31

Okay. I’m not sure where to start with this, because in many way this was a very not me thing to buy and in other ways it was a very me thing to buy and I didn’t even get it entirely on purpose in the first place.

Ways in which it’s Not-Me:
1. It’s a chai. I’ve never been able to really get into chais although I’ve tried now and then. It’s the spice mix. There’s just generally too much going on in chais. My tongue gets a little overwhelmed by it and just seems to start looking for the nearest exit. Which is weird because I’m not generally against spices in cooking or baking so long as it’s not something burning hot.
2. It almost always involves ginger and I’m just not very keen on ginger. Aforementioned burning hotness, you see. It’s not something that appeals to me at all. I’ve never been able to understand how some people can enjoy a meal that is physically painful to eat. Ginger gives me that same sort of burning sensation, and pain =/= pleasure for me. Pain is pain and pain is unpleasant and to be avoided whenever possible and that’s the end of it.
3. It’s dust in a bag. This should be self explanatory, really.
4. Proper chai involves milk. I can drink milked tea, but I much prefer not to. I think this is also part of the reason I’ve been unable to really get into chais.

Ways in which it’s Quite-Me:
1. Vanilla. I am, as you know, extremely attracted to any tea which has vanilla in it. Actually in recent years this is not just tea, it’s anything that has vanilla in it. Having found the Perfect Vanilla Black, I am now searching for the recipe for the Perfect Vanilla Biscuit. (I have some experimental ideas to try in that regard, but as this is not Biscuitster.com, I’ll move on)
2. Honey. I am also, probably less well known, very attracted to something with honey in it. I really would like to ‘meet’ an excellent honey flavoured tea, rather than just a tea that tastes like someone put honey in it, which has been my experience with honey flavouring so far. Because it’s not the same thing. But I find the idea of the honey flavoured tea very appealing indeed.

Reason why I didn’t buy this on purpose:
When it comes to the just-before-bed-cup, Husband and I have developed a habit of something herbal, taken in bed while reading. He favours chamomile because he feels like he sleeps better afterwards. I’m not keen on that, so I’m shopping around. I have plenty of rooibos with yummy flavours, but the thing is at that point of the day the last thing I want to do is faff about with teapots and loose leaf. Unfortunately the kinds of rooibos flavourings that I enjoy don’t seem to be readily available in bagged form. So I’ve found myself bag-hunting. Finished a box from Yogi tea and didn’t feel like I wanted to continue with that one, so I looked for another kind to try. As I was looking my eye fell on this box. And Quite-Me reasons trumped Not-Me reasons, in spite of the fact that I was looking for something herbal in the first place. So therefore it was not on purpose and not my fault, and I did also get some bags of a herbal blend to try as well (after having agonised for a bit about the bleeding inclusion of bleeding hibiscus in nearly bleeding everything that looked remotely interesting).

Not on purpose. Not my fault.

So I’ve been experimenting with it a bit. First I tried it with milk, which I had warmed (nuked) a bit first. I followed the suggestion on the box with 1/4 warm milk and 3/4 water. The box also suggested sweetening it to taste with sugar. As my ‘to taste’ with tea is entirely without sugar in a sort of ew-sugar-tea-blech! way, I figured I had already sort of done this by leaving sweetening out. It didn’t say anything about temperature but as it contains both black and white, I took my cue from the white.

It was… pleasant enough, although quite ginger-y. There were the other spices in the flavour as well, but in a sort of generic spice blend flavour where I couldn’t have picked them out from each other at all. It was just… spice. And ginger. Ginger I can pick out, but that’s because I’m so wary of it.

I could not, however, taste any tea at all, be it black or white both of which are supposed to be in here. I also couldn’t find anything remotely resembling vanilla or the slightest trace of honey.

It felt very generic beginner-chai-y and quite thin tasting. With ginger. Which, as ginger does, got stronger and stronger towards the end of the cup.

Hm. Not very succesful.

I reckoned maybe the milk was, while softening up the spices, covering the other flavours. This is why I don’t much understand the whole milk in tea concept. I find it deadens the taste of the tea and just turns into warm milk with something in it. Much like this particular cup did. So I tried a second cup with a fresh bag and without the milk.

I was a little concerned about the ginger here, because I thought without the milk to tame it, it might get out of hand completely. It was already plenty wild for me before after all.

I can actually smell something in it now. Something spicy (duh) but with a hint of sweetness in there, telling me that even if I can’t find the honey and the vanilla in the flavour they are in there somewhere.

I steeped the bag for a really long time, because the brew above had been so thin that I’d ended up just dumping the bag back in the cup and keeping it there while drinking. And it was still quite thin. It looks like a jolly big teabag but I’m wondering now how much actual tea is actually in there. It can’t be very much. Or it must be really old.

Peculiarly the ginger was much more in the background now, which was a pleasant surprise. Not at all what I had counted on. The other spices were still present as well and still just a generic could be anything really sort of spice blend.

I felt like I could pick up a hint of vanilla and honey now though, but not nearly as much as I would have liked at all.

All in all not as good as hoped but I’m pretty certain I can drink this box up eventually. I’ve definitely learned not to follow the suggestion on the box though, because that just didn’t work at all.

Perhaps I should try another go-round of both these versions while making it like a black with boiling water and like a flavoured black with not quite boiling water. So I tried boiling water, no milk.

It was less thin at this point, but still the same generic spice throughout most of the flavour. This time though I actually felt like I was drinking tea as opposed to spiced water, so that was a plus.

Honey and vanilla, though? Not so much. I seem to have misplaced them. I’m sure I had them just before!

cteresa

Have you got one of those “magic” gravity infusers? I got one,got from Yumchaa, from some taiwanese teaware brand. At the beginning I was meh, and did not see the point, but have been slowly converted to it, particularly for my nightly rooibos. It strains perfectly (with rooibos that is difficult) and I can just clean it up in the morning when the leaves are cold anyway.

Angrboda

We have a french press pot that we use for rooibos, but it’s annoying to clean. Not the parts themselves, but the stupid little rooibos leaves. :)

cteresa

If you ever get the chance check out a gravity infuser. It is not like reinventing the wheel but from thinking it was a gimmick, it’s really really great for rooibos and multiple steeps. Not cheap, but really worth it!

Angrboda

Unless it can change the stupid little rooibos leaves that are tiny and stick to everything into larger leaves that are generally less annoying to deal with, then I don’t think a change of equipment is going to make much different. The french press is fine, the parts are easy enough to clean and the whole thing can go in the dishwasher (and does regularly). It’s the tiny little leaves that irritate me during the cleaning process. Besides even if the tiny little rooibos leaves weren’t so annoying, right before bed would still not be a time where I would really wish to mess about with loose leaf. Herbal tea of any sort honestly isn’t anywhere near so important to me that I can’t do it bagged.

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Comments

cteresa

Have you got one of those “magic” gravity infusers? I got one,got from Yumchaa, from some taiwanese teaware brand. At the beginning I was meh, and did not see the point, but have been slowly converted to it, particularly for my nightly rooibos. It strains perfectly (with rooibos that is difficult) and I can just clean it up in the morning when the leaves are cold anyway.

Angrboda

We have a french press pot that we use for rooibos, but it’s annoying to clean. Not the parts themselves, but the stupid little rooibos leaves. :)

cteresa

If you ever get the chance check out a gravity infuser. It is not like reinventing the wheel but from thinking it was a gimmick, it’s really really great for rooibos and multiple steeps. Not cheap, but really worth it!

Angrboda

Unless it can change the stupid little rooibos leaves that are tiny and stick to everything into larger leaves that are generally less annoying to deal with, then I don’t think a change of equipment is going to make much different. The french press is fine, the parts are easy enough to clean and the whole thing can go in the dishwasher (and does regularly). It’s the tiny little leaves that irritate me during the cleaning process. Besides even if the tiny little rooibos leaves weren’t so annoying, right before bed would still not be a time where I would really wish to mess about with loose leaf. Herbal tea of any sort honestly isn’t anywhere near so important to me that I can’t do it bagged.

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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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