1323 Tasting Notes

drank Bai Mu Dan by Le Palais des Thes
1323 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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drank Caramel by Le Palais des Thes
1323 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.


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


Yes, one’s concentration is completely used up.


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


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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drank Bai Ji Guan by TeaSpring
1323 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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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.


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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We were having dinner with some friends last night and was given a cup of this on arrival. GOSH that was awesome following some very easy-difficult ring shopping (easy for me, difficult for him) and a whole lot of walking.

I’ve had this one before in a sample tin and I had some difficulties brewing it right. I found it very finicky. This is also one of the reason I tend to prefer Chinese blacks. You can get away with a lot more abuse with those.

Last night, though, it had been made just right and I was surprised at how sweet it was. Although the Kusmi info about it doesn’t say what sort of teas it’s blended from, apart from country of origin, I’m still convinced that it contains Darjeeling, or if not Darj, then something very similar. I find both Sikkim and Dooars to be similar to Darj, and I don’t really care for either.

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drank Vanilla Green by Adagio Teas
1323 tasting notes

NinaVampi shared this one with me, along with a few other vanilla flavoured things. Vanilla and green tea struck me as a funny combination. It wasn’t one I would ever have come up with on my own. Vanilla is simply something I associate with darker teas.

The aroma of the dry leaf surprised me. It didn’t really smell like just green tea and vanilla. In fact I couldn’t really find either super easily. I thought it smelled much more strongly like brown sugar.

I love brown sugar. It’s so much more rich in flavour than ordinary sugar, and it’s excellent when used in baking where it gives an almost caramel-y flavour. You should have tasted the apple crumble I made the other which had lots of brown sugar in it.

Brown sugar. Not a bad thing to smell like. I hadn’t seen it coming in this tea at all, but there it was. Loud and clear.

Interesting, thought I. I wonder how a tea sweetened with brown sugar would behave, thought I. The latter in spite of the fact that I never ever sweeten my tea ever. Then I wondered how coffee would turn out if sweetened with brown sugar as opposed to ordinary white, because I do sweeten coffee if I can. I haven’t tried that yet, though. I might.

Anyway, after steeping the aroma has sorted itself out and is no longer brown sugar-y in the least. Not even a little bit. I can’t work out if I think that’s a disappointment or not, considering how it seemed such an outsider note to begin with. Now it actually smells like green tea and vanilla, and as I suspected, it’s a most peculiar combination. It smells a bit creamy too and very very familiar.

I am certain that I’ve never had a green vanilla flavoured anything before, at least not when counting back to a time where I can actually remember what my experience with it would be, so this is something that really made the little wheels and cogs turn in my head until finally it came to me.

I used to have a rhubarb flavoured green tea from AC Perchs. This one smells very like that one. I can’t remember if the rhubarb one had vanilla in it as well, but I’m almost certain that it must have. This aroma has developed into something almost as pink and bubble-gum-y as that rhubarb green.

I liked that one, so this is a heartening discovery.

And then comes the actual taste. Well, it’s most definitely green tea, although I can’t tell which sort. I get a sort of yellowish colour from it, so I would guess that it might be Chinese. Japanese greens tend to feel more dark green, and I have no idea of colours for other green tea producing regions. Quite vegetal and somewhat butter-y, but other than that I can’t really decipher it. It’s just so… basic, really.

As for the vanilla, it’s… not there. There’s something vaguely dusty in the flavour, but it’s not very distinct and it might as well just be a floral note in the base tea itself. There is a certain sweetness involved but again that might as well just be naturally occurring in the base. I get no vanilla in the sip and I get nothing in the aftertaste as well.

Actually, I’m finding myself sitting here and missing the very pink rhubarb note that I remember from aforementioned rhubarb tea.

I’m marking it low, not because the flavour wasn’t pleasant, but because it doesn’t deliver what it promises.

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You may consider this a continuation of the post I wrote a couple of days ago, and which you can find here http://steepster.com/Angrboda/posts/106070

If you can’t be bothered to go link hopping, I wrote about this tea in multiple (4) short steeps but didn’t come to a rating conclusion because I found the four infusions so vastly different from one another. Some had elements that I really like and some had elements that I dislike, so it was all rather confusing. Over all though, I found it a bit wan and as though there was something missing.

This time I’m having it steeped western style. This is what I mostly do, so I have more of an idea of what to expect here. In my experience western style usually yilds a darker and deeper sort of infusion, where gong fu is more about picking up on smaller nuances. Compare it to impressionist paintings. Western style gives you the big picture and only that, where gong fu allows you to step closer, inspect the technique used in painting and the combination of colours and then piece it all together into a whole yourself. I suppose that makes gong fu an exersize in tea tasting, where western style becomes more like having the answer sheet handed to you.

This in turn leads me to wonder if the reason I tend to prefer western style may in fact be due to being lazy.

Anyway, I have made it western style today, and I do indeed now sit here with a considerably darker and deeper sort of brew.

This time I’m getting none of the floralness that I had objections about in the earlier attempt. The aroma is all bready and toasty, and with a certain amount of autumnal notes to it. Like the smell of leaves on the ground in the forest in mid-autumn. A bit earthy and a bit wooden as well. Mostly though, it’s toast and freshly baked goods I’m getting. If I really really concentrate, there is a mild chocolate note in it as well, but I can only find it if I’m searching for it and then only if I hold my nose in a very specific distance to the cup. I suspect it’s some of the toastiness that gets transformed under these circumstances.

The flavour is all dark and earthy now, and there’s a nutty top note on it. It’s like I first get the basic earthiness and then the nutty note pops up at the top of the mouth and works its way downwards to the tongue. A bit wooden, but mostly nutty. And lets face it, most nuts are kind of woody in flavour anyway.

As with the aroma, I’m getting a lot of toasty notes in along with the nuts, but it no longer gives me any baked goods associations. Toasted nuts, perhaps? That makes sense, actually.

There’s an intersting difference between my gong fu results and my western style results. Gong fu gave me the barest hints of caramel, but in this round the barest hints of caramel has turned into strong hints of chocolate. Apart from both of those being sweet flavoured, they’re not really related flavours at all. I think it’s the deeper feeling to the western style flavour that does it.

As it cools a little, the nutty notes take over and it’s a very toasty and nutty sort of profile. It tastes a bit like it should be a little astringent, like many nuts are, but when you pay attention to that, you find to your surprise that it’s not astringent at all.

The aftertaste is woody and nutty as well, and unlike the gong fu session, here it’s very long, prickling on my tongue and palate long after I’ve swallowed. I always appreciate a good long aftertaste IF it’s a pleasant one (green and white teas for me often aren’t). It’s like it makes the cup last longer.

Maybe it makes me rather a philistine or perhaps I’m just too bone idle to really appreciate gong fu, but I do prefer western style brewings most of the time. Gong fu is fun to experiment with, but for me that’s all it is. I like the depth that western style provides.


I like the way you compared Western and Gong Fu methods. Also, very exhaustive note too.


I love how thorough your notes are, and you manage it without being dry. Thanks for sharing!


Excellent tea log!


Thanks, all. :)

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Gosh, that took its sweet time to pop up! I think over an hour is a new record for me. Easily a new record actually. Then I didn’t dare close it for fear that it would take another eternity to get the posting box open, so this is actually being posted many hours later. I wrote on it every time I had an infusion, so you will see a noticable change of mood further down.

I am so in the mood for Steepstering! So I went and looked for one I had not tried yet and one I expected I could probably write a small novel about. Oh yes. Made the boyfriend a pot of blackberry flavoured black and dove into the small, short steepings of this one myself.

I have to admit I didn’t get anything noticable out of the dry leaf aroma at all. It was just sort of… there. I’ll have to go back and have a second sniff and see if I can’t coax something out of it.

For the first steep, the aroma is quite strong. It’s toasty and ever so floral! Very very floral. Like a flower shop floral.

So floral that I’m surprised it doesn’t overwhelm the flavour of it completely. There is a strong floral note at the forefront there, but it’s at a tolerable level. At the back end of the sip we have the toasty note, creating a fair bit of aftertaste. It’s not a very long one, though.

In the middle, however, there is just… hot water. It’s like there is a hole in the flavour, like something has been removed. My brain wants to fill in with something a bit woody and slightly caramel-esque, but it isn’t actually there.

For the second steep, the aroma is noticable weaker, but it has a more uniform sort of appearance. It’s sweet and kind of borderline caramel-y. Very soft, with only slight floral aspects.

The flavour has evened out a bit too. The floral beginnings have receeded and the toasty note is bigger and starts earlier. While it is longer, though, it’s no longer long enough to actually make it all the way to the end of the flavour. Odd that. It has moved.

There is still however a bit of a gap between the two and also at the very end, the toasty end-note having moved closer to the middle.

For the third steep, I lengthened the steeping time a bit this time, and the aroma has increased in strength accordingly. It’s toasty and sweet, smelling rather like caramel, and the floral note which was prevalent on the first go is all but gone. I can’t say I miss it either.

The flavour has become fuller as well. The toasty note has once again moved forwards and is now the first thing I notice on the sip. A burst of toasty, but unfortunately a rather short burst. Then it peters out at the end of the sip and leaves little to no aftertaste. Like the aroma, there is a thick, caramel-y aspect to it, reminding me a bit of brown sugar.

So far, I like this one best. I could even imagine myself making and discarding the two first steeps so I could get a mugful of this, without having to drink a total of 1½ liters of tea.

For the fourth steep, my mood has taken a nose-dive. I’m doing something which must be done, but I hate it. It’s difficult and frustrating and even if I had limitless funds, I would still hate it. So give me some therapy tea, please. At this point and under these circumstances I actually considered dropping this and making something fruity and/or dessert-y instead, but I can’t be arsed to clean out the pot, so I suppose we’ll just continue what we started.

Note, it is now 20 minutes to 7pm. I started this at around noon, I think. It has been an ongoing project.

Now, I rather enjoyed the third go on these leaves and so I’ve been equipped with Expectations. I want something like the third. The aroma, however, have weakened a bit again, in spite of the fact that the steeping time go another notch upwards. Not much, I don’t think, but there is definitely a difference. The profile of it is still the same same as the third.

The flavour has weakened as well. Again it’s the same as the third, only paler. The toasty is a bit less toasty, the sweetness is proportionally represented. And there is still no aftertaste to speak of.

Given how this has taken me all day and how I don’t really think the fourth delivered, not to mention aforementioned frustration, I’m going to stop here, I think. I defintiely want something with more comfort in it at this point.

I’m not sure how to rate this. None of the infusions really gave me anything which made think ‘yes, that’s this tea’, possibly because they were so different and sometimes very very far apart on my likes-dislikes scale. I don’t think I’ll give it any rating at this point. I’ll wait until I’ve had it brewed western style like I do almost all the time anyway.


I always enjoy your posts so much! You have a wonderful way of presenting your thoughts that paints a vivid picture for me. :)


Thank you. :)


Interesting, I might give it a try in my next order. I chose Milk Oolong over Da Hong Pao this time.


LOL! We only just heard the expression “can’t be arsed” for the first time from my daughter, who hears it in Ireland. If she hadn’t explained it to me a few months ago, I would have had no idea what you meant!


Ditto to what CHAroma said : )


A very thorough review. I have ordered some Oolong just now and might include a comparison with your review in my link page blog for a May posting. I am not expert and newly to blogging. Thank you for sharing.

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drank Ile Maurice by Le Palais des Thes
1323 tasting notes

Oh hello all! It’s been ages since I posted, hasn’t it? I’ve been distracted lately. Lego Harry Potter apparently deeply addictive and I’ve been playing it at almost ever chance I’ve had for the last two weeks or so. Apart from just telling the HP story, there are all these other little goals of special things to collect in the game and it’s knocking my OCD into overdrive. Collect ALL THE THINGS!!!!

I’ve had this one a few times already, and I initially ordered it because it’s a blend with vanilla in it. Vanilla and orange peels and apparently possibly a bit of red fruits. From the description I honestly can’t work out if there is red fruits flavouring added as well, or if that’s naturally occurring note in the blend.

Whatever it is, though, it doesn’t matter because I haven’t really been able to identify it anyway.

But yes, vanilla blend. It’s my vanilla obsession, still going strong. The boyfriend realised the other day exactly how many vanilla teas I’ve got currently, and the mocking would take no end. It didn’t help when I pointed out the three or for that he had missed or were blends with vanilla in them. I had a swap arrive from NinaVampi the other day and while he has seen it, he luckily for me haven’t made the connection yet. Three more vanilla teas! :D

I can’t help it, I’m searching for the perfect vanilla, aren’t I?!

It’s fun, actually, obsessing about a specific flavour like that.

Anyway, this one. Vanilla. Yes. Check. I wasn’t too interested in the orange peel aspect to be honest. Citrus flavouring is one of those flavours that have to be done just so in order to be really good, otherwise they’re just meh. Not bad, mind. Just… not interesting. I also couldn’t quite imagine what orange peels and vanilla would be like in combination.

But vanilla. So I bought it.

I can now report that orange peel and vanilla work rather nicely together in this one. The base black seems to be fairly strong, probably a Kenya, I expect. LPdT has this label coding for their teas which tells of region of origin and this pouch has the African label on it, which is what I’m basing my Kenya assumption on. It’s a good choice, I think. I find that a tea has to be at least medium strong, preferably stronger, in order to successfully carry citrus flavouring, especially if it’s citrus peels.

So the base and the citrus peels are prominent here. The vanilla is not obvious at first. But when you’ve had a few sips, you suddenly discover it and wonder how you didn’t see it before. Like camouflage. You see a picture of some mottled trees or something, and somewhere in there you know there is a moth, but you have to search for it. And once you found it, it’s totally easy to see it’s there. That’s the vanilla here. Like a fog creeping in on the flavour, slowly but surely, adding more and more to the vanilla experience. It’s everywhere, but near the bottom of the flavour in a sort of attempt at discretion, happy to let the citrus run the show.

I quite like vanilla in blends like this. Near the bottom and just adding a thick and creamy substance to an otherwise fruity flavour. I find that the vanilla in the Late Summer blend from ACP work much the same way, only that blend is a lot brighter than this one. This one seems heavier and darker. If tea had age groups this one would probably be late middle aged and starting to get somewhat curmudgeonly. (In comparison, the aforementioned Late Summer blend is somewhere in the late twenties or thirties)

And it’s funny really, that I find the vanilla is best in blends this way, because that’s not at all how I want it in a straight vanilla flavoured tea. Then I want much more power, brightness and sparkle on the vanilla.

This was a pretty good choice. I might buy it again sometime, but I’m not sure I really super-urgently need to once I’m through the pouch.


Collect ALL THE THINGS? Oh my. Sounds like me. It’s not enough to finish a game, it must be finished perfectly!

And loved the post, again. Wish I could be so descriptive!


I had some inital problems with it because something it really needs is a help file! There were a few learning by doing issues that I had with it. Also I had to change the controls around because the default was very unintuitive to me. I cannot move the character with WASD! It’s so weird for me to have that in the left hand when I’m right handed and there are perfectly good arrow keys right there. But now that I’ve got into it, I’m completely hooked on Lego games. :) I have my eye on a Lego Indiana Jones as well when I’m done with Harry Potter. :p The boyfriend has Lego Star Wars on his play station, which I briefly considered asking if I could try again, but decided against it because I don’t like the controller. It doesn’t agree with me. But this one is fun, I would recommend trying it.


Oh goodness. I’m the game-addict sort, so until I’m out of school again I must avoid all games! Facebook games keep sucking me in briefly until I get bored/frustrated though. Sounds like fun though. I love Lego (but does the game even have anything to do with Lego, really?)


Well the characters are lego men and the blocks are all over the place, but it’s not building stuff as such, really. There’s a trailer for the first year here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F57e6Ay-b04


Oh man Lego games – sooo much stuff to collect!


I feel compelled to look at your highest rated vanilla teas now :)


Cheryl, I think they’re all fairly up there. I’m not sure their ratings can really be compared though, because I tend to rate them according to how I experienced them in the moment of drinking and then adjust upwards or downwards later if I feel it necessary. My ratings tend to be a snapshot of the moment, really.

DaisyChubb, yes, and it bothers me that there are some things that you can’t get until you go back and do it again whne Free Play is unlocked because you need to unlock abilities later in teh game first. But I suppose it makes for extended game play really, and makes the game ‘longer’. Some games you just do once, and then you know all the puzzles and can’t be bothered to do it again…

Daniel Scott

LEGO GAMES! Yes, I have LEGO Star Wars for PS2 and LEGO Indiana Jones for my aunt’s Wii. OMG PURPLE STUD!!!1

I did not like the Wii instructions for the game at all, though – most of the instructions focused around the broken motion controls and didn’t actually explain the game much. If you have played a LEGO game before, OR if you are very well-versed in video game conventions, no big deal, you would probably figure it all out quite quickly. If you are a relative newbie to video games, you would be very lost. Considering that LEGO games aren’t exactly marketed for most hardcore gamers, not providing more instructions seemed ridiculous to me. I bought the game thinking my aunt might also play it and spent the entire play time thinking, “She won’t understand how to do ___!”

Daniel Scott

Okay, watched the video. Oooh, I might get this! (The game, I mean, not the tea, although the tea sounds nice.) Do you actually play Quidditch, or is that just in a cut scene?

Also, forgot to mention, I think WASD controls became a convention because 1) some earlier keyboards had no arrow keys, and 2) it’s considered more ergonomic since you can hit the space bar with your thumb and it’s supposedly awkward with a right-hand mouse. I think that’s silly since I always just physically shift the keyboard to the side to use arrow keys, and space is usually the “use” key (open doors, etc.) and I never had a problem taking my hands off the arrow keys to briefly hammer space.

What don’t you like about the PS controller?


Daniel Scott, I would definitely have liked to have a small introduction. I was only a level or two in when I stopped playing the first day, and then the next time I came back, I accidentally went into Diagon Alley, wehre you can buy things you unlock with the points you collect instead of continuing the story. I thought the saved game had gone wonky and ended up starting the game over from the beginning. At the very least I would have liked to be told about the indicator for when it’s actually saving the game. I hate the checkpoint system!

So far Quidditch has been cut scenes, but there has been some broom flying. There have also been a few other, rather hilarious, alternative modes of transport.

When I tried it, I had never used a Playstation before, so I was completely unfamiliar with the controller. I’m sure it’s a question of just getting used to it, but I didn’t find it very intuitive to use.

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I’ve sort of lost the whole tea writing mood lately, as you can see from all the short I’m-behind-posts. We’re having this one right now, though, and I’m going to make myself sit down and write something pseudo-intelligent about it.

I like a Keemun to be largely smooth and rounded, but with a little bit of a smoky edge to it. Just a bit. I like the smokier tasting Keemuns better than the more floral tasting ones, and my least favourites are the ones that fall right in the middle of that spectrum because they’re so confusing!

This one has a mild aroma. It’s grainy and kinda sweet, and unfortunately it’s one of those where I can’t tell whether I think it’s more one or more the other. sigh In many other things I would call that a perfect balance, but in this particular kind of tea? I really really want it to be more smoky than floral. I really can’t decide what I think here, and now I’ve put lotion on my hands and can’t smell anything other than that so we’ll just move on.

The flavour is going a lot better in terms of leaning towards smoky or floral. Unfortunately for me, it’s more floral. Still, it’s better than the middle of the scale.

It makes up for this, though, by being extraordinarily cocoa-y. It’s just not a note I’m connecting with this type at all, normally, so it’s really interesting to find it here. It was actually the boyfriend who found it and pointed it out to me, and now I can’t untaste it.

It’s like all the grainyness that I would normally have expected to find has been transformed into cocoa. How interesting!

Another thing that’s interesting is how I’m apparently the only one to have thought it more floral than smoky… It makes me feel a little disappointed in my own tastebuds.

I’m dithering about this one. It’s a very good tea, yes, but it’s not at all what I want in a Keemun. I have to say, I miss the grain. I miss the association to proper Danish rye bread, dark and wholegrain-y, like this http://www.grillguru.dk/forum/userpix/1312_DSC_1283_1.jpg (not my site, not my picture. The magic of Google image search)

I’m definitely very much enjoying this one, but it’s not… it’s not it! So, if you were me, would you rate it solely on the experience of this particular cup, or would you deduct points for not being what you wanted it to be?

I’m going to give it a tentative score. Then we’ll see if I end up adjusting it.

Thomas Smith

I can’t really tell from the picture they have – how tippy or golden is this one? Many of the Hao Ya versions I’ve had are either floral-fruity or a lightweight cocoa and I’ve come to associate the level of down prevalence with level of cocoa character for Hao Ya just as I do for northern Fujian reds.


I can’t really tell that sort of thing. At the site there is a better picture where you can zoom in. http://www.teavivre.com/keemun-hao-ya/ Mysteriously I actually thought I had cheaped out and ordered the Grade 1 instead, and had to check the bag several times to convince myself that it wasn’t. Maybe it was the Bai Lin I did that with, regular as opposed to organic…

I’ve had a Hao Ya Keemun before and remember that one as really good but that was before I was experienced enough with them to be able to define what I wanted from the type.

I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps I’m just not made for higher grades of tea. Often I find them too dainty and with not enough oomph to them. I tried the higher grade of the Tan Yang Te Ji (oh gosh at a price!) once and discovered the same thing.

Oh, and I hear you met a friend of mine at the tea festival! Small world! :D

Thomas Smith

Hahaha, yeah I was hoping I’d meet a few steepsterites who I’ve read reviews from but only talked to one person who identified herself as a user. It was a nice event that I hope is improved upon for next year.

I’m in the process of moving right now, but in a month or two after getting settled I would like to throw some teas out your way to get your opinion on them. If you send me an address in a personal message I’ll see what I can do after my furniture and finances have settled back down. May include some of the more florally reds you may not care too much for but will attempt to make up for it with others I think you’ll like. I’m flakey on trades, though, so if two or more months have gone by I haven’t forgotten (ask Auggie).


I wish I could have gone and met Steepsterites too. I would particularly love to meet the woman you met in person, I’ve known her for several years now. Unfortunately that sort of travelling is not for me, partly because I find it a rather large expense and partly because travelling is super-stressful for me. I have learned to handle the trip to the UK to visit with the boyfriend’s family fairly, but I still don’t think I could do it alone.

As for the swap, I sent you a message. Sounds like you have some specific things in mind you want to share. How intersting. :D

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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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