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1196 Tasting Notes

87

Supplier suggests a steeping time of 8-10 minutes on this. Up to TEN MINUTES on a green tea? One that literature tells me will get crazy bitter if oversteeped? And one that same literature suggests 3-4 minutes on? Now what am I supposed to think here?

In the interest of proving the shop wrong once and for all, I gave it nine minutes. It’s a dark yellowy brown in a highly suspicious sort of way, but there’s nothing wrong with the aroma. Lots of kick in that.

Still, I’m a bit scared to try this out.

Okay, it’s not undrinkable, but it’s clear that it’s so not been brewed optimally either. I’m picking up a note of salt here and a lot of nuttyness. There’s a touch of bitterness at the back of the tongue in swallowing which tells me that just 30 seconds more would have turned this undrinkable.

I would definitely trust the literature on this one and steep for no more than four minutes for an optimal brew.

It will be interesting to see if I can resteep this successfully or if I’ve just managed to ruin the leaves.

Preparation
8 min or more

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drank Earl Grey by Unknown
1196 tasting notes

Backlogging, yesterday during work.
Or, work and work, I was at a course all day and this is what I assume they gave us. It was definitely citrus-y and when you serve a citrus-y tea to a large group of people without bothering to tell them what sort of tea it is, this is usually it.

It was watery weak and synthetically citrus-y. Drinkable, but only for the lack of better. On the next course day, if we’re not having it somewhere where I can pop into my own lab and make me a quick cup, I think maybe I’ll just drink coffee instead.

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67
drank Puritea by Pickwick
1196 tasting notes

Backlogging, yesterday morning.
I had this in my travel mug yesterday morning and right now I’m working off some scribbled notes in my notebook. it’s the last variety from that sampler box I bought and this one is just (supposedly) white tea. I’ve taken all the bags out of the box and put them in my pretty little wooden teabag box, so they’re all a little further away from each other. It should keep the contamination of flavours down at least a little bit. Of course that’s probably too late, but there you are.

Anyway. The aroma was nutty, but the taste was rather boring. That said, at least it actually tasted white and it didn’t seem to have been contaminated by the other flavoured and more smelly varieties in the box.

It’s not by any means an outstanding white tea, but out of the four in the box, it was by far the best and it would be excellent for use in the travel cup.

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85
drank Pai Mu Tan by Luka Te m.m.
1196 tasting notes

Oh gosh, what a day! I hate the first day back at work after having been on holiday. Especially when first day back at work after a holiday coincides with the first day of moving lab craziness. I’m in bad need of some good tea. And a nap. And some ice cream. (And a little pity would be nice too)
/whining

I think this would be the sixth steep or something like that. Since the fifth was getting a bit on the thin side, I’ve added just a pinch of fresh leaves.

It’s still as clear as water while pouring and it still gets that funky greenish colour in the cup. Lots of nutty aroma though, and the pinch of fresh leaves gave it a little more kick.

However, even if it wasn’t for fact that for hygenic reasons, the leaves are being discarded today (and probably hygeine-wise should have been yesterday. If I get ill, I get ill. I doubt it’ll kill me), there probably wouldn’t be enough kick left in them for a seventh steep.

(Mind you, I may have used slightly too cold water, because I almost nearly forgot about it. I can tell because the fresh pinch leaves got into the cup and are refusing to sink to the bottom… pokes them. Poke poke poke)

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56
drank Melon by Pickwick
1196 tasting notes

Backlogging. Had this in my travel mug this morning. Wasn’t something I was really drinking quickly and I found the melon flavour very pronounced.

It was relatively okay for a morning tea, I suppose. Mostly I’m kind of indifferent to it.

The bag was okay for the morning though where I didn’t really care all that much about anything else than caffeine content.

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80
drank Vitao White Tea by Nestea
1196 tasting notes

I’ve been to my littlest cousin’s 7th birthday today. I have been fed a lot of food as well as some hot cocoa, which was nice, and some coffee, which was terribly awfully acidic. Don’t know what brand that was, but definitely not one to my taste. Tea wasn’t offered, and I don’t like making a nuisance of myself about when I am actually fully capable of drinking coffee and there are other beverages available. On the way home I had to switch trains and had a fifteen minute wait for the next train, so I went into the kiosk and got me a bottle of this stuff.

Let’s start with the beginning, the description of the… the… tea, for lack of better word. “A touch of apricot.” A touch? A touch?!!! You’re joking, right? If this is a touch of apricot, then they’ve touched this stuff to a mighty large apricot. I like apricots a lot, though, so I can deal with that.

It also contains not tea, but tea extract, which if you ask my snobby self, although they are both made of tea is no more the same as tea, as raisins are the same as wine in spite of both being made of grapes. (Gosh, what an awkward sentence! You know what I mean, right?)

Let’s not mention the synthetic smell and go straight to the flavour. I can find some tea in it, mostly in the dry astringency, but very little actual tea flavour. Mostly it’s just like a sort of apricotty cordial, though. Sweet, but not too much so, and refreshing too. And definitely not as boring as the wide selection of carbonated soft drinks. Sometimes you just don’t want bubbles, you know?

I’m debating with myself how to rate this, and I have decided that I should rate it primarily on how much I like it on its own terms, because I do think it’s an excellent alternative to fizzy drinks.
If I had rated it on how much I like it in terms of how much I think it had to do with tea, it would have been about a 25.

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85
drank Pai Mu Tan by Luka Te m.m.
1196 tasting notes

ARGH! I accidentally did something weird and the post got eaten. I think it must have been a stray back button click. Oh well.

We’re gearing up for steep five of this. I was advised last night to put the leaves in the fridge over night, and then while I was sleeping I was adviced to not do that under any circumstances ever. Hm. Well, I stuck them in the fridge because that was what I had to go with at the time of going to bed and to be honest I felt best about doing that from a hygeinic standpoint.

I took the pot out some 45 minutes ago to let the leaves acclimatise themselves a bit, but primarily because the idea of pouring 80C hot water into an ice-cold favourite teapot with farm animals on it sounded a bit risky to me. I’ve seen what happens when you pour newly boiled water into a glass that wasn’t technically made for it. It… exploded… So yeah, I’m cautious. And especially with this one. (Farm animals!)

Again, it’s got that funny green shade in the cup and it’s as clear as water while pouring. Still got some aroma to it though, and while it has lost colour in the cup, there still plenty colour left.

Tastewise, it’s faded a bit. It’s definitely beginning to taste weak now. I think if it got a little help from just a pinch of fresh leaves, there would still be plenty of kick in it. It just needs a… crutch, so to speak.

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85
drank Pai Mu Tan by Luka Te m.m.
1196 tasting notes

Cheers to the next 100 posts. I’m still drinking this. I’m on my fourth infusion now.

Steeps two and three still had loads and loads of flavour in them. That sourness in the aftertaste that I mentioned is almost non-existant at this point and the natural sweetness of the tea is more pronounced.

Steep four is turning slightly greenish in colour. It’s almost completely clear when pouring, but after it has been allowed to stand and develop a little more in the cup after pouring it turns into that same golden colour again. It’s the same with the flavour. Beginning to show a little weakness at first, but once it has had a few minutes to develop in cup there’s still lots of flavour in it.

I don’t have time to do any more steeps of this tonight, but I would rather like to see how much flavour it’s possible to wring out of this very nice tea. My resteeping experience only goes so far as to immediate resteeps. Is there a good way to somehow preserve the leaves over night? Like, should I rinse the pot out and put the leaves in the fridge overnight or should I dry them or some such?

Advice? Ideas?

Auggy

I’ve stuck the pot in the fridge before and continued brewing the next morning after letting it get back to room temp and it worked nicely for me. Some times it just hard to let those leaves go!

Angrboda

I don’t even have to take them out then? Well, that just makes it all easier. I assume it would be best to take them out a little while before actually steeping them again so they’re not completely cold.

Auggy

I’ve never tried to take the leaf out of the pot mostly because I don’t think I’d have the patience to do it properly. I think the first steep after taking it out of the fridge (even once it’s warmed up) I had to brew it a little longer… kind of needed to wake the leaves up or something. But it’s worked for me!

Jillian

Usually I just take the strainer with the leaves out of the cup/pot and put it in the fridge on a little dish to catch the drips. A couple times I’ve forgotten the leaves on the counter overnight and when I tried steeping them the next morning the tea didn’t seem hurt by the experience.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Ditto on the strainer. I’ve left it out on the counter or in the tea cabinet on its little dish during the day between steepings.

I’m still figuring out how to log my multiple brews (edit, comment, new log?). I like how you’re making a new tealog for them but I think mine would be too short.

Cofftea

NEVER refrigerate your leaves. Just leave them in whatever vessle they’re in.

Cofftea

@Chrine, I’d log them separately as well. It makes it easier for people to read and and logging is just that, recording each time we have a cup of tea. Sometimes mine are just “Infusion 6, 10 min… but still yummy!:)”.

Aduial

Ah, I’ve never gone beyond 2 infusions for my teas (I throw most of the leaves away after the first). It feels so wasteful now, especially after seeing how people can go on for so many infusions …

Either I’m doing something wrong, or my leaves are lousy, because subsequent rounds always taste more like water than tea. Hmm, maybe I should try steeping them for a (much) longer time.

Angrboda

Hmm… some say fridge, some say never fridge. It was getting close to bedtime, so I only had Auggy’s suggestions to go by at the time, so I put them in the fridge. Next time I’ll try Cofftea’s suggestion and see if I can tell a difference. Although, isn’t there a risk that they’ll start to go bad and mouldy if they’re not put in the fridge? Like if you forgot to put away left-over food and the next morning it’s all disgusting?

Aduial, I hardly ever bother with resteeps. I’m not sure what came over me with this one, really, I think I was just not really done with it and I was too lazy to clean out the pot. I find that there are very few things that can handle resteeps without just getting weak. I don’t really have a very high tolerance for tea that tastes weak.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I’ve been feeling that using the tea leaves is wasteful since I heard about multiple infusions too. I do let them steep longer with each infusion.

The problem is sometimes I don’t drink 2-3 cups of tea in a row and while I don’t mind leaving the tea on the counter in its infuser on a little dish for awhile, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable leaving it out at room temperature over night or from morning until night then reusing it. So I end up tossing the tea leaves if they have been sitting out too long. I’m not really sure what the solution is.

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85
drank Pai Mu Tan by Luka Te m.m.
1196 tasting notes

This is my post number 100! Happy Steepsterversary to me, yay!

This is one of the teas I bought earlier this week when I first feel off the stingy-wagon. I haven’t tasted it yet as I have saved it for this very occasion and this particular post.

Pai Mu Tan has always been for me one of THE white teas. This one and Yin Zhen. They are the very essence of white teas and nothing can surpass them in greatness. They don’t need to have fantastic outstanding flavours, they are carried by their names alone.

Today has been a day in the name of glazed teapot maintenance. I very rarely clean out my pots on the inside other than a thorough rinsing with clean water, because a teapot that you can see is in use is a teapot with character! And it also greatly reduces the threat of accidentally making up a pot of tea that tastes of soap residue. However, I felt that this tea for this post deserved as clean a pot as I could muster. So that was eight teapots total, half a tub of baking soda, god only knows how many liters of water boiled and even more water for rinsing. (The planet probably hates me now.)

I am very carefully brewing this as well as I can without actually owning a thermometer. I’m a bit surprised that the shop recommends a steeping time of 6-8 minutes which I think is eons for a white, so I had to consult my literature. To my enormous surprise, the literature agrees! O.o Have I been brewing whites all wrong all this time? Very well, I shall give it 6-8 minutes, although it’s really difficult to convince my head that this is a good idea. My literature also informs me that green teas are best steeped without the pot lid on so as to prevent it from stewing in the steam and a gentler preparation. I’m assuming that this also goes for white tea.

It’s steeping now, there are five minutes to go. I’m really nervous that I’m going to ruin this. What sort of Steepsterversary post would that make! O.o

Anyway, the dry leaves are large and green and they have a fresh, grassy sort of smell. You can dream yourself halfway to China on this smell, it’s very nice. Because I’m impatient and can’t wait until I’ve poured a cup, I’ve been sniffing the pot too as it steeps. The grassy smell is more prominent here when mixed with the steam, but it’s hard to really pick up on the notes this way.

I have made sure to choose a big white porcelain mug that allows me to drain the pot in go. Of course, I have to say yay for surface tension here and I’m not going to attempt lifting it! :p It’s a darkish golden colour, very unlike the murky brownish stuff in the cheap teabags, and after pouring, it darkens a little further quickly.

It has a very clear sort of vegetal and leafy smell that you don’t have to sit and search for. It flows right up and out of the cup and fills up your nose on every sniff.

Mmmm, no, the long steeping time definitely didn’t ruin it. Once again it would seem that the literature is smarter than me. It has a natural sweetness to it. It’s not as delicate as I had expected. I’ve had white teas before, obviously, but I think this might be my debut with this particular variety. It leaves a sort of fresh feeling in the mouth on the sides of the tongue, the same way that mint does, only without actually tasting of mint at all.

However, it does also leave behind that somewhat sour aftertaste that lasts forever. I like a tea that has flavour that doesn’t go away immediately, but I’m not really a very big fan of this particular sourness. I find, though, that it decreases considerably if I don’t keep the tea in my mouth for too long before swallowing.

I am not in the slightest disappointed by this. (And will have to take my white tea brewing methods up to some serious revision, it would seem…)

Mike

Congrats on post 100! I always enjoy reading your posts, Angrboda…even the ones where you point out the bugs on the site! :)

Cheers to many more!

Jillian

Happy Steepsterversary! :D

teafiend

Whoo 100 posts! Congrats!

Suzi

Happy Steepsterversary!

I’ve heard about longer steep times for white teas, too. I think on some older Adagio sample tins it would advise 6-8 minutes, but I never really thought about why that might be.

teaplz

Congrats on your Steepaversary! :)

Angrboda

Thanks everybody! :D Maybe I’m silly but I can’t help it. I love a nice round number and I’ve been looking forward to making this post since I had a little over 50 posts and wished I’d been paying attention when I reached 50. :)

Mike: Hey, I only did that twice. I think. Are you saying I should learn to use the proper feedback channels? ;p
Eh, just take it as proof of the nice little community we’re building up here where people need to ask around if something is happening to just them or others as well before complaining about it.

Suzi & Notarevolution: I’ve always gone for much shorter steeping times for whites. Like two-three minutes tops. And I know how devilishly bitter a seriously over-steeped white can get, so I was really putting my heart in the hands of literature with this one. Now I’m looking forward to re-trying my Darjeeling white with a proper steeping time.
It makes sense though, doesn’t it? We steep a very small leaf tea for a shorter time than a large leaf tea, and this is a large leaf tea! I really don’t know why I got that so mixed up. O.o

gmathis

Happy ’versary to you. Keep posting; yours always make me smile on otherwise dreary days.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Happy Steepsterversary!

Aduial

Happy Steepsterversary! To repeat what everyone has already said, your posts are so much fun to read. Keep logging! ♥

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97
drank Raspberry Oolong by A C Perch's
1196 tasting notes

Good morning Steepster.

Someone has, while I’ve been sleeping, logged a white tea with blueberry. You’ll forgive me for not have paid attention to who you were, sorry. At any rate, it inspired me this morning. And you would think that this inspiration would mean to make something with a white tea. Or something with blueberries. Er… well it’s got berries in it. And it smells heavenly. All sweet and fruity and it’s full of dried berries. It’s the sort of tea that you almost don’t even have to drink. Just sit around and sniff the tin. Yum.

Due to the nature of the cup I’m using this morning I can’t really tell you about the colour, but it looks like a light golden one while pouring. The brew smell primarily of oolong with a heavy berry note on top. I get associations to desserts and cakes and bakeries. A nice raspberry muffin, oh yes.

This development continues in taste. Where the dry leaves smelled heavily of berries and the brew was sort of half and half leaning towards the oolong, the taste is very primarily oolong and then a nice fruity sweetness, as if has been sweetened with fruit instead of sugar. Note, I haven’t actually added sugar or anything else. It’s extremely rare that I add anything to my tea, and if I do, I promise you’ll hear about it. But IF I had sweetened it, it tastes like I’ve used fruit instead of sugar, and… Okay this is turning strange. I’m even beginning to confuse myself. I’ll just stop.

teaplz

I’m not a fan of adding anything to my cup either. But I think I know what you mean! A natural sweetness is coming from a fruit sugar rather than a sugarcane sugar. I love it when that happens. It tastes so much more natural.

I can never add sugar to my tea, because I can always taste it, and it tastes ridiculously fake.

Suzi

I’ll add honey to oversteeped black tea, but that’s about the only time I use sweeteners. I prefer the ‘natural’ taste of the tea whenever possible!

This tea sounds very yummy :D

Angrboda

Exactly. Sugar is something that I add if something has been mistreated a bit and has gone bitter, or if I’m going to ice something, since I prefer my iced tea to be sweet. Always cane sugar although it’s more expensive, because it’s a rounder sort of sweetness than the white beet sugar that is most common here. Cane sugar has a more natural sort of sweetness than beet sugar which is just… sweet. Or maybe it’s phychological thing. I don’t actually know if I can taste a difference in the two types of sugar if I tried, but it’s just as much the fact that I know it.

I do milk (never ever cream) sometimes in heavy blacks or as experiments with flavoured blacks if I think they can carry it but most often I prefer it without.

Angrboda

Suzi: You’re right, I use liquid honey sometimes too, but mostly if the tea already has a honey note. It’s really rare though.

It is a very yummy tea, but although I’m sure you could use their webshop, I think you would run into the same problem as I have with most other tea vendors. Hideously horrible shipping charges!

Auggy

Glad my blueberry white inspired your totally different tea. Hehe! Yay berries?

Angrboda

Ah so it was you. :D Yeah. Berries. :p

Auggy

Yes, it was me – but I’m only admitting it because you liked the tea you drank because of it. If you hadn’t, I’d be hiding in a corner, attempting to blend into the wall. :)

Suzi

Angrboda: Ouch on the shipping charges! Usually I don’t get caught by the nastiest ones, because there’s so many companies based in the US, but AC Perch is super expensive to ship here :-( I guess I’ll just enjoy the tea vicariously through you!

Angrboda

Auggy: Don’t worry. This is my nearly-as-good-as-sweets tea. :) And I got if by coincidence too because I just wanted to buy some lapsang souchong and figured I’d see what else they had before checking out. And then this one, and the book and the seriously expensive nepalese oolong just sort of jumped into the basket as well. :)

Suzi: I’m not surprised. It’s the Atlantic’s fault. Everything gets expensive when it has to cross the Atlantic. :(

Hyrulehippie

@teaplz- I’m glad someone besides me thinks that sugar in tea tastes fake. I really don’t like adding anything to my cup, but I see that it’s necessary sometimes. Oddly enough I generally prefer stevia to sugar, though.

That said, I really really like tea that’s sweet on its own.

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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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