470 Tasting Notes
I ordered this almost a month ago but had it shipped to my parents’ house due to issues with my post office, and the wait (as you can imagine) was killer! I ordered this and the Berry Pie matcha the first day they went on sale, and I’ve been lusting after them since I hit the order button.
Red Leaf’s dessert flavors have impressed me again and again, but they’ve totally knocked it out of the park with the Apple Pie matcha! Before I get into the flavoring the matcha itself is super green, the color is so concentrated! I wonder if it’s a different base than usual? It’s got a stronger flavor too, pleasantly grassy and sweet.
When I first opened the packet I was a bit nervous because it smelled like super-strong chemicals… maybe because the poor thing has been sitting in a bag for a whole month? I was worried the chemical smell would carry over to the flavor but it doesn’t at all. In fact, there’s not a trace!
I got this in the delicate flavoring so it’s pretty subtle when you drink it: the matcha taste is in the forefront. But then once I finish a sip my whole mouth is filled with apple pie flavor! Super authentic and delicious. Warm, gooey apples, a hint of caramel and spice: cinnamon, nutmeg! It’s so amazingly good, the most accurate apple pie flavor I’ve ever tasted! This is such a winner. You can get some here:
Today is my dad’s birthday, and as tradition dictates I baked a cake! I love baking but I usually try to keep my cakes simple. Well, not this year! My dad said he wanted “something fruity” so as tempted as I was to make a fruitcake just for laughs I went with a blueberry lemon theme.
The base cake was a fluffy white cake, much less sweet than your usual cake, studded with blueberries. In the middle was a blueberry mousse, the frosting was lemon cream cheese and it was topped with more mousse and candied lemon peels. All from scratch!
And because 4 components weren’t enough apparently I also made a sorbet on the side. Using… this tea! Water, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and this tea simmered for 15 minutes, then chilled and poured into an ice cream machine.
So this note isn’t really that centered on the tea (because CAKE) but the sorbet came out SO GOOD. The blueberry was strong, you’d swear there were fresh blueberries in there somehow, and of course EG is great in any cold form. All in all, a huge success! Worth the 5+ hours of work the total ensemble took.
Apparently it’s Girl Scout Cookie season! I honestly don’t keep track of these things but my parents always get me a box of Tagalongs (which are the best Girl Scout cookies for sure!). I eat two or three a night and keep them for as long as possible. They’re so yummy!
So what does that have o do with tea? Well, this tea smells JUST like a Tagalong. If you blindfolded me and stuck this under my nose I would think for sure it was a cookie. A fresh cookie! Imagine how amazing a Tagalong would be fresh out of the oven. Mmmm.
It doesn’t really taste like a Tagalong, which is a good thing. I love genmaicha, I love flavored genmaichas, but I don’t like them heavily flavored. This is essentially Marshmallow Treat (which I adore) with dark chocolate added. So, yes, it’s amazing! The cocoa nibs are fantastic, dark rich chocolate without being sweet or icky fake. The marshmallow is, of course, fantastic.
I drank this hot—I have surprisingly never tried Marshmallow Treat hot, always iced, but s’mores are supposed to be hot so of course I had to try it out that way first. I’ll be cold brewing the leaves tonight though!
This note was kind of all over the place, huh? But in closing—I love it! Marshmallow and chocolate and genmaicha, oh my!
One of my Christmas present requests was the Lupicia sampler that had all their holiday teas. I love that they don’t go with the traditional holiday flavors like peppermint, orange and clove—they seem more original and inspired by the season itself. Sadly they sold out the day after I added them to my wishlist, so it was not meant to be. But thanks to Emily M I am getting to try a few of them!
Carol is very much like one of my favorite Lupicia blends, Strawberry & Vanilla. It’s strawberry, vanilla, and a hint of rose with a black base instead of green. So, Strawberry & Vanilla minus the matcha and with black tea instead of green. And honestly I don’t remember if there are roses in S&V… I think there are? Maybe not.
The strawberry isn’t as candy-tasting here, a lot of people have said S&V reminds them of Nesquik and I definitely agree, that’s one of the reasons I love it! The flavor here is more natural and juicy, with softer vanilla tones. I don’t get any floral from the rose though, maybe a tiiiiiny bit at the end of the sip but it might be wishful thinking.
This is a nice tea, but I keep comparing it in my head to S&V. They’re so different though even with all the similarities—this is a lighter, softer, less sweet blend with a fuller black base that “covers up” the flavors perhaps a bit better than S&V. I think this would be really great as a latte, and I definitely have enough to try it out that way!
For some reason I got this confused with Prairie Berry and made it as one of my cold brews last night because I was craving berry tea. Why I thought this was a berry tea I’m not sure—did those two come out the same time? Either way I really like Prairie Berry yet I seem not to have logged it. Mysterious!
Anyway, I got a sample of this from TeaEqualsBliss—either from our swap or the TTB, which arrived together. I really need to start logging my samples when I get them so I can keep track of everything, sigh. I’m so unorganized! I used to have a spreadsheet for all my teas (well I guess I still do), but I stopped logging teas in it once I got to 300. Laziness and tea organization do not go well together.
Anyway, this tea! It’s peach. Very peach. I don’t mind peach teas but they are not my favorite, unless it’s peach from Lupicia which seems… I don’t know, riper than other peach flavorings? Peach can be so terribly generic tasting, it’s one of those really popular flavors and almost any bottled/canned iced tea will have a peach variation. So sometimes I just feel peached-out!
This isn’t bad, just not what I was in the mood for. It is nicely creamy but not as creamy as I had hoped—I think a hint of vanilla would do wonders here. I have enough for one more cup so I’ll have to try again when I am in more of a peach mood!
Mangosteen is a pretty unusual fruit. I had mangosteen-flavored things often as a kid, growing up in the city has many advantages when it comes out to trying exotic fruits and veggies! But generally it’s quite hard to find anything that really tastes like mangosteen, usually in teas it’s just flaunted as being a “superfruit” and then drowned out with peach or melon.
Mangosteen is the queen of Thai fruit, sweet and syrupy and at times a little floral even. It does remind me of lychee, though with a fuller flavor (if that makes sense). Usually you eat just the center flesh, but this matcha is made with the outer purple part as well! So it’s not just flavored, but actually uses parts of the actual fruit. Interesting for sure!
The flavor is not what I expected. No syrupy-sweet fruity tones, but a more earthy, nutty flavor. It reminds me of almond and mango rind mixed together! Which isn’t that surprising, given that it’s the rind part (which I will freely admit I never tasted—I go straight for the fleshy heart). Mm, gruesome, fleshy fruit hearts!
Anyway I really enjoyed this one, plus it’s extra good for you with the bits of rind in there. I added a splash of almond milk to bump up the nutty flavors and it really shone! Super unusual but in all the right ways. Thanks so much to Azzrian for letting me try this one out!
This is a tea I was really looking forward to. I mean, lemongrass and rose? Yes please! Sounds divinely simple. But as soon as I started brewing this one up last night I knew there was something a little off. The bag (I got sample sized, so it’s around 1 ounce) has tons of lemongrass but very few rosebuds. Which wouldn’t be an issue if there was rose flavoring (note that I have zero issues with either natural or artificial flavoring!), but sadly there’s just not a whole lot of rose here.
The lemongrass is nice and very high quality, but I am missing the rose. There’s just a wisp of it at the end of the sip, a hint of floral, but this tea just leaves me wanting. I’m going to give it another try, possibly as a cold brew, before rating it but right now I’m just disappointed.
So there’s this magical place in the city called Doughnut Plant that makes the best donuts in the world. Seriously, there is nothing better than their creme brulee donut. It has actual caramelized sugar on top! But my favorite of theirs is the rose donut, filled with floral pastry cream. It’s so good!
And, happily, that’s what this tea reminds me of. Rose pastries! Rose cupcakes! Creamy, smooth, floral but not too strong with just the right hint of rose. I noticed a lot of reviews complain about it being weak but I cold brewed my cup and it came out quite strong! Kind of sad I only got a sample of this one.
Golden Fleece round 2, fight!
As I mentioned in my last note, I cold brewed my leaves from yesterday. I did 4 short steeps in my fish gaiwan so I knew there was more than enough flavor left in here for a cold brew! And I know some people must be thinking it’s crazy to cold brew leaves like this but let me tell you, I am a cold brew addict. I do it to almost every tea that crosses my path, and 90% of the time I prefer them that way! Teas can taste quite different with this brewing method and I tend to like the sweeter, softer notes that it brings out.
The liquid after a 12 hour steep is… well, it’s golden! My steeps last night were much darker, a murky brown even with super short steeps, but this time it’s a stunning color. Liquid gold!
And the flavor… oh my. Hello, Golden Fleece! It smells like fresh pastries, brioche buns hot out of the oven. I think I am finally seeing (well, tasting) what all the fuss was about! This is liquid honey, soft and floral (yes, floral, from a Dian Hong!), faint notes of citrus and malt. Orange blossom, and the end of the sip is almost custardy. This is Fabulous with a capitol F. I think I’m in love… which is unfortunate given how pricey this is and, you know, the fact that even if I could afford it, Golden Fleece is sold out!
Another from the Traveling Tea Box! I have quite a few rose blacks in my cupboard but I am always up for trying some more. This one smells lovely, very strong rose flavor! I cold brewed it because, well, I was really in the mood for an iced rose tea!
This is nice, the rose is very powerful but not in a prefumey way and it reminds me of many of the rose congus I’ve had in the past. The black base is nice but ceylons aren’t really my favorite (with the notable exception of GMT’s Sinhraja!). I kind of think of them as the “default” black tea since sooo many blends use it. I’m sure ceylons can be very nice but I never end up picking out individual notes, they just taste like strong tea! I think that speaks more of my own bias and tea history (since most bagged ones use CTC ceylon) rather than Ceylon as a region.
I had half a cup of my iced Blueberry Crumble from Della Terra left over, and on a whim I mixed it with this. It went from good to oh my god incredible! Cinnamon and rose, mmmm. The blueberry couldn’t really compete with the cinnamon crumble and rose notes, but holy cow is that a good mix. I think I need to try out something similar with Blueberry Crumble and Amandine Rose!