Red Leaf Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

57

Red Leaf how do you make it smell so good?! The color of the matcha tells me its a bit of a lower grade. Going to do my usual where I’ll mix the matcha with some hot water while the almond milk is warming. Then froth the almond milk while it mixes into the matcha. And i think i broke my frother. Arg. Anyway.

First sip all foam. Not my best foam. I want to really like this but thus far it’s just meh. It tastes a bit too artificial. Not bad just not what I thought. Might taste amazing in a drink or smoothie though.

Red Leaf Tea

Please note that color of flavored matcha teas changes when mixed with natural flavor. There seems to be a reaction of some sort that affects the color of the final product to more yellow-green. At this point it can only be changed if we start using artificial flavor, which will not happen anytime soon.

Skysamurai

AH ha! That is good to know! And thank you for not using artificial flavor. That is why I love buying your matcha! Don’t worry even if I dont like a flavor I will still remain a fan =]

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94

Back from my little break only to discover, it is Memorial Day, huh, time really seems to fly! Memorial Day to many is the official start of summer, to me the start has always been ‘when it is warm enough to swim in mountain creeks’ so some years in Pennsylvania did not have a summer. It is a beautiful day for a holiday (even if the lack of mail will throw my whole week off) and Ben and I spent it mostly painting, lounging, and partaking of a few fancy sales. I hit the thrift and got a new dress and a pair of really beautiful cups (one is Japanese and the other is possibly Korean celadon, yay for half off sales) and went to Michael’s for new paint brushes, because I always need more.

Today marks the first ever Matcha Monday! A showcase of all things Matcha, usually just straight up Matcha but possible also food and of course various lattes. The first one to be showcased is Red Leaf Tea’s Manju Matcha, they are currently doing this neat promotion where you pay what you want for, a good old Name Your Own Price kinda thing, which is pretty cool. Manju Matcha is from glorious Shizuoka Prefecture, home to Fujiyama and famous for its teas. For a fun bit of trivia, Manju is a Japanese sweet, similar to Mochi, and often filled and made with Matcha. The color of this Matcha is lovely, I do not feel my photography does it justice, it is the vibrant green of spring growth, like someone distilled the season into a fine powder. The aroma of the Matcha is very sweet, almost fruity (like bananas, but very faint, I kept thinking I was just imagining things) with strong notes of sweetgrass, freshly mown hay, a touch of nuttiness and a tiny hint of distant flowers.

After sifting and then whisking the Matcha, the fruity notes have vanished, what is left is sweet hay, sweetgrass, a bit of robust grassiness, and a finish of distant flowers. It is pleasantly sweet to the nose.

Ok, tasting time! I did my first session with this Usucha or thin style, this is the more familiar whisked into a foam style that Matcha is well known for. It is both sweet and brisk, with a thick and smooth mouthfeel. It starts out sweet like sweetgrass, hay, and a touch of flower nectar. The taste then transitions to slightly bitter green like a blend of spinach and kale, adding a bit of an umami element to the Matcha. The finish moves around to sweet again with a blend of honey and flowers. It is a really good Matcha for everyday drinking, blending sweetness and umami in a very perfect balance.

I decided to have another session with this Matcha, but this time I went for Koicha or thick style, this is the hardcore stuff, usually only specific teas are reserved for Koicha, usually this Matcha is extremely costly as it is made from older plants and is usually hand picked. Manju Matcha is not really suited for Koicha, but I wanted to experiment, so, why not? The taste is…intense, both intensely umami and intensely bitter. Like having a mouthful of kale, grass, and sauteed spinach. This slowly fades to a gentle sweetness and and aftertaste of distant flowers long after the sipping experience is over. How does it compare to actual Koicha? No idea, I have never had it…way too poor for that stuff!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/05/red-leaf-tea-manju-matcha-matcha-monday.html

Flavors: Bitter, Flowers, Hay, Honey, Kale, Spinach, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Umami

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C

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55
drank Guava Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
275 tasting notes

Matcha TTB

Tried this one as a smoothie with breakfast. It had a lovely tropical aroma, but the taste just didn’t live up to the scent. It didn’t really come across as guava to me, just a generic, slightly artificial fruit flavor. It was okay, but not something I’d reach for again.

Flavors: Artificial, Fruity, Guava, Tropical

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

Matcha TTB

Mmm, this is delicious! Had it as a latte tonight and it was quite possibly the best flavored matcha latte I have ever enjoyed. The aroma was dead-on fresh caramel popcorn and the flavor did not disappoint: tons of sweet, buttery caramel that mixes perfectly with the nuttiness of the matcha to create a realistic popcorn flavor. Glad there are multiple samples of this one in the box, because one of them is definitely staying with me!

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Nutty, Popcorn, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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81
drank Coffee Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
170 tasting notes

I confess, tea lovers, that sometimes I cheat on tea with coffee. In fact, coffee has become a part of my daily routine. I really do love it, and as much as I wish I could drink it straight, I do often add things to it to help make it more palatable. I don’t do that with tea. But sadly, coffee seems to be the bad boy that I just can’t quit.

But, I love an opportunity I can to combine my two rivaling beverages – coffee and tea. And this matcha sounded right up my alley. Red Leaf included a sample of it for me in my latest order. Would this be the matcha that finally broke up me and my long term beau coffee for good? I had high hopes.

Since this is a sample, it arrived with the normal matcha base and delicate flavoring. I gave it a little bit of a whiff, but the coffee smell was not as prominent as I’d like. I LOVE the smell of coffee, especially freshly roasted, so I was hoping for a little more prominence, even though this only delicate flavoring. I decided to hold off my opinion until I threw it in a cup with some ice and water, gave it a shake, and see what came out of it.

The result? It’s a very pleasant flavored matcha, but it’s not exactly coffee. It’s very faintly coffee, but it’s not exactly the kind of coffee flavoring I’ve come to expect when I see it in chocolate, sweets, etc. I think it’s more like a mellow chocolate-y flavor than that nicely roasted bean taste. It’s a nice flavor, but it’s not coffee, at least not on the lowest level. Maybe if the flavoring was kicked up a notch it would taste more like coffee?

All in all this matcha is not bad at all, but I think it will be disappointing if really want something coffee flavored. I think next time I might try the Espresso or Mocha flavors, since those might be more up my alley.

You can purchase the matcha here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/coffee-matcha.html (and it’s on sale for today too!)

Preparation
Iced
Ysaurella

you can drink tea and coffee, it is not irreconcilable at all :)

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drank Almond Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
275 tasting notes

Matcha TTB

I had this as a latte with breakfast. It was an open sample and I’m thinking it may have lost some of its flavor, because I didn’t really pick up on much almond in the scent or the flavor. It was just a mild, sweet, slightly nutty matcha. Not bad, but not what I was expecting. I’m not going to rate this one since I suspect flavor loss.

Flavors: Green, Nutty, Sweet

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83
drank Emperor's Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
170 tasting notes

Red Leaf Tea had a unique promotion for this matcha they called “name your own price”. So, I was able to put it what I thought the tea was worth and try it out. It’s definitely a unique way to try higher quality matchas. And with that, on with the tea!

When I first got the package and inspected the matcha, I was surprised how bright green it was. I know color is a good indicator of quality, and this matcha is even greener than my highest quality matcha I currently own. I was very surprised! The smell was definitely grassy, with definite hints of spinach. But, how would it taste?

While I recognize the proper way to brew this matcha is to heat it up and put it in a bowl, my current preferred (read: lazy) way is to put in a cup with some water and ice and give it a good shake. It’s just been the mood I’ve been in for the last few weeks. I refuse to add any sweetener though- I do want to be able to enjoy the matcha taste on its own. My first taste test I used 1/3 tsp of matcha powder with 16 oz of water, but I believe that was too much. For the second, I dialed it back to 1/2 tsp and that made the matcha a lot more enjoyable (and it can make the powder go farther)!

After the above preparation, the matcha definitely still has a strong grassy taste. There is a little bitterness, but not that much since it’s such a good quality product. It’s not quite as sweet as I would like, but it’s not a bad tasting matcha either. This would definitely appeal to someone who likes a nice strong “green tasting” matcha tea. I would not recommend this for someone who wants to drink high quality matcha, but isn’t such a huge fan of the grassy taste of some green teas.

As a reminder you can get this matcha here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/emperor-matcha-tea.html

Preparation
Iced

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100

Since my last matcha has gone MIA (see earlier entry), I’ve been on the hunt for another matcha I can drink on a regular basis. Red Leaf Tea put the Amaretto matcha on sale, and so I thought I would try it again. The first time I ordered it, I got the regular matcha base with the robust flavoring (which was delightful). This time, because I wanted something more matcha and less flavor, I decided do to the DELICATE flavoring with the IMPERIAL (Superior) base. Also, I accidentally selected the “Organic” option too. It’s pretty much the highest quality matcha you can get with the flavorings, and since I was getting a matcha at such a high quality, I figured I would let the flavors be very faint and not overpower the tea.

This is the first matcha I got from Red Leaf that was not at least Robust. For the lower quality matchas, you definitely want a more prominent flavor. But for higher quality stuff, I figured “delicate” would be worth the shot. I was a little bit worried there would hardly be any flavor in there, but I’m happy to say the matcha tastes lovely and the flavoring is there. It’s not overpowering, but it’s not barely noticeable either. It’s this fruity taste but not overly sweet. In my last entry I described it as “an amaretto sour without the sugar” which this is very similar to.

To prepare this (which is basically my lazy matcha making way of choice), I took 1/2 tsp of matcha, threw in a few ice cubes, filled the rest with water and gave it a good shake. And viola. The imperial base has such a smooth taste and there’s practically no bitterness. It doesn’t need sweetener or any other additives. I’ll probably order all future matchas from Red Leaf with Superior Bases and get the flavor delicate, or at least go a step up from the base matcha. I will note that the Imperial Matcha isn’t quite as bright green as I thought it would be, but the taste is fantastic and doesn’t seem to be affected like the lower quality stuff.

You can get the matcha from here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/amaretto-matcha.html

Preparation
Iced 0 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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75

Spring time means matcha time! This is one of the matcha that I have picked for this season. I opened the package, and the smell is intoxicating. Its a deep buttery milk chocolate scent that just smells so creamy! I grabbed my tools and prepared. I placed a generous amount of this vibrant green powder in my Chawan. The warmed matcha has a smooth peanut butter aroma. I thought this to be higher quality matcha, so I decided to brew Koicha. Sadly, I was mistaken. The Koicha turned out terrible. This brew had a dirty mouthfeel, and I almost choked. I added water to correct my mistake and it was still slightly dusty. I attempted twice (once with a sieve, the other without) to see if maybe I just sifted incorrectly. On both occasions it was still dusty and bitter. It carries a deep vegetal flavor with a lasting sweetness. This is still an enjoyable matcha, but if only prepared usucha. The main flavors mix well and create a balanced brew with a slight bitterness. I will enjoy the rest of my matcha thin. This would make a great beginner matcha for someone who is just starting out. I am still on the hunt for a stellar matcha to prepare Koicha.

https://instagram.com/p/21IdcbTGSB/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Bitter, Creamy, Dust, Milk, Sweet, Vegetal, White Chocolate

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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drank Starter Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1521 tasting notes

This is from the recent Red Leaf Tea side by side blind taste test. If you were included but haven’t completed your survey yet stop reading now.

Last weekend we rented a cabin on the lake in a nearby state park. It was our 34th anniversary. I grabbed one of my numbered matcha samples from the test that I really liked – Kiss Me Organics. First thing each morning I mixed a heavy tsp of it with 12oz of cold milk and a double shot of Splenda Sat on the porch swing and watched as the misty rain washed across the lake. Beautiful and relaxing. The cold frap was more delicious than one from Starbucks because even with two packets of Splenda, it was not sickening sweet like SB. I thought it could not be any better. While the setting and circumstances had a lot to do with it, I really did like that culinary grade matcha.

This morning, back at home, I grabbed Starter Matcha from Red Leaf and mixed a new glass with the same amounts. The results were even more delicious, in my opinion, though the scenery in my den was not as exciting. Seriously, this makes a dark green tea with a nice grassy flavor and long smooth aftertaste. The best part is, this is one third the price of the previous matcha and even cheaper than the Tradition brand matcha I have been using on a daily basis by about a fourth (1.31/oz my old matcha compared to $0.94/oz Red Leaf).

I know my daily matcha in the past has been a slight bit of a compromise, although I wouldn’t drink it everyday if I did not like it. With this Starter Matcha, I am getting way more wonderful flavor and it will save me money. I actually rated this second highest in the blind test – before I knew what a great deal it is.

I put a pound of this and a pound of the Deluxe Matcha (my highest rated in the test) in the cart. Placed my gift certificate order. Went to Amazon to order some unrelated stuff, came back to my email to make sure the Amazon confirmation had been sent, and discovered the Red Leaf order had already been processed and shipped! Don’t know if they are always this on top of it but that was fast. That was a late afternoon. Two days later the package arrived. I now have enough matcha in cold storage to last a year. I’m a happy den camper.

Veronica

Happy anniversary! Thirty-four years… that’s awesome.

ashmanra

Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. K S! May you enjoy many more love-filled, blessing-filled years!

mrmopar

way to go! You are are good man (or she is a good woman, probably both). Blessing to you both my friend!

CHAroma

Belated congrats!

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85

Holy banana Batman! Actually that could probably be taken the wrong way… Anyway, this is amazing. As soon as you open the bag BAM! Banana and cream. Great flavor as well. Nice matcha finish with a beginning of bananas and cream. I mixed mine with almond milk.

Nichole

Love this one and love the Batman comment!

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40
drank Mango Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
239 tasting notes

Thanks to Anlina for the sample, but this is definitely my least favourite of the lot. I’m finding it really bitter and chemical-tasting, and making it into a latte with milk and sugar didn’t really help. Probably 1tsp of “robust”-flavoured matcha was too much for a 12oz latte, but still. Oh well, can’t win ’em all. :)

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drank Champagne Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2368 tasting notes

Roswell Strange sent me this many months ago and I have been at a loss for what to do with it. Usually I drink my matcha with milk but Champagne milk just seemed like an odd choice. However, for some reason, a champagne vanilla smoothie seemed like it would work better. In hindsight I’m not sure why but that’s how I made this and unfortunately all the champagne flavor is drowned out by the vanilla smoothie mix. Seriously, I am getting no flavor at all and seeing as it’s distinctive flavoring, I should be able to taste something but alas I got nothing at all. Still, thank you Roswell Strange for the share!

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71

Good quality looking matcha. I’m always a little weary when they are that nasty green instead of being closer to the bright lovely green. I have no idea as to what spurred me into buying this one other then the fact that I like honey. It’s quite sweet. Leaves a pleasant after taste.

Stephanie

cool good to know

Skysamurai

If u want to try some let me know!

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So smooth. Much better than expected. I got the basic grade which was a not as nice of green color like usual for the basic grade. Anyway, great taste. Mixed it with almond milk. Nom

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85

Matcha TTB

This is just so good! Rich, creamy, caramel matcha goodness with a very slight hint of saltiness. I have tried Red Leaf’s matcha before but for some reason I haven’t tried this one. So impressed. Threw some in cold almond milk. Yum!

Makes me very tempted to make an order. . .

Flavors: Caramel, Salty, Sweet

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91
drank Puerh Earl Grey by Red Leaf Tea
1692 tasting notes

Thank you for the sale, TheLastDodo! I’ve never had a EG pu-erh before. It works extremely well here. The ripe loose pu-erh pairs perfect with the strong bergamot… almost so strong you can’t even taste the pu-erh. The color of the mug is a deep coffee brown. Apparently there is some white tea in the blend once in a while, which is a little weird but there isn’t enough of it to really make a difference. All three steeps have a strong bergamot presence! Too bad this one isn’t for sale anymore… I always love to try different variations of bergamot.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // just boiled // 2 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2-3 min
Steep#3 // just boiled // 2-3 min

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drank Pistachio Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1084 tasting notes

I was so excited to try this flavor this morning! Thanks for the sample Red Leaf!

I made myself a cold matcha latte out of this. I love pistachios, and while this is a very tasty matcha flavor, I wouldn’t say the taste reminded me of pistachios really. It definitely has a nutty vibe. Maybe like a pistachio candy of some kind? Or nougat. It is somewhat nougat-ish.

Anyway, very nice flavor! I’ll happily finish my sample but this one won’t be a re-order for me.

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85

This one was one I couldn’t pass up. I love Creme Brulee. Surprisingly it’s good cold too. Anyway onto the matcha. Nice rich green color. Great flavor. I started out with a little over a 1/2 tsp of matcha and mixed in hot water (about 3 tbsp of water) with my electric whisker. I need to get a bamboo one…. I then microwaved some almond milk and whisked it into the matcha. The water was hotter then I thought so I think I may have burnt the matcha a lil but once it cooled down…. nomnomnom

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The taste is quite unexpected. You can really sense the flowers and wine. Albeit the wine is very mellow. Almost to the point of non-existstasnce. I really want to like this one but all I smell is wet dog, that makes it hard to appreciate.

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88
drank Panettone Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1084 tasting notes

No one has been brave and tried this flavor yet??

Perhaps no one is familiar with panettone cake? I will briefly describe it for those of you who may not be familiar. It is a light, airy cake the texture of a yeast roll, very lightly sweetened and studded with candied citrus peel and raisins. Since it is so light and not overly sweet it makes AMAZING French Toast!

So I got this matcha organic, lowest possible flavor level, and with the slightly upgraded “royal” matcha.

I made a cold latte this morning with 1/2tsp match, 1 cup milk, and 1 tsp powdered sugar (sometimes sugar helps the flavor pop)

It was VERY good! It has a nice candied citrus taste, and is not at all artificial or funky. Highly recommended if you like the idea of candied citrus matcha :D

Cheri

This one I would be interested in trying a sample of…..

Stephanie

You got it Cheri!

Roswell Strange

You had me up until raisins :P

Fjellrev

So glad you tried this! I have it on my list for my next RLT order (which I made a year ago but told myself I can’t order until I finish the RLT matcha I already have!), so I’m excited to hear that it’s just as delicious as it sounds. I loooove panettone. :D

Stephanie

It didn’t taste of raisins Ros!

I do too Fjellrev! You gotta try making it into French toast sometime :D

Fjellrev

That sounds fabulous. Have you seen it year-round, though, or do you make it yourself? I absolutely love it toasted. Drool.

Stephanie

Nah I always buy it during the holidays :) Have not attempted to make it myself yet!

Fjellrev

Damn, here I was hoping you found a place that sold it throughout the year haha. I’d love to make it myself but have a feeling I’ll mess it up.

Fjellrev

Haha yeah I thought of online, but figured it would be quite expensive. Time to just make my own. ;)

Stephanie

:) :) :)

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72

Thanks to Anlina for the sample! :) I tried this a few different ways. A while ago, I mixed it up with 80 degree water (using a milk frother) and tasted it that way. It was ok, tasted like matcha plus a nutty flavour that wasn’t unlike macadamia nuts, but there was definitely some bitterness that I wasn’t a huge fan of. Then I heated/frothed some milk and made it into a latte, which definitely helped, though there was still a bit of a funny aftertaste to it. Today I finished off my sample by dumping the rest (about 1tsp) into the blender with 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp of hemp protein powder, a bit of sweetener, and 2 c. of skim milk. Very tasty! It added a bit of nuttiness and a caffeine boost to my blender drink, but there were enough other flavours in there to prevent any bitterness or weird tastes from emerging. So… recommended as a smoothie add-in but not as a straight matcha drink. :)

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92

This week I took part in a blind taste test of 12 different types of matcha which was sponsored by Red Leaf Tea. Each tea was rated based on color, flavor, and sweetness. Deluxe matcha was one of the teas that scored the highest. It had a sweet and heavily floral flavor that is unlike any other matcha I’ve tried. The texture was great, it didn’t have the bitterness or grainy texture you find in lower grade matcha. Best of all, it was one of the least expensive, costing only $1.56 per ounce

You can read the results from the full taste test on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2015/4/26/tuesday-tea-blind-taste-test-12-matcha-teas-compared-sponsored

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 tsp 3 OZ / 88 ML

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