1254 Tasting Notes

85
drank Cranberry Black Tea by 52teas
1254 tasting notes

Greetings Steepsterites.

I’ve come over all meh and tired and stuff. Started quite suddenly last night with low-level headache, chills and sleepyness. I wonder if I’m nipping something in the bud. Clearly the best course of action under these circumstances is to have another cup of tea (and attempt to NOT play Bejeweled for six hours straight), and since I paid ransom to Tax and Customs on my 52teas order yesterday, it seemed a good place to start.

We’ve bought the cranberry black from AC Perch’s recently and I’m really pleased with that one, so making a comparison with this one seems impossible to avoid. I was sniffing the dry leaves of each side by side and the 52teas one definitely smells like it’s much more strongly flavoured. I thought the ACP had a pretty pleasant level of flavouring so on the dry aroma alone, I prefer that one, I think. This one is a bit too forceful and there’s a funny screaming pink and dusty teal side note that reminds me of bubblegum.

After steeping it still smells pretty strongly flavoured and bubblegum-ish. I could probably identify it as cranberry in a blind test, but it smells like there’s more to it than that. It’s that dusty teal note again. I’m not sure what it is, but it reminds me weirdly of Earl Grey (that can’t be right!) or some such. I’m pretty certain these leaves have never even seen bergamot, though… At this point I can no longer compare it with ACP other than from memory, but I can’t recall if this funny note also showed up in that one. If it did, then it must be some sort of quality of the cranberry itself, but mostly I’m inclined to believe that it has to do with the differences in the strength of flavouring and the differences in the base. I can’t remember what the base is on either one, but I seem to recall Frank having mentioned once that his black base is often Nilgiri (although I can’t remember where I saw that and may in fact have made it up) and I’m pretty certain that ACP is either something Chinese or Ceylon or a blend of both.

As mentioned, I thought ACP had a level of flavouring that was just right for me. Not too little and not too much. Clearly fruity but also with a detectable tea flavour underneath it. This one is definitely far more fruity, and there it is again, that teal note! Where is that coming from??? Anyway, strongly fruit flavoured and yes, definitely cranberry-ish with a sort of tangy sweetness. I still think there’s something citrus-y going on here as well, and I’m having a sudden overwhelming urge to try and do up some sort of orange and cranberry combination, now that’s I’ve got an abundance of both available to me.

This is definitely a pleasant tea and as usual I once again find myself preferring the fruity blends over the more outlandish ones that 52teas sell, but all in all, I do prefer the fruity blends to be either green or white, I think. Those really seem to be my favourites of all. For a cranberry flavoured black in particular, I think I prefer ACP over this one, although this is definitely also a good one.

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83
drank Orange by A C Perch's
1254 tasting notes

The dry leaves have a strong orangey aroma which reminds me rather a lot of the orange pu-erh from Nothing But Tea, which I’m very fond of. That one currently holds the place of my ideal orange tea, so I find this aroma quite assuring. But it is very strong indeed. So strong that I actually had a small coughing fit because the sheer strength of the aroma tickled my throat so much.

I wasn’t looking specifically for anything orange flavoured when I bought this. It was partly based on aforementioned orange pu-erh, yes, but mostly it was because I was getting a generally wide selection of fruity teas and I thought I might as well include it. I actually got a couple of things that I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise on that occasion. I think, with this order, I’ve now bought every single fruity black that AC Perch’s has to offer at one point or another (there are some that I’ve had before and didn’t stock up on), except for the more fanciful blends with more than one flavouring ingredient and also excepting the many different varieties of Earl Grey that they have.

Anyway. After steeping the aroma is a more tolerable level of orange intensity, although it’s still pretty overwhelming. I can’t find anything of the base tea underneath and I wonder about the wisdom of choosing a Chinese black as the base rather than a Ceylon. I wonder if maybe a Ceylon would have been better able to hold it’s own against the flavouring. Or perhaps that’s all just because I’m used to the significantly stronger pu-erh base. I really mustn’t compare with that one, it’s completely unfair. It’s hard not to, though.

The colour of the tea is quite dark and you know what? On the first sip, it is similar to the orange pu-erh! It’s a bit less of a murky flavour but it’s the same sort of orange. The flavouring is very strong and the base isn’t really coming to it’s right, and this is the only real difference between this and the orange pu-erh.

It’s a good alternative to the orange pu-erh in a pinch, but I do prefer the pu-erh to this one, mainly because the base is more assertive in that one. In the meantime, I think I shall rather enjoy this one.

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42
drank Kenya PF by A C Perch's
1254 tasting notes

In amusing news the Steepster blog post from January last year showed up in my Google Reader this morning.

First time I made this, it was a botched, although relatively enjoyable cup. I had been too cautious about the fact that it’s CTC and at the same time completely forgotten about the fact that timers exist. You may remember that following that brewing I could report that it had not been particularly damaged by my mistake, but that it also wasn’t anything other than simply another faceless Cup of Tea.

This morning I decided to see how it would behave if I threw CTC caution to the wind and brewed it like I normally do everything else. With a timer, mind you.

The result is definitely a much smoother cup with no hint at all of bitterness or astringency whatsoever. It’s soft and silky and very pleasant to drink. Apart from this, however, not much has changed. It’s still a faceless Cup of Tea. Pleasant enough, but just not interesting at all. There’s nothing here that grabs the attention or even something that makes me thing of region specific qualities. This is disappointing when I know for an absolute fact that Kenyans can be interesting. Just not in this form, unfortunately.

On the upside, because the leaves are so tiny I’m forced to use a filter bag, there’s no cleaning out of the pot afterwards. Silver lining on everything and whatnot.

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69

We spent the weekend in Copenhagen and this is what they had in the breakfast buffet. (There were a number of other Clipper bags as well, but one of them I couldn’t work out what was and the others I didn’t think were very suitable for breakfast.)

It contained Assam and Ceylon and the Assam shone clearly through, with the Ceylon tempering that astringency that usually gives me Assam-trouble.

I wouldn’t say it was anything particularly special or earth-moving, but it wasn’t horrible either. It was perfectly adequate for breakfast in a situation where I wasn’t about to start waxing poetic about it anyway. A tea to drink without having to have an opinion on it.

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76
drank Apricot by A C Perch's
1254 tasting notes

The dry leaf of this one smells rather disturbingly like apricot flavoured yoghurt. And not just any old yoghurt either. An apricot Petite Danone. That’s what it smells like. (Do you have those over on the other side of the Atlantic? They’re like yoghurt-y desserts marketed for children so they contain more sugar than fruit and they come in tiiiiny little cups that somehow still manages to cost more than a whole carton of normal fruit yoghurt.)

After steeping thankfully it’s more real fruit and it has completely lost that weird yoghurt-y note. The tea base comes through as well and had it not been for the fact that they say it’s Chinese, I would have guessed it might be a Ceylon, because there seems to be a rather prominent sort of malty note to it. After careful smelling and consideration I have come to believe that this malty note is actually my own nose playing tricks on me and masquerading the actual fruit flavouring in this way, making it seem a lot more subtle than it really is. It’s like magic!

The flavour finally puts the whole Petite Danone issue to rest. Nothing even remotely like it here. This is an example of a well balanced fruit flavouring. It’s clearly fruity and it’s strong enough to be recognisable, but there is still a very clear note of actual tea shining through. It’s a fairly non-descript tea flavour here, but it’s there. It feels like drinking an even mix of the two, which gives the impression that the apricot manages to be both strong and rather subtle all at the same time. Like magic!

I’m coming to the conclusion that apricot and black tea are two of those flavours that just fit like puzzle pieces. They seem to compliment each other so nicely.

All in all, a quite good fruity black, although it certainly didn’t send my socks into orbit or anything like that. It was just good and enjoyable and will do well as a sort of every-day fruit tea, I think, which means we can save some of the really really good ones for a little longer. Sometimes we just need something that is merely good in order to fully appreciate the awesome.

gmathis

I had to peek—Dannon Yogurt has a kids’ line here in the States, but apricot isn’t a mainstream flavor for children. Vanilla, strawberry, banana.

Angrboda

yeah we get the apricot instead of vanilla. At least we used to when I was a kid. I’d recognise that smell anywhere. I had to look it up to see what it was now. Apparently they’re called danonino now. I hate when products get new names. Makes me feel old. :p

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42
drank Kenya PF by A C Perch's
1254 tasting notes

I can’t believe I bought a 100 grams of, let’s face it, fannings! I mean, I knew it was CTC and I was sceptical about that, but as I was buying the Tanzania (again) and I have this budding fascination with the African continent’s tea offerings, I couldn’t not get it. This and the Tanzania are the only African blacks they’ve got. I do wish they would look into getting a better Kenya because the fact that this one is CTC makes it seem rather pedestrian compared to just about everything else they’ve got. I can’t say for sure if it really is, but it’s the only CTC I can recall having seen from them ever.

So, uncharacteristically I opted for using a filter bag with this one. There is no way that my otherwise wonderful strainers would have a chance against this sort of leaf size. Or lack of leaf size. I also used only 3/4 of my usual number of teaspoons of leaf.

And it was a good thing I did because I ALSO forgot to set the timer, so when I came back to get it I had to test-taste a mouthful in order to find out if it was necessary to make a new pot. To my vast surprise, it was fine. A CTC steeped for at least 5 minutes unattended and it’s fine. Shocking! I was going to do it at 3…

But then when I really start tasting the cup, I discover why it didn’t go wrong. There’s nothing here TO go wrong. This is just about the dullest, blandest tea I’ve ever met. In spite of the tiny leaf size, there is very little aroma or flavour here to speak of. A bit of astringency on the end of the flavour, but anything else you have to search for. And the more you keep the tea in your mouth to try and find other flavours in it, the more you only find the astringency.

The aroma at least has a hint of something woodsy and slightly malty. It’s just a shame that so little of it comes across in flavour.

Perhaps I should not have been so cautious with the leaf amount, CTC or not. I’ll have to experiment some more with that, I guess, although it is very much against my better judgment to not be cautious with CTC leaf amounts. This cup more resembles something that usually comes in cheap teabags with a generic blend name, rather than something from a shop selling supposedly quality leaves. You know, the sort of blend where they have something proper to give the majority of the flavour and then stuff it with something cheap and filling to keep the price down and pretend it’s still lovely. This here then would be the something cheap and filling.

I really do hope I can find a way to improve this (a lot) because right now I’m so disappointed. If nothing else it’ll work as a morning tea when I don’t want to do an awful lot of thinking.

kOmpir

If you don’t like it, compost it, that’s what I would do :)

cteresa

If you ever want a sample from Mozambican tea (namuli, which is the only one still findable around here right now) let me know, I can put some in an envelope – with the self-interest that your opinion of it would be very interesting to me. (mind you, it´s pretty tiny tea, fannings as well I guess, not that it is graded tea).

Angrboda

Hah! I just got an email notification about you having posted that suggestion somewhere else and then the apology right after and I DID wonder if it was supposed to have been for me. :p

The African teas aren’t very common around here. Kenya is becoming more common, but most often it’s still only the CTC ones. When I first saw the Tanzania AND the fact that it was whole leaf, I was all bouncy. :) I once had a really good white from Malawi, I think it was, and it seems to me that I’ve seen a Rwanda out there somewhere as well. I think Nothing But Tea had it, they have a fair selection of lesser known origins.

Yes please, I would like to try that (regardless of leaf size). My cupboard should be more or less up to date (I think there are a few that I’ve forgotten to remove), so let me know if there’s anything you would like to try in return.

Camiah

Your review was very educational! Now I know what fannings and CTC are, after scurrying to google to translate. My tea education continues apace.

Kashyap

if you ever want a good quality full leaf Kenya, I’ve got a Kenya Milima Estate OP1 black and a Kenya Kangaita Estate Oolong…no full leaf Tanzanian teas however or Malawi….

Angrboda

I got a really good one from H&S in a swap a while ago but I can’t remember which estate that was. It was awesome! That’s the reason I got started on this whole African adventure in the first place. Milima sounds vaguely family but I don’t think that was it…

Angrboda

Correction! I went allllll the way back and looked and it WAS a Milima!

cteresa

Do not expect too much of that mozambican tea, or at least nothing which depends on expensive technical part of growing and harvesting. I hear the tea plantations have been rather abandoned, the infrastructure is non existant and much of what is produced is actually sold to malawi (and repacked I guess). This one is just a run of the mill black tea which I can not judge objectively but which seems lovely and delicate and very sweet to me. I will send you an email with my (obvious) email!

Kashyap

Ironically …i recently had a few CTC teas (not PF’s) from Ethiopia…and they were a near cross between a classic shou pu erh and a brisk earthy lowland Ceylon…I enjoyed them, but so wished they were more of a OP or FOP so I could really be sure of the flavor of the region…but seriously if you want samples from either of those Kenya teas let me know

cteresa

Hi, just checking, I wrote you an email about the tea samples, if you still want it a few days ago (just after writing here). If you wanna take a rain check fine with me, but just checking with you in case email hit a filter or something. My email adress is quite simple, this user name at gmail.

Angrboda

Cteresa, oh, I am glad you reminded me! I had actually seen your message and then clean forgotten all about it. I’m so sorry about that, but I’ve replied now. :)

cteresa

Ok, got it! Just wanted to make sure, in case it was some evil spam filter (it happens).just give me a few days to hit the post office! Do not expect too much from the tea, but I do think it is different from any other tea i had before.

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86
drank Cranberry by A C Perch's
1254 tasting notes

I have received a MASSIVE Perch’s order this morning. Mainly we’ve got fruity teas here as well as stocking up on some black. The all-important Lapsang, the Tanzania I liked, and to try their Kenya. Anyway, I let the boyfriend pick out the first one to try and he chose this one.

I rather like cranberries and cranberry flavoured things, so it has been one I’ve been meaning to buy for a while. Especially after I’ve had their Late Summer blend (which I also bought this time), which is a heavenly mix of cranberry and vanilla. This, though, is plain cranberry.

The aroma is tart and heavy on the cranberry. There can be no doubt in anybody’s mind that this is a flavoured tea and that it’s flavoured with cranberry. Sligthly tart and thickly sweet underneath, with tendrils of the base tea sort of reaching through and reminding me that it’s not hot cordial we’re drinking here. It’s all in all a wonderful aroma and it gives me high hopes for the flavour. I can tell already know that we’re going to find ourselves on the higher end of the scale here.

I can report, thought, that Luna the Cat seems to think it’s rather stinky. Them kitties, what do they know? I have yet to find a tea they don’t think smells repulsive.

Oh yes, this is nice. At first I get primarily the base tea which definitely tastes Ceylon-y and some subtle cranberry flavouring. I’m almost positive this is a Ceylon base. It’s slightly astringent and a bit malty, which I believe accounts for the sugary aspect in the aroma.

So at first I thought it was rather subtly flavoured and how odd that was when the aroma was so heavy. But then I swallowed and there it was. Lots and lots and lots of cranberry, which somehow manages to not be too tart. I’m reminded of the cranberry sauce from Christmas, actually.

When it cools a bit the flavour develops more and covers the entire flavour experience more evenly, a soft layer of fruity berry over the flavour of the base tea and more uniform experience than the first sips of the cup.

Given the fact that I’ve enjoyed the Late Summer blend so much, I was actually a bit concerned if I might find this one a bit wanting with not having the vanilla aspect in it as well, but I’ve discovered to my relief that it stands on its own very nicely indeed. I am very pleased with this choice.

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98
drank Caramel by Kusmi Tea
1254 tasting notes

Good evening Steepsterites.

This is our after dinner tea on this last evening of 2011, and I am attempting replicate the mysterious circumstances that led to such an ultra yummy cup last time we had it.

It seems fitting to end the old year on one of the most favourite of favourites, and I am already plotting which tea we shall see the new year in with tomorrow morning.

There are 2 hours and 15 minutes until 2012 here in Denmark, so this shall be my last post this year. There is a fair bit of fireworks going on here already, which bodes well for the display at midnight. As I moved from the town center to a smaller village, we were not sure how much there would be. We never buy our own, but prefer to look at other people’s displays instead. The cats, on this their first NYE, are aware of the noise but seem to be taking it in stride.

Happy New Year, Steepster, and if you are lighting fireworks later, don’t forget to protect your eyes and fingers.

Camiah

Happy New Year!

SunnyinNY

Happy New Year!

Ninavampi

Happy New year to you too!! : )

Matt

Happy New Year! I sipped the same tea as you. :3 Thanks again for making this one know.

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98
drank Caramel by Kusmi Tea
1254 tasting notes

Sometimes you brew a cup of tea exactly the same way that you always do, and the stars align just so, and the outcome is extra-nommy.

This happened with this tea this afternoon for no apparent reason. I think it must have something to do with moon phases, karma and the magnetic field of the earth. Maybe cloud formations and whether or not there’s a bird sitting on the roof as well. It certainly can’t have anything to do with the brewing parameters because they were unchanged.

So I was sipping quietly in my room and thinking, “cor, what a good cup today!” when in ticks a message from the other half thanking me for extra nommy tea today. Two souls, one thought, it seems. (And yes, we do occasionally MSN each other from opposite sides of a wall in the same house. It’s easier than shouting when you don’t know if the other person is wearing headphones. Also, less noisy.)

And if you post 12 posts in one go, I have discovered that you get to wake up to a bajillion notifications! GOOOOOOSH! O.o

Ninavampi

Hahaha… I was thinking about that! 12 posts and so many followers must equal complete chaos with your notifications! Still, it must have been fun! : )

Angrboda

It was. If at all possible, I’ll totally get a box again next year. There were many that I didn’t like or wasn’t impressed with, but they were lots of fun to try, since they were all things I would never in my wildest dreams have purchased otherwise.

Ninavampi

Same. I loved the 12 days of Christmas in tea. A tea surprise everyday was a great thing to wake up to!

I am sure I will do it next year! Yay to Frank to shipping internationally at an affordable fee!

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drank Milk & Cookies by 52teas
1254 tasting notes

First, allow me to apologise for the power-spam! Because we were travelling to England for Christmas, I did not drink these teas on the actually appointed days, but some days in advance. I could have posted some of them before leaving, but for the sake keeping things easy (for me), I opted not to split them up in the middle like that. Also, that would have involved a certain risk of me having accidentally posted the wrong tea way too early and spoiled everybody unintentionally.

What a very Christmas-y flavour! (In Denmark, Santa’s favourite food is rice porridge with cinnamon-sugar and a lump of butter on top. Is milk and cookies his steady diet in America, or is that just a delivery rounds snack? Do inform, please.) It’s now nearly ten days since I actually had this, and am just now typing up my notes in preparation for posting, so you’ll have to excuse me if it’s a bit list-ish and dull to read.

The dry leaf struck me as mostly cocoa-y, but vaguely cookie-y, but there was a funny side note of something weirdly wood-y. After steeping, I got more cookie from it, but I couldn’t find the milk. I wondered if this would actually have benefitted from having been served with a little milk in, but it was too late then, as I had already got rid of the last milk in the fridge in preparation for travelling.

This next bit is a bit dodgy. I took my notes in some sort of weird impromptu wannabe shorthand, and erm… if I want to use shorthand, I should try to develop it a bit more systematically. I am however deciphering to the best of my abilities. (Utilising some of my more acceptable handwriting would help a lot too!)

Anyway, if I’m understeanding myself correctly here, I found the flavour to be quite cookie-like and faintly chocolate-y as well as somewhat nutty, which ties in nicely with it being a cookie. However, if I tried to get too deep into the flavour and really pick it apart, everything I found seemed like something one might naturally encounter in a good quality black, especially a Chinese one. This makes it seem rather more like an enhanced black rather than an actually flavoured one.

This impression wanes somewhat as the cup cools a bit more, because this is where the milk is finally coming out to play. It feels a bit like drinking a milk oolong, only instead of oolong it’s a black. Quite weird, really.

I liked this tea and found it rather enjoyable, although I didn’t really feel like it was getting the whole milk and cookies flavouring all the way across. The idea was certainly there, but I didn’t find it to be obvious, really.

I’m not putting a numerical rating on this one, because I didn’t jot down a scale area when I actually had it, and I’m not sure trying to deduce one based only on partly illegible notes and a vague memory is really a very good idea.

Uniquity

Milk and cookies is the norm, in Canada at least. As far as I know! : )

TeaEqualsBliss

POWER SPAM!!!! LOL – Well, I have to add…Spam, to me, is unwanted messages…THESE REVIEWS you are posting are very much WANTED :) Keep ’em coming! :)

Angrboda

Can’t, there were only 12 teas in the box. :p

Mercuryhime

I think in the US Santa mostly eats sweets and thoughtful children leave milk and cookies for Santa to energize him as he makes his rounds. Thoughtful parents eat and drink the offerings and leave crumbs on the plate to show that Santa wad there. Some people also leave out carrots for the reindeer.

I love the different versions of Santa from around the world. :)

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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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