1769 Tasting Notes
Ugh. I still have a cold. I had to get up at 5:45 am because I puppy-sit on Tuesdays. And then at about 8 am I somehow re-injured the muscle in my back that I had hurt a couple of weeks ago and it is mostly my own darned fault for hunching over an iPad all the time.
After lunch, I wanted something a little bit pampering. I heated eight ounces of milk in the microwave, then added 1/2 tsp. of matcha powder and 1 tsp. sugar. I mixed all this in the Pyrex cup with my Bamix immersion blender and poured it into a pretty mug that a friend gave me from Williamsburg. The froth on this is unbelievable. You would think that a huge handful of marshmallows had been melted on top of this drink.
It was also delicious and enabled me to get through geometry class today! I plan to make another one for hubby when he gets home from work!
My tasting notes are all over the place on this one, mostly because I started drinking it back in the milk and sugar days. Now that I take my tea plain, this is just meh. I think I may even add milk and sugar this morning just so I will enjoy this tea more, but I definitely won’t be repurchasing it when it is gone. There are too many really great teas to bother with meh tea.
When I started looking at the Red Leaf Tea website, I drooled over all the dessert flavored matcha. I didn’t give the fruit flavored ones a second glance and really didn’t think I would ever purchase any of them, mostly because I thought I would only be using the matcha for lattes and I just didn’t picture milk and fruity flavor together. I know they go, but I guess my taste buds were being juvenile wanting all the caramel and mocha and pumpkin pie flavors.
Then a couple of people said they swirled the matcha in a water bottle and made a cold drink. What? What! So I tried it with caramel and found that it really does work. On the first sips I thought it was going to taste weak, but the flavor builds and builds. However, caramel is a dessert flavor and I really love it with milk, hot or iced. A lightbulb popped on over my head as I realized that fruit flavored matcha would be most excellent this way!
I was really happy when I saw the Black Cherry flavor go on sale. I got a large tin of it because this is one I think I can entice my son into trying! I ordered the robust flavor level, but I really want to try some of the more delicate flavor levels soon because several people have said they are still plenty strong enough.
You can order it here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/black-cherry-matcha.html
I got the tin because I love the twist off lid. A pop off lid could be a disaster with fine matcha powder, so be careful what you store it in! I have a regular, short tin of green tea from another company with a lid that gets stuck and every time I open it the tea goes EVERYWHERE! You don’t want that to happen with your fine matcha powder!
The Mocha matcha is almost gone, and soon I will have enough tins that I don’t have to order one every time! Then I can afford even more matcha.
As soon as the Black Cherry matcha arrived, I opened the package. The kids sniffed and their eyes grew wide. Cherry candy! The Black Cherry candle from Yankee Candle that my kids refuses to light because they don’t ever want it to go away. What a powerful, sweet, amazing aroma! Not rooibos-y cough syrup, but cherry candy, as sweet as it was when you were seven years old!
I grabbed a teaspoon, scooped it about half full and put it in my bottle. I added less than an ounce of water and swirled and shook it. Then I added cold water to the top and shook it a little again. So 1/2 teaspoon gave me about 15 ounces of drink at least.
Perfection! AMAZING! Fruit flavored matcha, look out! I want all of you! I know my son is going to go wild for this. This is going to be a perfect work-out drink for him, and so easy it is crazy. WOW!
Overslept because I didn’t sleep well last night. Muscles already sore from coughing. Nose and ears still stuffed with cotton. Nauseated from coughing fit. Sneezing fit. Main household toilet broken and needs parts and I have guests coming Thursday so I have to drag myself out to buy the parts. Out of home made bread AND English muffins for breakfast.
I NEED THE QUEEN!
And now I feel much better. I found some bagels and smeared them liberally with Nutella – now there’s a good start. Accompanied by a good, stout cup of the Queen, this was very fortifying. Even with all that Nutella I could taste the tea, yet it was smooth and sweet.
A long time ago, I had resigned myself to the notion that I would probably always put milk and sugar in breakfast blends. Now I can’t imagine why I thought that, as this was perfect just the way it was.
Onward to face the day! (It helps that I am pretty sure that two tea orders are coming today. You may hear whining later on if they don’t get here.)
I must always have the Queen in my cupboard for emergencies such as these! :)
I got a wonderful surprise from Nuvola Tea on Saturday. The postman had already put our mail in the box on the porch, and when I was retrieving it, he came walking back to the house with a single brown envelope in his hand. He looked sort of….intense or excited….hard to describe, as he bustled across the lawn and held it out and said, “It’s tea! From Taiwan! But it came from Hong Kong!”
I have told him what all my packages are that I have to sign for so he knows I am a tea addict…um, aficionado. I think he was excited for me that I was getting tea, and I was excited and surprised because I was only expecting one sample and I had already received it, but Nuvola sent two more!
Hubby and I wanted to keep our peaceful vibe going tonight that we had started with the Smooth As Jade Menghai Puerh, so I chose this Oriental Beauty as one I thought hubby might like. Since he isn’t as obsessed with tea as I am, his “reviews” are short and sweet. His opinion was, “This has a lot of flavor.”
Mine: I think I have only had one or two Oriental Beauty teas. If I remember them correctly they were more floral than fruity.
The leaves of this one were lovely mixed shades of brownish leaves and little green and white curls of buds, a very interesting and pretty dry mix. The smell of the wet leaves have a distinct lemony aroma to me! The pot is full to bursting with rich brown leaves that make me think of dark fall leaves.
I did a quick rinse, and kept the steeps fairly short since I was using my gong fu pot. The first steep or two had that predominant lemon scent. On the second or third steep, another aroma peeked out. It was a hint, a whisper, of black Tellicherry peppercorns, sweet and sharp and not at all like common peppercorns. Mind you, it was just a hint that teased my nose and there was no sharp or unpleasant taste to it at all, but as my husband said it was “full of flavor.”
I notice that the company recommends trying this with a bit of brandy added. We don’t drink alcohol at all so I don’t have any brandy but I bet that would be tasty. It does seem like a natural pairing for this tea.I have lost track of steeps but I believe we had about four or five of this one.
Thank you, Nuvola Tea for the wonderful surprise!
I had a little leaf left! I made about eight steeps and shared a peaceful evening of gong fu tea service with hubby by candlelight.
I love how this puerh starts to coat your mouth with a cedar-like oil starting around the fourth steep. It just keeps going and going as you steep. I think it was noticeably paler around the eighth steep. This is a lovely puerh, sweet and smooth.
I gave this tea one last chance today. A few months ago I cut up a vanilla bean and stirred it into the tin, hoping it would help this tea overcome the meh’s. it didn’t work. I can’t even taste the vanilla and the puerh still has no sparkle. No élan. No….appeal.
I am passing this on to my friend who likes puerh but isn’t as finicky about the taste since she is usually drinking it on the go.
I will say that I love the Rishi double lidded tins, and sometimes buy the empty tins for storing other teas. (They sell the same tin at A Southern Season.) The tins from Republic of Tea are terrible! They are not very airtight, as demonstrated when I tried to soak one for re-use, left it on the counter full of soapy water, and came back to find water on the counter and the floor and none in the tin. No wonder my Wuyi Oolong went stale! At twenty bucks a tin, I want better storage.
Bonnie was so generous to share this wonderful puerh that she received from mrmopar, so many thanks to both of you!
I was feeling out of sorts tonight, both physically and mentally. I have a cold or allergies or something and a lot of mental stress right now, as we are in the midst of making some big decisions, except that we AREN’T making them, if you get my drift! I know it is past bedtime, but I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I went. Tea and soft music sounded especially inviting! (I already did the “driving fast down the expressway with the Pulse blasting” thing, it was time for something different.)
I have saved several samples from various people until I feel it is the right time to appreciate them, and it is the right time for this one!
Because both Bonnie and mrmopar said to throw away the rinse, I did, though I often drink the rinse. This rinse looked pale, so I followed instructions. The first steep at 30 seconds was mild and very civilized. This has no fishiness, a nice well-oiled horse tack aroma, and a whisper of polished cedar beams. Each steep was about the same length of time, but the third and fourth were noticeably darker. There is a lingering sweet aftertaste, and I don’t know if this makes sense but the tea feels extraordinarily WET. I am drinking from a tiny double-walled glass cup, but if this was in a great big glass I think I could just throw it back and chug it. This is so smooth and thirst quenching. My angry throat is a lot less angry, and my stuffed head seems to be clearing a bit.
As I sit here waiting for steep number….what is it now? Seven? I feel as if my mouth is coated with a delicious infused oil. Is this what truffle oil would be like? I have never had it, but it is what I imagine it must be.
Body and soul are much more fit for having drunk this tonight. This is so mild, so smooth, I think this would be a fabulous introduction to puerh for anyone who is afraid to try it. Thank you, thank you, again, to Bonnie and mrmopar.
One of my kids liked this on the store, so I had her pick some up. I don’t know if she tried it hot or cold, but I am using it for iced tea. I added 1/4 of rock sugar and infused the mixture twice. It is a decent pitcher of iced tea, but I like 52teas much better, so I doubt I will invest in this again. I bought so little of it, I am not going to add to cupboard because it will be gone very quickly since I am making pitchers of iced tea. It is pretty and fruity tasting and would be fun to serve to guests who are not familiar with many teas.
I awakened to find that I still have the sore throat of yesterday lingering, as well as a general malaise and really whiny sinuses. The last time this happened, I drank lots of oolong tea and that seemed to boot it right out the door, so I am going to spend the morning getting to know this lovely sample sent by Nuvola for review!
The sample was packed in the most adorable little brown envelope with the string and two button closure on the back. (Forgive me, but I find pretty mail and packaging really exciting! I even love the little Par Avion stickers – I have it on display now in my cloche along with vintage ink bottles and nib pens. This is how cool it is!) The sample was wrapped in bubble wrap and was undamaged. The leaves were not crushed at all!
I made this is my eight ounce gong fu pot. The tightly rolled leaves were a thin covering on half of the bottom of the pot, and after steeping they have expanded to fill the pot more than halfway full of leaf alone! The leaves are now a deep, dark green color, almost black. This promises a nice roasted oolong flavor to come.
The liquor has a definite baked aroma. Oh, I do love dark oolongs! As I lift the cup there is a sweet fruity note teasing me. Hey, my sinuses may be angry but they are not blocked and they are on duty this morning. I believe I would call this a baked apricot aroma, with even the smell of the Maillard reaction coming through.
With each steep, the dark, heavy baked flavor subsides a little and the fruity sweetness comes out more. I feel as though the tea knew I was feeling poorly and gave me a nice roasty kick to start me up and then started wooing me with sweetness. I am on the sixth steep and seriously, this tastes like I have added something to it now, some sort of natural sweetener, but I haven’t added a thing.
The warmth has soothed my throat, the heat has opened my head a bit, and the delicious flavor experience has made this morning much more civilized than it would have been without this tea.
Thank you, Nuvola, for letting me try this excellent Ti Kuan Yin. I will continue steeping as I believe there are at least two more good steeps in these leaves.