1255 Tasting Notes


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

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

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

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

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

Oh Fujian. You are made from nom.


Ah – I might have to get this one now!


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


It is a bit pricey…


That too, but my problem is the shipping issue.

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drank Strawberry by A C Perch's
1255 tasting notes

Oh damn and blast!

And damn.

And blast.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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

After Christmas, I’ll try again. :)

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drank Clear Jade Orchid by Shang Tea
1255 tasting notes

Say goodbye, Ang.

“Goodbye, Ang.”


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drank Caramel by Kusmi Tea
1255 tasting notes

How much do I love this one?


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

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

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

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

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


this seems like the one from kushmi to try…


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


Okeydoke. :)

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drank Bourbon Vanilla by Kusmi Tea
1255 tasting notes

I poured a few mouthfuls of this on the table.

Because I missed the cup.

And Charm is trying to make off with the contents of the bin.

It’s been that sort of day, really.


I have been wondering what this tastes like…this is one I haven’t tried from them!


It’s subtle in flavouring like their caramel. It’s still not my perfect vanilla black (why is this so elusive?) but I am quite enjoying it. Probably enjoying it more today than I was when I gave it the 76 points. On that day, I think I was just disappointed it didn’t match the caramel in awesomocity. Managed a rather good steep of it this afternoon too.


Awesome! Thanks Angrboda! Great info!~


I can share some of it with you if you like. :)


OoooooooO! Really!? Awesome! Thanks! HEY!!! Since I am digging thru my piles of tea…want to do a swap?


Yeah, why not? :D I’ll put some extra things in it for you then. I’ll try to make sure they are things you haven’t posted about before, but I can’t guarantee. Let me know if there is anything in particular you would like to try. I’m expecting a rather large Nothing But Tea order one of these days, so I’ll wait putting anything together until I’ve got that.


Unless you’ve moved recently, I think I’ve got your address. I don’t know if you’ve got my new one. Let me know if you need an update.


Scratch that, can’t find it. Shoot me a pm, please.

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drank Pine Needle by Yunnan Colorful
1255 tasting notes

The Yunnans I am most familiar with are the golden ones, so this is a rather new experience for me. I may have had Dian Hong before, but I don’t think I’ve ever had it since learning the Yunnan connection, and I learned that, I expected it to be similar to all the other Yunnan’s I know. As in golden and hay-y.

But as many of you will already know, it is neither. The aroma does have that hay and spice pepper-y note that the golden Yunnans also have, but it’s not quite as grainy as they are. This has a rather more fruity nature I think, and I wonder how it would behave if one were to flavour it. Probably it couldn’t carry just any odd kind of flavouring well, but the idea strikes me as interesting.

The flavour is primarily fruity as well and somewhat astringent. I may have used a wee bit more leaf than was necessary, but it definitely has a fruity note to it. Cocoa-y as well, which isn’t a note I would normally associate with Yunnan at all. That’s more of a Fujian thing. In fact the whole thing strikes me as Yunnan-flavoured Fujian, only stronger and bolder. It has all the elements I love in Fujian black teas topped with Yunnan characteristics.

I know that this has nothing at all to do with Fujian what so ever and that it’s all in my head. But that’s the association that I get, and it gives me a sort of best of both worlds feeling about it.

I’m quite pleased with this one. I’ll have to remember to explore Dian Hong in the future.


Sounds tasty and intriguing!


It was surprisingly so. I was not expecting that. I’ll definitely have to explore it. :)

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drank Dan Cong by thepuriTea
1255 tasting notes

I am on an oolong kick this week! Barely had anything else at all than oolongs. This one has been lying around for a while, I think it came from QuiltGuppy

Unfortunately it has been lying next to some fig flavoured stuff, which I haven’t dared try yet, and I thought I detected a vague trace of something figgy or date-y in the aroma of the dry leaves. The dry aroma was not generally very strong though. I had to search for it a bit in order to be able to identify it, but when I did I found it mostly wood-y and slightly cocoa-y. Perhaps just a smidge spicy too, but I can’t really agree with myself on that.

After steeping the aroma is all cocoa. Wall to wall chocolate! With nuts in. It makes me crave Toblerone, really. I’ve never been very experimenting with my Toblerone, but I’ve seen that there is a dark chocolate one, and that’s the one I want now. (Does it still have that honey almondy stuff in it when it’s not milk chocolate?) If I’m hard pressed, I can also find some woodsy undertones to the aroma, but thankfully none of that figgy business.

Flavour is a bit weak here on the first cup. I used rather a lot of leaf, and so the first steep was very short. Probably too short, as I can now tell. Mercuryhime gave me some good advice the other day of the sort that you would have thought I ought to have realised myself many years ago. Why make a whole pot each time? Why not just do a half? That way I can go through a lot more steeps without having to run to the bathroom constantly and also with growing bored with the tea and start wanting something else. The one I use when it’s just myself is one of those tea-for-one sized pots, so half of that pot makes about 250 ml. Suitable amount, I should say. Also gives me a chance to use the cup and saucer that came with the pot. :)

Anyway, as I was saying, the first steep was probably too short because the flavour is not very strong. To my disappointment it’s not so stuffed full of dark chocolate (although I still want some!) as the aroma was, but rather more wooden and earthy. The cocoa is still there, but now it’s taken a back seat to the strong wood note. It’s so wooden that it’s actually giving me a prickly feeling on the tip of the tongue. As the cup cools it becomes increasingly astringent too.

I should hope on further steepings this woodenness will calm down a bit. There is really no call for such aggression. At this point I am not super impressed.

Second steep is much like the first, only with a fuller flavour experience. As there is no real difference to be found, I shan’t document it further.


It is too bad the chocalate aroma didn’t translate to the flavor… But just thought that I would add, dark chocolate Tobllerones do have the crunchy almond honey goodness. I wish that could find them in Ecuador… Yum…


Ooooh gosh, I’d forgotten about that craving again. Now it’s all back! Maybe I’ll just nip down to the shop…

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drank Barley Oolong by TeaCuppa
1255 tasting notes

Auggy shared this one with me. I admit it was a while ago and I have had it a couple of times before, but just haven’t posted about it. I’m using the last of it now, so I have no choice but to write a proper post.

The first thing that struck me when I removed it from the package was the word barley. I thought it was flavouring! I thought it was a pretty odd thing to flavour a tea with, but I’ve seen enough bizarrely flavoured teas in my life that I didn’t consider it further. It isn’t flavoured though. It’s completely naturally occurring notes of grain and corn.

The aroma of it is exactly like corn on the cob. Freshly boiled and with butter. I can see it in my head when I smell it. Such an incredibly strong naturally occurring aroma of something else entirely I don’t think I have encountered before. I wish I had some now. Probably shouldn’t have made this tea right around lunch time, really. I suspect that was a tactical error. Nothing in the house seems good enough now.

The flavour is really difficult to pin-point. It’s definitely grainy, but not so much with the sweet corn as in the aroma. It’s also quite toasty and very oolongy with the shade of earthiness around the edges.

Underneath these somewhat masculine flavour notes, I’m strangely reminded of an average milk oolong. Smooth and thick in texture. If the top notes are a handsome young man, this bottom note is a well-rounded grandmotherly type of the sort that wears a purple dress and curly grey hair. And she will always play and she ALWAYS has sweets. Anyway, apart from this being a tea recommended particularly to people who also enjoyed the milk oolong, I can’t for the life of me see the connection or why the bottom notes remind me of that. Apart perhaps from the texture of it, there’s nothing milky about it. Strange.

So all in all, it’s smooth and soft and with an interesting grain-y finish.

I can totally understand why they call it barley oolong.

Mandy Bee

This sounds yummy! Love your description as a young man mixed with a grandma. Sometimes the best way to describe tea is without using flavor adjectives. :)


My kind of grandma. Review made me smile because I’ve had barley on the brain for almost a week. (Writing project.) Trying to find out how much raw barley grain it would take to grind into flour for a loaf of bread. The U.S. Barley Council is strangely silent on this topic.

But the tea sounds lovely!


Mandy Bee, it totally is. Sometimes thought associations are much easier than flavour adjectives too. :) And once you really get your imagination going it becomes lots of fun to see what sort of personality a new tea has.

Gmathis, maybe it’s a cover up to hide unnaturally high flour prices? Flour prices here seem to always go up and never down… It’s amazing exactly how many different kinds of food apart from just bread and cake become more expensive as a result. (Totally unrelated, but OMG THERE’S A CAT IN THE LITTLE CAVE ON THEIR CLIMBING ENVIRONMENT! :D :D :D Sorry, they’ve just never used that cave before. It needed to get out. Kitties are ♥)
Anyway, even if you are getting fed up with barley, I would totally recommend giving this one a go. I think it’s more corn than barley anyway, although still quite barley-y.


I need a cat. The menfolk at my house disagree with that. However, when we move to more permanent quarters, I have been given permission to feed any outdoor strays that wander into the neighborhood. (If I remember my Kipling, that’s how The Cat Who Walked By Himself got started.)


The menfolk at your house don’t know what they’re missing. Nothing quite compares to the sound of purring.


We had one for years (she was our cuddly and affectionate child pre-child), but became pretty snitty and ill-tempered after the real child appeared—that and a spoiled brat of an in-law cat have tainted their recollections.


Aww, what a shame. Sounds like the cat was jealous. :( Probably can’t really be helped then, though.


Yay, glad you liked this one! It’s a funny little tea, I think, and always reminds me of kettle corn. (Which, popcorn = corn so I think we are not insane to think this tea = corn). And since I can’t have kettle corn (or any corn) anymore, this is my corn craving filler tea!
(PS – Yay for kitties!)

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drank Tie Guan Yin by Unknown
1255 tasting notes

Okay, Steepsterites.

Yesterday I had the Clear Jade Orchid and I just keep steeping the same leaves throughout the day. Three cups all in all, the last one I had sort of mid-afternoon-ish and at that point I had to pee constantly. Large cups, these.

Today we’re having another oolong and this time it’s a real genuine chinese Tie Guan Yin. Yes I am aware that all Chinese tea is genuine Chinese tea, but as this came to the household via a chinese colleague of my boyfriend’s who brought it with her when she got to Denmark and then gave him, for some reason, a whole bag of the stuff. We don’t know why but my theory is that he must at some point (he has worked with her before, and then she was home in China for a few months and is now back to work there again.) have told her about me and my interest and that would be the reason why.

My gain, anyway.

This is packed in portion sized samples and it’s in those wrappers where all air has been sucked out of it before sealing. It only says ‘Tie Guan Yin China Tea’ on the wrapper, which is golden, and then it’s got some Chinese characters on it as well. Nothing wtih western letters giving a clue as to brand or similar. I have attempted to take a picture of the wrapper so that you can see, but as the kittens were ‘helping’ me operate the camera… I have included picture links at the bottom. If anybody can read the Chinese writing for me, I would appreciate it. One portion packet seems to go quite well in size with my small teapot, so that’s what we’re going with here. That tiny wrapper held a whole little handful of leaves. Amazing how little space things take up just by having the air sucked out of it.

I actually remembered to smell the leaves before putting them in the pot. They had a rich, thick smell. Sort of dark green and woodsy, which made me think of a forest environment. Deciduous, mostly. I know it’s really fields and plantations, but I rather like the idea that it might be tea growing among a bunch of other plants and trees, and maybe, just maybe, there’s a tiger or a firefox just around the corner…

After steeping it smells more toasty and woodsy, and the colour has changed. It’s more orange now than green. Strangely enough it’s the same orange as the colour of the tea in the cup so that leads me to think that perhaps this particular smell does not actually trigger synesthesia so much as my brain belives it does because it makes the association with what I can see in the cup. It does smell like that colour though, so who knows, really?

There is a strong floral note to the aroma as well. If I close my eyes I picture little white flowers, although I have no idea what sort of flowers they are. I don’t know plants. I think my brain is just inventing some random flowers really.

It has a very full flavour. Just a few sips and my whole mouth is filled with a strong aftertaste. Again it’s got a quite toasted note which I rather like. In spite of the leaves looking very green oolong it gives the flavour a more darkish oolong boost. I’m not really a fan of those very very green oolongs. To me, with those one might as well have gone for a green tea proper instead. I like it when an oolong actually tastes like oolong.

That means woodsy, slightly earthy and toasted flavours. It’s kind of grainy and nutty too. A bit like the ricey aspect of a genmaicha, really. If you picked a genmaicha apart and focused ONLY on the flavour that the popped rice in it imparts, that’s what I’m reminded of.

I’m very pleased with this and would rate it around 85 points. As I don’t know the brand, I’m not going to put an official rating on it though. Others might have other unknown TGY’s and it would just be a mess, I think.

Picture of the wrapper: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/sOYrqqoOej7KewgJg0Ppxjt0rtk7VScRcTAqR2hWR8Q?feat=directlink


I’m totally the same when I drink oolong. I’m making a trip to the bathroom every half hour or less. I started making each infusion only quarter cup of liquid so that I can taste the tea without overloading my bladder.


If you’re looking for something with a bit more gardenia/floral notes, I’d reccomend a Dong Ding. I love taiwanese oolongs, but don’t really care for TGY as much as others because I like mine a bit “greener.” You can get 7-10+ solid steeps out of a high mountain oolong — I love these things! Pretty potent diuretics, they are :)


Cole, I’m not really a fan of floral. Scented teas tend to often be a bit to perfume-y for me to really appreciate them, and I do best with floral when it’s naturally occurring and when there are plenty of other aspects to the flavour to even it out a bit. So something that was more floral than this, I would probably avoid. Or at least save for last. Thanks for the thought, though. :)

Mercuryhime, I took that advice with the barley oolong yesterday and drank that all day in half pots. (It’s one of those tea-for-one sized pots) It also gave me the advantage of actually being able to have more than one, perhaps two steeps, before I got tired of it and wanted something else. Six whole cups I got out of that one, although the sixth was rather weakly. Could probably have been more if I had raised the steep time higher than I did at that point.


Nice! I also use a tea-for-one pot for oolongs. I had it for years and years and never used it until one day a light bulb went off and I thought “This is perfect for gung fu style!”
I’m happy you got more out of your tea this time. Tasting all the differences in the different steeps is part of the fun of an oolong. :)


To be honest, apart from it getting weaker towards the end, I don’t pick up very many differences generally. But I feel like I’m getting more out of the leaves without the constant toilet trips.

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drank Lapsang Souchong by iTea
1255 tasting notes

I’m sorry to say that I thought I had already posted about this one, so when I used the last of the leaves this morning to make a cup for me and my better half, I was not paying too much attention to what I was drinking. This is particularly bad because this is one that Ssajami shared with me, and I’m not happy that I can’t write a proper post about it.

So since I can’t give a detailed review of it, I can at least say that there was nothing about it that surprised me. No unusual flavours that made it particularly good or ruined the LS experience.

It was just a nice, smoky tea which made for a very pleasant morning cup. Nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to LS’s but it seemed a good representation fo LS as a type. Very nice.

(I promise to pay more attention in the future)


Hi, nice to know that our Lapsang Souchong didn’t leave a bad taste in you mouth and we are going to hold you to your promise to pay more attention in the future :) Perhaps by giving one of our other teas a try.
Julieanne iTea


While I’m sure i would enjoy that, I’m sorry to say that due to reasons of geography and a hard limit on what I’m willing to pay for shipping, especially from outside the EU considering the risk of extra import fees, tax and customs, I’m afraid your company is off limits to me.

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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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