1817 Tasting Notes
I am mostly ordering and trying matcha for my daughter, who works at night and is trying to drink a lot of green tea plus she needs energy and to be alert but not jittery, and for my husband, who is terrible about not eating a good breakfast and needs energy for a long day. For this reason, the flavors I am choosing first are really flavors I think they will like rather than what I would choose for myself, although believe me, my turn is coming!
My daughter loves fall because she loves EVERYTHING pumpkin! She makes pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin fudge. She buys pumpkin doughnuts and pumpkin spice coffees. She even toasts pumpkin seeds. So a natural choice of matcha for her is the Pumpkin Pie Matcha! I don’t think I even noticed on the website until I saw Alphakitty’s review, and as soon as I saw that I knew my daughter had to have it!
You can find it here:
I ordered the small size and got the basic grade of matcha because I also got the robust level of flavor, so I thought that grade of matcha would be fine.
This time I got the tin. Matcha is a very fine powder, and they recommend keeping it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Naturally, I have to try it first! Again, I want the flavored matcha for lattes or smoothies so the big decision was how to make a pumpkin pie drink without adding coffee, because that is the only kind I really know.
I decided to make the matcha and add it to heated milk for my first attempt. I figured if i didn’t like it as a hot drink, i could always pour it over ice.
The dry matcha did not have as much aroma as I had anticipated thought had a pleasant smell. I had expected to open the pouch and be greeted by CINNAMON whopping me upside the head, but there was just a pleasant smell of light spices and pumpkin.
This time I didn’t use the Bamix immersion blender, but just whisked the matcha in a small cereal bowl with a kitchen whisk. I had tried making it that way with the first matcha I ordered, which was the mocha one, and it worked great! I don’t have a sifter – I just looked at the powder and since I didn’t see any lumps I figured it was okay. I poured on the hot water, probably only one ounce, and whisked with my plain metal kitchen whisk and used the “M” shaped motion they describe. As soon as, and i mean AS SOON AS, the hot water hit the matcha, the robust flavor showed itself in a rich aroma swelling into the air. Yes sir! This is a nice mix of pumpkin pie spices, but the pumpkin is there, too! I got a lovely froth completely covering the surface of the liquid. Even though my plain kitchen whisk works, I eventually want to get a bamboo whisk and a whisk stand, just because I enjoy the doodads and paraphernalia!
I added the ounce of matcha liquid to a ten ounce cup of hot milk and stirred in one teaspoon of raw cane sugar because I want a pie experience! It is hard to believe that this tiny amount of matcha is going to flavor that whole cup of milk.
And oh my goodness, my daughter is going to be very happy! This tastes like liquid pumpkin pie. It is so rich, yet this is skim milk. I feel like I am drinking a whole milk, calorie dense beverage.
As a hot milk drink, it was also very satisfying and I am hoping it is going to keep me going as we do a big clean up today. I wondered if I would need to add some real canned pumpkin to it to give it enough flavor, but it isn’t necessary! I can’t wait for my daughter to try this! I already told her about it and she is pretty excited! She had never heard of matcha before now, and is diligently googling all the health benefits.
This is accurately described on the Harney website. Dark and intoxicating indeed! There is an assertive cocoa flavor that grabs your senses like a handsome stranger grasping your hand and encircling your waist and looking deep in your eyes when a tango begins to play.
This is the tea that had all the elegance of a Duke, yet had the presence and strength to be paired successfully with rich strawberry ice cream. The two played off of each other very well. I am glad I eat very slowly (though it drives hubby crazy!) so that I still had ice cream left when we served this one at tea party today.
Hints of Golden Monkey by H&S are here, as well as Premium Steap’s delicious Emperor’s Red, but this really is a tea all its own.
Today I realized that I haven’t served this at tea party yet! As a special treat I had purchased some Häagen-Dazs strawberry ice cream to serve with Pepperidge Farm Bordeaux cookies. I thought about serving it last to continue the strawberry theme, but my guest really wanted it first, so we served it with the ice cream.As always, it was delicious, but I do think a better pairing would have been the Wild Wuyi Black with the ice cream so you have a nice contrast, and then serve the SV last to keep the strawberry theme going, as I felt the creaminess, rich ice cream masked some of the good flavor of the tea. The aroma of this tea is so fantastic, and the flavor doesn’t let you down.
I wanted black tea this morning but decided to let my daughter have the whole pot of Lapsang for geometry. I wasn’t in the mood for a regular breakfast blend, though, so after some internal debate I picked this one because Bonnie’s post about her Darjeeling had this one on my mind for a while.
Some Darjeelings get astringent very easily. Some are very fruity and have the strong, tart, muscat grape flavor. This one is just really earthy. It is smooth enough that I don’t even consider adding sugar or milk, and uncomplicated enough that I don’t mind making a big pot of it and drinking it while we are doing schoolwork.
Tunes: Theme from Harry’s Game, Newgrange by Clannad.
Back logging: Youngest and I drank this most of the day. We made two pots. It is sweet and the smoke is pleasant enough, but it is not quite as good as Black Dragon from Upton. It lacks some of the sweet resin quality of Happy Lucky’s. But overall it is good and satisfies the need for Lapsang. We are trying to finish it before my Upton order gets here and it looks like we may succeed.
Tunes: Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men and
Helena Beat and Don’t Stop by Foster the People
I have several samples that I have saved for a time when I can pay them special attention. This is such a time, and such a sample, from the generous and venerable Bonnie!
I put my kettle on to boil and carried my eight ounce pot to the stove with the leaves in it. As I set it down, I caught a whiff of what I thought was peaches. I looked around. No peaches in the house right now. Hand lotion? No. Must be the ae leaves, but straight black tea that smells like a stone fruit? Verdant, you have some amazing and unique teas!
I gave it a quick rinse and then steeped for 25 seconds, keeping on the low end of their recommendations. The resulting brew is light in color for a black tea. The first sips are so milky. “Are we sure this isn’t a milk oolong?” I find myself thinking. A dark, baked milk oolong is how I would describe the first steep.
On the second steep, a metamorphosis is occurring. The liquor is now a little darker – I let it steep for 35 seconds this time. Okay, now I taste what I think of as light black tea with an unsweetened cocoa profile that is very light, but it is mixed with a slight milkiness and also quite a bit of green tea flavor. This is very hard to pin down as a black tea as it seems to behave so much like a oolong!
Third steep: What? Color remains a medium light brownish yellow, but the milkiness has increased, most notably on the front of the sip. The impression of a dark oolong has increased on the swallow, but the aftertaste is that of a well rounded green tea and a slight drying is taking place as an after effect, not unpleasantly.
The fourth steep was my favorite. It was even creamier and the unsweetened cocoa has given way to a soft, buttery vegetal flavor. At first I thought the slight drying effect was gone, but as I kept drinking it was still there, though very light. Steep number five: lighter, maybe a little dryer and the milkiness is lifting a bit now. There is more flavor here than I would have expected from a black tea resteeping so many times.
Thank you, Bonnie, for an enjoyable afternoon tea experience!
Tunes: Luc Baiwer/Symphony des Ages – Prelude for a Century, in Memoriam. Remembering the families, the innocent, the broken, the heroes. And praying.
I got a package from Liberteas today! And it is full of tea goodness! I really shouldn’t be making more tea right now, but you know what happens when you get new tea….taste ALL the things!
I love Premium Silky Green by Bird Pick, so I was especially eager to try this one. I made it in my little handmade gaiwan that I bought at Tin Roof Teas. It isn’t an “easy gaiwan” officially but I think it is the same thing. It is sooooo much easier to use than my first gaiwan that burned my hands all the time. It is just decorating a shelf now!
Wowzer, these leaves swelled immensely! The first steep was golden and while it had a hint of the baked flavor it was really more fruity than anything. It is definitely smooth and not astringent. Second steep – still golden, maybe a tad lighter but I decreased the time since the leaves are fully expanded now. Really fruity and mild!
Thank you, Liberteas! I will keep steeping but I have to cook supper now!
Tune: Traffic/The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, cuz I thought we were going to drink Lapsang but made oolong at the last minute! Traffic is black tea music to me!
Resteep of last night’s leaves: This oolong was made western style last night and I usually only make one resteep when I steep it that way. The first sips are slightly milky, something I hadn’t picked up on before. The liquor was a brilliant golden color this time. I think it was even brighter this time! The oolong is nice and the osmanthus is a little muted.
Tune: Lonely Boy by the Black Keys, celebrating being finished with geometry for the day even though youngest had an early dental appointment. Yay!
Oh, this is really hitting the spot tonight. The aroma is so….oolong! Greener oolong, with the body of roasted somehow. The osmanthus adds a lovely sweet and floral taste, but it doesn’t cover up the beauty of this tea. I am drinking it in a china cup that is white inside, and the liquor is golden and clear, really lovely. This is an excellent tea for when you want to unwind. Absolutely spot on delicious. Those French know how to do tea. Le sigh.
Finally at long last, IT FEELS LIKE FALL! That means I will really enjoy morning tea, and I don’t even have to sneak the thermostat way down. :)
I mixed this the opposite way today because I was feeling a little bruised on the inside – too much thinking does that, you know – and I wanted a black tea that would also be calming or meditative, and florals do that for me. So I went with two teaspoons of Rose Scented and one of Palm Court, but honestly, I think I prefer it the other way round!
The tea and a nice chat with a neighbor while the dogs played and the gentle breeze blew have made things a little lighter. The horrendous humidity is broken for now, and you can actually stand outside for more than ten minutes without needing a shower.