470 Tasting Notes

88

I seem to be feeling Christmas-y in some of my matcha choices. First Eggnog, now this! Now that I think about it, combining the two would probably be delicious. Gingerbread Eggnog Lattes? The perfect holiday treat! Well, it’s not exactly the holiday season yet (though it seems to be sneaking up on me), but thankfully no one will judge me for dipping into this seasonal treat a bit before the weather turns chilly (hopefully!). I got:

Size: Small (30 grams)
Base: Classic Matcha
Flavor: Distinctive

Another I almost got with the black base, but I’m trying to see what flavors I like now and eventually I’ll pick and choose which ones will be in my “permanent” matcha collection. You know, the ones you have to have on hand at all times! Right now for me that’s probably Pumpkin Pie, Cotton Candy, and Cookies & Cream with the black base. There are others that I alllmost have to have all the time (caramel, macadamia nut, cheesecake) and I might take the plunge and get all of them in the larger size. But for now, I am still in the deciding phase! Does Gingerbread have what it takes?!

The spice level on this is STRONG. It’s so ginger-y! I think delicate would have worked well for this one, though I do like the Distinctive flavor level just for that extra pow. As suggested in a review on their site, I whipped this one up as a hot latte with some brown sugar. I tasted the base before any additions, and I think the milk and brown sugar really bring out the cookie aspects. Before, it’s just very strong spices, and I’m not really getting “cookie.” I think it’d be even stronger with a black base!

The spice level on this reminds me of a gingersnap—ginger, cinnamon, maybe even some molasses going on. It’s much more warming than the chai matcha, which has a similar taste profile, but it’s also more… overwhelming? I don’t know if that’s the right term, but I feel like this is Robust or even There’s Matcha In There?! instead of Distinctive. It’s so strong! I think this is a matcha you really need to be in the mood for, but when you are it’ll be just perfect, especially around holiday-time. You can get some here:

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/gingerbread-matcha.html

Helena

you have made me crave this… you are EVIL in a good way :D
man I really want some gingersnaps now…

Sil

oh man..gingersnaps..

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89

I actually made this yesterday, but totally forgot about it! I ended up ordering this one because I was so enchanted with the Macadamia Nut Matcha (one of my favorites!) and needed to try out more nutty flavors. Hazelnut isn’t a flavor I have often, but it’s so delicious, especially in tea. I was debating over getting this or Almond, but Hazelnut won out… mostly because of the possibility of making a Nutella Matcha Latte. Mmm! I ordered:

Size: Small
Base: Classic Matcha
Flavor: Distinctive

So, the same as usual! I almost went for a black base on this one, but I was so enchanted with the green macadamia matcha that I decided to just go for it. I’m not sure if I regret that decision or not… this really would be great with a black base, maybe even Nutella-tasting on its own! Since the black matcha has some chocolatey notes.

That’s not to say it’s not good with a green base! The hazelnut flavor is strong and nicely present, with rich nutty, almost buttery tones that do meld really well with the smooth and light green matcha. But it’s kind of… lighter than I was expecting. The Macadamia seemed to combine effortlessly with the matcha flavor, but the same thing isn’t happening here. Not entirely in a negative way: it’s still a perfectly tasty matcha, just not as totally amazing as macadamia nut. I think the green base competes a little bit with the hazelnut flavor, since they don’t exactly have similar profiles.

I may sound a bit negative, BUT I do love this matcha as I almost always do with Red Leaf Tea flavors. It’s just not quite what I was expecting, though I think my expectations were just too high! It’s still scrumptious and I think making it cold was a mistake: this just begs to be a hot, rich latte…. maybe with some actual Nutella mixed in? I think this one will be great for baking to! You can get some here:

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/hazelnut-matcha.html

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96

I really got this mainly as a mixer. I tend to lean towards the more complex, dessert-y matcha flavors like Pumpkin Pie and Cheesecake, and Earl Grey seemed like it’d be the perfect compliment to a lot of my favorites. I have so many different Earl Greys in my cupboard, it seemed blasphemous not to have an EG matcha as well even if it’s just for experimenting with. But of course I have to try it by itself first! I got:

Size: Small (30 grams)
Base: Classic Matcha
Flavor: Delicate

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much of this by itself. Like the Chai Matcha, I got it for playing around with and never really intended to drink it alone. Of course, I was totally wrong! Never underestimate the beauty of a simple matcha. Sure, it’s great to have English Toffee and Tiramisu, but there’s an elegance and simplicity to this matcha that really shines all on its own.

Bergamot is what makes Earl Grey, well, Earl Grey, and it’s nicely present here. I’m glad I went with delicate: while I do like a strong EG, I didn’t want it overpowering here at all. There’s that classic citrus tang, with just a hint of floral qualities that really go well with the fresh, grassy matcha. I’m not sure if bergamot is the only flavoring used here, because as the description states there’s just a tiny hint of warming smoke. It reminds me of a brisk EG with a strong black base, mixed in with my matcha! Refreshing, bright, and very different from all the other ones in my cupboard.

Honestly, I think it’s going to be hard to even mix this with anything else now that I’ve tried it on its own! It’s just so delicious. However, the lure of Earl Grey Cheesecake Matcha is really really calling to me. Plus, I have everything I need now to recreate Paris in matcha form! I don’t know why, but I think it would be fun to redo some of my favorite tea blends with matcha flavors. That is, if I don’t drink this one up plain first! Definitely a cupboard staple. You can get some here:

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/earl-grey-matcha.html

LiberTEAS

I ordered this with the black Matcha… I can’t wait to try it. I’ll eventually have to get it with the green base too, but I wanted to try it with the black first.

Alphakitty

I really wanted to get it with the black base too, but I decided to go with green first. I actually think this would be really nice with the white as well, it’d enhance the floral notes.

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91
drank Chai Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
470 tasting notes

I’ve been away from Steepster for so long! My laptop died a few weeks ago, and then my desktop at the beginning of this week which means that I was left with no computer. Which, for me, is really hard! By the time I managed to fix it (okay, so I didn’t do anything but stand around anxiously, it was all my bf) NYCC had rolled around and I didn’t have time to catch up with tealogs. Now I’m sick (consars!) but my Red Leaf order is FINALLY in, just in time to get the last deadline! Though not enough time to review them all, since my post office hates me. This is just not my week! But I decided to dive right into the matcha, even though I have a looot of catching up to do. I ordered:

Size : Small (30 grams)
Flavor: Distinctive
Base: Classic Matcha

I love Chai, so I was thrilled to see it added as an option. But as my package moved across the country, I wondered how well something as strong as a chai spice base and a mellow matcha would really go together. Well, it’s gotten good reviews so far, but I was a bit anxious! And in the bag this smells all chai all the way. I was actually wondering if I went TOO strong on the flavoring and should have gone with delicate.

Well, the flavor level is spot-on for me once mixed into an icy cold latte! It’s a really interesting combination of flavors: the cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom taste is strong but fades quickly into grassy matcha heaven. Neither side is overpowering, which is exactly what I wanted! You can taste the chai and the matcha, but they balance so no sip is too chai-y or overwhelmed by matcha flavor. I got this mainly for mixing, and I think I’m going to try it out with Hazelnut or Pumpkin Pie first—too many options! You can get some here:

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/chai-matcha.html

LiberTEAS

I’m so glad to read this review … I ordered the chai with the same specifications and I wondered if maybe I should have gone delicate with it. But I do like my chai spicy and so I’m hoping that distinctive will nail it for me.

Nik

Woo, welcome back! I’m so jealous that you attended NYCC. I meant to go, but just couldn’t swing it this year. Next year, almost for sure! I’m not jealous of consars, though. I get it after every Macworld Expo, too. Blech. Hope you feel better soon!

Helena

I can’t wait for my chai to arrive :D

Alphakitty

It has a bit of a spicy tone to it, not overpowering but just right at the distinctive level (which is what I like the most!).

@Nik: NYCC was fun, but I went on a press pass so it was mostly work for me. Still got me too sick to attend the last day though! I’ve never successfully gone to a convention and NOT come home with consars haha

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drank Coconut Milky Oolong by Tealux
470 tasting notes

I got this in my box from Amanda and was excited to try it since the only other coconut ooloongs I’ve tried have been quite different—Bao Zhongs with coconut flavoring, while this is a milk oolong with natural coconut bits. I cold brewed this because cold coconut = delicious! However, it wasn’t exactly what I expected.

There’s no milk… or coconut. It tastes like a really, really nice green oolong with buttery, vegetal, and floral qualities. There’s a lot of depth and it’s really yummy, especially cold! But no coconut to speak of. In fact, there’s kind of a veggie quality going on, so coconut with this base would be kind of strange I think. There’s also not that creaminess I associate with milk oolongs. Buttery, yes, but none of that milk or cream quality. As a coconut milk oolong I rate this as like a 50 since it’s uhh not a coconut milk oolong. But as a green oolong it’s like an 85… so I’m just going to leave the rating off haha.

I know having actual fruit/nuts/etc in teas is nice and all, but I’ve found that some flavors (like coconut) go a lot farther with good flavoring. You just don’t get a whole ton of flavor out of dried coconut—in fact, most of the disappointing coconut teas I’ve tried have had only shredded coconut while the ones with real coconut flavor don’t actually have real coconut!

Kittenna

I like having coconut bits in my tea, but really, I’m not opposed to flavour coming from added flavourings, as long as it’s done well and tastes real! This sounded fabulous… wish it had turned out to be!

Alphakitty

I think I might mix some of my other coconut oolong with milk oolong and see if that gives me the flavor I was looking for here.

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91

So, I made a hot latte of this for my mom today. I had to come up to my house to pick up a few things, and she requested to try this one last time I was here as I rattled off all the matchas I had just gotten haha. So, I whipped one up (with a real sifter too and not my tea strainer!) and she is in LOVE. It’s on her birthday wishlist, aka if we don’t get it for her we will suffer some sort of horrible wrath. Another Red Leaf convert in the making! (she wants creme brulee next)

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97

I am so behind on my tasting notes it’s almost embarrassing. I have like 10+ to log that I’ve totally neglected! I’ve had a lot of work-related stuff to do the past few weeks, including dealing with NYCC’s ridiculously elaborate press registration. Why do I need to fill out a 5 page form and FAX it? Is it 1990 and no one told me?! Seriously, who faxes anything anymore. But I got my badge, so now that’s all taken care of I need to catch up on tea!

This tea is magical. I think Stacy is some sort of tea fairy who just sprinkles stuff with magic dust and voila, it’s perfect! You see, this is a VERY watermelon-y tea. In the bag it smells like candy. Not Jolly Rancher watermelon, but pure tasty watermelon. When it’s brewed (cold steeped in this case) it’s an almost crystal-clear liquid that smells SO strongly of watermelon it’s amazing! And the taste, wow. It’s SO natural watermelon! And really strong! But, at the same time it’s not overly strong at all. In fact, while it’s very watermelon-y there’s just as much if not more of the delicious white base going on. It’s like… watermelon juice and white tea together in harmony.

I don’t think I am properly describing it, but it’s like… the most natural, perfect flavoring in the world. You’d never know it was actually flavored at all it tastes so natural! Like the tea leaves just grew and tasted like watermelon. My dad, who is wary of fruity-flavored teas, even loved this one! He mentioned it the other day, so I think I might get him some of this for Christmas. It’s just… perfection!

Nik

Sounds luscious, can’t wait to try it. I have to look up cold steeping. I’ve only ever brewed a tea normally, let it cool, then added ice to it. It worked out fine (pretty great, actually), but I ended up steeping the tea for like 12 hours, and I don’t have the patience to do that all the time.

Alphakitty

I usually cold steep while I’m sleeping: put it in the fridge a few hours before bed, wake up and voila! Cold brewing is done! When I do them during the afternoon/evening it’s usually a strong black that I know can cold brew in about 4 hours, mostly because I get very impatient and want my tea right away!

Terri HarpLady

Alphakitty, thanks for reminding me that I still have some of this delicious tea left! It really is tasty, & for someone like me (not a big fan of most flavored teas), it’s a real treat!

LiberTEAS

Must Try this one!

LiberTEAS

Must try this one!

Babble

I do the same as you. I cold brew overnight. Are you only supposed to cold brew black tea for four hours?

Alphakitty

No, I cold brew blacks overnight too BUT you can get a really decent cold brew out of a strong one in a pretty short amount of time.

Nik

Do you use the same tea-to-water ratio as you do for normal/hot brewing? I’ve read that more tea is used when making iced tea, just curious what you folks do.

Babble

I do. I thought you were only supposed to use more tea if you are going to immediately put it on ice since it dilutes it.

Nik

Thanks, Rachel, good to know. =)

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97

This is one of those matchas I probably wouldn’t have given a second look if not for a review by Azzrian. And I do love nutty things… ut my boyfriend is allergic to most of them so I try not to keep nutty treats in the house. They won’t affect him if I eat them, but I just feel rude chowing down on something delicious he can’t have! (Nutella is my one exception haha) Tea flavorings are usually fine, but I’m so used to overlooking things because of nuts that I had barely glanced at this one before scrolling past it. Now I am SO glad I gave it a shot! I got:

Size: Small (30 grams) though now I wish I’d gotten a large…
Grade: Classic
Flavor: Distinctive

This matcha smells AMAZING in the bag. Sometimes the flavors seem overpowering, but not this one, oh no. I wanted to stick my face in there! But that didn’t really seem like a good idea so I made an iced latte instead. As I was making it, I thought back to my first time with Red Leaf’s matcha and how careful I was about measuring everything out. Now, I’m rather gung-ho about it, not measuring the water or the matcha. I make some sort of matcha drink almost every day, it’s practically second nature at this point!

So, the flavor of this matcha is out of this world. It’s just… heaven. Pure, delicious macadamia nuts. This is going to sound odd, and I am not entirely sure how to describe it, but the nutty flavor just permeates the entire cup. Like, you know with other matchas you can taste the flavor and the matcha? It’ll taste like caramel and matcha. Well this, it tastes like macadamia was ground up and somehow bound to the matcha. It’s perfect harmony, different than any one I’ve ever tried! It is just SO GOOD. Here’s the link for where to try it, and you really really should:

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/macadamia-nut-matcha.html

I think I need to try more of their nutty teas if they are anywhere near as scrumptious as this one!

Fjellrev

I’ve been eyeing this one. :)

Azzrian

Oh yes this one is a total dream!

Red Leaf Tea

Please note that our nut flavors do not trigger allergies :-)

Alphakitty

That is fantastic news! I’m so excited, now he can try this nutty goodness without fear.

Red Leaf Tea

Yes, my supplier assured me that it’s safe, but since I have no allergies I can not confirm. Please try just a bit to make sure before you drink it all at once :-)

Nik

Ooooh…Nutella matcha? [crosses fingers]

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85

One of two matchas left to try from this order! I really didn’t need to order any more, but the sale sucked me in on this one. I’ve found that I really love blackcurrant teas, and I have a strange desire to recreate Harney & Sons Paris in matcha form. Which, obviously, you need blackcurrant for! Now I just need Earl Grey to complete it (caramel & cream are already in my cupboard). Plus I can always use more fruity matchas. I find that the dessert ones I really prefer as lattes, but I don’t want to drink milk all day long (I’m mildly lactose intolerant) so fruity matchas = nice cold iced drinks! I got:

Size: Small (30 grams)
Grade: Classic
Flavor: Delicate

In the bag this smells like… candy! As Dinosara mentioned, it really does smell like blackcurrant candies. I don’t think they are that common, but a store in my town sells these pretty tins of hard candies and blackcurrant is one of the flavors. Also, tasty Japanese gummies are flavored with it! I made a tall iced glass, and the bf sniffed it and declared “this smells like Fruit Rollups.” Yup, the smell is sugary-sweet! Very candy-like.

The taste too is very much like candy. I’m not getting that ripe berry taste, but more blackcurrant candy and matcha. With the strong matcha taste (since I only got the delicate flavor, the blackcurrant doesn’t overpower it at all) this reminds me of a Japanese candy so much. Like drinking melted gummies! I only added a bit of sugar, but I think this matcha is pretty sweet on its own somehow. It’s quite nice, though not at all what I originally expected it to be. It’ll be a great snack for curbing sugar cravings though! You can get some here:

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/black-currant-matcha.html

CHAroma

Mmmm, sounds awesome!

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92

Man, I should not drink 3 cups of matcha in one day! However, I had this at midnight and I am still pretty sleepy so no harm no foul. I would love to drink 3 cups of matcha every day… but I’d probably go through my stash way too fast.

Like English Toffee, this one has been on my wishlist forever. I mean a LOT of flavors have been, but I can’t get them all haha. And I’ve always loved mocha. Mocha lattes, mocha… uh, what else is even mocha flavored? Well, matcha I guess! I got:

Size: Small (30 grams)
Base: Black Matcha
Flavor Level: Distinctive

For chocolate flavors, black + distinctive is the way to go. I love love love the black matcha, it’s just so tasty! Dare I say I like it even more than green. It’s got nutty, chocolatey, rich notes that make dessert teas feel even more indulgent. On the negative side, I find I can’t have them every day. A black matcha latte feels a LOT denser/heavier than a green matcha latte, even though I am pretty sure the calorie count is the same. So, if you want a richer experience go for the black base! And for mocha, I mean, you want the rich experience!

I made a hot latte with this, and holy wow. It’s like a rich, creamy, indulgent Starbucks drink only I made it in my kitchen in 3 minutes, it costs next to nothing, and it has really low calories. You’ve got coffee, chocolate, the great black matcha base, creamy milk, a pinch of sugar, and bam. Perfect, perfect latte. It is just perfection! You can get some here:

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/mocha-matcha.html

Azzrian

It does sound good in a black base!

Donna A

I’m debating on which flavor to order with a black base. This sounds great, but so does the Belgium Chocolate.

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Bio

Tea has always been a passion of mine, though I got away from it during college. A lack of cupboard space and a constant influx of people into my suite made me pretty much abandon my teas at home. But now that I’m done with school, it’s definitely come back with a vengeance—to the point where I’ve purchased about 65 different kinds in the past 3 months!

I like most kinds of teas—yes, even peach, which I used to think I disliked!. Oolongs are definitely my favorite, and I’m an avid fan of earl grey, floral teas, and chai blends along with anything melon. The only kind of teas on my “no” list are rooibos blends (which gives me headaches) and banana flavored ones since bananas are public enemy #1 in my mind.

The best thing about tea for me is how you can be passionate about it and still have it integrate into all of your other hobbies. I like a lot of things: writing, video games, books, sewing, figure collecting, astronomy… it’s a long list. But whatever I’m doing, I can have a cup of tea in hand!

Location

New York

Website

http://www.plastikitty.com/

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