The aroma of this matcha is unbelievable. I am not a huge fan of matcha plain – I tend to doctor it up with my grapefruit agave or some honey. It’s not necessarily the sweetness I’m after, but the flavouring. So, when Red Leaf Tea’s Caramel Matcha was promoted endlessly on Steepster (you guys are the worst influences!) I couldn’t resist. With true teas, I started with flavoured and came to love the pure teas – it seems my matcha journey is destined to follow the same lines. If you too would like to enjoy some primo caramel matcha, see here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html.
I sifted two scoops of the amazingly authentic smelling caramel matcha into my chawan and added some 80 degree water. The matcha is a bit more brown than others I have seen, I’m guessing this is from the added flavouring. My whisking leaves something to be desired, but I did manage to make some serious foam. I’m not sure how much water I added, but I tend to make my matcha a bit thin for my own preferences.
The aroma now reminds me of baked goods, which is unexpected. I am thinking some sort of cookie, but no cookie comes to mind that has caramel. There is an aroma underneath that which I associate with coconut and vanilla, but it isn’t dominant so I don’t mind. If it’s possible, the smell is very rich and warm, I continue to have associates with baking.
First sips are a big shock. I get an immediate sweetness and flavour – but not of caramel. Nope, this tastes exactly like cotton candy to me. What?! I’m going to go ahead and guess that I’ve somehow got the parameters wrong on this somewhere along the line – not enough matcha, too much water, too low temp, who knows. I don’t get any grassiness or bitterness, I seem to have completely drowned out the matcha with my robust flavouring. In fact, I would consider adding a bit of my unflavoured matcha to this if I wanted to tone down the sweet, delicious flavouring. Sometimes. On a side note, this gets the kitty seal of approval – while I didn’t let her drink the matcha, she gave it a serious sniff.
While I definitely need to work on my process to get this back to the caramel I expect from the aroma, this is the best bowl of matcha I’ve ever had. Now, that is admittedly a small number but this is just good stuff. For those of you that were afraid to try flavoured matcha because you didn’t know if you’d like it, I suggest you jump in. With this stuff. (Found here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html). It may seem daunting, but really it’s just delicious! In the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying my caramel candy matcha. Oh man.
As an afterthought for my Canadian friends, the shipping on this was really quite quick. It was 8 business days from the order to my receiving it, and I live in an outlying province (Nova Scotia). There was a holiday in there, but it was still less than two weeks which is relatively unheard of in terms of shipping times. I think I paid around $3 for the shipping as well, so it’s certainly affordable.