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1191 Tasting Notes


The first time I had this, I had made it with boiling water because I had not been paying attention. Lately, based on how Kusmi’s flavoured teas are frequently better at around 90°C as opposed to the boiling 100°C, I have taken to consequently using 90°C for flavoured black teas.

The first time I had this one I noted a certain astringency, almost bitter and something I could definitely have lived without.

This time I didn’t get that astringency in any noteworthy amount, so the reduced temperature was definitely worth it. The rest of the flavour, however, was much the same.

An enjoyable cup. Bit on the flowery side for me, but otherwise quite nice. Still wish the rhubarb would come out more. I’ve had a rhubarb flavoured green, which was quite nice, but I would love to try a rhubarb flavoured black. Maybe in combination with strawberry like in this blend, only without all the flowers. I wonder if it would be like the red fruit porridge my late grandmother sometimes made when I was on holiday at their house as a child. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%B8dgr%C3%B8d)

I’ve never seen anything rhubarb flavoured that wasn’t green, though. Or, like this one, in a rather more complicated blend.

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drank Earl Grey Smoky by Kusmi Tea
1191 tasting notes

Steepsterites, as I write this it is 5.45pm where I live.

We are looking at the first cup of tea I’ve had all day.

All. Day.

It’s been one of those days, I’m sure you’ve all had them as well, where I haven’t exactly been unbearably busy, but busy enough to be occupied for the whole workday and just managing to put in a lunch break in the middle.

Add to that the fact that my colleague, who owns half part in the work stash, is not at work for a couple of days, so I’ve had nobody to remind me.

So by the time I got home and got the shopping done, I was desperate for the first touch of caffeine since yesterday evening. So, flavoured that suits the time of day? Or smoky becuase I’m desperate? How awesome that I can have both!

And so, without further ado,

pounces cup


I honestly think my brain would shut down if I didn’t have tea for that long :)


I would have malfunctioned from a lack of caffeine… :-P


I had the beginnings of a rather conspicuous headache by the time I got home from work.


No tea until 5:45 pm?? A shocking state of affairs! :)


Indeed. Quite unacceptable. I made certain it didn’t happen again today.

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drank Caramel Apple by Custom
1191 tasting notes

Witness, Steepsterites, the food of the gods!

So I took half and half of Caramel and Apple, both of Kusmi Tea.

It is a well-known fact that the Caramel is a beloved favourite of mine. I procured the Apple yesterday and was somewhat unimpressed, although not completely put off or disappointed.

On a whim this fine morning, I decided to see how they would fare in a mix. Would it in fact be something along the lines of caramel apples?

The answer is a resounding YES! Yes it is. Oh my giddy aunt!

If you happen to be in possession of these two teas at any point in your life, I would strongly recommend trying them in a mix.


That. Is. BRILLIANT! Every inch of me wants to order these now, but I made myself a promise and will stick to it (must reduce tea in cupboard first). But you bet your sweet bippy that I will try this in the future. :D


I look forward to hearing if you experience with the mix was as thoroughly pleasant as mine. It completely took that initial problem I had with the apple out of the equation for me. I suspect now that I’m going to be having a LOT of fun with that apple tea. :D


I need a Kusmi tea order soon. :)


This is the best thing I’ve ever heard since actual caramel apples! You’ve just saved two bags of apple tea I just happened to have laying around, I just made myself a pot and I’m almost on the floor geeking out. Thank you so much!

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drank Apple by Kusmi Tea
1191 tasting notes

So I accidentally went into this shop today where they have all this here Kusmi. It was actually buy myself a different sort of treat entirely (chocolate covered almonds om nom nom) but this was in the same section of the shop, so I thought I should at least have a glance, you know? Just in case anything had changed. nod nod

Long story short, I allowed myself to be inspired. Which is strange really, because I’ve not had very consistent luck with apple-flavoured things. I’ve had things which were quite nice. Yoghurt for example is very nice with apple. As are pancakes. Jelly beans with apple not so much. Too synthetic tasting. Various tisanes with apple bits in, absolutely horrid.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought this. O.o

At first when I opened the tin a very apple-y aroma came at me. Then when I smelled the leaves a bit more closely, it had that apple in it still, but also, mysteriously, something almost sort of spicy. I’m afraid my immediate thought was paprika…

Obviously this doesn’t have any spices in it, but it is pretty odd. It’s the same thing after steeping, only the apple aroma is smoother and more pronounced. That funny spicy note was still there though. I had to go into the kitchen and smell an apple in order to figure out what to do with that note.

Did you know that apples smell slightly spicy when you pay attention? I didn’t know that!

Just saying something is ‘apple flavoured’ is really a bit of a problem though. There are so many different sorts of apples, and apples are one of the fruits with enormous taste variation between sorts. I tend to like Pink Lady best, and was once recommended Fuji based on that preference. I did not like Fuji at all. So in moments of Most Glorious OCD, I’m sitting here kind of wanting to know what sort of apple it’s supposedly flavoured with.

Anyway, nitpicking aside, it’s time to have a look at the flavour of this, and that’s where that spicy note comes in again.

I was really surprised by the flavour of this at first sip. The very first note, right up front and stomping onto the tongue with boots on, is something that most of all tastes dusty. The sort of dusty flavour that I get from jasmine scented teas or in some cases heavy bergamot.

What the blinking heck???

This is not something I associate with apples at all. It’s not something I associate with generic Chinese black (base tea) either. I did not oversteep, I did not use more leaf than normal, I used the recommended steeping temperature (85°C-90°C, which is what I use for ALL flavoured black). Nothing but black tea and apple flavouring is listed as ingredients. So where that is coming from I can’t for the life of me figure out. (It’s not impossible that it’s contamination from the pot, but it seems rather too much for that)

Thankfully, as it cools a bit to a more drinking friendly temperature, this off-putting phenomenon goes away. Now the apple flavour, which was only present in the background before, is coming out in spades. Spades, I tell you! Spades! Diamonds, hearts and clubs as well. The whole deck, in fact, has gone all apple-y. I’m not accustomed to this strong flavouring in a Kusmi tea. They, in my experience, tend to be a lot more subtle, but this one is certainly an exception.

And yeah, it’s still one of those spicy apple sorts. The reason I didn’t like Fuji, as I mentioned earlier, was because I thought it had a sort of bitter note to it. I wonder if this is actually the same sort of thing as was causing that initial unpleasantness for me earlier. This is just not flavoured after my particular preference in apple.

It’s really surprisingly good now that it’s more apple, less dust, even if it’s not my ideal place in the apple spectrum. I find that spicy note somewhat distracting, but I can deal with it, I think. This is probably not one I’ll buy again when it’s gone, but it’s good enough that I might decide to try other apple flavoured teas should I come across them. I definitely don’t think that these leaves are going to linger on the shelf for years untouched. They will be used.


I can’t say that I’ve ever given apple that much consideration. I have a box of an apple tisane bagged tea that was a gift — I might have to dust it off and give it a second chance and really ponder the appleness. :)


tear open the bag, sprinkle onto apples and make a pie from them :)


Have you tried Gala or Honeycrisp apples for eating out of hand? Honeycrisp might only be available in the US, though.


Gala apples are my favorites! I’ve never had an apple tisane or tea that really tasted like an apple.


Rabs, I haven’t really either other than finding my favourite sort. And then I would have to fall hard for a sort that is not grown in Denmark but imported from Brazil and therefore twice as expensive. But it’s so nommy! It’s the perfect apple. Just the right amount of tart.

Ashmanra, I’ve seen Gala around here, but I haven’t seen Honeycrisp, so you’re probably right. I’ll give Gala a go.

Tamm, neither have I, really. They were mostly like hot apple juice to me, only far more sour. I like apple juice, but I rather prefer it cold! :)


Amen to that! Except as soon as I hear hot+apple it is equal to wanting some kind of wassil and I’ve just not always had luck with chai apples because it just comes off way too spicy instead of apply.


I adore Pink Lady apples. Mmm. Piñata is probably my favorite but Pink Lady is a very close number two. Not sure if I’d want them as a tea though….


I think this is just some sort of generic apple, though.

I haven’t heard of Pinata, although I did spend rather a lot of time on a website about apple cultivars this morning, trying to identify the one we had in the garden when I was little. That was awesome, but unfortunately it seems to be mostly a garden variety and not a shop variety. If I could get that one again, that would probably be my favourite, but I had no luck with the identification.

I did however learn that Cripps Pink = Pink Lady, and that when they are sold as Cripps Pink instead, it’s because they weren’t quite good enough to get the PL trademark. I didn’t know that! I thought it was just two very similar apple sorts.


Cripps Pink makes me think of gangbanger apples. Hehe.

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I usually make the tea in this household. I seem to be the one drinking it the most or at least being more conscious of when I want some. So it very quickly turned into my job. For the first cup in the morning I typically make us a pot of something non-flavoured black of my own choice. If it’s flavoured it’s the Smoky Earl Grey, which I can stretch to a morning tea in spite of the flavouring on account of the smoke in it. So anyway, first cup is strictly my choice unless he requests something before I can make some.

After that I tend to ask him for preferences or show him one that I want and ask if he wants some. Sometimes I even force him to make a specific choice by asking elaborating questions about flavoured or non-flavoured or which type.

For this cup the answer was ‘something new’. Well that’s a rather wide concept when I don’t know what’s new to him. I can remember more or less what I’ve had and not had out of the collection, but I can’t remember what I’ve been feeding him. So he came out and picked one that neither of us has had before.

‘The Sacred Fujian,’ was his word choice when he found this one in the pouch basket.

So that’s what we’re having.

It smells heavily jasmine-y. So much so in fact that for the first time I’m realising that jasmine has a very lemon-y smell. This really rather too much flower for my taste normally, but at least it doesn’t smell like it’s got a bottle of perfume in it.

It’s quite flowery in taste as well, not quite to that point of tasting like dust but it’s getting there. Very grey flavour. I can’t really find the white tea underneath because of all this jasmine and and I feel a bit like I’m just sitting around drinking flowers.

I used to say that I’m not a fan of flower scented teas, but I think I’ll have start narrowing that down as I’m beginning to be able to notice some differences. I find magnolia acceptable enough and the honeysuckle yesterday was as well, although a bit dusty. I have not had super experiences with rose or jasmine, but I have had crysanthemum in a pu-erh once rather successfully, and there was also that one from Shang Tea once, the one that tasted like melons. Can’t remember what flower that was though. Tangerine blossoms, that was awesome.

But it seems that jasmine just falls in the Too Much area for me, which is typical when it’s the most popular flower to scent with. All in all, an acceptable tea, but not for me, really.

(I have previously reported that cats don’t like Lapsang Souchong. I can now reveal to the world that they find jasmine white offensive as well. Luna, on her way to join the Occupy Ang’s Lap movement, took one sniff and promptly changed her mind.)


I established last evening that cats (or at least mine) are quite fond of Through the Grapevine by David’s Tea. It might have been the end of our stash from last winter, but she sniffed not only my cup repeatedly but the whole teapot. I thought she was going to drink it at one point, but it was still hot.


I haven’t been able to find one yet that mine have liked. Possibly one containing mint would be popular with them, but it has not yet been tested. So far oolong seems to have had the best reaction, namely indifference.


This post saddens me, but I can’t say I’m too surprised — you mentioned you didn’t like flowery teas, and jasmine pearls ALWAYS take the cake for me. I can’t even drink this stuff anymore, as it tastes too perfume-y for me.

I’ll take my floral notes in my oolongs naturally, thankyouverymuch! :)

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drank Honeysuckle White Tea by Shang Tea
1191 tasting notes

So the boyfriend opted for the black currant bai mu dan from 52teas, but I wanted something I hadn’t tried before. I took his lead on the white though, and started looking at what I had. This is one of those samples that I don’t recall who sent to me.

Two things gives me high expectations.

1. As has been previously established, it is in my opinion nearly impossible for Shang Tea to do anything wrong. Ever. I have loved everything I’ve tried from them, even things I did not expect to love.

2. Honeysuckle. I don’t actually know anything about this or what it tastes like, but it’s got such a very attractive name.

I smelled the dry leaf before brewing and was struck by a very rough, earthy, almost grainy note which I can’t imagine could be anything other than the honeysuckle. That’s not really the sort of aroma I would expect from that name, I have to say. It reminded me a bit of sour dough. That’s not really something I find very nice I have to say, so my expectations are taken down a notch. Maybe Shang Tea can make something that doesn’t appeal to me after all.

After steeping, however, the sour dough notes are gone, and the aroma is very sweet and very honeyed. That attractive name there is beginning to show its colours. It’s also quite floral, but not super-perfumed like many flower scented teas are to me, and I can easily pick out the actual tea underneath.

It doesn’t taste like honey. It’s definitely flower-y and it’s got this sort of dusty dry flavour to it. I often get that from flower scented teas, and that’s why I’m not particularly a fan of them. Here’s it’s sort of looming in the background. Not really making itself known, but impossible to overlook. It’s the elephant in the room. Everybody knows it’s there but it’s just not talked about. Maybe it’s even slightly menacing and brooding. (I can’t tell if it’s synesthesia (mine is very mild and spotty) coming in to play here or if I’m just exhibiting a lively imagination)

Apart from that it’s quite sweet indeed, and I suppose that is the bit that has given honeysuckle its name. Although I still don’t think it really tastes of honey. It’s just sweet, but it’s not honey.If the aforementioned is the dark and brooding gentleman in the corner, glaring at the rest of the company, this note would be the lovely ladies having high tea with dainty cups, scones, clotted cream, biscuits, the lot.

There’s something quite Regency-y over this tea, actually.

It’s harder to pick out the actual tea base in the flavour than it was in the aroma. I can’t really say anything about it other than it’s there. Slightly nutty but not really making much of a spectacle of itself.

While this isn’t one I would buy for myself, I will have to see that Shang Tea has still not managed to disappoint me.


Wow… Honeysuckle tea. I think I have to try this! I love honeysuckle! Was Shang Teas able to deliver internationally to you?


Yes, but it was a bit impractical to do so. I asked them about it and then had to write in an email what I would like to buy and send them the appropriate payment via paypal. I couldn’t do it directly from the site.


Hmm… May eventually be worth the hassle… Thanks!


Their stuff definitely is. I say give it a shot at least once. Me, I’m probably going to use the shop as a special treat thing myself. (And if they get enough international custom, perhaps they’ll eventually make it possible to order directly from the site. :) ) Oh, and I also forgot to say that they gave me a shipping fee of about $13 or $14 there abouts.


Mmm. I used to have honeysuckle vines growing outside my house growing up and I’d always suck the nectar from them in the summer. This doesn’t sound quite like it would recreate that memory for me, but I do adore honeysuckle so I’m probably going to have to give it a try (whenever I managed to order from Shang Tea).


Shipping doesn’t seem terrible… Hopefully it will be similar for Ecuador!


Thanks again! : )


Auggy, I have a few shops I never seem to get around to too. I have started making rules for myself and planning ahead where to shop, otherwise I would never get anything new. Any larger multiple-shop spree must contain an untried shop. And if that means saving even Standard orders for later, that’s just tough.

Ninavampi, I hope it will. They sell awesome stuff.


You know, I had forgotten I used to have a similar rule for myself. I had to alternate known vendors with unknown (or unused) when tea ordering. I need to get back to that plan because there are so many tasty sounding teas that I really want to try!


It’s a new one for me. I’ve also go the Finish X Tins And Y Samples First rule. It helps keep the stock down a bit, but mostly it feels like I’m working towards an order, so overspending slightly on it when I get to shop isn’t connected with the same amount of guilt. :)

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It seems like the Bailin Gongfu is a super-popular tea around Steepster these days. It warms my little Fujian-loving heart, that does.

And it’s inspiring too. And utterly disappointing when one realises there isn’t a single solitary Fujian black in the house at the moment. GASP! WHAT A HORRIBLE FATE TO BEFALL A PERSON! What is a household with no Fujian black in it? It’s truly poor, that’s what it is. This should not have been able to have happened at all.

I’ve got Lapsang, but that’s really a very different beast.

Fortunately my TeaSpring order is now in transit so I’ll only have to struggle through 7-14 days more before receiving a substantial amount of my beloved Tan Yang Te Ji and I can join you all in the Fujian black lovingness.

In the meantime, though, I have to look for something to substitute, and although this is an oolong it’s a Fujian oolong, so it’s close enough for jazz.

Oh Fujian. You are made from nom.


Ah – I might have to get this one now!


It’s out of reach for me, sadly, but I’ve got nice friends (Wombatgirl) who once sent me a big bag of it just because she knows I love it. I very much recommend it.


It is a bit pricey…


That too, but my problem is the shipping issue.

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drank Strawberry by A C Perch's
1191 tasting notes

Oh damn and blast!

And damn.

And blast.

Last week I thought I placed a Nothing But Tea order, a quite substantial one containing among other things a Mystery Box with things they were clearing from the stocks and things they had too much of and such. I was quite excited about that one as well as getting some of the other things I had added to the order.

I think I must have missed a step though, because I was looking at my bank balance (other reason) and noticed I had still not been charged for that order at all. A little detective work followed and I can’t find as much as a shadow of that order anywhere at all. I think something must have gone wrong and I thought I placed it but didn’t actually. Perhaps a final confirmation step, or something. Unfortunately their site can’t remember the contents of the basket between visits, so… Yeah, that’s gone. I can’t remember what all I put in it now.

Shoot. Oh well. There will be other orders. Missed out on that stock clearing box, though.

In the meantime this one is nearly gone. I don’t think I’ll be re-stocking this one again. It’s good and all, but it’s not the perfect strawberry tea. I think we’ll go back to that blackberry one for a while instead, and there are still a couple other fruity teas from AC Perch’s that I want to try. I’m debating the necessity of trying their cranberry flavoured black based on the fact that I really enjoy their Late Summer blend which is cranberry and vanilla. I have a strong suspicion that I’ll end up preferring the Late Summer anyway, so I don’t know if I can be bothered to actually test it.


I hate when that happens… It happened to me once, and I got really worried about not receiving my order. And then, surprise! I had never actually placed it : ( . Oh well…


Yeah… It was probably Nemesis coming after me. NBT posted on Facebook the next day about how there were only two of those boxes left and I left a rather smug comment that I had ordered mine the day before. Ha! Not.

I’m attempting to comfort myself that it would probably have been full of rooibos anyway, but it’s not working.


Aww… Once this sorta thing happens, I think the best bet is to try to forget about it… Easier said than done…


Oh well, it was probably for the best anyway. It totally takes the guilt out of having just spent some 800 kr on two other orders this morning and the fact that the supposed NBT order was supposed to have happened before I had technically allowed myself to make one.

After Christmas, I’ll try again. :)

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drank Clear Jade Orchid by Shang Tea
1191 tasting notes

Say goodbye, Ang.

“Goodbye, Ang.”


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drank Caramel by Kusmi Tea
1191 tasting notes

How much do I love this one?


Normally I make this with a water temperature of about 90°C, but on a whim today I tried lowering it even further to 80°C. I’m not sure why I did that. It was just one of those things.

I was craving this one today for some reason. My day went a whole lot better than yesterday, and I just figured some truly awesome tea would be a good thing to add to it.

Actually, that’s a lie. It was the vanilla from yesterday, really, that I fancied, but then I decided to do that thing with the temperature and thought it would be better to do that with one I knew inside and out and sideways so that I could really compare the results.

The result is that 80°C is too low for me. The tea seems a bit watery and weakly compared to my usual experience, as if it has not been able to fully develop during steeping. It lacks a lot of creamy-ness that it usually displays so prettily.

Okay, then. That’s useful knowledge. 90°C really is a very good temperature.


this seems like the one from kushmi to try…


It’s my very very favourite from them and my perfect Caramel black. Bit subtle on the flavouring and the less than boiling temperature is important, though.


I tried one at Samovar a few weeks ago, it was ok but I did not notice anything amazing…


Seeing this made me want some of this so I brewed up a cup! :) mmmmm perfect for super-chilly November basement days.


I have been looking for this, loose leaf, based just on your love it. Well, must check again the places where they usually have Kusmi loose leaf tea. Beautiful as Kusmi tins are, i do not want to invest too much, since so far me and Kusmi teas have not quite hit it off – though not for lack of trying on my part. But this one, ah it sounds like it might be the one for me.


My amazon wishlist thanks you. I look forward to this one!


Cteresa, unless you can find a sample tin of it, I think the smallest you can hope for is 125g. Alternatively, if you like, I can totally share a sample with you. :) Shoot me a pm if you are interested in that.

Matt, you are quite welcome. I hope you will like it. :)


Ah, thank you so much for the offer, but I will keep looking. Some local places got 5 or 10 kg bags of Kusmi (and more usually Mariage Freres) tea which then they sell by the gram, the 50 gr is the usually minimum you can buy and quite reasonable a price to try (it´s usually around 70-80 euros a kilo for loose tea, so much more reasonable a way to try than a full tin. Though if you are going to not use it all very fast, it is better if kept in some airproof container) . Thank you so much for you, I will keep lobbying the local stores to have this particular Kusmi blend in that by-the-weight format.


Okeydoke. :)

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Ang lives with Husband and two kitties, Charm and Luna, in a house not too far from Århus. Apart from drinking tea, she enjoys baking, especially biscuits, reading and jigsaw puzzles. She has recently acquired an interest in cross-stitch and started a rather large project. It remains to be seen whether she has actually bitten off more than she can chew…

Ang prefers black teas and the darker sorts of oolongs. She has to be in the mood for green and white, and she enjoys, but knows little to nothing about, pu-erh.

Her preferences with black teas are the Chinese ones, particularly from Fujian, but also Keemun and just about anything smoky. She occasionally enjoys Yunnans but they’re not favourites. She has taken some time to research Ceylon teas, complete with reference map, and has recently developed some interest in teas from Africa.

She is sceptical about Indian blacks as she generally finds them too astringent and too easy to get wrong. She doesn’t really care for Darjeelings at all. Very high-grown teas are often not favoured.

She likes flavoured teas as well, particularly fruit flavoured ones, but also had an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black and can happily report that this reclusive beast has been spotted in a local teashop near where she works. Any and all vanilla flavoured teas are still highly attractive to her, though. Also nuts and caramel or toffee. Not so much chocolate. It’s a texture thing.

However, she thinks Earl Grey is generally kind of boring. Cinnamon and ginger are also not really a hit, and she’s not very fond of chais. Evil hibiscus is evil. Even in small amounts, and yes, Ang can usually detect hibiscus, mostly by way of the metallic flavour of blood it has.

Ang is not super impressed with rooibos or honeybush on their own. She doesn’t care for either, really, but when they are flavoured, they go usually go down a treat.

Ang used to have a Standard Panel of teas that she tried to always have on hand. She put a lot of thought into defining it and decided what should go on it. It was a great idea on paper, but in practise has been discovered to not really work as well.

Ang tries her best to make a post on Steepster several times a week. She tends to write her posts in advance in a word doc (The Queue) and posting from there. This, she feels, helps her to maintain regularity and stops her from making five posts in three days and then going three weeks without posting anything at all.

Angrboda is almost always open to swapping. Just ask her. Due to the nature of the queue, however, and the fact that it’s some 24 pages long at the moment, it may take a good while from she receives your parcel and until she actually posts about it.

The Formalities

Contact Angrboda by email: [email protected]
Contact Ang on IM on Google chat

Find Ang on…
Steam: Iarnvidia (Or Angrboda. She changed her display name and now is not certain which one to search for. She uses the same picture though, so she is easily recognised)
Goodreads: Angrboda
Livejournal: See website.
Dreamwidth: Ask her

Bio last updated February 2014





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