138 Tasting Notes

79
drank Boysenberry Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
138 tasting notes

Thanks Azzrian for this sample! :D

So, I have no idea what on earth boysenberries are, but now I want some if they’re similar in taste to this matcha. This tastes great!

I’m drinking it straight right now, and I’m loving the juicy, fruity, berry flavours I’m getting out of this. I may try this as a latte at some point and see how it tastes, but I’m not in a latte mood for now. I imagine it’ll taste great, though! Probably like a berry smoothie or something of the sort.

Yum!

Azzrian

You are very welcome! :)

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77
drank Butterscotch Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
138 tasting notes

Thank you so much, Azzrian, for your generous samples!

I’ve never had a matcha until now, so I’m super excited to try this!
Since just about the only thing I knew regarding preparing matcha was that it needed to be put through a strainer to make it less clumpy, I went off to Google to look it up. Some site mentioned that preparing it in a travel mug and then shaking it could be used in place of a matcha whisk and bowl (both of which I lack at the moment), so I’m opting for that method instead of whisking the tea in a bowl with a fork or egg beater (I’m feeling a bit lazy at the moment).

Now that the whisking part was taken care of, I tried to find out what the equivalent of a matcha scoop was in teaspoons. I wasn’t able to find clear answers, so I’m just going to use the smallest spoon I can find and then eyeball it with matcha amount and water. How I’m going to eyeball something I’ve never done before, I’m not too certain, but my mother is fantastic at doing it when cooking, so I’m hoping that I picked up that trait from her somehow!
-
Well, I’ve just had my first sip of matcha! It tastes AMAZING. The powder did smell quite like butterscotch when I was putting it through the strainer, but I was expecting for it to taste a bit less like butterscotch when it was finally prepared. It’s basically like a less sweet version of butterscotch, which is great, because I love butterscotch candies but dislike how sweet they are. I think I can taste a bit of the matcha base, but I’m not sure. I also don’t know if that’s supposed to happen or not, but I’ll make a mental note to put in more water or less powder the next time I make matcha (hopefully tomorrow morning!). For now, I’ll try adding some milk to see how it tastes.

Oh, wow, the milk brings out more of the butterscotch! Yum! This will definitely make my (many many) homework readings for tonight much more enjoyable. If many of Red Leaf Tea’s matchas are this great, I’m really looking forward to making a purchase from them when I’m able to!

Thanks again, Azzrian, for sending me this sample!

Azzrian

My pleasure so glad you liked it! :)

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79

Cookies, anyone?

That’s basically what this tea smells and tastes like when brewed. Sugar cookies, if I had to be specific about cookie types. (Note that I didn’t have this with sugar or milk, so it was more like an unsweetened cookie, but still cookie-like all the same).

At first, I was worried that the Earl Grey would overpower the hazelnut and caramel, but they all mesh together into a wonderful, soothing tea that is perfect to drink when comfort is needed. The Earl Grey is the easiest flavour to pick out, but the caramel and hazelnut seem to subtly balance out the bergamot.

If drinking tea is like a conversation, this tea would basically be a very big hug!

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71
drank Sencha (Pyramid Tea Bag) by Den's Tea
138 tasting notes

Not bad for a bagged tea! Sweet, with a creamy mouthfeel. On another note, I love the little notch in the teabag tab thing at the end of the string! I hooked it over the edge of my mug to prevent the whole string from falling in. Nice little touch there.

On a totally random note, does anyone know how to lure a wasp into a trap without using chemicals? One wasp decided to divebomb my face as I was getting ready to go to class and it made its way into my room. I’ve got a cup with juice in it and have duct taped most of the top (leaving a hole small enough for the wasp to get in but hopefully not find its way out), but I was wondering whether anyone had any other ideas/methods of getting rid of them.

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76
drank Plum Crazy by Joy's Teaspoon
138 tasting notes

I got this as a sample from Joy’s Teaspoon a while back. Thanks!

First off, this tea really does smell like plums. Fresh, sweet, juicy plums with a hint of some spice to it. Plum jam then, I guess.

The tea does taste rather like plums, too, but lacking in the sweetness… I probably should have added some sugar, in retrospect. As in my last note, I was tempted away from my tea by freshly baked goodies from my suitemates. Half of us decided to go off the meal plan to save money and hopefully eat slightly healthier. I guess the problem is that all of us like to bake things on top of cooking (each of us a different item, too— I deal with pies, another deals with cookies and brownies, and the other any random recipe she can get her hands on). So, if we keep it up at this rate, we’ll have enough baked goods to last us through a zombie apocalypse, heh.

So anyway, the tea was cold by the time I got back to it. I finished it up, and I have to say, I’m pretty sure this would taste wonderful as an iced tea. The one major thing I thought of when sipping it was the poem “This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams, which I’ve cut and pasted here:

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Azzrian

LOL I like that poem.

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88

Hm, looks like I had this before, but never got around to writing a note for it. Anyway, better late than never, right? (Speaking of late, this is a backlog from a few days ago.)

I got this tea as a sample from an order from Verdant a while back. I already tried some a few months ago, I guess, but I don’t really remember it, heh. Anyway, I brewed this gongfu style, since I didn’t have very much of it left. I wrote some notes that I could make sense of and read back when I was writing it. Now it kind of looks like a gigantic jumble of scribbles on a small notepad. Time for some deciphering!

Dry leaf: Sweet, roasty-ish? Kind of reminds me of a lighter version of Big Red Robe or something.

Steep 1: Very mineral-y with a sparkling/light mouthfeel at the end. Sort of numbing on the tongue. Smell reminds me of my uncle’s house (my uncle is a huge tea lover).

Steep 2: Definitely still very mineral-y. Lightly fruity aftertaste that lingers in the throat/nose.

Steep 3: Mineral fades. Fruit notes more prominent. Kind of ‘juicy’, if that makes any sense?

I stopped taking notes after that, since I think I was lured away from my tea with the promise of chocolate peanut butter cookies made by my suitemates. :)

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88
drank Butterbeer by 52teas
138 tasting notes

Yum! This tastes very much like a slightly buttery rootbeer.

I was in the mood for a somewhat butterier version of this, so I added a bit of Buttered Rum from DavidsTea this time around.

I can’t wait for winter to come so I can drink this and watch the snow fall!

Bonnie

Me too!

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83

Back at school and reunited with part of my tea collection, hooray! I spent most of my summer helping my family move to another state, then going abroad on an excavation. So, for most of the summer, I’ve been mostly internet-less and tea-less. Other than that, though, it’s been an amazing summer!

Anyway, I decided to kick off another semester of tea drinking/reviewing with an oolong, since I seem to really like oolongs. I may be a bit out of practise with tea tasting/reviewing, heh. Hope I get back into the swing of this quickly. Thanks for this sample, Angel and Teavivre!

Upon opening the pouch, I could already smell some roastiness with the dry leaves. I brewed this in a mug, with short steep times.

1st steep: Very strong, toasted scent. Hint of sweetness, almost as if there was some type of honey in there.

2nd steep: Toastedness fading a bit, now with more chocolatey hints. Still some honeylike sweetness of sorts.

3rd steep: Still a slightly toasty flavour. Chocolate has disappeared, and it’s more mineral-y. Dry aftertaste. I can’t pick up on anything else though, possibly because I just got back from being caught in the rain without an umbrella and my nose is being odd.

Overall, a pleasant oolong. I might consider having some of my suitemates try this, especially since they tend to find most unflavoured/unsweetened teas to taste like hot water.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

So, where did you go?

Ag

Israel. Really interesting country, with so much human history!

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95
drank Silver Buds Yabao by Verdant Tea
138 tasting notes

Backlog from last night.

During my first steep of this, when I took out the tea strainer from my mug, I thought to myself, “Gosh, this looks so clear. Did I steep it wrong? I don’t think it’s ready yet.” But, I caught a whiff of something from the mug, which convinced me to take a sip.

Reading Verdant’s description of this tea gave me an idea of what the tea was like, but I still had no clue what I was tasting in my first few sips. At first, I thought I could taste some pine-iness, which was followed by a slight spiciness, joined with some sweetness, which lingered in the aftertaste. I was blown away by the complexities in what I was expecting would be a very watery/light tea.

With later steepings, the spiciness fades a bit, but the pine-iness remains. The sweetness changes from a rock candy-like sweet to a slightly marshmallow-y sweet.

As I was drinking this, I almost felt as if I were walking through a forest in New England. I wonder what would happen if I were to brew some pu-erh alongside this— I could get the earthy smell of a forest in the spring after some rain, along with the pine smell of the trees. A pine forest in my dorm room!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

What a cool way of imagining this tea. I think of it as piney also and of being in a forest by a deep cold alpine pool of water. I never thought of having a Shu Puer next to the Yabao…cool to try if I had someone to share with (too much to drink alone and I hate to waste my Puer!)

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70
drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
138 tasting notes

Yum! Very nice and slightly sweet. Rich vanilla flavour with a hint of caramel. I’m normally not a fan of vanilla (got the 5-satchet sampler on a whim in an order I placed not too long ago), so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I rather like this tea. I think this would go quite well with a berry pie or something of the sort.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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Profile

Bio

I have far too many interests. Tea is one of them.

Background in bioethics, medical anthropology, and evolutionary biology with aspirations of eventually going into a medical field.

Brewing
Brewing method is usually Western style for black teas (2-3 minutes at near-boiling), “grandpa style” for shu pu’ers and longjing, and gongfu (with a gaiwan) short steeps for sheng and shu pu’ers (two 5-second rinses, then 5, 10, 15-second steeps with a gradual increase in steep times to taste). The gaiwan is also used for oolongs though I sometimes use a brew basket if the gaiwan is occupied and I’m taking a break from pu’er.

Preferences
I enjoy black teas, pu’er, and oolongs (leaning towards aged, cliff/Wuyi, or roasted/dark), depending on my mood. I don’t usually drink green tea but do enjoy a cup every so often.

Ratings
My rating methods have changed over time and as a result, they’re very inconsistent. For the most part, as of 11 November 2014, unless a tea is exceptional in some way (either good or bad), I will refrain from leaving a numerical rating.

The final iteration of my rating system before I stopped (note: I never did get around to re-calibrating most of my older notes):
99 & 100: I will go to almost any lengths to keep this stocked in my cupboard.
90-98: I’m willing to or already do frequently repurchase this when my stock runs low.
80-89: I enjoy this tea, and I may be inclined to get more of it once I run out.
70-79: While this is a good tea, I don’t plan on having it in constant supply in my tea stash.
50-69: This might still be a good tea, but I wouldn’t get it myself.
40-49: Just tolerable enough for me to finish the cup, but I don’t think I’ll be trying it again any time soon.
Below 40: Noping the heck out of this cup/pot.

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