520 Tasting Notes
First matcha made at home! First matcha made with my little electric whisk! (wow is that thing ever whisky). First try of this matcha, having finally brought out my tea tins from RLT to fill. I made this one into a hot latte, with a bit of hot water to whisk it up with, half a teaspoon using my ‘perfect matcha teaspoon’ and 10 oz of hot milk. I think next time I need to make the milk hotter. I actually measured too, in my liquid measure. So this is made as perfect as I am capable. Added sweetener because that’s the way I like it, but not too much.
This is really really good! The raspberry is really nice, light on the tongue and not too heavy and blends well with the creaminess that goes above and beyond the milk added. It’s definitely living up to its name as ‘raspberry and cream’, like most of the Red Leaf Tea matchas I’ve tried. The black base is nicely supportive of this flavour. I’ve always liked pairing fruit and black tea together so I’m glad I chose well when I picked this one. There’s a hint of that bitterness that black matcha sometimes gets, at least when I make it, but it’s in the latter half of the sip and ignorable with the rest of the goodness overwhelming it in the end. Altogether, I’m very glad I got this.
You can find it at: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/raspberry-and-cream-matcha.html
First cup of this! Order came 2 days ago and I’m getting around to tasting it now. Funny how it came before the order I had placed previous to this that is just getting around to being shipped. I guess they really wanted this one to get out to the people! Not complaining in the least.
So I made a 2-mug pot out of this. Western style, about 3.5 teaspoons to 750 ml of filtered water, 175F and 2 minutes. I wish that the packaging had western style brewing instructions instead of just gaiwan ones because I don’t have a gaiwan. Oh well, guessing it is.
I don’t think I guessed too badly, though I think I’ll add a minute to the second steep later. First mug added milk and about a teaspoon of sugar. It didn’t taste too sweet, though the sugar definitely brightened it up a bit. The black tea was sort of subdued in the face of the RICE RICE RICE that landed on my tongue. I’ve had (one) chocolate genmaicha before, from 52teas, and I couldn’t taste the chocolate then, as I can’t taste any chocolate now. I read Terri’s review though, after I had made it, so possibly I just didn’t shake up the package enough for the cacao to be in the spoonfuls that I scooped up for this batch. I’ll be sure to do some shaking next time.
Second mug, filled up way to the top so, without sweetener or milk, I sucked down a couple of ounces. I generally can’t pick up much for tasting notes with plain teas, for some reason they all mainly just taste like bitter. Although there really was no bitter in this, no squish face for me, and it was drinkable, but I still haven’t reached a point in my tea journey yet where I can drink black tea without sweetener. I’m down to a quarter of my original sweetener additions from the start of my journey, but can’t quite make that last jump.
Added a bit less sugar to the last of the second mug and it suddenly tastes a little too sweet. Perhaps the toffee I had for breakfast finally wearing out? Tastes less like RICE and more like rice and black tea. I haven’t had Laoshan Black separately, though it is in my order that is coming in the mail soon, so I can’t really compare, but it’s a really nice black tea. Still no chocolate, but that’s to be expected since it’s the same pot. Looking forward to steep #2.
So other than the disastrous peach matcha episode of a couple of weeks ago, this is the first fruity matcha I’ve tried. I was kind of concerned because it is a generic ‘berry’ flavour and not any specific type of berry, but back when I made smoothies with berries, I used to dump at least 3 different types in at a time and it always came out pretty well (unless I overdid the cranberries).
Berry matcha from Red Leaf Tea (found here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/berry-matcha.html) is definitely ‘generic berry’. Not to say that’s bad, exactly. It’s certainly not my favourite thing, I just got off of a batch of dessert-y matchas including the infamous caramel matcha so I have some matcha favourites pretty cemented already. But it is good. Not great, but good.
There’s a slight slight slight tinge of bitterness in the back of the throat as I drink this (as a hot latte) but it’s certainly easy to ignore and doesn’t detract much from the experience. I think if I were to buy this again, I’d pick the robust level of flavouring instead of the distinctive. I would stick with the classic grade matcha though. I don’t like this one enough to warrant a higher grade matcha. Although now that I’m thinking about it, I think I might enjoy this one more if it were made with black matcha. I’ve always enjoyed the interaction between black tea and berries.
I did add a bit of sweetener to this, about a half teaspoon of rock sugar to my 10 oz mug of milk, water, and matcha. Used about 2/3 teaspoon of matcha. I think I might use a full teaspoon of it next time. It will probably take a while for me to get through this small order.
There are days, like today, that I wish I was affected by caffeine. Matcha has a fair amount of caffeine, 70 mg/tsp or something, according to the Red Leaf Tea website. I’m still searching for caffeine content for black matcha, but I expect it’s quite a bit higher than that. I didn’t get any sleep the night before last and I think I woke up in the middle of a REM cycle this morning because I kept having to slap myself to stay awake during my commute in. Unfortunately, while matcha is tasty first thing in the morning like today, the caffeine is not helping me wake up.
Creme Brulee Matcha (Found Here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/creme-brulee-matcha.html) is a nice thick custardy sweet sugar drink. I made this as a hot latte with a bit of sweetener from classic grade, distinctive level flavouring, green matcha. After having French Vanilla and Bavarian Cream matcha yesterday, I can’t say I’ll get all 3 again, probably just one of them, though I don’t know which one, but it’s nice to taste this all the same. It tastes like the custard part of the dessert, not the spun sugar top, but it’s quite nice. I haven’t had creme brulee in a while, too obsessed with chocolate things, but this is a nice reminder.
Trying this matcha, my 7th run at flavoured matchas, right after having the French Vanilla matcha so I can definitely taste the difference. They really aren’t very similar at all.
Aside from the custard-y vanilla flavour that’s not quite the same as the french vanilla, there’s also the definite flavour of lemon! Quite strong for me too. This is the classic matcha grade with distinctive level flavouring made into a hot latte with a couple ounces of water, frothed with a fork (I’m at work) and finally with one of those little half pints of milk like you get when you’re little for $0.25 from the school cafeteria in elementary school. They’re probably a dollar now, but they were 25 cents in my day! Man I feel so old, I’m only 30! But I digress.
There is a slight hint of bitterness in this that I didn’t experience with the French Vanilla matcha, that one was a bit smoother, but this one is creamier and the bitterness is quickly overtaken by the flavour of matcha and vanilla/lemon. I think I like the distinctive flavour level on this one, I’m not sure I’d want the lemon flavour to get any stronger. But this is good. Not my favourite, but good. Another success! Now I just need to keep that streak going for the next…15 matchas that I have that I haven’t tried. I won’t be opening them all at the same time though, I only have so many tins and I’d be hard pressed to drink them all while they are still fresh if I had that many open at the same time. A pity, but I’m happy to drink the ones I’ve tried so far that I purchased.
This matcha can be found at: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/bavarian-cream-matcha.html
Well, let me start off with the fact that this is the 4th normal (green) matcha I have tried and is now ranked number 2 on my ‘like’ scale of green matchas. I have LOVED my black matchas, but I’m just starting out in my world of ‘normal’ matcha. Haven’t managed any of the non-flavoured stuff yet, but it’s just a matter of time.
The first green matcha that I liked was the champagne matcha in distinctive flavouring and so I thought, hmm, maybe I will like everything in distinctive flavouring! Wrong. Robust would be much more preferable in this french vanilla matcha. I like it, it tastes smooth and pleasant and there’s nothing much objectionable in this at all, even for someone like me who doesn’t especially like green tea at all. Unfortunately, I seem to be lacking the actual vanilla flavour though. I can pick it up in hints on the edges of my tasting perceptions, but I like it much more upfront than that. When I order again, and I probably will, I’ll probably order this flavouring again in robust, and there’s a good possibility it will be black matcha as well. I’m finding I like it better. But I have 14 more green matcha flavours to try, of which this is the first that I have actually bought and not just got as a sample from traders, so I’m cautiously hopeful. This one isn’t horrible, like 2 of them I tried, and although the flavouring isn’t as strong as I would like, I can definitely drink the rest of this without problems.
Key points to note: this was made as a hot latte, as in the ‘second best’ way to make matcha according to RLT’s pamphlet they send out with each order. I added no sugar, though I usually do for these types of things. This just plain didn’t need it. Though I think I will right now with the remainder of my latte. Maybe that will make the flavour stronger? Hang on a sec…
Alright, this is even better, sweetener does bring out a slight French Vanilla flavour. Now I know what to do next time.
Apologies for the rambling nature of this comment. I got no sleep last night.
This tea can be found at: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/french-vanilla-matcha.html
If my last tasting note is any indication, this is the tea I pick when I haven’t had any sleep the night before. Strange that. I’m drinking it again, it’s just as good as the last time. I’ll blasphemously put half of my pot in a travel mug to drink on the way to work. It won’t be as good then, but it will still be good. And I’ll probably brew up the second and third steeps when I get home from work.
Had another pot of this tonight. I’m really finding that I like it better at room temperature better than I do hot. It’s more raspberry and less bergamot at that temperature and that’s the way I prefer it. I’ve really been moving away from earl grey over the last few months, perhaps my tastes are changing but I’m really not liking it as much as I used to. This is still a pretty tasty tea though.