974 Tasting Notes

89

Matcha of the day…..

I am hooked. I am currently planning my next order, and I think it will mostly be English Toffee Matcha. I am just waiting to see the February free sample. I have so much French Vanilla in my possession, I don’t need to sample it.

My daughter is finishing up the Caramel Matchachino, and I needed to determine if the additional cost for the matchachino mix is worth it to her. She likes her matcha frothed up in milk with something to sweeten it, and no ice. She did decide that the matcha with me adding splenda was good enough. This makes my decision easy. The math nerd in me figured out that the way we drink the flavored matcha, we get 20 servings out of a small, and 40 servings out of a large. There ends up being a huge cost difference in going from a small to a large per serving, and from a large to 2 larges get a small free. After that, to the next level, it just works out to a few cents a serving. Since it is not super shelf stable (like my black teas!), I think the buy 2 larges get a small free ends up being the best choice for how we drink it. Also, I am not sure the tins make sense for me, either. My only matcha equipment has been a standard measuring spoon and a personal blender. I have just been keeping the matcha in the pouches they came in, in the freezer. The cost per serving for the matchachino is more than how a small match works out.

Anyway, I think I will order robust in this when I do order. We have distinctive and it would be good just a little stronger. I find distinctive plenty strong for the French Vanilla, though.

Fjellrev

I’m a fan of this one too but I find it’s too similar to others such as Caramel to have all of them at once. I have tons of French Vanilla too!

SimplyJenW

I agree they do taste similar. My son does not like the Caramel, but he likes the English Toffee. I can’t explain that one, so we will just go with it!

Fjellrev

Ah weird, I guess the English Toffee has more going on, with the chocolate and nuts. Just that I can barely taste those notes? And I had it in robust, I think.

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86

Tea of the afternoon…..

Welp, it is cold. What better is there for a chilly afternoon pick me up than a sweet, minty, chocolatey cup of tea? I have only a handful of flavored teas in my stash anymore. This one is good, reasonably priced, and easily obtainable. You know you are set in your tea ways when “easily obtainable” factors into what you purchase. Della Terra runs some great specials (this one was restocked by me on Black Friday), the tea is good quality, and great attention is paid to the taste and look of the tea. A win all around.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

Matcha of the morning…..

I decided to give this one another go today. It is a little sweet for me, but I think I will have my sweets loving daughter try this. I think the improved texture when blending up with ice will definitely make a difference for her. I will report back!

Blended with ice and milk.

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97

Tea of the morning…..

Yes, you will be seeing lots of repetition from me. Kind of boring for you, but definitely not for me. There are very limited new acquisitions coming in. I have found a place of tea contentment with black teas of all price levels. (I just have this odd dread of running out of a staple tea!…which leads to hoarding tendencies, but I digress…) So with the epic weather that is record cold for many areas in the US (Yes, we are so untrained at this like my Canadian friends!) I needed to choose an epic tea. Stay warm, Friends!

So dreading the shoveling. The snow blower is in the shop. :(

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Contentment is a wonderful thing. Working on that myself!

LadyLondonderry

I am in very much the same place, and it is good! I recently sorted through my tea cupboard and tossed a lot of stuff. I love my full-bodied black teas best but have to moderate my consumption of them, for the sake of my nerves and my stomach. So all I really need is a few good Keemuns and Yunnans and a flavored/floral tea or two for when I’m in a fancy mood. :)

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91

Tea of the morning…..

This one is very good, but it is on its way out of my cupboard. I have quantities of other great black teas, and this one is down to about an ounce. In doing the math, it is about $3.85 per ounce currently. That makes it just a little more than my favorite KMF.

This one is not smokey, though. For those of you who like a black tea low in smoke, this is for you. For me, though, I think I like the complexity that the slight smoke adds. I know there will be another time when I explore the black teas at Upton, but I have to drink some of my 2 or so years worth of black tea in the recesses of my stash first!

Usual teapot method.

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71

Matcha of the day….

This one has been saved for me. I made a decent sized order in December and they included a free sample of the Eggnog matcha. I had gotten one in my Black Friday purchase, so that one was tasted and enjoyed. I took a risk with this one and added it to my half remaining small pouch of Cookies & Cream. Now it works well enough….well, better than it did on its own. I am guessing it is about a 50/50 mix. The blend brings it up into the mid 80s as far as rating, but not quite as high as the Eggnog on its own.

Prepped as a frappe.

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93

Tea of the morning, and first tea of the New Year!

Happy New Year! I needed something a little on the strong side (but not too strong) to get me going this morning. Usually, I reach for this or my Queen of Suburbia blend in that situation.

Solid taste of a decent Keemun with a punch of Assam to get me going.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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92

Tea of the morning…..

Finally, done with the holiday travel. I am getting soft in my progression of age. I just don’t sleep well when I am not at home. Then I get cranky…then my temper is shorter; others react, and I react in turn and you can see how the progression goes. Yes, I am getting soft! I also usually just drink coffee in the mornings if I am gone for a few days. It is nice to be home with my tea.

This one is very reliable. I knew I needed something with a hint of something citrussy this morning. Just a hint of bergamot, really good tea base. Very reliable. I am not even sure the last time I had this one, but it has been months. It is like greeting an old friend.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

Matcha of the morning…..

It was time to pull this one out just to see how it compares to the way I usually prepare my matcha. For a cold version of this, it calls for 6-8 oz of milk and some ice, plus a scoop of the matchaccino mix, and then blend in a blender. When I make regular matcha, it is 6-8 oz milk, 6 ice cubes, 1/2 tsp matcha, and 1 packet of Spenda blended up.

First off, I think I got the lower quality based on the reviews I read here. I think I read somewhere here at Steepster where Red Leaf mentioned that there was a lower quality matcha batch that got mixed with a good batch, so you were kind of taking a chance, hence the lower price. No worries on that as the price I paid was fair. The product in my bag is kind of a brownish green rather than the bright green I am used to for matcha.

This differs slightly in overall taste. I do find the caramel flavor is kind of light (it is delicate). To me it mostly just tastes sweet. A little too sweet. The texture is much better, but I have some ideas why that I will explain later. I can tell the difference in matcha quality as it tastes just a little green. This is not bad (remember I have the lower quality that was a cancelled “special order?”), but I think it would be better in the usual grade of matcha.

The texture differences are all due to the sugar, xanthan gum, and tapioca dextrose. Sugar itself adds bulk in comparison to Splenda. Xanthan Gum is definitely a thickener, and from what I can quickly research on the tapioca dextrose, I think it is a lower sweet/higher bulk than the cane sugar. It is nice because the ‘middle’ of this feels filled when drinking it. In my usual version, you can kind of sense the ice just not quite being enough to fill it out. If that makes sense. The only thing that seems to suffer because of the added bulk is there is not as much room for frothiness.

I think for me, I will stick to the normal flavored matcha. Adding the Splenda is not an issue for me as that it what I use to sweeten all of my tea. It just comes out frothier (unless that is a product of the quality of the matcha and not the bulking agents.)

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87

Matcha of the day…..

Creamy sweet and vanilla frothiness. This is such a great basic and uncomplicated flavor for matcha. We have the classic base, distinctive flavor, and we always make it as a kind of frappe. I did purchase some Matchaccino in caramel flavor and can’t wait to see how the way we fix this varies from the matchaccino. Stay tuned.

Starfevre

Staying tuned, quite curious.

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Profile

Bio

My motto: Drink the good tea!

Tea enthusiast, trying to keep up my cardio for the zombie apocalypse. I have come to accept that I am a western brewing black tea drinker as that is where my ‘tea heart’ lies. I started on loose leaf as a way to have my dessert and not suffer the caloric issues. Once I tried it, I was hooked.

I drink what I like, which is mostly China blacks, a few traditionally scented blacks and Earl Greys, plus a flavored tea here and there. I don’t mind spending a bit on premium varieties on occasion, but an expensive tea has to deliver. My favorite places to order are Harney & Sons and Upton Tea Imports. TeaVivre is great for Chinese tea.

My ratings are pretty subjective. If it falls under 70, I may not take the time to post about it unless I had something specific to say. If it is 70-80 I like it, but I will probably not rebuy. Favorites are over 80 and up, but sometimes the less expensive or more easily obtainable version of a similar taste will win out for my cupboard space.

Usual teapot steeping method: 24 oz teapot, 3 perfect scoops of tea (4 1/2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual mug steeping method: 15 oz mug, 1.5 perfect scoops of tea (just over 2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual pan method: 1 1/2 cups water, 2 perfect tsp chai (3 actual tsp). Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup skim milk. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Strain and sweeten.

Usual pitcher method:
5 or 6 Perfect Spoons of tea (this means about 7-9 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, brewed essentially double-strong in my 24 oz teapot for 4 minutes. Fill my Fiestaware Disc pitcher (about 60 oz.) halfway with ice. Add brewed double-strong tea to the pitcher. Stir it a little and enjoy. No additions.

(*SRP is my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan starting on April 12, 2012. I got so far, but just decided it was too fussy to keep track.)

Location

Ohio

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