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956 Tasting Notes

87

(mine is black tea base, delicate flavor)

And more matcha……

I think what turned me off about matcha in the first place was that I could not make myself crave green tea. I have tried some wonderful green teas, but I was always choosing my black teas in the stash over the green. Always. For that reason, I stopped trying to like it. When Red Leaf offered their free samples, I noticed they offered a black base. When I saw that they were offering a great deal on French Vanilla flavor for Black Friday, I figured it was as good a time as any to try the black version along with my free samples of the green.

I have tried this one whisked in hot water (never again)and prepared as a frappe the same as we do the green flavored matcha. My comparison is for the two prepped the same way. Compared to the green base, this one is roastier. I do catch more of a roasted earthiness where the green base just reads as fresh and frothy. I do like the French Vanilla flavoring, and know it will be purchased in green form at some point. My son really liked this one. I am very glad I purchased this. It will definitely be consumed by myself or my son, the tea and coffee drinkers of the family, but I know my daughter won’t like it. She is better off with the green version. Still, for us, I do think it needs a jump in the amount of flavoring. I can now confirm that the extra cost for the black base is not worth it for me. Is it wrong that I think I will try adding it to hot cocoa next?

I am reserving officially rating this for when I have the green based version, but for the black based version, I give it a 75. I will drink it up, but not rebuy in this form.

Indigobloom

I’ve never tried the black base, always wondered what it’s like compared to it’s direct flavour counterpart! I tried the rooibos base and it wasn’t at all what I thought it’d be like…

SimplyJenW

Indigo- my son the coffee drinker likes it. It kind of reminds me of weak coffee, but in a better way, if that makes sense.

Indigobloom

I think I know what you mean, as that’s how I feel about the cacao tea from Herbal Infusions, only compared to hot chocolate instead of coffee!

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81
drank Eggnog Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
956 tasting notes

More matcha……

The matcha experiment continues. I did order the December free sample, too. Thank you Red Leaf for doing this promotion. I am looking forward to trying other flavors and have no issues with paying shipping for my free sample. Comments on that: I did notice that the Eggnog sample was a little smaller than the Caramel sample. To me, this is not a big deal at all because the purpose of the samples is that the customer can try a flavor before they buy, not drink matcha every day for three weeks…. I hope Red Leaf can work this out to be a sustainable and profitable program.

As for my little experimentation: I was surely thinking that I would like black matcha best. I was completely wrong as I seriously prefer the green. I will have to play around a little more with my French Vanilla Black Matcha before doing a review. I am not sorry I purchased it, though. It was part of the great deals for Black Friday, so I got a small size at a discount. I have also determined that we would probably like just a little more flavor. Yes, we. My son loves this and is looking forward to trying more flavors. Now to get my daughter, the non-coffee and non-tea drinker to give it a try in the frappe form.

The Eggnog flavor itself is good. Since we seem to like the frappe preperation, I think flavors that lend themselves to good milkshake flavors will probably be huge winners.

Thanks again to Red Leaf Tea!

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90
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
956 tasting notes

First taste of matcha….

I have to admit, the free sample offering at Red Leaf Tea put me over the edge on finally giving matcha a try. Unfortunately, their offer was such a good deal that there were a few hiccups in processing. No fear, because I picked up a black tea matcha (what do you really call this?) during Black Friday and asked that she include my caramel free sample from November when she shipped my order. I am generally a black tea drinker, and thought I needed to give the black tea version a try, too, as I am not generally one to like green tea much, even though I really wanted to.

Call me thoroughly impressed. I made a frappe version in my mini-blender with milk, ice, and just a little bit of sweetener. It did not taste bad without the sweetener, it is just that it tasted fantastic with it. I very much appreciated the clear instructions on how to prepare the matcha that were included with the free sample. I think I have found a way I can love green tea! Huzzah! Thank you, Red Leaf! You have won another customer.

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83
drank Keemun Concerto by Adagio Teas
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning….

I bought some chamomile for my nephew on Black Friday and this was a free sample that Adagio tucked into my order. I was definitely pretty happy about it, because my Keemun phase did not coincide with my Adagio phase. (I am still essentially in the Keemun phase.) I loved the easy availability and huge offering of flavors from Adagio when I was new to tea. I only tried a few black teas when I was shopping there, and their Fujian Baroque is completely responsible for my obsession with all teas Fujian. Even though I rarely shop at Adagio, and it would mostly be for herbals and straight blacks at this point (something about their ceylon flavored tea base just doesn’t do anything for me), I so appreciate them for what they are. They were my gateway into the world of tea, and made it so that I did not have to rely on Teavana. Thank you, Adagio!

This reminds me mostly of the Keemun Mao Feng I currently have in my stash from Upton. It is a low smoke version of KMF. It does not have the complexity of Harney’s KMF, but there are definitely notes of cocoa, and malt. I can’t say I will be purchasing this as my stash of just Keemuns is a bit daunting, but I will definitely drink it all. I think it is a bit pricey for what it is. In the mid size, it is $4 per oz. and Harney’s KMF is $4.50.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Tea Sipper

I think the Adagio Ceylon base is actually the only Ceylon I wouldn’t mind sipping!

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85

Tea of the evening…..

This is such a warm hug at night when it is chilly and you are just craving something sweet and spicy that won’t keep you up. ;)

Usual teapot method with an extra scoop of the herbal-ness, and an extra minute of brew time, no sweetening necessary.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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80

Tea of the afternoon…..

Yes, I need to start attacking my flavored tea stash. I think the flavored ones are perfect for afternoon, so I think I am going to make my New Year’s resolution to have afternoon tea everyday. Now that I think about it, what a perfect resolution! It makes me take a moment to relax and enjoy rather than just go, go, go. Some afternoons will be tough to squeeze this in, but I think all I am going to require is an effort to do so. We will see how much it helps me drink the flavored tea I have on hand. I admit that I don’t crave them so much anymore, but maybe they will help me cut back on sugar a little.

This is nice, but not fantastic. I do get mostly coconut at this point (I don’t know if flavor profiles change a great deal after storage. I think I have had this one for at least 6 months, probably more.) The chocolate is light, and the almond is more of a nutty presence (which is nice, really….it makes for a fuller taste). It does help when you are craving something sweet. I probably won’t buy this one again, but I am sure I will try more from this company. The small amounts offered are perfect for trying lots of things and not feeling guilty when there is more than half a tin of some flavored tea languishing in your cupboard because your fickle tastes have moved on. See, it does matter how things are offered.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
mrmopar

I think that is a very good resolution!

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91

Tea of the morning…..

I am loving this. Of course, like most black snail teas, the leaves expanded so much during steeping. This one has cocoa notes, is sweet and has maybe just a little spice. I will definitely enjoy this one while I have it because Upton is out of this one since my last purchase. Bummer. I love the funny shaped teas. It is like a little side adventure added to your tea experience.

I am thankful for many things. Family, Friends, Health. The big ones. But also small things like the time to slow down a bit and to catch a breath after Thanksgiving and before the craziness that is most of December for me. And also tea, because I feel it is something that helps bring moments of peace in a hectic world.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I’m a sucker for novel-teas: snails, balls, cakes, etc., even an occasional bloom
Tea time should engage all the senses, right?
Sadly, the flavor doesn’t always deliver (like the blue unicorn that tasted like soap & made me queasy), but it’s fun to try!

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89

Tea of the morning…..

This is the other fancy tea in my tea splurge. I know there is something close to this in the database, but the listing was 4 years old, and the name is ever so slightly different. I just made it a new place here in Steepsterverse to be on the safe side.

This is very good. Light cocoa, honey, and this has more of a breadiness than the Anji black. There is also not as much body to this one. If I had to pick between the two, the Anji would win. I only wish they had more. I will happily drink this, but I am not sure I will be running back for more. In this price range, a tea has to be very special for me to buy it.

Usual mug method. Will try a resteep!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Since you’re drinking tea, I guess storms detoured around you. Did they get near your area?

SimplyJenW

Not bad at all here. Just a little windy. We did have a tornado go through our neighborhood several years ago. It was also a weird Sunday in November kind of a storm. There was property damage about 2 blocks away, but it missed us. Feeling very lucky!

gmathis

Since ours was in May, we were hot and miserable while doing damage cleanup…I hurt for the folks who are cold and miserable doing the same.

SimplyJenW

I agree. I feel that there is never a good time for such tragedy. However, when it does happen, it is amazing to see how the human spirit works through it coming out stronger on the other side, and the kindness and generosity of others. It restores your faith in humanity.

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98
drank Anji Black by Harney & Sons
956 tasting notes

Second tea of the morning….

I splurged! I have had my eye on some of the more premium China black teas at Harney & Sons. The most recent offer of $5 off a $50 order put me over the edge. I purchased the last tin of this on site at the time, and a 2 oz. tin of Keemun Treasure. I do think it is the most expensive tea I have purchased to date. My first pot of tea for the day was their Citrus Blend which I will review at a different time, but I love that one, too.

This is….remarkable. Notes of chocolate and honey. The leaves look exactly as they do in the photo….a mass of tight, narrow, dark curls. Mouthfeel is heavy and rich. It is Keemun Mao Feng’s super sweet, unsmokey little sister. Yum. How I wish there was more available. (I just looked….they have some!)

Usual mug method. I am going to shoot for a resteep.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

oooh! sounds lovely

Dinosara

Wow, I have to try this one!

SimplyJenW

My 6 minute resteep is pretty awesome, too!

SimplyJenW

Eh. Now I don’t see it on the website. :(

Nicole

That sounds awesome!

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90

Second tea of the day…..

We have snow! It is not the first official snow of the year, but this one might stick for more than a few hours. It is not the greatest timing for me as Tuesdays are kind of hectic with all the places my music playing children need to go. We will just have to take our time getting there!

I do rather enjoy this tea. I have a good amount in my stash, so I am not worried about running low any time soon. However, the difficulty in obtaining this one will make me think twice before reordering. I have another tea in my stash that is a close second to this and available with ease. How boring is it that ease of getting the tea affects whether I will buy more or not. Maybe by the time I need more, it will be easier. (Please Dammann, start taking Paypal!) Or maybe I will just plan a trip to Paris!

Such bright notes of bergamot and orange. The tea base is solid. Yum.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

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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