1328 Tasting Notes


Greetings Steepsterites!

NaNoWriMo is well and truly over and I made it with 50,010 words at ten minutes to ten last night. The last two hundred words or so were a bit of a struggle but Husband had told me I wasn’t allowed to go to bed until I was finished, so I pressed on. I’ve been unable to get any sort of a decent lead at all, hovering around par all month. Have a look at my stats page to see how close I’ve been! (http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/angrboda/novels/village-on-the-sand/stats) The validator gave me a little less than my other word counter did, but still enough to win, luckily, because my eyes felt like they were full of sand! I can now, with great relief, go back to only 750 words per day and those don’t even have to be novel-y words. They can be anything. This post, for example, counts.

So let’s celebrate this by drinking something I haven’t tasted before, and I chose this oolong from Fleurdelily and I think I’ve found the correct entry in the database. The bag it was in matches the bag on the picture anyway, so I’ve decided it’s close enough.

I’ve been holding off on this one for a while. Not for anything to do with my expectations of it, whether I was afraid of trying it or whether I expected it to be so awesome it had to be saved for later. The real reason is actually as stupid as this; I liked the bag and didn’t want to take scissors to it. There. How’s that for a silly reason? I steeled myself today, however, and am now giving it a try.

The dry leaf smelled wood-y and a bit leathery. A bit like brand new rawhide footwear. A strange association, footwear, but I chalk it up to the fact that I’m breaking in new winter boots which just happens to be made of a rawhide-like material. I think it’s synthetic actually, but they still have that smell. After steeping it’s more wood-y and not a trace of boot to be found. Instead there is a hint of something floral and a good deal of something toasted. Quite nut-like too.

The flavour surprised me. I’m afraid my very first thought was ‘fish!’ and my second thought was ‘but nice…’ so it was all rather confusing and peculiar. Now that it has been standing and developing for a few minutes, however, the fishyness has gone away and left behind something quite pleasant. It has a relatively strong floral aspect, not something I usually enjoy much, but it’s not so perfume-y and unpleasant here. Underneath that is a wood-y sort of note that is just default oolong flavour to me, and again something kind of toasty as well. The aftertaste has a mineral note to it, but not overwhelmingly so. I’m rather enjoying it, and Husband just shouted from his room that he did too.


How could you write that many words? I struggle with 2,000 word research papers.


Congratulations!!! That is an impressive accomplishment. I tried Nano two years ago, but there was no way I could do it and stay sane.

Terri HarpLady

Yay! You rock! It’s been fun sharing this NaNo with you!




Yay, congrats on finishing! Doesn’t it feel good to go to sleep without 50k hanging over you head? I love how you’ve described this tea — boots and fish aren’t something I’d ever associate with each other, let alone tea, but this kind of sounds nice…


Congrats – and that’s what I call pulling it on at the last minute.

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drank Nepal Black by DAVIDsTEA
1328 tasting notes

Very first order of the agenda here, can we all please agree that the country is called NEpal and that there is no such country as NApal? Thank you. This seems a common error, and some people do it with such consistency that it can’t be a typo. NEpal. (Sorry, but it bothers me. I can usually overlook this sort of thing, but certain mistakes just jars the eye. Same with the whole palate/pallet/palette thing. (Hint, on Steepster I can with 99.9% certainty guarantee that you want ‘palate’))

Secondly, Fleurdelily shared this one with me, and I’ve been slightly afraid to try it. I’ve tried a couple of Nepalese blacks before and found them quite Darjeeling-y. But then I seemed to see a lot of good things said about it on Steepster. Claire even had a discussion board subject. So I decided it must be time to be brave.

The leaf doesn’t look like Darjeeling and it doesn’t really smell like it either, although there is a certain note of that Darjeelingesque grassy floralness.

After brewing it smells quite flora, but not in a sharp, pointy way like Darjeeling. There is a sweet, slightly malty note and also a touch of something that reminds me of raisins and other dried fruits. It’s kind of like a much milder version of Assam, rather than Darjeeling-y.

The Darjeeling-y note is there in the flavour as well, but honestly, I would have been surprised if it wasn’t. It’s not as unpleasant as I find it to be in Darjeeling, though. In Darjeeling it’s sort of stabby and pointy and gives me a funky, sour aftertaste, but there’s none of that here. Again it’s mostly like a milder version of Assam with Darjeeling aspects mixed in.

Dooars! That’s what it reminds me of the most.

If you enjoy this, try if you can find something from the Dooars region, and vice versa. Where Dooars leans more towards Darjeeling than Assam, this is sort of leaning in the opposite direction, but it’s still giving me that same feeling of middle-ness.

It’s not my ideal tea (being not Chinese, really) but I’m enjoying it much more than I had expected I would. Very interesting


Great review! I’m going to look for a Dooars tea now.


I had been eyeing a few nepalese teas, and this is only making me more interesting.

And just saying I might appreciate having a palette of words to use while posting from my pallet!


The English lesson gave me giggles.


I like the English lesson too. I sometimes want to start correcting spelling but usually give up in disgust first. After all, it is the internet, so spelling is optional apparently! :)

Looks like I am going to be in Aarhus in mid-January if you wish to take tea with me. I was going to send you a message but could not.


Oops, and then I remembered reading your contact details on your bio. How embarrassed am I?


Sometimes I find it disturbing that I, as an ESL, can be so irritated by it sometimes. I try to remember that I don’t usually know anything about the other person and that they might have a genuine difficulty with spelling and such things, but sometimes…! (I’ve come to the conclusion lately that it’s because I’m ESL that things I know to be wrong can bother me so much. If you lot can’t even work it out, it becomes even harder for me to learn!)

Claire, I hope you can find some. It shouldn’t be impossible, I’ve seen them around a few times.

Roughage, I saw. I think it should definitely be possible. I shall run it through Husband tomorrow as well if he wants to join. I don’t want to disturb him now, as he’s watching something on tv. Warning, though, we’re both fairly shy people, so awkward silences may occur as we flounder for something to say. :) And if you (try to) teach me to say your name, I’ll (try to) teach you to say mine. ;)


It’s ok, Angrboda, I already know how to speak Danish:
Oh, and I have my own potato! ;)

Actually, I could do with working on my Danish because my nephew mostly speaks it and I only really speak Norwegian fluently, which makes communicating with him interesting. As for awkward silences, I am fine with that. We can sip our tea appreciatively and be companionable rather than chatty. I am not the world’s most outgoing person either!

Mark B

“palate/pallet/palette.” That’s awesome. Guilty as charged.


haha, good point with that. When working in the art field it’s very common (more like second language, hehe) to use art terms such as ‘palette’. Thank you for reminding of the other option, makes my writing much more interesting. For an ESL person new words are always a treat.

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I have nothing new to add to this. I just wanted to say,

I aten’t ded!

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drank Long Jing Huang Pao by TeaSpring
1328 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.


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


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. :)


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.


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


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 :(


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)


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.


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.


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. :)


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…


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. :)


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.


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.


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!


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


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

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drank Pu-erh by Yamamotoyama
1328 tasting notes

Steepsterites, when was the last time you got four flavourful steeps out of one traditional teabag full of fannings? I can tell you exactly when the last time that happened to me and that is approximately just about never.

Until today!

This stuff is holding out quite well, although I’m not going to try and get a fifth cup out of it. The fourth is already on the decline, so I don’t think I would get much out of another go.

Fleurdelily shared this one with me. There were loads of teabags of this one, and I’ve kept a third of them for myself and sent the other two thirds with Husband to work, where he’s enjoying the change of pace from his usual lemon and/or earl grey. I feared that if I didn’t I might never get around to drinking all of them up. I’ve had this a few times now, though, and I can now say that I don’t think I needed have any such fears. It’s really surprisingly enjoyable.

Very broth-y in flavour and reminding me a bit of cooked mushrooms.


One of my first experiences with pu-erh. A most enjoyable cup considering its bagged fannings and pretty inexpensive.


It certainly surpassed my expectations! :D Also struck me as being a decent starter-puerh.

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drank Bourbon Vanilla by Kusmi Tea
1328 tasting notes

I thought this tasted odd earlier today! It was stacked with the Troika tin which is nearly the same colour. I must have made the Troika instead and never realised it.

GOSH do I feel dumb now! LMAO! :D

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drank Red Raspberry by Harney & Sons
1328 tasting notes

I think this was the one that Fleurdelily sent me.

Initially I had a little happy when I saw this, because I like berries in general in tea. I just had the one bag and that turned out to be lucky because when I went to make it, I had not seen that it has hibiscus in it.

I cannot abide hibiscus. It tastes like blood. All metallic and sour. Ew.

At first I had a small suspicion when I poured water on it, and it immediately started bleeding a strong, bright red colour. However, while this is a tell-tale hibiscus sign, I have learned that it’s not the only ingredient to do that.

Not until now when I came to post did I see the truth of the matter.

And even if I hadn’t, I would have found out by the aroma. Let’s just say that this does not smell like any raspberry I am willing to eat. It’s all sour and ugh. Luna the Cat appears to agree. This aroma does not give me very high hopes for the flavour.

No, indeed not. It doesn’t taste like a raspberry I am willing to eat either. It doesn’t taste like raspberry at all! It’s just all sour and hibiscus-y. I can’t drink this without making a face, and trust me, I have tried my very best here.

Which leads me to a bit of a rant, frankly. American blends with berries seem to be loaded with hibiscus nine times out of ten. I have even seen people here on Steepster marvel at the fact that berry-flavoured blends without hibiscus even exist. What’s with all the hibiscus, people? It does not taste like berries! Berries are not sour by definition and not all berries taste the same, so if you take the trouble to actually use berry flavouring alongside the hibiscus, why do you insist on making it taste uniformly tart with hibiscus? Do you even have tongues to taste with?
It is possible to make something berry flavoured without letting it even stand next to a hibiscus flower. As far as I can tell this is largely an American phenomenon (do-doo-dodo-do), and I have never ever seen a European fruit or berry blend that contained hibiscus, while still claiming to be a plain fruit blend. Ever. Never ever ever.

Now I realise that this is a raspberry herbal and that implies that there are different sorts of things in it that aren’t tea. Raspberry leaves and raspberry flavouring, this I expected. But rosehip and hibiscus, just to make it red and tart, oh so very tart indeed, this I don’t understand. Does raspberry not taste sufficiently like raspberry on its own?

So chalk this down as a massive disappointment from someone who has been curious about raspberry leaf for sometime and believed she was going to try it at last. I don’t need to try hibiscus. I know what that tastes like.

I’m sorry, Fleurdelily but this one was just not for me at all. To be frank, even if I had seen that it contained hibiscus, I would probably have tried it out anyway because you never know when something otherwise unpleasant suddenly shows up in just the right combination. I had that experience with rooibos that was sent to me and it completely turned my opinion of rooibos upside-down. Just ask Cteresa. I suppose I’m vaguely hoping that the same thing might happen with hibiscus, but I’m not really super-optimistic about it.


Amen, sister. And yes I can vouch about your convertability :) but thing is, with rooibos, if you start just with the plain rooibos base even before adding flavours, you can see a lot of difference in quality. I compare it to wine, some of the rougher nasty stuff is undrinkable. Some of the better stuff is wonderful, smooth and with body. So I think people can be converted to good rooibos, particularly with good flavours if they had never had really good rooibos before, just because it is a different thing.

With hibiscus, if there are grades and quality differences to appreciate, that is beyond me. I can only notice the hibiscus. And it overpowers almost everything (only exceptions I can think of are this very weak french tisane from a supermarket´s own brand and Yumchaa´s Adventure). Though I admit much as I hate hibiscus, I found an exception, there is a very hibiscus very fruity tea which I love as an iced tea.

I think hibiscus is rather a trend. Say 10 years ago, the fruit teas around all seemed to be linden (lime? tilleul?) based – it was traditional here, and a lot of french tisanes still are based that. Though problem is, those are weak! I think Celestial Seasonings and their zinger teas were the first which showed up with it, so yeah maybe it is an american trend. But even now I see a lot, a lot of teas with hibiscus – twinings pink box blends (Almost all horrible. raspberry&echinacea is the least horrible, but not enough raspberry at all), whittard has some, ahmad´s, almost all boxed supermarket no-caffeine teabags which are not the traditional plain tisanes (camomile, mint, lemonbalm, linden, etc) have hibiscus. And buying tea by the weight a lot of times sellers do not even know or care. I always ask to check and the look, smell, color of the tea is almost always a giveaway.

And something I find as horrible, though a bit more subtle – chicory in herbal tisanes. Chicory goes fabulous with coffee. But with tea, not so much! Lipton is even adding it to “plain” tisanes, lemon balm tea (a lovely, clean herb) and they had 2% chicory and it tastes muddy and musty, horrible – there must be some control pannels somewhere telling them to get tea ticker or darker or something. Nevermind the taste!


I don’t think I’ve ever had chicory. Not that I know of anyway. If it’s a coffee-esque sort of flavour, then I probably won’t like it. Coffee-flavoured blends were rather in a while ago and I can’t for the life of me understand why. Anybody who has tried making tea in a thermos that has been used for coffee knows that it’s NOT a good combination. Not even when you actually like coffee! Ugh, even accidentally putting a coffee thermos lid on a tea thermos can ruin the contents.


Chicory is one of those coffee-replacement thingies. But one which IMO goes really well mixed with real coffee and/or this rye drink. I think it´s a pretty old frugal thing – some of my favorite old fashioned tea shops which also sell coffee sell these several mixes, chicory, and rye and mixes of the two. And Nestlé sells and keeps on selling these coffee-cereal mixes in our market – Mokambo, Tofina, Bolero, all about 20% coffee with cereals in different mixes. And Ricoré is still pretty popular in France I think!

Chicory is nice but not in tea. I think Celestial Seasonings (who I blame for hibiscus!) uses it on a lot of their herbal things, when they want to go for something darker more desserty type drinks


I believe chicory was used as a coffee stretcher or coffee replacement during the Occupation in the second world war, actually, now that I think of it. I knew it was ringing some kind of bell. Just wasn’t until you said ‘replacement’ that it fell into place.


Yes, I think chicory and rye and barley were all mixed with coffee to make it “stretch”. And carob was used to make chocolate stretch or total chocolate replacement. The coffee mixes have always been popular even when coffee is abundant and probably cheaper, in a homey way, it´s not such strong coffee and for the taste, lots of people like those mixes. Carob is traditional in a part of Portugal and is even fashionable (it can be great or awful. It´s a really subtle flavour, but the problem is that carob is rather dry so people can not just dump it on a recipe). And nowadays a lot of these things are found out to have health benefits!

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drank Bi Luo Chun Hong Cha by TeaSpring
1328 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’?


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.


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


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!


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


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?).


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…)


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.

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)!


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 Bourbon Vanilla by Kusmi Tea
1328 tasting notes

When one woman’s ick is another woman’s nom, it’s awesome that we can share. fleurdelily didn’t care for this one, and although it’s far from my Perfect Vanilla Black, I can guarantee that it will get legs to walk on in this house. :)

Return parcel will follow. Eventually. Please be patient with me…


Aww that’s great! I hate to waste things, and I feel so much better when someone else can make good use of it :) I am actually glad you disagree with my opinion of the tea LOL ! much less guilt for me, and happy Noms for you :) YAY!


I have taken to putting things I didn’t care for in a special box so that I can use it to pad swaps. The recipient might like it better than me. :)


A bit out of topic, but regarding vanilla, if you ever have the chance to try (or just smell) a Mariage Freres tea called Black Orchid do so. It´s very very vanilla to me, but not normal vanilla. It might be a hate-love thing, and not sure where you would fall on it, but it´s got to be a competitor for any vanilla tea quest! I did not get it, it was not what I was in the mood for at the time ( and mariage frere´s vanille des iles is a more normalish vanilla, and I think you do NOT want their rooibos rouge bourbon, it´s very light on vanilla and very rooibos-ish. I like it, but it´s one of those things I would not recommend unless to unabashedly rooibos lovers).

TLDR – Black Orchid, it´s a strange vanilla tea, but worth checking IMO.


Vanilla but abnormal vanilla…. scratches head that sounds either abysmal or awesome, and I can’t decide which! I’ve been planning for years to order from MF some day, so I’ll put it on the list and see if I ever get to it. :)


It is a weird vanilla – I am so unsure if you will love or hate it. But it is very interesting vanilla, sultry sort of. And vanilla, real vanilla pods are on themselves complicated smells, very vanilla (duh!) but they are orchids which are spices, floral and spicy and something.

But as I said i did not buy Black Orchid so it´s not really a rec. But if you can check it, do: I was absolutely fascinated by its very complex scent.


Well, I put it on the list, and I put MF on the to-do list so that I can remember the next time I want to order tea. Probably won’t be for a while, though. I’m in frugal mode at the moment.

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Fleurdelily sent me a couple of these bags, and also some strawberry ones of the same brand. I’m mentioning those here as well because the packaging of these bags is amazingly attractive. All colourful and with large drawings of the fruits in question. The sort of packaging that says ‘you KNOW I will taste good, because I look so good!’ From the moment I took them out of the box, I was looking forward to trying them.

That happens very rarely for me when I see bagged tea!

I’m having the peach and passionfruit now, and I must say that peach is a funny thing for me. I like peaches to eat and peach-flavoured things in general, but have always avoided it in tea because it is very much a hit and miss flavour for me. I never know what I’ll get with peaches in tea, and there doesn’t seem to exist a middle of the road for me.

Apart from the packaging, I must admit I wasn’t expecting much from a bagged tea in the peach-flavour-liking department, but perhaps it’s the addition of the passionfruit that does it here, because this one is actually quite pleasant. (Could also depend on what sort of base is used, I guess)

I think it has passionflowers as well as passionfruit actually, because there is a fairly floral taste to it, which prevents the peach from getting that nearly cloying flavour that I dislike in peach tea. Ironic really, because I don’t normally care much for floral teas either.

This one tastes quite warm and autumn-y, which is a surprise because I always connect tropical flavours with summer, but there is a sort of spicy note in here which may be the floral aspect or something else entirely that just says autumn. It fits the current grey and wet weather rather nicely.

I’m pleased with this.


Can’t wait for your strawberry review. I haven’t tried that one yet.

I know I have had this one but don’t see my tasting note on Steepster. I remember liking the peach but not so much the passionfruit. I normally drink peach and apricot. I think my preconceived notions of how this should taste got in the way.

I find Ahmad, in general, to be even more trustworthy than Twinings when it comes to their handling of bagged tea, and I really like Twinings.


I have never had Ahmad before. I’ve never seen them in Denmark. Apricot is a bit like peach for me, although I tend to like it better in general.

I’ve already had one of the strawberry ones, actually, but didn’t really feel like writing about it at the time. I just wanted something good to drink, so I wasn’t paying too much attention at the time. I was quite pleased with it though.


Ahmad has strawberry…oh, wow and oh, yum.


I dunno what it is about peach flavoring specifically but it seems like the only fruit flavor that comes across so widely different. I have a hard time jumping into peach flavored things because of this.


You probably have the same problem as me with it then? It’s funny, because other flavours can be more or less successful but they can NEVER go completely wrong unless other things have been added as well. Orange is like that for me, even though it’s not actually one of my favourite flavourings. Still, I’ve had some that were great and some that were meh, but I can’t recall having had one that I couldn’t drink.


Yes, exactly. It’s weird :S


every summer we make gallons of the Ahmad fruit flavored for iced tea

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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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