1319 Tasting Notes

79
drank Turkish Tea by Unknown
1319 tasting notes

This one again. It’s in my to be finished pile. Some of you will remember my first experience with it. Well, my colleague gave me the rest of what she had since she would never get around to using it herself anyway, not being a very big tea-drinker.

So I got the rest in a cleaned marmalade glass and can now inform you that she must have stored this in her spice cupboard. It’s the only explanation I can come up with, because she swears the glass has only ever contained marmalade before and I can’t really imagine that anyone in their right mind would make curry flavoured tea.

I sincerely hope it only took on the curry in the aroma and that it will go away upon brewing!

I’ve used more leaf this time, for a more authentic experience, and am steeping the bejeezus out of it at the moment. One heaping teaspoon per cup (and then some, because the leaves are large and my teaspoons don’t heap that well) and at least a fifteen minute steep in only half the amount of water.

The result is nearly as black as coffee, even when diluted half and half with freshly boiled water. The aroma is very tea-like and very very dark. Just by smelling it I can almost feel my tastebuds cowering in fear. There is, unfortunately, still a note of that blasted curry. Woe ruined leaves!

Authentic turkish tea is always taken sweetened with sugar, which I’m sure you could guess from the steeping parameter and dosage of leaves, but I am either fearless or remarkably foolish (the latter being more probable) so I gave it a test sip before sweetening.

ARGH! Astringent! My tongue is dead! I think it just turned to dust and disintegrated or something! Astringency, however, should not be confused with bitterness, of which there is none. As for the curry, I’m not sure. I feel like I can pick up a hint of it, but I’m not sure if that’s not just because I know it’s there and was half expecting to find an unauthorised flavour.

One teaspoon of sugar helps. Two is better. Three is perfect. There’s still a lot of astringency there, but it’s sweetened so much that the sugar go rather well with it. Like the astringency means it can handle more sweetener before it gets cloying and the sugar and astringency in combination sort of bring out each other’s best qualities. Bit like in a sweet and sour sauce.

My tongue is all prickly and confused, though. It can’t seem to decide between AAAAH! Astringent! Shrivel!’ and OOOOH! Sugar! More!’ It’s a strange sensation.

Also, having tasted carefully, I definitely can’t pick up the curry. Maybe smell contamination isn’t such a serious thing when you give the leaves such a harsh treatment.

I stand by my initial rating. It’s much different from what I normally understand to be tea, but it’s still quite nice. It’s not a brewing method I’ll be using very often, but it’s fun enough to do once in a while for the exotic experience.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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55
drank Tankha by The Simple Leaf
1319 tasting notes

It was one of those days. Clumsy like a very hot place. At mid-afternoon I was thinking if we couldn’t just skip the rest of today and go straight on with tomorrow. I needed a cup of tea really badly and actually had one planned until I came home and face to face with the to-be-finished pile. Right then. My conscience bid me to look through that first, and as I did I discovered a tea from Bethany that I had completely forgotten I had! First win of the day. No, really. First win.

I actually needed a cup so badly that I just brewed it up and quite forgot to even look at the leaves. I didn’t even think to look up what sort of tea it was. Let’s just say that I was lucky it wasn’t a fragile green…

After having steeped it though, I looked it up and read the description. The colour was golden as promised and the aroma was floral and somewhat wood-y also as promised. There were some talk about notes of tropical fruit too, but I couldn’t find any of that.

The flavour had the same sort of wood-y, almost rooibos-y note. What is it with me finding rooibos-y notes in indian teas lately? First that decaf indian vanilla thing from Numi the other day (the one with the Cup of DOOM!) and now this? Again, nothing on the tropical fruit front, though.

I’m not a fan of the wooden rooibos note, especially considering that there isn’t any rooibos in it at all. I like oolongs but I swing towards the greener chinese ones, generally. I have yet to meet an indian oolong that I fell for. This one is from Darjeeling and even though a lot of black Darjeeling teas are technically borderline oolong, an actual oolong from the area just tastes kind of unfinished. I’ve had a Darjeeling oolong before, but that was years ago and I honestly can’t remember anything about it, so I can’t tell if this is characteristic or not.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec
S

Mmm, Tankha…the more I drink this one, the more I like it.

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50

Smells pretty much like the one from 52teas. There’s a peppery sort of note in the aroma too that prickles my nose and make me want to sneeze.

It’s sweet. Somewhat spicy, it sort of warms that mouth with prickly. And then it’s kind of sweet as if it has sugar in it.

I am still getting a hint of that slightly soapy, rough sort of flavour that I’m also getting in the one from 52teas, it’s just less here. I’m thinking maybe that would be the pumpkin. And if that is the case then I’m still not sure I actually like pumpkin very much.

Thanks for letting me try it, though, Jillian.

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70
drank Passionfruit by Adagio Teas
1319 tasting notes

Dear me, I sure am having a lot of tea today…

RubySlipperLady

Sounds like a good day to me!

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78
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Center
1319 tasting notes

Night and stars above that shine so bright
The myst’ry of their fading light
That shines upon our caravan

I don’t care if that’s supposed to be a desert caravan and not a russian one, it still pops into my head whenever I see the name of this blend. Rather like JacquelineM’s River Shannon blend inevitably makes my brain go Oh Shenandoe, I love your daughter… Even though it’s not even the same river. Or the same country. Or the same continent. Can’t help it.

This one was put in the to-be-finished-off pile due to it being sample-sized and, I’m sorry to admit, quite forgotten.

The aroma right now just after pouring is pure bonfire and a hint of what I think Auggy and Takgoti mean when they say ‘burnt sugar’. Just a little bit. Not so much that you really recognise it as sweetness, but it’s enough to make me stop an wonder what that was. The more I sniff at it, the more clearly it comes out along with a note of dark chocolate.

I steeped it only four minutes (using the phenomenal steep.it site), and the flavour here strikes me as rather smokey. There’s something else too. I can’t quite identify it but it’s sort of like a middle thing between nuts and flour, or perhaps borderline cocoa-ish. Which weirdly is an entirely different flavour from both nuts and flour. Yeah, I don’t know either.

It certainly has a good kick, but I do think it’s a shame I did that shorter than usual steep just to see what would happen. I’m wondering what would have happened with that sweet note in the aroma if I hadn’t done that.

ETA: As I make my way down through the cup and it cools off a little bit, the unidentifiable flavour is turning out more and more cocoa-y, I think.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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65

I’m giving this one another shot today. It’s not in the pile of teas I’m supposed to be finishing off, I just wanted it, so it’s a semi-sinful indulgence for me.

My first encounter with it was the inevitable disappointment that comes after having had seriously impossibly I’m-not-kidding expectations of it from the start. Second I tried to recreate the cola aspect in a more authentic sort of way by making a strong concentrate of it, putting it in the fridge and then mixing it with ordinary unflavoured carbonated water. This did not go well.

After that I was a bit put off and wondering what to do with all the rest of it.

Today though I’m trying again, to see what I think now that I’m not expecting it to be a miracle in a cup. I have to say I’m still getting a sort of artificial like soapy sort of flavour, but I can ignore that. Underneath is the astringency of the black tea base, which is probably in some way partly my own fault. I wasn’t being very particular about steeping parameters. I can definitely find the cola and a touch of vanilla. The cherry, apart from in the aroma where it’s strong, is still escaping me.

teaplz

Ew, I hate getting soapy flavors in tea! This happens to me too. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

Angrboda

I know, and I always end up wondering if I’m supposed to be recognising it as something else, but all I can think of is when you’re washing your hair and accidentally get shampoo in your mouth…

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85

Jillian sent me another couple of bags of this yummy yummy stuff. It seems fitting that I should have one of them this morning just as I stumble out of bed to find the winter olympics ceremony is on tv. I’m not sure if it’s a direct transmission or not. If it is, it must be seriously late in Vancouver… But hey, I turned it on just a few minutes before the danish delegation came in. How’s that for timing, eh? :)

Of course I did mess up the brewing of this. Yes, Angrboda can’t even brew a teabag! It was a minor incident involving me pulling the string off the bag and then managing to poke a whole in the bag with a fork when trying to fish it out of the cup. Oh well, I’m used to having leaves in my cup. Just now this size. And I can probably resteep it, but I’m not sure it would be a good idea under these circumstances.

I was a little worried about whether I would like this less now that it’s not christmas considering how it had initially reminded me of a liquid christmas cookie. I’m glad to report that even with christmas behind us and with a small teabag-mishap, it’s still yummy.

Cheers, Steepsterites.

(Oh yeah, btw Jillian, your package arrived yesterday)

Rijje

That’s good timing.
I could hear the transmission from the living room, but had to skip it to get ready for work. It’s a shame, I only enjoy the starts of olympics ;)

Dan

Yeah, I have a habit of pulling the tags off the bags also.

Cofftea

Oh no! That sounds like something I’d do. I can’t wait to try the loose version:)

Jillian

Well the ceremony started at 5:45pm PST so it sounds like it was rebroadcasted for you guys. :)

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74
drank Caramel by Luka Te m.m.
1319 tasting notes

I’m apparently all about the caramel these days. Luckily it’s in my to be rid of pile, but clearly I had more of it than I thought.

It makes me wonder if I might not miss it after all when it runs out.

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29

I’ve never tried had a green pu-erh before and I’m surprised at how large the leaves are.

Today’s cup isn’t very good for determining anything about colour. It looks a deep yellow, borderline orange, but it might be a bit off.

The aroma is rather sweet with a note of citrus fruits. It smells fresh. Not fresh as in ‘just off the bush’, but fresh as opposed to cloying. Fresh as in something that perks you up a bit. Airy. Not at all like regular pu-erh smells. I wouldn’t even suspect this was a pu-erh if I didn’t know it to be.

The flavour on the other hand completely blindsided me. Based on the aroma, this was NOT what I had expected. I thought I’d be getting something light and slightly sweet maybe with fruity hints. What I got was a strong green tea with some prickly notes on the side of the tongue and upon swallowing. But again, I wouldn’t have guessed on a blind test that this had ever been anywhere near pu-erh. Knowing, however, that it is a pu-erh, I can recognise the aftertaste as such. Here it is much much more pu-erh-y than in ANY of the other parameters.

Nothing But Tea recommends using boiling water, which strikes me as odd considering that this is based on a green tea rather than a black, but maybe the fermentation into pu-erh hardens the leaves to better withstand the higher temperature, I don’t know. I personally thought it best to let the water cool for a spell like I would with any other green tea. The steeping time was also based on NBT’s recommendation.

What, I wonder, is this supposed to taste like? Is it really supposed to be like a strong, badly brewed green tea? Say it ain’t so!

ETA: The wet leaves after steeping smell exactly like whiskas tinned cat food. Now I kind of wish I hadn’t tried smelling those…

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec
Cinoi

Ew canned cat food has the worst smell ever.

Cofftea

Angrboda, If you don’t mind my suggestion… I’m nowhere near an expert in raw pu erh- I’ve only tried one, but since this didn’t go so well, you might want to try Carolyn’s suggested preparation as I did. 1g of leaf for every oz of water used. Rinse by doing a 15 sec steep in boiling water (although I do just under boiling to preserve the health benefits), discard the rinse water and do your 1st drinkable steep at 20 sec. Carolyn suggests increasing the additional infusions by 10 sec but I don’t see the need. Boiling water doesn’t shock me so much for greens anymore now that I’m into Japanese greens. Is this a loose leaf green? The one that I had was a cake, but yes- raw pu erhs are a completely different tea cup than cooked. I much prefer raw myself. Hopefully Carolyn’s suggestions will give you a cuppa you enjoy as much as I do:)

Angrboda

I know, I used to buy one for my cat on special occasions like her birthdays (Yes, I celebrated my pet’s birthday!) and was forever surprised at how she would almost start tying knots on herself as soon as she smelled it. Even towards the end when it was a struggle to get her to eat anything at all tinned food was the only sort of food I could lure into her. I don’t get it, the dry food smelled SO much better! O.o

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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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