1347 Tasting Notes

Once upon a time I lived in a place where there was a little tea shop. The little tea shop sold something they called ‘Krudtblanding’, which translates directly to Gunpowder Blend. The name referred to the Lapsang Souchong in it, rather than the gunpowder green tea. Anyway, it was a blend of English breakfast tea with Lapsang Souchong and an unknown green tea that didn’t look like Gunpowder. Just to hammer that home. It was not, as many people on this site reasonably assumed (and it was sometimes difficult to convince them otherwise even though the name was a translation and the original name wouldn’t work as a gunpowder tea reference in the first place).

Aaaaaaaanyway.

This was an absolutely lovely tea, but LS is fairly obscure in this country. Unless someone is actually into tea, they’ll likely never have heard of it before and the term ‘smoked tea’ is likely to make them make this face. —> O.o
And this was more than ten years ago.

So in other words, one day I went in to stock up on this wonderful blend, they told me they were discontinuing it, but they’d let me buy up the remainder that they had. I think basically I was the only one ever buying it. So that’s how I came home with some 600g of one tea.

I have never been able to find a blend quite like it again.

UNTIL NOW!

This is a blend of Earl grey with LS, Ceylon and Nilgiri and some gunpowder green. Ceylon and Nilgiri together sounds like something on the road to a standard breakfast blend. And then there’s the LS and then there’s the green tea. Which slightly confusingly in this case is actually confirmed gunpowder. It basically sounded just like that old blend with added EG flavouring.

The Earl Grey aspect is quite subtle. It’s there, but it’s not overwhelming and if you didn’t know it was there, you’d be too focused on the LS element to pay it much attention. And the LS element isn’t even actually all that strong either. I mean, it’s clearly there, but it’s not like drinking a regular LS either. All together this becomes a fairly smooth blend with a strong umami element to it. It’s actually not entirely unlike the top notes of a mild pu-erh. It’s like everything sort of evens everything else out.

To be honest, I haven’t got a whisper of a chance of remembering how this holds up to that blend of old, but when I’m drinking this, I’m thinking it’s definitely close enough. It’s right up my alley.

Martin Bednář

That’s so nice story and tea which sounds bit crazy to me, but tasty!

ashmanra

Oh happy day, finding a tea that fills a hole left by a beloved tea that went away!

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drank Honning te by Østerlandsk Thehus
1347 tasting notes

Hey-ho, we’re embarking on a new batch of teas! I ordered these a while back, because we were getting low on breakfast tea, but I decided to make a rule that all the old flavoured stuff had to be used up first before we could start on the new stuff. This is because a couple of them were a bit meh, and I just know it would have lingered in the cupboard forever and been forgotten otherwise. So, them’s the rules. It’s been tough. I’ve been quite excited about trying this one.

This is a honey flavoured Keemun. I don’t recall if I’ve ever had a honey flavoured tea before other than honey and vanilla chamomiles (which are entirely different beasts), so I had little to nothing to go on. I do very much like honey, though, and preferably the stronger flavoured once. We tend to buy heather honey, because it’s the strongest one available, with the added advantage of being rather on the runny side so a little goes a long way and it really seeps into the bread in a delicious way.

But anyway, I’m not here to review honey.

When making this tea, it certainly smells like honey. The whole kitchen smelled of honey while this was steeping. It was very distinctive. Sniffing the cup more ‘up close’ though, it didn’t actually smell that honey-y, but rather more floral. I wasn’t aware that it was a Keemun base at the time, but I felt like there was something else in there that I could quite put my finger on. A bit woody, I wanted to say. Maybe slightly malty. Finding out about the Keemun afterwards surprised me not even a little bit. It was rather more of an ‘oh, of course’ sort of moment.

Flavourwise, it’s quite pleasant. The honey is subtle but present. It doesn’t so much taste like a tea flavoured with honey as it does a tea with a little honey added to the cup, only without sweetening it. The base does taste somewhat generic, but it’s got a good strength to it so it feels like a robust cup of tea. Which, in my opinion, a Keemun always should. I’m forever puzzled when Keemun black is described as ‘mild’. A Keemun black should absolutely be able to stand up for itself, kick bottom and take names. I think it’s the honey flavouring that makes it feel a little generic, though. I feel like there might be a pretty good Keemun at the base of this.

So yes, pretty good. On the other hand, I suspect I could probably reproduce a similar cup by adding a small amount of strong honey to a suitable black tea myself. Don’t much like sweetened tea, though, so this probably is the better choice for me.

Sil

missed ya! glad to see you’re still drinking tea and trying new things :)

ashmanra

Yaaaaay! Good to see you here! I have had Harney’s Elise’s Blend which is a honey flavored black. It was odd. One cup would be awesome and then next….meh. I need to try it again and figure out how to make it awesome every time.

tea-sipper

oh whoa, a malty keemun with honey flavor?

Angrboda

Sil, I’ve always tended towards posting about things only once or twice, because I run out of things to say about it. :) I’ll probably stick somewhat to this system of using stuff up before getting into new things, you’ll be able to tell when that happens. :D

ashmanra, I’ll have to see how this one holds up to further scrutiny. I’ve definitely had a box of those aforementioned honey and vanilla chamomiles that would vary greatly from bag to bag. We used them extensively as a Before Bed Beverage at one point. Sometimes it’d be a bee hive in a cup, other times it’d be all vanilla all the time.

tea-sipper, yes so it seemed. I would have been quite curious to try this base on its own, just to have a closer look at it. I’m also curious to see what I’ll get out of it now that I know what characteristics to look for. I find malty keemuns can sometimes take on an elusive almost caramel-y aspect if you get it Just Right, so the combination is not a huge stretch for me.

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I’m having a very old indeed bag of this, made up with twice boiled water because I forgot about it the first time, and then added a splash of cold to bring it down to temperature. It’s only a miracle that it’s not oversteeped to boot. And it’s fine.

I’m having tummy issues and I’m all out of minty. Don’t judge me.

Martin Bednář

Shh… this must be indeed very, very old! I am surprised it was still “fine”.

Angrboda

Couple of years old, I think. And who knows how old before packaging, selling etc.
But when you have unceremoniously parted ways with your lunch in the middle of the pavement the day before (so embarrassing!) and haven’t got anything minty, this does a great job as the next best thing for the circumstances. So it’s fine. :)

Martin Bednář

Haha, well I have this tea bag as one of the first in my collection. That’s 15 years at least :)

ashmanra

I was just thinking of you earlier today! I am sorry about the parting with lunch. I expect it was not “such sweet sorrow.” Oof.

Angrboda

Martin, weeeeeeell, it’s Pickwick. This is in the part of the range that will likely never change. My mum regularly bought their blackcurrant tea for decades, until she decided a different one was better.

ashmanra, there was definitely nothing sweet about it. It was more halfway between, “oh gosh, everybody saw, how mortifying!” and “why aren’t anybody helping me?!”

Martin Bednář

Yeah, maybe the image here on Steepster confused me a bit. Probably it is in new design, but still same blend. I don’t mind trying their teas, they are sometimes pretty nice for the price.

Angrboda

Oh no, mine still looks like this.

Martin Bednář

Well, then it will be very… very old :)

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drank Chaï Impérial by Palais des Thes
1347 tasting notes

I got a bag of this as a free sample with an order (quite) a while ago. I’m keeping it in the cup while drinking and I’ve added plenty of milk.

It just strikes me as a bit thin. I’m getting mostly hot water and milk and ginger. And I honestly don’t much care for ginger. It burns in the throat much the same way strong alcohol does, and while I do enjoy the occasional G&T I don’t generally make them very strong.

All I’m getting is ginger. It’s not very satisfactory. I think there’s a bit of cardamom somewhere in there, but it’s not very convincing. I think I’ll just have to give up on this one. I want a proper cup of tea.

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Ah, real breakfast tea. This one is a mix of Ceylon and Assam and we have it milked.

It’s hard to really write a proper post on a milked tea, because for this sort of cup it’s mostly just a question of, “Is it good and strong, yes or no?”

The answer is yes, and unlike those emergency twinings bags, it can be resteeped.

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I haven’t had an LS in such a long time that I can’t actually remember.

Oh heavens, yes.

That is literally all I can find to write about this right now.

Or maybe more something along the lines of, yaaaaaaaaaaaassssss!!!

I so needed this.

ashmanra

I discovered that I love lapsang souchong with a bowl of ice cream. I love LS already, but pairing it with ice cream made for a very bad enjoyable habit last winter.

Angrboda

I can well imagine that, actually. They’re both quite sweet.

dreamloomer

My thoughts exactly when I drink LS after a long time. :)
Fun fact: Several years ago, when I was drinking LS at home, my wife came from work and asked suspiciously “Were you eating sausage?”. (I’m a vegetarian.)

Martin Bednář

My first experience with LS was:
“Who have THAT much stinky socks?”
Actually it tasted and smelled like that. I think it was Greenfield brand tea bags.

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So I got this as a free random sample with a previous order. (I still haven’t heard anything about my most recent one and have now tried to chase them in what I’m hoping is not an impatient sounding way)

It’s basically just a strawberry black with tiny sugar hearts in it. In which case I’d have rather just had a regular strawberry black to be honest. Those little coloured sugar additions whether their shaped like hearts or stars or unicorns have always felt rather gimmicky to me. They add nothing of value.

Luckily they don’t actually make it taste like it’s got sugar in it, because I don’t like sugar in my tea. Some people find that a little sugar in a flavoured tea enhances the flavouring. I find sugar in tea, any sugar, just adds a weird sort of nearly astringency and a kind of cloying syrupy mouthfeel.

When viewed as simply a strawberry tea, it’s not bad. Tastes rather strongly of strawberry and a bit of toning it down probably wouldn’t hurt it, but it’s not overwhelming either. It’s okay, but not something I would order. I would just go for the strawberry tea, plain and simple, and leave the unnecessary sugar and colouring agents for someone less curmudgeonly.

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A week ago I ordered a new supply of breakfast tea, but it hasn’t been sent yet. Presumably this is to do with the pandemic and so I’m not going to pester them for the time being.

In the meantime, we bought a box of this. Emergency rations, guys. Our supermarket only carries Twinings in bagged form and Husband finds one bag for a pot of two large cups is fine. Whereas my instinct says one bag for a cup and two for a pot.

Probably as a consequence it’s rather thin. I feel like I’m drinking hot water with milk. It’s not good. I have asked him to try and make the next pot either with two bags, or with a significantly longer steep, just so we can at least find out if it really is that poor and lay the dosage discussion to rest. (I’m pretty confident in my two bag theory, though)

On a different note we are both healthy. Husband is working from home for the foreseeable, whereas I still have to go to work. (I work in a hospital lab. We are important for diagnostics, and so essential personnel.) The Outside, on my commute, is nearly deserted. Looks like I’m travelling in the middle of the night. Otherwise we are staying in and being careful. As an introvert, I feel like I’ve been training for this my whole life.

teapartyfortwo

I can so relate to your post! My work shut down on Thursday but I didn’t go in all week as it’s a non-essential store. I too am practicing self-isolation. Like you, I am also and intovert and am not living much differntly than I usually do! Stay safe and stay healthy!

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drank Babusca by Carstensens Te-handel
1347 tasting notes

Hey, I never wrote about this when I got my latest lot of flavoured teas and made a return to the site. I must have forgotten. I’ve had it several times since then, I believe, and whenever I see the tin in the cupboard Kate Bush starts singing in my head.

This is a citrus-y one. Although it does contain bergamot oil, I would say there’s not really enough of it for this to qualify as a member of the EG family. It also has lemon, lime and orange blossom, and maaaaaybe a bit of orange flavouring as well? I’m not sure.

The result is sweet and citrus-y, with a creamy sort of texture to it. I feel like lime is the most dominant flavour here. I suspect the bergamot oil is actually working to temper the tartness of the lemon and lime. This is also why I think there might be some orange flavouring added to it apart from just the blossoms. It feels too sweet for there not to be anything to balance it out.

I’m quite happy with this one. It’s delicious as a post-lunch tea.

I also rather enjoy Kate Bush on occassion, but I could live without the earworm. :)

ashmanra

Ah, Kate! Breathing is a favorite of mine. So many good ones, though.

Angrboda

See now you made me go and listen to that song. :)

ashmanra

Did you know it already? That and Wuthering Heights and…and…

tea-sipper

I JUST listened to a Kate Bush song minutes ago. I love them all. All of them.

Angrboda

Oh yes, I know that song. I have a weird weakness for The Dreaming as well. That whole album, to be honest, but particularly the title track.

ashmanra

Its so nice to run into Kate fans! They are rare where I live.

Angrboda

I don’t think I’m familiar with a sufficient quantity of her work to really call myself a fan. It’s a bit like Tori Amos. Something that I get reminded exists every now and then and then pull it out to listen to for a bit.

tea-sipper

I’m 1,000% also a Tori fan.

Angrboda

I suspect there’s generally a lot of overlap with those two. :)

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This one is hazelnut and chocolate. I’ve mentioned earlier that I’m always on the lookout for a hazelnut tea, but it’s difficult to find one that’s just hazelnut. This one is sort of close enough given that the chocolate isn’t really all that prominent. I’ve tried both with and without milk, which is carries well, but the chocolate remains very shy. Which… a name like that, I expect some sort of chocolate spread sort of flavour.

The hazelnut is on the forefront here, lending quite a bit of nutty, wood-y astringency. This is probably why it takes milk so well. So that’s great! It’s not precisely what I was searching for, but what I was searching for I seem to have got. How’s that for a bit of luck.

Now that this need has been satisfied, am I going to get it again? Maybe not next time I visit the shop, but in future probably yes. Provided of course that I remember all this the next time I find myself searching for hazelnut teas.

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Introvert, crafter, black tea drinker, cat lover, wife, nerd, occasional curmudgeon.

Contact Angrboda by email: iarnvidia@gmail.com

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Bio last updated February 2020

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