828 Tasting Notes
So I have been looking for a new supplier of matcha. I found I was having trouble getting the quality for the price point I wanted. So a supremely long time ago, back when I first joined steepster, some old steepsterites who do not seem to be around anymore, used to recommend Hibiki-an. So I thought I would give it a try. (And I was not disappointed by the company at all).
Please see my post from the official what did you get in the mail thread cut and pasted here: “As many of you know I am a total sucker for “the tea experience”. It doesn’t matter what kind of experience, just any experience will do. All a company needs is cheeky marketing or to send me a toy or button with my tea (Hello A&D) and I am totally sold. OK so I just had to come here and rant and rave about my recent purchase from Hibiki-an that just arrived today. I ordered some new matcha’s to try. First of all, quick shipping from Japan, and it was free. The package arrived as a very thick and sturdy green paper bag (will be super easy to recycle). It was sealed perfectly, not to little tape and not so much you can’t open it without a chain saw. It was supremely labelled in both English and Japanese and the customs declaration was very clear, and as a result it was not opened and violated by customs officials. So I open the outer green package and inside there is a beautiful colour patterned paper bag that is sealed with a decorative sticker. Inside that bag (which was also very easy to open so I didn’t have to wreck the cute paper bag) were little boxes which contained vacuum sealed packages of matcha. They didn’t need to be additionally packaged in little boxes, as far as I’m concerned matcha isn’t really ruined by squishing. I also got a beautiful post card and an English pamphlet on how to create traditional style of matcha. Super impressed :) I am sure I will be ordering more from them, I really want to try their tea treats.”
I ordered the house matcha and also the superior grade, just to try. I mostly use matcha as cold shaken in the mornings, mostly due to ease of use.
When I first opened the vacuum sealed package, the sweet slightly vegetal smell wafted up to my nose. It was delicious. I was surprised at the remarkable emerald green colour. I had some other matcha I bought from local store. But even as cold shaken it was so very bitter. It at one time appeared green to my eyes. But when I compare the colour of that one to the Hibiki-an matcha, there is no comparison. The local matcha almost looks dreary muddy brown-green. I very carefully cut open the Hibiki-an package and then when I tried to dump it into my matcha canister the fine emerald green powder sprayed all over my counter and floor. I really didn’t lose a lot of the matcha but it was a pain in the you know what to clean up.
I thought I should try this one hot. The recommendations that came from the company were 2 chasen (1tsp) whisked in 70 ml of 170F water. I mixed 1tsp in an estimated 70 ml of water. The recommendations are to drink it within 3 minutes or it will get bitter. My problem is that it was still too hot. I am sensitive to hot temperatures and often have to let my tea sit quite a while before I drink it. So on first sips it was so super delicious, but way to hot for my mouth and tongue. Nice and smooth, slightly vegetal, and just the right amount of sweetness. It did get quite bitter towards the end but only because I was unable to drink it as fast as recommended. I will have to make a smaller amount next time so it will not feel so hot. I will mostly be drinking this as cold shaken anyway, the review will come in time :) , but I will also probably try a latte as well.
If this is just the house matcha, I am quite excited to try the superior grade!
I find it funny when there are teas that are added to the Steepster database but there are no reviews or limited information added. It makes me wonder who added it or why it was added if the information is incomplete. Anyway….
This was a free sample with my last Dammann order. The dry and brewed tea smells strongly of verbena. There are strong mint and verbena flavours over top of a lighter citrus flavour. The citrus leaning more towards lemon than lime or orange. This is a hard one to describe because this tea has no sweetness to it, but it is not astringent or bitter or sour, I have no word to describe that part of it. The mint lingers a long time in the aftertaste.
I was a little scared I would not like this one based on the ingredients but it did not turn out too bad.
This one came to me via the wonderful Scribbles!
Scribbles sent this to me becuase I made such a big deal in one of my posts about how much I loved assam. This one does not disappoint.
The dry tea is dark cut up leaves, not crushed though. There is a strong and thick scent of dark purple plums (you know the ones that are so dark purple they almost look black).
The brewed tea is thick and dark with a very slight sweet scent. I am not getting a lot of malt with this one as the description on Steepster states. Maybe getting a very light malt. There is definitely a dark chocolate note to this tea. I am still getting the plum notes.
This is a bold, sweet assam. There is only a very slight dryness in the aftertaste with no bitterness. I feel like I am also getting the slightest metallic tang on my tongue after each sip.
I ate too much Halloween treats and I feel gross.
So I am drinking this tea and my tummy is starting to settle down.
This was most likely a free sample from Teavivre. I have a giant box of free Teavivre samples. Angel was so nice to have contacted me a long time ago and invited me to take part in Teavivre’s free tasting activity. Every so often Angel sends me a box filled with samples. She is so awesome!
This is by far the best long jing I have had. It always tastes fresh. Slightly cabbage-y or spinache-y, whatever you want to call it. But it is still smooth and buttery.
My new favorite way of brewing this up is kind of gongfu and kind of western. I put the whole 7g package of tea into a strainer then into a latte type mug (like a 12-16 oz). I brew it up with less than boiling water for maybe 20-30 seconds. I make a few steeps out of it but the first one is always the best.
And now the trick or treaters are here!!! I have to go.
Received this as a free sample from Dammann.
I initially thought this was a black tea as it was packaged in the black coloured packaging which generally signifies black tea with Dammann. The tea description was in French but I could make out ‘Chinese dark tea’, so assumed black. I obviously did not put much thought to the name or I would have realized what I was getting into.
Upon opening the package I realized quite quickly that this was an oolong. It is a darker oolong but I would not describe it as roasted. I often mistake the smell of osmanthe flowers as jasmine. So jasmine was my first thought when I smelled the dry tea sachet.
The brewed tea brews up nice, light and clear. It has the osmanthe/jamsine flavour and scent. The oolong is very light, slightly floral but also with some butteryness. There is a nice light and natural sweetness to the tea.
These are not my favorite kind of oolongs, but this one was quite a nice surprise. It is quite good even after it has cooled in my cup becuase I have been too busy at work to drink it.
Upon opening the package for the first time, the dry tea has a very strong citrus mint scent. The tea is so pretty to look at, blue flower petals, lemon peels, green and black tea leaves all mixed together.
Brewed, the tea has a very distinct mint scent. The tea flavours are quite blunted compared to the scent. There is definitely a smooth ceylon base, but without astringency that often accompanies ceylon tea. There is a very light, sweet mint flavour. There is a slight, tart, citrus flavour. It reminds me more of orange vs lemon. The flavour is very light.
This is a very interesting tea. It is not quite mint, not quite a black tea.
I think this one may need to be steeped for longer to bring out more flavour.
The mint and lemon flavours become much more prominent once the tea is cold.
This one is much better with a normal steep time. It still tastes the same but not as bold and thick and dark.
I’m getting malty flavours of bread, sweetness, honey like flavours, dates, no so specifically stone fruit though.
It is very light and smooth with no bittness or astringency but at the same time I would say it is a moderate boldness on the black tea scale.
Recd this one from the generous Scribbles.
The dry tea smells strongly of bread and dates. Very thick stone fruit scent. Also a slight alcoholic fermented smell, but a pleasant one.
I accidentally oversteeped this one by quite a few minutes becuase I am at work and got distracted. On first sip it is super bitter- I am blaming this on the over steep. But after it cools significantly the bittness mellows a bit.
This is a strong black tea, bold, slightly malty. Strong flavours of bread. Not so much stone fruit or date flavours. It is reminding me of burnt coffee grounds actually.
Reserving the rating for when I make is one properly. I am thinking the strong flavours are a byproduct of the steep time.
I am not much of a resteeper but I was lazy (and also curious), so I decided to reuse the leaves of this one.
It is a whole new tea. I love it when a resteep is full of depth, and not just watered down from the first steep.
There is very minimal smokiness in the second steep. I would describe this one as deep and dense, bold and heavy. A lot of woody, tobacco flavours. The sweetness is stronger and more dominant. My sixth sense for Darjeeling is not kicking in as strongly. No drying effect. I think I like the second steep better. However, the one bad thing is that there is no longer an association to ale or lager or beer, etc.
On a side note, it is Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. I had an interesting personal moment this week. I had to explain to someone from Fiji, what the point of Thanksgiving was, other than just a Statutory holiday. I was almost at a loss of words and had a hard time thinking of how to explain it. It left me with an odd feeling because I thought I was always a person who would not take for granted the reasons we celebrate certain days, holidays, times of year, etc.
So I have had a lot of time to reflect and determine what I am thankful for and to be thankful to be in the country and culture in which I choose to live (choose being the important word).
So what are you thankful for?