1317 Tasting Notes


From the queue. I’ll do two a day for the next week. I’m currently writing posts faster than I can post them, even when posting daily. It’s all these boatloads of untried things, you see. I suppose I feel inspired these days.

Bonnie shared this one with me and I confess I’ve been gathering courage to try it. You see, this is a loose puerh with cacao hulls, some vanilla black and some roasted chicory root. Apparently they also do a version with vanilla rooibos, but Bonnie chose the one without for me.

It’s the chicory root that has me concerned. It started to concern me already when I first smelled it and discovered that rather than smelling like cocoa and puerh, it just smelled allround weird. Worrisome. The first thought that popped into my head was ‘thin coffee’. Now, I know some people enjoy having their tea coffee flavoured. I, however, am one of those people who feel those two things should be kept as far apart as possible. I mean, I like drinking tea, obviously, and I also occasionally greatly enjoy a caffe latte (or even on rare occasions a small cup of ordinary coffee with milk). Drinking one does not exclude the liking of the other at all. It’s the combination of the two that I find to be frankly disgusting. Coffee flavour has no business being in my tea and vice versa.

So you can see why I’m concerned, yes?

However, it was shared with me by someone who meant well and thought I would find it interesting, therefore I’m going to have a cup of it anyway. I sometimes take a long time to do it and sometimes I end up not even posting about it, but when people have shared something with me, I always try it, even though I don’t believe I’ll like it. It’s the polite thing to do and it’s also a practice that has given me more than a few very pleasant surprises. For example, it was cteresa sharing a fruit-flavoured rooibos with me that led me to discover under which circumstances I can actually really enjoy a rooibos after having gone for years believing I didn’t like any rooibos at all. Now I’ve got loads of fruit-flavoured rooiboses.

Besides, isn’t this really the purpose of swaps? Exploring the things you would never in your life have tried otherwise? See you later, comfort zone!

So here we go! Tea that smells like thin coffee. It’s the chicory root, of course, that gives the coffee-y impression, not real coffee. I believe I’ve had blends with chicory in them before. I’m almost certain I have. I have clear memories of having tried it in a blend, but I can’t remember which blend that might have been or what I thought of it. I don’t, however, remember it as being awful. I think I would have remembered something on the lowest end of the point scale. This gives me confidence.

After steeping it’s much more cocoa-y in the aroma. The chicory is still there, but it’s dampened significantly by the cocoa, and the primary impression I’m getting now is freshly baked brownies that has just come out of the oven 20 seconds ago. The good sort of brownies, baked with loads of high quality chocolate rather than cocoa powder. It makes me want to bake again! Haven’t baked anything at all since before Christmas, but there are still lots of biscuits left and those need to go first. (Also, I’ve got an ice cream project I want to try first, now that we’ve got a freezer that is larger than a match box)

More confidence!

I’m just about to taste it now and I’m actually not even scared of it even more.

Okay, the chicory is fairly distinct in the flavour with it’s coffee-ish notes, but not directly off-putting. Just… I could have lived without the chicory, really. It also rather messes with the cocoa, making it not actually taste much like cocoa but more like an enhancement for the chicory. It doesn’t help that cocoa or chocolate in tea rarely truly works for me because my brain expects a completely different consistency which the tea can’t deliver for obvious reason.

I can vaguely pick up some earthy notes of the puerh base, but these are most prominent in the aftertaste. In the sip itself, however, I’m surprised to find that it’s the vanilla black that is actually standing out more. It’s sweet and slightly creamy, and in a strange way managing to be vanilla with being very vanilla-y in flavour. I think it’s the other flavours in this that are messing with it.

Although I mentioned that I’ve learned to drink rooibos, and lots of it, in recent years, I find I’m glad Bonnie chose the one without rooibos for me. I think rooibos would have added unnecessary confusion to the mix, and vanilla alone in rooibos never really did it for me as much as vanilla + fruit does.

I’m a little ambivalent. I’m pleased with the puerh and the vanilla black, and would have enjoyed the cocoa more if not for the chicory. But I could also really live without the chicory. Or perhaps not even entirely without it, but just less of it.

I can’t decide what I actually think of this. I suspect it could grow on me, though, if I made sure to have it another couple of times in relatively quick succesion.

Later addition: I wound up taking the rest of this one with me to drink at work, for which it proved to be eminently suitable. I could easily have continued with this sort of work tea for a while. At about the same time my colleague brought a small tin of Kusmi’s spicy chocolate blend, which I found somewhat similar to this one. Rating is large based on how this tea has helped me through many many work days.


mmmmm this sounds yummy. I really need to order from lucky tea house!


It very much grew on me. Turns out that chicory is a thing that one can get used to. I’d still rather be without it, but it bothered me less after a while.

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drank Peach & Thyme by Fauchon
1317 tasting notes

From the queue

MissB shared a sample of this one with me, and for those who don’t speak French (I don’t; I looked it up), the name is ‘peach and thyme’. Thyme! I’ve never had a tea that had thyme in it before, but I like using thyme in cooking so this is very exciting. I did actually see a different tea recently which had raspberry and thyme which I found somewhat interesting, but wasn’t brave (or rich! Exorbitant price!) enough to purchase. If this one is a success, I may go back to that shop and get some. Is thyme the new fashion ingredient?

The dry leaf smells… peculiar, but lovely. Herb-y fruit? Fruit-y herbs? It’s not really fully recognisable as thyme or as peach, but something in between which smells thouroughly weird. Weird, but lovely. I’ve been sniffing at the bag for several minutes now.

After steeping, the thyme is quite easily recognised in the aroma. It rather reminds me of spaghetti sauce to the point where I caught myself attempting to detect tomato. I couldn’t, for obvious reasons. The peach, however, appears to have gone into hiding. Perhaps it’s shy. I can tell that there’s something else in there, but it’s not really coming out to play. I can’t really tell anything about the base tea at all, though.

The flavour is quite the opposite of the aroma. Where it smells a lot like thyme and not so much like fruit, it tastes a lot like peach and less like thyme. The first sip gave me a ‘yeah, this is peach tea alright’ sort of experience. It has rather clear herb-y overtones, but to my surprise there is actually harmony between the herb and the fruit. I confess I wasn’t entirely convinced that this was possible. The idea of it just seems so bizarre. Like basil ice cream. But it works. It really works.

I’m very pleased with this. It’s a very interesting and pleasant flavour and I’m definitely feeling much more inclined to go and try that raspberry thyme tea I saw now. This is great.


Oh, yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed this, and that it’s prompted you to try other thyme teas. I’ve liked all of Fauchon’s blends so far.

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drank All Day Classic by NUTE
1317 tasting notes

From the queue

We went into town today to spend some gift certificates we got for Christmas on some new cutlery. I’ve been wanting this for when we moved into our house, because the cutlery that we had was all mismatched and lumped together out of at least five different sets. And I don’t know about the stuff that Husband had when we moved in together, but the stuff I had was almost all something I had inherited from my parents when moving away from home. I wanted cutlery that actually matched and that I had had from new. Cutlery doesn’t really wear out, so it doesn’t get replaced naturally unless you make the decision yourself to replace it. It took a little convincing of Husband, but eventually he conceeded my point. I think the last little stretch of convincing wasn’t actually me, but the fact that he saw for himself that it was a little annoying to not be able to set a table for six with matching things. It looks haphazard and like you’re not really making an effort.

Anyway, on our way there we passed a small shop that sold tea, coffee and fancy chocolate. It was actually because they had a sign outside saying they carried AC Perchs teas that we decided to go in and have a look. There were only six or seven ACP teas to choose from, though, and none of them particularly interesting, but they also had several ones of this brand. It’s completely new to me, but apparently it’s a Scandinavian company. The tea is sold in 100g packages which came in a very attractive-looking wooden caddy. I really like wood as a material, I find it very decorative. Even better, they had this one which is a single farm Chinese black from the Hubei province. I think we all know what I’m like with Chinese black, and an interestingly new-to-me one at that!

I dithered a bit, because it was 95kr for one, but in the end I succumbed to temptation, part of which was the tea itself and part of it being caddy-lust. I wanted that caddy. I wanted it!

Turns out, however, that the caddy was also untreated wood on the inside, which meant I wouldn’t be able to wash it when the leaves were used. I had hoped that it might be a metal or just a plastic container clad in wood, but alas. After a lot of thinking, weighing of options and considering the matter, I decided to just pour the tea in and find a different use for the caddy after it was gone, only to have to transfer it to a proper metal tin shortly after when it transpired that the lid didn’t actually seal properly anymore when it wasn’t held in place by the plastic wrapping.

So verdict on the caddy, highly attractive and equally as useless. Out with that, then. I can’t even use it for something else when I can’t put the lid on.

The tea itself seems to be a paradox. At the first sip, it’s suprisingly bitter. Not over-leafed-bitter. Not over-steeped-bitter. It’s bitter because it just is.

But it’s a Chinese black! I hear you protest. Those are never bitter!

I know! And it’s not just the bitterness. It gets worse.

Worse? Gosh!

In addition to this seemingly naturally occurring bitterness, it’s really a fairly light flavour. Oh, it’s pretty strong and full-bodied, yes, but it gives me a sort of light and springy-bouncy impression, the sort that is the exact opposite of bitter.

I’m not sure how this is possible. Mutually exclusive flavour profiles in equal measure. Paradox tea. Does that mean the whole tin is in danger of unmaking itself? I had better drink it fast, then.

It does bring to mind something I saw on the discussion boards, though, about how organic teas tended to be more bitter than ordinary teas because of uh… because of Reasons. I can’t even remember who said it either now. Look at me with my source material all in order. :p

As it cools more and I drink more, though, I discover something about that bitterness. The bitter pinch of it slowly fades and it becomes a sort of old wood-y, burnt toast-y kind of coal-y thing. It tastes old. Not old as in ‘these leaves must be several years old!’, but old as in the very concept of age.

At the first sip, with the paradoxical bitterness, I was a little disappointed, because I paid an arm and a leg for this and I had already been thwarted by the attractive-looking but totally useless caddy, but now that I’ve been nursing this cup for a while, I’ve decided that I actually really very much like it. It feels like it would be a good first aid tea. You know, the kind of tea you drink when everything seems to be against you and the world as such can go jump off a cliff. It’s much in the same family as life-giving tea.

I should be surprised if there wasn’t a second steep in this.

Indeed there is. The flavour profile is exactly the same as before, if a smidge milder, in the second steep. Very rarely have I come across teas where it was worth the effort to attempt a third steep when brewing them Western style, but this is one where I definitely feel like it’s worth it to at least give it a go.

It may have cost a small fortune and it may have come with a useless caddy, but I feel I am actually getting value for money with this. It’s a little out of my way to go back to that shop, but I want to try some of the other teas from NUET now, so I’ll probably do it. (I’ll just know not to expect anything from the caddy)

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From the queue

Anna shared a sample of this one with me. It’s a green base, which I don’t think I had fully realised when I asked for it. I’ve had a green vanilla-flavoured tea before and was only moderately impressed, but kiwi and vanilla sounded like such a fantastic combination I just had to try it. (Besides the previous experience with green vanilla tea, I believe was before my current vanilla-y preference had fully set in.)

I can tell you, the leaves definitely smell awesome. The kiwi is strong and the vanilla is sweet and creamy so that the whole thing reminds me of a fruity cream cake! (And I can always eat some cream cake). After steeping I can mostly smell kiwi and the base tea in more or less equal measure. This is quite nice, actually. It smells as though kiwi might be one of those flavours that just ‘click’ with green tea. Bit like orange and pu-erh do for me. It’s so rare to see kiwi flavoured anything, though. I wonder why that is?

(Cool faster, tea, so I don’t burn my tongue. I want to taste you.)

This is happy tea! Seriously, one sip and I’m grinning so widely the top of my head might come off! I don’t know exactly which quality it has that makes me have that reaction, it just does. I suppose that might be what you might call x-factor, although that concept has been rather polluted by irritating talent shows in recent years.

At first I taste primarily the green tea, so for a moment there I was a little disappointed by the flavouring. Then I got the kiwi, and then a thick creamy vanilla which brings me right back to aforementioned cream cake.

Perhaps that’s it? Not x-factor, but cream cake-factor.

This stuff is right up my particular alley of nom!


The Alley of Nom is always a nice place to be.


Yay, and it’s a WIN. We agree on a tea!!!


Anna, stranger things have happened… I just can’t think of any at the moment. :p (I suspect though that it might be because it’s not a black tea. We definitely prefer different things in those. I rarely ever have any green at all, so I’m not so set in my ways with those.

Fjellrev, I agree. It’s also where all the bakeries and sweetie shops are. :p

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drank Bamboo-Pomelo by TeaGschwendner
1317 tasting notes

From the queue

When MissB provided me with some Sleepytime Vanilla, she also sent me a lot of other samples of what she happened to have on hand. Many of them are herbal, so I’ve got loads of choice for my Before Bed Beverages (Triple B’s).

This was one of them, and I’ve been quite looking forward to trying it. The box of teas to write about has been rather neglected since November or so, so I had forgotten all about it, until I re-found it in there today. As soon as I saw it, I know that was what I wanted.

Pomelo grapefruit is one of my favourite citrus fruits. I’m quite fond of the more ordinary grapefruits as well, particularly the pink ones, but pomelos are special because they’re much sweeter in a way that reminds me a little bit of honey.

The blend looks lovely. It’s green and yellow and with bits of red in it. It just looks jolly, somehow. It smells nice after brewing as well. All clean and fresh and not actually as grapefruit-y as I had imagined. I think the bamboo must be tempering that a bit.

The flavour didn’t disappoint either. I’ve had a bamboo herbal before. I believe it was Jillian who shared that one with me several years ago. That one wasn’t a blend, just bamboo, and I have to say that I can’t rightly recall what it tasted like, only that I found it pleasant. I did in this one as well. The overall impression that I got from this blend was citrus-y refreshment, and then I got a fair bit of sweet grapefruit mainly as an aftertaste. A small whiff of that aftertaste has been lingering for a really long time now which is not at all an unwelcome experience.

The last third of the cup was forgotten and grew cold, but that hasn’t made it any less lovely. I expect this blend would do very nicely as a cold brew as well

I greatly enjoyed this blend. I used half of the sample that MissB sent me and I expect I’ll be using the other half quite soon.


You’re right, pomelo does have a honey note. I’m personally crazy over pink grapefruit.

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drank Bad Weather by Fru P Kaffe & The
1317 tasting notes

From the queue

Yes, that is what the blend is actually called! Can you imagine going into the shop and saying, “hello, may I have some bad weather, please?” It makes me really want to like it, just so that I can buy some more and get to say that. Also, this was December 22nd in my Christmas calendar, but since I wasn’t very good at keeping up with that and still (writing this in mid-January) haven’t actually tasted half of them yet, I’m just going to start adding them to the queue.

Unfortunately, it smells rather anise-y and I’m not really a fan of anise in general. It gets far too cloying very quickly. I can’t tell what else might be in here, and looking at the blend itself isn’t really helping much at all. I can see some yellow bits and some green bits and some reddish brown bits and a few red bits. Could be anything, although I think the red bits look a bit rose-y. I’m also wondering if the reddish brown bits might be some sort of freeze dried fruit. There is a note under the anise which may or may not be kind of fruity.

The first note I can taste is anise, and then with something possibly fruity underneath. I think there must be some mint as well, but that’s really a no-brainer, because I’ve found that it’s difficult to find a herbal blend which doesn’t contain mint in some form or other. I’m sure they exist, but few of them have crossed my particular path.

In spite of the anise, this isn’t actually as dreadful as feared when I first sniffed it. I shan’t be going into the shop and asking for more bad weather, but I can probably finish this lot off.

I’m not sure about the rating here, as I find myself in the odd situation of not really having an opinion on it either way. I think I’ll just leave it off for the time being.


Is it ‘Bad Weather’ in English or Danish?


Dårligt vejr. I tend to translate these Danish names, but I’ve been wondering whether I ought to.


Personally, I think it would be really helpful if you could put both! If I get excited about something and want to google it, or buy it, that really helps. This is what I usually do:


That way you have both the original name and the translation up there. I don’t know if there are any downsides, like, ’it’s too long’, or ‘there are weird letters there’, but I like that I see all the info at a glance.


A portuguese store sells a “bad weather” tea, titled in english. supposedly black tea with cinnamon, almond, tangerine and flower petals. it does not sound like this one does it? But it is a cool name.

I once had a finnish tea called cheery rainy day tea. Though my rainy day teas are smoked usually and it was not.


I don’t really like that solution. It seems so clumsy to me, like repeating myself.


I dropped a comment on the suggestions thread. I should like to see an actual place on the tea page where alternative names could be listed. Like these blends, for example, or your Swedish ones. Or just when now and then a blend is relaunched under a different name.


Yes, good idea!

And yeah, it’s hard with alternative languages, because it feels wrong to me to just make up my own translation – I mean, I wouldn’t call Noël à Pékin ‘Christmas in Beijing’ as I entered it into the database, so why would I translate a Swedish product name? Granted, it’s a smaller language, but that shouldn’t make a difference on an English-speaking community.

I’ve given this way too much thought, as you can tell, haha.


I’ve had the same considerations with French names when ordering form LPdT. Luckily, with their English version of the site, the names were translated as well, so I could go with those. :D

On the other hand, whether it’s French or Portuguese or Swahili is all the same matter to me. I can’t understand either.


Hehehe. Swahili tea names would be awesome. Oooh, so you entered the English LPdT names! Yeah, we clearly need a system here, my OCD is getting really twitchy now.

By the way, do you know anything about the origin of the A.C. Perchs and Fru P blends? Are many of them also German imports, like the majority of Swedish teas? I find myself getting more and more curious about this. (‘Auntie Ang, where do teas come from?’ 0_0)


I think for the LPdT the majority was already in the database, actually. But that’s what I usually do. I look for an English version and use that name. It’s what I do with ACP as well.

As for your other question, I haven’t the faintest. ACP, I believe do some of their themselves and import others. Small shops like Fru P, I would be hugely surprised if that was not some sort of wholesale.


We clearly need Pu’erhonica Mars, Tea Detective. Anyway, I’m off – thanks Ang, hope you have a good weekend!


Anna, I totally spat my tea out. Thanks for the laugh! :D

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I’m skipping the queue with this one, because I need to gush! There will be a queued post later, so that I’m not neglecting those.

I’m having Bad Dog! tea. I hadn’t heard about this company before, until SimplyJenW made a post about their Keemun in which it was mentioned that it had been grown in Fujian. This caught my interest. Keemun and Fujian black. And not just any bit of Fujian. No, it was near the village of Tan Yang! A combination of my two favouritest things in the world of tea? Was it a blend? No, it wasn’t. My guess was that it must be like that Taiwanese Assam that Butiki has, the one which is made from Assam cultivars but grown in Taiwan. This was indeed what was going on.

Steepsterites. I needed this tea in my life. I needed it like air!

I made some inquiries regarding the possibility of shipping to Denmark and what it would cost, and Joseph Wesley is a very kind soul who really went out of his way to help me get an order. Long story short, order was placed through email, and payment sent through paypal. And this is where my jaw dropped and I had to do a little dance of victory. What I had ordered would have made me eligible for free shipping, had I been in the US. Obviously, this was not feasible for him to do when shipping to Denmark, so instead he offered to pay half the shipping cost for me, so that I still got something out of having ordered for that much. So many companies would have simply said ‘sorry, we can’t give you free shipping to Europe, because we don’t normally ship there,’ and I’d have been fine with that. This solution that Joseph Wesley offered me would never even have occurred to me! I thought it was very generous of him to offer it, and if he hadn’t, I’m not sure I would have placed the order at all. It made the difference between what I’m willing to pay for shipping and what I’m not. Clearly this guy had taken pity on me in my Fujian Keemun desperation and decided to move sun and moon to make it happen. I went HOORAY! and forked over the money.

The generosity didn’t stop there, though. Let me tell you, Steepsterites, what happened next.

Joseph Wesley has seven different teas on his website, six of which I was interested in trying. There was the aforementioned gold nugget, this one which I’ll be writing about in a moment, an Assam (I’m becoming interested in Assam lately), three more Chinese blacks and a Darjeeling. Pass on the Darj. I don’t much care for that stuff. But the others! When ordering samples, you can get three samples, five samples or seven samples. Ideally, at this point I would have liked four, but I then realised that I’ll be sending a parcel to Auggy shortly, so why not ask for doubles and share with her? Seeing as how we appreciate the same sort of qualities in our black teas and generally love the same things, I should like to have her opinion as well. And I was already planning on sharing some of the Fujian Keemun with her anyway. So in the end I opted for seven samples, three of which were doubles.

When I then received my parcel, it included a handwritten letter from Joseph Wesley about how my size order fell just exactly in a zone of ‘no practical packaging’ and that he had included an extra free sample! I now have doubles of all the samples to share with Auggy! YAY!

How fabulous is that?

I didn’t start with the coveted Fujian Keemun, though. I haven’t tried it yet. I’m waiting for the Right Moment. Well, actually I just want to go around a look at the tin for a bit and just look forward to it. And pet it now and then. :)

This one I also got a tin of, and it’s from Zheijiang province. I am certain that I’ve had tea from there before, but I’d have to dig deep in my notes to find out which ones it was, so for all intents and purposes, it’s new to me.

I followed the suggestion from Joseph Wesley of using significantly cooler water than I normally would have. He suggests the same temperatures that I would normally have used for a white tea, or perhaps a particularly hardy green. This rather went against everything I’ve learned about my own preferences, but I thought, since I’d seen it I’d give it a go. I don’t normally look for these things at all, you see. I’ve been at this long enough to know what I like and how I like it, and next time I have this, it’ll very likely be the way I would normally brew, so I can see if there is a discernable difference. I expect the cultivar is dictating the temperature somewhat here.

The aroma is very mild and malty. I’m having a hard time really getting it. It does that thing where I can almost imagine that it’s somehow heavier than air, and I can sense it hovering there above the tea, but I can’t draw it into my nose properly. It’s quite strange.

It tastes… You know my very first thought was licorice. Not the anise-y unlicorice that some of you call licorice (Ha! I must laugh! Ha!) and which has nothing to do with proper licorice. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Anise =/= licorice. Anise doesn’t even taste like licorice. It tastes like anise.Not proper, real licorice which is as black as night, it has a chewy texture and preferably salty. Paradoxically, Real Proper Licorice which is chewy and preferably salty, doesn’t actually have too much to do with licorice root either. I’m sure it’s made of the stuff somehow. Some kind of extract probably, but it tastes different from actual dried licorice root. And when I say ‘this reminded me at first of licorice’ I meant Real Proper. Not anise, not licorice root.

Gosh that was long and complicated for something that was just a fleeting thought. I’ve accidentally made this cup a bit strong. I thought I had more water in the kettle when I measured out the leaf, you see, but the tea, although a wee bit astringent, has not been damaged. No bitterness. If I had used boiling water like I normally would I might not have been so lucky with it.

Now, what I’m actually picking up here when the licorice moment has passed is an underlying note of dark chocolate. Very dark chocolate. Well within the range of 70%+ cocoa here, and yet it’s still chocolate rather than cocoa. It’s rather hiding a bit. I just find myself sitting there going hmm, grain, yes, slightly floral, yes, bit Keemun-y, yes, hey, what was that? And there it is, lurking underneath all the rest is the chocolate. I’m also getting a smidge of cherries in it, but not until it’s all cooled down to lukewarm at the bottom of the cup, and even then it’s just a teensy bit, but still. Cherry.

Basically this reminds me of a strong Keemun with some chocolate-y notes in it and a wee bit of cherry. I’m really rather enjoying this, even though I accidentally overleafed it a bit.


I do understand the licorice anise difference thing, though I am one of those who has used the comparison in a review. I had an uncle that kept real licorice candy around to chew on. It is so completely different from the black jelly bean licorice of today.


you review really makes me want to have a look at this website for the teas and for the client service.


I’ma keemun lover myself and SimplyJenW recommended JW’s keemun – the coupled with this awesome review just led me to order samples from JW.


Clearly I am not awake enough to be typing – excuse my typos. I just ordered samples of this one, the keemun and the bai ling. Can’t wait to get them!


As soon as I cave and start buying tea again for myself they are definitely on my list to place an order with.


So glad you got a chance to try the tea! Just wait until you try the others! And yes, the service is fantastic.

Joseph Wesley Black Tea

thanks everyone for the kind words. I’m happy that you are enjoying the teas. The makers of this particular tea are wonderful and I’m happy they agreed to use their long jing cultivars to make this tea. As an aside, we’re in the process of taking this tea out of our series of loose leaf tea and putting it into tea bags (sachets) so that we can make room for one or two new black teas. We’re hopeful that the new bags/pyramids/sachets will be available in the next month or two. Thanks again, Joe

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From the queue

This is a tea that Bonnie shared with me, and it is also the first real tea post I’m writing in the new house. It was also one that Bonnie chose to give me, I think, with an eye on Project Africa.

Therefore I’ve spent some time trying to work out where Ajiri was on the map. Turns out Ajiri is a company name and not a place name. They have a rather lovely and informative website. The actual tea is produced at the Nyansiongo factory, which was made a LOT easier to find on the map once I discovered that I’d been spelling it wrong all along. The factory itself didn’t appear to be marked in, so I just placed the arrow somewhere in the middle of the town. The Nyansiongo factory is a cooperative of several small local farmers in the Kisii highlands.

There’s a veeeery strong and malty aroma here, which smells on the verge of turning bitter. I may have leafed it wrong after all. It’s CTC and I’m always very careful with those because they get strong so very quickly. I put less leaf in my pot than my brain felt like it was used to, but I still think I’ve got a super strong cup here. There’s also a smidge of that high-grown feeling in it, but that might actually be down to sheer strength. I am sitting here with a cup almost as dark as coffee after all!

GOSH! It is quite strong! It even has that sort of bitterness at the back of the throat that I get when drinking coffee. It’s not unpleasantly bitter or at all undrinkable, but it’s just a tad much. I would do a rare instance of milking it (I usually have milk in my coffee), but as it so happens, we haven’t currently got any milk until I’ve been to the shops, so I’ll just have to power through and try making a second cup with even less leaf. This is why I’m not a fan of CTC. It messes with my habits learned through a decade!

Now, if we ignore that hit of bitterness at the moment of swallowing, we’ve got a strong cup of tea here, which feels suitable for this time of day (morning). Until swallowing it feels very smooth, so if I had made it a little weaker I believe it would have been all-over smooth and lovely. It definitely shows some promise in that regard.

It’s hard for me to really analyse the flavour, though. It tastes like default tea. Quite a good body to it, but it’s a one-note deal all in all. I get the impression that this might be very good in blends, adding body to some lighter teas with more distinctive notes. I think this + not too fancy keemun, for example, would make a lovely blend.

The second cup felt, when I made it, severely understeeped and underleafed, but the result was much better. It is indeed very smooth but still with a lot of body. It’s less of a one-note default tea deal now, and has taken on leather-y, wood-y, malty notes and it finishes with a touch of high-grown-ness. I still think it would go wonderfully in blends, though.

Map reference: http://goo.gl/maps/ULUUD

(Awwwww, very purry and cute lap-Charm in a rare social moment. ♥)


Has anyone heard from Bonnie in a while?


I saw her comment somewhere recently-ish, I’m sure of it. Perhaps she’s just lurking and not feeling like participating at the moment?

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From the queue

Project Africa!

Project Africa is rather more slow moving than I had imagined when I started. Or perhaps I was just spoiled by Project Ceylon in which I had something like twelve samples to start with. However, Bonnie has shared two African black teas with me. I shared some of my Tanzanian black with her, so that’s how it came about.

The aroma is quite strong and wood-y and with more than a small amount of that faintly grass-y note that indicate a capacity to turn undrinkably bitter if not treated properly.

Ooh gosh, it’s a bit strong! Husband commented on the leaf as being ‘funny’. I’m not sure he considered what that actually implied brewing-wise. Still totally drinkable, though, so I’m pressing on.

It has a sort of funny ‘thick’ flavour. It doesn’t taste like puerh at all, but it’s that same sensation of substance to it. The overall impression of the flavour is at first sort of starchy, probably enhanced by the thick feeling. Or possibly the other way around, I don’t know.

With a slightly more careful sip (Ow. Hot.) I’m also picking up a vague hint of cocoa and a strong note of wood and grain. It reminds me rather of a good mid- or low grown Ceylon here. Galle, for example, which I rather enjoyed. Husband didn’t much care for Galle, so that leads me to believe that he probably won’t like this one much either. Which in turn means, because I can never seem to predict this, he’ll probably love it.

I think it’s quite nice. Good and strong and suitable for the morning. As mentioned, though, Husband did make it Extra Strength by accident, but I think I can see through it enough to imagine how it would behave with maybe half a teaspoon less of leaf, and I have attempted to rate accordingly. Rating, as always, is subject to sudden change.

Addition when posting: Having now had almost all the rest of the pouch with a more conservative sort of leaf dosage, I stand by the rating I decided on when the main part of the post was written. I’ve found that with experience it can actually be possible to see through an overleafed tea and imagine what it would have been like under ideal circumstances. Provided enough that the overleafing is not too severe. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. It’s fun to try, though, and test it again later. This one turned out to be relatively predictable. :)

Also, I forgot to mention something about the geography with this one. It’s my first tea from Uganda, and it was grown quite a bit further west than any of the other African teas I’ve had at this point, not so far from Lake Edward. As you can see on the map, all the ones from Kenya were grown East of Lake Victoria, but on the same latitude as this one. I don’t know if that matters, but it should be the same sort of climate at least. The Tanzania and the Mozambique are much further South, further away from Lake Victoria than the Uganda is, but I still feel like I can see some similarities between all the African ones so far. They are all strong and they taste hardy. They are also very nearly all of them CTC which may have something to do with it.

Reference map: http://goo.gl/maps/2Ylx6


Great review! I enjoy reading about your tea projects.


I sort of want to make a map for Project Unflavoured Green now, but I don’t know if that’s even pointful. Pointerly. If there is a point to doing that.

adagio breeze

I love that you’re mapping the locations of your teas! Are you a geography nerd too? :)


I started doing it with Project Ceylon because I had noticed that I liked some Ceylons a lot better than others, and I wanted to see if there was a pattern. If there was, purchasing Ceylons would be a lot easier because I’d have an idea of which I’d like or not. I learned that I liked low-grown and medium-grown, but not so much high-grown. I found it useful to explore an area in a systematic way like this, so I kept the idea. I didn’t know anything at all about African teas, so I figured looking for a pattern in the same way again would be helpful. I haven’t had enough teas in this project yet to be able to really spot one, though.

adagio breeze

It’s such a great idea! I think I’m gonna have to start something like this for myself.

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drank 1001 Nights by Tea Moments
1317 tasting notes

From the queue

This one came from the EU Travelling Teabox, round 1. I was originally going to make a fruity white and green blend from the Fru P Christmas calendar when it struck me that if I wanted a tea which was not black, and therefore rather out of my usual tea-sphere, then I really ought to tackle something from the Yet To Be Tried box, a box which appears to be changing its name every time I mention it and which is at present full to bursting!

So I dug through to see what I could find and decided on this flavoured green tea. It has rose petals and sunflower and ‘aroma’. Aroma of what? Fruit? Flowers? Spices? Sweets? Lamb chops? Old wellies? What? It could be anything! Consequently I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m going into here.

Now, I’m not usually very keen on floral teas at all, so my mind is boggling a bit as to why I chose to take some of it. Perhaps it had something to do with the lack of jasmine that made me feel more safe about it. Either way, I took some and now I’m trying it.

It smells quite floral. I’m rather reminded of a bar of scented soap. The scent of the scented soap, but not the soap itself, if you understand what I mean. Luna the Cat seems to find it a mildly interesting smell as she sniffed at it for a fairly long time. This is noteworthy because normally when she investigates my cup she seems to find whichever tea I’m drinking rather stinky and shies away from it. There’s another note in here as well which reminds me strongly of honey. Either the aforementioned ‘aroma’ has something to do with honey or a honey-like product or I have just discovered nasal proof of the fact that bees make honey from flowers. All in all, it’s actually quite an attractive aroma to both Angs and Lunas.

The sencha base is strong in the flavour. I can easily recognise the vegetative flavour of green tea here, but the flowers are fairly in the background. Most floral teas, when I first sip them, it’s like getting a mouthful of perfume, but this is not the case here. It’s first and foremost a green tea and then any flavouring appears to be occurring around the edges and in the background. It becomes rather more pronounced in cooling, but still it isn’t really taking over.

To my vast surprise, I’m finding it actually quite palatable.


from the queue! haha yaaa!


I’ve added it to all the posts in the queue. I don’t know why I didn’t do that from the beginning. This has led me to think I proabably also ought to have noted the day I had them.


…classic SilAnna mind control.


Oh, and thank you for being so great about always noting the tea is from the swap box! I added this one to the list – we’re almost at 70 notes now.


Well, I count sort of the same as mentioning who shared something with me. In this case it’s too much of a hassle for me to keep up with who added what, so I’m thinking The Box shared it with me. :)

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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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