84 Tasting Notes

74
drank Matcha Super Green by Rishi Tea
84 tasting notes

After hearing about this tea , I had to try it. I mean… not only are the ingredients in this tea independently fantastic but, it’s a World Tea Champion so let me have it!

The verdict: Meh.

This tea has the creamy mouthfeel of Matcha, and the slight astringency of Sencha, which in themselves sound quite nice, but… well… as I already mentioned, each of those teas on their own are fantastic.
I feel that the Matcha conceals the lovely nuances of Sae Midori Sencha. The precise wonder of Sae Midori is that it is so complex! The Matcha overpowers it.
And the creaminess of the Matcha is there, and in its own right it’s lovely… but… it’s not whisked. My impression throughout my entire first cup was, “Aggghh! I really want to whisk the heck out of this right now!!” And this surprised me because I don’t feel that way at all when I have Genmai Matcha / Ryokucha.

So my conclusion is this: This is a good tea. It’s unique, and it gets you jacked. But… in my opinion… the Matcha is best whisked up as a bowl of Matcha, and the Sae Midori Sencha is best savoured and appreciated on it’s own.

Preparation
1 min, 30 sec
takgoti

Aw, bummer. Reading the description, this does sound delectable. And I’ll have you know that I am on the verge of buying a quarter pound of Ancient Yellow Buds and I am completely blaming you for my addiction to it.

Oh Cha!

Woooo! I take full credit. :)
Yellow teas are where it’s at.

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69
drank Hubei Spring Needle by Samovar
84 tasting notes

This tea… is a quandary to me.

Sure, it’s a Chinese green. But most Chinese greens are roasted. Not steamed. So this tea is unique! It takes a varietal from China that is either just steamed, or it is roasted and steamed. And it’s done quite well.

So, I like it very much for being a pure Chinese green tea. It’s lovely. But… when compared to the Japanese teas I obsess over, I find it to be a bit flat.

I’m with @takgoti @teaplz and @Ricky. This tea was good for a Chinese green, but in the end it just made me want a really good Japanese green tea.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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96

As I spend another day at work, tethered to a computer, watching my muscles atrophy and my interpersonal skills decline… I think to myself, “At least I have Osthmanthus Silver Needle!”

This tea is underglorified.

The explanation is likely quite simple. I don’t think the average American knows what Osthmanthus Blossoms are. Or maybe they do (Do you?) – but I certainly didn’t before my tea obsession thoroughly set in!

So allow me to share, in case you’re unfamiliar. Osthmanthus Blossoms, or “Guay Hua,” usually come from East Asia. Cute little osthmanthus flowers grow on shrubs, and are typically harvested late in the year (autumn). As a result, osthmanthus-scented teas are often the last teas available each year. Osthmanthus scenting, from what I understand, is quite similar to jasmine scenting. Osthmanthus Blossoms are mixed in with the tea, allowed to sit&scent the tea overnight, picked out the next day, and then fresh Osthmanthus Blossoms are mixed in so it can happen all over again. The process is repeated, up to 10 times, and then… voilà! Sweet nectar of the gods.

The difference to note, however, is in the flavour. I don’t want you comparing my glorious Osthmanthus-scented Silver Needle to Jasmine-anything.
While some may find Jasmine-scented teas to be perfumey and overpowering, (me) Osthmanthus creates a unique luxurious nectary flavour unlike any other. I would describe the tea as being smooth and sweet, with notes of honey and ripened yellow fruits, and a subtle floral aroma. The first infusion is always best, as it contains the most of that fresh-steeped Osthmanthus flavour.
And while I’ve seen Osthmanthus Oolongs elsewhere… NOTHING is like this Osthmanthus Silver Needle. It’s perfect.

This tea is easily in my Top 5. I dare you to try it and not like it.

Have a great day everyone! :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Rob Yaple

I had a small batch of this a few years back (needless to say, it’s only a memory now :) and I have to say that I usually don’t really go for white teas with added anything; but this tea was really wonderful. I shared it with a few close friends, and it was met with unanimous praise. Thank you for reminding me of this fantastic tea!

Erin

I had Samovar’s version of this and loved it. It seemed like such a unique tea, but I didn’t know why. It’s not until I read this note of yours that I even knew that Osthmanthus was a sort of flower. I thought it was some sort of different kind of Silver Needle. : / Thanks very much for enlightening me! Now I know what to look for in other teas because I absolutely loved the sweet nectar-like flavor.

teaplz

I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’ve got a sample of Samovar’s version from takgoti. Seriously, O-Cha!, you are the resident Rishi expert. Hearts all around!

Erin

@teaplz – Prepare to be delighted by Samovar’s version.

mattscinto

yes you seriously are the rishi queen

Oh Cha!

The Samovar version compares quite closely to the Rishi version. I would recommend either!

k_t_bug

Thanks for the info and recommendation!

Dhamma

You seem to have tried a lot of Rishi’s catalog. I am thinking of ordering from them, what green teas do you recommend? I was thinking of ordering 4-5 types for the free shipping.

Oh Cha!

Hi Dhamma! I have a personal preference for Japanese greens, so I will start my recommendations there. Genmai Matcha, Kukicha, Organic Sencha, Sencha Sakura if it’s available, annnnnnd… For a little Chinese green tea fun perhaps Dragonwell and Green Needles Premium. Also: Houjicha is a roasted (as opposed to steamed) Japanese green – so if you’d like something tasty that pairs well with breakfast foods and such, that’s a good selection.

Forgive me, I also have a personal preference for pure teas, so if you’d ever like recommendations for scented or flavoured varieties, that’s a whole other category for me as well :)

Enjoy your tea! Happy shopping! And don’t forget to use a kyusu and 180 degree water for brewing… that’s the most important part!

Anatta

do you recommend any specific website to buy a kyusu from?

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87
drank Grapefruit Oolong by Adagio Teas
84 tasting notes

Okay you guys… so… I went to a tearoom here in Milwaukee called Anaba Tearoom.

Very cool place! (Top floor is a greenhouse, main floor is a garden room, and basement is a beautiful teahouse.) I did my typical cafe/restaurant thing, and asked if they had anything excellent/unique that wasn’t on the menu. Sure enough! I ordered two of the options I was given…
-First Flush Houjicha (glorious)
-Grapefruit Oolong (magnificent) (especially paired with the ginger-apple-peanut butter sandwich that I had)

So I asked my server where this mystical Grapefruit Oolong came from. Adagio? Adagio! That’s what she hinted toward at least. So I’m not certain, but I believe it was an Adagio tea. Loved it!

I’ve had a grapefruit oolong once before. It was a blend of a Chinese green oolong (bao zhong probably – it was very crisp), orange blossom, and natural flavouring. It was good, but not nearly as good.

So I’m wondering…

Has anyone had the Adagio Grapefruit Oolong… or any other grapefruit oolongs (or similar teas) that you would recommend?
I’d adore your help! :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

2 questions… is there a way for a wheelchair to get down to the basement? And why would they have offerings not on the menu…?

Jason

Is this the place? http://steepster.com/places/1587-anaba-tea-room-shorewood-wisconsin

And you didn’t even add a rating and review?!?! ;) Actually, it looks like you already got part of your review in your tasting note!

Oh Cha!

@Cofftea – Yes! There is an elevator! :) And every place that has a real chef will have items not on the menu… asking about this is how you find out about special items, temporary/limited quantity items, super-secret-favourite recipes, etc.
I like to treat chefs like artists… they have an eye for what’s best, and when they’re used to making/serving the same thing all day, it’s fun to let them show me how they like to tweek recipes, or what they like to special order for themselves.

@Jason – Since you asked nicely :] (DONE!)

Jason

Awesome! Great scones and tons of Rishi, sounds like a winner to me :)

Cofftea

Peanutbutter cheesecake sandwhich??? WHOA!=D

mattscinto

was the grapefruit oolong uh.. sour? Like ruby red grapefruit sour

Jane Quigley

I have the Adagio Grapefruit Oolong and it’s one of my favorite teas – especially for my mornings. The slight citrus in it really wakes me up!

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94

I wanted to revisit this tea and give it a proper evaluation for 2 reasons…

1.) This tea is still by far my favourite oolong. And Rishi must have just released their latest and greatest crop into the public because the flavour of my most recent cups of these tea were different from the flavour I’ve had from previous shipments. It’s always been really good, but what I just had is INCREDIBLE. I can’t stop!

Pairs best with fish and spicy foods, but also makes a lovely mid-morning/mid-afternoon treat.
Also, I recommend brewing this in a glass teapot. It’s so beautiful! A teaspoon of Iron Goddess unfurls to fill half of your teapot. I’ve seen few teas that do it like this one, so set the glass pitcher in front of a window and just enjoy the show!

2.) Rishi announced that they are donating 20% of their proceeds from this season’s sale of Iron Goddess to an organisation that is working to provide relief efforts in Haiti. They posted this article in their most recent newsletter:
http://www.foodthinkers.com/2010/03/the-enduring-oolong-of-compassion/
Pretty awesome.

Three things I’m crazy-passionate about include:
-Excellent tea.
-Fair Trade efforts or acts of charity.
-The philosophies surrounding Avalokitesvara/Guan Yin/the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy (so much that a related prayer [the mantra of compassion] is tattooed on me.)

… So this whole ‘awesome-delicious tea / 20% going toward Haiti’ -thing pretty much makes my day. It’s the perfect excuse for you to try it if you haven’t yet. And if you’ve had Iron Goddess of Mercy in the past, and enjoyed it, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the latest crop. It’s fantastic. :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec
Jillian

That’s an awesome idea. Haiti needs so much long-term help to rebuild and get their act together. People tend to forget about that there’s still need after the first few weeks have gone and the immediate crisis is over.

Now if only Rishi’s shipping costs were more reasonable. This is something that I’d love to buy, but I’m not paying $20 just to get it shipped across the border. ¬_¬

Oh Cha!

Shipping is a bummer! Agreed!

teaplz

Ahhh, you make everything sound absolutely wonderful, Oh Cha! I’m going to have to snag some of this if I make another Rishi order soon…

Oh Cha!

I try only to evaluate the best teas! That is mostly to blame…

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91
drank Sencha Sakura by Rishi Tea
84 tasting notes

Rishi Tea just announced their arrival of this year’s Sakuracha!!!

I have been meaning to try this for ages now! I have tried the Sakura versions of other brands, and they have left me bitter (emotionally, not in flavour profile) due to the fact that they taint my delectable, pure Japanese teas with flavourings.

Rishi keeps it simple. Sakura blossoms and a high quality sencha. Beautiful! I completely love it!
In the past I have loathed sakurachas (probably due to how the artificial ingredients would bring back not-so-fond memories of cherry varieties of cough-syrup.)

The flavour is very difficult for me to describe because it is so unique. It is a very full, smooth Japanese tea. Very little astringency in comparison to others! Almost a creamy mouthfeel? Lovely. And beware, this tea must be FRESH, because it brews quickly! Lessen the recommended steeping time a bit.

Sorry I’ve been neglecting my Steepster account friends :) Work has taken over my life lately! But I’m going to make a comeback today ;) Hope everyone’s well!

Oh! And on Rishi’s site, they are selling a Sencha Sakura + Tsuki Teapot combo by the way! I didn’t need the Tsuki Teapot because I already own one, but for anyone looking for new teaware, I highly recommend it! My Tsuki Teapot is my favourite teapot that I own, and it’s not at all expensive. Perfect for Japanese greens!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Meghann M

Sencha Sakura sounds amazing! I hope I can try this this year…have to let my cupboards clear out a bit first.

Oh Cha!

I’m going to Japan this August and a tea like this is getting me more and more in the mood!
Oishii desu yo! .

Cofftea

LUCKY! Stick me in your suitcase… I’m so small I just may fit lol. I really want to go drink matcha in Japan.

teaplz

Mmmm this sounds AMAZING! I might have to order some with my next Rishi order. I have WAY too much tea, though!

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62
drank Lemongrass Black by Rishi Tea
84 tasting notes

I made this one and the Lemon Black at the same time, and shared with my colleagues.

The Lemongrass won 3 – 0.

It tasted more… natural! And lemony, but not bitter. Quite nice. :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec
takgoti

Hee, you’ve got your own panel of tasters. Very nice!

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62
drank Lemon Black by Rishi Tea
84 tasting notes

Very good.
I recommend you go a bit lighter on the infusion time than specified on the package.
Allow it to cool a little extra too, it will allow the astringency of the lemon oil to calm a bit.

When compared with Rishi Lemongrass Black, I preferred the Lemongrass… UNTIL, they had both cooled. Then I preferred the Lemon.

A quandary indeed!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec
Ricky

Now I’m confused… which one to add to my shopping cart…

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85

FRUIT LOOPS!

:) It sounds scary… but it’s actually a good thing! You have to try it to understand. I’d frown on it in a hot tea I fear, but I find it to be quite awesome in an iced tea! I have this in my fridge quite often, I love it!

FRUIT LOOPS!

Ricky

Seems Adagio’s tea production machines got mixed up with Rishi’s =P

Citron Green should just be renamed to fruity pebbles, fruit loops.

Oh Cha!

Hehehe… I wonder if sales would increase or decrease?!

And it has to be some blending ingredient… either an unusual botanical, or an essential oil I’m not familiar with. It kills me not knowing!

TeaCast

OMG that sounds AWESOME. I love me some fruit loops!

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65
drank Orange Blossom by Rishi Tea
84 tasting notes

In the past I have had this tea, and found it to be… meh.

But today it was brewed for a tasting at Whole Foods… and our barista brewed it lightly, and very specifically. I actually really enjoyed it!

I’m still very much a purist with my green teas, but if the brewing instructions are followed closely, and you lessen steeping time a bit, I highly recommend it to the fan of a good blended green tea.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Jillian

Sometimes it’s all in how you brew the tea, I guess. :)

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Profile

Bio

I’m a foodie. I’ve worked in tea professionally, and the obsession never left. I’ve also worked at a wine bar (with cheese, truffles & charcuterie) and a teahouse/restaurant (with excellent artisan pairing dishes) on the side.
So I’ve done a lot of tasting… and you’ll notice I bring up food pairing a lot!

I’m all about sharing recipes and recommendations, so please feel free to throw any of yours my way, and should you ask I’ll be happy to do the same. I’m also old school with my brewing methods – so if you have any questions of brewing or artisan teaware, feel free to ask.

Activities:
Drinking artisan tea, indulging in an entire bottle of wine, savouring microbrewed beer, making everything from scratch, putting cheese on/with everything like a true Wisconsinite, spending months’ worth of paychecks on Amazon, and flipping through and smelling the pages of books I surely won’t get to for another 8-10 years.

Location

Milwaukee, WI

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