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TeaSpring

Recent Tasting Notes

24

Not my cup. While I do enjoy the smell of seasoned wood in a fireplace, the pine scent is completely overpowering, and while the taste is relatively pleasant, it’s smoky beyond my tolerance.

Flavors: Ash, Pine, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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97
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…..

Yes, this is perfect to get me going on a Monday! Time for a resteep!

Notes of awesome and coziness. Yeah. Not really descriptive, but that is what I am feeling this morning. I absolutely love this one! I highly recommend picking your perfect tea for a rough start on a Monday.

What would be your perfect rev me up tea?

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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92

Great tea! I usually make up to 12 30-40 sec infusions. After infusion 6 does it change colour and become bright red instead of brownish…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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97
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…..

I always forget how good this one is.

I have a spreadsheet of my teas to keep track of my stash (Oh come on, admit it, you keep track, too!). Of course, there is a column indicating which ones I intend to keep on hand, and which ones I intend to cut once gone, and then those that fall in between. Some of the keeper teas are such because of the ease of obtaining them as well as the price. Let’s face it, I am falling into drinking what is convenient.

This tea is probably the only one I source from TeaSpring. At one point, I had moved it to the ‘maybe’ section of my spreadsheet. It must have been price. But after this morning, I moved it back into the teas I will keep on hand. There is just something perfect about this one. I do have to part with more money than I’d like to purchase this one and go a little out of my way (I usually have to sign for TeaSpring packages, so if I miss the mailperson, it means a trip to the PO), but this tea delivers every time. It makes me feel indulgent and pampered. Who does not need that every now and again?

Another thing this tea reminded me this morning…..I shouldn’t cut a tea from the list unless I am drinking it. Here is one instance where it makes sense to make decisions while drinking.

Usual teapot method with a resteep for 5 minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Oh, for the time to put said spreadsheet together :)

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82
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
1850 tasting notes

Sipdown, 170. This feels like a milestone! It is as low as I’ve gotten since I started keeping track. I’ve been yoyo-ing around mainly between 180 and 200 for a couple of months now so its nice to see the number actually dropping again (although looking back I started at 264, which was my highest number, so I’m almost down 100 teas). Now that I’m here, no going above 190!

Most of the sipdowns I’ve had recently I haven’t been too sad to see go, but this one is different. Is it my favorite tan yang? No, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. I was reminded about this one by Angrboda’s tasting note on the tan yang from Teavivre today, and I definitely agree with her that this is kind of a wild child tan yang. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but today it is giving me really lovely chocolate-cinnamon bread notes, which is totally unexpected (where is cinnamon coming from in a tan yang?!) but awesome nonetheless. Glad I had this one around for a while.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

You must have caught it in a good mood. :D Also cinnamon? I agree, I’ve never found that before either. I think, actually, I’ve only found it in the Laoshan Black, and that’s not even Fujian.

Dinosara

Yeah, I tried for a while to make it into some other flavor but it just wouldn’t go. Who knows!

Angrboda

I’ll probably have some Te Ji once I’ve wrung another steep or two out of the Teavivre one.

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82
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
1850 tasting notes

I swear this is the never ending pouch of tea. I thought there would be one cup left after this one but there is definitely two. Well, at least its tasty!

My cup today is very roasty-chocolatey. This tan yang defintely has more “bite” to it than some others I’ve tried; it’s less honeyed or caramelly, and it has a hint of astringency not unlike some robust keemuns or assams that I’ve tried. It’s a little too “bold” to be my perfect tan yang, but it’s tasty and nice for a kick in the pants when I need it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
1850 tasting notes

Ugh, it’s mornings like this where I want a gingery black tea. Something I ate last night did not agree with me and now I have a headache and a serious feeling of blah. I decided to go hearty black this morning and hope that it takes care of at least one of the two.

This is certainly robust this morning; perhaps I overleafed it a tad, but it is a little rougher around the edges than I remember. That’s actually working in my favor right now… its not only helping with the headache, but also cutting through the leftover garlic taste in my mouth (yeah, the chimichurri salad dressing I ate was so garlicy it stayed around through two tooth brushings and mouthwash. Delicious, but perhaps not worth it :P). Anyway, this malty, grainy tea has helped. But now I need another because I’m still not awake!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

The one thing I dislike about garlic is how it lingers for SO long. I hate waking up with morning garlic breath (which yes, is post multiple tooth-brushings, etc. etc.)

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92
drank Feng Huang Dan Cong by TeaSpring
10 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
1850 tasting notes

Maaan I need to get my morning groove back. All of last semester I was really good about getting up early and getting to work and being productive. This morning is pretty much the earliest I’ve gotten in all week and I just cannot wake up for some reason. Hopefully tea will help.

I haven’t tried this one in quite a while. It really is quite good. Notes of lightly toasted chocolate (I always think of the browned chocolate bits on the bottom of a chocolate chip cookie) and some slightly molasses-y grains. Not quite my perfect fujian black, but a pretty darned good one.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I am not a morning person!

Terri HarpLady

Me neither, which makes me glad to be self-employed. Of course, I probably should be a more demanding boss…

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drank Tan Yang Jing Zhi by TeaSpring
1112 tasting notes

Another delicious favorite – all gone!

This tea was a chameleon for me! Today it tasted roasty but herbaceous on the end of the sip. Almost like chamomile. It’s tasted very floral on the end of the sip before, just roasty and plain good before… who knows! In any event, it was one of my most enjoyable new teas of 2012.

I am not rushing to reorder because it is a little pricy, and also you have to sign for the package (or pick it up at the post office) which is a bit inconvenient for me.

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76
drank Long Jing Huang Pao by TeaSpring
1190 tasting notes

This stuff is bagged!

Bagged tea from TeaSpring. Now I’ve seen everything.

Each bag is wrapped in its own little colourful foil satchet, and I’ve seen that from TeaSpring before, but I never suspected there would actually be a bag inside. I thought it was just fairly costly stuff and therefore portion wrapped. I’ve seen that before from TeaSpring. I can’t remember exactly which tea it was, but it was a very special, blessed on an alter sort of ceremonial leaf for a specific sort of occasion. Which I’ve also forgotten what was. I can’t even remember what the type was, but I think it might have been oolong. Anyway, that’s not important for this one. It was just to say that I’ve seen TeaSpring sell portion satchets before.

This one is the last tea from my Explore China order from TeaSpring uh some time ago. This last tin somehow managed to hide among the parcels I received from other, generous Steepsterites and has gone untried.

This tea is from Zheijang, which is on the East coast of China, just north of Fujian. As far as I can tell, in spite of the name, it has little to do with the Long Jing we know as a green tea (Dragonwell). As I understand it, it is made from the same leaves also used to produce Dragonwell, but these have gone through a different preparation and taste nothing at all like Dragonwell.

It’s not really a black tea either. Not as such, because the process is not the same as for black tea. What it actually is is unknown because the producers are keeping it as a closely guarded secret, but it is apparently a reinvention of a method lost for 300 years. (How this is possible is rather beyond me. How can they know if they’re even close to getting it right? It’s not like they can do a direct comparison) It is apparently somewhat similar, but not the same as, the method used for producing pu-erh, so this tea therefore also has some of the same qualities as pu-erh, including the tendency to age well.

At first this smelled like steam-ironing cotton. No really. That smell you get when you release steam from the iron and get a cloud of it in your face. Steam and cloth. Probably especially if you use laundry soap without perfume in it like we do in this house. I swear I even heard that sound the iron makes, the blob and hiss, in my head.

After a moment, this goes away and is replaced by something that reminds me strongly of licorice root. This note first snuck into the ironing cotton note and then gradually took over, as though it was heavier than the steam and needed more time to actually rise from the cup.

There’s something else in the aroma too, something which I can’t really place. A bit like caramel, but not quite. A bit like fruit, but not quite. A bit like something creamy sweet, but not quite. A bit like marzipan, but not quite. I’m sure I know what this smell is, but for the life of me I can’t get any closer than this.

The flavour has a strong note of licorice root and ginseng. So much so that I had to go and check the details to see if there might have been additions made to the leaf. This does not appear to be the case. It is, in fact, not even mentioned anywhere in the company’s notes.

How odd! Me, I don’t understand how they could possibly miss it. And no, it absolutely can’t be contamination carried over from other teas I’ve had today. I don’t even own anything with licorice root or ginseng in it at the moment. (Except the vile Throat Tea, which totally doesn’t count as we only ever touch that one when ill)

I don’t think I’ve ever come across this note naturally occurring before. How interesting. It is definitely licorice root and ginseng, though. With each sip, I’m more certain. I even get a hint of that funny licorice root-y feeling on the soft palate when swallowing.

Underneath the licorice root-y and ginseng-y note there is something that does taste akin to the average pu-erh. It has the same sort of earthy taste, but it’s milder. It’s not as deep and dark, less broth-y. Pu-erh is for me a very strong tea, one that reminds me of caves and dirt and great big holes. This is sort of the same thing, only up in the sunlight.

I’m rambling, aren’t I? These associations that different flavours invoke are fun, but sometimes they rather get in the way of things. It’s easier when all I get is a colour.

So what I’m trying to say is, it’s kind of like a very mild (possibly slightly thin) average pu-erh, with natural notes of licorice root and ginseng.

I don’t much care for licorice root or ginseng in my tea, to be honest. I love licorice, proper Danish licorice which has nothing, nothing I tell you, to do with anise. Anise does not taste like licorice and supposedly licorice flavoured jelly beans are anise flavoured, actually. FYI. Come to Scandinavia and I’ll show you real licorice. And it doesn’t even have to be the salty sort or the salmiakki sort either (although you’re welcome to try those too if you’re feeling brave. Personally I think those two are the best sorts of licorice in the world).

I’m rambling again. What I’m trying to say here is that I otherwise really enjoy licorice flavoured things, but not in tea. For some reason I just don’t feel these days that licorice root and tea go all that well together. (A couple of years ago I was of a vastly different opinion) So these notes in this tea is rather a turn off for me, and will cost some points here.

Bonus points for being interesting though, because it really is! If you are a pu-erh enthusiast, then I would suggest that you try this one out, bags and all, because I think you would find it really interesting.

Liz

“…also has an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black.” Ahh we’re almost twins!

Angrboda

I haven’t had any luck with it yet. I’ve had a few nearlies though. Mostly they fell on not being available for me to actually buy without the aid of a middleman. :)

cteresa

I agree emphatically about anise and liquorice having nothing to do with tea. Will admit that likely there is a difference. But either, oh, it´s one of those things I am just culturally not into – with a couple exception, both strongly associated with the month of November, funnily enough.

canadianadia

“smelled like steam-ironing cotton” – such a great description I can almost smell it

Babble

I love your tasting notes! Silly question but is anise the same thing as licorice? I know I hate licorice in tea blends. I’ve also been to Denmark & Norway, and never had licorice. Now I feel like I missed out :(

Angrboda

Cteresa, is my mind playing tricks on me or have we discussed licorice before…?

Canadianadia, it was the strangest thing. It just immediately popped into my head, sound and everything.

Rachel, if ever you come back, let me know. We’ll meet up and I’ll make you a licorice buffet. :D
Anise and licorice are to completely different plants, but they have similar tastes. This is licorice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licorice and this is anise: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anise. In the US things that are called ‘licorice sweets’ are apparently often fortified with a good helping of aniseed oil and contain very little true licorice, but this is not true where I live. We use aniseed for an entirely different sort of sweet here, one I don’t like. (My grandfather loved it though)

cteresa

I think we did, I remember you expressing your regret you did not see your husband´s face the first time he ate salmiakki (poor guy). But can not remember regarding which tea that was. oh well.

And the links are pretty interesting. Anise and Fennel are the usual stuff around here, they literally grow wild – I can tolerate fennel. Anise not so much.

charab

Agreed here, liquorice and salmiakki (you’ve been acquainted with it, and even wrote it precisely, points on that!) are best when served with tea instead of being in the cup. Never hit it off well with the teas that had liquorice in them. Ick. Have you tried any Finnish liquorice? We have one very good factory here, their liquorice is the best we produce, but I agree on the quality of Danish liquorice. They are gooood as well. Although I don’t count salmiakki as liquorice since it’s so salty, but then again it counts as a sweet…oh, the joys of contradictions.

Angrboda

Apart from Salmiakki, I’ve only seen Finnish licorice in the shape of the white tin with the licorice animals in it. When I was a child we could only get it across the border in Germany, so when we stopped in to shop before crossing back into Denmark after having been on holiday, I’d usually get some of that.

Generally I prefer it to be slightly hard and chewy so that it lasts a long time. Pingvin tends to produce the best consistency for me, although I would never turn my nose up at Haribo’s licorice either.

Mind you, I also occasionally get slightly addicted to this little pastils that I can get from health shops and similar which is 100% licorice and no added sugar. They taste completely different from the sweets. Somewhat bitter and quite strong. They were something of an acquired taste for me. I have a colleague who would eat them regularly and would generously offer. It was the sort of thing where I knew I wouldn’t much love it, but I couldn’t not take one either. Now I love them. :)

charab

The animals are good as well, but if you ever come across with small plump liquorice tubes which have ‘Kouvolan lakritsi’ written on the label, give a go.

I have same preferences of consistency on salmiakki, chewy and pliant instead of soft and mushy, but with liquorice both are good. It’s almost comforting to munch something for a while before taking more, semi-meditating with sweets, hehe.

Addiction with bitter tastes is always highly recommended here, it’s actually very amusing how easy it is to suddenly get an insane craving for something that seemed too strong first. I have a similar feeling with hot pepper salmiakki, it took a while to get used to the almost violent bite they give. Now when they’re offered, it’s hard to say no to them.

I suspect the whole business with bitterness-tolerance here has something to do with the history of eating very bitter rye bread and smoked fish, not to mention all other fish dishes served here; tar and salted fish and meat carries a long way from regional history of our taste buds apparently…

Angrboda

I’m beginning to wonder if we should do a licorice swap, LOL!

You might be right about the bitterness being a cultural thing. I wonder if Finnish rye bread is very different from Danish because I don’t tend to consider ours particularly bitter. Heavy and dense, and very grainy I think. I haven’t thought about it. Now I’ll have to give it a shot next time I have some. Husband doesn’t care for it, but he’ll eat it if it’s the only sort of bread available. I have hopes that he might come around though, because I work with a woman who comes from Brazil, and after some 19 years or so in DK, she’s almost addicted to the stuff. :)

charab

Haha, well, rye can be trying for some. I have a German-Danish friend who commented on the bread that it indeed is very different compared to Danish types, something about maybe using more syrup in yours, we couldn’t put our finger on it. The type of the rye bread depends sometimes also solely from what region people come from: the breads between archipelago, western and eastern kitchens can differ a lot in some cases, due to the impact of Swedish (west) and Russian (east) cultural exchange. As well the soil.

Angrboda

Syrup is probably a good call. I tended to think of it as sort of malty sweet sometimes, but then I got in doubt when you said bitter. I don’t get it often these days, but once in a while I eat a small bag or two and then it takes a little while again before I’ll buy it. We almost always have leftovers that I take with me in my lunch box, so if I’m the only one eating the rye bread it sometimes gets forgotten.

charab

Hmmmm, it’s an interesting case indeed. Maybe I actually should send you a ‘goody pack’ of liquorice, salmiakki and small samples of rye breads, haha. Swap of bitterness and malty sweetness! Albeit it might be a bit trying trip for the bread though…hm. They’re always the best when fresh from the oven. But then again they become nicely chewy after couple of days…aaah now I need to make a sandwich!

Angrboda

I can’t think of a way either. Might be best to leave the bread out. :)

charab

Agreed. Just let me know when the craving hits and I’ll send some goods. :3

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92
drank Feng Huang Dan Cong by TeaSpring
10 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Ying De Hong by TeaSpring
911 tasting notes

Another share from the delightful Angrboda! Oh how she spoils me so!

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this one – TeaSpring’s description only says a peppery note with a sweet finish and it blends well with milk – so I was expecting something sort of one-note and a bit rough. That was backed up by the scent I got when I stuck my nose in the cup – a vaguely sweet, mild tea smell, nothing spectacular. But the taste? It sure packs a wallop!

First, the most distinct thing for me is the end note – at first (when the tea is hot) it gives a soft plum-skin-like sour note similar to some Keemuns. Mostly, sour and I don’t agree, but for some reason I tend to love it in my Chinese blacks. Perhaps because it is coupled with such smoothness and sweetness. As the tea cools, this note migrates more towards heavy cocoa. For the second half of my cup, I felt like my tongue was being dipped in cocoa after each sip.

That’s the endnote, though. What about the main part of the tea? It’s flavorful and sweet. Oh, so sweet! I can’t really peg the sweetness – it’s more like white sugar than honey but sugar isn’t quite right either. But it’s very there. The whole front end of the taste is filled with sweetness. Sort of a combination of a sweet light rye bread with maybe a hint of floral or fruit (I can’t quite tell) and then a dash of cocoa. Or like sweet potato without the potato. That kind of sweetness.

Anyway, this is a fantastic little tea. There’s so much going on flavor-wise that each sip is attention-getting. It’s weird, though, because the notes are all sorta soft and elusive as to what exactly they are and so it seems almost delicate. At the same time, though, this isn’t a delicate tea because the potency of the flavor is like punch-you-in-the-mouth intense. I like teas like this that confuse me with so many yummy flavors and interesting characteristics. They make it impossible to get bored!

Bonnie

Sounds nice a complex, a surprise. Love surprises!

Angrboda

I believe this was one I threatened you with. As I recall you were playing Guess The Region on something and Guangdong was a suggestion. Or perhaps I’m making that up… Either way, I think I’ll make some. (You keep doing this!)

Auggy

I vaguely recall something about the guess the region with something… Something that was Fujian-ish but not, maybe? Though I don’t think in general I’ve experience much in the way of Guangdong teas. However, if this is an example of what they offer, I will be seeing a lot more of them, oh yes I will! Please, threaten me with more delicious teas!!!! :)

Auggy

Oops, totally missed your note there, Bonnie! It is great to have surprising teas like this pop up – it’s so fun!

Angrboda

Ha, and for the second time yesterday I made wrong tea because I couldn’t read a label! LOL, at these this time I discovered it just after having added leaves and put the tin back on the shelf. Right next to this tin. That one was good too. Yi something or other. A Yunnan tea of all things, but one of the rare that I enjoy.
Anyway, yes, I agree. I would definitely like to try more things out of Guangdong. Sichuan too for that matter.

Auggy

I would like to state for the record that you are the reason I’ve been rambling through TeaSpring’s website lo took for teas from specific regions. I blame you. Fully.

Angrboda

This is my best innocent look. :D

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89
drank Bi Luo Chun Hong Cha by TeaSpring
1190 tasting notes

Gosh, I think I botched this pot. Bit strong…

Anyway, I think I just had an epiphany of sorts. Does ‘Hong Cha’ mean ‘black tea’? Or rather, ‘red tea’ given the Chinese denominations?

If yes, can I always count on the word ‘Hong’ referring to the type, or is it only if it’s combined with ‘Cha’?

Kittenna

Where’s Momo and her google-fu? She was totally on top of it when I wanted to know whether “Mi” (as in, Mi Xian Black and… Mi Lan Dancong Black?) meant honey or somesuch.

Angrboda

Someone should compile a Chinese glossary of some sort! That would be cool.

momo

I really have no idea how Chinese works but hong does mean red, but I have no idea about how to use it. It looks like just talking about red by itself is “hong se” but at least with cha, it’s just “hong.”

I really wanted to know about mi …because I was confused and forgot the first panda cub born here was Mei and not Mi. Still was useful!

Bonnie

Hei cha means black tea is my understanding from my video tea group.

Ag

My Mandarin is really, really rusty, but I think I still remember enough of it and some very basic tea culture to add here. If not, I could always just call up my parents (they emigrated from China to the US).

(Totally random, mildly irrelevant blurb below)
Chinese has a lot of dialects, the most commonly spoken and shared one being Mandarin (the other one is Cantonese). Mandarin has four tones, so one syllable spoken in one tone can have a completely different meaning when it’s spoken with another tone.

The Chinese refer to what we call black tea as “hong cha”, because the liquid looks kind of dark reddish when steeped. Black tea, or “hei cha” (my pinyin is also horribly rusty, so I might be spelling it wrong there) can be used to refer to the category of fermented teas (pu-erh falls under this).

Honey is “feng mi”, if I recall. I have no idea what “Mi Xian” is in the context of tea. I know of it as a type of noodle dish from some province (Yunnan, I think?).

Angrboda

I knew cha. So when I see ‘hong cha’ as part of the name I can be relatively certain of the type then, but with some room for exceptions? That’s worth remembering.
As I understand it, Mandarin and Cantonese sound like almost two completely different languages and a person speaking one may not necessarily be able to understand the other. Is the writing the same though? Or do we have to pay attention with the pinyin that it might be one or the other? I’m trying not to jump to conclusions here.
As for mi, perhaps on its own it has something to do with sweetness in general, and then whatever it’s combined with tells you what sort of sweetness?
(Sometimes I start to wonder if the easiest thing isn’t just to take an evening class in Chinese For Beginners or something…)

Dinosara

Chinese tea dictionary, type in your chinese phrase (pinyin included) and it will give you a translation! I used it a lot when I was in China.
http://babelcarp.org/babelcarp/

Though sometimes it does come up short, for instance when it can’t find “Mi”! But you can see that “Mi Xiang” means literally honey fragrant.

And I am pretty certain if it a tea is labeled Hong Cha that it is always “red tea”, or as westerners would say, black tea. In China if you order “black tea” (in english translation), you get a cup of puerh (I know because it happened to me)!

Ag

Yeah, you can be pretty certain that tea labelled as ‘hong cha’ in China would be a type of black tea.

Pinyin is used for Mandarin Chinese romanization only. Cantonese romanization uses something else.

And yes, Mandarin and Cantonese are very different from each other. Cantonese has more tones than Mandarin. I’ve always been under the impression that they’re mutually unintelligible, but one of my friends who speaks Cantonese at home but knows little Mandarin says she can sometimes figure out a conversation in Mandarin by using Cantonese to help. My dad once mentioned that he had difficulties trying to assist an elderly Cantonese lady many years ago, since neither of them could understand each other. I guess it depends on how familiar a Cantonese speaker is with Mandarin. From my experience and questions to/observations of friends and family members, it definitely doesn’t work the other way around (Mandarin speaker trying to understand Cantonese without any formal training).

Mandarin Chinese is the lingua franca for both verbal and written communication in China (there are a ridiculous number of Chinese dialects, and many of them are mutually unintelligible or only moderately intelligible with one another. It’s pretty fascinating.). There’s a form of written Cantonese, with a different grammar structure than Mandarin. Other than that, I don’t know much about it. I’m sure the characters are a little different as well.

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drank Bi Luo Chun by TeaSpring
1 tasting notes

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97
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…..

Ahhh, Tan Yang. I have not had this one in a while, but I remembered I purchased some in early August! This is a tea you must drink up and not save for a rainy day. Smooth, just a smidge of smoke and astringency at the end of the sip, cocoa notes, and it resteeps beautifully. Tea nirvana. One of my favorite tea splurges (because I like to be somewhat frugal with my tea obsession, but this tea it worth it!)

Usual mug method. First steep at 4 minutes. Resteep at 5 minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Tan Yang Jing Zhi by TeaSpring
1112 tasting notes

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Just wanted to note how very much I’m enjoying this. It’s too delicious to do much typing. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Roastychocooooooohalittlefloral. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Oh my! As good as Emperor’s Red?

JacquelineM

This is a little different — I think it tastes more like a Keemun Mao Feng!

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drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
1112 tasting notes

Well I certainly went through that 50g fast!

Roasty, grainy, chocolatey. When I’m too busy to think about what I want, I always pick this flavor profile — I’m always happy with what I get. I love it in every season, in any mood. I’d order it again in a heartbeat…if I was ordering tea. (I’m down to 50 in my cupboard — imagine me beaming proudly at my restraint!!)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
1190 tasting notes

Husband made this for us, and I COMPLETELY FAILED to identify it.

My first guess was a Ceylon.

O.O

I think this illness has broken my tongue.

I take great comfort, while sitting here feeling sorry for myself, in knowing that it’s the Goodest Stuff™ even though it currently tastes all funky.

Lynne-tea

I hope you get better soon! =)

LiberTEAS

Yes … get well soon!

JacquelineM

I hear ya! Flu of doom over here – going into the 2nd week of not feeling like myself, but the worst is past at least. I had this one yesterday too :)

Indigobloom

eeep feel better! I hate being sick

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This has a nice general black tea taste with a hint of sweetness. I’m not getting any wow out of this one. It’s good, but not a personal favorite.

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84
drank Keemun by TeaSpring
1190 tasting notes

Another one based on hastily scribbled notes, this tea was from my Discover China TeaSpring order, in which I sought to try out other parts of China apart from just Fujian and the search for the perfect Keemun. …Erm, yes. Well, I am aware that this is in fact a Keemun. In my Discover China order. Which was supposed to take me a little away from that. But honestly TeaSpring has a handful of Keemuns to choose from and as I am still searching for that elusive perfect one, wouldn’t it be stupid to not get some when I was ordering anyway? I think so too.

I have mentioned before my preference tendencies with the leaf grades of Keemun, so I shan’t go into all that again. Suffice to say that this one is the cheapest one the offer, because to me that seemed to spell the highest chance of success.

The aroma had that nice, mild smoky top note, which is exactly as I prefer it. There was a nice bit of sweetness and grainyness to it as well. In the dry leaf, this grain-y note came off as quite malty.

Basically the aroma of this Keemun is pretty much spot on for how I imagine I want the perfect Keemun to appear.

It was a smooth cup. Soft and almost creamy as if I could almost imagine that milk had been added to it. (Note, I never add milk or sugar to anything) The body of the flavour struck me as somewhat thin, though, which was a bit of a disappointment. I had been hoping for something with a bit of substance to it. I think, though, that this is something that might be fixed by having a closer look at the amount of leaf used. I should like to see if the grain-y notes can’t be made to fill out a bit more.

One of the most important things about a great Keemun is that smoky top-note. I already mentioned that it was near perfection in the aroma and it isn’t indeed present in the flavour as well. This is the note that in higher leaf grades seem to turn more floral in nature, but this cheap-skate version from TeaSpring had just the right level of smokyness over floralness.

So on the smoky level, we so have a winner. On the body level, well, it remains to be seen. I really must do a little experimentation with it to find that out for sure. It did develop a little more as it cooled down, though, but that just didn’t really seem enough for it to be a truly awesome Keemun. If the leaf amount is not enough to take it to a higher level of enjoyment, then I suspect I must go one stop further up on the leaf grade ladder and see what happens. I just hope, should that happen, that it won’t mean a loss of that great balance of smoky versus floral notes.

(You know what’s weird? Writing about a Keemun while drinking a forest fruit flavoured tea. I keep expecting the tea in the cup to taste like Keemun…)

alaudacorax

That last line is very interesting. I’ve had very similar experiences. I’ve noticed that trying to taste a tea whilst browsing a dealer’s website can get the taste-buds a little confused; and trying two teas, one immediately after the other, really doesn’t work for me. It’s odd how things interfere with each other in the old brain. Also, I often feel that I have to turn my music down or off to taste a tea properly.

Angrboda

Yeah, I try not to read other people’s posts on something until afterwards. It’s the only way I can think of that I can make sure my thoughts are actually my thoughts.

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89
drank Bi Luo Chun Hong Cha by TeaSpring
1190 tasting notes

I hate c25k with the burning passion of a thousand suns. There I said it. Now let’s move on.

Here’s another Explore China tea, and as some of you may have noticed it’s a Yunnan black.

“Hey, hang on!” I hear some of you exclaim. “You keep saying you don’t care for Yunnan blacks!”

“Yes,” I answer, “that is quite correct. Well spotted! However, there is the odd exception to the rule, and this is it.”

“But you keep saying that Yunnan black tastes like hay and you can spot it mile off!” I hear some of you protesting.

“I can. But not ALL Yunnan black tastes like hay. Most do, but some don’t,” I reply patiently.

“Hmmm…” I hear some of you mutter sceptically. “Ang with a Yunnan black… this cannot end well.”

Well, let’s not turn the whole thing into a screenplay, lest we be forced to act it out. 95% of all Yunnan black teas I seem to come across are the golden type. Those, I do not much care for. Those, I often feel is a mouthful of wet hay. Those, I can only drink and enjoy when in the proper mood (under which circumstances I do find them very enjoyable)

But this stuff is different. This stuff is like being smacked round the head with toffee! I want to say it’s a bit chocolate-y, but that’s not really it. Neither is it properly caramel-y, so fudge or toffee is the closest I can get here. It’s that sort of candy-like sweetness with a touch of malt underneath. Just enough to make it not smell like a sweetie shop and just enough to give it a hint of grain.

I have to say I botched the steeping slightly because I wasn’t using the timer and it went slightly over the time I had expected it to end up at, but I can inform you that the leaves didn’t care. It’s not bitter, it’s not astringent, and it doesn’t even taste particularly strong.

There’s a slightly woody flavour to it, which somehow comes across as a more mature sort of that hay flavour that I normally associate this region with.

It’s also rather more cocoa-y than it was in the aroma and less of the other types of sweets I mentioned. The malt is still there though, just a little bit, and the grain-y aspect is a little less obvious.

I had this tea yesterday as well, three steeps of it. I have to say the third steep wasn’t really all that worth the effort, as it was quite thin in flavour, but it was still fairly nice. I’m quite pleased with this purchase.

And if anybody can explain to me what it is that makes such a huge difference between this Yunnan black (or those dragon balls for that matter) and those other golden ones, the ones that I don’t care for, please do.

Skulleigh

Oh my, C25K… I am going to start that as soon as I am sure the temperature isn’t going to spike back up again. I was halfway doing it about a month ago, and then I just couldn’t take the heat.

As to the Yunnan differences, I have no skills there, sorry.

Angrboda

We’ve been going in the evening or in the morning so we avoided most of the worst heat, but some days were still pretty dire. This morning it was raining, though, which wasn’t really that much of an improvement. We’re on week 3 now.

Dylan Oxford

Can I ask what that is?

Angrboda

c25k? Couch To Five Kilometers. It’s a jogging program for beginners where the difficulty is gradually increased over (I think) nine weeks. At the end of the program you should be capable of jogging five kilometers.

Missy

Interesting concept that c25k. I think it would kill me but interesting. I totally enjoyed the screenplay. :D

Angrboda

It’s killing me and husband won’t allow me to quit. He bikes a lot so he’s in shape, and so far in the program doesn’t even get freaking out of breath, while Certain Others can only wheeze.

alaudacorax

I tried running about ten years’ back (I was never the sporty type even as a youngster), but I gave it up – apart from being hard work, it was so mind-numbingly boring! I’m a naturally fast walker who never gets anywhere very fast because there is always so much to stop and look at, listen to or, even, smell – whether I’m on a city street or out in the countryside. Having to ignore things to keep on running was an absolute torture for me. No way was I going to that for the rest of my life.

Skulleigh

I find it meditative when I’m not sweating to death. Hubs can’t understand why I do it though :D

Angrboda

alaudacorax, I agree! In school my whole week was made if PE got cancelled. I don’t like being out of breath; I find it so unpleasant, and I I don’t like sweating either. Bodily fluids, even my own, ick me out to no end. There are times when this is really very impractical indeed, running being one of them.

Skulleigh, I haven’t reached that point yet. Right now I’m hating it enough that I’m not sure I ever will, but if I do manage to make it all the way through the program I’ll probably try to keep up the habit. Even if I do hate it, it’s good for the body and I don’t really fancy risking the alternative. :)

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87
drank Zhu Hai Jin Ming by TeaSpring
1190 tasting notes

Good morning Steepster.

Following the Tragic Loss of the Roy Kirkham teapot as documented earlier on, I found myself this morning faced with a problem. I don’t work on wednesdays, you see, so these are the days when the RK pot got the most exercise. It held 400 ml, exactly the same as the mugs I prefer to drink from, so it was really great for just one person. Now, though? I have a large pot that I use when sharing with Husband, and we have a middle-sized one that we usually use with rooiboses. What the plock to do now??? O.o

Well, the middle sized one is a bodum press, and since it had just come out of the dishwasher, I temporarily re-purposed it. I’m not keen on the press element, being used to loosely flowing leaves. However, needs must. Needs must.

There will be a new RK pot. Two actually, so that we can share a cup without necessarily having the same tea. When Husband suggests something and I’m not interested in that one, he always immediately adjusts to whatever my suggestion was. He says it doesn’t matter much to him, but it kind of annoys me when I want to give him the one that he wants. So two RK pots. We’ve picked out which ones too. One with garden birds and one with butterflies. Kinda pricy though, and shipping is murder, so it has to wait until the other side of payday. And also for me to get a new passport so that I’ve actually got some valid ID in case I need to pick it up from the post office. (I changed my last name following the wedding, and we’re also having some small adjustment to our address (new house number), so if anybody wants/needs to have their address books updated, please pm or email me)

Anyway, following all that todo with working out how to even make it, I thought that this tea, which Husband didn’t like, would be a good one to have when he’s not at home.

It doesn’t appear to have suffered from the french press method, but I do think I’ve made it stronger this time than the first time. It’s more cocoa-y now in both aroma and flavour, and it has developed some stronger grainy notes in the body. Brewing this one strong suits it very well, I think.

(Oh, and to those of you who saw That Post on the boards, just try to ignore that guy. He pops up from time to time and seems to always drag trouble in his wake. He’s just a troll.)

Roughage

Two new RK teapots? Sounds absolutely splendid. :)

Angrboda

I always wanted a second. Now I have the perfect excuse, plus I may be able to talk Husband into letting me use Wedding Money to pay for at least some of it. :D

Missy

I did wonder with that post if that was the case. We need a sign up, “Please do not feed troll.”

Angrboda

If you feel like some scary reading, I can send you some info on previous troubles, but I don’t really like doing it on his thread and draw even more attention to him that way.

Missy

I’ll take a gander at that. I’ve read a lot of the discussion boards but I may have missed him.

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87
drank Zhu Hai Jin Ming by TeaSpring
1190 tasting notes

wheeze

wheeze

WHEEZE!

We are doing C25K and we’ve had our fourth run this morning. I officially hate it. It’s absolutely horrid and now my legs aren’t working properly anymore, having gone all wobbly, so I’m rewarding myself for having at least made it this far.

This tea is from the Jiang Su province, which is on the East coast of China, North of Shanghai and on the Yellow Sea. It’s south of the Shandong province which is where those Laoshan teas from Verdant are from, and I believe those are the only other teas from this general area that I’ve had before.

According to TeaSpring’s notes, some connoiseurs would name this one the best black tea in the world. Well, in my case that means it has to live up to the Tan Yang, and really, it’s got its work cut out for it there!

The leaves are rather nice looking, and they look exactly like in the picture there, all highlighted in golden brown and twisty. They don’t have a very strong aroma on their own, though, not even after I’ve breathed on them, but I am picking up something that reminds me of sweets. Can’t quite put my finger on what sort of sweets though, but it’s definitely something along those lines.

The aroma after brewing is remarkably sweet, and now I know what it was I couldn’t really place in the dry leaf. It’s caramel. Sugary and caramel-y and there’s a smidge of floral undertones to it, but the sweetness is really what I’m mostly noticing. This? This bodes well!

What a peculiar tea! It tastes nothing like it smells. Where the aroma was largely a thick caramel, the flavour is all cocoa-y. There’s something pseudo-smoky as well, hiding just beneath the surface like a hungry shark, waiting to strike at the unsuspecting drinker.

Apart from the cocoa note, I can tell there are other notes to it, but it’s like they’re all hiding, so I can’t examine them properly. It makes for a fairly complicated cup. We’ve already covered that pseudo-smoky note, and like Auggy has said, it does lead the mind in the general direction of something Keemunesque, but without the heavy grain of the Keemun. There are some grain notes in this as well, but not to the same strength.

This tea tastes a bit like it’s trying to be several things at the same time. It tastes confused and a little shy.

The cocoa note is really what carries it forwards, but there is a very nice aftertaste as well. That’s where the caramel-y tones from the aroma are finally coming in. A good chewy chocolate-y caramel, that’s what the aftertaste feels like. The way the mouth feels coated in flavour and sticky after having eaten one of those. It’s not a very long aftertaste, it doesn’t really last much longer than just the act of swallowing, but flavourwise it’s one of the best aftertastes I’ve come across.

I should have liked the actual flavour to come together a bit more. Right now it’s feeling a little all over the place and disjointed, and if it had come across as a little more compact I would have enjoyed it even more. As it is, though, it is still a very nice black. It’s definitely a suitable reward for having suffered through all that jogging.

Best black tea in the world, though? No. For me that’s still Tan Yang.

ETA: Hmm. Husband didn’t care for this one at all. And instead of just saying so, he suffers through the entire cup, nearly, and only admits it when I ask him what he thought of it. Have put a little Not Suitable For Husbands sticker on the label now and hope in the future he’ll remember that I can’t read minds.

Me? I’m on the second steep now. Same as the first, but a bit thin.

Helena

hmmm… I need a sticker like that except it needs to say Not Suitable for Parents :D

Angrboda

Yeah, at first I just thought it was a shame he didn’t like it because I quite enjoyed it. And then I realised that unless I made a visible note of it, I was very likely to serve it to him again without remembering.

Jillian

I pretty much just assume everything in my stash is Not Suitable for Boyfriends unless it has a ton of sugar in it. ;)

Angrboda

We’re both tea-drinkers although he’s obviously a lot more casual about it than me, so it’s a little more complicated here. :) It’s just as well that I came up with a way to remember what he didn’t like. I spent a long time once having made myself belive that he didn’t like Yunnan for absolutely no reason at all.

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