Angrboda

Cteresa, is my mind playing tricks on me or have we discussed licorice before…?

Canadianadia, it was the strangest thing. It just immediately popped into my head, sound and everything.

Rachel, if ever you come back, let me know. We’ll meet up and I’ll make you a licorice buffet. :D
Anise and licorice are to completely different plants, but they have similar tastes. This is licorice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licorice and this is anise: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anise. In the US things that are called ‘licorice sweets’ are apparently often fortified with a good helping of aniseed oil and contain very little true licorice, but this is not true where I live. We use aniseed for an entirely different sort of sweet here, one I don’t like. (My grandfather loved it though)

cteresa

I think we did, I remember you expressing your regret you did not see your husband´s face the first time he ate salmiakki (poor guy). But can not remember regarding which tea that was. oh well.

And the links are pretty interesting. Anise and Fennel are the usual stuff around here, they literally grow wild – I can tolerate fennel. Anise not so much.

charab

Agreed here, liquorice and salmiakki (you’ve been acquainted with it, and even wrote it precisely, points on that!) are best when served with tea instead of being in the cup. Never hit it off well with the teas that had liquorice in them. Ick. Have you tried any Finnish liquorice? We have one very good factory here, their liquorice is the best we produce, but I agree on the quality of Danish liquorice. They are gooood as well. Although I don’t count salmiakki as liquorice since it’s so salty, but then again it counts as a sweet…oh, the joys of contradictions.

Angrboda

Apart from Salmiakki, I’ve only seen Finnish licorice in the shape of the white tin with the licorice animals in it. When I was a child we could only get it across the border in Germany, so when we stopped in to shop before crossing back into Denmark after having been on holiday, I’d usually get some of that.

Generally I prefer it to be slightly hard and chewy so that it lasts a long time. Pingvin tends to produce the best consistency for me, although I would never turn my nose up at Haribo’s licorice either.

Mind you, I also occasionally get slightly addicted to this little pastils that I can get from health shops and similar which is 100% licorice and no added sugar. They taste completely different from the sweets. Somewhat bitter and quite strong. They were something of an acquired taste for me. I have a colleague who would eat them regularly and would generously offer. It was the sort of thing where I knew I wouldn’t much love it, but I couldn’t not take one either. Now I love them. :)

charab

The animals are good as well, but if you ever come across with small plump liquorice tubes which have ‘Kouvolan lakritsi’ written on the label, give a go.

I have same preferences of consistency on salmiakki, chewy and pliant instead of soft and mushy, but with liquorice both are good. It’s almost comforting to munch something for a while before taking more, semi-meditating with sweets, hehe.

Addiction with bitter tastes is always highly recommended here, it’s actually very amusing how easy it is to suddenly get an insane craving for something that seemed too strong first. I have a similar feeling with hot pepper salmiakki, it took a while to get used to the almost violent bite they give. Now when they’re offered, it’s hard to say no to them.

I suspect the whole business with bitterness-tolerance here has something to do with the history of eating very bitter rye bread and smoked fish, not to mention all other fish dishes served here; tar and salted fish and meat carries a long way from regional history of our taste buds apparently…

Angrboda

I’m beginning to wonder if we should do a licorice swap, LOL!

You might be right about the bitterness being a cultural thing. I wonder if Finnish rye bread is very different from Danish because I don’t tend to consider ours particularly bitter. Heavy and dense, and very grainy I think. I haven’t thought about it. Now I’ll have to give it a shot next time I have some. Husband doesn’t care for it, but he’ll eat it if it’s the only sort of bread available. I have hopes that he might come around though, because I work with a woman who comes from Brazil, and after some 19 years or so in DK, she’s almost addicted to the stuff. :)

charab

Haha, well, rye can be trying for some. I have a German-Danish friend who commented on the bread that it indeed is very different compared to Danish types, something about maybe using more syrup in yours, we couldn’t put our finger on it. The type of the rye bread depends sometimes also solely from what region people come from: the breads between archipelago, western and eastern kitchens can differ a lot in some cases, due to the impact of Swedish (west) and Russian (east) cultural exchange. As well the soil.

Angrboda

Syrup is probably a good call. I tended to think of it as sort of malty sweet sometimes, but then I got in doubt when you said bitter. I don’t get it often these days, but once in a while I eat a small bag or two and then it takes a little while again before I’ll buy it. We almost always have leftovers that I take with me in my lunch box, so if I’m the only one eating the rye bread it sometimes gets forgotten.

charab

Hmmmm, it’s an interesting case indeed. Maybe I actually should send you a ‘goody pack’ of liquorice, salmiakki and small samples of rye breads, haha. Swap of bitterness and malty sweetness! Albeit it might be a bit trying trip for the bread though…hm. They’re always the best when fresh from the oven. But then again they become nicely chewy after couple of days…aaah now I need to make a sandwich!

Angrboda

I can’t think of a way either. Might be best to leave the bread out. :)

charab

Agreed. Just let me know when the craving hits and I’ll send some goods. :3

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Comments

Liz

“…also has an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black.” Ahh we’re almost twins!

Angrboda

I haven’t had any luck with it yet. I’ve had a few nearlies though. Mostly they fell on not being available for me to actually buy without the aid of a middleman. :)

cteresa

I agree emphatically about anise and liquorice having nothing to do with tea. Will admit that likely there is a difference. But either, oh, it´s one of those things I am just culturally not into – with a couple exception, both strongly associated with the month of November, funnily enough.

canadianadia

“smelled like steam-ironing cotton” – such a great description I can almost smell it

Babble

I love your tasting notes! Silly question but is anise the same thing as licorice? I know I hate licorice in tea blends. I’ve also been to Denmark & Norway, and never had licorice. Now I feel like I missed out :(

Angrboda

Cteresa, is my mind playing tricks on me or have we discussed licorice before…?

Canadianadia, it was the strangest thing. It just immediately popped into my head, sound and everything.

Rachel, if ever you come back, let me know. We’ll meet up and I’ll make you a licorice buffet. :D
Anise and licorice are to completely different plants, but they have similar tastes. This is licorice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licorice and this is anise: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anise. In the US things that are called ‘licorice sweets’ are apparently often fortified with a good helping of aniseed oil and contain very little true licorice, but this is not true where I live. We use aniseed for an entirely different sort of sweet here, one I don’t like. (My grandfather loved it though)

cteresa

I think we did, I remember you expressing your regret you did not see your husband´s face the first time he ate salmiakki (poor guy). But can not remember regarding which tea that was. oh well.

And the links are pretty interesting. Anise and Fennel are the usual stuff around here, they literally grow wild – I can tolerate fennel. Anise not so much.

charab

Agreed here, liquorice and salmiakki (you’ve been acquainted with it, and even wrote it precisely, points on that!) are best when served with tea instead of being in the cup. Never hit it off well with the teas that had liquorice in them. Ick. Have you tried any Finnish liquorice? We have one very good factory here, their liquorice is the best we produce, but I agree on the quality of Danish liquorice. They are gooood as well. Although I don’t count salmiakki as liquorice since it’s so salty, but then again it counts as a sweet…oh, the joys of contradictions.

Angrboda

Apart from Salmiakki, I’ve only seen Finnish licorice in the shape of the white tin with the licorice animals in it. When I was a child we could only get it across the border in Germany, so when we stopped in to shop before crossing back into Denmark after having been on holiday, I’d usually get some of that.

Generally I prefer it to be slightly hard and chewy so that it lasts a long time. Pingvin tends to produce the best consistency for me, although I would never turn my nose up at Haribo’s licorice either.

Mind you, I also occasionally get slightly addicted to this little pastils that I can get from health shops and similar which is 100% licorice and no added sugar. They taste completely different from the sweets. Somewhat bitter and quite strong. They were something of an acquired taste for me. I have a colleague who would eat them regularly and would generously offer. It was the sort of thing where I knew I wouldn’t much love it, but I couldn’t not take one either. Now I love them. :)

charab

The animals are good as well, but if you ever come across with small plump liquorice tubes which have ‘Kouvolan lakritsi’ written on the label, give a go.

I have same preferences of consistency on salmiakki, chewy and pliant instead of soft and mushy, but with liquorice both are good. It’s almost comforting to munch something for a while before taking more, semi-meditating with sweets, hehe.

Addiction with bitter tastes is always highly recommended here, it’s actually very amusing how easy it is to suddenly get an insane craving for something that seemed too strong first. I have a similar feeling with hot pepper salmiakki, it took a while to get used to the almost violent bite they give. Now when they’re offered, it’s hard to say no to them.

I suspect the whole business with bitterness-tolerance here has something to do with the history of eating very bitter rye bread and smoked fish, not to mention all other fish dishes served here; tar and salted fish and meat carries a long way from regional history of our taste buds apparently…

Angrboda

I’m beginning to wonder if we should do a licorice swap, LOL!

You might be right about the bitterness being a cultural thing. I wonder if Finnish rye bread is very different from Danish because I don’t tend to consider ours particularly bitter. Heavy and dense, and very grainy I think. I haven’t thought about it. Now I’ll have to give it a shot next time I have some. Husband doesn’t care for it, but he’ll eat it if it’s the only sort of bread available. I have hopes that he might come around though, because I work with a woman who comes from Brazil, and after some 19 years or so in DK, she’s almost addicted to the stuff. :)

charab

Haha, well, rye can be trying for some. I have a German-Danish friend who commented on the bread that it indeed is very different compared to Danish types, something about maybe using more syrup in yours, we couldn’t put our finger on it. The type of the rye bread depends sometimes also solely from what region people come from: the breads between archipelago, western and eastern kitchens can differ a lot in some cases, due to the impact of Swedish (west) and Russian (east) cultural exchange. As well the soil.

Angrboda

Syrup is probably a good call. I tended to think of it as sort of malty sweet sometimes, but then I got in doubt when you said bitter. I don’t get it often these days, but once in a while I eat a small bag or two and then it takes a little while again before I’ll buy it. We almost always have leftovers that I take with me in my lunch box, so if I’m the only one eating the rye bread it sometimes gets forgotten.

charab

Hmmmm, it’s an interesting case indeed. Maybe I actually should send you a ‘goody pack’ of liquorice, salmiakki and small samples of rye breads, haha. Swap of bitterness and malty sweetness! Albeit it might be a bit trying trip for the bread though…hm. They’re always the best when fresh from the oven. But then again they become nicely chewy after couple of days…aaah now I need to make a sandwich!

Angrboda

I can’t think of a way either. Might be best to leave the bread out. :)

charab

Agreed. Just let me know when the craving hits and I’ll send some goods. :3

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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

Location

Denmark

Website

http://angrboda.livejournal.com

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