1311 Tasting Notes

90

So I was just sitting here quietly, recuperating after a weekend with my parents and little to no choice when it comes to tea. Two kinds, Steepsterites. TWO KINDS! That’s like… nothing! At least it’s good stuff, because it’s AC Perch’s own bags with real leaf inside that I bought for my Mum for Christmas once (and now seem to be drinking for her, because she sticks to her cheap stuff and saves these for me. headdesk ) So anyway, I was sitting here, minding my own business when suddenly,

WHAM!!!

I was hit by an unusual, but strong craving for green tea. A craving that meant serious business!

Nothing for it but to comply, then. I remembered that Autumn_Hearth sent me a number of green teas that I never finished sampling, so I thought dipping into those would be an excellent thing to do under these circumstances. I chose this one because I made a pot to share with Husband and the amount of leaf was Just Right for this purpose.

Bear in mind now, though, that my nose appears to be wanting to close up again so my sense of smell and taste may be ever so slightly off. Also the fact that I just ate a Fisherman’s Friend… Yeah. Ultra-good circumstances to try something new in, yes?!

I don’t usually bother much with the description of the colour of the tea, because tea is tea-coloured and I wind up repeating myself a lot if I do. So for me, that’s a fairly irrelevant bit of information unless something really strikes me about it, like it’s unusually dark for the type, or if it reminds me of something or if it’s, I don’t know, blue or something. Okay, maybe not blue, but you get my point. Unusualness.

This one struck me as being exactly the same colour as a gooseberry when I first poured the water on. I have to admit that I’m disappointed that it didn’t retain this colour all the way through, but I wasn’t really expecting it either.

What little I’m capable of smelling is totally floral. I’m not one of those people who can really tell the scent of different flowers apart, so either stuff is floral or it isn’t. This particular one, however, reminds me of lavender just off the top of my head, so I’m going to call it a lavender note.

That’s all I can find in my present state, though. I’m sure there must be more to it, but my nasal mucus membranes are not currently interested in participating in the experience.

Based on this, I fully expected something with a strong floral flavour, and what I actually got was a surprise. It doesn’t taste floral at all. Not even slightly.

There’s something vegetal going on here, which strikes me as borderline spinach-y, and then there’s something behind it that seems kind of salty.

Salty? O.o How absurd. I know other people have consistently found salty notes before, but I’ve never in my life really been able to pick that particular one out. It has always struck me as a pretty bizarre note to have in green tea, but I’m definitely getting it here. And I say again, O.o

I sincerely doubt I’m getting the full picture here, my health situation being what it is (I really thought I was finished having a cold! Why is it coming back?), but what little aspects I am able to taste here are very pleasant and definitely hitting that green craving spot.

I think Husband is enjoying it as well. He finished his off before me and accepted seconds. This wouldn’t happen if he didn’t like it.

TheTeaFairy

Oh, Fishermans are on demand today :-)

Angrboda

They are my favourite throat pastil now that I can’t have my absolute favourite (kur-a-kof) anymore. I used to prefer those but they’ve disappeared from the shelves some years ago. I expect they weren’t selling well enough.

I could live without people automatically assuming I’m talking about the booze though! O.O

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100
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
1311 tasting notes

Cold and wet Husband asked for something ‘black and robust and super life-giving’ after his shower, having just cycled home in the rain.

I can’t remember if I’ve given him this one before, so I thought now was a good time to do so.

Bonnie

Sounds like a perfect tea for after cycling home in the rain!

Angrboda

I thought so. (He’s mad. I’d have left the bike and taken the bus!)

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80
drank Troika by Kusmi Tea
1311 tasting notes

I had a sample tin of this two years ago, in that Russian Blends sample sets, and back then I rather liked this one. But I finished the sample and didn’t pay any further attention to it.

Untill recently when it suddenly got inside my head that I wanted it again. I mean I wanted it! So after going around for a while with that want in the back of my head, just to see if it would stick around or go away or what, I finally decided that it was staying and not just a passing thought.

So I bought me a tin.

Drinking this now is like meeting up with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time. Everything I said in those posts of a few years ago still stands.

Daniel Scott

A tea vendor relatively close to me carries Kusmi teas. I was curious to know what they were; the site doesn’t explain it all that well. Is this a brand of loose leaf?

Ysaurella

yes absolutely look at their us website : http://us.kusmitea.com/our-teas.html
when you click on a product, you can choice if you want it bagged or loose leaf (in a tin apparently for US). In France we can buy loose leaf by weight as well

Ysaurella

and here is their story :http://us.kusmitea.com/140-years-history.html
(not easy to find out on their website, complicated website architecture)

Ellyn

I love Kusmi but I agree the website is not that easy to navigate.

Angrboda

Daniel, Kusmi does both loose and bags, but you’ve probably seen that already if you clicked the links from Ysaurella. When it’s bagged, it’s loose leaf sewn into a little muslin bag, so the difference isn’t very big.

Ysaurella, I can only get the tins and bags as well here in Denmark. Husband and I were in Paris on a long weekend a couple of years ago though, and we stopped into a Kusmi shop. That’s where I first had the Smoky Earl Grey and the Caramel which I love. :)

Ellyn, I agree. I’ve only tried to order from it once and I had a hard time finding my way around it. It’s not fair of me, but I must admit that when the Danish post service managed to actually loose my parcel without a trace after having firsted attempted to deliver it in the wrong city, I rather lost interest in trying to order from the site again. (Besides in the meantime I found a place which had a large selection of their tins, and I worked out the price would come to more or less the same)

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94
drank Earl Grey Smoky by Kusmi Tea
1311 tasting notes

Correctly identified based on a sniff and a sip this morning. My powers are returning! MWAHAHAHA!

Ellyn

Glad you are feeling better!

Angrboda

Thank you

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92

I’ll do a more thorough review of this one later, but we had some of it last night. I bought it because of the huge success I had with the raspberry and vanilla rooibos from Yumchaa which Cteresa shared with me. It started me on this whole flavoured rooibos thing and I’ve been meaning to buy some more of it for quite a while but just never got round to it. Then I was ordering from Nothing But Tea and saw they had this one and I jumped straight on a 100g pouch.

When we had some yesterday it tasted so identical to my memory of the Yumchaa one that I started to wonder if they actually were identical. I don’t know if either of those places make their own blends or if they buy them elsewhere, so I checked.

As it turns out they’re not identical because Yumchaa’s blend also has rose petals in it, which this one doesn’t. But apparently it’s close enough. Compared with my memory (and the keyword here is ‘memory’) of Yumchaa’s blend, these two are interchangable. Excellent news and bad news rolled into one. Excellent because then it doesn’t matter that I never got around to the Yumchaa order and bad news because it lessens the odd of me ever getting around to it.

Right now though, I’ll go and make us something else. Something sufficiently stronger as a post-vet-visit pick-me-up. Just their vaccinations, nothing dramatic, although the Charm Cat did attempt to scratch the vet to ribbons. (They had something in their shop called ‘dog beer’, a vitamin B supplement for dogs, sold in bottles with caps and labels that made it look a little like beer. I should get some for my dad’s dog for Christmas; he would find it hilarious!)

cteresa

well, even better than an order from yumchaa it would be a visit to one of their tea shops, if you are ever in London you got to go!

but I got to check this Nothing but Tea! sounds good, backup suppliers of something closer enough to one of my “staples”

Angrboda

NBT has a large selection. I really like shopping there.

We don’t usually go to London when we’re in the UK and want to visit a larger town for shopping, though. Most often we go to Cambridge. It’s closer.

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91

This one isn’t backlogged, and this sample is all I’ve got so perhaps it’s unwise to have it now when still not at full health. However, it’s a Chaplon tea and perfectly available for repurchase another time, so it’s not a big deal.

I bought a sample of this with my Chaplon order from not long ago. Cranberry is for me one of those flavours that are difficult to resist but never really manage to be truly spectacular unless mixed with something else. The Late Summer blend from AC Perchs is one we keep at work and has cranberry and vanilla in an absolutely wonderful combination. I’ve also once had a cranberry and orange and almonds, I think it was, blend that I received in a swap. Can’t remember the name of it or who shared it with me, but that was pretty awesome too. Cranberry on its own though? There have been a few good ones but not on the same scale really that I can recall. So I’m drawn to it and the perpetual mild disappointment. A bit like with vanilla, really. This is not the search for the perfect cranberry flavoured tea, though. It’s just a compulsion.

The aroma of this is very cranberry-y and all juicy smelling. It reminds me of dried cranberries, which, apart from juice and flavouring, is really the only sort of cranberry flavour I’m familiar with. I’ve seen you can get them fresh in the supermarket at the moment, but I don’t know what I’d use them for. Are they even edible raw? I seem to have read once that they aren’t.

I can vaguely pick up some of the base underneath. It smells kind of grainy and is described by Chaplon as ‘fairly robust’, although they don’t seem to be wanting to give me any more information regarding origin than that. I can’t pick up enough of it, though, partly due to the flavouring and partly due to the state of my sinuses that I can make any guess at where it might be from.

The flavour is totally cranberry-y. It’s exactly like eating dried cranberries, complete with the touch of astringency that these berries have. The flavouring is fairly strong but it seems to be only on the surface of the sip, where the body of it is the base tea with just a few smidgens of flavouring. It makes me wish I was in a state to taste it properly, but what I can pick up of it seems very nice. I’m getting the impression that this is a base that is right up my particular alley of preference. I wonder what it could be. I suspect it’s possibly a blend. I would quite like to have some of it without flavouring as well. I think I might like to write to Chaplon and ask, I’m feeling really very curious about this now. The worst that could happen is they say that they won’t disclose the information. (I can’t imagine that they don’t know. That would be silly.)

Chaplon recommends blending it with a mild Ceylon black for a milder flavouring, but for me I don’t really think they is necessary. Sure the flavouring is strong, but it seems well balanced and I rather enjoy the sensation of it being like a sphere with the flavour on the surface and sending tendrils into the body in the middle. I don’t think I would want to mess with that balance. But of course everybody prefers a different sort of balance with these things don’t they? It’s cool that it’s possible.

Funnily enough, this is a flavour that just keeps on giving, because although cranberries aren’t really something that is considered particularly soothing when it comes to the common cold, it seems to be helping a little anyway. Or possibly it’s just the drinking of something warm, I don’t know. There’s just something in it that makes me feel just a tiny bit of relief and refreshment. It’s not impossible that I might buy some of this another time.

Claire

Cranberries can’t be eaten raw, they have to be cooked/baked/dried. :)

Angrboda

That’s what I thought. I wonder if I could come up with something nice with them. They sort of tempt me when I see them. I like them dried and as juice, so I want to try them other ways as well. Shame Husband is vegetarian, I could imagine them doing well in some sort of beef stew or something.

Ellyn

Is it because they are poisonous or because they are just SO TART no one would want to eat them?

Claire

I think they’re just so tart raw that they aren’t edible. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas I like to make a gluten free crisp with apples and cranberries. Just let the sliced applies and the whole cranberries soak in sugar and lemon juice for about an hour, and for the crumble topping I mix almond flour, brown sugar, and butter. It’s yummy!

Angrboda

Oooh I love that sort of dessert! Rhubarb crumble with custard is one of my favourite puddings when we’re in the UK. I have a recipe somewhere from a blog by a woman calling herself Formerchef (look her up, she has lots of great things) which has nectarines and strawberries. Very nommy!

Terri HarpLady

I actually eat them raw, thinly sliced & mixed with diced apples & toasted nuts on top. Of course, you have to be careful & make it mostly apples, with a small handful of cranberries. I got in the habit of eating them years ago, when I had kidney problems. I also used to drink straight unsweetened cranberry juice, usually diluted, & it is rediculously tart! When I gave up all milk-related products, my kidney issues miraculously went away!

Terri HarpLady

Claire, that dessert sounds awesome!

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29

Have a backlog, since I’m not capable of tasting anything properly at the moment, the Tan Yang Te Ji (♥) of this morning being proof thereof, and also it seems like it’s been a while since I wrote a proper post that wasn’t just a ‘poor me’ kind of thing.

So here is a tea that Auggy has shared with me, and which I have tasted rather out of season, because I didn’t really feel like waiting. And I’d already done the Thirsty Elf too which was also out of season, so…

It was, according to my notes, a chilly day when I had it, though, so I thought at the time that a Christmas tea seemed appropriate.

The leaf smelled of Christmas spices and particularly of ginger. There was a funny almost soapy note in it as well, but I’m not sure that wasn’t just another aspect of the ginger. Other thoughts I had were of clove, cinnamon and cardamom, but really it was mostly ginger. It’s supposed to have orange as well, but I only found that as a whiff of an accent to the other notes.

Not super-confident about this, I sipped with caution. Gosh, ginger! And soap. Now I definitely think the soapyness is a ginger aspect. As for the other ingredients, I could only find a weak orange and the shadow of an almond in the aftertaste. That’s it. No vanilla, no spices, no nothing. Just ginger.

So not a blend for me, this.

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72
drank Cantaloupe & Cream by Butiki Teas
1311 tasting notes

Here’s another backlog while we’re at it.

This one came from Hesper June and is another one of these hugely popular Butiki blends.

Personally I have to say I was a little doubtful as I’m not very fond of white tea these days, and especially not Bai Mu Dan which for me often tastes strongly of courgettes. I like courgettes, but I don’t like my tea to taste like them. It seems like BMD is the standard white tea to flavour, so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best here.

The leaf smelled faintly of chamomille and vaguely of cantaloupe, and after steeping it was primarily a cantaloupe aroma. There was also a sort of thick, viscous smell to it, which I think must be the cream element. Underneath it all there were notes of something kind of spicy which I could only imagine must be the base. Strongly suspect BMD at this point.

First sip only strengthened this supicion. Why hello there mr Courgette! Fancy meeting you here. I thought the base was coming through quite strongly in this one. There were cantaloupe flavour as well, yes, but that was mostly in the aftertaste. I couldn’t seem to locate any cream anywhere.

I was a little disappointed by this one, but I think it’s because I didn’t care for the base tea and it was coming through a little too strongly for me.

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100
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
1311 tasting notes

Husband made this for us, and I COMPLETELY FAILED to identify it.

My first guess was a Ceylon.

O.O

I think this illness has broken my tongue.

I take great comfort, while sitting here feeling sorry for myself, in knowing that it’s the Goodest Stuff™ even though it currently tastes all funky.

Lynne-tea

I hope you get better soon! =)

LiberTEAS

Yes … get well soon!

JacquelineM

I hear ya! Flu of doom over here – going into the 2nd week of not feeling like myself, but the worst is past at least. I had this one yesterday too :)

Indigobloom

eeep feel better! I hate being sick

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20
drank Throat Tea by Luka Te m.m.
1311 tasting notes

bleeuuuuurgh…

Added a little honey for extra medicinalness. Seems to make the chamomile a wee bit more bearable.

At least it’s soothing. Poor us.

(You should hear Husband’s magnificent bedroom voice, guys!)

Kittenna

Hahahaha, sounds like the boyfriend and I from a few days ago. He came over, and we sat on the couch watching a movie. With a box of kleenex separating us. He later drove me to pick up NyQuil. :P What a date!

Also, that tea sounds icky (and also judging by your rating), but I hope it works!! Sore throats are the worst. Feel better!

LiberTEAS

I hope you feel better soon!

Ninavampi

Get better! :)

Terri HarpLady

I’m right in there with you, could you pass the kleenex please?

Rabs

Hoping you both recover sooner rather than later.

Helena

I don’t want your cold! Even if I got a cold I’ll pass on that tea :D

ashmanra

Oh dear! I hope you both feel better quickly!

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Profile

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)
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Bio last updated February 2014

Location

Denmark

Website

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