I am so bored! Boredboredboredboredbored! Not bored enough to take the hoover around the house, though. Not yet. It needs to be done, but it can wait a little longer. I hate hoovering…

Instead, I shall have a cup of tea to celebrate the Teavivre order I just accidentally (yes, totally!) placed. Finally, oh finally, I shall try that their Tan Yang. I’ve been feeling kind of guilty about not having tried it yet, because I distinctly remember asking them if they were planning on getting. So not having tried it yet feels like not following through on my own suggestion, which is kind of poor manners.

While I’m waiting for that, I’m going to have a crack at another one of the Verdant samples I received recently when, on Husband’s orders, stocking up on the Life-Giving Tea. That would by the Laoshan Black, FYI. Hasn’t been called anything else in this house since forever. Yes, we nickname our favourites. Don’t everybody?

This one, I have to admit, I picked almost entirely based on the name. Every time I see ‘Fo Shou’, my mind reads it as ‘Fo’ sho’ and often supplies either ‘dude!’ or ‘man!’ after that. Can’t help it. It makes me smile. Obviously, therefore I had to try it.

The packaging is different from the other Verdant samples and thankfully comes with an identification sheet. I hope I don’t lose it. It would be just like me… Perhaps it’s a sign that I should try this out sooner rather than later, yes?

The aroma is slightly wood-y and slightly leather-y, and I want to say slightly fruit-y as well, but I’m not super-certain that I really think it is. What it does have in large amounts, however, is a strong note of something that… I know what it is, but I don’t know what it is! It’s kind of like cocoa, but not quite there. I think it’s cocoa mixed with something and it’s the something that is confusing me. Roasted nuts, perhaps? Hmm, I need to think about this.

Gosh, the flavour is a lot stronger than I had thought it would be! There is definitely leather and wood in this, all dark and rough and somehow faintly ash-y. Now those of you who remember the recent encounter with Tetley’s tea bags, will remember that I said those tasted like ashes, and that it wasn’t particularly pleasant. For some reason this note of ash is coming off in a much more favourable light here. I suspect the unpleasantness in the Tetley bags was in combination with the smell of wet cardboard and the taste of the paper teabag, whereas this particular tea is completely cardboardless and guaranteed paper-free. This way, the ash just comes over as something with just a hint of smoke. It isn’t really smoke, but it reminds me of smoke, and apparently that’s close enough for jazz.

Ashes, but good ashes. Right. Okay. I’m not sure that there really is any sound logic in that, but there you are. It is, however, a note that brings a warning with it. With many Chinese black teas you can generally steep them from now and until kingdom come, and your result will still be drinkable rather than a bitter, astringent mess. I don’t think that is true for this one. That note is a strong one, and I think it will turn strongly astringent if left to its own devices for too long.

That note is the primary one here, and it’s the first one I meet when sipping. It’s fairly small at first, then there’s a pause in which other stuff happens, and then sort expands rapidly on the swallow, greatly dominating the flavour profile.

Now I want to talk a bit about that other stuff that happens there in the middle. Those are our more friendly, calm and well-behaved notes. The source of the cocoa-and-something notes in the aroma. So there is a great deal of cocoa there, obviously, but there’s something else as well. It’s not pure caramel, but more a dulce de leche sort of note. I loffs me some dulce de leche… I’ve only ever seen one brand of it here, though, and it costs a small fortune for a small glass, so it’s a very rare treat indeed.

Although the cocoa note is stronger than the dulce de leche-y note, I still think it’s the dulce de leche-y one that I’m noticing the most. It feels longer, somehow, softening the ash-y pow at the end of the sip. As I drink it even starts to build up a little on the aftertaste too.

As it cools and develops, this is the note that really starts to come out more and more and I don’t even have to wait so very long before that initial ash-y dominance is almost completely broken into something much smoother and caramel-y.

I find I’m enjoying this a great deal more now than I thought I would when I had the very first sip. But I still think it’s one of the few Chinese blacks that it’s actually possible to ruin through over-steeping. This tea does not give the impression of being foolproof.


I read it as fo’ sho too and it always makes me smile when I see it in the tasting notes.


Me too! Fun note!


I’m glad it’s not just me! :D

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I read it as fo’ sho too and it always makes me smile when I see it in the tasting notes.


Me too! Fun note!


I’m glad it’s not just me! :D

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Ang lives with Husband and two kitties, Charm and Luna, in a house not too far from Århus. Apart from drinking tea, she enjoys baking, especially biscuits, reading and jigsaw puzzles. She has recently acquired an interest in cross-stitch and started a rather large project. It remains to be seen whether she has actually bitten off more than she can chew…

Ang prefers black teas and the darker sorts of oolongs. She has to be in the mood for green and white, and she enjoys, but knows little to nothing about, pu-erh.

Her preferences with black teas are the Chinese ones, particularly from Fujian, but also Keemun and just about anything smoky. She occasionally enjoys Yunnans but they’re not favourites. She has taken some time to research Ceylon teas, complete with reference map, and has recently developed some interest in teas from Africa.

She is sceptical about Indian blacks as she generally finds them too astringent and too easy to get wrong. She doesn’t really care for Darjeelings at all. Very high-grown teas are often not favoured.

She likes flavoured teas as well, particularly fruit flavoured ones, but also had an obsession with finding the Perfect Vanilla Flavoured Black and can happily report that this reclusive beast has been spotted in a local teashop near where she works. Any and all vanilla flavoured teas are still highly attractive to her, though. Also nuts and caramel or toffee. Not so much chocolate. It’s a texture thing.

However, she thinks Earl Grey is generally kind of boring. Cinnamon and ginger are also not really a hit, and she’s not very fond of chais. Evil hibiscus is evil. Even in small amounts, and yes, Ang can usually detect hibiscus, mostly by way of the metallic flavour of blood it has.

Ang is not super impressed with rooibos or honeybush on their own. She doesn’t care for either, really, but when they are flavoured, they go usually go down a treat.

Ang used to have a Standard Panel of teas that she tried to always have on hand. She put a lot of thought into defining it and decided what should go on it. It was a great idea on paper, but in practise has been discovered to not really work as well.

Ang tries her best to make a post on Steepster several times a week. She tends to write her posts in advance in a word doc (The Queue) and posting from there. This, she feels, helps her to maintain regularity and stops her from making five posts in three days and then going three weeks without posting anything at all.

Angrboda is almost always open to swapping. Just ask her. Due to the nature of the queue, however, and the fact that it’s some 24 pages long at the moment, it may take a good while from she receives your parcel and until she actually posts about it.

The Formalities

Contact Angrboda by email: [email protected]
Contact Ang on IM on Google chat

Find Ang on…
Steam: Iarnvidia (Or Angrboda. She changed her display name and now is not certain which one to search for. She uses the same picture though, so she is easily recognised)
Goodreads: Angrboda
Livejournal: See website.
Dreamwidth: Ask her

Bio last updated February 2014





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