1267 Tasting Notes

56

Look what I found in my sample box. I didn’t even now I had any puerh at all. Puerh seems to be all sorts of fashionable on Steepster these days, so I figured why not.

I’ve got two of these and no clue where they came from. What I haven’t got is the energy and patience to properly try to gong-fu one, so I’m just doing the regular western steeping, although I did, on a whim because I usually never bother, do a rinse first.

The toucha itself doesn’t have much in the way of aroma, but as soon as it gets wet, there’s lots. And suddenly I get what people mean about ‘fishy smells’. Actually this may not even be the first time I’ve made such a discovery, but it’s been so long since I last had a puerh that I had quite lost the ability to imagine that. This one smells like a fishmonger at the initial contact with water.

After a little while of steeping the fishmonger smell goes away, and now I’ve got something earthy and sweet. I won’t rule out the sweetness being from the vanilla and strawberry concoction I had earlier, but I rinsed both pot and cup, so I don’t think so. It’s not a vanilla-y sweetness anyway. It’s more sort of sugar-y and creamy. A bit like a soft ice cream, really. Well, that was unexpected!

It’s both a disappointment and a relief that it doesn’t actually taste like ice cream. That would have been fun, but bizarre. Oh so bizarre.

It seems I have actually managed to make this cup a wee bit on the strong side, so there is some sort of pepper-y/pseudo-smoke-y prickle on the swallow, as if we’re right on the border of astringency here.

Unfortunately, that is also actually the largest flavour here. First there’s just vaguely flavoured hot water followed by the note of ‘oh, how you mistreat me, you wicked person!’

There’s nothing really earthy, nothing that reminds me of the cowstable (not a bad thing. It’s flavour association rather than just flavour, that one) that I expect from puerh. It makes me feel like it lacks depth somewhat. Perhaps in multiple short steepings that would show itself better, but I feel a bit with puerh that I also do with oolongs; if it can’t present itself nicely in a western style, then it’s not living up to my ideals and tastes.

This one was all aroma and very little flavour. Bit of a disappointment.

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86
drank Blueberry Hill by Yumchaa
1267 tasting notes

This one came from Cteresa and I have to say right out from the beginning that having read the ingredients list, I have very high expectations. Very. High. Expectations. Probably unreasonably high, to be honest, but I can’t help it.

Blueberries, I like those. Rhubarb, a really interesting and seriously underappreciated flavouring opportunity (I’ve only ever seen it in green before) and vanilla. We all know how I feel about vanilla.

Vanilla mixed with other fruit? I do that regularly at home already. It’s particularly good with cranberries (as per my Late Summer Blend from AC Perchs) or other berries. Not so much with citrus. That only works sometimes. (Lemon + blackcurrant, however, is also quite a hit, I think)

Of course, then it also contains peony flowers, and I’m not super pleased with flowery teas, but I have a hope that it will only be floral as a way to accentuate the other flavours.

The aroma is primarily sweet and somewhat floral. The sweetness is somewhat vanilla-y, but it also has a tang of rhubarb to it and a great deal of blueberry. The flowery aspect is clearly detectable but it doesn’t ‘break’ it for me. It’s not strong enough for that at all. Primarily it smells a bit like sweets. Untraditional sweets maybe, but still.

So far so good. All expectations are well and truly intact here. On aroma alone, this gets a fair few points.

Let’s start with the bad and get that over with. Unfortunately, the floral aspect is somewhat stronger on the flavour, although not quite to the point where it gets soap-y or perfume-y. It’s just exactly strong enough to not just be a background player, and I can’t totally ignore it.

That leaves the blueberry, vanilla and rhubarb. There is definitely LOTS of blueberry. It’s very strongly flavoured with berry, this, and I feel the vanilla and rhubarb takes more to the background. It is here we find that accantuation of the flavours, not in the peony. I should really have liked it to be the other way around. I would have liked to have those two flavours stand out a bit more. As it is they merely add a bit of sweetness and touch of tartness. (A rhubarb and vanilla blend alone I suspect might be kind of awesome)

Now the base. This is a Keemun base, and while I wouldn’t be able to tell without knowing this, now that I do, I can find some Keemun-y characteristics in it. Particularly the rye-y notes, but no pseudo-smoke. This makes me wonder if this base is one of those that I would find more floral than smoky, and if it is, I really wish they had left out the peony. A floral Keemun should be plenty floral all by itself. Unless of course it was this precise note they were trying to bring out over the flavouring, which I suppose is possible and makes sense.

Circumstances beyond my control forced me to leave the cup for a little while and when I came back, the tea had gone all lukewarm. I wouldn’t say this was really to its advantage, but it did make me think that this might be a good candidate to try in a cold brew if given another opportunity.

When first I was attempting to make a Yumchaa order, which, due to difficulties with their site, I had this one on the list. Right now I’m not sure if it will be included when I make a second attempt at ordering. I mean, yeah, I find it very enjoyable, but I’m just not entirely certain that I really need more of it now that I’ve tried it.

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91
drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
1267 tasting notes

Amusingly, it appears that Arison has somehow pulled it off to follow me twice. I’ve checked, they show up twice on my ‘followed by’ list, and I show up twice on their ‘follows’ list.

So far today has been quite rich. I got sung at first thing in the morning and served breakfast of eggs, toast, mushrooms and baked beans. I’ve received a Harry Potter film (DH pt 1) and the Tintin film on blu-ray and I’ve also got the latest Bruce Springsteen cd, which is very good. I wonder if this is all I’ll get because I’m getting a little concerned that the boyfriend is showing me up on the birthday gift giving scale. (And if he sees this, he’ll probably show up in my room saying “It’s not a competition, you know!”) I’ve also got a card from him, and from his parents and his sister. Those latter two are one with cakes and one with kitties. They know me well already, it would seem! :p

So it appeared to me that a Mystery Tea That I’ve Never Had Before was in order. This one came to me from Spoonvonstrup and I’ve been having a plock of a time working out which part of China it comes from. The company didn’t bother mentioning this in their info. All it said was that it was produced by the same people who also produced one of their other teas, so I had a look at that one. Still no clues about region. Hm. I shall have to suss it out for myself then!

The aroma is sweet, chocolate-y and grainy. Normally this automatically makes me think Fujian, but I think this is a trap. It’s not deep enough, particularly on the grain note, for me to be at all certain. Then there’s another thing, which is a tiny, vague note of straw and a wee bit of pepper. Those are Yunnan give-aways, but they’re not quite strong enough to me to be at all certain of Yunnan either. As I very much doubt it’s a mixture of the two, which would be rather bizarre in this particular context, it has to be one or the other.

Perhaps flavour will give us a clue. At first there’s a strong note of brown sugar in this. That molasses-like strength and depth, it’s very strong here. That note is not one I associate with either type. It’s very good, but it doesn’t really help me work this out.

Next I get that note of straw for a second before it turns into something kind of, but not quite, grainy as the cup cools. That’s a Yunnan-y trait. I’ve never come across that straw-y, hay-y note in anything else than Yunnan. A Fujian tea would have been much stronger on the grain note.

But then there’s there cocoa-y note, which I find to be more Fujian-y than anything else. I may have found that in Yunnan teas before, but it’s not one that stands out in my head as an association to that region.

I don’t know what to make of this. I’m beginning to suspect it’s actually out of an entirely third region. It’s time to go and look for some answers. I know black tea pearls are not that uncommon on Steepster, so I have a look at a few others of different brands. Without exception they are all mentioned as Yunnan teas.

I was close then. This is just not one that is very similar to other teas I’ve had from that province. Your average Yunnan black tea, I tend to find to be a mouthful of hay more often than not, and to drink it requires a very specific sort of mood. This one isn’t like that at all. Yes, it has the straw note in it, but it’s much more subdued, and that makes me like this a whole lot better than my usual impression of Yunnans. I especially enjoyed that brown sugar note. That was right up my alley, that was. I loves me some brown sugar!

Dinosara

Happy birthday!

gmathis

May your day be full of lovely and enjoyable “get-to’s.” (As opposed to gotta-do’s.)

ashmanra

Sounds like a great start to the day! Happy Birthday!

TeaBrat

Have a great birthday!

Bonnie

Many years to you!

Yogini Undefined

Happy Birthday to you! :)

Scott B

Happy Birthday!

Missy

Happy birthday!

Dylan Oxford

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you!

Ag

Happy birthday!

LadyLondonderry

Happy birthday, Angrboda!

Azzrian

Happy Birthday!! dang we need a page where we post birthdays so we can send sneak surprises!!

kOmpir

Happy birthday to you with best wishes for even better cuppas to come :)

Joshua Smith

Happy birthday!

Ninavampi

Happy Birthday! : )

Charisma

Happy Birthday :)

DaisyChubb

Happy happy birthday! :D!

Indigobloom

Happy happy birthday!!! let there be tea =D

Roughage

Tillykke med fødselsdagen. :-)

Buy the Stars

Ahaha, I hadn’t even noticed that! My miraculous ability to break things on the internet, I suppose. Happy birthday. :)

Lynne-tea

Happy belated Birthday! Great sounding start to it too

Angrboda

Thanks everybody!

Roughage, OMG!!! :D

Daniel Scott

Seems I’m a day late, but happy birthday!

And I love posts like this! I will have to make notes about the tastes you associate with each region and see if I notice them in the future; I definitely haven’t had a Fujian tea yet.

LadyLondonderry

Daniel, you haven’t had a Fujian yet?! ::clutches pearls:: Jeeves, get the young gentleman some Fujian immediately!

Angrboda

Why do I suddenly get the feeling that LadyLondonderry share at least some of my enthusiasm for this region? :p

Daniel, there are only really three regions, where I have specific ideas of what I expect from them, and that’s because I just have the most experience with them. I haven’t really been very good at exploring the rest of China properly, but have been hovering around the three most well known for black tea. Fujian, Yunnan and Keemun.

I tend to think of Fujians as sort of grainy and sort of fruity with a cocoa-y/chocolate-y note to it. And something else which I can’t actually describe much closer than ‘Fujian-ness’. I get mildly synesthetic reactions to flavours sometimes, so Fujian-ness is mostly a mix of seemingly random associations. Not so much a colour that I’ve noticed, but definitely a certain feeling of a depth and darkness and basically pleasure at the same time. It’s my favourite region.

Yunnan is my least favourite of the three, but I’ve had the most experience with golden yunnans, which I have to be in the mood for in order to drink. They have a strong note of hay and straw for me. Some think they tend to be pepper-y, others think they tend to be smoky in flavour. I started out in the smoky camp but have landed more or less in the middle of the scale now. Sometimes they’re one, sometimes they’re the other. I tend to prefer the smokier end.

Keemun is another favourite tea type for me, but I haven’t found the perfect one yet. These have a very grainy flavour profile, reminding me strongly of freshly baked proper Danish rye bread. The sort you know in North America? That’s not it. Danish rye bread is dark and strong and eaten in thin slices. It seems that people who didn’t grow up on it, often doesn’t seem to like it much. My boyfriend is definitely not a fan. Anyway, like with Yunnans, Keemuns can have two faces. Either they’re very floral tasting or, again, smoky. I’ve noticed that the higher grade of Keemun I seem to try, the more likely they are to be floral, and I really prefer the more smoky ones, so I tend to go for the cheaper end Keemuns when shopping.

Spoonvonstup

Happy belated Birthday! Glad you had fun with this one. Garret at Mandala seems to have a real passion for Yunnan (especially shu pu’er!) so you’re probably right on the money as far as region goes.

Kittenna

Happy belated bday! I’m looking forward to having a palate developed enough to identify the region of a tea, but I think I’m a few years off yet :)

Garret

These are, indeed, a find from Yunnan! I just got back from tea travels in China and spent a majority of time in Yunnan seeing some tea gardens, mountains, sipping and buying tons of teas (including more of these pearls!) and finding more tea wares. Bought much mao cha from a few farmers and will have it pressed soon under our label. I really do love Yunnan black teas. My favorites, though I acquired some great black teas near Huangshan on this last trip, as well!

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31
drank Chilli Chilli Bang Bang by Yumchaa
1267 tasting notes

Cteresa was kind enough to supply me with some more flavoured rooibos samples. Two of them I’m eager to try and one not so much. This one would be the not so much. It has many things in it that I don’t much care for. Still I decided to do this one first because that was the only way I could think of to make sure it didn’t languish forever in the sample box. And I did want to try a new rooibos blend.

So I’m giving it a cautious go. Last time I gave something I fully expected to dislike a cautious go, I ended up giving it 90+ points, after all.

Well, the aroma is strong. Cinnamon and ginger are right there at the forefront, and I haven’t even put my nose anywhere near the cup yet. It smells uncannily like mulled wine, which I’m finding a little strange. Upon closer olfactory inspection, I can also pick up some pepper in there. I have to say, the aroma does nothing to quell my fears. (Sugar on standby)

It’s not as spicy as I initially feared, but it does have a rather strong ginger-y note, with some cinnamon behind it. There is a small prickle of chili and pepper, just enough that I can feel it on my tongue, but not enough to be burning.

It’s not as bad as I feared, but it’s definitely not one for me either. There are too many things in this that I don’t really want anywhere near my teas or herbals. Ginger most especially. I like ginger okay in food or in some baking, when it’s not a primary flavour but merely adding a zing of something to the dish. I feel the same way about garlic, really. On it’s own or in something where it’s a heavy flavour? Not so much.

I find it drinkable as it is, but just barely. Still I eventually decided against trying it with some sugar, because I just couldn’t imagine sugar being able to do anything about my problems with it, and I thought I’d probably just risk making it completely useless to me.

No, definitely not for me. Sorry, Cteresa.

gmathis

You gotta give it points for a fun name, though!

Missy

I like the sugar on standby. You could yell sugar to cup stat!

Bonnie

I would have put in the sugar…for sure sometimes it turns the tea around into a winner. Never know.

cteresa

ah, sorry, did not realize! and glad it got there safe and sound.

I am not usually a fan of very spicy tea, but like this mix – particularly the chilli, I find it so warming, in a nice way, when it´s dreary or I am feeling ill. Though I admit I like spices. Hope you like the other samples better, very curious for your opinion!

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93

Making tea is a good excuse to look out of the kitchen window and try to see what the landlord is doing in the other half of the building. Fact about this house: It was built in the 20s if I recall correctly and the flat that I live in used to be a grocery shop. Upstairs, I imagine is where the grocer lived with his family and downstairs is the cellar. Adjacant to the building there is this empty space, also separated into two or three floors. I’m not sure, I haven’t actually explored it all that much. I assume it has been storage facilities or possibly stables originally. Fact about my landlord: He’s a builder. Lately there has been a lot of noise from the other side of my wall, so clearly his working on doing something with that empty space. Right now I think he’s been taking out the concrete flooring. I wonder if he’s converting it into more flats perhaps? So yeah, any excuse to peek out the window while pretending I’m not actually super curious, I’ll take it. :)

Perhaps this is the reason why I’m stupid! No really, any person who can’t tell seconds from minutes can’t possibly have that many brain cells to rub together, can they? That person, ladies and gentlemen, is your very own Ang. How hard can it be to set a timer? Very.

This tea was another one that Spoonvonstrup shared with me, writing something along the lines of ‘I know greens aren’t really your thing, but I thought I would share it anyway’. Funny really, considering I had just got a bout of green tea inspiration only a few days before the package arrived. Certainly it must have been after it was sent.

It was a generously sized sample, enough for two rounds, so I thought I would try to do it once in the western style and once in a more gong-fu-ish method (to the best of my abilities). Deciding to start with ten seconds, I… yeah, see above. It took nearly six minutes before it occurred to me that something wasn’t right. I can’t even save it by calling this the western style attempt because the leaf to water ratio is all stupid for that. I only use half the amount of water to the same amount of leaf when I attempt these short steeps.

So obviously the first steep yielded a very strong cup, but surprisingly not a ruined one. There is evidence in the flavour of it having gone rather wrong, but it’s by no means undrinkable. Just… strong. It’s got a silky soft and very fat flavour, kind of buttery but not completely. There is a vegetal note to both the aroma and the flavour which reminds me of a bit of cooked spinach. And then of course a bit of a prickly ‘you-got-me-wrong’ reminder behind it all, which I get a clear impression shouldn’t have been there. “Idiot proof” Spoonvonstrup’s post say. Well, then I came along…

But! All is not lost, so let’s try again and see if we can’t get it right, yes? This time I succesfully differentiate my seconds from my minutes and the aroma is a lot crisper. It still has that spinach note but there is also an additional note of something kind of citrus-y. I’m thinking lime, mostly because that’s the colour association I’m getting with this aroma. That colour is more or less the same colour Chinese green teas tend to give me. Japanese greens are much darker in hue in my head.

The flavour is more crisp as well. Not so fat and butter-y, but still with the spinach-y note and a whole lot of citrus. There were no citrus whatsoever in the first botched steep. Interesting, this citrus note. It’s all refreshing and nice tasting and it doesn’t give me that sour aftertaste that green teas sometimes do.

How enjoyable this second cup is! I really like this citrus aspect.

I thought the third cup would be the same as the second, but it appears my initial whoopsie has taken its toll on the leaves because already now they appear to be fading. It is more or less the same as the second cup, same spinach and same citrus, but it’s somehow diminished. More transparant.

I say ‘more or less’, but actually there is some difference in the spinach notes. It seems to be going faster than the citrus-y note, so it appears like the citrus is stronger this time. I don’t think it is, I think it’s just more on its own this time.

This diminishing of flavour shouldn’t happen so quickly in a green tea, I don’t think. I can only imagine that it’s the initial very long steep that has been at play.

It’s still quite an enjoyable cup, though. I just rather miss the spinach.

Unpertubed however, I continue. Weirdly this seems to smell like the second cup. I would have expected it to be even more transparant and for that to only get worse from now on. There is a thick butteryness to it now which I don’t really feel was there before.

The flavour solves the puzzle. It’s not that the spinach has come back like it was in the second cup. It’s that with the further increase in steeping time, the spinach and the citrus is once more in that same balance. The increased steeping time have then given it time to get a little stronger than it was in the third. Even though the third cup was increased with five seconds and this cup has been increased by a further five seconds, so logically it still ought to have been more of the same.

I shan’t complain, though. This is like a rerun of the second cu- oh dear, mental image. Unfortunate phrasing. Let’s call it a do-over rather than a rerun, shall we.

This is going rather well! Let’s do another.

Normally at this point I would start thinking the flavours were fading and I would be getting bored. This particular tea, however, appears to be surprisingly entertaining. I was hoping for another cup like the second and fourth, with a nice spinach and citrus balance in it, but now it seems the citrus-y bit has taken a step back. It’s still there, it’s just hanging out in the background this time. There’s something else, though. Something sweet. Just a smidge of it. It’s not sugar, it’s more like fruit sweetness. Hmm… interesting. Nah, I think I prefer the citrus/spinach balance.

Perhaps that’s an every other steep sort of thing? Let’s try again!

Nope, this is the nearly the same as the previous. Strong on the spinach note and a non-fruity fruit-like sweetness. Hm. Does that mean that the citrus note is completely finished? That’s the only difference. The citrus-y note has changed characteristics and now comes over more like a green apple of some sort of tart variety. Granny Smith perhaps, or similar. There is an apple-y aftertaste at this point as well.

And I think that will be the last cup, unless I decide to do another one later tonight, but although I should have liked to explore that nice apple-y note that has come out, frankly this is doubtful. I’m not bored with it, and I’m sure there is lots more life in the leaf, but I’m full. I can’t drink any more.

Scott B

I am anxious to try this myself even though I am not a big green tea drinker myself. Thanks for the thorough review.

MegWesley

I really enjoy reading these steeping notes. These are the type of notes that inspire me to try to get re-steepable tea. Very entertaining.

Azzrian

Exactly! I feel the same way Meg! I mean sometimes you can steep a tea so many times I never get the FULL benefit from the tea lol but I try to dry it back out and save it for the next day but I always want something different! I go about three steeps maybe four before Im done but it is nice to have that option!!!

Spoonvonstup

So glad you enjoyed!! :)

Angrboda

Scott, Neither am I, and I was totally won over. I think perhaps with green teas I just really like them better with the multiple small short steeps as opposed to western style. If this botched first cup was akin to a western style result, then I’m not likely to like that very much.

MegWesley, thank you. :)

Azzrian, yes, I know what you mean. It bothers me a little sometimes that I don’t do it more often, but on the other hand, I prefer to drink the tea I want rather than the tea I think I ought to drink.

Spoonvonstrup, I did! Much more than I had anticipated. Especially after the first steep went wrong.

Scott B

I only do Western-style steeping, but for me finding a green tea I like has just been trying various types and seeing what I like.

Angrboda

I only did Western style as well. That will have to change, if it can put other types other than just blacks into my regular rotation.

Thomas Smith

I just pulled the same timer mistake when making tea the other day using the timer on my new oven, but mixed minutes with hours…

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drank Jin Jun Mei by Unknown
1267 tasting notes

I have sent the birthday boy off to a whisky related event with a crisp banknote and instructions to ‘buy himself something pretty. Or something wet if he prefers’. Meanwhile I’m celebrating his birthday in absentia at home with some more the Jin Jun Mei that Spoonvonstrup sent me, while laying wicked, wicked plans for an attempt at lemon surprise pudding. (If I can pull that off, I’m going to earn myself soooo many gold stars! :D) I may have to get a little creative with available crockery, but how hard can it be?

Now. This JJM is also one that doesn’t have a brand as such on it, but like the previous one, it came out of a red foil wrapper. Different from the last red foil wrapper though. Let’s just quickly, for comparison purposes, sum up what I concluded on the first one. It had a rather grainy sort of flavour and a late-comer note of smoke. Not much in the way of fruity sweetness I otherwise associate with LS, so it was a different experience than LS. In a whole other box in my brain. So this is what I’m expecting out of this one too.

The aroma is definitely grainy, but also remarkably malty-sweet. I didn’t remember that maltiness from the first JJM. Was it there? I don’t think it was. This note is so big that it would have been impossible not to notice. Again, however, there isn’t much in the way of smoke on the aroma.

The flavour is much the same as the first JJM I tried, although this one appears to just be larger somehow. It also has the smoke note showing up a lot sooner than the first one, almost at the very beginning of the sip. At first there is the grain, not as malty-sweet as the aroma, but there is definitely some of that in it, and then the touch of smoke hits. It sort of arrives in a pointed arrow-like shape and unfolds over the rest of the flavour. (Here we go with my cross-wired brain again!) Bright white against brown.

The first one had a bit of astringency to it, which the boyfriend told me was right on his border for astringency tolerance. After which he told me that a couple of the other blacks I sometimes serve have a little too much astringency for his tastes too. Apparently there is a huge difference between working this out for himself and telling me which ones it is he doesn’t care for, so that I don’t give them to him in the future. But I shouldn’t talk really. It took me a very long time indeed to drum up the courage to tell him that I don’t actually much like celery, and instead developed a technique of eating all the celery bits first, quickly without tasting them too much. Based on this and the memory of that first one, I doubt he would have enjoyed this one very much, because that too is just much larger in this sample.

I wonder if perhaps this wrapper had a lot more leaf in it than the other one did. It is a very strong cup. Perhaps even a little too strong for me. I think I liked the first one I tried better. Not because of the difference in strength only but also because this one seems a little too forceful.

And it has occurred to me that putting a rating on unknown brands is totally useless as most posts will be about different batches entirely. Therefore I have removed it and moved the amount of points into the body of the post instead.

Points: 82

Azzrian

“‘buy himself something pretty. Or something wet if he prefers”
LOL sorry my mind went a bad place on this.

Ninavampi Oh Azzrian… Hahaha…
Angrboda

Well he is going to a whisky event. I figured perhaps he could buy himself that bottle on his wishlist. I gave up almost immediately when it was explained to me that it had to be this particular bottling out of this particular cask… I swear whisky is way worse than tea when it comes to all the finicky details!

Indigobloom

now I’m curious, how did the pudding turn out?? and wet things… Azzrian I won’t ever read those words the same again :P

Angrboda

Indigobloom, as it’s only 4pm, I don’t know that yet. I shall return with an answer after I’ve made it. :) It’s meant to be served warm, you see.

Indigobloom

ah, well I look forward to it!!
In my head, I had forgotten about the time difference…

Angrboda

Well, these things happen. He’ll be home in about 25 minutes and then I’ll probably start making dinner right away then.

Angrboda

Indigobloom, I can now report back and say it went awesomely! I’m extremely pleased with myself and it was totally easy to make it. I followed this recipe http://jessicascakespot.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/lemon-surprise-pudding-1950/ but I will say that it does NOT serve 4. We’re only two and we polished it off easily. There would probably be enough for 3, but 4 people would only get a small helping of pudding each.

Indigobloom

Oh wow that does look amazing! yummmmm. So glad it worked out. Brownie points for you!!

Spoonvonstup

Note on astringency and JJM: One of the difficulties I’ve found with JJM is that it can be so expensive, but unless you get into stratosphere prices, the astringency creeps up so easily on you. There’s always using less leaf, etc etc, but it’s one reason I have never really bought a ton of legit JJM. Thus, my friends take it as a challenge to help me fall in love with it.. thus, so many samples to send to you. After drinking through all of the ones I sent, you’ll be a veritable JJM master taster! The best JJM’s I’ve found have a certain taste to them that I can’t put my finger on.. it’s the taste of a place more than anything (just like Yunnan teas /tastes like Yunnan/, so JJM’s teas /tastes like some other place/ that I haven’t found elsewhere. Maybe you’ll see what I mean, but maybe you’ll find I’m crazy. Either way, really enjoying your notes!

Angrboda

Oh gosh I have confession and it’s really really embarrasing! That bit where I thought ‘did this wrapper contain more leaf than the first one?’ right? Well, no, I don’t think it did. As I wasn’t sharing it with the boyfriend, it was the pot that was much smaller and therefore naturally contained less water. I can’t believe it took me this long to work that out. Rookie mistake. headdesk

Spoonvonstrup, I totally understand what you mean about stuff tasting like a place. I think I’ve mentioned finding ‘Fujian-ness’ in teas before. :)

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77

Suddenly we now have a large chunk of this here wedding malarky sorted satisfactoraly. We had a meeting with the restaurant this morning and the battle plan for the day has taken shape. Now all we actually need is just invitations and our own outfits.

This totally calls for celebratory tea. I’m also celebrating with some chocolate cake so I chose a fruity one that might go well with it.

What I have actually ended up with, though is a rather curious blend, because it wasn’t until after I had almost poured a full cup and the contents of the pot suddenly didn’t fit, which it usually does, that I realised that I had about a third cup left from this morning. That was The du Tigres (or whatever. In this house goes by the name of Tigger Tea), also from LPdT. That one is smoky.

I think I’m about to discover what a flavoured Lapsang Souchong might be like. (Seriously, have either of you ever seen that? And I mean flavoured, not just blended into something flavoured. I would seriously like to know what that could result in)

My accidental blend of strawberry black and some cold half-day old Tigger Tea is actually surprisingly good. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve really managed to nail the strawberry on this pot. So it’s very strawberry-like and then I get some of the smoke coming in on top and near the end of the sip.

It sounds bizarre, I know, but it actually strikes me as a really interesting flavour. It makes me actually want to try and experiment a bit with smoky tea and fruit flavoured tea. Just the regular LS, though. The Jin Jun Mei that Spoonvonstrup sent me is obviously way too valuable for that sort of fooling about, and the Tigger Tea is getting a little low and the boyfriend has become very fond of it.

Spoonvonstup

Congrats on the malarky sorting!

Angrboda

Thank you. Weight off my mind! I hate this organising stuff.

Bonnie

I have one mixed with dry jasmine’s that is more mellow and good. I mixed Oh Canada. by DavidsTea (use any Maple) some Lapsang Souchong and a pinch of Applewood Smoked Salt (really good) . I was going to toy with how to get natural flavor like applewood on the Lapsang to blend with maple. I can imagine chili and chocolate too.

Angrboda

I lean more towards fruit flavours myself. And vanilla and sweets obviously. I’ve never really had much luck with chocolate, though. It never seems to want to come out properly for me. I have tried adding a little maple syrup to a cup of LS before which turned out relatively okay. I’m not used to sweetening my tea at all, so it got a little too much in the end.

Bonnie

I often put a pinch in my floral tea’s like Czar Nikolas Renaissance and my local shop has Lapsang Souchong Earl Grey.

cteresa

flavoured LS? what a good idea, this sounds very interesting indeed.

Dylan Oxford

Oooh… wedding malarky. Part of the reason Missy and I are still just engaged ;)

Angrboda

Bonnie, I’ve never considered doing that before, but I’ll definitely experiment with it now. What I would like though is a fruit flavoured tea where the entire base is LS. If it’s a fairly mildmannered LS, I can’t see why it shouldn’t work.

Cteresa, I know! I’ve been sceptic about flavouring green, oolong and pu-erh when first I encountered those, wondering how it was at all possible. But it was and it’s good, so why shouldn’t this work?

Dylan, my advice is that when you decide to marry, make sure you’re well on the way with preparations before you tell anybody. I think that would really keep a lot of the stress down. There have been times where I’ve wished we could have done that.

Bonnie

I’d love a LS and melon or pear if the fruit would stand up to the LS. No heavy hand!

CHAroma

Oooh, so exciting!! I wish I was as far along as you in wedding plans. I’m at the very beginning, taking a trip at the end of the month to check out possible venues. I’m surprised you haven’t gotten the dress yet. That’s one of the best parts!

Angrboda

Oh there’s no rush with that, but it will be the next thing on the agenda. I need to consult with my mother about it first though, because I want to take her along to help me. (and drive me) We’ve been looking at some windows and some websites though, so I do have a few candidates that I’d like to have a closer look at. Since ours will be a civil ceremony, which in Denmark is literally just the two questions and takes all of five minutes (no seriously. Our time is 11:05 and the couple before us is at 11) I don’t need the whole shebang of veils and a dress that looks more like a dessert than anything, and if it should happen that I can’t find a white dress that suits my demands, I could happily go with a different colour. I’ve been thinking actually if it might not be fun to have coloured shoes instead of white shoes. I saw some bright blue ones yesterday, same blue as in my icon.

cteresa

Colored shoes are a great idea, seen lots of those lately, specially with knee length dresses and colorful flowers, it is so cute – go for something you love and reflects your style!

CHAroma

And then you’ll have your something blue!! :)

Angrboda

I’m not paying super-much attention to that particular tradition, but the thought did cross my mind, yes. :)

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drank Jin Jun Mei by Unknown
1267 tasting notes

I have never had this before! Spoonvonstrup has begifted me with a whole little treasure trove. The whole swap got on the way because of two teas. One was the TGY from Verdant which it was deemed necessary for me to also attempt some gong-fu-ing of and this one which Spoonvonstrup thought I would be likely to enjoy. There are several different samples of JJM and most of them are brandless. I’m documenting them anyway, so that I can remember what I thought of the type later on. This one came out of a red wrapper.

Apparently, this is a type of Lapsang Souchong. I didn’t know that. Or I did, but had temporarily forgotten and was just reminded of it now. Based on that I was expecting something kinda smoky and I was surprised when the aroma showed up to be decidedly non so. It was grainy, primarily, but not really smoky at all. I found that a bit odd. I don’t think I’ve ever met an LS that didn’t smell smoky. My mind slipped to the unsmoked LS that LiberTEAs tried the other day and wondered if this was something of the same sort.

The flavour reveals that it isn’t. It’s definitely smoky now. At first when it was warmest I got a mostly grainy flavour again, sort of like the aroma and then smoke showed up as an afterthought. There is a fair bit of astringency as well, as the boyfriend pointed out and then proceeded to tell me that he thought some of my unflavoured blacks were a little too astringent for his tastes. When asked for further details he couldn’t tell me which ones they were. Apparently it’s something of a surprise that I need to know this stuff so that I can not continue to give them to him.

As I’m trying to type and drink tea around a sleepy but social cat (what do you mean make her go away??? I can’t! She’s cute!) the cup has cooled somewhat before I got very far drinking it. At this point the smoke comes out a lot more and a lot sooner in the sip. It’s quite smoky now and also somewhat grainy. The grain now merely forms a base where before it was more or less the primary note.

In LSs I like there to be a certain sweetness and fruityness to complement the smoke. That aspect is as much a requirement for the perfect LS as the smoke is. I would like to be able to say that this aspect is present in this tea. Alas, this is not the case. I’m getting a little of it out of the grainy-ness but not really to the same extent as I have come to prefer.

However, all is not lost. I don’t usually get grain-y flavours from LS in a quantity that has made me notice and remember them, and to my surprise I find that this good amount of grain in the flavour works in much the same way as that fruity sweetness. It provides a balance with the smoke, preventing the smoky note from getting too harsh and prickly. And you know, it’s quite good at it too.

Not all teas have genders, but LS is one of the few types that does. It’s male to me. I’ve always thought of it as very much towards the alpha-male end of the spectrum as well. This one is even male-r than that, somehow. If regular LS is the sort of tea that buys a motorcycle and plays rugby, then JJM is the sort of tea that travels to the moon. For fun.

Before I find myself stuck in a quagmire of gender stereotypes, I shall end the post. I really enjoyed this one. Good call, Spoonvonstrup!

Points: 90

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38

Another Mystery Tea that we’ve never had before, and yet another free sample received with my massive order earlier this year. This one has apple, almonds, cinnamon and a little bit of ginger in it, and I chose something green for the Mystery Tea based on the inspiration in the wake of Genmaicha earlier today. (The boyfriend wasn’t too keen on that one, by the way)

I’m not too interested in the cinnamon aspect of this one. Cinnamon is great in food, but I’m not very fond of it in tea. And ginger… well, I don’t like ginger. As a matter of fact we got to test a theory the other day while on our outing and no, I definitely do NOT like ginger beer. I looked a bit like the red face on the Steepster rating scale. Blech!

The apple and almond, however, now those are things that sound interesting to me. On the other hand, apple and cinnamon is a pretty classic combination.

In the dry leaves I could detect apple and spices, but no almonds and not really anything in the way of the base. After steeping it’s just spices with something sort of juicy underneath that I choose to interpret as apple.

The first impression I get on the sip is the bite of ginger. sigh I could really have lived without the ginger here. It’s the very first note I get and after that it sort of hangs like a cloud over all the rest of the sip.

Second up, following immediately after the first ginger spike, there is some apple and some cinnamon in what feels like more or less equal amounts.

It’s not until the end of the sip and the aftertaste that I really feel like I’m getting some almond. It’s not a lot and it’s not something I can really say for certain is almond. It’s more sort of the way my mouth feels after I’ve eaten them.

The green tea itself feels a little drowned out here. I couldn’t tell you anything about it if I tried.

I kind of like the idea of this blend, actually, with some reservations regarding the spices. I like the idea of the apples and almonds in a green tea together and I would really have liked to have tried that out without the cinnamon and especially without the ginger. As it is it’s rather too ginger-y for me.

cteresa

this does not sound like a good idea. Ginger, I would guess, would overpower everything, and sounds like it might.

I got an interesting blend, Wanderlust, which is precisely green tea (sencha, they do not say, but it is), with almond, apple and cinnamon http://steepster.com/teas/yumchaa/18634-wanderlust and it is one of those things I am loving more and more as I have it. (though it is dried apple taste, not a fresh, i.e. probably artificial, apple. It works wonderfully. And LOL; I keep saying this, but I do mean it honestly if you want to try, I would be glad to send you a sample!

Angrboda

Sounds like more or less the same, only without the ginger. I might be interested in trying that out. (Oh look, those yumchaa people again!) How strong is the cinnamon? I thought this one was relatively strong on cinnamon and would have liked it to be a bit less so.

cteresa

The cinnamon is very light, I might not have even noticed it, if I did not knew it had it. It is a dried apple taste though – but I think it is the sencha which really shines, it all seems to add to the tea rather than disguising it.

SuperHrefna

This sounds really delicious, I must keep an eye out for it! (I love ginger, though I’m with you on being dubious about cinnamon tea)

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80
drank Genmaicha Japan 655 by SpecialTeas
1267 tasting notes

Aha! This one came from Wombatgirl (who hasn’t been around here lately, what’s up with that?) and I know this because I have posted about it before.

I went and asked He Who Was Foolish Enough To Propose how traditional he was feeling this morning, tea-wise. He looked at me funny and asked me if I was planning something crazy, to which I could only reply yes. I would have preferred to take him by surprise, but he made me tell him what the crazy was before he would give me an answer. Where’s his sense of adventure?

Anyway, the crazy was brought on by a flash of inspiration caused by the first post I saw this morning being from Dylan Oxford who was enjoying his favourite genmaicha. This was shortly after I had breakfast and aforementioned male occupant of the household hadn’t got up yet.

It gave me that cereal association that I sometimes used to get with genmaicha. I used to rather like that stuff. I used to think of it as breakfast-y because of that cereal association. I knew I had some lying around, ancient stuff and not stored very well for its age.

Why not?

The first time I had this I said that it was all rice and not so much leaf. Actually I don’t know if it’s the ever on-going practise that has changed my mind or if it has just deteriorated a bit due to age and haphazard storage.

The flavour is very rice-y and starchy with a touch of salt, but underneath that I can definitely pick out some green tea. There’s a strong note of something vegetal and relatively darkish. It doesn’t quite have that vibrant dark green hue that I get from Sencha but it’s leaning towards that side of the spectrum. It’s like, I know there is that colour in my head, but somebody dimmed the lights so I can’t quite see it.

This makes me want to get back into green teas that aren’t flavoured with something else. That, Steepsterites, is HUGE! I’m a black tea drinker all the way, but right now? This stuff is inspiring.

Blake

Inspiring indeed. The recent ratings from you, Dylan, and Azzrian have inspired me to order some for myself.

alaudacorax

Congratulations on his foolishness. Condolences on his lack of craziness.

But rice?! IN TEA?!!!

alaudacorax

I’ve been looking up genmaichas on line. I suppose I must be a bit lacking in craziness, too – because I ain’t trying it. If we put up with things like this, next thing you know, some daft person will be trying to add bergamot to their tea.

Reminds me of the time I tried muesli – took me till lunchtime to chew my way through it, made my jaw-muscles ache – and then I dawned on me that the breakfast-cereal makers had conned me into eating the same stuff as I was feeding my parrot.

TheTeaFairy

You have made references to tea genders in previous post, genmaicha feels like a man tea to me! love how it picks me up in the morning (ok, too much information!). The male of our house also likes it a lot, so I hope your soon to be hubby enjoyed your «crazy choice»
Have a great green tea phase!

Angrboda

Blake, I hope you enjoy it.

Alaudacorax, oh genmaicha is quite common actually. :) My boyfriend didn’t care for the toasted rice either. I think I’ve also got a toucha of sticky rice pu-erh lying around. I suspect he wouldn’t care for that one either. As for the muesli, you DID put milk on it, right? Anyway, I feel the same way about raw carrot and most nuts. It’s like eating a stick.

TheTeaFairy, this one doesn’t have a gender to me, but it did have a colour. Of sorts. I find that most of the time if a flavour has a gender or a colour, it’s usually one or the other. I won’t say it’s never both, but it’s more rare that it’s both. My boyfriend didn’t much care for the rice.

Dylan Oxford

I’m glad I could be inspiring! I think I owe you an apology, it wasn’t until this morning that I realized I wasn’t following you! Not sure what happened there, but I’ve definitely been missing out.

@Blake – if you haven’t actually committed to that order yet, I’d be happy to send you a sample.

Angrboda

Dylan, that’s fine with me. I’ve stopped paying attention to who’s following or not following me, and I’m paying even less attention to who I’m following these days, until such time as I need to send them a PM. :)
I never really read from the dashboard page at all, apart from the notifications. I prefer to use the all recent page. That way I can stick my nose into keep up with everything :)

Blake

@Dylan – That would be wonderful man. I was planning to order some today, but I had to cancel the debit card I would have used (fraud is fun), so it’ll likely be a week or so before I’m ordering anything. Check out my cupboard and see if there’s anything you and Missy would like to try.

Fjellrev

Genmaicha is the bomb. Glad you’re looking into trying out them green teas again.

Angrboda

Incendiare, I’m currently talking my way out of running out and buying a load of greens. Partly, as mentioned before, I’m sure, I’m not allowed until the other side of the wedding, and also partly because I’ll just wind up with a lot of stuff left over when the interest wears off. I’ll definitely have to dive deep in the sample box though. I know there’s a ton of stuff gathering dust down there.

Fjellrev

Ah, well that’s smart. I’m sure you have some good samples that can tide you over until later on.

Angrboda

That was supposed to be talking myself out of etc. and so on, actually…

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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)
Goodreads: Angrboda
Livejournal: See website.
Dreamwidth: Ask her

Bio last updated February 2014

Location

Denmark

Website

http://angrboda.livejournal.com

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