1333 Tasting Notes


I’m giving this one another shot today. It’s not in the pile of teas I’m supposed to be finishing off, I just wanted it, so it’s a semi-sinful indulgence for me.

My first encounter with it was the inevitable disappointment that comes after having had seriously impossibly I’m-not-kidding expectations of it from the start. Second I tried to recreate the cola aspect in a more authentic sort of way by making a strong concentrate of it, putting it in the fridge and then mixing it with ordinary unflavoured carbonated water. This did not go well.

After that I was a bit put off and wondering what to do with all the rest of it.

Today though I’m trying again, to see what I think now that I’m not expecting it to be a miracle in a cup. I have to say I’m still getting a sort of artificial like soapy sort of flavour, but I can ignore that. Underneath is the astringency of the black tea base, which is probably in some way partly my own fault. I wasn’t being very particular about steeping parameters. I can definitely find the cola and a touch of vanilla. The cherry, apart from in the aroma where it’s strong, is still escaping me.


Ew, I hate getting soapy flavors in tea! This happens to me too. I’m glad I’m not the only one!


I know, and I always end up wondering if I’m supposed to be recognising it as something else, but all I can think of is when you’re washing your hair and accidentally get shampoo in your mouth…

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Jillian sent me another couple of bags of this yummy yummy stuff. It seems fitting that I should have one of them this morning just as I stumble out of bed to find the winter olympics ceremony is on tv. I’m not sure if it’s a direct transmission or not. If it is, it must be seriously late in Vancouver… But hey, I turned it on just a few minutes before the danish delegation came in. How’s that for timing, eh? :)

Of course I did mess up the brewing of this. Yes, Angrboda can’t even brew a teabag! It was a minor incident involving me pulling the string off the bag and then managing to poke a whole in the bag with a fork when trying to fish it out of the cup. Oh well, I’m used to having leaves in my cup. Just now this size. And I can probably resteep it, but I’m not sure it would be a good idea under these circumstances.

I was a little worried about whether I would like this less now that it’s not christmas considering how it had initially reminded me of a liquid christmas cookie. I’m glad to report that even with christmas behind us and with a small teabag-mishap, it’s still yummy.

Cheers, Steepsterites.

(Oh yeah, btw Jillian, your package arrived yesterday)


That’s good timing.
I could hear the transmission from the living room, but had to skip it to get ready for work. It’s a shame, I only enjoy the starts of olympics ;)


Yeah, I have a habit of pulling the tags off the bags also.


Oh no! That sounds like something I’d do. I can’t wait to try the loose version:)


Well the ceremony started at 5:45pm PST so it sounds like it was rebroadcasted for you guys. :)

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drank Caramel by Luka Te m.m.
1333 tasting notes

I’m apparently all about the caramel these days. Luckily it’s in my to be rid of pile, but clearly I had more of it than I thought.

It makes me wonder if I might not miss it after all when it runs out.

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I’ve never tried had a green pu-erh before and I’m surprised at how large the leaves are.

Today’s cup isn’t very good for determining anything about colour. It looks a deep yellow, borderline orange, but it might be a bit off.

The aroma is rather sweet with a note of citrus fruits. It smells fresh. Not fresh as in ‘just off the bush’, but fresh as opposed to cloying. Fresh as in something that perks you up a bit. Airy. Not at all like regular pu-erh smells. I wouldn’t even suspect this was a pu-erh if I didn’t know it to be.

The flavour on the other hand completely blindsided me. Based on the aroma, this was NOT what I had expected. I thought I’d be getting something light and slightly sweet maybe with fruity hints. What I got was a strong green tea with some prickly notes on the side of the tongue and upon swallowing. But again, I wouldn’t have guessed on a blind test that this had ever been anywhere near pu-erh. Knowing, however, that it is a pu-erh, I can recognise the aftertaste as such. Here it is much much more pu-erh-y than in ANY of the other parameters.

Nothing But Tea recommends using boiling water, which strikes me as odd considering that this is based on a green tea rather than a black, but maybe the fermentation into pu-erh hardens the leaves to better withstand the higher temperature, I don’t know. I personally thought it best to let the water cool for a spell like I would with any other green tea. The steeping time was also based on NBT’s recommendation.

What, I wonder, is this supposed to taste like? Is it really supposed to be like a strong, badly brewed green tea? Say it ain’t so!

ETA: The wet leaves after steeping smell exactly like whiskas tinned cat food. Now I kind of wish I hadn’t tried smelling those…

5 min, 0 sec

Ew canned cat food has the worst smell ever.


Angrboda, If you don’t mind my suggestion… I’m nowhere near an expert in raw pu erh- I’ve only tried one, but since this didn’t go so well, you might want to try Carolyn’s suggested preparation as I did. 1g of leaf for every oz of water used. Rinse by doing a 15 sec steep in boiling water (although I do just under boiling to preserve the health benefits), discard the rinse water and do your 1st drinkable steep at 20 sec. Carolyn suggests increasing the additional infusions by 10 sec but I don’t see the need. Boiling water doesn’t shock me so much for greens anymore now that I’m into Japanese greens. Is this a loose leaf green? The one that I had was a cake, but yes- raw pu erhs are a completely different tea cup than cooked. I much prefer raw myself. Hopefully Carolyn’s suggestions will give you a cuppa you enjoy as much as I do:)


I know, I used to buy one for my cat on special occasions like her birthdays (Yes, I celebrated my pet’s birthday!) and was forever surprised at how she would almost start tying knots on herself as soon as she smelled it. Even towards the end when it was a struggle to get her to eat anything at all tinned food was the only sort of food I could lure into her. I don’t get it, the dry food smelled SO much better! O.o

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drank Caramel by Luka Te m.m.
1333 tasting notes

Hey, my supermarket have new do-it-yourself check outs! I scanned all my stuff myself and paid and everything. Great fun! It takes remarkably little to entertain me, but that’s probably just because I’m not doing it 7½ hours every day five days a week.

I thought that called for some small amount of celebration, but since I’m on a strict mission to get through the pile of Teas To Be Finished Off, the dearly beloved pai mu tan is currently off limits. Luckily I had this caramel tea which I put in the pile not because it was almost out but more because I had completely forgotten I had it.

A rediscovery. It should do just fine. Using the steep.it site I’ve given it 4½ minutes. The label says 5-6 minutes but I thought 5 last night was a bit rough, so we’re going for a slightly weaker route today. It’s not as rich on the caramel and a little watery, so I’m not sure I like this weaker version better than the slightly rough five minutes steep.

Still though, based on how much I found I enjoyed it last night, although I didn’t post about it, I gave it a small nudge upwards on the rating.

4 min, 30 sec

I love the do-it-yourself checkouts!! I drive my husband crazy by insisting that we go through that line.


Do-it-yourself checkouts have pretty much determined which grocery stores I’ll patronize. I LOVE them.

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This was without a doubt the worst cup of tea I’ve had in a long long time. It even surpassed Adagio’s white cucumber concoction in terms of vileness. And it probably wasn’t even the tea’s fault.

See, this is a backlog from this afternoon on the way home from work. I’ve got a 45-50 minutes train commute and sometimes I buy some sort of coffee drink to go for the trip. Today though, I was super-sleepy (through every fault of my own) so I thought it would be good with some caffeine on the trip. Coffee does indeed have plenty of caffeine, but cappucinos and cafe lattes also have lots of milk, and milk is not all that good at keeping people awake. So something without milk and with caffeine in it. I thought, “hey, this place has Numi teas! Why not give that a shot?” Of course they only had a smaller selection and not the chocolate pu-erh one, so I picked this one because it sounded nice with a vanilla tea.

Erm yeah. Staying awake. Decaf. NEVERMIND!

So that was the first mistake.

I get a to-go cup of water of a temperature that means business, but with my mitten on it was possible to hold the cup. I steeped and then removed the lid from the cup, so I could drink it and get the benefit of the aroma as well. And this is where is started to go wrong, Steepsterites.

The aroma was extremely fruity and sweetly berry-like. Vanilla was there as a hint and I think the thing that added the sweetness.

The tea itself was pretty weak in flavour, and what flavour that actually was there was largely cardboard-y and rooibos-y. Very much on the rooibos, actually, in spite of the bag wrapper not saying anything about it containing rooibos. In fact nowhere I look does it say anything about it containing rooibos so I can only conclude that it’s not supposed to be there.

There was no vanilla in the flavour at all. Not one bit. As a matter of fact there wasn’t even any black tea in the flavour either. Nothing. Not even a hint. All I could pick up was a watered down plain rooibos, which a) wasn’t what I wanted, b) I don’t even like that much and c) doesn’t exist in this place. In fact you could have blindfolded me and let me taste it and I would have said it was a rooibos and I probably wouldn’t even be
the slightest bit in doubt.

How in the name of all that is sweet and wholesome could this have gone so dreadfully dreadfully wrong? I wasn’t expecting perfection but I thought I’d at least be able to get a mediocre cup of tea. I think I know the answer to this.

Cardboard. Cup.

I’ve had that happen before. A cardboard cup that stole all the flavour from an otherwise strong and oversteeped teabag. It was like drinking just hot water. I think this phenomenon was at fault here too. It stole most of the flavour and warped what was left of it into the rooibos-y stuff.

I’m not going to give this a rating due it the nature of the taste-thieving cup. Under other circumstances this might actually have been a lovely tea, but right now after having tried it, I still have no clue what it tastes like.

Let this be a lesson for you, Steepsterites. Cardboard to-go cups = Eeeeeeeevil! Beware!


I agree 100% – cardboard to go cups “steep” and you get cardboard tea (and if you leave the wooden stirring stick in you get that too) UGH!!!


Oh gosh, I’m sorry you had such a sucky experience :( maybe it was better you avoided the pu-erh…I read that pu-erhs have almost zero caffeine in them! At least decaf tea (if it was tea and not rooibos) has a couple of mgs of caffeine… :)


Shanti, they don’t even have the chocolate pu-erh. If they had I’d have bought a whole box. And it wasn’t rooibos. It’s not supposed to have rooibos in it according to the wrapper. Just black tea and vanilla flavour.
Avoid. Cardboard. To-go. Cups. At. All. Costs!

JacquelineM, at least I didn’t get a stirring thing, I don’t think they have those at that particular cafe, but I have noticed the phenomenon in one of the other ones I frequent. You think you get a cafe latte with hazelnut syrup and what you get if you forget to remove the stick is a caffe latte with… wood.
To-go beverages. The bane of my existance!


Ohhh, I get it. Heh, sorry, I misunderstood what you said. And boo to cardboard to-go cups that make black tea taste like crappy rooibos!


I can see how you got confused. I’ve edited the note a bit now to make it clearer that it’s not a flavour that was supposed to be there at all.


Wow, sorry, no chocolate pu-erh and to go cup disaster. I bought this one silicone to go travel mug (two of them actually)(Bed Bath and Beyond: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=16746231) two weeks ago. I know that sometimes they can give off flavor especially to hot brewed teas, but after the second brew, I had no adverse flavoring. When I am on the go, you bet I ask them to fill my to-go cup with hot water for tea because I loathe using cardboard. And helps the environment ;)


I think I sent you another bag or two of the chocolate pu-erh with the Iron Goddess of Mercy I just mailed a few days ago.


Cinoi, yeah, I have one too that I use in the morning, but I didn’t feel like handing that to the woman in the shop. I did find a quieter place to put in the teabag and wait quietly while it steeped, so if I had been smart I could have just poured the hot water over into the other one.
…Oh, why didn’t I think of that???!

Jillian, awesome, I’m looking forward to that. Then we’ll see if I still find it uber-yummy or if it was my christmas spirits speaking. :D


I shall remember this. And keep my travel tumbler close.


I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the cup. There is something cardboardy about this even when drunk from porcelain….

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drank Chai tea by Luka Te m.m.
1333 tasting notes

I’m freezing! Also, I’ve followed Bethany’s example and gathered together all the teas that I only have a little left of and therefore needs to be finished off. I figured this was the closest one for getting warm what with all the spices in it.

Usually when I’ve had this I’ve done it the traditional way with Lena’s and Takgoti’s recipe, but I don’t have any milk so I went out on a limb and just brewed it like I would have any other ‘normal’ tea.

It’s been a good while since I’ve had any of this, but I definitely remember that I could have lived without the black pepper. For some reason, when taken plain like this it’s actually a lot smoother. Probably because I’m using less leaf this way, but it works. Pepper is diminished, although I could still cope without the note of it that’s left.

It’s still not something that I’m likely to be stocking up on, though.


aww…thanks for the shout out. keep warm! chai is always a good choice. :)


Woo! I’m glad I started a trend!


I suppose I should start doing that as well! LOL


I’ve been living on chai this week. BRR!

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drank Black Dragon Pearls by Adagio Teas
1333 tasting notes

Yay, I found the one I’d lost! I had two, brewed one and the other escaped and rolled off into obscurity. I even thought I saw which way it went but I couldn’t find it anywhere.

I figured it would show up eventually and dealt with the loss. Now I’ve found it hiding behind some tins in the cupboard. I don’t understand this because I definitely saw it rolling away. I’m sure I saw both of them rolling away. Now I’m in a funny sort of position where the one I found was actually the one I lost and the one I lost was the one I found.

It came at a perfect time though when I just needed a quick cup, but I have to admit that I’m not really capable of paying too much attention to it beyond ‘caffeine = gooooood’ at this moment.


The silly pearls developed feet and walked back into the cupboard =P


Oh, balls.

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drank Black Satin by 52teas
1333 tasting notes

I experienced a sudden craving. And to my delight (because I had given the last I had away in a swap) I had actually ordered another round of this in my forgotten 52teas order at the beginning of the year.

Lovely. Just a shame I haven’t got any milk. I’ve found that this is rather nice with a bit of milk.

Also, it is steeped to perfection with this awesome tea timer site that James Deville found.

4 min, 30 sec

I live by steep.it. Seriously, so freaking handy.


aha! yes! i second that handiness!


That website is fab!! I may actually start timing my teas with that. Very convenient and much more accurate than the guessing I do now.


I’ve been guesstimating so far too and occasionally I get distracted and forget but otherwise it has served me well. I’m not seeing myself using this EVERY time, because I’m likely to forget about it, but I’ll definitely try to. At least for a while.

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drank Bi Luo Chun by TeaSpring
1333 tasting notes

I made a cup of this earlier and then forgot about it, so it’s all lukewarm and dull now.

As usual though, I had to test-taste it before tossing it and for a brief brief moment I thought I had actually managed to spot the peaches that JacquelineM found earlier in a different brand bi luo chun. I was all, “YAY!”

And then I realised that when I rinsed the pot out after the passion fruit from Adagio (unlogged) earlier I hadn’t done it properly and missed the pinch of leaves lodged in the spout. I’m pretty sure that’s where the sudden fruityness came from.

As lovely as this is when it’s warm, it’s rather dull when it’s not. So I think I’ll go make something else. I’ve quite lost the desire for this particular one right now.

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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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