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Recent Tasting Notes
Another from Angrboda. Thanks! To compare with rhubarb green from Fru P.
I fully expected to enjoy the rhubarb vanilla white/green blend more, and I actually don’t. It’s funny how your own tastes can surprise you at times. The vanilla overtakes the rhubarb a bit more than I’d like, though it’s still tasty. The vanilla scent is awesome though. Fru P seems to know her vanilla. I’m enjoying the base here too, yet the rhubarb green just seemed crisper. This one is more comforting (thank you vanilla), and while still great, I find myself wanting more rhubarb.
I would still be happy to drink this one semi-regularly though.
I believe that finishes up my envelope from Angrboda! I am flying through my swap-in pile, yay!
I decided to brew up this one and Rhubarb Vanilla together for a bit of a comparison. They aren’t directly comparable, but close enough.
Upon first sip this one is exactly what it claims to be – rhubarb green. It’s tasty. I was slight wary that the combination of rhubarb and green tea would be some sort of bitter disaster, but it isn’t at all. I am very picky about greens, and they generally get neglected in my swap pile because they are “high maintenance” – aka can’t be steeped at boiling with a high chance they won’t be enjoyed. However, all the Fru P teas Angrboda sent have been awesome.
I really enjoy rhubarb everywhere, including tea. This is definitely a tea I could get behind. Like cupboard-worthy. And a cupboard-worthy green is quite something.
Bah, I messed this up royally. 30+ minute steep?! I am so sorry Angrboda, as you graciously sent me some of this, and I’ve just plain been bad. In my defense, as soon as I brewed this, the mailman delivered an order of tea…
Leaves are long and pretty, with some yellow flowers scattered throughout. Smells tropical, like a mango or pineapple maybe, very sweet and juicy. Due to the ridiculous oversteeping, it’s bitter. I can still pull out the fruit flavoring though, and quite enjoy it once I stop scolding myself.
From the queue
Another instance of yes, that is actually what the blend is called. This is from my Christmas calendar, and the name amused me so much that I had to go on Fru P’s website and ask if I really had deciphered the writing on the bag correctly. I had.
Best name ever! :D (Although I will say that rather than morning cranky, I prefer the term morning quiet which in my opinion is far more accurate for the condition)
Also slightly worrisome.
The name in Danish is ‘Morgensur’. Sur. Cranky, but also sour. Tart. One of my least favourite things in the world to ruin tea with is often used to make something taste more tart. And occasionally green tea can be plenty sour on its own already.
I have to admit my hopes aren’t high on this one, but the hibiscus-y fears were rather put to rest there, but I’m still not really expecting to be keen on this one. Then again, I do like lemon-y, citrus-y things (bergamot excepted), so it might be that sort of citrus-y sourness. That would be totally fine with me. Could be grapefruit, perhaps. That would fit the ‘morning’ theme, even if the green base certainly doesn’t.
It definitely smells citrus-y. Lemon-y and also something else which I’m not certain is citrus. It’s a thick sort of sweet smell that rather reminds me of vanilla, but it can’t be vanilla. Trust me, if she had told me when I asked on Facebook that it had vanilla in it, I’d have remembered. She did tell me what was in it on Facebook and I may have to go and look it up. Perhaps some sort of berry?
It isn’t actually living up to its name here. Not really particularly sour or tart, but with a touch of a pleasant lemon-y, citrus-y sharpness. Not too little and more importantly, not too much. Again, there’s that smooth, sweet note that I can’t place. I don’t know what it is. I saw there were a few flowers in the leaf, so it might simply just be them affecting the texture and bringing out some natural base notes. I am, however, also getting a berry-y aftertaste.
Okay, it’s time to go back to Facebook and find out what she said was in it and attempt to not be distracted by Candy Crush or Pepper Panic on the way.
Turns out she said bergamot and mango! Bergamot? Really? It doesn’t taste like bergamot at all. Bergamot is a dusty grey sort of floral taste. This is more yellow and sharp. On the other hand, I have had EGs before that tasted more like lemon tea than anything else, so perhaps it has something to do with the level of flavouring and how this or that particular base responds to that. Mango, however, now that explains a lot. That’s the sweet and smooth note, I can see that now. Mango does have that sort of flavour, but it was so far from my thoughts that it never even occurred to me.
To my vast surprise I’m finding that I’m actually really enjoying this. Isn’t that just fab, when you find something great in something you expected to dislike!
On a name related note, I tend to translate these Danish names to the best of my abilities so that you other lot have some idea of what it is I’m drinking without having to do a lot of detective work first. I’ve noticed, though, that French names hardly ever get translated on here, so I’m wondering if it’s silly of me to do it. Would people prefer it if I kept the Danish names, I wonder? Am I just creating unnecessary potential confusion in the database if other Danish Steepsterites were to show up (Ha! Dream on, Ang)? I had a small discussion in a comment section of a different post about this, but it was well hidden and I am particularly interested in hearing what people who don’t understand Danish thinks about this. Opinions below or on a postcard please.
So this one came to me from MissB who got it from Angrboda. :)
It was labelled “herbal” so I dumped it into a basket last night… then decided it looked weird and checked it out on steepster. Mate. Of course.
So I’m having it this morning instead. It’s a green mate. I much much prefer them roasted.
But now that it’s been sitting around for a while, it tastes more like lemongrass. I can get behind that.
Thanks for sharing the tea, MissB, but it’s not really for me.
This one is pretty awesome. There is a distinct, rich vanilla flavour, with a strong, but not overwhelming black base. I could happily drink plenty of this one. I bet it would be tasty chilled too.
Angrboda you were right about this one! Thanks for sharing. :)
Speaking of chilled, we have blowing snow and a ‘feels like’ temperature of -20 here. UGH. But in Jamaica it feels like 40. AH YES.
From the queue
Yes, that is what the blend is actually called! Can you imagine going into the shop and saying, “hello, may I have some bad weather, please?” It makes me really want to like it, just so that I can buy some more and get to say that. Also, this was December 22nd in my Christmas calendar, but since I wasn’t very good at keeping up with that and still (writing this in mid-January) haven’t actually tasted half of them yet, I’m just going to start adding them to the queue.
Unfortunately, it smells rather anise-y and I’m not really a fan of anise in general. It gets far too cloying very quickly. I can’t tell what else might be in here, and looking at the blend itself isn’t really helping much at all. I can see some yellow bits and some green bits and some reddish brown bits and a few red bits. Could be anything, although I think the red bits look a bit rose-y. I’m also wondering if the reddish brown bits might be some sort of freeze dried fruit. There is a note under the anise which may or may not be kind of fruity.
The first note I can taste is anise, and then with something possibly fruity underneath. I think there must be some mint as well, but that’s really a no-brainer, because I’ve found that it’s difficult to find a herbal blend which doesn’t contain mint in some form or other. I’m sure they exist, but few of them have crossed my particular path.
In spite of the anise, this isn’t actually as dreadful as feared when I first sniffed it. I shan’t be going into the shop and asking for more bad weather, but I can probably finish this lot off.
I’m not sure about the rating here, as I find myself in the odd situation of not really having an opinion on it either way. I think I’ll just leave it off for the time being.
Green Darjeeling? I had to look it up. It’s as simple as it sounds: same tea bush, it’s just the green isn’t oxidized. Which makes it a green tea (hey, I had to check!) and thus I brewed it correctly. It’s a basic green tea with something apricot-ish in the background. I like it, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to try it. I likely wouldn’t order more, but now I know what to expect with a green darjeeling. Yay!
Another Fru P Kaffe find from Angrboda – thank you again! It’s a lovely thing, being a tea tourist in a country I have yet to get to, and I really, truly appreciate it.
Flavors: Apricot, Grass
The problem with exchanging tea with Steepsterites from exotic (to me!) locales like Denmark is that you get amazing teas that you must have more of, yet will need to rely on that person to get them to you – and vice versa. Because OH MY GOODNESS this is a lovely chai.
Smooth and rich, with all of the requisite spices present yet none taking center stage. It’s sweet and creamy too, even without any milk or cream, and mild yet wonderfully satisfying.
Yes Angrboda, I may need to make arrangements with you to get more of this. :) Thank you so much for all of the wonderful and local-to-you teas that you sent!
I have fond memories of rhubarb growing up – eating it raw from the garden at the neighbor’s across the street (just stay away from the green bits!) and then learning how to stew it and make it into pie. Ah…. yes, and definitely yum. The tart, sweet, creamy and gelatinous mix always turned my crank, although it’s likely been 30 years since I’ve had any. Does this tea remind me of that? Maybe, however I fear there’s something strawberry-ish in the mix for flavor, as I’m having a mild allergic reaction to the tea. Boo.
I must have gotten this from Angrboda, although I swore it came from Ysurella. I really need to start labeling my teas better! :) Regardless, thank you for sharing this with me, as it’s really a lovely, light tea.
First cup of tea in MY HOUSE! We moved into OUR HOUSE! yesterday and I had a cup of this with my mother while the menfolk did all the schlepping. Our task was mostly to unpack what could be unpacked (really just the kitchen and the bathroom), heat lunch in the oven (a rooty lasagna), keep the cats calm and generally stay out from underfoot. OUR HOUSE! is all-over chaos with chaos on at the moment. Boxes and stuff everywhere, but we have the internet and our computers up and running, so chaos is not likely to be going down very quickly. Emptied the rest out of our old place today and cleaned it, so we’re both quite tired. Am now having some ice cream, before we’ll be going to bed for our second night in OUR HOUSE!
At least tomorrow we can go to work and relax. ;)
Oh wow, the leaf expansion. Completely unexpected. I turned away for a second (Okay, well, fine, four minutes.) and just SPLORFA! I swear I did not overleaf.
Anyway, I’ve tried a good number of rhubarb teas, and they all too often end up too tart for my tastes. A little tonguetip-tartness is fine, but not a whole soursip’s worth. This tea isn’t tart at all. On the other hand, nor does it taste of rhubarb. The vanilla element, though, is surprisingly nice. It’s silky smooth throughout, and comes off very rich and natural.
But I would like a whole lot more of it. And, seeing as it’s a rhubarb tea, just a little bit of rhubarb would be good, too.
As usual with Fru P’s teas, I’m left a little confused. One thing I like so much about companies like Mariage Frères or Lupicia, is that there’s a certain level, or profile, or something along those lines, that I can rely on. If it says, ‘Vanilla’, then I know what kind of vanilla to expect, not to mention how present it’s going to be. With Fru P (and many other smaller retailers, for obvious reasons) it’s just a lottery. Sometimes the base tea is great, sometimes very low grade, sometimes the flavouring is top notch, sometimes it’s painfully artificial. The comparison is unfair, I know, but, in the end, that reliability is what makes me commit to a company.
Anyway, this marks the end of the samples from the EU swap box – it’s been great fun. A huge thanks to those who participated – I loved trying out your teas!
[Sample from the EU Travelling Box, autumn 2013.]
So it’s clearly time to start dipping into the samples from the EU box swap I did (Thanks again for setting it up, KittyLovesTea!) These are chosen on scent and scent alone – I had no clue what it was I was smelling, as I wanted to try to choose as instinctively as possible. It’s easy to get bogged down with recommendations and ratings.
Quite simply, this smelled tasty in the bag. I mostly get a warm caramel vanilla. Brewed up, it’s even better – very much like dessert in a cup. Flavour wise, it’s surprising, though. Where I expected this full, round, almost malty sip, I get a completely unexpected tartness – it’s ever so slight, just barely there, but so out of place it’s noticeable.
So there’s the tongue-tip tartness, then a great mouthful of what I thought this would taste like – warm, caramel vanilla… but then, surprise again! Because the aftertaste just isn’t there. I find most teas I try that aren’t overly flavourful usually offer some aftertaste payoff, but not this one.
This is going to be so hard to rate, because it’s definitely a nice, comfy vanilla (although much less elegant than MF’s Vanille des Îles) but the flavour profile as a whole is very surprising. I will definitely enjoy finishing the rest of this sample, but this is not a tea I would buy. Which is strange, because as I now read the reviews, this tea sounds like it’s made for me. Alas, the hunt for the perfect vanilla black goes on! Seriously, this is so much fun.
[Sample from the EU Travelling Box, autumn 2013.]
Oh look, it’s the first unflavoured tea that I’ve seen in this calendar so far! It’s morning, we’re going to England tomorrow, what could be more suitable, then, than English Breakfast? I can’t remember the last time I had a breakfast blend…
There is a very strong Darjeeling-y aroma to this. It smells very VERY much like Darjeeling. heavy sigh It smells rather astringent as well, which is annoying because I used a timer and it’s not even ctc leaf. Underneath all that I’m vaguely detecting something darker which makes me think Assam-y thoughts, but I can’t be certain because of all the Darj. I hope it’s just my nose playing tricks on me.
ACK! Horribly! Bitter! What the h…??? I used a timer! My coughy throat is definitely not liking this, it’s undrinkable. I’m going to make a new cup and set the timer for even less. (2 minutes on a small pot! That has never been too much before with non-ctc! Mind boggles.)
Oh wait. Rinsing out the pot, there’s an awful lot of leaf in there. I must have accidentally added leaf twice. No wonder it turned out so horrid, then. That explains a lot. And my timer-use should be fine. phew!
Right, here we are! Fresh cup. It still smells a bit Darjeeling-y, but Darj-Gone-Wrong isn’t the overpowering note here. I should point out that when I say something smells like Darj it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily in there. It doesn’t even mean that I think it’s in there at this point. It just has some notes in it that reminds me of what I dislike about Darj. Really it could be any high-grown tea. They all do that for me, but I’ve just learned to recognise it as ‘Darj-y’. Mind you, in an English Breakfast blend the inclusion of Darjeeling is not at all unlikely.
Unlike before, when Assam-y notes were just vaguely there in the background, it smells primarily Assam-y now. Thick and malty with a bit of honey and wood to it as well.
Flavourwise, it now seems a bit on the thin side. eyes cup Since when did breakfast blends turn into rocket science??? This is why I prefer Chinese black! I never have these problems with Chinese blacks! I was hoping it was just because it was still too hot to drink, but the problem persists after a bit of cooling. It’s as if there’s a note missing right in the middle and it has been replaced by hot water. This means it doesn’t actually taste like very much.
Highly disappointing, considering how much it smells like Assam, and Assam is not exactly a delicate tea. I really can’t describe what little flavour there is there. It’s just coming across as vaguely tea-like with a Darj-y aftertaste, a bit sour and grassy.
I suppose it’s drinkable, but absolutely nothing to write home about. And immensely disappointing. If I hadn’t known better, I’d have thought this was out of your average cheapster quality teabag, probably one that had been marked down due to approaching the last sell-by date.
I think in the future this blend will be beefed up by what other good black teas I can find on my shelf. In this form, however… No. Just, no.
December 15th, I think.
Yeah, I’ve given up on following any sort of system here. A cold which is causing me to cough rather a lot and consume my own weight in licorice root tea and lozenges is rather a lot of interference in any sort of Christmas calendar system. Not to mention the fact that we’ll be going to England as well, so it was actually doomed from the beginning. I now have four untried teas from the thing waiting on my desk and a fifth in my cup.
Which is this one. And this is exactly what it says on the bag. Just citrus. Could be anything. It looks like a herbal and it has a lot of lemongrass, so I’ve decided it’s another herbal. So far half the teas in the Christmas calendar have been herbals, which I have to say I’m finding a little disappointing. I mean, I know I’ve been rather interested in herbals lately, but that’s not why I bought the plocking Christmas calendar!
Anyway, this one. I suspect we have to do with a mate, here. There are tiny green leaf bits in between the lemon grass that look kind of mate-y and there’s a funny not-quite-smoky aroma to it as well. I think it’s a mate base.
It mostly tastes like lemon grass, though, and with a sort of roasted kind of note underneath and minty aftertaste. Yes, the evidence is definitely pointing towards a mate base.
It’s nice enough, but honestly nothing very exciting.
This coughing, it’s getting old. And my Christmas calendar posting system has gone completely out of whack. The 13th is a chai blend which I haven’t even got around to trying yet. Fail. And the post about the 14th is also a day late.
Anyway. December 14th.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen this combination before. I’ve discovered that for me rooibos is best when it’s fruit-flavoured so I had a hard time imagining what a nut-flavoured one would be like. Actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a rooibos flavoured with any sort of nut before. I’m sure they exist, but I’ve never had one. I do have an almond flavoured black tea which is quite nice, so I was never completely worried about this one. In fact, I was rather curious.
Therefore, it was my Before Bed Beverage last night (see, at least I drank it on the correct date!). I tried to make sure to pay attention to what it was like so I could write it down but I must say I failed somewhat in that department.
It had a wonderful aroma. Very marcipan-like indeed. I think the scent of the rooibos actually enhanced the whole marcipan idea in it, because it seems so close.
The flavour wasn’t as overwhelmingly sweet as one could fear from such an aroma, but actually on a well-balanced level of nutty. I found that the nutty flavour actually went really well with the rooibos because it didn’t just temper the flavour notes of plain rooibos that I don’t like. It seemed to cover them entirely with nut and take them out of the equation.
So a rooibos which has had all the unpleasant notes stripped out and replaced with lovely almonds? Yes indeed.
I thought this one was wonderful. I could easily see myself buying more of that (once we get the choice of Before Bed Beverage Blends whittled down somewhat. I’m suddenly finding myself with loads. How did that happen…?)
Today’s offering is a black tea with chocolate and mint. This Christmas calendar is definitely mint-heavy! I haven’t had much luck with chocolate in tea because it doesn’t deliver on the texture side of things, but once in a while somehow it seems to work.
This is not one of those times.
I mean, it’s not the texture thing this time. It’s the fact that it doesn’t actually taste like chocolate at all. I’ve been examining the leaf and I’ve come to the conclusion that they have used cacao husks or something similar to give the chocolate-y flavour, because there aren’t any chocolate bits in it. The thing about that though, is that it doesn’t taste like chocolate. It tastes like cocoa powder. That’s not really the same thing in terms of flavour.
It also doesn’t particularly taste like mint. I don’t know what the deal is with that. Probably I’d be able to tell a difference if I had a version of this without the mint, but at no point while drinking did I think minty thoughts.
That said, though, I found it quite pleasant and drinkable. I couldn’t tell you if there was a change as it cooled because I suddenly discovered my cup to be empty. I expect I must have been thirsty. Husband on the other hand thought it was dreadful, so I guess this bag is one for me to empty alone.
You’ll probably notice I appear to have skipped the 10th. That’s because the 10th was the wild cherries black tea that I’ve had before, so I thought it was less important to post about that one now. You can look up what I wrote on that one earlier if you like.
This one is one of those fruit ‘herbal teas’ that aren’t actually anything other than a mix of dried fruits and no leaf of any sort. I haven’t had very much luck with those in the past. I’m not really interested in that at all to be honest. I would never actually knowingly buy such a blend. Oh well. Perhaps now when I’ve got a touch of a cold, it’ll actually come in handy. This is not really a time for ‘normal’ teas. They all taste funny right now. I had some of the licorice black this morning and decided that it wasn’t so much about making tea taste like licorice as it was making licorice easier to get down by making it taste like tea.
It has a deceptively tea-like brown colour, but it smells like warm cordial. I don’t actually mind warm cordial, but it’s not a favourite drink really. I prefer my cordial cold. At least it doesn’t have that blood red colour that indicates the presence of the dreaded hibiscus.
I’m still hesitating about tasting it, though. For some reason I just don’t want to. Tough, self. Nothing for it but to get it over with
It’s berry alright. As I thought, a cup of hot cordial, really, only without all the sugar.
I don’t think that there is hibiscus in this, because I can usually detect that even in small amounts, but there is something which comes close to giving me that same experience that hibiscus does. A metallic tang as if there’s blood in it. I saw there were bits of dried pineapple in it, and while pineapple doesn’t taste like that to me at all, I wonder if the tartness of the pineapple is somehow interacting with the berries to create this effect. It’s not as bad as actual hibiscus, but… I don’t think I want to drink this once it starts cooling off.
No, I’m still not at all convinced about these fruit blends. Seems to me they’re generally better eaten rather than steeped.
ETA I was both right and sort of both right and wrong. I definitely didn’t want it as it cooled off, gosh that was horrid! So I was right about that.
As for hibiscus, as it cooled and I poured out the rest of it, it did actually develop that tell-tale hibiscus colour, so the hibiscus-y notes that at first I thought wasn’t hibiscus, probably actually was hibiscus, although it would seem in a quite small amount. So I was wrong that it wasn’t there, but I was right that I can still detect very small amounts and that even very small amounts still causes unpleasantness. I just need to trust my tastebuds there, I guess.
Can’t say I’m super-excited about this. I like a cup of calming herbal tea before bedtime, but mostly because of the ritual and less because of the flavour. Therefore a bedtime blend only elicits a sort of ‘hmm… meh. Ok.’ reaction from me. (Even though I do tend to keep an eye out for something suitable for bedtime. I suspect I’m subconsciously searching for one that is both suitable and nommy and that’s hard to find.) However, I’m whacked and more than ready to be poured into bed, so it’s coming at a suitable time. I’ll just post quickly and be off.
This is largely chamomile and mint. I’m not sure whether it’s peppermint or spearmint or both, though. There are a few violet flowers in there as well, but I don’t know what they are. This Christmas calendar seems to be quite mint-heavy so far. This is the third minty thing in nine days.
For something that smells so very much like mint, is rather controlled. The flavour is just about chamomile and mint in equal measure, although strangely I still seem to be unable to determine what sort of mint it is. I usually tend to find spearmint fairly easy to recognise because it tastes so much like toothpaste. After a bit the chamomile comes out strongly in the aroma as well.
It’s a fairly inoffensive flavour for something with not a small amount of chamomile in it. Not a revalation in flavour, but I’m sure it’ll do the trick.
What makes a Moroccan mint Moroccan? Is it just green tea with peppermint in it? If so, is this actually a kind of Moroccan mint? It only has green tea and mint.
The aroma is quite minty, although tempered by the green tea. The flavour is very minty, but still tempered. It’s not like drinking plain peppermint, but it does feel a little more like green tea flavoured peppermint rather than the other way around.
I don’t really have a lot else to say on the matter. It’s nice enough, but it’s not at all something mind blowing. I think my lucky streak has broken.
(Go on, post. Show up!)
And we’re catching up with a cup of this and a mince pie. Call it a celebration after Husband cleverly tech-savvied my computer and persuaded it to connect to Steam networks again. It hasn’t worked for days and it was bothered me. I tried opening it after not having used it for ages and it came up with a humongous update, which I suspect may or may not have been messed up and causing the problem. It works now, though, so we’ll just have to see if it continues to work.
This tea seems to be continuing my win streak with the Christmas calender. Caramel nommyness! (Unless it’s like that caramel black that refused to be awesome) I have to say, though, that the leaf smelled more rooibos-y than caramel-y so that doesn’t really get my hopes up too much.
It certainly smells very caramel-y and the flavour isn’t entirely un-caramelled either. It’s certainly not in-your-face caramel, but it’s not totally hiding either. It’s mostly detectable as an added sweetness, really. I would have liked it to have been stronger flavoured, but it seems like caramel is one of those difficult to get right flavours in general.
This will go down fine.