1290 Tasting Notes


This + freshly baked scones with a variety of marmalade, honey and lemon curd.

In all my humblest modesty; OM NOM NOM NOM!!!

(No clotted cream, though. I know of one place only where I can buy that here and I wasn’t about to retrace my steps. Research has shown me that it’s supposedly super-easy to make your own but it’s an overnight sort of job. Requires more preparation than my spontaneous cravings)


I have scone envy.


Super easy recipe from AC Perchs actually. I have the book they published celebrating their 175th jubilee. I translated it in the comments on my other post about this tea. They’re very quick to make, it only takes about half an hour before they’re ready to eat. http://steepster.com/Angrboda/posts/190223
Husband says (and he should know) that they taste very authenticcally English.


oh god.. those sounds amazing


Now I have even more scone envy. I’m taking this year off from baking, though – Italian flour is a science unto itself (among other obstacles).

The recipe looks great – I’ve experimented a lot, and have found the best results (to get them just the way I want them) with a mix of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar for the leavening agent, and a mix of butter and vegetable shortening for the fat.


I always, always bake with butter, never vegetable shortening. I don’t even keep the stuff in the house. I find the result is worth the extra cost of the butter.

Your leavening mix sounds more or less like my baking powder though.


Ooh, is Italian flour self-raising? In that event just add sugar, milk and butter. Salt and leavening agent are already in there.


Oh, I am as anti-margarine as they come, but using 1/3 shortening and 2/3 butter is a way to make the scones crumble in a very specific way. It’s more about consistency than flavour, and the very small amount of shortening used doesn’t affect the flavour adversely, in my opinion.

Oh, Ang. Italian flour is just plain evil.


Oh, these were plenty crumbly. :) Why do I always put the most runny jam on the most crumbly half???

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drank Madagascan Vanilla by Tea Palace
1290 tasting notes

Another from my recent TP order.

I expect if I told you that I had made an order and NOT bought any of this, half of you would probably have been ready to call an ambulance for me or something.

And I must say, it smells heavenly! All sweet and vanilla-y and awesome. It doesn’t have the punch and strong caramel-y notes that my favourite from Fru P does, but it’s still pretty good. Mind you, I think the Fru P blend is a wee bit on the pungent side aroma-wise, so if I end up having a cup that tastes like Fru P’s and smells like this one does, then there it is. The Perfect Vanilla Black.

Hm. It’s quite a harsh flavour just at first. I’m not certain exactly how vanilla can be harsh at all, but that was my immediate thought when I tried to think of a word to describe it. Then after that very initial harshness it blooms into full on vanilla. Again it’s not as strongly flavoured as Fru P, though, so I’m afraid it’s not really coming up to Perfect standard.

Still quite good though, and it gets more vanilla-y when slurped and when it cools a bit. It has quite a caramel-y aftertaste to it as well.

It’s lovely, this, absolutely lovely, but I still prefer Fru P, which is probably best as I can get that in town.

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drank Tama Ryokucha by Teavana
1290 tasting notes

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drank Chai by Teapigs
1290 tasting notes

Scheherazade sent me this one. Chai is not really something I’ve ever been particularly fond of, although I’ve sometimes wondered what I’m missing out. The problem with chai is partly that they invariably contain ginger and cinnamon, neither of which are things I’m fond of in tea, but mostly a rather traumatic introduction to it at around age 10. I will tell you what happened.

As a child, I was a scout for many years. At around age 10 or so, my group got new leaders. These were two guys who were… Well. A bit hippie-y in some ways and very correct in other ways. These two traits came together in a common purpose whenever it was time for giving the children some sort of treat. Like when we were camping or the last meeting before the Christmas holidays or what have you. For a child age 10 or so, this sort of occasion is pretty much synonymous with hot chocolate.

BUT GOSH, NO! Hot chocolate, that’s full of sugar! And fat! Very bad for children! Also very very common and boring, let’s put our own personal Eastern spin on things.

Let’s give the children chai instead, what a good idea!

I think they even had their own spice blend for it. Dear scout leaders that I had at around age 10. No, it was not a good idea. It was in fact a totally rubbish idea. We, the children, drank your strange spicy concoction dutifully because it was that or nothing, but I’m willing to wager a rather large amount today that none of the children even knew what chai was and the vast majority of them would most likely much rather have had hot chocolate.

A couple of years later, when we got new leaders again the concept of chai for these special occasions went the way of the dodo right quickly.

So yes, I will definitely claim to have had a rather fraught and difficult introduction to chai in general.

I have never really warmed up to it, although I’ve tried again several times. Now Scheherazade is providing me with another go. It seems a fairly simple one. It has tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cassia, which is also some kind of cinnamon-y spice. So not a complicated one, just the base ingredients that I would associate with chai. It strikes me as being a very good starting point, really.

I made it with half milk and half water. I gave the cup of milk about 90 seconds in the microwave, put in the bag and filled up with boiling water. The milk makes it difficult for me to see when I think it’s done steeping, though. I’m not at all used to milk in tea, but I have learned this much in my adventures with chai; milk is essential.

It smells very nice indeed, actually! All cinnamon-y sweet, but not soapy and nostril-assaulting like cinnamon can sometimes be. Cinnamon sugar and rice porridge cooked with milk. This cup smells pretty much like Christmas.

It tastes quite mild and milky. Possibly I should have used more water and less milk? I plopped the bag back in while drinking though, to see if I could get it to be a bit stronger. I can’t pick up anything in the way of a base here at all, which I’m rather missing. This doesn’t really feel like I’m drinking tea at all. It’s more like warm milk with spices, which in itself is actually also quite nice, but not really what I was hoping for.

The spices are tempered by the milk and not even the ginger is bothering me in this. Ginger is usually my downfall because I don’t much care for the burning sensation. This is a chai that I could actually drink because it’s so mild and unassuming. A true chai fan might find it a bit dull though.


I’m working on chai too, but specifically coconut chais to try and avoid milk hah.


You were a scout as well? What rank did you achieve?


We don’t do ranks in Denmark. All the children are equal, but divided up in patrols. Teams, really, but we call them patrols. We were perhaps 25 children, divided into four patrols with five or six children in each. The closest you come to rank as such would be the patrol leader and the patrol assistant. The leader’s job is largely to be the spokesperson for the patrol, like during role-call for example, the leader will say how many members are present and who is missing, and the assistant steps in if the leader isn’t there. Most of the time, for meetings, there would be some activities for all the children or to be done in teams (patrols). Older children have meetings mostly only with their own patrol and decide their own activities and then the whole group only once a month.


I was a member for about ten years or so, I think.


We used the patrol method as well. It was core to Baden Powell’s ideals for scouting. I felt the ranking system developed incentive to improve, but I know such things are not for everyone. 25 is a healthy troop size, mine hovered around 12-20. It’s nice to belong to an organization that allows me to connect with people around the world. Well met.


I should also state that I am from the US.


25 was an estimate, though. Children are divided up according to age, so the number was variable. I think on average that was about how many we were.

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drank Bamboo-Pomelo by TeaGschwendner
1290 tasting notes

There will be a proper post on this one later. I’ve got it in the queue. I just wanted to say that I finished off the sample that MissB shared with me and this blend is



it IS damn good!


And it’s so happy looking too. I remember when I first unpacked it from the box I thought ‘gosh, what a jolly looking blend’


Oh, I’m so glad you liked this! One of my all-time favorite herbals.


Oh dang that looks so interesting!


This sounds really good!

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drank Hong Mao Feng by Tea Palace
1290 tasting notes

Here’s another one from my recent Tea Palace order. My first order from them, but certainly not my last!

However… Hong Mao Feng?

As we know it’s so called because they use the buds and they curl up in the same way that mao feng green tea does, but hong mao feng is a black tea.

So when I get a tin of large curly leaves, many of which are sort of silvery and/or dark green and which smells distinctly floral, I get a little bit concerned. Especially when I know that the shop actually also carries mao feng green.

I decided to put my trust in TP, however, and brew it like I would any other black tea. This gave me a light yellow cup with almost no aroma at all. What is there is sort of peach-y. A very delicate mineral flavour with touches of grass and a warning hint of bitterness when swallowed.

A far cry from the description of a smooth yet robust flavour and typical Keemun full-bodied taste.

I think, by accident, they’ve sent me a tin of mao feng green, mislabeled as hong mao feng. I shouldn’t have sprung for the large tin what with it being a limited edition product and all then.

It seems drinkable enough, though, so I can’t be bothered to start making too much of a fuss about something that was probably an honest mistake. I can easily see how it could have happened with the similarity of the names. I’ve emailed the company and asked if I should return it. They didn’t want it back, so I’ll just drink it, but they are going to send me a replacement. I had an email reply only a couple of hours after I sent mine in.

(On the bright side, if I’m correct that it’s mao feng green, I’ve actually received a much more expensive product than I’ve paid for. Shame I’m not more into green tea then!)

It is now a few days later, and Tea Palace have sent me a replacement and a profuse apology. They didn’t want the mistake tea back, so I’ve got a big tin of that as well. From my corrospondence with them I sort of got the impression that I’m correct in having received the mao feng green the first time, so that’s what I’ve decided that is.

Now this is more like it. I could tell as soon as I saw the leaves, and it also brews up nice and dark. No nasty surprises here. It does indeed smell grainy and keemun-y too. Imagine that. Keemun that isn’t keemun!

It’s a good strong tea, this. It has a strong cocoa-y note at first and then all the grain-y notes underneath. There’s malty sweet notes in here as well, which in combination with the cocoa notes make it a rather sweet cup.

It doesn’t have keemun’s natural almost-smoky flavour, though, but I’m fine with that. It’s a very good cup of tea, this, and I’m glad I a) sprang for the 100g tin and b) decided to make a fuss about the green tea mistake after all.

adagio breeze

I could take some of the green mao feng off your hands if you’d like to swap!


This could easily be arranged. You can have the whole tin if you like. I don’t dislike it at all, but I’m also not likely to manage to drink very much of it while it’s still any good.


They both sound lovely! Hong means red (red tea to Chinese is black to English speakers), btw. Glad you got what you wanted in the end!

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Scheherazade shared this with me, and it was one that I didn’t even know that I was interested in at all! Only once I had it, it turned out that I was.

I had the black version of MP through a swap years ago, and I seem to recall that I rather liked it. At the time I didn’t understand why a rooibos version even existed, because I didn’t care for rooibos at all during that time. Later on I forgot all about it. It’s not a blend that you see around on Steepster a lot after all.

It’s weird actually, that period. It lasted several years. I started out quite liking rooibos, both unflavoured and flavoured. Then I suddenly couldn’t stand the stuff no matter how it came. That went on for years. I even gave all my rooibos blends to Husband back when he was still Boyfriend. Then Cteresa sent me a rooibos blend with vanilla and strawberry I think it was, which I dutifully tried because I feel that when someone shares something with you, it’s polite to at least give it a go with as open a mind as one can muster, even when it’s something one doesn’t expect to like very much. So I tried the blend Cteresa shared with me and was promptly knocked clean off my feet and I gave a score of 90-something points.

So now, suddenly, I rather enjoy rooibos blends again, although I still don’t care for unflavoured rooibos. That tastes a bit like chewing a pencil.

And I’ve clean forgotten where I was going with this.

Anyway, I can’t remember what goes into a Marco Polo blend on any base, but I think it was something with chocolate and strawberry. I believe there was a third thing, but I can’t say what it might be.

Well, it smells like chocolate and strawberry and rooibos, so so far so good.

It also tastes quite like strawberry, but not so much like chocolate. I’m getting a bit of that on the swallow, but otherwise it just tastes fruity.

I have previously elaborated on my difficulties with chocolate flavoured blends, so all in all I found this a remarkably pleasant blend.

Although it seems to have given me hiccups.


I am going through exactly what you described! Perhaps it is a typical progression of tea appreciation development? I started out liking rooibos—in fact, it’s what made me think I could get into tea—then I really started liking true teas and rooibos qua rooibos no longer seemed to measure up, started to take on all sorts of unpleasant characteristics, etc. Now I’m back to where I can appreciate a good rooibos blend, but for me that usually means I can’t really taste the rooibos as a separate flavor, and I usually prefer green rooibos blends to red ones.


I’ve only had one or two green rooiboses, so I can’t honestly remember much about what they taste like. I do seem to recall not being terribly impressed last time I had one. Mind you, I did drink ‘real’ tea LONG before I ever tasted a rooibos.

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drank Imperial Label by Kusmi Tea
1290 tasting notes

I got this sample tin out of a basket last time I was in Fru P. I hadn’t seen her having Kusmi samples before, so I had a look through. This was the only one that I hadn’t tried before or didn’t know would be an instant dislike, so I let the promise of vanilla in the ingredients list seduce me.

This smells like soap at first. Then, when the assault on my nostrils dies down a bit, I can recognise it as largely cinnamon. Charm the Cat seems to find it unbelievably stinky. This stuff has just cost me a lap-Charm, and that’s a pretty rare beast to begin with. One whiff, and she left.

I can’t decide about the flavour. It’s sort of hovering smack dab in the middle between ‘eurg soap!’ and ‘pleasant actually.’ It’s mostly cinnamon, but fairly smooth. I can sort of pick up vanilla and citrus, but not in the way that I can taste them as such. More in the way that it feels like this is what is tempering the cinnamon. The licorice root shows up as a sweet afterthought on the swallow, but that’s all.

I really don’t know about this stuff. I’m going to withhold rating for now because I feel very ambivalent about it. I honestly can’t tell you if I like it or not.


it is the only Kusmi I wanted to try. I’m not a fan of the brand but this one was appealing… not sure I am so hurry to have it now :)


Does she have Fauchon amidst her tea samples by any chance? :)


This is a great blend to drink when you’re sick with a sore throat :)


Ysaurella, I’ve had some fairly good experiences with Kusmi. I love their caramel and the smoky earl grey. :)

Courtney, I doubt it. I’d have to study the shelves closer, but I doubt it. Kusmi is pretty much the only one of the French brands that are available here. Anna sent me a couple of Fauchon samples recently though.

TeaBrat, I tend to prefer herbal things under such circumstances, especially minty things. Real tea just tastes peculiar when I’m ill. :)

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drank Raspberry Truffle by Butiki Teas
1290 tasting notes

Here’s another tea from the EU Travelling Teabox. This one is a Take, even though it’s a chocolate-y tea and I haven’t ever had much in the way of luck with those. It’s a texture thing. If you flavour a tea with chocolate it’s generally chocolate-y in such a way that my brain automatically expects a thick hot chocolate texture as well. And then I get disappointed when I don’t get that texture, which in turn reflects poorly on my experience of the tea.

I know I’ve had a couple of chocolate-y teas where the flavouring worked for me. I know this because I can remember feeling surprised by it, but I can’t for the life of me tell you which tea it was. That is how rare it is for me to come across a chocolate flavoured tea that works.

I decided to give this one a go, however, because it also has raspberry. Like vanilla and caramel, I’m very attracted to berries. Especially red berries, be it strawberry (which isn’t really a berry), raspberry (also not really a berry) or cherries (also not a berry) or what have you. (Not tomatoes, although they are actually berries. Don’t be silly).

I am also very attracted to berries in sweets and puddings. Chocolate with berry in it tends to make me want to try it and I currently have my eye on a tart with white chocolate and cherry that I want to try and make soon.

Therefore, I figured this tea was worthy of a go. Probably especially because the name says ‘truffle’ and not ‘chocolate’, which somehow doesn’t seem to raise the same chocolate-y expectations.

It smells truffle-y and dark chocolate-y. Very dark chocolate, here. 70% or more. I can just about pick up a hint of berry-like tartness, but I can’t recognise it as raspberry in particular. It’s just ‘berry’ at this point.

Tastewise, it’s quite nice. It’s chocolate-y on the swallow and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. This is good because that actually means that it doesn’t fall into that little but-there’s-no-chocolate-texture trap. Well done! A chocolate-y tea that works for me!

Raspberry, though. Or even berry of any sort. Not so much. I’m having a really hard time finding this in the flavour. Every time I think I have it, it disappears. I think I’ve got a bit of it in the aftertaste and I think I’ve got a bit of it if I take a sip and hold it, but there’s nothing here that I can put a finger on and say ‘this note is fruity.’

If I didn’t know better I’d think it’s was just truffle. It is possible that I would be able to tell a difference if I actually had the same blend only without the raspberry to compare with, but I haven’t so I can’t.

Even so, it’s still very pleasant, so I’m keeping it.


That was my experience with this tea. I was so pleased with the dark chocolate note, but the raspberry really fell flat.

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From the queue. I couldn’t find it in the database, so I made a new entry with what little information that I had.

This was a Try from the EU Travelling Teabox, and it was Husband who tried it. I don’t care for Darjeeling myself, but we were given a 100g bag of the stuff last year for a sort of early wedding present from the best man and his then girlfriend who was also our photographer. Unfortunately they have since gone their separate ways (amiably). Husband doesn’t mind the Darjeeling so much so it ended up on his part of the Consider This First shelf.

Should I explain about the Consider This First shelf? I’ve found it’s a really excellent way to keep the supply of tea in check. This is where I put all the things that I know I will need constant reminders of to drink it up. The tea on this shelf can be sorted into three categories.

1. Things we don’t much like and would therefore otherwise just languish untouched somewhere for ages. It can be things one of us don’t like or things neither of us don’t like.
2. Things that have been forgotten and, although they are nice, they are rather getting on age-wise and so need to be used up while they still vaguely resemble their original flavour pattern.
3. Samples from shops and swap-partners that would otherwise be in risk of being hoarded, never to be used up just for the sake of never running out, when ‘running out’ makes no difference when the leaf is not being used anyway. Unless they are very large, samples and swaps go directly on this shelf after leaving the Things To Post About box.

Furthermore, the Consider This First shelf is divided up into three sections. The right hand side are the teas that only Husband finds drinkable. It is up to him to either finish them off or toss them out at his discretion. Me, I don’t care either way, as I’ve already given up on them.
The middle part is the largest section and the things that we can both drink, and the left hand side works in the same way as the right hand side, only it’s things that only I like.

So that great big bag of Darjeeling we were given, that lives on the right hand side of the Consider This First shelf, and Husband is bravely struggling through it. He has commented more than once though that “it’s a LOT of Darjeeling” to which I generally reply that he’s free to give up and chuck it out if he prefers. He won’t do that, stubborn boy.

He is aware that it’s getting quite old and that this is not exactly helping matters either, so when I found this Darjeeling in the EU Travelling Teabox, he requested to Try it so he could compare with the Darjeeling we already had. I think he wanted to check if he was missing out on anything with that old one.

I made a small pot for him as I didn’t want any of it myself (because it’s Darj) and I have to say that I was pleased he chose to try it on that day, because I had already had more cups of tea than I could count during that day (I was on holiday) and was rather sated and willing to sit this one out.

He had his cup and dutifully paid attention to it, and reported back to me that it didn’t really do anything for him. He found it a little nondescript and no great improvement from the one we already had. He was glad to have tried it, but not interested in having any more of it.

I shan’t rate it, because I didn’t have any myself, and I didn’t ask him about his thoughts regarding scoring it.

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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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