1126 Tasting Notes
Phew, I was tired this morning and so zoned out. I drank my guayusa, tealogged it, got trampled on by my bunny, cleaned and then plotted my husband’s christmas gift.
Behold! Dinosaur pajamas! http://wholesale7.net/images/201110/goods_img/12965_P_1319441471958.jpg
Yeah, I’m weird. I’m hoping he’ll dance around wearing it like this: http://youtu.be/bamYJaCpTqI
I got too much free time…..
Tropicalia has been haunting me for awhile. It’s sitting there in my “need to try” pile, unopened for a couple months now. I know I forgot about it for awhile, then recently I just keep putting it off. With the fall collection out now, I felt I needed to try this tea in the event I love it and need to buy more before it gets phased out.
DRY: Very sweet and pineapply with a hit of coconut. Almost a pina colada! Very cute sugar hearts in this!
STEEPED: Bright yellow and lovely pina colada smell! I snacked on 50% of the steeped fruits in my steeper, so much for a resteep!
TASTE: Gently sweet pineapple and apple with a great coconut aftertaste. The more I drink and the more it cools, Tropicalia gets more sweet and pineapply.
Note: I was really generous and did 2t for one cup of tea.
WHO’D LIKE THIS TEA: Pinacolada peeps, get on this now! Very good tea that has no caffeine but also no chamomile/rooibos.
COMMENTS: very tasty! The more I sip, the more I like this tea. I feel like I want to dance around drinking this wearing dinosaur pajamas. I’d love this tea to be stronger, maybe I’ll jack up the dry quantity some more.
I got a cold steeped going, hopefully it comes out good too!
DRY: lemon drop sweet with a hint of lemon grass.
STEEPED: Strong lemony + lemongrass scent that I can smell from far away! Steeped up to a oaky brown.
TASTE: Lemony with a touch of lemon grass – creamy earth background. Very very little tart – and what was there was a pleasant experience.
Sweetened, this GMS becomes more creamy silky with lemon zesty tang to it. I think I like GMS sweetened.
Lemony drop tea burps!
WHO’D LOVE THIS TEA: Lemon tea lovers that want a morning kick! Good introduction to guayusa too.
COMMENTS: One of the best lemon teas I’ve tried! I’m thinking this would make a great lemonaid (mmm.. caffeine spiked lemonaid). I enjoy the creamy taste and the excellent wake up feeling. GMS is like sunny and cheerful, makes we wanna play a sunny Plants Vs Zombies level this morning while drinking this tea.
A similar tea would be 52 Tea’s Sun and Cloud Mist – which has a mystery fluff taste, but also a strong lemon tea. I say I prefer GMS because it is much less finicky to steep. S&CM can get bitter if oversteeped 30 seconds. That and I love guayusa tea!
LAZY ICED MATCHA MODE!
Yep, addicted to matcha. I keep drinking this stuff! I’m waiting for the next matcha sale at Red Leaf so I can buy more!
I mentioned on my first review of Caramel Matcha my fav sushi joint serves an iced matcha. I decided to recreate this with my own, tastier matcha. However, I’m absolutely lazy feeling today and really dislike whisking my matcha with my teeny wire whisk of crap.
1. I sifted 1.5 tsp of my caramel matcha into a blender ball bottle.
(blender ball bottle: http://www.amazon.com/Sundesa-BB28-SC08-28-Ounce-BlenderBottle-BlenderBall/dp/B001KADGMI)
2. I added around 250ml of filtered water)
3. Shake bottle
4. Add ice
The blender ball thing did create a frothy top, at first it didn’t look like it was working, but about 30 seconds later the matcha was looking good.
Very tasty matcha with a soft hit of caramel! Next time I need to do a milk version!
EDIT: tried the blender ball + soy milk = LOTS OF FROTH!!!! Doubled in size!
However, I didn’t sift the matcha and the blender ball wasn’t able to break up all the little bits, so sifting the matcha is a step that cannot be skipped.
Love sent to Stacy @ Butiki for this sample with my order!
I was planning on trying Good Morning Sunshine, but I was craving peanut butter oatmeal. I figured lemon tea would clash, but cider would not. In the end, it didn’t matter as I gobbled up my oatmeal before I started on my tea.
DRY: Earthy scent with a gentle warm baked apple smell. Lots of great big chunks of apple!
STEEPED: Transformed into a strong spicy baked apple smell! Stronger than the smell of the dry tea!
TASTE: Gently earthy and apple taste with spices dancing through the cup. Not bitter, tart or watery. The whole tea is on a mellow level, so nothing is overpowering. The sips also change, some sips I get more earthy guayusa taste, others more spice. The apple reminds me of a baked apple without sugar.
Sweetened with plain rock sugar, the apple brightens and warms up and the tea becomes slightly creamy. Less guayusa earthy taste.
I think I like the non-sweetened version more. There’s a natural sweeteness that does the job enough for me, and I love that guayusa taste.
WHO’D LIKE THIS TEA: Someone who wants a spice tea that isn’t strong. This is a great breakfast tea for someone who drinks cream/sugared chais to switch out to a tea they don’t need the cream and sugar for.
COMMENTS: I love that this tea is not tart at all! No cardamon either, UGGG CARDAMON! I dislike cardamon after a coworker told me try adding cardamon pods to my coffee or chais and it was traumatizingly bad.
Again, guayusa teas make me feel full, and I could barely finish my cup because I was feeling sloshy.
Overall, very good! Tempting to get more than this tea – see if I start craving it and going crazy.
Feeling tired after a long bike ride to the post office, so I resteeped this morning’s tea, since it was still in my DT Steeper. I don’t often resteep teas, I guess I figure I don’t need to since I have so many teas, but I am missing out an extra experience.
Wow, this tea is just as good the second time around – a little less creamy and silky though but still delicious cantaloupey.
Uggg, there’s rabbit fur in my tea! I was brushing Benson while sipping my tea, yuck!
I was planning to drink a guayusa today, but I woke up so alert and crazy feeling. Must of been all the matcha I drank yesterday – I need to do that again! I was practically climbing the walls all evening and was on a crazy arm bar streak in jiu jitsu!
So this morning my nuttyness continued and I tried using up my crappy matcha and made matcha pancakes – didn’t turn out as there must be some stabilizer or something in my crappy matcha mix that just threw off the pancake batter to stay in one piece, so i got pancakes in bizzare chunks that taste bitter – might be the temperature or my crappy already bitter matcha. Whatever, still eating it!
With that, I need a fun white tea to test out too! How about Cantaloupe & Cream! (C&C)
DRY: Smells just like cantaloupe! OMG yum!
STEEPED: Bright light yellow colour, smells melony sweet – similar to Watermelon Xylophone (WMX)
TASTE: Exceptional base of white tea with a taste of cantaloupe and a teeny bit of sweet veggieness. Creamy aftertaste.
Sweetened with a couple lumps of white rock sugar, the tea transforms more creamy and the sweet veggieness disappears and is a little more melony. Very silky tea!
Personally, I prefer the non sweetened version more.
WHO’D LIKE THIS TEA: Melon lovers! Fruity blend tea peeps and someone who wants to try a pro tea!
COMMENTS: I can see why this tea won an award at a Tea Championship – very elegant, well made tea.
Sweetened, this tea is a nice sweet treat, but unsweetened there was so much depth with that yummy sweet veg taste, melon and creamy and yum! DANG!
Since I recently tried WMX, they are kind of similar in a melony sense, but C&C has much more depth and levels to it. MWX has no veggieness, but a honey floral edge – like a cute floral summer dress verses a silk evening dress. I dunno, I’m rambling and entering the creepy crazy tea description zone!
However, on a personal level I prefer WMX for its watermelon goodness as I prefer watermelons to cantaloupe, but both teas are amazing. C&C would make a fab cold steep I think!
I’d say I’m a beginner with Matchas. I’ve never made a straight up cup of matcha, but I’ve had matcha pre-mixed with genmaicha teas. One of my favourite sushi joints has “iced green tea” which is matcha iced – excellent and refreshing with sushi! However in stores, I found matcha to be quite expensive. My local tea shops sold basic matchas with no fun flavors a little out of my price range to try a new kind of tea that I’m unsure is good, fresh and packaged right. Best prices I could find was in asian super markets. I’ve often purchased pre-measured matcha mixes or little tubs that stated it was for ice cream and baking. These mixes were still on the expensive side, so I used them sparingly to make smoothies or add to vanilla ice cream. The matcha mixes I disliked because they contained creamers and sweeteners thus calories I could do without. The unsweetened ones I found were often bitter and occasionally tasted like dirty grass.
I saw Red Leaf’s matchas reviewed here at Steepster and became interested – so many different flavors! As a
crazy tea drinker with a stash of over 100, I love interesting and fun tea blends, especially ones that have chocolate, exotic fruits, or caramel. Red Leaf has a huge selection – cotton candy, cola, pumpkin pie, and pina colada just to name a few unexpected blends. Personally, I never saw flavored matchas until I discovered Red Leaf’s site. Since discovering Red Leaf’s matcha lineup, I stalked their sales for a few weeks for the right flavor to go onsale for me to try.
Caramel Matcha finally appeared as a daily sale and I bought it without blinking an eye. $7.99! A great price compared to the mixes I got from the asian super market.
Also, Red Leaf lets you choose the quality or grade, red/black/white matcha and flavor (delicate to strong to hidden), which is a super cool feature giving you lots of options and control over your order. I decided to go with the cheapest and basic line up because I’m on a budget:
Matcha Quality: Starter (Basic Grade)
My order was shipped the same day and I recieved my package 2 days later.
I then realized I have no traditional matcha gear, no bamboo whisk, funky spoons or bowl to prepare my matcha. I could of purchased it along with my order, but I had a tea budget to follow. I figured for now I’ll make do with a tiny wire whisk, measuring spoon and a wide tea cup. There is also an option to order a tin with your matcha order, which is probably a good idea unless you have tins at home. Sadly, I didn’t have the right tin for my matcha, so I placed my matcha in a small glass lock container for now.
My package arrived in a flat envelope, the matcha in a non resealable gold bag. My package also had a pamphlet on their various matchas and how to prepare it. Red Leaf’s website also had steeping instructions listed with each matcha before you add to your cart.
TIME TO ENJOY MATCHA!
Smell of the matcha powder – Strong grassy green tea smell with a spark of sweetness. From sniffing the matcha bag, I got green dust on the tip of my nose!
First Cup – The Matcha Protein Smoothie
Red Leaf has a collection of matcha recipes to get you started. I followed the recipe on Red Leaf’s website for the Matcha Smoothie with Protein Powder https://www.redleaftea.com/index.php?dispatch=pages.view&page_id=36
I used a frozen banana, fat free plain Silk soy milk, ON 100% soy protein vanilla powder and 2tsp of the Caramel Matcha.
The colour of my smoothie is a milky yet dark matcha green. The caramel in the matcha is smooth and perfect strength that I can imagine it being gooey yummy. The banana adds extra depth and sweetness. I did not find the smoothie bitter or in need of additional sweeteners. The matcha and banana hid the protein powder taste. With that said, I figure this large smoothie was around 270 calories and is a great post workout smoothie that has 32g of protein. I’m going to make this smoothie again next time I lift weights.
Second Cup – The Real Deal cup of Matcha
Using the instructions from the website, I carefully sift 1 tsp of the caramel matcha through a fine mesh tea pot strainer – it went surprisingly well and not messy at all.
Annoyingly, my hot water kettle does 185F (not 180F) so I went with 175F. I poured in about 1/3 of a cup of water and whisked away with my tiny wire whisk. It took a couple minutes to get a 1cm of delicious looking matcha froth. I then added a bit more hot water to taste.
My cup was a beautiful deep green.“Delicate” is totally the description I want to use, but Red Leaf already called it that, making my job easy. The Caramel matcha is delicately flavored but with a full bodied green tea taste. Not watery or bitter or nasty grassy. The caramel is a fun present at the end of my sip and lingers as an aftertaste.
Third Cup – The Matcha latte
I followed the same procedure I did for the hot cup of matcha, but added 2 tsp of sugar and topped the frothy matcha with soymilk and ice cubes. The result was very magical as the sugar and cold temperature makes the caramel pop more. I discovered it is possible to drink something and drool over it at the same time! This was better than lattes I’ve got from local coffee joints, much cheaper and less calories (with an additional plus that I can use the soy milk I like).
From my first experience of steeping up my own real matcha, I found I have a new favorite tea. Red Leaf Tea’s Caramel Matcha is tasty, better than anything I had from a mix or made from a coffee shop. I had more control over the amount of sweetener and milk – and also the option with Red Leaf to easily upgrade my matcha to a higher quality and stronger flavor.
Red Leaf was very clear in their instructions on how to prepare matcha so a newbie like me could make a perfect cup.
With that said, I’m totally going to try more matchas from Red Leaf Teas. First, I think having a frother/hand mixer or bamboo whisk would of made the matcha frothing process go faster – especially for impatient “I need tea now!” types like me.
For future purchases I would like to try a different level of flavor or explore white, red or black matcha options. I preferred the smoothie and latte versions I made, but having the caramel flavor stronger for a hot cup of matcha would be fabulous.
OVERSTEEPED IN A TRAVEL MUG FOR 2 HOURS MODE!
I’m at the in-laws working on wedding invites at 7am. I’m not sure why so early. Technically, I’m already married, but it was one of those immigration “you need to get married in 90 days” things, so wasn’t any time to plan anything – so a party 6 months later, wooot!
I needed a mate to keep me going, and scooping tea at 6am I knew I’d make some accidents, I did knock over my canister of mate, uggg. I put this in my libre tea glass (that I think I got to stop leaking) and just left the leaves in.
Overall, pretty good tea that held up flavor for an hour and a half of roasted, raspberry yummyness. I just hit the 2 hour mark on the dredges and it’s now on the bitter, dirty grassy side.
Lesson learned: drink up tea in less than 2 hours. Or remove tea leaves.
A new guayusa blend? Yes please! IMO, we need more guayusa blends, it’s quickly becoming my favorite type of tea for it being earthy, creamy and amazing! (and loads of caffeine)
I got lots to do today, so I figure I need to get a caffeine hit of awesome! I have to make curry (yum!), work on some jiu jitsu blogging and get my weight lifting done.
DRY: Slightly creamy smell with a kick to it – lavender and mint? Very interesting smell that was hard to piece together.
STEEPED: Steeps up a dark earthy brown. Smells again like lavender.
TASTE: Smooth, calming – creamyness and vanilla, earthy, a gentle kick of lavender with an aftertaste of mint.
Sweetened with rock sugar KV changes to a stronger creamy and vanilla tea with lavender and mint gently relaxing together in the background. Personally, sweetened is the way to go with this tea.
WHO’D LOVE THIS TEA: Those peeps who drink “calming” teas, but in need of a wakeup caffeine hit.
COMMENTS: Slightly addictive tea. I just kept sipping away experiencing the rocking out of lavender and vanilla.
A similar flavored tea would be DavidsTea’s “Jessie’s Tea” – which has rooibos, coconut and much more lavender. KV’s is much more full bodied with the earthy guayusa, smoother and more creamy. The lavender and mint dance perfectly together.
Overall, best use of lavender in a tea I’ve tried so far. Now I’m all feeling mellow yet alert and sloshy full. Man, I love guayusa!
KV, I think, would be a great tea to have before an exam – keep you calm but energy sparked awake!