2026 Tasting Notes

96

This was my second Red Leaf Tea flavored matcha latte of the day! Earlier, I had a Butterscotch latte, but this evening after a too heavy supper I wanted another latte, and I wanted something especially light and refreshing. When I sifted the matcha into my glass, the loveliest lemony aroma filled the air. Even though I am whisking these with my aerolatte, I find that sifting makes a very noticeable difference.

I added about a cup of cold water and the honey, then whisked. Then I filled to nearly the top with skim milk and topped it up with a little crushed ice, because I like for these to be really cold! It was perfect, refreshing, and gone way too soon. I really shouldn’t have three in one day, should I?

Em

It’s Fat Tuesday, go all out :)

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I made my afternoon matcha latte with this flavored matcha today! I like this one both hot and cold, but for cold lattes I like Bavarian Cream, and plain matcha most of all! With honey to sweeten, and crushed ice, of course!

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drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
2026 tasting notes

Thank you to Zen Tea for this sample!

I had a terrible night last night – obstinate, irritating, disappointing family stuff – so I am determined to drink tea until I feel better. I started the day with Queen Catherine, my usual bucker-upper. Poking through my samples to see what I could finish off, this one really appealed to me. I find vanilla to be a very comforting scent, full of “home” and peaceful. Paired with bergamot, which is bright and awakening, I hope this will help kick start me to a better attitude.

This one is so much about the aroma for me. It is so creamy and sweet smelling. Earl Grey lovers really should try this. The tea base is strong enough to be used for a wake up call, too.

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
2026 tasting notes

Because it was the kind of day yesterday and I’ve had that kind of morning. Grrrrr.

gmathis

Sorry about the grrs. :(

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Sadly, I finished my sample from Nuvola Tea today. Joyfully, I took a look at their website and saw that it is half the price of others that I have been looking at. I have been trying to get a couple of friends hooked on matcha lattes and have had pretty good success. Today I introduced them to unflavored matcha lattes.

My friend preferred this brand because she felt it was creamier and had a fresher taste than the first one she tried, though it could simply be that this one had more honey since I was drizzling it in and not really measuring.

Bottom line, this is a really tasty matcha for a price I can hardly believe. It is because this is made in Taiwan rather than Japan? Whatever the case, I want more, and I won’t be ordering just one pack!

Thank you, Nuvola Tea, for the sample. It was great to get to taste another matcha since I am fairly new to the type of tea. I have enjoyed every bit of this one!

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I had no idea this ginseng oolong was going to be so different from Teavivre’s. There are a couple of obvious reasons why it is, though.

First, this is a Chinese oolong, while Teavivre’s is from Taiwan. Second, this uses Siberian ginseng root, while Teavivre uses American ginseng. I really thought there was licorice root powder on the Teavivre leaves but I asked them some time ago and was told there was not. I taste something similar here but no licorice root is mentioned and it is lighter.

This tastes like a Tie Guan Yin, and the ginseng is adding just a hint of flavor that comes as a sweetness after the swallow. It doesn’t even come close to the floral sweetness that follows with Teavivre’s, though. This is the level of ginseng flavor I would expect on their third steep.

Second steep is sweeter than the first, but still milder than Teavivre’s.

The Tin Roof leaves are still tightly balled up and coated with ginseng after the second steep. Now I have done the third steep and they still haven’t unfurled. I think something about their ginseng powder must have more sticking power and dissolves into the tea more slowly.

The leaves are still dark pellets, but the tea is getting a little sweeter with each steep – just a bit. I think this gives the tea a consistent level of flavor with lightly growing sweetness each steep.

Several people mentioned disliking ginseng. If you want ginseng for its benefits and like TGY, this would be the way to go. Personally I love the BANG POW of the first steep of Teavivre’s Taiwan ginseng followed by the gradually calming down of the following steeps.

Michelle Butler Hallett

I adore ginseng oolong.

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I absolutely adore the Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearls and the Silver Needle Jasmine White tea from Teavivre. I can not afford to drink them all the time and still buy ridiculous amounts of new tea, too, so I bought this as an economical drinker to go with meals.

When served with food, this has that perfect level of jasmine flavor that I find I all of their offerings. I love that it only has to steep about one minute, because when I walk in the door with the takeout boxes I already to eat!

Because hubby is now enjoying tea with our takeout, I give this one steep, pour that into my huge tetsubin and put it on the warmer, and make a second steep right away and pour it in. That way there is enough for both of us to have all we want with the meal. No more being polite about who gets the last bit, or who will go resteep the leaves! LOL! And because it resteeps well, that makes it even more economical.

I got two bags of this so we should be good to go for a while!

For drinking without a meal, Pearls are still my number one, but with a meal these are quite delicious.

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I want to thank Bonnie over and over again for saying she puts her puerh leaves in the fridge to cold steep after she has had some hot steeps of it. I did that two days ago and just let it sit in a big pitcher. I am finally drinking it today and I have to say it is one of the most refreshing things you could possibly imagine.

I posted a link to the recipe for Ent Draught last week, but to me, THIS is what Ent Draught would taste like. It is so perfectly light, refreshing, and clean, clean, clean, while at the same time tasting of purest earth. I think I could actually gulp down the whole pitcher in a very short time, and it is so cooling and uplifting. There is not even a tad of sugar in it. It doesn’t need it.

Ent Draught is supposed to be clear, thus the distilling process, but this is the taste it should have! The color of the cold brew puerh is gorgeous – so orange and clear. It looks like really good Southern sweet tea. I would much rather have this, though.

I am almost looking forward to our sticky summer weather just so I can drink gallons of this!

Bonnie

Someone actually did this! When I made the note I doubted that anyone would make it. (Being a puer after all) I live in a very arid zone at 5000 ft. and hydration is important. The chilled puer IS refreshing and calms your stomach.

ashmanra

This isn’t the first time I have done it since I first saw it in one of your posts, but everytime I do this I think of you! It is the most refreshing thing I think I had ever had. It tastes like the purest water on earth, infused with the flavor of pristine earth and trees! I really want to try to make it as a clear Ent Draught sometime!

Terri HarpLady

I will be trying this soon!

Em

Sounds like something I’d be interested in trying. How long do you let the leaves steep?

Bonnie

For all my cupboard stash, what you don’t see is how frugal I am. My bins are salad containers, half my stash are samples from friends and trades. I don’t throw out tea leaves that still have goodness in them that can be used for cold brewing. My budget has been $15-$20 a month for tea and sometimes I’m down to nothing for months other than going for tea in town which is about $4 a week. It’s my only entertainment outside of TV, so I think people who complain about prices can have lots of tea for less probably if they plan for quality not just quantity. You should explain Ent Draught so others know what that means. We all learn from each other! Maybe when the weather gets warm, we can have a cold tea thread and share what we do!

Bonnie

Oh- I use that bottle top thing that the Tea Spot invented to filter the leaves. What do you use?

ashmanra

Em: I let this steep for two days so far, but I will keep it going in the refrigerator until I drink it all, even if that is a few more days. It was ready to drink probably six or eight hours after putting it in, since it had already been heated once, so the leaves were “open” and saturated and ready to give up their flavor! I also use a glass container because it conducts temp so well and the tea is so very cold.

Ent Draught was a drink described in The Lord of the Rings. The Ents were the ancient tree shepherds and looked like trees themselves. When the Hobbits drank the crystal clear draught, they grew instantly taller. There were two different times it as served to them, and each time it tasted different. I had posted a link to a site where someone had tried to create their own versions of Ent Draught using tea and herbs, but since it was described as being clear they distilled the tea on the stovetop! If I find the link again, I will post it here,

ashmanra

I found a couple of Bodum iced tea pitchers with filter in the lid at TJ Maxx a while back for a really good sale price! That is what I use for cold brewing.

ashmanra

http://foodthroughthepages.com/2012/12/18/ent-draught-the-lord-of-the-rings/
There it is! The description from the book as well as the recipe to imitate are here, but I really truly feel this is a description of white tea for the first, perhaps infused with flowers like jasmine or osmanthus, and jerk tea for the second drink that was given to them.

cryptickoi

cold shu is great…a little citrus(yuzu) in it is good too…

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This sample from Nature’s Tea Leaf was the first tea I served at tea party yesterday. It is a black tea but is oh so so sweet and mellow. The primary taste is sweet potato, and the mouthfeel borders on thick. It pairs well with sweets. It is fantastic to drink by itself. For me, it needs no additions whatsoever and would even suffer in my opinion if sugar or sweetening were added since it is so sweet and delectable all by itself.

This is one of the teas that should be a cupboard staple. This isn’t peppery, spicy Yunnan, this is sweet and smooth and creamy to the taste! Thank you, NTL, for letting me try this one!

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79

Sip down! Wow, this feels like a landmark for me, because this very tin is the first oolong I ever bought.

Grace Rare Tea Company does not disappoint. They don’t have a huge catalog because they chose to specialize and committed themselves to finding the best they could of a few types of tea. They have done that very well.

My weekly tea guest who started out as a lover of black tea is very fond of this one. I will most likely restock it one day, but for now I am removing it from my cupboard simply because I have so much tea. I really have reached a point where my own tea collection is a little overwhelming to me, partly because I feel like there are so many things I need to be drinking, but I am always wanting to try something new.

I have given away one box and one bag of teas just to try to gain control of the stash but more needs to be done. I think a weekend long sample sip down is in order, too!

Formosa Oolong – au revoir! Until we meet again!

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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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