1312 Tasting Notes

78
drank Sun and Cloud Mist by 52teas
1312 tasting notes

I am not having this under the best of circumstances, I must admit, because I made it upon coming home from work. Therefore I am gulping like my life depended on it (which it very nearly does!) and quite forgetting to pay attention. So today’s post might be a little superficial and stuff.

I’ll start with the beginning, namely when I opened the envelope yesterday. After having been sceptical for the first two days, this one finally got my hopes up for something that we would enjoy. Husband has a weakness for almost anything to do with lemon, so I was certain that he would like it. Me, I was struck by how much it smelled like a cross between a lemon surprise pudding and the sort of lemon pudding that my dad used to make when I was younger. (Unfortunately he can’t make it for Husband as gelatine is an important ingredient and Husband being vegetarian. He tried with agar-agar once, but it didn’t turn out very well at all).

After brewing it still has this lemon pudding medley smell. Lemony, creamy and sugary. I was pleased.

The flavour I was expecting was something a lot like these lemon puddings, and of course you just can’t do that in tea. You can get something that imitates a thick, creamy, custardy consistency, but you can’t actually get it. And the aroma was making me want that consistency.

I got over it though. You just can’t always get what you want.

The actual sip gave me initially green tea, then a funny flat note, and then a bunch of lemon-y lemonness. I don’t know what the flat note is. I can’t really describe it as anything else. It was just a feeling of flatness right there in the middle of the sip, like the first bit and the last bit weren’t properly connected. It didn’t make the tea unpleasant in anyway; it was just a bit odd, that’s all.

After the cup had been standing there for a bit and been allowed to develop slightly, the flat note gradually became shorter and weaker and after a few more minutes it was completely gone, so if I had just waited a little longer before sipping the first sip, I wouldn’t even have encountered it.

I always find it interesting how a tea can completely change character just by being left on its own for a few minutes. I’m especially noticing this in green and oolongs. Black teas do it too, but not to the same degree. They’re much more consistent in flavour most of the time.

Anyway, this did indeed live up to my expectations, if not completely then at least nearly, and Husband, predictably, gave the thumbs up as well.

I’m seriously craving a lemon-y pudding now, though! I tried my hand at aforementioned lemon surprise pudding earlier this year because I know it’s a favourite of Husband’s and it was for his birthday. It turned out really awesome (even with the dividing of eggs which is something I normally try to avoid as much as possible), so perhaps one of these days I’ll do it again.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few top secret items to wrap.

Raritea

That is so interesting- I was getting the same exact flat note. I included it in my tasting note originally and then took it down because I assumed that it was just me or something.

Ozli

You can get something that imitates a thick, creamy, custardy consistency, but you can’t actually get it. s hard to accept the difference!

Ozli

Oh there’s fake html here! I meant to say – That’s often my problem with chocolates and vanillas in teas… sometimes its’ hard to accept the difference!

CrowKettle

Agreed. Teas like this usually just end up making me want to eat the thing they taste like instead.

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55

Okay, apparently we are continuing in the bizarre section. Smoothies, for me, is not something to do with breakfast. But then again you Americans eat some odd things for breakfast sometimes. For me, a smoothie is an afternoon-y sort of snack food. But okay, I can just disregard the word ‘breakfast’ and think of it as a sort of fruity creamy flavoured tea, right? Right! Suddenly it doesn’t sound so bizarre anymore.

Haha, win! The human psyche is so easily manipulated.

GOSH! This stuff pongs! The entirety of Tea Corner currently reeks of cheap bubblegum and all I did was open the envelope to see what was inside. We’re not actually having it yet, because we just had the cotton candy one, but I opened it now so that I could be sure to see what it was for the first time that way instead of coming at it later when people had started posting about it.

Crumbs, I’m not really looking forward to this one now. O.o

It’s a honeybush base, though, which is not something I’ve had for a long time. I think the last time I had honeybush was that pina colada flavoured one that I didn’t like because of the alcoholic notes and before I discovered the ways in which rooibos can actually be made acceptable to me. By blending it with fruit. Surely honeybush should be acceptable under the same circumstances then, yes? And this time without icky alcoholic notes. That at least sounds interesting.

Yeah, a honeybush with tropical fruits. I can totally do this. I’m feeling much more positive about the prospect of drinking this one now. Maybe I’ll make it after we’ve picked up our Christmas tree.

Well, it turned out that I didn’t make it until today after all so we’re a day behind still. No matter, though. It suits me fine. I made this and served along with breakfast because although it isn’t something with caffeine in it, we normally have a black tea, it was called something with breakfast. So when else should we drink it, really.

Oh yeah and we did pick up a christmas tree by the way. The kitties are curious, but seem to like it. They have never seen a christmas tree before. None of them have tried climbing it yet, but they like sleeping under it and Luna has been beating up a couple of the lower branches. We haven’t got much in the way of ornaments, but we’ve been mass producing paper ones yesterday and for me also this morning, so it’s beginning to look like a christmas tree.

Now on to the tea. After brewing it still smells rather a lot like cheap bubblegum, but there’s a little smidge of banana emerging as well. This, I thought, does not bode well. I do like fruity flavoured teas, but there is a limit. Even for me. On top of that, most of the flavours in this stuff is what I would call tropical fruits, and I haven’t really had much in the way of luck with those in the past. I’ve had a few that were great but many that were just mediocre and generic fruit.

So with some trepidation, I sip the cup and I was surprised at how not unpleasant it was. I thought the flavour was pretty strongly banana and with some of that generic ‘tropical fruit’ underneath. Then there was a note of something sweetly spicy which I attribute to the honeybush base. I haven’t had a plain honeybush in years and years, so I don’t remember any sort of accurate flavour profile for it, but I think it was something along these lines, yes. As it cooled and developed a bit in the cup there was a strong note of citrus emerging in the flavour. Mostly orange, but also a touch of lemon.

It had a sort of thickness to it in the mouth which I think added to the smoothie aspect of the flavouring, but other than that, it struck me as merely a tropical fruit flavoured honeybush. I wouldn’t have had smoothie associations myself, had I not seen the word on the label.

So it’s not bad, but it’s not something I would go out of my way for again.

Husband reports that he too was somewhat pleasantly surprised, although he thought it had a medicinal note to it.

I have looked in the next envelope, the one for today (the 16th). I think he’ll enjoy that one!

Ozli

Hooray for xmas trees! Our kitties have not yet tried climbing, either. :D

Shmiracles

oh boy, but if their anything like my cats, once they get a taste of tree climbing… LOOK OUT! hah meow

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33
drank Cotton Candy Black Tea by 52teas
1312 tasting notes

We actually had this one late for a number of reasons.

1. As the majority of people on Steepster having this 52teas advent box are on the North American continent, I’m several hours ahead of them. In order to make sure that I don’t spoil everybody’s surprise by having it at a time which is correct for me but way too early for all the rest of you, I have decided to drink on the correct days (or as close as that can be managed) and post with a day’s delay.) Possibly this is silly because someone has to be the first, but there you are.

2. Husband was under the weather and having the first tea of the box, and this flavour in particular, seemed a Bad Idea Indeed. It’s not really the sort of flavour that settles one’s stomach.

I had already peeked at what it was before he came home, so that’s how I knew it probably wasn’t something we should have on that day. I have to say that it suited me quite well to wait a bit. This company does some pretty bizarre flavours sometimes, and I have to say that to me this is one of the more crazy ones. Even now I cannot imagine this as a tea flavour. I couldn’t imagine it being very good, at least. So frankly, I was feeling a bit scared of it.

And do you know what the truly absurd thing is? I love caramel or toffee flavoured tea, so I’m not sure why this, also a sugary substance, seems so outlandish. It’s sort of the same sort of ‘family’, isn’t it?

Well. I thought that it would probably either be horrid or it would be very nice. I hoped it wouldn’t be horrid. I hoped it wouldn’t be totally sugared, because I just don’t do sweetener in tea. For many people a modicum of sweetener in a flavoured tea seems to bring out the flavouring more. I have tried it a few times, but that has never worked for me. All I get out of adding sweetener to tea is astringency. It has certainly never ever EVER made anything ‘pop’ in any sort of desirable way. Even the smoothest unbreakable Chinese black can be ruined completely for me if sweetener is added. So I’m afraid that what I was expecting here was a cup of sugared black. WAY too sugared black.

Even so, I’m trying to keep an open mind here. Keep myself prepared for the possibility of a positive surprise.

Well. It doesn’t smell like candy floss to me. It smells more like marshmallows and dry milk to be honest. Given my misgivings about this as a flavour to begin with, I find this rather reassuring. It makes me think that while it might not actually taste like candy floss to me, at least there’s a chance that it won’t just be black tea with sugar in it. Because let’s face it. Candy floss is nothing but sugar.

After steeping it actually does smell like candy floss. Possibly because it’s hot how. That is to say, it smells strongly of warm sugar.

Sceptical Cat is sceptical.

At least it still has that marshmallow-y feel to it. I’m not a huge fan of candy floss, except when I visit Tivoli in Copenhagen. It’s the only place where I want to eat the stuff and that’s more because of the feel of the place than for the having of candy floss at all. It’s… It belongs there. In other words, I’ve only had a few times in my life and have never been able to finish one off. I can eat maybe half and then I’m done with it. Possibly this is also part of why the flavour in tea strikes me as so absurd. If this had been released on April 1st, I would have wondered if it was an April Fool’s joke. (Although nothing really beats the infamous Tuna Melt Green Incident). But I do like marshmallows and that sort of foamy sweets, so…

Right. Enough with the dragging of heels. I’m going to taste it now.

I’ll count to three and then I’ll sip.

One …

Two…

Two and a half…

Two and three quarters…

Three!

Tastes… weird. It’s not quite the ‘black tea with sugar’ phenomenon that I had feared, but it’s pretty close. Neither as it candy floss. Even less is it those marshmallows I keep smelling. I don’t know what this is, but it’s not something I’m sorry I missed out on. To me, this is just some sort of generic sweetness, complete with accompanying astringency and stickyness, although not much this time.

I feel I ought to attempt to analyse the flavour like I normally try to do, but all I’m getting here is ‘sweet black tea’. That’s it. That’s all. I tried, I really did.

This was not for me, although I suspected as much already when I saw what it was. At least it wasn’t at all as vile as I had feared. This, although, not really to my tastes at all, is at least drinkable. And I would still rather have this than real candy floss.

Seems I’m the odd woman out on this one.

Shmiracles

brilliant! your apprehension matches mine for sure. and then i overstepped mine slightly which made it go all wrong.
i’ll be VERY interested in your thoughts on some of the 12 days to come!

CHAroma

“Sceptical Cat is sceptical.” LOL! Sorry you hate this so much. I’m in love with it myself, but I also LOVE real cotton candy. I think it’s hilarious that it’s called candy floss in Europe. You don’t floss your teeth with it!

Angrboda

CHAroma, I wouldn’t say I ‘hated’ it. If I did, I would have called it undrinkable and the points would be red. I just didn’t care for it much. Also, neither is it made of cotton! ;)

Shmiracles, no spoilers please. :) I tend to have a preference for the simpler sorts of blends from this company. All those cake-ish ones and that sort of stuff have never really managed to win my heart even thought they’re hugely popular.

CHAroma

I think it looks more like cotton than floss. :P Even though we have very different taste preferences, I always thoroughly enjoy your tasting notes. You should write a book on tea! I bet you’d make the NY Times Bestseller list. Easy.

Fjellrev

My experiences with this tea were very similar. And w00t, Tivoli! Never got to go despite visiting Copenhagen HOW many times last year. Oh well.

Angrboda

Incendiare, unless you plan on going on any of the rides it quite expensive to get in. Last time I was there, I was spending a few days in Copenhagen and had bought this tourist card which gave me free access or discounts to a lot of tourist attractions (including the zoo! Yay!) and I could also use it on the public transport. If you’re not going as specifically a tourist it’s not worth it to buy, but if you are I highly recommend doing so as there is definitely money to save. Anyway, it also gave me access to Tivoli but not to the rides. Since my hotel was not too far from there, I went in one evening to take a walk and have a cappucino at one of the cafes in there. It was a quite nice evening and I had some candy floss too. :) Only barely got my cappucino though, as the barista tried to talk me into buying a large one instead of the small one that I wanted. I knew I couldn’t drink a large one and the difference in price wasn’t very big, but what if I could only actually drink the same amount as was in the small cup? He seemed incapable of understanding this until he finally realised that I wasn’t going to budge. It was a fairly good cappucino, but I was tempted to leave a third of it just to prove my point. (Didn’t though. Was in Need.)

Fjellrev

Oh yeah, I purchased that cOPENhagen card the first time I went but ran out of time to visit Tivoli. Spent my time bussing around the city, admiring the castles, hanging out at the national museum, and going on a canal tour instead. Damn, I love that city.

I didn’t think people could be so pushy there? Luckily never experienced that in Denmark. But way to be for standing your ground. :)

Angrboda

I never have either, only that one time. Usually that sort of thing occurs when you’ve bought something in a shop and they ask you if you are interested in joining their member’s club or something which means you get a little card and access to some discounts or their news letter or various competitions or whatnot. It doesn’t generally cost anything but it helps them ensure the customers come back, so they’ll usually make sure to get the litany of advantages out even if you’ve said no the first time. I’ve never had anybody continue try to convince me after the second no. I think maybe the sales people are paid differently here than they are in America, so it wouldn’t occur. I don’t think their salary is sales related. I know it isn’t in restaurants and such and hasn’t been for many years. We’ve done away with the tip ages ago and it’s just incorporated in the prices on the menu instead. (Makes it difficult for us to pay for a meal abroad though. So if we don’t leave one, it’s not because we didn’t want to. It’s just not something we’re used to having to remember to do!)

Afterwards of course, after he’d given in, I of course thought of a hundred great points I could have made, but then it was too late. Also, there weren’t a lot of people in the cafe at the time, so I also think he was feeling slightly bored maybe.

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84
drank Peppermint by Harney & Sons
1312 tasting notes

I’m not entirely on speaking terms with my tummy at the moment. Or rather, it is not entirely on speaking terms with me. That seems to be a trend around Steepster at the moment. I was catching up on people’s posts and there were a number of you that mentioned having tummy troubles.

Luckily Fleurdelily sent me a bag of this stuff in her parcel, so I’ve got me a weapon to deal with it. And I still haven’t got a return parcel put together. Really, it’s getting both embarrasing and ridiculous. At this point, however, I will probably have to say that it has to wait a little while longer, and then I solemnly swear I will have one in the mail before mid-January! It’s all due to Christmas and some other things going on right now meaning I try to be frugal and spread out extra expenses a little bit. (On the upside on that front, it looks as though January will be the last payment on my student loan! YAY! And Husband has just finished paying his as well. Those are some excellent expenses to get over and done with.)

Anyway, I’m having this peppermint tea in order to try and mollify Mrs Tummy a little bit, so I really ought to tell you about what it tastes like and whether or not it’s working.

Gosh! Minty! A bit strong too. And that’s really it. What else is there really to say about peppermint? I honestly can’t think of anything. I’ve been sitting here sipping and trying to analyse the flavour like I do with regular tea, but all I’m coming up with is ‘mint.’ So I’m throwing in the (tea) towel and moving on.

As for whether it’s working, I inhaled as I slurped the first sip, and I could feel that menthol-y feeling all the way down in my esophagus. It’s still there. It feels like breathing in frosty weather. I had a slight bit of acid burn, which seems to be soothed slightly by this, but it’s still there. It’s too soon to tell whether the tummy will become less rumbly, though, but I hope so. We shall see.

As it is, I think soothing the acid burn, even just a little bit, is worth a load of points, because that feeling is really very irritating indeed.

(I really do need to stock up on a few herbs for medicinal purposes. We haven’t got very much of the vile-but-soothing Throat Tea left either, but since that’s only chamomile and licorice root, I expect it’ll be cheaper to mix it myself.)

Hesper June

I try to always have some mint tea on hand for tummy issues as well as for congestion.
Ginger tea also is great for tummy problems.
Hope you feel better quick!

Angrboda

I don’t care for ginger, except in cooking or baking, so I’ll stick with mint. We’ve usually got some ginger root in the fridge though, so I do have it on hand. Husband uses it in cooking. A slice of fresh ginger steeped in boiling water was a very popular drink at my work place for a while. (And by the end of the day, it looks more like a slice of potato, LOL)

Cavocorax

Grats on finishing (or nearly finishing) your student loan payments!

cteresa

Hope you are on better terms with your stomach!

Regarding herbs, oh, try having lemonbalm (melissa officinalis) – it´s maybe the most popular herbal tisane in my country, and it is pretty nice. Slightly minty but softer, a bit more oomph than linden tea. It is nice for an upset stomach as well! Or even, and ok this was a surprise, Lipton has a “smooth digestion” tisane in my country which is actually quite OK (the easy sleep tisane from the same line is pretty bad though)

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94

Greetings Steepsterites!

NaNoWriMo is well and truly over and I made it with 50,010 words at ten minutes to ten last night. The last two hundred words or so were a bit of a struggle but Husband had told me I wasn’t allowed to go to bed until I was finished, so I pressed on. I’ve been unable to get any sort of a decent lead at all, hovering around par all month. Have a look at my stats page to see how close I’ve been! (http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/angrboda/novels/village-on-the-sand/stats) The validator gave me a little less than my other word counter did, but still enough to win, luckily, because my eyes felt like they were full of sand! I can now, with great relief, go back to only 750 words per day and those don’t even have to be novel-y words. They can be anything. This post, for example, counts.

So let’s celebrate this by drinking something I haven’t tasted before, and I chose this oolong from Fleurdelily and I think I’ve found the correct entry in the database. The bag it was in matches the bag on the picture anyway, so I’ve decided it’s close enough.

I’ve been holding off on this one for a while. Not for anything to do with my expectations of it, whether I was afraid of trying it or whether I expected it to be so awesome it had to be saved for later. The real reason is actually as stupid as this; I liked the bag and didn’t want to take scissors to it. There. How’s that for a silly reason? I steeled myself today, however, and am now giving it a try.

The dry leaf smelled wood-y and a bit leathery. A bit like brand new rawhide footwear. A strange association, footwear, but I chalk it up to the fact that I’m breaking in new winter boots which just happens to be made of a rawhide-like material. I think it’s synthetic actually, but they still have that smell. After steeping it’s more wood-y and not a trace of boot to be found. Instead there is a hint of something floral and a good deal of something toasted. Quite nut-like too.

The flavour surprised me. I’m afraid my very first thought was ‘fish!’ and my second thought was ‘but nice…’ so it was all rather confusing and peculiar. Now that it has been standing and developing for a few minutes, however, the fishyness has gone away and left behind something quite pleasant. It has a relatively strong floral aspect, not something I usually enjoy much, but it’s not so perfume-y and unpleasant here. Underneath that is a wood-y sort of note that is just default oolong flavour to me, and again something kind of toasty as well. The aftertaste has a mineral note to it, but not overwhelmingly so. I’m rather enjoying it, and Husband just shouted from his room that he did too.

Ze_Teamaker

How could you write that many words? I struggle with 2,000 word research papers.

Veronica

Congratulations!!! That is an impressive accomplishment. I tried Nano two years ago, but there was no way I could do it and stay sane.

Terri HarpLady

Yay! You rock! It’s been fun sharing this NaNo with you!

Michelle

Congrats!

Calochortus

Yay, congrats on finishing! Doesn’t it feel good to go to sleep without 50k hanging over you head? I love how you’ve described this tea — boots and fish aren’t something I’d ever associate with each other, let alone tea, but this kind of sounds nice…

Babble

Congrats – and that’s what I call pulling it on at the last minute.

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79
drank Nepal Black by DAVIDsTEA
1312 tasting notes

Very first order of the agenda here, can we all please agree that the country is called NEpal and that there is no such country as NApal? Thank you. This seems a common error, and some people do it with such consistency that it can’t be a typo. NEpal. (Sorry, but it bothers me. I can usually overlook this sort of thing, but certain mistakes just jars the eye. Same with the whole palate/pallet/palette thing. (Hint, on Steepster I can with 99.9% certainty guarantee that you want ‘palate’))

Secondly, Fleurdelily shared this one with me, and I’ve been slightly afraid to try it. I’ve tried a couple of Nepalese blacks before and found them quite Darjeeling-y. But then I seemed to see a lot of good things said about it on Steepster. Claire even had a discussion board subject. So I decided it must be time to be brave.

The leaf doesn’t look like Darjeeling and it doesn’t really smell like it either, although there is a certain note of that Darjeelingesque grassy floralness.

After brewing it smells quite flora, but not in a sharp, pointy way like Darjeeling. There is a sweet, slightly malty note and also a touch of something that reminds me of raisins and other dried fruits. It’s kind of like a much milder version of Assam, rather than Darjeeling-y.

The Darjeeling-y note is there in the flavour as well, but honestly, I would have been surprised if it wasn’t. It’s not as unpleasant as I find it to be in Darjeeling, though. In Darjeeling it’s sort of stabby and pointy and gives me a funky, sour aftertaste, but there’s none of that here. Again it’s mostly like a milder version of Assam with Darjeeling aspects mixed in.

Dooars! That’s what it reminds me of the most.

If you enjoy this, try if you can find something from the Dooars region, and vice versa. Where Dooars leans more towards Darjeeling than Assam, this is sort of leaning in the opposite direction, but it’s still giving me that same feeling of middle-ness.

It’s not my ideal tea (being not Chinese, really) but I’m enjoying it much more than I had expected I would. Very interesting

Claire

Great review! I’m going to look for a Dooars tea now.

cteresa

I had been eyeing a few nepalese teas, and this is only making me more interesting.

And just saying I might appreciate having a palette of words to use while posting from my pallet!

Ze_Teamaker

The English lesson gave me giggles.

Roughage

I like the English lesson too. I sometimes want to start correcting spelling but usually give up in disgust first. After all, it is the internet, so spelling is optional apparently! :)

Looks like I am going to be in Aarhus in mid-January if you wish to take tea with me. I was going to send you a message but could not.

Roughage

Oops, and then I remembered reading your contact details on your bio. How embarrassed am I?

Angrboda

Sometimes I find it disturbing that I, as an ESL, can be so irritated by it sometimes. I try to remember that I don’t usually know anything about the other person and that they might have a genuine difficulty with spelling and such things, but sometimes…! (I’ve come to the conclusion lately that it’s because I’m ESL that things I know to be wrong can bother me so much. If you lot can’t even work it out, it becomes even harder for me to learn!)

Claire, I hope you can find some. It shouldn’t be impossible, I’ve seen them around a few times.

Roughage, I saw. I think it should definitely be possible. I shall run it through Husband tomorrow as well if he wants to join. I don’t want to disturb him now, as he’s watching something on tv. Warning, though, we’re both fairly shy people, so awkward silences may occur as we flounder for something to say. :) And if you (try to) teach me to say your name, I’ll (try to) teach you to say mine. ;)

Roughage

It’s ok, Angrboda, I already know how to speak Danish:
http://satwcomic.com/stop-talking
Oh, and I have my own potato! ;)

Actually, I could do with working on my Danish because my nephew mostly speaks it and I only really speak Norwegian fluently, which makes communicating with him interesting. As for awkward silences, I am fine with that. We can sip our tea appreciatively and be companionable rather than chatty. I am not the world’s most outgoing person either!

Mark B

“palate/pallet/palette.” That’s awesome. Guilty as charged.

charab

haha, good point with that. When working in the art field it’s very common (more like second language, hehe) to use art terms such as ‘palette’. Thank you for reminding of the other option, makes my writing much more interesting. For an ESL person new words are always a treat.

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60

I have nothing new to add to this. I just wanted to say,

I aten’t ded!

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76
drank Long Jing Huang Pao by TeaSpring
1312 tasting notes

This stuff is bagged!

Bagged tea from TeaSpring. Now I’ve seen everything.

Each bag is wrapped in its own little colourful foil satchet, and I’ve seen that from TeaSpring before, but I never suspected there would actually be a bag inside. I thought it was just fairly costly stuff and therefore portion wrapped. I’ve seen that before from TeaSpring. I can’t remember exactly which tea it was, but it was a very special, blessed on an alter sort of ceremonial leaf for a specific sort of occasion. Which I’ve also forgotten what was. I can’t even remember what the type was, but I think it might have been oolong. Anyway, that’s not important for this one. It was just to say that I’ve seen TeaSpring sell portion satchets before.

This one is the last tea from my Explore China order from TeaSpring uh some time ago. This last tin somehow managed to hide among the parcels I received from other, generous Steepsterites and has gone untried.

This tea is from Zheijang, which is on the East coast of China, just north of Fujian. As far as I can tell, in spite of the name, it has little to do with the Long Jing we know as a green tea (Dragonwell). As I understand it, it is made from the same leaves also used to produce Dragonwell, but these have gone through a different preparation and taste nothing at all like Dragonwell.

It’s not really a black tea either. Not as such, because the process is not the same as for black tea. What it actually is is unknown because the producers are keeping it as a closely guarded secret, but it is apparently a reinvention of a method lost for 300 years. (How this is possible is rather beyond me. How can they know if they’re even close to getting it right? It’s not like they can do a direct comparison) It is apparently somewhat similar, but not the same as, the method used for producing pu-erh, so this tea therefore also has some of the same qualities as pu-erh, including the tendency to age well.

At first this smelled like steam-ironing cotton. No really. That smell you get when you release steam from the iron and get a cloud of it in your face. Steam and cloth. Probably especially if you use laundry soap without perfume in it like we do in this house. I swear I even heard that sound the iron makes, the blob and hiss, in my head.

After a moment, this goes away and is replaced by something that reminds me strongly of licorice root. This note first snuck into the ironing cotton note and then gradually took over, as though it was heavier than the steam and needed more time to actually rise from the cup.

There’s something else in the aroma too, something which I can’t really place. A bit like caramel, but not quite. A bit like fruit, but not quite. A bit like something creamy sweet, but not quite. A bit like marzipan, but not quite. I’m sure I know what this smell is, but for the life of me I can’t get any closer than this.

The flavour has a strong note of licorice root and ginseng. So much so that I had to go and check the details to see if there might have been additions made to the leaf. This does not appear to be the case. It is, in fact, not even mentioned anywhere in the company’s notes.

How odd! Me, I don’t understand how they could possibly miss it. And no, it absolutely can’t be contamination carried over from other teas I’ve had today. I don’t even own anything with licorice root or ginseng in it at the moment. (Except the vile Throat Tea, which totally doesn’t count as we only ever touch that one when ill)

I don’t think I’ve ever come across this note naturally occurring before. How interesting. It is definitely licorice root and ginseng, though. With each sip, I’m more certain. I even get a hint of that funny licorice root-y feeling on the soft palate when swallowing.

Underneath the licorice root-y and ginseng-y note there is something that does taste akin to the average pu-erh. It has the same sort of earthy taste, but it’s milder. It’s not as deep and dark, less broth-y. Pu-erh is for me a very strong tea, one that reminds me of caves and dirt and great big holes. This is sort of the same thing, only up in the sunlight.

I’m rambling, aren’t I? These associations that different flavours invoke are fun, but sometimes they rather get in the way of things. It’s easier when all I get is a colour.

So what I’m trying to say is, it’s kind of like a very mild (possibly slightly thin) average pu-erh, with natural notes of licorice root and ginseng.

I don’t much care for licorice root or ginseng in my tea, to be honest. I love licorice, proper Danish licorice which has nothing, nothing I tell you, to do with anise. Anise does not taste like licorice and supposedly licorice flavoured jelly beans are anise flavoured, actually. FYI. Come to Scandinavia and I’ll show you real licorice. And it doesn’t even have to be the salty sort or the salmiakki sort either (although you’re welcome to try those too if you’re feeling brave. Personally I think those two are the best sorts of licorice in the world).

I’m rambling again. What I’m trying to say here is that I otherwise really enjoy licorice flavoured things, but not in tea. For some reason I just don’t feel these days that licorice root and tea go all that well together. (A couple of years ago I was of a vastly different opinion) So these notes in this tea is rather a turn off for me, and will cost some points here.

Bonus points for being interesting though, because it really is! If you are a pu-erh enthusiast, then I would suggest that you try this one out, bags and all, because I think you would find it really interesting.

Liz

“…also has an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black.” Ahh we’re almost twins!

Angrboda

I haven’t had any luck with it yet. I’ve had a few nearlies though. Mostly they fell on not being available for me to actually buy without the aid of a middleman. :)

cteresa

I agree emphatically about anise and liquorice having nothing to do with tea. Will admit that likely there is a difference. But either, oh, it´s one of those things I am just culturally not into – with a couple exception, both strongly associated with the month of November, funnily enough.

canadianadia

“smelled like steam-ironing cotton” – such a great description I can almost smell it

Babble

I love your tasting notes! Silly question but is anise the same thing as licorice? I know I hate licorice in tea blends. I’ve also been to Denmark & Norway, and never had licorice. Now I feel like I missed out :(

Angrboda

Cteresa, is my mind playing tricks on me or have we discussed licorice before…?

Canadianadia, it was the strangest thing. It just immediately popped into my head, sound and everything.

Rachel, if ever you come back, let me know. We’ll meet up and I’ll make you a licorice buffet. :D
Anise and licorice are to completely different plants, but they have similar tastes. This is licorice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licorice and this is anise: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anise. In the US things that are called ‘licorice sweets’ are apparently often fortified with a good helping of aniseed oil and contain very little true licorice, but this is not true where I live. We use aniseed for an entirely different sort of sweet here, one I don’t like. (My grandfather loved it though)

cteresa

I think we did, I remember you expressing your regret you did not see your husband´s face the first time he ate salmiakki (poor guy). But can not remember regarding which tea that was. oh well.

And the links are pretty interesting. Anise and Fennel are the usual stuff around here, they literally grow wild – I can tolerate fennel. Anise not so much.

charab

Agreed here, liquorice and salmiakki (you’ve been acquainted with it, and even wrote it precisely, points on that!) are best when served with tea instead of being in the cup. Never hit it off well with the teas that had liquorice in them. Ick. Have you tried any Finnish liquorice? We have one very good factory here, their liquorice is the best we produce, but I agree on the quality of Danish liquorice. They are gooood as well. Although I don’t count salmiakki as liquorice since it’s so salty, but then again it counts as a sweet…oh, the joys of contradictions.

Angrboda

Apart from Salmiakki, I’ve only seen Finnish licorice in the shape of the white tin with the licorice animals in it. When I was a child we could only get it across the border in Germany, so when we stopped in to shop before crossing back into Denmark after having been on holiday, I’d usually get some of that.

Generally I prefer it to be slightly hard and chewy so that it lasts a long time. Pingvin tends to produce the best consistency for me, although I would never turn my nose up at Haribo’s licorice either.

Mind you, I also occasionally get slightly addicted to this little pastils that I can get from health shops and similar which is 100% licorice and no added sugar. They taste completely different from the sweets. Somewhat bitter and quite strong. They were something of an acquired taste for me. I have a colleague who would eat them regularly and would generously offer. It was the sort of thing where I knew I wouldn’t much love it, but I couldn’t not take one either. Now I love them. :)

charab

The animals are good as well, but if you ever come across with small plump liquorice tubes which have ‘Kouvolan lakritsi’ written on the label, give a go.

I have same preferences of consistency on salmiakki, chewy and pliant instead of soft and mushy, but with liquorice both are good. It’s almost comforting to munch something for a while before taking more, semi-meditating with sweets, hehe.

Addiction with bitter tastes is always highly recommended here, it’s actually very amusing how easy it is to suddenly get an insane craving for something that seemed too strong first. I have a similar feeling with hot pepper salmiakki, it took a while to get used to the almost violent bite they give. Now when they’re offered, it’s hard to say no to them.

I suspect the whole business with bitterness-tolerance here has something to do with the history of eating very bitter rye bread and smoked fish, not to mention all other fish dishes served here; tar and salted fish and meat carries a long way from regional history of our taste buds apparently…

Angrboda

I’m beginning to wonder if we should do a licorice swap, LOL!

You might be right about the bitterness being a cultural thing. I wonder if Finnish rye bread is very different from Danish because I don’t tend to consider ours particularly bitter. Heavy and dense, and very grainy I think. I haven’t thought about it. Now I’ll have to give it a shot next time I have some. Husband doesn’t care for it, but he’ll eat it if it’s the only sort of bread available. I have hopes that he might come around though, because I work with a woman who comes from Brazil, and after some 19 years or so in DK, she’s almost addicted to the stuff. :)

charab

Haha, well, rye can be trying for some. I have a German-Danish friend who commented on the bread that it indeed is very different compared to Danish types, something about maybe using more syrup in yours, we couldn’t put our finger on it. The type of the rye bread depends sometimes also solely from what region people come from: the breads between archipelago, western and eastern kitchens can differ a lot in some cases, due to the impact of Swedish (west) and Russian (east) cultural exchange. As well the soil.

Angrboda

Syrup is probably a good call. I tended to think of it as sort of malty sweet sometimes, but then I got in doubt when you said bitter. I don’t get it often these days, but once in a while I eat a small bag or two and then it takes a little while again before I’ll buy it. We almost always have leftovers that I take with me in my lunch box, so if I’m the only one eating the rye bread it sometimes gets forgotten.

charab

Hmmmm, it’s an interesting case indeed. Maybe I actually should send you a ‘goody pack’ of liquorice, salmiakki and small samples of rye breads, haha. Swap of bitterness and malty sweetness! Albeit it might be a bit trying trip for the bread though…hm. They’re always the best when fresh from the oven. But then again they become nicely chewy after couple of days…aaah now I need to make a sandwich!

Angrboda

I can’t think of a way either. Might be best to leave the bread out. :)

charab

Agreed. Just let me know when the craving hits and I’ll send some goods. :3

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76
drank Pu-erh by Yamamotoyama
1312 tasting notes

Steepsterites, when was the last time you got four flavourful steeps out of one traditional teabag full of fannings? I can tell you exactly when the last time that happened to me and that is approximately just about never.

Until today!

This stuff is holding out quite well, although I’m not going to try and get a fifth cup out of it. The fourth is already on the decline, so I don’t think I would get much out of another go.

Fleurdelily shared this one with me. There were loads of teabags of this one, and I’ve kept a third of them for myself and sent the other two thirds with Husband to work, where he’s enjoying the change of pace from his usual lemon and/or earl grey. I feared that if I didn’t I might never get around to drinking all of them up. I’ve had this a few times now, though, and I can now say that I don’t think I needed have any such fears. It’s really surprisingly enjoyable.

Very broth-y in flavour and reminding me a bit of cooked mushrooms.

K S

One of my first experiences with pu-erh. A most enjoyable cup considering its bagged fannings and pretty inexpensive.

Angrboda

It certainly surpassed my expectations! :D Also struck me as being a decent starter-puerh.

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76
drank Bourbon Vanilla by Kusmi Tea
1312 tasting notes

I thought this tasted odd earlier today! It was stacked with the Troika tin which is nearly the same colour. I must have made the Troika instead and never realised it.

GOSH do I feel dumb now! LMAO! :D

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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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