1279 Tasting Notes

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
1279 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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69
drank Kuai by Le Palais des Thes
1279 tasting notes

First, YES! New icon. Same little ol’ Ang.

Second, another Mystery Tea, meaning something we’ve never tried before.

Third, I thought an oolong would be fairly certain to be something well-known and familiar. I hadn’t noticed that it was scented until after I had poured the leaves into the pot. It was a free sample I had received with my LPdT order.

It has cinnamon flower pollen and orchid pistils. Does cinnamon flower pollen taste like cinnamon? And what are pistils? These are rather more technical things than I can be bothered with right now, so let’s just simplify it a bit, shall we? It’s scented with flower bits.

There.

Not surprisingly the aroma is quite floral, and it does actually have a fair bit of cinnamon notes in it. I can also detect the base oolong underneath, with something smooth and sort of thick smelling. This one is 50-60% fermented, so it would probably have been quite floral on the aroma even if it hadn’t been scented, so I can’t actually tell how much is natural and how much is due to the scenting process.

The flavour is surprisingly toasty and ever so very slightly astringent. It’s funny because I thought it rather smelled like something that should be smooth and slippery. It doesn’t actually taste at all like it smells. Yeah, the cinnamon notes are there in the flavour as well as the aroma and so is the floral aspect, but other than that, the feel of it in the mouth is completely different from what the aroma led me to expect.

I find this rather confusing to be honest.

The scenting seems to be rather mild. I can detect, as mentioned, something vaguely cinnamon-y but other than that I can’t tell how much of a difference scenting with anything at all has made to the base tea. This tastes very natural, so unless the base tea was really almost flavourless to begin with, scenting strikes me as rather a waste of time and money. I’m fairly certain it would be possible to find an oolong which naturally tastes something along the lines of this. Rou Gui, for example, springs to mind.

It’s pleasant enough, I suppose, but not one I would purchase.

Fjellrev

Orchid pistils in tea. That’s a new one for me.

And the new icon looks fabulous!

Jillian

*puts on her plant geek hat * Pistiles are the female reproductive parts of the flower. I’m a bit surprised about the cinnamon pollen as cinnamon flowers are quite small and you likely wouldn’t ge much pollen from them.

Kittenna

A pistil is the female part of the flower that accepts pollen. Presumably they are rather large and fragrant in orchids, otherwise I would think it rather silly to use them in tea! :D They were probably just trying to seem fancy though.

Kittenna

Hahahaha, apologies, I had typed out my message a few hours ago and neglected to hit enter, so did so when I came back to my computer, but I guess I’m a bit slow :P

Angrboda

Incendiare, yes, I’m quite pleased with it. It’s a detail on a replica of a stave church at our local archeological museum. I had Dr Hobby Photographer take some photos of it for me for this specific purpose. There was another one that I would have really liked to have used, but it got too squiggly looking in the smaller sizes. It wasn’t until after we got home and I was playing with the photos, making my icons that I realised that I should have made him take a photo of the whole church as well.

Jillian, thank you, I knew someone would now! The pollen thing though… Well it IS very hard to tell how much is scenting and how much is natural so perhaps they were just trying to emphasize an exsisting note of cinnamon?

Krystaleyn, Oh, no worries. I’ve done that a few times as well. :) Typed up a post in the morning and then actually posting it before bedtime. It happens over at LJ all the time. :p

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86
drank Kukicha by Mountain Rose Herbs
1279 tasting notes

I have decided that today is the day for Mystery Tea. That means simply tea we haven’t had before. So I’ve been looking at the very tail-end of my Steepster cupboard and discovered a couple of things I didn’t know I had.

This one for example. Would you believe I’ve been going around for ages being intrigued by this type and wondering if it was one I should try to invest in when next I can allow myself an order, and I had it the whole time?!

That’s fairly typical of me, actually.14444444444444444 Oh look a cat has been by in my absence… (Heavily abridged by cat’s owner so as to avoid horizontal scrollbars)

Anyway, this is one of the samples that I don’t know where came from. It’s from before I started my numbering system so it’s getting on in age a bit.

Let’s start with a little introductory ramble on two things here.

First of all, green tea. For me to be intrigued by a green tea at all is kind of remarkable. I enjoy it when it is served to me, but I rarely make it for myself. It has to come with a certain sort of mood, because for most of the time I’d rather have a black tea, flavoured or au naturel.

Which leads to the second things, which is roasting. Roasting tea is one of those things about the processing that I just can’t get my head around. It’s so amazing that it can be done, really, because inside my head it just ought not logically work. My brain will simply not allow for the possibility for some reason, even though I’ve got the very proof of it right here in front of me. (Well. Slightly to the left, but still)

Therefore roasted tea is extremely fascinating to me, although I haven’t yet had enough experience with it yet to be actively seeking it out.

LiberTEAS posted about an unsmoked LS yesterday, I think it was, and that tea was as I understand made like a regular LS only it had been roasted instead of smoked. She found that more pleasant than the regular smoked variety and therein stems some of my fascination.

Now, I like smoky teas. I have a specific balance of smokiness that I prefer, but once in a while it just can’t get smoky enough. Those are the times when, it has occurred to me, it’s not smoky tea I want. It’s roasted tea. From what I have seen here and there on Steepster when people have been posting about smoked teas and/or roasted teas, that smoked tea is generally considered a harsher sort of flavour than roasted tea. For me it’s the other way around.

Smoke comes in a bit prickly and sort of surrounds the flavour in a haze of smoky aroma, whereas roasting tends to be a full-on attack of the tastebuds with pricklyness and charcoal and burnt toast. Roasted tea, for me, is much more violent than smoky tea.

So this is really what I’m expecting. An onslaught of charcoal and some sweetly green vegetation underneath. Like something that has been burnt down and grass and things are just starting to grow back.

This tea brews as dark as any black tea and the aroma is definitely one of burnt stuff. Charcoal and something sweet. Like sugar spilled on a hot plate. So far we’re keeping pretty close to that expectation, there, aren’t we? I quite like this aroma. The more I smell it, the more pleasant I think it is, and the more I smell it the more I also think there’s a note of honey in that sweetness. It’s all dark smelling and brown, but it definitely reminds me a little of liquid honey. Or perhaps more of something which has been honey-glazed.

GOSH! I was not expecting this flavour! It so sweet and sugary and more honey! That’s the first thing I get. The next thing is a sort of cereal-ness. It makes me think of Cheerios. It’s the combination of the grainy notes and honey notes that does it. I can actually even imagine that I can taste milk as well, probably since, if you think about it, milk has a pretty sweet flavour as well. Finally there is something vegetal in it that reveals the green origins. I can’t quite put my finger on that note, but I get a random association to spinach. There that’s because I actually taste spinach in it or whether it’s because spinach is one of the things I just generally connect with green tea flavours, I couldn’t tell.

All in all, this roasting was not at all as harsh as I had expected. I found it quite enjoyable, and I think it’s definitely a type of tea that I need to look into more. I think I rather need this in my life. (Should have a closer look at hojicha as well, actually.)

Roughage

I really like that your cat wants to be a part of the Steepster experience. Mine tries to stop me posting by sitting in front of the computer screen.

I am now intrigued by this tea too. I am undecided about roasted teas because I have found them intriguing but I need to be in the right mood to properly enjoy them. I shall have to check this one out when next I have the money to order tea. After all, I like spinach! :-)

Kittenna

Ahahaha, I so love your posts. You and Bonnie consistently get me smiling :) I also love that your cat feels the need to contribute.

You speak of a numbering system – do you give your teas a number as they enter your cupboard, to keep track of age or something? That sounds like a really clever idea.

Angrboda

Roughage, yes I tend to let it stand when they do. :) I don’t know, I think it’s fun. :)

If you try it, it will be itneresting to see if you get the same spinach association as me. :)

Krystaleyn, as you can see some of the samples I have, I can’t remember where they came from. At one point I had a whole lot of them and didn’t know who sent me any of them. I just couldn’t keep track. I then thought up the numbering system. Everytime I receive samples from someone in a swap I give them a number and write down where they came from. This way I can see that all the samples numbered with 7, for example came from Infusin_Susan and all the ones with 8 on them came from Ninavampi. And so on and so forth.

DaisyChubb

Really great idea!
I’ll have to invest in little stickers when I get sett;ed and start swapping again :)

Angrboda

DaisyChubb, yes, it works really well. I’ve got a little notebook that I keep at Tea Corner. Right now I’ve only noted down name and number, but I’ve considered if it might not be a good idea in the future to also write a list of what each person sent me and when I received it.

Azzrian

Interesting – I buy my peppercorns, cinnamon and a few other select items from Mountain Rose! I have never tried their teas.

Angrboda

I think I’ve tried a few others of theirs. I seem to recall there having been more than one. I just can’t think which ones, or what I thought of them. This one is quite good, though.

Azzrian

Next time I order my regular stuff I am going to grab this and a couple others – yes they actually had a lot of tea on the site today when I looked :) I don’t know how I ever missed it lol.

Angrboda

I can sort of understand how. I haven’t been to the site, mind, so I don’t know how it looks, but if you’re used to shopping for one thing there and another thing another place, sometimes it just not occur to you that one or both places might stock both things. :) I had a look at what else they have in the Steepster database. I haven’t looked at everything, but it would appear that I enjoyed their Ancient Forest a great deal as well.

Kittenna

Your labelling idea is great! At this point, I only have samples from a few different people, and they’re labelled distinctly so I can tell who sent what (they’re also in separate piles in my room), but I probably should start some system like that soon! I have also thought of noting the date I purchased teas, so that I could keep track of their ages and whatnot.

Thomas Smith

If you buy unroasted kukicha or karigane, you can heat it in either a small dry skillet one very low heat on a burner or over a tea light candle in a metal dish (you can buy these for heating scented oil in bed & Bath stores) and it makes for a wonderful deodorizer for a room and you get a relaxing tea to drink once the twigs and few leaf fragments have browned. I generally do this while making dinner or conducting a tasting since you just need to tie the leaves every once and a while with a spoon or chopstick. I then prepare the resulting kukicha/houjicha at the end of the meal or as a finishing tea after guests have tasted a bunch and pair it with sesame or rice crackers. This tea works well:
http://www.hibiki-an.com/product_info.php/cPath/21/products_id/32

Thomas Smith

Dunno how I get away typing “karigane”, “kukicha”, and “houjicha” just fine while autocorrect changes “stir the leaves” into “tie the leaves”

Azzrian

LOL yeah spell check often faiils me as well.

Angrboda

Krystaleyn, it was like that in the beginning for me as well. I had only a few that people had sent me and I could remember which one’s I had bought. I could tell from the handwriting on the labels where each sample came from. Then Pamela Dax Dean be-gifted me with a HUGE box of samples. Seriously, it was MASSIVE! And all of them had different handwriting on them and different wrapping style, and then I got in other swaps as well, and it was simply impossible to remember anymore. I just gave up trying.
For my purchases, I can usually remember sort of in general how old-ish it is. Typically if something gets really really old here, it’s something I don’t really have much interest in drinking anyway.

Thomas, hee, maybe I have to try it in order to understand it.

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84
drank Tanzania GFOP by A C Perch's
1279 tasting notes

Inspired by Indigobloom who enjoyed a Tanzanian black the other day, I decided to start the day with a cup of my own. As I mentioned in my comment to Indigobloom, tasting this one for the first time was a sort of ‘hey this is strong, no wait, this is lovely!’ experience. It’s so honey-sweet! With this particular pot, I have somehow really managed to hit that point where nice turns into lovely. I remember the first time I ordered it, half for work and half for home because the boss was uncertain about whether she would enjoy it. It’s not possible to get less than 100g from ACP’s webshop, so no samples.

This particular cup comes from when I bought another portion of it for home and that’s nearly gone as well. Although I am quite enjoying it, I’m not sure if I’ll buy it one more time (when, after July, I may) though. Maybe I’ll give that one a little break and use the space to try out something else. I have my sights on a Nothing But Tea order when that time comes, I believe. And Teavivre, I think. Although… with tax, customs and import fees being a constant threat on anything coming in from outside the EU, that’s a bit uncertain. It depends on how large an order I want to make. For smaller orders, it’s just not worth taking the risk these days.

Indigobloom

customs fees, blegh!
hehe I inspired a tea review!! :P

Angrboda

And why shouldn’t you. :)

Kittenna

You clearly need to acquire more North American friends who frequently travel to Europe and are willing to receive orders and bring them out to you! :P (Not that I have any suggestions, but fees are a huge deterrent to making online purchases, and although living in Canada sucks for many companies, I’ve gathered that it’s far worse where you are!)

Angrboda

Yes, because so many companies ship from America and weirdly enough it’s generally much cheaper to get stuff sent from China. With the few American companies that were available to me before, I’ve more or less given up for the time being, at least with any sort of regular purchase, but with those who can ship from China, I’m much more likely to gamble because the shipping fee is generally that much cheaper. Maybe it has something to do with middle men and such before it reaches the consumer.

Scott B

My shipping from China (TeaVivre) is cheaper or comparable than a lot of American-based companies.

Angrboda

Yeah, it’s the same thing with TeaSpring. Their shipping is almost free as well.

ashmanra

I agree about the shipping and such. My daughter knew she was going to Ireland so she ordered some Dammann Freres for me for my birthday and had it shipped to her boyfriend’s house in N. Ireland then brought it with her when she flew home. She said it saves a bit of $$$.

Angrboda

Yes, shipping from America to Europe is often ridiculous and I’m not surprised that it’s the same thing going to other way. I’ve set myself a shipping expense limit of how much I’m willing to pay for shipping and if it’s more than that, then tough, that shop is out of bounds for me. It’s sufficiently difficult to find shipping for under $15 that I’ve just stopped looking if I think something is an American shop. Therefore it also takes me years, sometimes, to work out that something is actually a UK shop…

Scott B

I’m in the States, so when shipping from China is cheaper, that is really saying something. TeaVivre has FREE shipping on $30 US order. Of course that takes up to 3 weeks to arrive. You can get Airmail (6-9 days to USA) for only $5.90 though. Most US companies require orders of $50-$100 before you get free shipping-which is why I often only order during free shipping promotions.

Angrboda

Yes, it’s amazing isn’t it? Part of it may be that postage is just generally cheaper in China than it is where you and I live. I mean Denmark is currently one of the countries with the most expensive postage rates in Europe. I don’t know what postage cost in the US, but I imagine you’re probably experiencing the same price increases that we are in Europe, when so many things are handled digitally instead of on paper. Currently a normal class A letter with one or two sheets of paper in it to somewhere else in Denmark costs 8 kr to send. That’s about $1.40.

It’s funny how in many ways the internet has made the world a lot smaller, but when it comes to sending stuff in the mail, the world sometimes seems to have been made much larger.

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79
drank Rooibos Vanilla by A C Perch's
1279 tasting notes

Very uncharacteristically I felt inspired for a rooibos tonight. It’s been a while since the last one, but some of you may recall my utter shock and surprise when Cteresa shared a rooibos with me that I found really pleasant. In spite of the fact that, by itself, I don’t like rooibos. Enjoying the one that Cteresa sent me so much was really one of those Earth-shaking experiences, and it made the boyfriend suggest that I could try some of the ones that he had brought with him when we moved in together.

I tried one or two and it wasn’t really a huge success. I discovered that it’s entirely possible that not only does it have to be flavoured with something in order to be drinkable to me, but it has to be flavoured with something sweet too. The lemon-y one that he really enjoys didn’t really do the trick for me. There is both a caramel and a vanilla one in stock and I’m sure I’ve tried one of them with modest success, but I can’t remember which one. I don’t appear to have posted about it either.

So I knew it would have to be one of these two and let the boyfriend decide for me. He picked vanilla, which suited me fine. What with my persistent vanilla phase and all. Come to think of it, the one Cteresa shared with me was something vanilla-y as well. I can’t remember what else it had, it was some kind of fruit. But definitely vanilla, which makes me both hopeful and concerned about trying this one.

Please don’t let the perfect vanilla tea be a rooibos. I’m not sure I could bear that.

It smells strongly of both rooibos and vanilla at the same time. The vanilla here is sweet and all creamy so that the aroma leaves an impression of a sort of slightly spiced custard.

The flavour is pretty nice as well, actually. It’s… still rooibos-y and I could probably live with it being a little less so and a little more strongly flavoured, but the vanilla is coming through clearly and very sweetly. I do like the one Cteresa shared with me better, though, with its fruity aspect as well. I’m sort of missing that a little here, even though I can’t even remember what sort of fruit it was. Completely drawing a blank on that one and I can’t, frankly, be bothered to look it up right now. It’s late.

Yeah, this is quite nice. But I am sort of relieved that the quest for the perfect vanilla doesn’t stop here.

Bonnie

To me the vanilla and rooibos is like vanilla wafer cookies kind of dry at first and then it gets better in your mouth.

Angrboda

Yes, I can see what you mean. I think my immediate thought might have been custard because I got a colour association with the flavour that was sort of the same shade as custard. So it was the first thing that occurred to me. Perhaps I actually like your comparison better.

Bonnie

I see what you mean on flavor…and wet…I think of rooibos as kind of dry so I imagined cookie…in my wierd brain. You are the one who actually tasted it!!!

Scott B

I don’t really care for Rooibus either-I think it’s too medcine-y tasting. The only Rooibus I have ever enjoyed was TeaGschwendner’s Winter Magic. TG’s vanilla rooibus was not that good and was medicine-y. Still hoping to find another good Roobius-I need something to drink at night without caffeine.

Angrboda

Bonnie, that is true. :) When I see people talk about how they’re not sure they’re doing it right or something, I always try to make sure to tell them that it’s not actually possible to do it wrong. But sometimes, a little prompt can clear up a lot of things. Like for example your wafers. :)

Scott, I can see what you mean about medicine. For me it’s like chewing a pencil, but apparently when flavoured with something sweet, it becomes manageble. As long as it’s not coffee, I’ve never had much of a problem with caffeine before bedtime though. It’s more because after Cteresa shared that wonderful one with me, I’ve started to wonder if perhaps I’m missing out. :)

cteresa

It was raspberry vanilla (with a hint of rose petals) from yumchaa. Awesome tea IMO!

I think vanilla is pretty good with rooibos, but to be totally honest, rooibos is one of those things where the rooibos has to be GOOD rooibos. Quality of the rooibos is a killer – the flavours help, but if it´s bad rooibos, there will be no miracles. I like Yumchaa and Mariage Freres better for rooibos. though I do warn you off Rouge Bourbon, that is practically plain rooibos, the vanilla is there just as a hint, just a hint of vanilla in a bar of chocolate. And there are some very good random rooibos, no particularly famous blenders, and sometimes there is a lot of very bad rooibos, even from reputable sources.

I love good rooibos, it´ s not just the no.caffeine (though I am sensitive to it), a really nice good cup of rooibos can leave this sort of hum-vibe, a very cozy nice feeling, pretty different from caffeine, but just a really good nice feeling. Like the aftermath of eating a good plate of pasta maybe!

Angrboda

Yeah, I could remember it was from yumchaa because I tried to order some and site broke. I just couldn’t recall which one. I had several of theirs in the basket when I made the attempt actually

cteresa

if you mean to again, try yumchaa.com , I think they have problems with their .co.uk mirror. same price and everything in either

Angrboda

I didn’t know at the time that the co.uk was a mirror site, so I just gave up and ordered something else elsewhere. If memory serves that’s what turned into the massive LPdT order. :) So not a complete loss. :p

cteresa

:) I am considering a massive tea order from them myself!

Angrboda

I wish it was me. I’m so needy for a tea order right now, but I have to wait another three months or so. I really need to get this wedding out of the way first and I prefer to set as much money aside as I can, so no buying of anything at all (not household or wedding related, obviously) until August.

cteresa

Oh, that is an excellent reason! wishing you the best!

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57
drank Bai Mu Dan by Le Palais des Thes
1279 tasting notes

You know what’s weird? How I generally enjoy a cup brewed Western style more than several cup brewed Gong Fu, and yet with certain sorts of tea, I have taken to thinking in terms of Gong Fu when it comes to writing about them on Steepster. It’s a weird situation where it’s more fun to brew this way, but I prefer the result of the other way. As Dr Right was interested in having some too and I didn’t really want to skip every other steep when writing about it, I ended up in an even weirder situation where I made the same tea in two different pots in two different ways at the same time.

This one was shared with me a while ago by Ssajami. The last time I had a tea of this type I felt it was like drinking a liquid courgette, so I was curious to see if that was something unique to that one or if I could reproduce something similar in others of the same type. Up until very recently I associated this type of tea primarily with walnuts, so I don’t know where all these gourds has suddenly come from.

1. The aroma is very floral and there something almost syrup-y sweet lurking underneath the surface of it too. That floralness, though, that’s almost too much for me. It’s like a flower shop. Too much. Too strong. Almost sickening. It reminds me of a bouquet of flowers I got once where I had to air out the living room really well because they were so strong that they were stinking up the place.

It develops really really quickly though, and before I’ve even got so far as to take a sip it has already turned away from the extreme floralness and into something which reminds me most of all of gherkins. It’s even slightly dill-y. Now, I really enjoy gherkins, but tea is not something I particularly wish to find the association to them in.

It does, however, solve the mystery of how someone got the thought of flavouring tea with cucumber. I have actually tried a cucumber flavoured white tea once. It was vile.

The flavour is still quite floral, really, but the floralness mainly shows up in the aftertaste. The first bit of the sip is something smooth and slippery and very wet. You know how something which has an astringent note can taste dry? Well, this is definitely not astringent, but it’s not really the normal smoothness of non-astringency either. It just feels wetter than usual. It’s really the only way I can describe it. I know it sounds ridiculous. It’s not giving me anything in way of an actual flavour though, not until the floral bits set in. It’s just warm water, which is wet and then it’s floral.

2. The aroma this time is still very floral but less intensely so. There doesn’t seem to be any gherkins or anything of that family around this time. There is a fair bit of dill after it has developed a bit, but it doesn’t have those other details that makes me think of pickled cucurbitaceae of any sort.

The flavour is all floralness all the way. Rather too much so for me, and I feel like I’m drinking perfume. With a touch of dill in it.

Dill perfume… I… erm, no. I find myself bizarrely wanting the gherkins back. Let’s just skip straight ahead here.

3. Still floral on the aroma and still dill-y. I’m getting rather tired of these as none of them are smells that I particularly enjoy.

The flavour is exactly the same as the second round, so I’m just going to skip it.

4. No it’s still the same as before. I’m officially throwing in the (tea)towel.

For comparison, I snuck into Dr. Right’s room and sipped a bit of his western style brewed cup. He laughed heartily at how that too reminded me of gherkins in the aroma. The flavour wasn’t much though. It was somehow less intense than I had expected and impossible for me to really decipher. It had the same ‘wetness’ to it though.

For all his laughing he eventually admitted that he could kind of see where I was coming from with those gherkins.

ETA: Oh and additionally, I made myself a teatra.de account yesterday, so feel free to look me up if you like. I’m Angrboda there also and use the same icon, so I shouldn’t be difficult to find. I have no idea what to do with it though; it was a whim.

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89
drank Caramel by Le Palais des Thes
1279 tasting notes

Gosh, that oolong took all day! Following these amateur gong-fu sessions, I almost always find myself wanting a break with something rather more plebeian. Something that makes the purists shudder. Something a little more down to earth and every-day like.

Something flavoured.

And if it’s sweets flavoured, even better.

Cheers, Steepsterites.

Bonnie

I understand completely! Like eating out instead of cooking at home! Just no energy for it!

Angrboda

Yes, one’s concentration is completely used up.

Azzrian

I go back and forth between wanting pure teas and wanting something decadent!

Kittenna

Hahaha, I hear you! Multiple steeps take so much effort that once I’m done, all I want to do is have a tea with no complexity that requires little effort to steep. And yes, preferably flavoured. :D

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84
drank Bai Ji Guan by TeaSpring
1279 tasting notes

Amazingly I’ve only had this once in spite of apparently having enjoyed it the first time. I suppose it’s a question of forgetting what it was and what I thought about it and therefore assuming that it was as of yet untried. Untried teas require a bit more effort than tried once, what with the posting on Steepster and all.

So I was just reading the other post I made about it and since that one was western style, I decided to semi-gong-fu it this time and see what happens. The last time I did that was with the Da Hong Pao and you may remember that I noted how the whole tasting experience feels vastly different between the two, western giving a general overview of the big picture and gong-fu providing a more detailed study, layer for layer. In the Da Hong Pao, you may remember, there were even things which I found was missing in the gong-fu-ish session.

Interesting if I’ll have the same experience this time.

So far on the first steep the aroma seems to be quite similar to what I noticed in the western style cup. It’s wooden and oolong-y and it has a strong note of cocoa, revealing its Fujian origins. I think Fujian is the region I think brings out the biggest cocoa notes. There are others that do as well, of course, but for me Fujian just does it stronger. There’s something sweet underneath, which may or may not be a honeyed note. I’m not sure about this yet.

This is one of the teas that tastes exactly like it smells. Wooden and oolong-y and with a lot of cocoa. It gets slightly floral towards the end of the sip, and again, there is something sort of sweet underneath, but I still can’t tell if I think it’s honey-y.

But again I find myself thinking, ‘I should have liked a touch of caramel notes here…’ Just like with the Da Hong Pao. What is wrong with me? Myself, you can’t have caramel in everything. You just can’t; it’s not on.

The second steep is much sweeter in the aroma than the first. Now I’m getting those hints of caramel that I apparently so desperately crave in oolongs. The cocoa is rather missing, though, so I suspect it that particular note which has now transformed. I still can’t shake that honey thought though, even if I can’t actually identify it.

This is really all there is to the aroma. Almost all of the cocoa is missing or has been transformed, whichever way you look at it, and the wooden oolongness is greatly diminished as well.

The flavour still has that woody note, though. However, it strikes me as a fairly weakly cup, because that’s really all I get. Around it there is a little bit of vaguely floral sweetness, but mostly the flavour of warm water.

On the third steep only the aroma has really changed. It’s a bit floral now and definitely honey sweet. There is a little of the wooden oolongness left, but it’s still at the same level as the second steep. Very little.

Flavour wise, it’s the same as the second steep again. A little more vague, but otherwise identical. I believe it’s time to use larger increases in steep time now.

For the fourth steep the aroma has gained a little of the wooden note back, but that’s really all there is to it. It’s hiding in the steam, but it’s there. All by its lonesome.

The flavour has the wooden note back again as well, but it’s desperately thin tasting, Like a cup of tea which hasn’t actually been allowed to steep for more than a small part of the time it wants to. Again, there is nothing here but the non-descript wooden note apart from the hint of something cocoa-y just before the swallow. Even the second and third steeps with their hot water flavours seemed fuller than this because there were other notes in there to find. Here? Nothing.

So, as this is not supposed to be a stress test of the human bladder, I’m not going to waste any more time with this and go straight for the fifth steep now with an even larger increase in steep time. For the first steeps I started at 30 seconds and raised the times 15 seconds at the time. Then I raised it by 30 seconds and have no raised it by a whole minute.

Now the aroma has gained a floral note, which has an ever so slightly sharp aspect to it. In fact, it now reminds of the aroma of a random generic greenish oolong. No woodenness, no cocoa. Just something kind of floral and something vaguely butter-y. It’s like the leaves have completely changed character.

I was not expecting this.

I wish that I could say the flavour followed suit. Alas, this is still a transparant sort of hint of wood surrounded by a whole lot of nothing.

I think we’ve come to the end of the line with this one. Western style or semi-gong-fu, this was only really interesting on the first steep anyway. I don’t think I’m losing out on anything in this one by doing it western style like I’m used to. Quite the opposite, it seems. The rating stands.

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69

This one was included as a free sample with my Teavivre order and it’s been poking about on a shelf ever since I found out what sort of tea it was. I’m not really the keenest white tea drinker in the world, to be entirely honest. I tend to get along with added flavour better than without.

The funny thing is that not that many years ago, so recent in fact that it’s documented here on Steepster, I thought BMD was the bestest thing ever. Ever! And then… I just kinda fell out of love with it without even realising it. I even went so far as to toss almost an entire tin of it the other day when I realised that I hadn’t even touched it in years, and that it was so old by now that I wouldn’t even be able to make myself give it away.

Honestly? I felt better for having just taken that particular bull by the horns and cleared out something that would otherwise just have stood there for ever. I even managed to use that same momentum to toss a couple of other things in that same sort of category. One of these days I really have to go through the tea corner and make some tough decisions on what is likely to get used up and what is likely to simply gather dust. I have to say it’s not a job I’m looking forward to, even though I know I’ll feel good about having done it afterwards.

Now, back to this tea. I debated with myself for a bit about whether to brew it western style or whether to attempt to semi-gong-fu it, but eventually decided on western style. As I discussed previously, I often feel that western style gives me a better, deeper sort of idea of the flavour profile at hand, not to mention the fact that drinking seven cups of a tea I felt a little dubious about from the beginning didn’t really sound super appealing.

I patted myself on the back when I saw that the brewing guidelines from Teavivre are actually for a western style cup.

When I opened the little envelope, I was struck by how brightly light green the leaves were. Green tea is usually bright green as well, but this was even brighter, and it was the same thing when they were wet after steeping and a few of them landed in the strainer. I recall a much more sort of brownish and greyish sort of green.

They had a vegetal aroma, rather spicy like Darjeelings and for some reason reminded me or pea pods, in spite of the fact that they smelled nothing like any part of the pea plant at all.

After steeping the tea has a darker sort of aroma, kind of vegetal and grassy. There’s also a strong aroma of something familiar that I couldn’t quite place. This is where I cheated and looked at what other people had noted there. I normally try to avoid this, as I feel it adds a bias to my own experience. If someone says they’ve found for example notes of melons in whatever it is I’m writing about, I end up sitting here trying my damndest to find those melons too. And if I then do find them, I’m never quite certain if I really think there is a note of melons or if I’ve been affected by someone else’s experience. But this time I needed some help with identifying that note.

So I used a lifeline and asked the audience.

A couple of people mentioned cucumber and that rang a bell. For me, though, it’s more along the lines of courgettes, but there isn’t really a very large difference there. Whether it’s cucumbers or courgettes I think is a question of association.

This note is enormous in the flavour as well. Courgette all over the place. Along with those there is definitely a grassy note again, but it’s not as spicy as in the arome and it’s staying in the background.

This cup of liquid courgette tea is probably not going to bring me back into the white tea fold. I just think that the black teas and the dark oolongs have a so much more interesting flavour than the green and whites. 7 out of 10 cups, I reach for a black tea and I don’t really expect that to change any time soon. The remaining three are typically oolongs.

It does however make me curious about a couple of other BMD samples I’ve got standing around. I’ve mostly found walnutty flavours in BMD in the past and I’m interested to see if this courgette business might happen in others as well.

Thomas Smith

Run into the problem of implanted suggestion in flavors all the time when doing cup pings of both tea and coffee with people. General courtesy holds that everyone slurp and spit without saying a word and even trying to hide facial reactions, but there’s always a few inexperienced tasters in the mix that go and jam a tasting note into your psyche before you’re done evaluating everything.
Fortunately, I’ve never had a courgette, so hopefully I won’t be tasting nothing but that in the white tea I’m working on ;P

By the by, did you know you can age Bai Mu Dan? Takes work – aged does not equal old – but it works better than a Qing Bing in my mind.

Angrboda

I have had the suggestion before now that you mention it. Perhaps it was even from you. I don’t think this was stored properly for it though. Too sloppy with tinning still back when it was new.

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Bio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Formalities

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

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

Bio last updated February 2014

Location

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Website

http://angrboda.livejournal.com

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