93 Tasting Notes
This is the first flavored matcha I’ve tried, I got it in a mix pack of matchas from Davids Tea. I was definitely the most skeptical of this flavor, but thought I’d jump right in. I made it in a more traditional way, in a bowl, warm, and whisked. The dry leaf smelled like earthy hot chocolate mix. This didn’t froth as well as the other matcha I made, but I think this might be because I overfilled the bowl a bit. This tea is okay, in this method. It tastes good, but a little odd; sort of like a fruity smoothy that was a bit heavy handed on the undertone of kale. This is warm, sweetened with coconut nectar, and flavored with a coffee/chocolate profile. It is sweet and chocolatey, but the green grass smell and undertone is still present. it’s an accurate mix of matcha and chocolate, but maybe not the way I’d pick to drink it all the time. I bet this would be better suited to a cold late with some almond milk for extra sweetness. Definitely still drinkable and a fun experiment.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Grass, Green
Today I made my first cup of matcha. I’ve had the lates, iced and hot, and even got a cup from the David’s Tea matcha shaker at their store. But I hadn’t tried it on my own.
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I like the history and tradition of matcha and I like the idea of building my own little ceremony. In my everyday life, I tend to be anxious and impatient, and thought a process with some focus and contemplation could be a nice new part of my tea routine.
After doing some looking around on the internet, I was tempted by the beautiful world of matcha bowls and high quality tools and tea. I even bookmarked a set or two worth a few hundred dollars. But for all the tools and quality, the David’s Tea matcha essentials set really struck me as a good beginner deal. I ordered it up with some matcha matsu and some flavored matcha and thought I’d give it a go.
First impressions of the David’s Tea matcha essentials set were positive: the bowl was cute and well-made, the measuring spoon convenient, and the whisk pretty standard compared to the others I had seen around.
The one problem is the lack of instruction. They give you the temperature of the water on the tea pack, but no water to tea ratio, and while they set includes a whisk, there’s no directions or diagrams on how it might best be used. So out of the box, without the internet, this might be a baffling process.
Luckily I’m a tea nerd and had been looking into matcha tips and tricks beforehand anyway. Of the teas I ordered, tried the matcha matsu hot first. I used the spoon to measure the scoop, and put in as much water as I felt comfortable mixing in the bowl. After a few dabbing figure-eight motions with the whisk to break the tea up and stir it in, I went in for the froth. I mixed vigorously for about 15 to 20 seconds, moving back and forth across the bowl (not in circles, like you would in a mixing bowl).
And I got to say, the tea foamed right up and looked as perfect as the picture on the box!
As to the taste, it started off a little plain, green and warm, but the more time I spent sipping, the deeper the flavor developed. I know there’s a world of high quality matchas out there, so this probably isn’t too remarkable for you experts out there. It was grassy and smooth and gentle.
As I drank the bowl, I sat at my desk and looked out the window, watching the sky and the sun, listening to the birds and the sounds of my neighborhood. Cheesy as it sounds, it was nice to not have anything to do but sit for a while and drink a bowl of matcha.
Flavors: Grass, Plants
Got a free sample of this in my latest order, which was a nice surprise. I’ve been wondering what this tea is all about, but didn’t want to invest in a whole pack. I tried it both hot and iced, and iced is definitely better. The bulk of this tea is honeybush chocolate and huge coconut chips; hot, the coconut is a bit greasy but buttery and rich, while the honeybush takes a bit of a backseat. This tea makes more sense cold, as the low temps go better with the tropical vibe and the honeybush chocolate makes it sweet without sugar. I don’t go for teas with milk and sugar, but I bet this would be an absolute killer late.
Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Coconut, Cream, Honey, Nutty, Tropical
I tried this from Takeya’s iced tea variety pack. This was definitely one of the better teas in the pack. It is very sweet and fruity, with the citrus lime as a primary flavor. The coconut is also prominent, smooth and creamy. At first taste, this blend the flavors of a sweet, tropical rum cocktail (but with no rum). I admit the flavors are a bit artificial tasting, but they are sweet and bright enough to not taste like medicine, which happens with some artificial flavors. This is a green rooibos base, so the smooth, nutty rooibos is mellow and caffeine free. I wouldn’t drink this tea on a regular basis, and can’t recommend it hot, but as an iced treat it can be really delicious. Drink it without milk or sugar (it’s plenty sweet already) and pour it on ice. Maybe add some rum and serve it out of a coconut for the full effect.
Flavors: Coconut, Lemon, Lime, Sweet, Tropical
A comparison of David’s Tea pure chai and their vanilla chai. I love spiced teas and thought I would compare a couple of samples.
Pure chai: First impressions from the dry leaf and cinnamon smells much stronger and spicier than the vanilla chai. The black tea is bold and full, not bitter nor sour and serves as a well balanced for the heavy cinnamon. There is a buzzy feel on my tongue, maybe it’s the powerful cinnamon or maybe that’s the kiss of the cloves in the mix. Generally a bit one-note, all cinnamon all the time, but it is warming in temperature and flavor and could easily become a go-to comfort tea.
Vanilla chai: in comparison to the sharp cinnamon of the pure chai, this flavor smells more medicinal and sweet. It could be the anise or maybe the herbal vanilla bean that gives it these tones. I’m a fan of licorice, so this isn’t really a problem for me. This chai is significantly sweeter and creamier than pure chai; the vanilla bean is very forward and the touch of anise at the back of each sip plays well with the sweet flavors. This feels more like a dessert than a pick me up, but I’m glad they carry this blend as there are fewer teas with anise than with cinnamon. Definitely a great choice for a creamy reward after a long day.
I steeped both of them on the long side, and drank them without milk or sugar. I know chais are traditionally drank with milk, but due to dietary needs and preference, I didn’t choose to brew them that way.
I was skeptical that these teas would be very different from each other, but they are absolutely distinct in smell and taste and a great choice for any chai tea fanatic!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Spices, Spicy, Tannin
The pearls smells strongly floral in the dry leaf, which is a much gentler floral presence when brewed. It has an amazingly smooth mouthfeel and flavor. The jasmine is floral without feeling too soapy or perfume-like. The green and white tea blended base behind the jasmine is green and herbal, slightly nutty, without being grassy at all. White teas are not always my favorite for the almost mineral muskiness in their aftertaste, but the white in this blend is not too strong, and is adds a smooth balance to the green. While this first brew is slightly brothy or buttery, the floral, almost fruity tones, come out in the sweeter second steepings. I also did a cold brew of the jasmine pearls in my favorite Takeya pitcher. I let them steep in cold water for 24 hours. The brew was lighter in color, and more flowery than the hot brews, the green and white teas much lighter and smoother in the cold brew. Classy, gentle, and soothing in all its brews.
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Nutty
I tried this tea as a full pouch of loose leaf in my Takeya iced tea pitcher. Wow, do these teas brew up fast! The water was deep dark blood magenta after only a minute or two. This is not a typical hibiscus tea, and pomegranate was a pretty good pairing with it. Not sour at all, this blend is very sweet without anything added, with a bit of an artificial cherry candy flavor. I also taste the apple or fruit base, tasting almost juice-like. Probably best when brewed lightly or when mixed with something like lemonade or sangria. It was a bit too sweet and artificial on its own.
Flavors: Apple, Cherry, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus
I can’t say I was impressed with this tea the first time around. The leaves arrived in little pre-packaged iced tea portions and they were pretty crushed, not a lot of large leaf pieces. The smell of the dry leaf was off-putting, but I just assumed I don’t drink much sencha so I wasn’t used to it. They said hot water was tends to be too hot for this tea, so I did a 8 hour cold brew in my fridge. I definitely overdid it. The tea was a rich yellow green, almost neon in some light, and the steeping time was far too long. In the bag the tea smelled strongly mineral, with odd vegetal tones. Brewed, it tasted almost like dirty water; more dirt and mineral than grass and earth tones. I assume its bitterness came from my oversteeping, but I just was not a fan of its sour vegetable flavor. I can try again with more careful temperature and time methods, but it might be a while before I get up the courage.
Flavors: Dirt, Mineral, Sour, Vegetables, Vegetal
This is definitely a sweet, decadent, relaxing tea, and fitting for its Spa Day name. I took a whiff of the dry leaf and was sold immediately. I got this iced with no milk or sugar. The mango flavor is juicy in smell in taste, truly irresistible. Pair that mango with the slightly tart pineapple and lemongrass is divine and keeps it from being too sweet. Thankfully, the coconut is not so prevalent, as it can have an overpowering soapy, nutty in other blends if overbrewed; in this blend is adds just a gentle creaminess. Probably too sweet to be in my rotation all the time, but it might find its way into my cupboard for some summer iced tea in the coming weeks.
Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Lemongrass, Mango, Pineapple, Tropical
This tea is pretty tasty, but not the favorite I wish it were. The coconut is creamy and at the forefront, maybe overpowering if overbrewed, but makes for a sweet dessert-like blend. The chai spices are a bit gentler, mostly sweet ginger and cinnamon but a kiss of pepper and fennel. It’s a rooibos decaf blend so it is good for anytime of day or night. Not a bad blend, but a little bit too much coconut for me.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Coconut, Cream, Ginger, Rooibos