272 Tasting Notes
Six days have passed since my first visit to Tao Tea Leaf and I have thought of my visit each of the six days. If something was so memorable that you remembered it so fondly for so long you would likely try to recreate the moment, and today I attempted to do just that. I needed a gaiwan and rather than order something online I decided Tao Tea Leaf was just the place. I have my very first gaiwan now, I feel so grown up about tea! :)
Also, I blew through my small amount of Shui Xian Lao Cong so I had to buy more, along with this here tea. I added the info off Tao’s website, to the letter.
This tea smells floral, almost like jasmine, and the wet leaves smell of jasmine too. The liquor is a pale pale yellow, and tastes only slightly floral. I was a little worried at first, needlessly I now know. It is so creamy too.
The question I have is, I’m getting a slight bitterness as it sits and cools. Is it supposed to? Is it something I did? I guess these are somewhat rhetorical questions but if someone knows an answer, I’d love to know!
As for the visit, I brought my partner with me, we ordered a pot of tea also and sat there, in the tranquility of the shop and enjoyed it together. Met Tao himself who was so helpful, so hospitable. Too bad this store is so far away from where I live, and not “on the way” to anything I frequent. But then maybe my wallet likes that it is so.
I was left to my own devices today regarding entertaining myself. So I went downtown and met a wonderful, knowledgeable woman who shared some tea with me. She brewed this in a gaiwan and I couldn’t believe how good this tea was. Amazing oolong.
Beautiful yellow liquor, so aromatic. I could have sat there the entire afternoon just drinking the tea. I do have to say I have never seen oolong leaves so big. Huge. Good luck measuring with a teaspoon. I can’t wait to have more. Tao Tea Leaf is the bomb. Good thing Dexter3657 talked about it so much or I would have never tried it. I guess I’m falling off the wagon. Where’s that hiatus thread?
If you’re not drinking Tao Tea Leaf you’re missing out. I was.
Today, this is perfect. A sample from Dexter3657 (thank you!) from a while back that got misplaced somehow. I found it a while back and put it in my bag to take to work making this the most “travelled” tea for sure because I forgot it was in my bag. Found it! Perfect timing too, it is exactly what I was in the mood for.
2 “perfect” spoons, 16 oz boiling water for 3 minutes. Added sugar and Belgian chocolate creamer — yes, it exists — and it is the perfect tea to have by the fireplace. It is cold in Toronto now and while I don’t want to turn the heat on yet (I have rules about when the furnace gets turned on for the first time) I didn’t see anything wrong with a little fire.
Fall has arrived. Although we’re few good weeks away from Christmas, this chocolate minty tea you can enjoy now since it seems the pumpkin teas are failing us for the most part.
I don’t know what I did to this today vs. the last time I made it. Aside from using a different sweetener (maple syrup this time, turbinado sugar last) can’t say I’ve done a whole lot differently but this is so good this time! I am getting a ton of nut flavour and aroma, it tastes like a gooey sweet cookie. I bumped up the ratings.
Maybe it’s a mood thing. The first time I made this, I only made it because I’s just bought it and wanted to try it. This time around I actually wanted it. Also, am drinking it out of a dark brown porcelain cup as opposed to a clear glass one so I can’t see the unappealing colour of it. I think that helps too.
My very first Red Leaf Tea order arrived yesterday, in it about four of the basic grade flavoured matchas. They’re good but I find that I enjoy them a lot more if I make them in a smoothie. It has the texture I’m looking for I guess, the texture resembling the Starbucks green tea frap I like so much, or one of the Booster Juice matcha smoothies. Otherwise it still tastes milky — and I hate the taste of milk.
It needs a little sweetening, I didn’t add sugar the first time and then I was trying to dissolve honey in this icy cold brew. You all know how well that goes. I also find that just straight up with milk only it is a little chalky. Once you allow it to settle it gets better, the chalkiness goes to the bottom of the glass. I can’t help but wonder of the higher grade is smoother — I hope so — but since this is my introduction to matcha it felt silly to spring the big bucks for the “better” stuff before knowing what matcha is all about.
Dissolved 1 perfect spoon in a few tablespoons of hot water. Added sugar and dissolved that. Shook the whole thing around 10 oz cold milk. Smells a little chemically but taste is ok, some faint bitterness at the very very back. Overall, I’d say matcha is here to stay.
Oh and… It is not as caramel-y as I expected. I think I like English toffee better but that’s a review all in itself.
Continuing my quest to find a good chai, and aided by Dexter3657 who appears to have sent me all the chai in her cupboard including this one, I’ve steeped this while at the cottage this past weekend. Hot chai in the summer? Yes, especially if you get caught out on the lake by monsoon-type rain. We were fishing and as soon as the first drops started falling we pulled anchor and took off. Docked just fine but it’s a boat, not a car, you can’t just leave it and run. By the time we put the cover on and tied it down we were drenched. So you peel off your wet clothes, hang ’em up to dry, take a hot shower and sit down with some chai.
I have yet to find a chai where they weren’t heavy handed with the cloves. Why, oh why?!? This one was one of the better ones I’ve tried but still not mine, still too much clove. I have enough for another cup and I will possibly underleaf — which actually might not be a bad thing, I found the resteep was yummier than the first steep. With sugar and creamer I drank it and it was not bad. It will not, however, be a part of my cupboard.
As for the fishing…good eats!
My good friend Dexter3657 has sent me some of this and for a couple of weeks I let it sit for I was still thinking “summer” back then. I took it with me to the cottage since the temperature up here cools a little earlier even though it is only two hours north of the city. It seemed the perfect drink to have beside the bonfire but as I sipped it before going outside I realized there was nothing pumpkin spice about this. There was some spice scent to the dry leaf, and almost a sour/acrid note to it, not sure from what. Once steeped I found it a little thin and not at all pumpkin. But it had great potential so I added vanilla creamer and 2 oz of Jack. Booyah, perfect bonfire drink now!
As a tea itself, without additives, it can be passed on without great loss. Sorry.
Thank you dexter, I knew there was a way to bring you with me to the cottage :)
My first matcha experience! Success! Dexter3657 sent some of this my way, thank you!!
I was so excited to try it but was clueless as to how to go about it. I knew I wanted it cold, a la Starbucks green tea frap. Now I don’t like the taste of milk but if you mask it, I’m fine. Those frappuccinos are all milk based and I gobble them up. So I used a small amount of this, less than 1 tsp, for just under a cup of cold milk. I dissolved the matcha in about 2 Tbsp of hot water, and I used one of those cheap frothers, a handheld battery operated one. It says Bayley’s on it, I can just imagine what it’s for. Then I poured the milk into a glass, added the matcha “solution” and sipped. Needed sweetening, tasted milky. I didn’t want to make simple syrup and there was no way any rock sugar or turbinado would have melted so… Maple syrup to the rescue! (Note to self: Really good but need a full tsp of tea next time.)
Oh and this morning I made a smoothie with it, I was thinking about the “mind over matcha” from booster juice, we love that. So I made my own version with banana. Basically dumped matcha, banana and milk in a plastic pitcher and put in the handheld blender I use to blend soups. It was also very good but didn’t taste much green apple. I thought maybe it was because of the banana but tonight I’m also not tasting apple. Matcha yes, apple no.
Red leaf tea order on the horizon. Never bought matcha but from what I’ve been reading here I know it’s expensive and you get a lot of it, almost too much to drink before it goes stale or whatever. I think my milk consumption might go up also. The dairy farmers of Canada I’m sure will be thankful to red leaf tea :)
After my fail with the Peach Apple Crisp, still searching for crisp and refreshing peach I went for this one. It delivered.
Peach and jasmine must make really good friends because this is the second time I get jasmine in a peach tea. In this tea they make a good pair, they take turns on your palate. usually jasmine is the predominant taste for me when blended with anything else, anything at all. (Unless of corse it’s cloves or ginger, but why put that in a jasmine tea?)
The dry leaf is quite… leafy! there is the white tea leaves but also some other dry leaves, looks like broken up bay leaves, because of their size — of course they are not bay leaves but if you see this you’ll know what i mean. Looks like someone took tea, crushed up some dried rosebush leaves or something, and just mixed it together.
Not much smell on the dry leaf, just smells like dry grass. Beautiful clear yellow brew, peachy goodness when iced.
This tea was enjoyed courtesy of Dexter3657 . Thank you!
Peach Apple Crisp sounds so refreshing, doesn’t it? Then you read about cinnamon and think, ok, maybe not refreshing, more like a baked good you eat on a cool autumn evening watching the leaves turn.
I smelled the dry leaf, and then I smelled it again because I was disappointed. You know when you bite into a peach that’s off? You know that smell/taste? That’s what I got here. Not cinnamon, not peach or apple, fake or otherwise, just a bad fruit smell. Not fermented, just bad.
At 4 minutes, 2 perfect spoons and 16 oz of water off boiling gives me a slightly astringent brew, pretty light on the fresh, crisp fruit taste and the vague fruit gone-off taste is still there. Dark amber colour, smells better brewed, faintly of peach and Rooibos.
Dexter3657 who generously provided the sample, and to whom I am forever thankful, is convinced I am not friends with Rooibos. I have had other Rooibos and they are good! Granted there have not been many :) I have enough for another cup, I will throw it in a jar to cold steep, hopefully with better result.
I almost didn’t want to write this because if you don’t have anything nice to say… Also, my review is so different from all the others! Maybe someone will wonder who Pd in my Cheerios this morning.