1270 Tasting Notes

41
drank Soft Fruitea by Pickwick
1270 tasting notes

It’s an addiction, buying tea, is. I can quit any time! wild eyes
I have my prejudices and snobby opinions about the sort of tea you buy at the supermarket. The cheap mass produced teabags containing second grade tea at best. It’s very rare that I actually get some, but every once in a while I find myself in front of that shelf in the supermarket just to see if there’s anything new. A flavour or a combination there of that I haven’t seen before and I suppose it’s an okay way of checking if it’s worth trying it out at a better quality. I don’t know where in the world this brand is available, but it and Lipton are probably the biggest supermarket brands here in Denmark, and not one I’m usually all that impressed by but good enough in a tight spot. My main peeve with them is that if you read the brewing instructions on the box they insist on boiling water regardless of the type of tea. I don’t care what they say, I absolutely refuse to pour boiling water on green or white, the end.

Anyway, they had this sampler box of whites. And curiosity overwhelmed me. How much of a mess have they managed to make out of the delicate, valuable white tea? I figure if it’s awful, it’ll be good enough for the travel mug in the morning (and easier to prepare in a hurry) than my more expensive but better quality whites and greens.

It smells heavily perfumed and a lot like jasmine actually, which prompts me to see if there is a jasmine variety in the box. Guess what, there is.
Dear teabag producers. Jasmine scented tea is NOT a good choice to put in a sampler box, as it will turn everything in the box into a jasmine scented tea. -Me.
I can find the smell of grapes and pear, but it seems sort of synthetic.

I can pick up the pear in the flavour and it tastes natural. I can’t really find the grapes and the tea on which it was based does taste white, but also very bland and dull. I should like to know exactly which white tea this is supposed to be. It doesn’t help that these bags are not packed individually in an air tight way so it has picked up some of the jasmine from that other one in the box. I expect the variation with jasmine and orange blossoms will work a lot better than this one.

I have to say that it’s possible that I feel about pear the way I do about peach. I love the fruit, but I don’t much care for them in tea. Still, the tea as a whole totally lived up to my expectations.

ETA: I just added this tea and rated it 41, but on the tea’s profile it says 61. How does that work?

LENA

Oh I KNOW it’s an addiction! My husband asks, “Did you finish all of the tea you ordered last time?” Umm…no. “Then why do you need more? You still have tea!” I just DO! I need variety!

Angrboda

YES! And once you start, it’s just really really really hard to stop.

TeaEqualsBliss

Yup! AA for Tea Buyers/drinkers…I’m included in that bunch :) As for the ranking/ratings – I wondered that myself the last few days

Angrboda

Yeah, at first I thought that every tea came with a standard rating of fifty, which would make sense so that no tea started out based only the first reviewer’s opinion, and then the rating adjusted with the average of the 50 + all the ratings given. But that could never be 61! O.o

Mike

@Angrboda the label on the tea page “Avg Rating” is misleading and we’re planning to change it…

Basically, the tea’s rating (as of now) is calculated using a weighted average (Bayesian, to be exact: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_average ). The goal is that we don’t just account for individual ratings, but also the quantity of ratings for a particular tea. In short, each tea’s rating is a reflection of each of its ratings, taking into account how many ratings it has, and acknowledging the average number and value of ratings of all other teas on the site.

It can be a little confusing, but we hope it’s better than a plain average. We’re still monitoring and seeing how it works, so we may change it in the future. And, of course, we’re always open to suggestions!

Angrboda

Ah okay, so there’s a meaning to the madness. It threw me off for a bit there because at first glance it made it look like I wasn’t the first one to rate it. It was just something that I noticed with this one, probably because I gave it a below average rating, so it stood out more.

I like that it takes the number of individual ratings into account though, so a tea doesn’t get an unnaturally low rating because a small group of people didn’t like it.

Now I forgot what else it was I wanted to say. Means I should have another cup of tea, yes? Yes.

TeaEqualsBliss

Thanks Mike!

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75
drank Princess Blend by Luka Te m.m.
1270 tasting notes

A blend from my local shop. And I don’t know why I initially added and put unknown as the brand, since it’s a perfectly normal shop that actually has a name. I don’t know who their wholeseller is, but that’s a detail. Anywho. It’s actually called ‘Isabella blend’ but they renamed it since. I don’t know, I preferred the first name, as I quite like Princess Isabella. She’s cute and she was born on my birthday. :)

I’m probably only borderline in on the Vanilla Vogue with this one, but I wanted something else than plain vanilla. And the description does say ‘notes of raspberry and vanilla’. Judging from the very strong raspberry aroma that it has, I would say that it has more than notes. There has definitely been raspberry aroma added to this and although I can’t immediately find any vanilla in the smell, I think it would be a relatively safe bet that it has been added too.

This is, with rose petals, jasmine, raspberries, vanilla and something called ‘pink sweethearts’, possibly the single most girly tea I’ve ever encountered. I don’t know what the sweethearts are supposed to be. I remember trying to eat one and getting zero flavour out of it, so I’m guessing maybe they’re responsible for the vanilla/raspberry aroma.

I’m on my very last bits of this. I’m making it in my smallest pot and even then I probably shouldn’t fill it all the way up. Just the one cup then. That’s kind of sad, really.

Dark in colour and with a rather odd aroma that sort of reminds me of raspberries what have been baked. And hey, the sweetness of vanilla!

The tea itself is a bit bland when it comes to the fruit and the vanilla, although it may be because, with the limited supply of leaves, it’s been brewed a wee bit on the weak side. It makes me wish I could have made it properly. It tastes mostly like a fairly bland and faded mix of the teas and then the sweetness comes through in the aftertaste.

No real vanilla coming through except in the aroma, although, with the description I’m wondering if that might actually be the way it’s supposed to be. You know, it does say ‘notes’, not ‘flavours’. So it could be that it’s supposed to be tasted as a combination of flavour and aroma. Rather complicated, but there you are.

Or maybe, it’s just old. Still I’m finding myself wishing that I had stocked up on this when I was buying the other day.

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85
drank Vanilla by Adagio Teas
1270 tasting notes

I got inspired for a vanilla tea just now so I made me a small pot. And then my head wasn’t really in it so I wasted a whole spoonful of this nice vanilla tea but going to put the leaves in the pot and failing to pour out the water that I had used to heat the pot up first. Very ARGH!-worthy when you only have a sample-size tin. I wish I had more of this to mix with. I’ve got a TON of stuff now that I’d like to blend it with, but alas.

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74
drank Caramel by Luka Te m.m.
1270 tasting notes

Huh. It would appear that I’m currently following 70 Steepster accounts. 70! Looking at my dashboard page I think we can reach the conclusion that some of those must be inactive and I probably ought to clean it up a bit.

Anyway, I chose this tea during my little ‘accident’ yesterday because ever since last sunday when my boyfriend was here and we had this awesome caramel ice cream that totally tasted like childhood, I’ve been slightly obsessed with all things caramel.

The dry leaves smell heavily of caramel and it has tiny cubes of actual caramel in it. There is a very big risk that I’m going to offset the entire balance of this by uhm eating them. (I tasted one, they’re yummy!)

Strangely enough, where I found the two other black teas I bought lighter in colour than I had expected, this is just the opposite. It’s darker than I expected. A little darker than maple syrup. Granted it’s slightly oversteeped, but still.

The smell is not as sickly sweet as you might have expected. Or at least I did. It smells like caramel and not so much of tea, but still not completely overwhemingly sweet.

Strangely enough, this tastes more like tea than it does of caramel. I was expecting something sweet and smooth and instead I got something lightly astringent and with a rough sort of flavour that makes me wonder what it’s based on. It just say chinese and ceylon tea, so it could be anything. The caramel is there, but it’s like it’s caramel without sugar. It’s good enough, but it’s not really what I was expecting. I’m thinking a bit of sugar might bring out the caramel more but even as I’m missing the sweetness, I’m strangely reluctant to test it.

As mentioned, though, it was a bit oversteeped, so not doing that might make a difference. I’ll try that the next time and possibly adjust my rating accordingly

Rena Sherwood

Now it’s 68 accounts, I see. Also, just wanted to let you know that I love your avatar :-)

Angrboda

Yeah, I tried to go through and got rid of the inactive ones. But I set the limit at no posts in at least six monts (because I think that was about the same amount of time that my account was dormant for a while) and could only drop 4! And then I promptly found myself adding two others. headdesk

Jillian

Signs That You’re Hooked on Steepster #135…
~_^

Angrboda

I’m not sure what the other 134 symptoms are but I’ve probably got them. Where do ‘speed record in hitting F5’ and ‘long, rambly, pretentious reviews’ figure?

Jillian

I think those are #17 and #93 respectively. ;D

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87

Second steep is very similar to the longer one of the first round. Bit more spicy though. And it goes quite nicely with this pear I’m having for breakfast.

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87

Okay, first of all, WTF? I could have sworn that Chun Mee was a chinese tea. This prompted me to look through my books on the subject and it would appear that Chun Mee originally came from the Jiangxi province and has since spread to the rest of China. It’s produced in Yunnan now, for example. So why shouldn’t it have spread to Taiwan as well, just like Gunpowder? But it just still feels weird to me that it’s not chinese.

The name means ‘precious eyebrow’, and apparently refers to the way the leaves are twisted. I don’t know, they don’t look very eyebrowish to me, but there you are. They have a nice dusty green colour and the aroma is sweet but not very strong.

In the cup it gets a nice yellow colour. The shop recommended an 8-10 minutes steeping time which I just couldn’t make myself do, especially since my literature warned me that if oversteeped this is a tea that can get devilishly bitter, so I took the first cup after about the usual 4-5 minutes and let the rest continue to stew. It had the same sweet but vague smell that was kind of difficult to find, like the harder you breathed in the more it just sort of slipped around your nose. This did not change significantly with increased steeping time.

I have to say that the first cup did have a relatively weak feel to it, but it was still a full bodies sort of flavour. It was a bit astringent and it had that prickly sort of taste that I personally think of as what they mean with ‘spicyness’ in tea. With increased steeping time it turned a bit more astringent and developed a more sour sort of after taste which went on forever and ever. Not sour like in a lemon, more like sour like in a cup of coffee that has gone cold.

The Gunpowder Blend that I had yesterday had that same sort of aftertaste to it, and I’m nearly certain that they must have used Chun Mee for that blend. And seriously proud of my self for having figured this out too.

I think I definitely preferred the slightly weaker one of the two cups I had, and I think it must also have a couple more steeps left in it.

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100
drank Black Powder Blend by Luka Te m.m.
1270 tasting notes

First of all, this is NOT to be confused with Gunpowder as we know it, as in the green tea. While it does contain green tea and the green leaves are easily recognisable, they don’t look like Gunpowder to me. The name has more to do with the nature and taste of the blend. (Also, I’ve translated the name from danish, in which the tea Gunpowder is never mentioned)

This is supposedly a secret blend. I suppose that’s why on the shop’s website it says what it contains. English breakfast, a green tea and lapsang souchong. So apparently it’s only the identity of the green tea that is so sooper seekrit. My wild guess would be Chun Mee since that’s a strong enough green to do well in blends and the green leaves definitely look like they’ve been twisted.

Since it has green tea in it, I thought it best to let the water breathe for a couple of minutes before pouring it on. In the meantime, all you can smell on the dry leaves is the lapsang souchong, but it’s got a milder sort of smell with something sweet too, which I expect must be the seeeeeekrit green tea.

Considering that two thirds of this, at LEAST, is black tea and one of those is lapsang souchong, this has a very light colour. It smells really good though! The lapsang souchong isn’t at all as overpowering in the brew as it is in the dry leaves. It sort of reminds me of a wet cat who has just come in from the rain, and I’m showing my colours as a cat person when I say that I kind of like that smell. It was just the first thing that popped into my head when I smelled it. A normal person would probably describe it as a full sweet smell with a note of smoke.

This is really great! I could definitely get used to this. It’s like a very mild lapsang souchong that has been given just a little bit of sugar. At first you think you might as well have been drinking a weak lapsang souchong, but then the rest of the flavour comes out. The sweetness of the green tea and the fullness of the english breakfast and then the sharpness on top of it all.

If you don’t like lapsang souchong’s smokey flavour, I would suggest trying a blend of just the english breakfast and a green tea.

gmathis

Harney & Sons has a New Vithkanade (not sure if I spelled correctly) blend that’s just black and green minus the charcoal :o)

Angrboda

Nah, I love the Lapsang Souchong myself (and can’t shop at H&S). But if it’s just half as good as this was, it should definitely be worth a shot. Someone go and review that, I want to hear about it!

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36
drank Aniseed by Luka Te m.m.
1270 tasting notes

What’s this? A new addition to the collection? “But Angrboda,” I hear you say, “we thought you said you were on a fairly strict weekly budget this month and that it was Stingy-Month?”
Erm, yes. Yes, I did. And it still is. Just with the exception of the hour it took to walk down to the little local shop (and it’s the same shop, btw, it just changed it’s name), pick out *cough*five*cough* new teas and walk back again. AHEM!

I love liquorice and if you ask my boyfriend, who’s english, he’ll tell you that us danes have a weird taste in liquorice. But anyway, this was too interesting to pass by. Smell and visual tells me that they’re not lying about what it contains. I can see lots of bits of liquorice root and it smells a LOT of the aniseed oil.

Anybody here who have ever tried making a pure liquorice root tisane? Then you’ll know that it gives off a lot of flavour immediately after getting in contact with the water, so I’m not worried that it’ll be overpowered by the heavy aniseed.

I was expecting a darker brew, but this is a sort of vaguely reddish light brown colour. It still smells rather a lot of aniseed but the liquorice root is definitely coming after it.

Interesting flavour! Or rather, double flavour. You get first the aniseed in the middle of the tongue and then as you swallow the liquorice root appears along the sides of the tongue. Instead of getting two flavours in combination, you get one flavour sort of taking over from the other. It’s quite nice, but I can’t really find much tea flavour underneath. I can only find a very vague astringency as a proof that it’s there underneath.

ETA: Wow, a little bit of cane sugar really brings out the liquorice root here!
ETA again: Toned the rating down quite a bit because even the small pot is enough. More than enough actually.

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70
drank Passionfruit by Adagio Teas
1270 tasting notes

Say, isn’t it ‘passion fruit’ in two words? Anyway, I’ve been awake for hours and hours and we’re moving rather quickly towards noon actually. And I haven’t had a drop yet. Not because I didn’t want any, I just didn’t know what to pick. And then in a convoluted sort of thought patterns that I couldn’t trace even if I wanted to, one Arnold J. Rimmer makes the choice for me when the following quote popped into my head. “You are the fruit of their forbidden passion. You’re forbidden passion fruit.” (Red Dwarf S3E6 The Last Day) And I thought, hey why not? (Again with the setting, self! What gives???)

Smells sweet and kind of floral and with a note of something that kind of reminds me of yoghurt, strangely enough. It has a sort of dusty taste to me that makes me wonder if it’s fading and at the same time it tastes more ‘real’ than your average cheap flavoured bags. I think it’s the lack of syntheticness that does it.

Unfortunately I accidentally oversteeped it a little bit and the fruity flavours have drowned somewhat. The tea as such hasn’t turned unpleasant at all, it’s just not really all that sweet and fruity anymore. However, a smidgen of cane sugar, and we are back in business. Very nice.

TeaEqualsBliss

Everytime I look at that label I ask the same thing about it being 2 words! LOL

Jason

I thought the same thing too, but I added the tea myself and that’s how they spell it…

Angrboda

Yeah, I noticed that on the tin too which is why I didn’t edit. But even to my foreign eye it still looks strange. There are lots of teas with either spelling though so who can tell which are the right ones?

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70

I have been challenged by a fellow Wrimo to get to 25K before midnight on my NaNoWriMo novel. That means I have currently a little less than three hours to get three thousand more words down. That should be doable IF I can find some discipline to do it and don’t give up and go to bed. Now, I’ve just got to the bit where the actual plot really starts, so it’s turned a bit more difficult. (And why is it all my posts here must have a setting?)

Obviously tea is required for this little project, and I turned to the only proper white one (meaning one of good quality and/or without additives) that I’ve got. I don’t know why, really, it just struck me, when I was looking in the cupboard as a creative type tea. I am also going to put on some creative type music and write, write, write.

For some reason this also inspired me to bring my first yixing pot back into use. It’s been dormant for a while. It just seemed proper somehow. Every time I scald this, I regret that I didn’t have as many pots back when I bought it as I do now so that it’s not seasoned to one particular kind of tea. I’ve got it to the point now where you pour clean boiling water in it to warm it up before brewing and then it has visibly changed colour when you pour it away.

Obviously, I’m not going to get a ‘clean’ taste of this particular tea out of this pot, but I’m not good enough at tasting the differences that it’s generally a problem. Just an aesthetic sort of little complaint. At least it has never been used for anything other than greens and whites, so at least it’s not going to take on a side note of Lapsang Souchong or some such. Obviously, I desperately need a new yixing pot. Or several. grin

I can’t say anything about the proporties really because I don’t know if they’re really the REAL proporties, but it’s sort of a light yellowy colour. The smell has a note of chamomile (which I’m 98% sure has never been made in this pot), and underneath a nicely sweet smell. Thankfully, I’m not getting any chamomile flavour, but the pot has definitely affected the flavour. It tastes more green than white, but with a light astringency and a sweet grassy flavour, I’m not really going to complain about it.

This was really more a review of my pot than it was of my tea, wasn’t it? If you’re curious, you can go and check out what I said about this tea earlier and compare. :)

Jillian

I’ve never tried brewing tea in the oriental style although what I’ve been hearing about it sounds really interesting. Then again I’m not sure I’d have the patience to go through the process. ;)

I’ve seen white Darjeelings and other white Indian teas for sale now and then, but the prices are usually prohibitively expensive, so I’ve wondered if they’re worth digging into my wallet for or if they’re just a fad.

Angrboda

@ Notarevolution: I made it. I hit 25K just literally a couple of minutes before midnight, so I’m now six whole days ahead. :)

@ Jillian: My yixing isn’t really traditional oriental, it’s much too large for that, holding about 2½ cups worth. I just brew in it like I would in a normal pot. I’ve got a real tiny chinese one but I used that one for a really smoky yellow tea so now I can’t use it for anything else. It’s decorative, though, so it’s standing on top of my tv now and looking nice. :)

As for the white Darjeelings, I have no clue about the price of them so I can’t tell you wether or not their value for the money. I got mine as a gift, see, from an LJ friend who lives in India and from what I understand by her tea more or less directly from the estate. I only know what I had to pay in customs. I CAN say though that this one is indeed rather nice. :)

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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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