1998 Tasting Notes

drank Demain by Nina's Paris
1998 tasting notes

See that “Add to Cupboard” I clicked there? That’s because this isn’t a sample! No sir, this is part of my birthday gift from my eldest daughter! She emailed Laurent and they went back and forth putting together a gift box of four small tins and one large for me, and Laurent helped her choose my teas. The tins look beautiful together, and red is my accent color in my kitchen and there are little pops of it in my Williamsburg blue living room, so these are a nice decorative element as well. Here is a photo I took yesterday of the small tins. I hadn’t opened the large one as yet.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24998856@N06/8561345077/

I decided to drink this because…well, I got it yesterday, and Demain means “tomorrow” so I thought I would drink it…tomorrow which is today! Got that?

I was having a quiet morning as everyone slept in after a late night watching movies and playing games. I got out my lovely Lady Carlyle cup and made a whole pot of this. The liquor is so lovely in the cup. It is a bright, clear, medium yellow color, really I would call it golden without a hint of orange. So pretty! I drank the whole pot before doing yoga with my son.

This is a bright and refreshing green tea flavor, yet not astringent or puckery. It is a good one for waking up!

Thank you, Superanna and Laurent!

Sil

That’s so awesome!!

Donna A

What pretty tins and so thoughtful of your daughter. Happy Birthday1

Ysaurella

Bon anniversaire Ashmanra

Tealizzy

That is beautiful! So jealous!!

TheTeaFairy

Happy birthday! What a thoughtful gift!

ashmanra

Thank you! It is a super gift!

JacquelineM

Gorgeous!

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drank Matcha organic 40g can by Zen Tea
1998 tasting notes

I bought this because apparently I am a crazy person and I am trying to acquire every matcha that crosses my path that is under $40 a tin. Help.

On the bright side, this made a really good latte! The color of the dry powder is almost identical to the Olive Nation matcha, not nearly as bright as KaiMatcha Premium. I have a really nice froth lingering on my latte, and it has nice enough flavor.

I noticed that the above says it is $24 for a 40 gram tin. I went on their website to make sure I was looking at the right tea. On their site it says it is $34.50 but is on sale for $19.99. That is a great sale price for 40 grams of organic matcha. Most matcha comes in 30 gram packages.

Edited to add: I just looked at my account and I did indeed pay $24 for my tin. I wonder why their site now shows $34.50 as the price. Maybe the sale is to clear out the last of this batch and the next batch will indeed cost that much?

Bonnie

Jackpot, I think we have a winner on machine 237! Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

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I wanted a good black tea to pair with….a spoonful of frosting. Yes, that is my shameful mid-morning snack. My youngest daughter just made birthday cake number two – with four kids in the family and my godson plus hubby and me, one birthday cake isn’t enough! She did a beautiful job, and now as the birthday person I get first choice on beaters and pans. I chose the frosting bowl! Heh heh. But I really only scraped out about two teaspoons worth or a tad more.

I am really trying to sip down some teas and I am trying VERY HARD not to order more, but I can’t say I have had much success with that part! I have even given away two big boxes of teas lately! And still we have way more tea than food in this house. And way more tea than money. LOL!

I have enough leaf left now for one more pot, and I won’t be replacing this one. I thought I would back when I first bought it. My daughter liked it and it was not bad, but I have had Keemun Mao Feng from Harney and Sons and Organic Superfine Fragrant Keemun Black Tea from Teavivre, and those are superior.

I don’t regret purchasing this. It has served us well and is pretty good, but I am glad to open up space on the shelf for some other, more treasured teas to come in. It was really good with my cream cheese frosting, though!

Bonnie

Oh you bad girl, that sounds good! (I usually have a spice cookie with black tea)

K S

I think making space on the shelf more than makes up for the frosting. You should celebrate and buy more tea!

gmathis

Frosting has nutritional value. I’ll get back to you when I figure out what it is.

ashmanra

Well, it was cream cheese frosting. As a woman, I need lots of dairy to prevent osteoporosis. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

tea-sipper

oh yeah.. I had a spoon of frosting yesterday. I swear it isn’t every day!

Angrboda

Happy birthday. :)

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drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
1998 tasting notes

I am tasting this tea thanks to the amazing JacquelineM who miraculously produced a sample of this long unavailable tea. When I first joined Steepster, this tea was all the rage. I put it on my wish list, but the company that sold it – sob! – closed before I could buy any. I think losing the opportunity to try this legendary tea bothered me more than any other that “got away.”

And here I am with a generous sample. She could have sold this on the black market to some tea head for lots of money, but instead she sent it to ME! And I saved it for my birthday, which is today! This is my evening cuppa, a treat for myself in the quiet now that the day is winding down.

This is beautiful, beautiful leaf. Dark, long, twisted leaf that is highly aromatic, especially when you scent your cup first. (Thank you, Garret, at Mandala Tea for teaching us to do that. It adds so much to the experience. Pour your hot water in your empty pot, let it warm a moment, then pour out the water and add the leaf. Put the lid on for a moment. Now, lift the lid and take a long, deep sniff of the pot and leaves. Once you have experienced the aromas, add your hot water and steep.)

This is an extremely complicated tea. I am so glad I tried the hojicha first because my thoughts went something like this: Cocoa! Rough cocoa! Roasted cocoa! Roasted….something….coffee, caramel, smoke like hojicha, and…was that a hint of cinnamon? Chicory, yes, it is there also.

No wonder everyone loved it. Thank you so much, JacquelineM, for blessing my birthday with “the one that got away.”

On another note, when I looked up the plantation on google I saw an article that said a tea garden manager of that area was abducted in fall of 2012 and held in the jungle by some group – I forget now exactly who – but had been rescued. Oh my! Glad to read that he was rescued.

Sil

Happy birthday! So glad you had a special tea to enjoy on this great day :)

Terri HarpLady

ooh, that does sound like an interesting & tasty tea! Happy Birthday!!

Azzrian

Happy bday! Yes it is great you got to try it if only once. Its sad though to find a tea like this then its gone :( Im sort of glad I never tired it lol not really but ya know.

Josie Jade

Hope you had a wonderful birthday! :0

Bonnie

Happy Birthday!

ashmanra

Thank you! It has been lovely!

looseTman

Happy Birthday & many more!

JacquelineM

Happy birthday!!!!!!! Happy, happy, happy! Woody cat purrs Happy birthday too !!!

This one is also nice with a little milk and sugar in the afternoon. I am really glad the tea manager is rescued too – my word!

gmathis

Belated, but still sincere. Happy day to you!
(I am hoarding a teeeeeeny bit of this myself like it was gold.)

KiwiDelight

Happy Belated Birthday! I’m glad to know you had such a lovely birthday present :)

K S

Happy one day late Birthday!

ashmanra

Thank you, everyone! :) I am sitting here drink Keemun Hao Ya A and licking the spoon from my youngest daughter’s first cake experience!

Indigobloom

Happy Birthday!! Hope you had a great one. It’s my bday to :P

ashmanra

Happy Birthday, now belatedly, to you as well, Indigobloom! I hope you had a lovely day!

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drank Hojicha by Zen Tea
1998 tasting notes

This is my first hojicha ever. I must confess that I was scared of it, especially once I cut the sample package open. (This was a free sample included with my matcha order.)

Smoky, but with something that came across as a burnt toast aroma. Oh dear! But I determined to try it anyway. And guess what? It was pretty good! I really thought it must be very similar to coffee, but I am not a coffee drinker so I can’t say for sure. I thought it might get bitter or harsh as it cooled, but instead I liked it more than when it was hot.

The burnt toast aroma has now turned to caramel followed by smoke, and that is something I can definitely handle. This is so bold (though not in the least astringent) that it is hard to believe it is low in caffeine. I would think that people who can’t have caffeine in great amounts or in the evenings would really enjoy a nice bold cuppa like this – lots of strength and flavor but no jitters and no insomnia.

So – what I thought was going to be an ordeal has turned out to be a really pleasant cup of tea.
Thank you, Zen Tea, for expanding my horizons a bit today!

Alysha

I have a sample of hojicha that I’ve been a little iffy about trying as well, but after reading this I think I’ll give it a go!

ashmanra

It is very smooth and has such a distinctive flavor that I can see how someone could crave this. It really is great cooled. Bet it would taste wonderful with Thai food, too.

Fjellrev

Mmm, Hojicha. Glad you liked it.

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Well, I don’t how orthodox it is to post a tasting note for something that isn’t available, but here it is!

I was really looking forward to today’s latte. I realized that I need to continue sipping down some samples, including these from the Red Leaf “taste off.” I think I have almost perfected my matcha latte recipe now. I love it with honey more than any other sweetener, and realized that I also like lots of milk, not just half milk half water.

I put one tablespoon of honey in a large glass and pour in just enough hot water to “melt” the honey. Then I add a little crushed ice just to cool it a bit so I don’t burn my matcha. Next I sift in one teaspoon of matcha powder and whoosh with my aerolatte, then fill the glass almost to the top with milk, and add a little more crushed ice so it will be nice and cold. This had really nice color, a little greener than the Olive Nation matcha I have been making lately. The flavor was creamy and good.

I am loving the Working Glass I bought from Williams Sonoma just for my lattes. I am surprised others in the family haven’t tried to lay claim to it yet! The top startled me when I tried to shake the hot water and matcha – it POPPED and I got spritzed with tea! So don’t shake if the beverage is hot! LOL!

Helena

Hope you didn’t get burned.

ashmanra

Thank you, Helena! I didn’t, and since no one was in the room even my dignity remained more or less intact. The funny thing was that there was only about 2 ounces of liquid in the glass, at most. A fine mist spritzed me, so I guess I could just tell people I was wearing Eau de Matcha!

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drank China Keemun by Zen Tea
1998 tasting notes

An Italian friend of mine is very health conscious, buying organics, eating fresh, whole foods, making her own household cleaners. I asked her for a recommendation for the best, TRUE, olive oil and she referred me to a selection at Olive Nation. I love that company, by the way. Their matcha is great for lattes, nice and earthy but not at all bitter. Their vanilla beans are excellent and not expensive at all.

My new olive oils arrived this morning, so I decided to have a sort of Shepherd’s lunch – olive oil mixed with Penzey’s Tuscan seasoning, Parmesan, and dried garlic served with Italian bread, some Swiss cheese, and apple slices.

Something else also arrived – an adorable, handcrafted card by GMathis with some Tulsi inside. I have it displayed on my writing table! The color is prettier in real life and in the background you can see another she sent a while back. http://www.flickr.com/photos/24998856@N06/8552541342/

I needed a tea that would pair well with this strong Extra Virgin olive oil. As I pawed through my tea, I realized this was a great time to sip down a sample! This was sent to me by Zen Tea a while back and I reach for it whenever I want a nice, strong Keemun that isn’t rough around the edges.

Lightly smokey with cocoa notes, it was brilliant with my lunch. I am finishing the second steep (by the pot, not the cup!) now. Thank you, Zen Tea!

By the way, their teawares are awesome and I really want that Zen Brushstroke matcha bowl. Maybe soon…

yssah - Love is Tea (LIT)

oh my…so pretty!!! and the feather is a perfect touch to the picture :)

delightful lunch!

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96

I have really been dragging all day. I didn’t sleep much for a couple of nights, plus allergies are acting up. Youngest had two dental/orthodontist appointments today and got a Herbst appliance, and I was trying to wrestle the new shelf into place over my bread table but it was too long to go in the closet, no matter what geometric gyrations I went through. My neck and shoulder were sprung and undone. I even took down the burglar alarm box and the fire extinguisher. I was pooped, and clearly couldn’t do the work I had planned for this afternoon, so instead I thoroughly cleaned the refrigerator. And that was when I found out just how much of a problem I have.

I have been doing the buy three get one matcha deal at Red Leaf. I usually give one to my daughter and one to my best friend. Yet still I have Black Cherry, Bilberry, TWO strawberry (at least), TWO Caramel, French Vanilla, Butterscotch, TWO Cheesecake, Peanut Butter, Belgium Chocolate, and this one, Bavarian Cream.

I also felt very unqualified to be tasting and reviewing matcha since I didn’t know much about it a few months ago, so I also bought four plain from other vendors for comparison. I just ordered another. Oh dear.

Anyway, my reward for cleaning the reorganizing the fridge was a nice, cold matcha latte. It was 71F here and cloudy, but nice enough to sit on the hammock and enjoy a cold drink.

I didn’t know what real Bavarian Cream was when I ordered this and was expecting something like the inside of a Krispy Kreme vanilla cream filled doughnut. I was surprised when I smelled the light and lemony aroma of this one. I didn’t know if I would care for it, but it has turned out to be a favorite, and when I find the right way to start using these in recipes this one will probably be a cooking staple. I can really see it in home made frozen yogurt. This has gone from a what-the-heck? flavor to a “don’t run out” flavor.

Mercuryhime

My favorite for smoothies. Makes everything taste like pudding.

MegWesley

I had a Herbst too! I remember that the first couple of weeks were painful and I got really good at making myself instant mashed potatoes. It will get better though.

When you figure out how to cook with matcha, this might make a delicious ice cream.

Alphakitty

I used this in a pound cake once, totally divine. It makes even a simple recipe taste decadent.

ashmanra

Pound cake! That sounds wonderful! Hubby proposed over the first pound cake I gave him. I asked later if it was the cake he was after. I make one for most of our anniversaries….the day we met, the day he proposed, and the day we married, events that were only spread out over eight months! LOL!

Fjellrev

The next pound cake event needs a little Bavarian Cream matcha then!

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I have really liked every Puerh I have tasted from Teavivre. I have saved this sample that I purchased for almost a year, but my best friend came over to try my new flourless chewy chocolate cookie recipe and I thought this would be wonderful with them. It was!

I gave it a rinse because it is such a tight chunk. It is pretty large, more than I would normally chip off for my little gong fu pot. The first few steeps were kept quite short, maybe 20 seconds. I made four steeps, filling a larger pot, and made four more after that. The fifth steep was super dark, really quickly. It tasted great, too. Dark puerh doesn’t scare me, I like it! I saved the leaves because this doesn’t look like it is even close to quitting.

Delicious, refreshing, moist, clean leaves on a forest floor with streaks of sunlight streaming down on you. That is this tea.

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drank SoHo Blend by Harney & Sons
1998 tasting notes

I haven’t had this in ages. My friend liked it and I gave it to her for her birthday last year. She hasn’t touched it, though, because she got distracted drinking other teas and her first cup of this was a little disappointing, to as coconut-y as she remembered her sample being.

I wanted to try it because my daughters fiancé is coming soon and I had bought him the Bon Bon tea from Tin Roof Teas and he absolutely loved it. He wants something in sachets though, so I planned a side by side comparison of these today, only to discover that I put my whole bag of Bon Bon in the traveling tea box! Well, I can still drink this one and see what I think!

What I think is that he will like this, but he will prefer the taste of Bon Bon. It has big pieces of coconut in it, and that was the flavor he was really after.

As for my opinion, this is very good. It is very pretty to look at, my house still smells like chocolate, and my friend said it tasted better than she remembered, so maybe the bag just needed to age a little or get mixed a bit better.

ashmanra

Hey! My 1500th tasting note and I didn’t notice until after!

Miss Starfish

Congratulations!!

Fjellrev

w00t, congrats! I need to revisit this one too. The first couple times I tried it, the base seemed too strong for me or something, and severely lacked in the coconut department.

Josie Jade

Glad you got to try this one too! :)

Josie Jade

And congrats on 1500 notes!!

Sil

Woot! Way to go with 1500!

Veronica

Congratulations!

Ysaurella

congrats Ashmanra !

Indigobloom

1500 that is awesome. Congrats!

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Profile

Bio

I am a music teacher and homeschooling mom who started drinking loose leaf tea about five years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…

Location

North Carolina

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