1323 Tasting Notes


Interesting name! I like it, I get mental images of dragons and all. (Maybe that’s also because I’m currently listening to the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini on audiobook. Good story btw, very recommendable).

The leaves are dark, but they smell sort of like they ought to be greener. Fresh, kinda. I’m picking up sweet raisin note from them, which makes me rather look forward to tasting it. There is a lot of the raisins in the aroma after steeping too, along with something else that reminds me a little of vanilla.

Tasting it was a bit of a surprise. It tastes much greener and grassier than I had expected and I’m not finding any of the fruity sweetness anywhere. Instead there’s a slight astringency and an almost wooden primary flavour. Like a green that has been oversteeped. It’s not bitter, but it’s getting there. As the cup cools it gets a little better. The not-quite-bitterness has gone away, although it’s still tasting somewhat of pencil. You know, the flavour of the end of a chewed pencil.

I think I might have overdone it a bit with the steeping time of this one, but I’m trying to imagine what it might have been like otherwise. I’m trying to find the hints of what it could have been and I’m coming up short. It doesn’t mean they’re not there, but just that as it is, it’s not really gripping me.

According to NBT this is supposedly very suitable for multiple steeps, so we’re going to try that and see what happens. For now I’m not putting a rating on it, but if I reach a conclusion after a couple of resteeps, I’ll either make another post or just edit one in. Depending on the level of laziness.

ETA After a couple more steeps, I’ve reached a decision. It’s not that it’s not a good tea, because there isn’t really anything wrong with it. It’s just not really grabbing my interest much. I had a second and third steep of it (small pot, about two cups in each steep) and halfway through the third I just gave up and forgot about it. I got bored. Plain and simple.

Shame though, considering the name…

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drank Pai Mu Tan by Luka Te m.m.
1323 tasting notes

What I wanted was to try another one of the samples from Nothing But Tea.

What I needed was this. Well-known and sure to please. I’ve reaced a point with this one where I don’t have to sit and taste it and think a lot about what I’m having. I know exactly what I’m going to get. Sweet, clean nuttyness.

It’s the get-me-started cup this morning. I’ll dive back into the NBT samples later.

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Feeling lazy today, so I’ll make it brief and go do something else.

Not entirely sure what it is that makes this one ‘Exotic’ and frankly I can’t be bothered to look it up right now. The leaves have some bits of something blue in them that is probably some sort of flower, and they smell very fruity and yummy. I couldn’t smell any of the actual tea though.

After brewing I can smell that it’s pu-ehr, but I’m not getting the same memory-sparking inspirational cow-stable smell that I did from the orange one yesterday (which btw was quite nice on third steep in my travel mug this morning). This is rather more fruity and there’s a note of something almost cloyingly sweet. It smells nice but at the same time a wee bit over the top. Try as I might, I can’t make my brain recognise any of the notes in this. I want to stay berries but not quite, and I want to say citrus but not quite and I want to say vanilla but not quite.

There’s definitely orange in the flavour though. I’m a little disappointed by how similar it is to the orange pu-ehr I had yesterday. It’s like it’s that one at the base and then they just kept building on it. At this point I have to look it up and see what is actually in it. NBT says ‘natural flavours, orange flowers, cornflowers and raspberry pieces.’ So I called the orange, definitely, and I called something berry-like. I’m still not sure that cornflowers have an actual flavour as such or what they’re supposed to taste like if they do, but they seem to be a fairly common addition in tea blends. Natural flavours of what? That could be anything but I’m guessing the oranges and raspberries.

I would say, yes, it definitely tastes exotic. But I just don’t think the flavours really fit in here. I’m not really sure that I think pu-ehr and berries work all that well together.


Cornflower are an actually flower. You see them planted in the gardens a lot around here (although we tend to call them Bachelor Buttons). I don’t think they really add anything to the tea apart from looking pretty, though. :)



Yes, I know that, we have tons of them here. I mean if they have an actual flavour.

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Teaplz had the blood orange pu-ehr from Samovar earlier and it inspired me. Since then there were a couple other citrus-y posts, so maybe we’ve got the Citrus Craze coming in? It’s been a while since we’ve had one of those flavour-trend days, hasn’t it? I just got a (regular) orange pu-ehr sample after all, and feeling optimistic due to the very successful pot of the lemon oolong, I thought why not continue on the citrus line?

The leaves look like a black tea. They’re small and well, black, and they smell largely of orange rind. Not much else, to be honest. On the other hand, it’s not a synthetic orange smell, so I’m not really sure whether or not to be worried here.

After steeping, though, I’m very pleased to say that my nose detected an absolutely delicious pu-ehr smell. Vaguely cow stable-ish. Not really how a cow stable actually smells, but more the memory of the way it smelled when you were very very little and visited your great-grandparents on their farm and your great-grandfather took you with him out to tend to the animals. I can’t actually remember him doing that, but I’m sure he must have, you know? And I associate the smell with that and with them. I sincerely doubt my great-grandparents would have liked this, and I don’t even know if they drank tea at all, but the smell reminds me of their house. I can remember what the kitchen looked like and the little pantry where my great-grandmother fed me jam with a spoon straight out of the glass (“because that was such a nice little mouth, it couldn’t hurt”) and I remember the low ceilling of the living room with my great-grandfather at the end of the table with his pipe and how you had to pass through the cold cold hallway at the back to get to the bathroom, how the garden looked like and the ‘nice’ livingroom which was ONLY used on special occasions. Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent into my earliest childhood memories there. My very first encounter wtih pu-ehr I didn’t like the smell very much , but now a couple of years later pu-ehr, to me, smells like these memories.

Let’s get back to the tea. The taste is very pu-ehr. Not so much orange. Mind you, it’s been so long since I’ve last had a proper plain pu-ehr (or any sort of plain pu-ehr, actually) that in the mmmmm pu-ehr!-ness of it, I’m completely missing out on the orange-ness. If I concentrate though, I can find it sort of at the end of the sip, and it’s going very well with a piece of chocolate. The pu-ehr itself is… I can’t really describe it. I can’t really tell you about tasting notes here at all because it’s just…. pu-ehr! It tastes like pu-ehr! Yummy, but just pu-ehr.

I’m enjoying this enormously, but unlike the lemon oolong, I’ll have to put some thought into whether or not it’s something I want to stock up on.


Cow stable-ish! Hahaha, I love the memories in this post! I also love that I inspired you. And the citrus love is strong today!


Yay! Another orange pu erh for me to try! =D


Also, on another note, it’s been a big pu-erh morning!


Maybe pu-ehr just have a certain inspirational value? Then I’ll have to stock up, it could be useful for when I’m wanting to get some words out on paper and the brain refuses to be creative.

I’ve only tried two of the samples yet, but so far I’ve been really pleased with this company. AND it’s UK based so I can shop there without hideously huge shipping expenses, and without worrying about VAT and customs and stuff. From within the EU, that’s already taken care of. Win.


I haven’t paid too much attention to that, but now that I think about it, you’re right. You had it, Auggy had it, I just had it…

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Nothing But Tea order has arrived and I’m starting with this one. I bought the oolong sample set and the pu-ehr sample set so that’s about 15 or so 10g samples.

I’ve never had a lemon oolong before, but it strikes me as a flavour that would go well with oolong. The leaves have that deep green colour that I love in an oolong and there are some large bits in it that I think must be lemon bits. It smells lemony too, but not synthetic.

In the cup it’s as yellow as a lemon, which seems fitting. I’m pleased to find that while there is a lemon note in the aroma, it’s still very much smelling like an oolong. The lemon just feels so natural there.

I like this. It tastes very much like it smells. It’s a good solid oolong, Tie Guan Yin-ish even, which as you know is sure to make it a number one hit with me, and the lemon is just there. Discreet, but strong. It just FITS, you know? Like you go ‘mmmmm, oolong’ and then ‘wait, lemon!’

It’s like it just belongs here in the oolong. The finishing touch flavour.

Now, anybody willing swap backs with me?

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drank Black Dragon Pearls by Adagio Teas
1323 tasting notes

I had two left of these, and I’ve brewed one so now I’m out. These things roll! The other one has has escaped and rolled off to some unknown dimension. It’s okay (to a point, obviously) because in this cup, one turned out to be enough. It even steeped better and quicker than I remember from the first time I tried these (Bethany sent me four) where I had used two to a cup and it apparently was too difficult for them to unfurl properly.

This one steeped quickly and I’m getting a berry-like note in the aroma (I’m thinking black currant) and a sweeter malty note in the flavour.

You’ll excuse me if I’m not putting a whole lot of effort into this right now, but my back hurts like a painful thing today and I can’t sit very well.

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drank Long Jing by TeaSpring
1323 tasting notes

Oh dear.

Looks like I’m going to pay a visit to the post office on wednesday. It’s a really small post office, my local one. Hardly more than a kiosk really. So I often get helped by the same person. This is the third tea order to have arrived in… let’s see… erm… a week.

Oh dear. whistles innocently

I’m in a green mood today. What luck that I’ve presently got a cupboard just teeming with new and interesting stuff!

I’m pretty sure I’ve had dragonwell before, but I can’t remember what I thought of it. The name just seems too familiar for me to not have had it. I just can’t remember, in that case, what I thought of it. So here we go!

OMG these leaves are flatter than a flat thing! They look like they’ve been ironed. Or a steamroller went over them. I’m all fascinated by how they look in the tin. All springy yellowy green and flat and stackable. (Whaddaya mean tea leaves aren’t toys?) They smell kinda sweet but a bit salty when dry.

I dosed the leaves like I otherwise would and let the water cool off a little longer before pouring it on. I’m not worried about the water temperature. It’s more the leaf dosage. For some reason I have a sneaky suspicion that I should have used more leaves. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the flatness of them (OMG flat leaves!) that makes me think so. They look like they take up less space. I’m tempted to throw in another pinch of leaves, but I think it would be better to leave that sort of experimentation for the next time. I’ll just use less water for subsequent steeps.

Okay, this is very very pale! Now I’m even more suspicious about my leaf to water ratio. The aroma is erm… interesting though. Salty and seaweed-y and kinda.. I don’t want to say what this note reminds me of. You’ll laugh at me. No, I don’t want to say. Okay, okay, Royal Canin Maine Coon cat food, okay?! Yes, I know it’s weird, but smelling it, I just got the strongest associations to when Boannan was alive and I’d mix up a bucketful of cat food. (2 parts RC Sensitive, 1 part RC Maine Coon, if anybody’s interested in that side of things)

Hm. Yes. Hm. I definitely should have used more leaf. Just a smidge. Apart from what seems like a slight weakness, it has a very special taste. Kind of like it smells. Salty and seaweed-y, but not as cat food-y, thank you very much. It’s smooth, though, with not a hint of astringency in sight, it’s just this rather special flavour. Right now it’s not my perfect green, but if I was subjected to this often and over a longer period of time, I think I might end up being rather partial to it. Rating is therefore likely to be adjusted a few times in the future.

I saw lately someone (Jillian?) wrote that supposedly the third steep of this was the superior one, so it’ll be interesting to see how this develops.


Ha, I totally get the cat food description…one of the cat foods we use at the shelter I volunteer at smells like sweet green tea yumminess!


Yeah, it’s odd. It’s not a smell that you would think would be a good things, but it still is. I think maybe it has something to do with the associations we have. Cat food = kittehs = sweet!


There’s a tea for Maine Coons specifically? I have two! I have never gotten them Maine Coon cat food. I just put Mars on a diet, as a matter of fact, because he’s blowing up to the size of his planetary namesake. If the god of War were actually as fat and lazy as he’s getting, world peace would definitely be more attainable.


I assume you mean a food for MCs specifically? :p Yes, Royal Canin have a handful of breed-specific foods. The MC pellets are large and crunchy, they have to be chewed, so if your cats are of the sort of gulp down food quickly, they might work to force them to eat slower. They’re very oily though, so your dieting Mars might not be a good candidate for it. I always had to go and wash my hands again after mixing a new batch of food. Pet food is not something I’m willing to compromise on, and Boannan had RC all her life. I don’t think the MC specific food made all that much of a difference in her diet all-round, but she liked it a lot. When she was little it was two thirds RC kitten, one third MC, and I once found her bowl with all the kitten food in a sort of big heap around the empty bowl and the MC food eaten up. :p


Er, right. A food, not a tea. >.>


You know, i was actually talking to a group of vets online yesterday (one of my mailing lists) and they mentioned the RC breed specific foods as being both unhealthy and “ridiculous” (their words, not mine—I don’t know anything about the RC MC food). One of the better foods they mentioned is called Life’s Abundance, but you have to order it online and they don’t ship out of the US. They also mentioned Wellness and Innova EVO, but they said the Life’s Abundance was better because it doesn’t have all the unnecessary vegetables in it. just throwing that out there if you’re looking to switch.


I’m guessing (if they’re advocating Wellness and Evo – I’m not familiar with Life’s Abundance), that they’re following a low/no grain philosophy. I favor that in theory, but none of my cats have done well on it (for various reasons).

Our household’s current problem is with Juliet – she’s very sensitive to fats (irritates her pancreas), and low grain foods seem to have a lot of fat. The only thing that she’s been able to tolerate is RC Light (which is chock full of grains, but she doesn’t puke it up).

So, RC does (IMO) do some things right. MCs are generally bigger than other cats, so I can see that having bigger kibbles could be good (especially for a scarf-and-barfer, which some dieting cats become). I wouldn’t say “they’re bad”, but just that it’s very situationally dependant.


Yeah, I think half the battle is finding something that the cats will actually eat. There’s no point in feeding a really, really good food if kitty won’t even eat it or can’t keep it down.

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drank Hazelnut Chocolate Mint by Custom
1323 tasting notes

One teaspoon Hazelnut black tea (Adagio), one teaspoon Chocolate black tea (also Adagio), and a pinch of peppermint (Luka Te m. m.)


Experiment fail. Wildly mediocre. That is all.


Haha reminds me when I mixed darjeeling, assam and keemun together. Hey, a lot of companies do it! Yeah, total disaster. Worse sip ever.


Well, this is drinkable. But it’s certainly not particularly interesting.


Haha, you are a better blender than I am =D


Yeah, what Ricky said. At least you have the guts to blend… I don’t!


It can be fun, but also a bit risky. :p I’ve also done it sometimes if I didn’t have enough of something for a full pot (my preferred pot isn’t very big, it’s just about half a liter) I can put in something else to increase the amount of leaves. It’s just a question of finding something that fits. Like for example if you have something flavoured with a type of berry, another type of fruit will usually work. If it’s strongly flavoured, even something plain. If it isn’t strongly flavoured, you can still use a plain one with it, but the flavouring might get overpowered. If you just use left-overs it doesn’t feel as much like a waste of leaves if it doesn’t work.


I wonder if it would work better if you added a fruit, like a strawberry tea? At least, chocolate/hazelnut/strawberry crepes taste great, and strawberry/mint can be quite fun…

But add me to the list of ‘too cowardly to blend’


Personally I think I should have left out the mint. It works well with the chocolate alone, but together with the hazelnut something just seemed… off. Chocolate and a fruit would definitely work though.


Aww. I have a custom blend fail as well…I mixed Harney & Sons Chocolate Mint black with H&S Vanilla black….gag


Yeah, it seems to me that if one want to use mint, it can only be together with one other flavour. With chocolate alone it’s nice. With vanilla alone it was surprisingly nice also. But together, yeah, that sounds like flavour war.

Dru Bramlett

rooibos + lapsong + ginger. YUM.


I like adding mint to my green teas, it’s a lovely combination that was inspired by a flavor called “Kyoto Mint” that combined matcha, sencha & mint. :}

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Raisins are a very very recent vice for me. Since december 30th 2009 actually. I was baking something that included raisins. I haven’t had problems with raisins in baked goods for years now because I’ve just learned to taste around them. But after having put my baking project in the oven, I caught myself, to my extreme surprise, standing there and eating the rest of the raisins right out of the box! This is huge, because just an hour before, if you had asked me, I would have said that I don’t much care for raisins, and I assume that this was what prompted me to get this particular blend.

Upon opening the pouch I’m immediately greeted by a smell that rather reminds me of that vanilla date concoction that I didn’t like. It’s not nearly as strong here, but it’s defintiely there and it’s the same type of smell. This has me a little worried. Also, the leaves look small and very dark, almost as if it’s actually a large leaf black tea and there are lots of raisins in it.

The tea brews up rather dark, almost like an average black tea. I’m used to greener oolongs, so that’s probably why I’m getting a little type confused here. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly oolong-y or raisin-y in flavour. There doesn’t seem to be anything very characteristic of either of the two. Deepest down I would say that it still tastes a bit like a mild black The raisins are only coming through as a slight fruity sweetness while it’s hottest. They are more pronounced as the cup cools a bit.

I like it this way. It’s not very raisin-y, but it’s enough. Had the raisins been more dominant I expect I probably wouldn’t have liked it much at all. But this way it’s very nice.


I personally love having a strong black tea with a buttered slice of home-made soda bread all heavy with sultanas. The little golden raisins are so flavorful! and that buttered raisin toast tea from 52teas is just divine.


This is a different one, though. And the raisins that I’ve been eating lately are the little dark ones, but I don’t know if that makes a difference. I tried eating one of the raisins when cleaning out the pot afterwards, but that’s not recommendable. It was just water with a bit of fruit around it after being steeped twice. :)


And any good cook knows that raisins taste FAR better after being hydrated in wine or even scotch… ;)


I think I prefer my raisins ‘raw’ or in baked stuff though. (Or, preferably, as grapes. I could eat nothing but grapes for dinner, no problem. )

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drank Tie Guan Yin by TeaSpring
1323 tasting notes

Favourite oolong… sounds about what I need. (actually what I probably really need is another nap, but I’m tired of sleeping and there’s something on tv in 45 minutes that I want to see)

Teaspring’s is the tie guan yin I’m most familiar with and also, so far, the one I have preferred the most. The interesting legend behind the origins of the tea. The prettiness of the bright green leaves, so clear in colour as if they had been dyed. The aroma so sweet and rich, like a lovely brocoli broccolli broccol green vegetable boiled just to perfection and with just the right amount of butter. The colour such deep yellow, looking like it’s actually a green tea.

The flavour! So round and vegetally sweet and lingering perfection.

It’s just right.


This sounds awesome! I’ve never had a tie guan yin. Greens and oolongs are definitely my weakest tea point!


I love that you spell just as well as me. Always looking for a different word to hide that!


Teaplz, I would definitely recommend trying it. It’s my favourite kind of oolong. :)

Fcmonroe, usually I can spell that without problems, but I’m rather fuzzy-brained these days, and suddenly every combination I tried looked wrong. It seemed easier to come up with an alternative and still let people know what I meant than walk across the room and pick up the dictionary lying all the way over there.


I’m curious if this tastes at all like the Iron Goddess of Mercy that I sent you. :)


It’s probably pretty much the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if my preference is pure psychological here because it’s the one I think I know best. :)


I’m just curious because some teas, although they’re the same ‘type’, will have wildly different flavours (oolongs being a good example). :)


Tie guan yin’s the tea of my native province (my paternal relatives actually grow this). It goes amazing with sliced persimmon, fresh or dried. That’s what they grow between the tea bushes, persimmon trees.


Oh persimmons! I love those too, but they’re very very seasonal around here. We get a little window where they’re good and then a while on either side where they’re either too squishy or too crunchy. I had some of the latter this year. I waited and waited and waited but they just refused to ripen properly. Huge disappointment.

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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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