1328 Tasting Notes

drank Chinese Sencha by thepuriTea
1328 tasting notes

Due to yesterday’s notices page glitch, there are now 27 notices I can’t get to because the page hangs when I try to load beyond a certain point. First it was four, then it was eight and now 27. Depending on where the glitchy one is, I suspect it should be possible to get to some of them, but knowing my luck, the glitchy one is probably the youngest of them.

This sample came to me from Infusin_Susan and I had completely forgotten about it. I had to actually look it up just to figure out where it came from. I’ve decided to semi-gong fu it, as lately it has appeared to me as though I generally just find green tea much more pleasant when taken that way, whereas western style often gets to be rather too much and with a sour annoying aftertaste. The funny thing is that when it comes to oolongs, at least of the darker and/or roasted sorts, I’m completely opposite and the western style of brewing suits me better.

This one, I have started at 30 seconds, and the aroma is sort of leafy and herb-y. There is a touch of earthiness in it, kind of like the difference between smelling a fresh herb in a pot versus its dried equivalent.

Then I forgot about it for a while and it cooled off considerably. That earthy herb-y note is now grassy and the tea itself is lukewarm. It does still have flavour, though. It’s smooth and soft and bright yellow. There is a slight butter-y feeling to it, but not, I think, very much. Most of the flavour is more or less grass-y and perhaps ever so slightly salty. It’s fairly straight forwards, even though it’s the sort of flavour that has me searching for notes of apples that I just can’t find. I think that’s because of the flavoured green from the other day, which I believe was based on a Chinese Sencha, so now I have developed expectations.

Second time I also used 30 seconds and now it tasted a lot greener and less butter-y. This steep was much closer to the leafy greens and fresh herbs, but apart from that adjustment, it was pretty much the same as the first. Just more intensely so.

I was going to do a lot more of this sample, but at this point, I’m just really wanting something black and warming, because I’m knackered and freezing. I think for a conclusion on this one, it came across as more or less Default Green Tea. That’s not particularly interesting, but I can’t claim that it’s a bad thing either.


Sorry about the glitchy notices. That’s happened to me before too. Hey, when did you change your picture? I miss Sleipnir! ;)


CHAroma, I can never see your pic-it’s always blank.


Hmm, weird. Well, you’re not missing much, hahaha! It’s just a logo I made of my initials.


Maybe that’s why?…………………


My Notices number never goes below 17. It’s been stuck there for months.


CHAroma, I changed it some weeks ago. I liked Sleipner too, but the picture was taken from the logo of a Swedish museum and then modified to my needs. That always bothered me. This one is a detail on a replica of a viking stave church at our local museum and the boyfriend took the picture for me.
Incidentally, yours show up fine for me.

LadyLondonderry, I’ve managed to get mine down a bit to I think around 13 now. I got the first four around New Years, but the site just starts hanging past a certain point. I wish they would fix it, because I’ve had that glitch three times just this year. It’s getting old.


Well, the new pic is still very cool! Just going to take some getting used to. ;)


At first, at Steepster, I had an icon with a cat paw on it and I had that one for a long time as well before I got Sleipnir. When I changed to Sleipnir, Steepster-Jason (jokingly) accused me of trying to confuse everybody on purpose. :p


I like your new icon! I remember the cat paw too, as well as Sleipnir. :-)


It’s a miracle! As of tonight, I have NO new Notices instead of the usual 17! We’ll see if my luck holds out, or if I get a new crop of Notices tomorrow.


I’m down to eight unavailable ones. I had thirteen before.


I was at 65 notices and am not at 45. I feel a bit refreshed! :P


I routinely click through as far as I can before it starts hanging. Once in a while I’m lucky and catch a few more that way. It depends on which line is the glitchy one, I think. I hadn’t done that when it went from 13 back to 8 again, though.


Hey! The icon is back to Sleipnir!


If it is, it’s a cache issue. I haven’t changed it. Try a hard refresh or clearing your browser cache.


Hmm, weird. LOL! Sorry to flood your tasting note with non-tea related comments.

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drank Sui Ying Xiao Cha by Unknown
1328 tasting notes

EMPTY THAT B…eh, you know the drill at this point. I’m emptying the sample box and in general trying to drink the stash down. All the way down. Ish.

Therefore I have recently placed another Le Palais des Thes order. :D This one is just a stocking up on some favourites, though. The boyfriend has fallen head over heels for the Tigger Tea and had asked me a few times if I had ordered more yet as the pouch is close to empty. I hadn’t because technically I’m not allowed to buy anything until after the wedding. Plus, the whole drinking down thing. But I caved and got him some more Tigger, and while I was at it stocked up on the four red fruits, foret noir and toffee as well. The toffee is nearly gone too, and I’m not quite finished with that one yet. Only got one new thing and that was a rooibos in the spirit of flavoured rooibos exploration, so I thought that almost didn’t count.

Anyway, this doesn’t mean that we’re not still going to make some drastic reductions here.

So. This one came from Spoonvonstrup as well. It almost looks like a theme, but that’s because that package contained primarily black teas, and I’m just in a black tea sort of mood at the moment. Also, those are the easiest ones to drink for me, as it’s my preferred type.

The aroma is really nice. It’s grainy and cocoa-y and rather sweet. I don’t know squat about this tea, but it smells kind of Fujian-y. Now, that’s quite promising, indeed. There’s also something vaguely red berry-y about this aroma. I’m put in mind of currants and not too sweet cherries when I smell this, but it’s ever so vague.

Now, that was an odd flavour. Hmm. Strange. Unexpected. Kind of straw-like without being Yunnan-y. That’s new! It tastes brightly orange, this one, as in the colour, not the fruit. I think it’s that almost-straw that does it along with a touch of something a bit wood-y.

On closer inspection, I find a lot of that cocoa note in the flavour as well as a lot of grain. In spite of the above mysteriousness, it has totally retained that Fujian-ness in the flavour. That, in this case, isn’t particularly interesting though.


I know; I said it.


Yeah, I’m shocked too, Steepsterites.

But really, the intersting thing about this flavour in this particular tea, apart from having a lot of nommy Fujian-ness, is that note of red berry from the aroma. It’s still here! It’s tart and juicy and juuuuust underneath everything else. I think it’s more currrants than anything else at this point, though, but I’m totally associating it with biting a juicy berry.

Now Spoonvonstrup, if you can weigh in with an origin confirmation on this one, I should be grateful. Fujian or thereabouts is my immediate guess.


dun duh duh duuuh! ….. I have no idea, either. Is that the bag that just said “Little Tea” on it? That’s basically all of the info I had, too. But a bit of snooping has turned up a teachat thread which pinpoints Zhenghe, Fujian as the source for Sui Ying Xiao Cha.

As for whether or not that’s true for this particular tea? Kind of impossible to know, especially since it was just one of a big bag ‘o samples that made it’s way into my hands (and now yours). Glad you enjoyed.


Yes, that’s the one. I am nearly nearly certain it must be Fujian-y. If it isn’t, it must be an entirely different region that I have less experience with.

The information in that link that Keemuns stem from a Fujian cultivar doesn’t surprise me at all, though. They do taste rather related, what with the grain and occasional pseudo-smoke and all. That made a lot of sense to me.

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drank Wanderlust by Yumchaa
1328 tasting notes


This is a green blend which Cteresa has shared with me. I had received a sample from Le Palais des Thes of a very similar blend containing green tea, apple, almonds, cinnamon and ginger. I thought the ginger in that one was overpowering all the other ingredients and rather ruining the experience for me. I don’t care for ginger. This blend which Cteresa shared with me has all of the same ingredients except ginger, so she offered to share so I could compare them. This also gave her the opportunity to share a number of other Yumchaa teas with me, because I had been contemplating an order from them. Sadly I haven’t really been completely overwhelmed with the ones I thought I would like so far, but I still have a few to try out, so I’m not discouraged.

Anyway, this particular one was the primary reason for her to send me that little care package, and now it’s turn has come. The company description of it compares it to apple crumble which, with these ingredients? I can totally see!

Let’s just get one thing straight here.

I. Love. Crumbles.

Based on this and the company descriptions? My expectations are positively soaring on this one.

The aroma is definitely not disappointing. It has a whole lot of apple in it along with a smidgeon of cinnamon around the edges. It smells very sweet as well, which I attribute to the almonds. Almonds, to me, taste quite sweet, especially when they’ve been chopped and cooked in some way. There may be some of the base tea shining through as well, but it seems all tangled up in the apple, so it’s difficult for me to tell whether it’s all flavouring or if some of it is naturally occurring.

The base tea is very strong in the flavour, however, surprising me with an unexpected note of leafy greens. Spinach perhaps, or rocket salad. At first it came with a stab of disappointment because it made me think that the flavouring would be weak and undetectable.

My fears were soon abated because barely had I thought the thought before the apple wormed it’s way in underneath with a slightly tangy note. Unmistakably fruity.

This then made me aware of the cinnamon which, if you think of the flavour experience as a circle with the most prominent notes in the center, keeps along the edges of the flavour. Discreet and out of the way, but definitely very present.

The almond element is very elusive though, but I think I caught a glimpse of it just as I swallowed and in the aftertaste.

Apple crumble? Yes, I can totally see that connection.

Better than the ginger-y LPdT blend? Immensely so.

This blend was like made for me, or something!


guh this review just made me sooo hungry for crumbles.
I love the name of this tea, too. It’s so alluring!


Beautiful review!


LOL! I knew it :)

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drank Green Citric Ginger by A C Perch's
1328 tasting notes


I got this one as a free sample with an ACP order. They’ve started doing that, I’ve noticed, tossing in one of their satchets as a free giftie. I’m just hoping that eventually they’ll put one in that isn’t already a confirmed dislike for me. With this one it was the ginger. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really like ginger at all, so I needed to get this one out fo the way some other way. It seemed a good candidate for a cold brew so that’s what I did.

The citrus is coming out very nicely this way, both in aroma and flavour, where the ginger is somewhat more to the background. Now THIS I like! The ginger adds sensation mroe than flavour, really. It actually tastes a bit like a fizzy lemonade that’s gone flat. That’s not really a bad thing if you ask me.

A surprising like on this one!


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drank Vanilla Oolong by Adagio Teas
1328 tasting notes


This one came from Ninavampi because I was interested in trying the DavidsTEA vanilla oolong. She didn’t have that, but she offered this and I said yes please.

I’ve elaborated on what constitutes the Perfect Vanilla before, so I shan’t bother to do it again. I can’t be bothered to write all that, but if you really want to know I’m sure I could probably dig out the post in question from the depths of my account.

This one is getting there on the aroma. It’s sweetly vanilla, and quite strong too. There is a coconut-y aspect to the vanilla as well, which I tend to quite enjoy. It reminds me of a specific sort of coconut and licorice sweets, which bizarrely haven’t actually got anything to do with vanilla at all. There’s is an earthy, slightly sharp note underneath as well, which I expect is from the oolong base. That sharpness adds to the aforementioned sweets association which definitely is not a bad thing. At this point I’m making a mental note to check if this tea is available from Adagio’s European site. You know, just in case. :)

But! Aroma is just part of it. It’s the flavour that’s actually the really important bit. The vanilla flavour here is a bit milky and not as strong as in the aroma. This is a big big shame! The aroma gave me some rather high hopes, but the flavour is just not quite up to it.

The oolong base however is shining through nicely. With the flavouring so small, that’s not really difficult either, is it? It tastes a bit woody and quite toasty, and there is a semi-caramel-y note in there somewhere. I wonder exactly what sort of oolong is the base of this. It reminds me a little of a toastier version of the Dan Cong I had the other day, although it would probably be rather a shame to start adding flavouring to that one. Hey, here’s a sudden thought! Has anybody ever heard of a caramel flavoured oolong? Wouldn’t that be interesting?

Anyway, this particular base. If it had been more fiercely flavoured I think this could be really good. If it had come out as much in the flavour as much as it does in the aroma, I could really really have had a winner here. Alas…

Close, Adagio. Close indeed.

(On an end note, I’m still interested in trying the DavidsTea vanilla oolong, so if anybody have some lying around that they want to get rid of, I’ll happily take it off your hands. )

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drank Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong by Unknown
1328 tasting notes


Here’s another one from Spoonvonstrup. Presumably this is also a type of Lapsang Souchong, because when I looked the name up in the Steepster database, lots of LS suggestions came up.

Now, this one also smells a little Yunnan-y, like those last two samples of JJM, but it’s not as strong in this one. There is the honey-y note to it and quite a fair bit of grain, but I’m not finding more than a smattering of the hay-y note. It’s that hay in particular that I tend to find less interesting in Yunnans. It does have a bit of a cocoa-y note to it, though, which reminds me of those black tea pearls.

As for the flavour, it’s a bit like that JJM from yesterday. It’s got a two-step flavour profile with first something extremely milky tasting and then pepper-y, smoky notes showing up later. This one is less of a punch in the face though, the second step flavours gradually taking over the first step. I like that.

It also still isn’t exhibiting any of that very Yunnan-y hay-y notes. A little bit perhaps, but not to any large degree at all. What is there of it, I find to be a tolerable level as it isn’t overshadowing everything else. As long as it’s not the primary flavour, I can deal with it. Unfortunately with Yunnans, it does tend to be the primary flavour more often than not.

The aroma also spoke of grain and a smidge of cocoa, and while I do find some grain in this, I can’t locate any of the cocoa. Oh well. I think for my particular tastes, grain would be more important anyway. I consider cocoa to be more of a top note and I really like it when a black tea has a good substatial grainy element to it.

All in all, I’m finding this one quite enjoyable!

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Another JJM from Spoonvonstrup, this one with a brand name. Like the last one I had, this one is a Yunnan one, so I’ll be honest and say I’m nursing any great expectations, considering the regional differences I noticed between the last one and the others.

Now, before we go on, I should point out that the cup had started to cool a bit by the time I started it. See the boyfriend made it for me, and then I got distracted by Luna who purred so prettily. It’s still warm though, now that I’ve torn myself away from the furry purry cuteness.

The aroma has that strong honey-y note that the last one had as well, supporting the Yunnan origin theory of the last one. This one also has a modicum of grain, though, which the last one didn’t so that’s a plus point, definitely.

The flavour is a two-step one. First it’s one thing, and then it completely changes character and becomes something else. Here we have first a milky and slightly honey sweet phase, and then there is the second step with a pepper-y smoky sort of note. That second step is strong. With the mildness of the first step, it feels like being ambushed when the second step kicks in. Towards the end of the sip, the second step lights up a bit, revealing a slightly grainy note underneath, but it’s not much. Or, it’s not enough that it truly comes through the pepper-y smoke.

Several people have mentioned associations to bread with this one, and I’m sorry to say I really can’t see that. In the veeeeeeery beginning of the first step of the flavour maybe but not so much that I’m really convinced. To me that comes in more as tasting like the tea has had milk added to it.

I have to say, I still prefer the more grainy, darker tasting Fujian-y ones over these Yunnan-y ones. I will agree with Verdant Tea’s description of it as tasting almost sunny, but sunny is just not what I’m looking for.


Is there any more of this sample left? I hope you get the chance to give it another go. To be honest, I included this sample with the other JJM’s because I didn’t think any of the other JJM’s were really… that good. This one was included to be the delicious counterpoint to a batch of tea that was not what I usually hope to share. This one was the really good one.

Almost all of the JJM samples I’ve gotten from friends because they’ve been trying to teach me about them and help me fall in love with them, but apart from one small sample I finished, I usually found them to be either astringent and drying in a way that was not acceptable at all for the price-point (at worst) or at best, kind of boring and not convincing me that JJM is something I would want to pursue as a kind of tea that needs to be in my cupboard all the time. So.. all of these samples sitting in a drawer in my house. But then I saw that you’d never tried JJM, and I was sending you tea anyway, and here was this stash of tea. So I sent them to you.
However, I felt pretty terrible to be sending teas that I didn’t love, that were more educational and interesting on an academic/something-to-learn about level rather than an oh-dear-where-have-you-been-all-of-my-life level. If I’m sharing tea, it should be good tea!
I thought: /I don’t want to send a big packet of JJM without having one in there that I was truly excited for you to try/, that I could stand behind and say: “here’s all of this JJM.. but this one is definitely worth drinking and loving.” You just can’t send a sampler without having a great standout example, otherwise you’ll make people think that this kind of tea just isn’t really worth all that it says it is.
But then I realized that I did have a “JJM” that I loved and was excited for you to try: this one.
So here’s my confession: this is the tea I included in your JJM packet to be the shining positive example of something good, something excellent, something that shows that JJM (at least this one) is absolutely worth having in your cupboard. This was the one I included to redeem all of the other samples which are (at least in my opinion and experience), OK.. boring.. just fine.. not as special as their prices and their hype promised. I didn’t want to just send educational theoretical teas. This was the exquisite, just for super-special-fun sample I was quite excited for you to try.

Which is why I am quite sad to see that this initial experience with it wasn’t what I thought I knew it would be for you. I would have bet money on it in a heartbeat! I regret not writing something to the effect of “super-special-awesome! savor this one- it’ll reward you” on the bag so that you could feel a flutter of excitement as the tea was steeping. Instead, it looks like the word “Yunnan” might have given you lower hopes? Factor in a diabolically cute kitten, and there you go.

I feel like I let you down and also let down this fine fine tea by not writing more about it to you before you tried it. I guess I was remembering how the higher expectations with the LaoShan black made you initially uneasy, and I didn’t want to jinx anything by letting on too much how I was looking forward to you trying this.

I really hope there’s some of this left that you could try again; I don’t have enough to spare of this to resend like I did with the autumn TGY, and because it’s a wild picked beauty, I know that when this batch runs out at Verdant, the next batches will never be exactly the same. It’s the wonderful and terrible thing about wild-pickings.

Either way, your note convinces me that I’ve got to get a real tasting note up for this tea this weekend. And if I send sample batches again, I should be more specific in what I write on samples. Ideally, I’d want to make the tea for you so we could drink and savor together, but better notes might help.

Anyway- if this experience was not as lovely as I know it should be, then it is my fault. Apologies to you, Ang, and apologies to you, Wild Picked Yunnan Jin Jun Mei.

Hope you have fun with the other random blacks (though they are from Yunnan!) and whatever else might have ended up in the package. There were quite a few.


Gah! Wow- I write a lot. It didn’t seem so long when I was typing it.


1. Don’t worry about sending stuff to others that you didn’t particular like. Even if you found something to be absolutely vile, others might have much better luck with it than you, and if they don’t like it either, they can toss it or pass it on. Point is, we try new stuff. :) So don’t feel sorry about adding the others and not feeling they were really up to scratch. I this what I have experienced with them so far is a very good example of others might have better luck. :)

2. In general, I really REALLY need to be in a specific mood to enjoy Yunnan teas, no matter what type. The exception to this is that black pearl type because they rarely actually taste of Yunnan. But for most others, it’s not at all my go-to region. They are interesting, yes, because they are so characteristic, but often I find them way too hay-like, so yeah whenever I’m presented with a known Yunnan tea, I instantly adjust my expectations down a notch. I tend to prefer the more Eastern and South-Eastern parts of China. It’s a learning process, this sort of thing. :) When I AM in the Yunnan mood, I like them a lot more, but I didn’t want to have the samples all lie around and gather dust while I waited for that to happen sometime next year.

3. As for brewing instructions, well… To be completely honest with you, chances are I would have more or less ignored them anyway. I routinely ignore whatever tea shops tell me, because I’ve reached a point where I’ve realised that they way I like it might not fit with the way they like it, and I know how I like it best. I’m especially conditioned to this attitude by AC Perchs who insists on recommending some CRAZY steep times for their stuff. A seven minutes long steep of Lapsang Souchong, for example. I don’t think so! O.o
If it was something super-compeltely new to me, I’ll have a look at instructions and adjust them accordingly, but otherwise I don’t use them. I know other people are very bound by brewing recommendations, though, so they would likely appreciate it.

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drank Jin Jun Mei by Unknown
1328 tasting notes


Here’s another Jin Jun Mei from Spoonvonstrup. It came out of a small ziplock bag and the leaves were all golden looking. I’m not going to go with a whole lot of intro on this here, and I’m sure you’ll all appreciate me skipping straight ahead to the moment where I poured water on the leaves.

Because that’s when I was struck by a strong smell of honey. It was just for a moment, but it was definitely honey. Like sticking your nose in a honey jar and inhaling deeply, that’s how strong it was. Intersting. So far we’ve had two which were grain-y and a bit malty, one which was cocoa-y and now one with a honeyed streak. The honey note quickly faded again, though and I’m left with something sweet and grainy smelling. Reminiscent of those first two JJMs in the red wrappers, although I would still say this is more honey-y sweet than malt-y sweet.

The same goes for the flavour. Kind of grain-y but with a strong note of honey sweetness. Strangely enough it makes me think that I’m sure I’ve had this before. There’s something very familiar indeed about this flavour, and I don’t think it’s because it’s my fourth JJM in a relatively short time. My memory of having had this before seems older than that.

It tastes kind of Yunnan-y although not all out hay-y, and it’s more smooth than the others I’ve tried. Still with some smoke on the tail end but nothing overwhelming. Yunnan-y? Heeeeeeeey waidaminnit! I thought JJM was supposed to be a sub-type of LS! LS originates in Fujian if memory serves me right. What’s going on? squints at cup I’ve always thought of these as Fujian-y, but one of my other samples of JJM clearly states Yunnan JJM on it. So how can the same tea be produced in two such vastly different regions? Is it something to do with cultivars?

If it’s cultivars, I’ve changed my mind. Don’t explain. That stuff is way over my head, just say it’s cultivars or something.

Anyway, I suspect this particular sample has a Yunnan originan as well, based on the very Yunnan-y flavour. That honey-y note is really tipping it off. It’s one step away from having that sweet hay note as well, although were not quite there yet. All in all, while I do quite like that honey note, because it’s fun and interesting and not like the teas I normally drink, I do still prefer non-Yunnan-y samples over this one.

This teaches me that while this is still a type to look out for, I have to pay attention to origin of it as well.

Points: 70

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drank Garnet Sable by Aeon Infusions
1328 tasting notes

EMPTY THAT BOX! Okay, this one isn’t at all used up because it’s a large sample. But if I have a large sample that I decide I don’t like, I have given myself permission to not hope that I change my mind and just toss it. Packrat-ing should only be taken so far.

This is one of those really old ones, but I do know who sent me this. It came from Pamela Dax Dean and I know this because it’s her own blend, so it’s the most likely source. It’s a blend of black tea and rooibos and I saw some kind of dried fruit bit in it, and it’s been lying around for ages because of the rooibos. It looks like at least a fifty fifty mix of tea and rooibos and I had to give the sample bag a real good shake to get them properly remixed again.

Since we have recently discovered that I can actually tolerate flavoured rooibos a lot better than I thought, and in some instances have even come to enjoy it, I thought it was time to give this one a go. Enough with the fear, it’s just a blended tea. Empty that box! and all that.

I have to say I don’t find the aroma super-encouraging. It’s definitely very lychee-ish, but I’m not sure I think lychee and rooibos are really two aromas that suits one another all that well. The result is somewhat sour to me. There’s also something prickly in here that reminds me to a disturbing degree of ginger. Hopefully that’s a coincidence, because ginger is one of those things that I can’t really have. It’s fine in food because it’s rarely a strong flavour in food, but in drink it usually is. At least in my experience.

GAH! I’d forgotten it was the first wednesday in May and warning-siren testing time! I do this every year! My little heart is all a-quiver. Of course they started the siren just as I was sipping too.

Anyway, to my pleasant surprise, while I do find the flavour ginger-y, I don’t find it SUPER-ginger-y. Quite spicy, but not grimace-inducing. I can also pick up that lychee, but the mixed base of rooibos and black tea is eluding me somewhat. It’s only when I’m looking specifically for it. Mostly it’s rooibos which adds to the spicyness, and then a touch of black tea later on and towards the end of the sip adding a foundation note to the mix.

I don’t know. I don’t dislike it, so there’s no need to toss it. I’m just not all that fond of it either. Middle of the scale-ish, this one. Sorry, Pamela


I put all of those types of teas in a box and pass them onto someone else – that other person may LOVE it :)
I have a decent box going LOL


So… you just throw in some randoms with the other things you’re sharing? That’s a good idea. I think I’ll follow that example. I never thought of keeping them seperately before.

Sara Lynn Paige

Oh my gosh, fire alarms/siren drills are terrifying. I have an irrational fear when it comes to air raid/flood sirens. I can’t stand them, even in movies! =)

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drank Jin Jun Mei by Unknown
1328 tasting notes

I’m taking a leaf out of SimplyJenW’s book and making an effort to reduce the number of samples in my possession. Some of them are getting pretty old and some of the others will get old and forgotten if we don’t do something about it. So let’s EMPTY THAT BOX!

Then it took me another couple of minutes of catching up on Steepster and thinking about the ETB project before I realised that there wasn’t actually anything stopping me from doing something about it right now. I’m slow this morning.

Feeling inspired for a JJM, I picked another one out of the lot that Spoonvonstrup sent me, as these are some samples that I would be really sorry to see get old and forgotten. This tea seems very me and I would like to actually explore it while I can remember it. The reason I don’t just do that without having to occassionally force myself, is that I’m just so easily distracted and then it’s just easier to reach for the tins on the shelf. It means a lot less agonizing over which tea to choose while the kettle is boiling for the third time, because it got cold while I pondered this very important question.

Maybe I should set up some rules for EMPTYING THAT BOX! or something. Later.

Anyway, this particular Jin Jun Mei came out of an orange wrapper and a small amount of the contents had been used before I got it. A very small amount it must be because there’s still loads of leaf here.

While it was steeping, it had a very chocolate-y note to it. It wasn’t one I sat here searching for; it was simply making it’s way from the pot to my nose all by itself. This had me curiously sniffing at the wet leaf after emptying the pot, but there was nothing particularly chocolate-y about that. Some cocoa yes, the dark stuff used in baking, but also grain and something kind of a bit spicy and wood-y. In the actual cup itself, it’s like we’ve got the reverse, the wet leaf being the photo negative or something. A whole lot of cocoa and then the grain and spice underneath laying down the foundation of the aroma.

Did I find all this cocoa in the other JJMs? I can’t remember.

So due to the aroma, I rather expect the flavour to be similar. That’s not a lot to ask, is it? I mean, that’s not unreasonable. Gosh, was I in for a surprise. It tastes nothing like chocolate or cocoa or anything sweetie-like. Rather than that it’s kind of harsh and a bit gritty. There’s a good amount of smoke on it and it’s somewhat astringent, so it gets really prickly. Underneath that there is a note which – oh hey, look! Now that I look closer, this note is actually remarkably cocoa-y. Good, I did think it was odd that the aroma of it should be so strong only to not have it show up in the flavour. So first smoke, then a quick but strong smidge of cocoa and here come’s the grainyness that I knew had to be in here. The grain is also the note that continues into the aftertaste along with most of the smoke, definitely leaving me with an LS-y impression.

I feel like this is the JJM out of Spoonvonstrup’s lot that I’ve tried so far that has been the most complex tasting one, and also the one that best showed the relationship between JJM and LS. It’s also definitely the harshest, I think, and although this one is very nice on it’s own, seen in the context of the other JJM’s, I think I preferred the other two I tried so far over this one. Doesn’t mean I would turn this one down another time, though.

Points: 77


How fun! I’m glad I was able to rustle up so many to send your way so you can really get to know the full range of the tea. Getting to know a new tea with a ton of different examples is like taking an intensive language crash course, and it’s m preferred “getting to know you” strategy for kinds I’m unfamiliar with.

Re: bitterness. The heavier astr/bitterness has been pretty common to all but /the/ most expensive JJM’s I’ve tried. Cocoa seems familiar, but I can’t nail it down with certainty. Wish I had kept better (or any) notes on these so I could do a “read along with Angrboda” thing.


That sort of thing would have been easier if we’d had brand names to go by instead of just yellow wrapper, red wrapper, different red wrapper… :) The two red ones I remember as fairly similar, this one was crazy different.

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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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