697 Tasting Notes
I tend to forget that I like Keemun. I recently finished off a tin of a low grade Keemun from a local tea store, and turned to this one today to try something I hadn’t tasted before. Teavivre graciously sent me this in my first batch of samples months and months ago – and though I thought I tried it, apparently not. Actually, I owe Teavivre half a dozen reviews. I feel miserable about it, but a lot of times I just want to drink a tea and enjoy it, rather than thinking about the review I owe. Anyway, on to the tea.
We did a steep with boiling water for around 3 minutes, the liquor was rich and surprisingly brown in our new glass bubble tea cups. If you want smallish double walled cups, the Bubble ones at Davids Tea are super cute. I love them. Anyway, the tea was rich in flavour, I remember lots of strong notes, reminiscent of chocolate. Why do so many of my favourite black teas remind me of chocolate?! I REALLY enjoyed this one and would consider adding it to the Teavivre order I am trying to make (for some reason their site is refusing our credit card as payment. I’m a little bummed). The flavour was bold but not harsh and it was very smooth with no bitterness. (all good points in my book!) See my note on Persian Apple for how the second steep went, heheh.
This is a keemun win, for sure. Now to get my order to process…
80 degrees, three minutes steep. The beau made this one for us (after accidentally steeping Teavivre’s Keemun Hao Ya for 20 minutes, hah!) so I didn’t get to smell it beforehand. His sense of panic when he oversteeped the keemun was hilarious. I had to point out that there is plenty of other tea in our house if he wants some.
The steeped aroma reminds me of sweetened boiled apples – like homemade applesauce with no cinnamon and too much sugar. Actually, really appealing. I don’t tend to like green tea and I have been on the hunt for the perfect apple tea for two years. Do we have a contender?
First sips are light on flavour – no green tea, but there is something appley. Tastes more like green apple jelly bellies than applesauce though. Though I LOVE Jelly Bellies, that means the flavour is coming aross as artificial to me. Good, but artificial.
As I keep drinking, I get a bit of the bubblegum flavour I tend to get from DT’s newer flavoured blends. It does happen to taste exactly like a green apple jelly belly though! Won’t have any trouble finishing the sample I purchased, but I don’t anticipate a rebuy. I might like to see a bit of sour apple in there somewhere to cut the artificial sweetness. Yummy, but too standard. If I were just starting out in tea, I would probably fall for this, but I’ve been around the tea block too many times. : )
Picked some of this up yesterday out of curiosity – the smell has a hint of matcha, but I didn’t find that to be present in the taste. I used it on supper last night and it really packs a salt punch – but be careful to use just a little unless you want a very salty meal. It’s neat, but more of a gimmick than a necessity for me, I think.
I don’t know what is wrong with me or my taste buds, but I did not get any cookies or cream out of this, either in taste or aroma! I prepared 1/2 teaspoon, sifted and whisked – then got sweetened matcha, but no flavour! I ordered the distinctive flavouring, and am wondering if I should have taken it up a notch. I will be trying it again another time, in case something was off in this experience, but I am a little disappointed. The aroma wasn’t even cookies and cream – it was almost more burnt sugar/creme brulee. I’m not a fan of milk at all, and don’t particularly enjoy it in matcha, but I might try that at some point to see if it brings out the creaminess. Hoping for better matcha luck with the cheesecake and strawberry flavours.
*Will rate another time after I re-try.
Holy Hannah, these are huge. I expected pearls, not marbles – and I am in love. Taste and smell aside, these things are beautiful. I requested a sample of these a few months back and Teavivre graciously obliged…then they somehow ended up in a strange place and never got used. My bad. Teavivre, thanks again for the sample – I’m so in love with the look that as long as they taste halfway decent, I’ll be ordering more (and some Bailin Gongfu!).
I used 4 marbles and steeped them in nearly boiling water for 3 minutes (my standard black tea steep setup). The liquor is amber, but lighter than many black teas. The aroma is bold, reminds me of cigarettes/cigars. Typically that would be unpleasant, but this isn’t. It’s like the sweetness of tobacco mixed with something musty and rich. Old leather? There’s a hint of “ashtray” which I don’t like, but hopefully that’s just a smell.
First sips are rich, very rich. Like very dark chocolate, sans sweetness. There is a smokiness in the taste which probably explains the “ashtray” aroma I was getting earlier. It is mild, but very there. Reminiscent of a campfire with dark chocolate smores. Now, typically I don’t enjoy smoke or dark chocolate, but this is working for me. It’s very smooth, there is no bitterness, nothing with bite. It is very different from other black teas I’ve tried, but I think this is something I want in my cupboard. I don’t think of it as an every day tea, but I could totally get a hankering for this.
I’ll need to try it a few more times (and get the beau’s opinion too) but I think this is definitely something I should order. I’m running low on good plain black tea, so I should stock up. Right?! : )
Wow. Iced, this is different beast all together. I threw the other half of my sample in a pitcher to cold brew for a day or so and I am NOT disappointed. It is crazy in your face strawberry kiwi flavour with no tartness at all (though it is red from the hibby!) It’s like a delicious and sweet strawberry kiwi juice, sans calories! Holy Hannah. Iced, this gets a 95 from me. Possibly 100, as I can’t think of a way to improve it. If/when I do a Della Terra order, I will be getting this one solely for the purposes of icing it. Seriously, y’all: ICE THIS!
Updated rating to reflect versatility: not great hot but amazing iced!
Quick one: Received this in the second wave of samples from Della Terra Teas in their new packaging (thicker plastic, better smell blocking!) This one reminds me of David’s Tea’s Oh Canada, but the aroma is a little different. I accidentally steeped it for 8 minutes, an I used 1.5 heaping teaspoons to get serious flavour.
I get maple in the taste with a hint of rooibos behind it, like the syrup is coming straight from the tree. There is a hint of roastiness at the end that makes me think of melting marshmallows – I’m loving this! Thanks again, DTT!
I received this one as a surprise second batch of samples from Della Terra Teas in their snazzy new packaging. The new pouches are a thicker black plastic which eliminate the smell contamination I experienced with the old ones. Thumbs up!
Unfortunately, one of my picky tea tastes is that I don’t like pumpkin. Actually, i don’t like pumpkin ever. I will carve it for jack o lanterns, but that’s about it. No pie, no seeds, nadda! So, I got the beau to drink it, and the following is his review:
“The tea was good, it is much better then the David’s tea pumpkin chai! The cinnamon was subtle so it did not overpower and it actually tasted like pumpkin pie. I only steeped it for like four mins for fear of over powering cinnamon so it was a little weak in flavour but the next time I think I will steep it a little longer to see if the taste is stronger and/or better. I would give it a 88 out of 100 and I boiled the water for it since it is black.”
There you have it, folks!
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.