1221 Tasting Notes

68
drank Rouge Bourbon by Mariage Frères
1221 tasting notes

Backlogged from earlier tonight.

Went to Faubourg with some friends tonight, a French patisserie in downtown Vancouver. They sell Mariage Freres tea there, and this was the first one that caught my eye. (For the record, they also sell them in the tins, however 50g is $38… Holt Renfrew is $24).

I found the smell of this tea to be standard rooibos, however the flavoring was very vanilla-rich, almost like a custardy booze. I re-steeped it twice with zero flavor loss, however I still wanted more out of this. More… bourbon? I dunno. I guess I just expected more from such an expensive tea, and one that’s hard to find here. I’ll order it again if it’s around, however I’ll likely never buy any loose for the house.

OMGsrsly

Is it worth going there, as someone who doesn’t eat gluten? Do they do tea to go or just sit down tea? :)

MissB

They do anything to go (as well as pre-orders), and do tea lattes too. EVERYTHING had gluten in it, except for the macarons… however no one who was working could tell me what the flour was that was used. The first gal tried to tell me, “macaron flour” and I laughed. She blushed and said I should call in the morning when the bakers are still in the store, and ask them. It’s also a surprisingly large store, with a movie playing on the wall and two stunning leaf/tree/crystal sculptures. It is however right next to a Cafe Artigiano, which I find to be much more gluten-friendly. I ate a lemon tart and just scraped it out of the tart. Super yummy, even though probably a bad idea in hindsight. :$

MissB

My guess is that the macarons are made as meringues as the outside shell, with buttercream inside… and thus, gluten-free.

OMGsrsly

French macaron are almond flour, sugar and egg whites. :) I couldn’t actually scrape out the tart. I’d end up either so sick, or with terrible brain fog. I can’t even do a little bit of regular soy sauce with my sushi anymore. I’ll have to check them out for tea to go. :)

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88
drank English Toffee Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1221 tasting notes

Backlogged from earlier today.

Was out with a former colleague and friend at Cafe Deux Soleils (gosh I love that place!) and decided I had to have some matcha to perk me up. So, I brought my chasen, scoop and matcha with me in my bag, and then mixed it up at the table in some almond milk. Because I’m weird like that, and because really… it was one of the most normal things going on in hipsterville.

Size: 60g (Large)
Quality: Classic
Type: Regular
Flavor: Delicate
http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/english-toffee-matcha.html

It smells delicious – like toffee – however I felt that this tasted similarly to many of the other matchas I’ve had of late. Still super yummy, and I’m glad I have a lot left so that I can try out other combinations to see if I just missed something. I also added zero sweetener (forgot it at home), so that may be a part of the story there. May even try more tomorrow, just to see what’s what.

Having said all of that, it’s still buttery and delicious!

Preparation
Iced

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65
drank A Rabbit's Garden by Della Terra Teas
1221 tasting notes

I think I received this in a swap from Dexter3657, and so, thank you for sharing! This is a tea I really wanted to try. Just the title is intriguing, and then the ingredient list? Fascinating.

I’m unsure what I was expecting here though – perhaps a decaf (it’s not, and it’s almost 1am here, so… I’m tempting my sleep yet again). Perhaps a tasty, veggie tea treat? Dunno. All I know is, this both smells and tastes very vegetal, and really I find it just to be a green tea for the most part. It’s also gotten quite astrigent even though I steeped it for only three minutes at a low temperature… perhaps I did something wrong.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Fuzzy_Peachkin

I couldn’t get this tea to work for me either. I was so looking forward to something carrot-y too!

Dexter

I think (IIRC) you requested this. Not something I would normally just add to a swap. I haven’t tried it yet, and that doesn’t sound encouraging. I was hoping for “green tea soup”.

MissB

Yea, I’m pretty sure I did request it. It’s just such a great concept. “Green tea soup”? Hm. I can see how it might taste like that, maybe… possibly… I really just got green tea.

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88
drank Cheesecake Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1221 tasting notes

Busted out the matcha again this ‘morning’ (it’s 1pm here), because I’m devoted to trying all of my various incarnations of these delicious drinks before I manage to share them all in swaps.

So cheesecake it is today, although there may have been some pineapple on the spoon as well from having just packaged up some for JennyFur.

Size: Small (30g)
Flavor: Delicate
Quality: Classic
Type: Regular
Quantity used: one matcha scoop in 8oz of cold coconut milk
Mixed with a chasen
http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/cheesecake-matcha.html

All I smell when I open the package is butter. Creamy butter. Lovely, however not what I normally associate with cheesecake. Drinking it also gives me butter at the start – which is delicious! Still, I want more cheesecake-y tang. After about half of the cup is finished however, I start to get the tang – so maybe I just needed to use more chasen-whipping skills to get this right. Yum….

Hey, did anyone see the newest offering on Red Leaf yet? Starbucks-comparable green tea frappuchino. Oh.. this makes me excited. I used to down those things like nobody’s business…

Preparation
Iced
VariaTEA

Flavored matcha, it’s really a thing of beauty :) glad the cheesecake-y tang finally came through

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80
drank Rooibush Eggnog by TeaGschwendner
1221 tasting notes

Hm. I swore I’d already cracked this one open. Perhaps it was for a swap with one of you?

Anyway. This is a fascinating blend, in that it smells very differently than it tastes. Prior to steeping and right after, it mostly smells like rooibos with a bit of vanilla in there. After steeping and cooling down, now it’s almost completely vanilla with a bit of rooibos at the very end.

Drinking it was pleasant – it has the mouthfeel of cream, and the flavor of vanilla cream. Only a hint of spice comes out at the end, and I wish there was a touch more nutmeg in here to make it really, truly an eggnog (to me). It is absolutely delicious however, and I’m glad I was only able to grab a larger bag of this.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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A huge thanks to JennyFur for sharing this with me in our swap!

I was really excited about this tea, even though JennyFur wasn’t a huge fan of it. I love lemonade and I’ve had some lovely decaf lemon teas of late, so I was hoping to have an excuse to get even more.

Unfortunately, I had to search for steeping instructions, and prepared the tea for drinking prior to realizing it was only suitable (or recommended) as a cold brew. Darn it! It was wet already from my having washed out the steamer basket.. so I just committed to it hot. Yep, I can do this.

Like JennyFur, I found this to be really Pledge-like smelling. It actually smells quite lovely, it’s just.. there’s something chemical-y about it. I actually like the taste, although I seem to be having a reaction to it. Sweetened, it tastes lovely as well – and still this reaction.

Sigh. I’m really grateful to JennyFur for sharing this; she saved me a lot of cash by letting me try a sample. I’m going to leave off a rating, because I think to do it justice, I should have cold brewed it instead.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Roswell Strange

I really enjoyed this one (don’t want to add insult to injury, but it really is amazing cold brewed), and it pisses me off greatly that it’s been discontinued – especially since it’s from a local shop in my city :(

MissB

I’m seriously considering JennyFur if she’ll swap me some more (if I remember correctly, she said she had quite a bit?) and I’ll send her some other stuff – like Pineapple Matcha – in exchange. I really do want to try this cold brewed.

JennyFur

I’ll see what I’ve got for you dear. I beleive dear husband has ran off with the bag to work. If he hasn’t drank it all I’ll zip you some over easily. If he HAS, I can always pick some more up at the place I got it at if they still have it. Its downtown and I don’t go often, but when I go next I’ll check and see. They didn’t give us any steeping instructions either, so don’t feel bad. I had it hot and didn’t like it, while husband loves it, but said its easy to get the ratio wrong.

Roswell Strange

I’m curious where you get it from, JennyFur. They used to sell this at a local tea store downtown in my city, but it’s been discontinued there…

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74
drank Perfect Harmony by LuxBerry Tea
1221 tasting notes

I wanted something decaf this afternoon as my sleep schedule is completely out of whack – and this is (again) what fell on me from tea cupboard #2.

Out of the bag, this tea smells interestingly – lots going on. Something fruity and dry, lemon-y and floral, and other things I couldn’t quite place. Drinking it is a similar experience for me… there’s a lot going on here. Something mildly floral supports a berry of some sort. There’s a tart apple lower in the mix (comes out more with Truvia) and something granular I’m gapping on as to what it is. A hint of eucalyptus in there too, but that one I feel more than I taste – like inhaling vaborub or something similar, I can feel my chest expanding. Zero flavor that I’m getting out of it though.

This is an unusual cup of tea, and really fun to drink in that I can pick out all these different variations. I think it’s a “love” tea for someone else though. I’ve got a few cups left if anyone wants to try it?

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

If you are not careful, you might wind up with a concussion from all these teas bopping you on the head.

MissB

I think it’s more that I need the bonk in the head to remind me – drink more tea, buy less. For a while, anyway. I’m going to top 400 in my cupboard once all of the orders come in. I am both appalled and excited at this thought!

Dexter

400? Suddenly I don’t feel so bad, I’m well on my way to 300 but I’m more concerned with volume of – I have tons of 100g tins/packages. I’m with you, need to drink more – stop buying. :))

MissB

Yep, lots of larger packages here too, which is why I’m offering it up in bits and pieces to folks who want to try and them and aren’t as insane as we are in our quest for Masters of Tea Awesomeness.

Dexter

“Masters of Tea Awesomeness” wow, I am just plugging away trying to survive “basics of tea 101” – Really need to work on getting knowledge to catch up with tastes – everyday I feel like I know less and less…

OMGsrsly

Haha! Dexter, that’s how you know you’re learning more and more. :D

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93

Oh my, this is so delicious. I think I’ve figured out how to make this to my liking now. Yay!

Size: Large (60g)
Flavor: Delicate
Quality: Basic
Type: Regular
http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-popcorn-matcha.html

Mixed up a heaping matcha spoon of matcha with about 8oz of coconut milk, and whisked it all together with my new chasen (thanks Zen Tea, for shipping that in record time, yet again!) The chasen made all the difference and it took me less than 15 seconds to get all the globs out.

Out of the bag, this definitely smells like a ooey, gooey caramel popcorn. My mouth watered immediately. So good! Mixed up, this tastes almost exactly as it’s described: buttery, caramel-y popcorn. My only complaint is that I didn’t order it with a stronger flavor level. I’ll order it as distinctive next time – which I’m definitely doing. Ordering more, that is… when I’m done the massive amount that I have now.

Preparation
Iced
VariaTEA

Yum! Sounds tasty.

JennyFur

I definitly need to just buck up and buy some of their stuff. The Caramel I got from you has me hooked and the only kind of matcha I can get by me is unflavored and its just…not hitting the spot.

MissB

Yep. I’m really glad I bit the bullet and just bought a bunch. It’s pricey, and worth it. I have nothing like it nearby either.

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64

Holy floral bergamot, Batman! This is one strongly flavored tea.

I can’t remember why I grabbed this initially – I think perhaps it was to assuage a guy I once knew that loves Earl Grey, and wanted more decaf options, so I grabbed him this sample. Regardless, he’s out of the picture and this tea is what fell on me tonight, and so… I’m drinking it.

It smells VERY strongly of bergamot in the bag, and even more so as it steeps. This is very definitely a strong tea. Plus, an EIGHT minute steep? Okay, if you say so.. and it’s strong. Faintly floral, very bergamot, and a hint of rooibos.

I think if I was gaga for strong Earl Greys and wanted a nighttime fix, I’d drink this. Is it for me? Not really.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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80
drank Pina Colada Honeybush by 52teas
1221 tasting notes

This smells delicious just out of the pouch – like a lovely Carribean boozy drink. Steeped, it smells less so, however still yummy.

My first cup of this was underwhelming, although nice. Creamy coconut shines through most of the other flavoring, with only a hint of something fruity in the background. Sweetened however with some Truvia, and the pineapple pops into the juicy, delicious forefront.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

I got Pina Colada from this right away. Then again, I really am not a fan of the Pina Colada taste and I find when you don’t like something, you tend to be more aware of it. Glad the Truvia helped make everything pop though

MissB

I thought I would like this more, too… then also remembered that Pina Colada’s are a rare thing for me, just meaning that I usually will drink almost anything else, first.

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Profile

Bio

Teaholic! Currently loving flavored blacks, greens, whites, green rooibos blends, straight blacks and greens, and have a long-standing adoration for herbals/medicinals. Dessert teas top my list along with anything cocoa-y.

I own an obscene amount of tea, and am always happy to share. Having said that, I’m traveling indefinitely (currently in France, was in Ireland and England prior, next up Belgium) so my stash will sit and wait for me, as I send back tea to explore more when I get home again.

In addition to loving tea, I’m a dating columnist, single mom, nerd, and avid knitter. I read way too much, type even more, and spend my ‘free’ time exploring, playing board games, reading, hiking, hanging with friends.

Allergies: Strawberries and all grains. I’m having a mild allergic reaction to both lavender and some roses in tea, and thus I’m avoiding these for now as well. I also avoid sugar and Splenda where possible.

Location

Burnaby, BC, Canada

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