Red Leaf Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

85

GCTTB Round 6

The Great Canadian Tea Box has landed, and I have to say that I’m very excited to be participating in it again! I had a lot of fun with it last round, and I’m sure that’ll be the case again.

This is my first pull! I’m very, very familiar with the Bananas & Cream matcha from RLT it’s a personal favourite so I was really curious how different the plain banana would taste compared to it. Sadly, I don’t have any B&C at the moment though so I’m just mentally comparing instead of doing a side by side.

Instead of milk, I whisked this one up in straight hot water because it didn’t feel right to do it in coconut or cashew milk (the two kinds of milk I have on hand) because back when I was regularly drinking the B&C I didn’t drink either of those kinds of milk so I wouldn’t be able to factor in the distinctly coconut or nutty notes each milk have respectively when used in matcha milk.

It was hard to remember to drink this one slowly; I was really thirsty and the tea tasted so good that I was slurping it really quickly instead of paying attention to differences. Honestly though? Maybe that’s because it didn’t taste that different to me. The banana was definitely VERY strong and really enjoyable but it tasted exactly like the sweet, creamy banana notes I got from Bananas & Cream. You know, a mix between banana pudding, banana medicine penicillin and those banana marshmallow five cent candies.

So good, but just not as authentic to the fruit as I’d always pictured the straight up banana matcha tasting. I can’t decide whether I’m disappointed by that. I mean, if there’s not a noticeable flavour difference between the two then what’s the point of having two distinct flavours?

Happy to have tried it regardless, though.

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90

A sample from Roswell Strange! One thing I wondered as I was preparing this one – butternut as in butternut squash? Or butter and nuts? Based on the initial sip, I’m thinking the former, probably. It has a sweet-savoury vibe going on, and it reminds me a bit of pumpkin pie, although without the spices. It also tastes pretty buttery, though, so who knows? Clearly not me. I prepared this one as a latte, using 1/4 tsp and then an extra bit for luck. I like that it’s one of the more savoury matchas I’ve come across, because it makes a refreshing change. I don’t always want sweet or desserty tea, and it’s nice to have the option. Pistachio is another one that ticks that box for me.

I’m going to assume that the flavour here is butternut squash. I have the delicate level of flavouring, so it’s fairly subtle, but that’s what it’s reminding me of most. There’s a hint of pastry/pie crust, which probably accounts for the butteriness I’m tasting. Together, they’re a good combination, and I’d happily drink this one again. I’m not sure that any pie flavoured thing, particularly when it comes to matcha, will ever beat Rich Berry Pie in my estimation, but this is a decent contender.

Preparation
Boiling
Roswell Strange

Rich Berry Pie is the best one.

And yes, butternut squash :)

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85

What have I got to celebrate? Absolutely nothing. I’m back at work, I’ve got a cold, and I lost the flat I spent three months thinking I was buying because “estate agent” is apparently a synonym for “liar”. But I’m still going to treat myself to some champagne matcha, all the same.

This one came to me as a sample from Roswell Strange, and I actually should have started it ages ago. A combination of factors put paid to that, but better late than never. I think I held off on this one for so long because I only drink my matcha in milk, and champagne and milk seemed like an odd combination. I’m surprised to say that it works, though. It tastes like champagne. Which is obviously not the most helpful or descriptive tasting note, but it is a fact. It’s not bubbly, and there’s no hint of effervescence (I wasn’t excepting there to be, because…how?) but it’s definitely champagne and it even stands up to the milk. We’re not talking super-strong, but you can tell that that’s what it is.

I’m hoping a matcha latte will perk me up a bit, because something honestly needs to. I think I might buy some tea this evening. That’ll do it, for sure.

Preparation
Boiling
Evol Ving Ness

I’m sorry to hear that you’ve lost the flat you thought you were buying because of a less than honest agent. It’s a terrible feeling. May this pass smoothly and easily and may the right flat be just around the corner.

Scheherazade

I hope so! It’s been an epic waste of time and money. I was pretty angry at first, but now I’m just sad. It would have been a good fit for me.

Super Starling!

But is there a violent champagne headache? That’s my main question. Ugh. Champagne. So tasty but so vicious on the brain.

I one rented an apartment from a company and then, when they blasted out the “renew your apartment!” mass-mailing to everyone, asked to renew. Turns out they’d rented out our apartment to someone else without asking us to renew first. But the apartment NEXT DOOR was available. So my friend and I had to just spend a day with both doors open hauling everything across the hall.

Turns out the new apartment was MUCH BETTER, though. Sunnier and a better cross-breeze.

I suppose this is to say “those people are shady monsters, but it might turn out for the best.”

Scheherazade

No headache, thankfully :) You’re right, though – the real stuff is vicious!

It seems like you don’t have to look far to find a housing horror story. I’m just hoping it all comes right in the end (and hopefully this year, because I’m not much enjoying being back with my parents at my age.)

Super Starling!

I’m not sure I enjoyed living with my parents at any age. My parents, mind you, are excellent people, but I have a strong resistance against being told what to do. And against making the bed (WHY?). I basically came out of the womb a full-fledged, impetuous adult.

Roswell Strange

Glad you enjoyed the matcha, and sorry to hear about the awful housing situation. I can only imagine how frustrating it’s been. It’s a good thing we’re all hooked on the most relaxing beverage there is, apart from alcohol. Though you can always top off your tea with something stronger, and no one has to know ;)

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71

Flavours of popcorn, sweet and buttery caramel, with a definite matcha taste. I made this as a soy latte and it was pretty fantastic.

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Green, Milk, Pastries, Popcorn

Preparation
Boiling 2 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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1
drank Banana Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
872 tasting notes

Ick! Maybe I got a bad matcha batch? I didn’t care for the artificial tasting flavour and the matcha base was super bitter (and this was matcha in milk). I compared it to the caramel matcha from red leaf (not bitter), and it was definitely a different base. Will be donating this one to the GCTTB, others are less sensitive to bitterness than me.

Flavors: banana, Banana, Biting, Bitter, Fruity

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML
VariaTEA

Is the base still bright green? Or has it turned more dull/brown?

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90
drank Butterscotch Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
872 tasting notes

Great matcha base (not too bitter), lots of milk flavour, creamy, a bit nutty, lots of matcha tastiness.

Butterscotch wasn’t as strong as I was expecting, but it did give a buttery smooth cream flavour, which went really well in my soy matcha latte.

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Cream, Creamy, Green, Malt, Milk, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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67

Sipdown 72/377!

Blended the last of this with some coconut milk. I eyeballed it and in the end it was a little on the weak side until I got to the bottom, but still nice. I might buy it again in the future, but for now I’m happy to move on.

Preparation
Iced 0 tsp 6 OZ / 175 ML

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67

Matcha smoothie before work! I added 1 teaspoon of this to 200ml of coconut milk and 1 banana. The result is super sweet but pretty tasty! The raspberry is pretty subtle, but more prominent than the coconut. It’s like a raspberry banana cream pie has been liquefied. The super sweetness is starting to hurt my teeth, but I gotta blame the banana for that – it’s overripe, starting to get a little black in places, and I prefer my bananas still a bit green. Good energy boost to start the day, though!

Preparation
1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
Red Fennekin

Oooh, that actually sounds like a great smoothie idea :o What did you use to blend it all?

Nattie

Hey you! I use this one: http://direct.asda.com/george-home-twist-go-personal-blender/001585547,default,pd.html and it’s great for smoothies. Better than some of the more expensive ones out there too!

Red Fennekin

Marvellous – may have to give it a look… :D

Nattie

I highly recommend it!

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67

This was my first ever matcha a few years back courtesy of the EU TTB and it still tastes just as I remembered it. I believe my sample is classic grade matcha with robust flavour. Despite being robust, the raspberry flavour is quite subtle, so I guess this flavour in particular is just not as strong as some others. I’m not complaining, it is tasty, just not something I reach for when I want to be whacked in the mouth with flavour (which is often). This morning I had this as an iced matcha latte of sorts – 3/4 of a teaspoon sieved into 10oz of cold semi-skimmed milk and then shaken in my protein shaker. The raspberry flavour was subtle as expected, but I’m not sure about the cream since it was mixed with milk (and I usually have skimmed milk so semi-skimmed is creamy to me anyway). The matcha itself didn’t really come through at all today, and I couldn’t detect any grassiness which is a plus in my book! The overall effect was like a soft, sweet raspberry milkshake. I might have to try it with some added sweetener next time, but then again I think I drink it as an iced latte almost every time so maybe I should try it another way! Sometimes once I’ve discovered something I like I stick to it for a while and almost miss discovering something that I love instead.

Preparation
Iced 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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80

A sample from Roswell Strange. It’s taken me a while to get around to trying this one, for various unrelated reasons, but today’s the day! I find I drink more matcha in autumn/winter, anyway, because that’s when my energy levels typically tend to slump. I don’t think I drank any matcha this summer, which is surprising now I think about it.

Anyway. This one. I made it up as a latte (because I’ve worked out pretty conclusively now that that’s the only way I can drink matcha and enjoy it.) I used 1/4 tsp of powder, whisked it into about 1.5 inches of boiling water, and then topped off with hot milk. For reference, this is the basic grade matcha with the distinctive level flavouring.

I should probably say upfront that pistachios are my favourite nut. I found the initial sip a lot sweeter than I was expecting, for some reason, but then there’s a distinctive creamy nuttiness that’s almost identifiable as pistachio. It falls a tiny bit short in terms of flavour definition, but it’s definitely nutty, and it’s really almost there, so I’m going to say it’s good with me. It’s more of a pistachio flavoured puddingey, custardy effect than just straight pistachio, but it turns out that’s a delicious thing. I’m pretty sure I have an almond matcha sample tucked away somewhere, so it’ll be interesting to compare when I try that one.

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OH MY GAWD!!!! This is awesome vanill~y goodness. I think it just replaced the caramel matcha as my favourite…. sorry caramel! I most definitely recommend this one to anyone who likes vanilla. I’m so glad I ordered this!

Flavors: Vanilla

ashmanra

Oh yes, this is really good!

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90

Today felt like a cold latte day so I made a cup of this to take to work with me. As Mondays are perfect for chocolate minty goodness. What a great way to start the week.

Preparation
Iced

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90

A very chocolately minty yummy cup of matcha!! waaay better than mint hot chocolate by Cadbury that’s for sure! Yep this is going to be added to my winter stash for sure!

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80
drank Grape Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1718 tasting notes

Finished off the last of this sample today. I made it up as a latte again, because I’m pretty sure last time it didn’t go so well as a result of unexpectedly expiring whisk batteries. Fortunately, that’s not today’s problem.

I used a little more powder than I usually would, partly because there wasn’t a full 1/2 tsp left (so it would be two under-strength cups or one over…) and also because it’s the delicate flavouring level, and I’m finding that I drown the flavour in milk when I use my work cup (which is on the larger side…). So that’s how it is this morning.

Also, I’m bored. I have plenty to do, but I don’t really want to get on with any of it. What I’d really like is a new job with some new challenges, but that doesn’t seem to be on the cards at the moment.

So, the latte. It’s good – it tastes like candy grape. I think the extra bit of powder has amplified that a bit, because it’s a touch stronger than I remember it being last time, although still subtle on the whole. It’s also mildly floral, which could be either the grape flavouring or the matcha itself…it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, which I think is a good thing when it comes to flavoured tea of any variety.

I’m thinking of placing an order with Red Leaf/Matcha Outlet in the next few days, and this one could well be on the list if it’s available. It’s different, and enjoyable – a good combination!

Preparation
Boiling

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80
drank Grape Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1718 tasting notes

Tried this one shaken into cold water this afternoon, but I’m not sure that I’m a fan. The last matcha I tried it with was Red Leaf’s Sangria, and I really didn’t like that. I’m feeling almost the same about this one. For some reason, it seems to bring out the floral flavour of the matcha, and there’s something about it that turns my stomach.

Matcha latte? Yes. Any other preparation? Maybe not.

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80
drank Grape Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1718 tasting notes

A sample from Roswell Strange! I’d already put my 1/4 tsp of matcha in my cup and added about an inch of boiling water before I realised that the batteries in my AeroLatte had expired overnight. I’ve not quite got to the point where I understand the relationship my whisk has with batteries. It can be fine one minute, and completely dead the next. Clearly I’ll have to start keeping a spare set in my drawer, but I don’t have any kicking around this morning.

So. So. I had to whisk as vigorously as I could with a tiny spoon, which is obviously not all that vigorously. It helped that the matcha seems quite forgiving – it seemed to absorb well of its own accord, and hadn’t clumped or formed lumps despite my lack of whisking ability. And the lack of a whisk. Anyway, we seem to have got there. Somehow.

I made this up as a latte, although I’ll definitely be trying this one cold at some point because the flavour really calls out for that. It’s pretty good – there’s a half-natural, half-candy grape flavour kicking around, although it’s pretty subtle. This is the delicate flavour level, though, so I’m not surprised about that. If I had to give it a colour, I’d say that it tastes purple, which is definitely a nod to the candy-like aspect over the true-to-life. Either way, it’s good.

I’ve stirred it pretty constantly as I’ve been sipping, and there’s not too much settlement at the bottom – no more than I’d get with my electric whisk. I’m kind of pleased that what could have been a disaster turned out okay – and that grape matcha makes for a gentle, not-too-sweet start to the morning. Perfect!

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70
drank Apricot Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1718 tasting notes

It’s the turn of apricot today. I’m coming towards the end of my matcha samples, which is incredibly sad for one special reason. I was just going to place an order with Matcha Outlet, now they stock sample packages and ship to the UK. That was until I realised that the shipping was going to cost $47, and seems to be flat rate. A few small samples of tea powder absolutely do not cost anything like that to post, and I don’t have that kind of cash to splash at the moment anyway, so that’s off. It’s a real shame, because Red Leaf/Matcha Outlet have the best flavours, and at the moment there’s nothing comparable in the UK. It’s sad face time, boys and girls.

This latte, though. I’m actually liking this a little more than I did last time, although it’s there’s still a touch of soapy floral that’s hard to ignore once you’ve tasted it. Having said that, it’s mostly apricot, and that’s all good with me. It’s not the most natural tasting apricot, admittedly, but it’s pretty good. It’s actually reminding me a little of…something. Some kind of gummy sweet? Wine Gums? Were there orange wine gums? If there were, then that’s what I’m tasting. Sweet, slightly syrupy, artificial apricot. It’s nicer than it sounds.

Preparation
Boiling
Nattie

I can’t believe their shipping is so high now! I got a few samples back when they did them originally and it always cost me $3.99!

Scheherazade

I bought some on etsy last year, and it was high but not outrageous – maybe about £8? $47 is just ridiculous. Also sad, because it means no Rich Berry Pie for me :(

Nattie

It’s such a shame, because they’re losing custom too. Maybe one day when my cupboard is more under control and I’m running low on matcha I’ll try to get some of the UK-based Steepsterites together for a group order.

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70
drank Apricot Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1718 tasting notes

A sample from Roswell Strange. I made this up as a latte, drank most of it, and then brought up its page on here. It made me glad that I’d tried my cup before I read the other notes, or else I’d have been worried about it!

I won’t say this is the most natural tasting matcha in the world, because it’s not. I get apricot from it (more subtly than I expected from the distinctive flavouring level, if I’m honest?), but it’s a kind of artificial apricot that reminds me of chemically flavoured apricot things more than an actual apricot. But still, apricot. It wasn’t instalove for me, but I don’t hate it. I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that I I help out some of the RLTs by basically drowning them in milk, so they’re always creamy and never overpowering in terms of flavour. One of the joys of a matcha latte, I suppose!

So yeah. Basically, I think this is okay apricot. Now that I’ve had the phrase “floral soap” put in my head, I can kind of see where that’s coming from. There is a slightly floral undertone, which I just assumed was the matcha, and it does have a hint of soapiness about it. It’s not spoiling this one for me, though.

I’d like to try it cold at some point, maybe in milk again, or maybe just water. I felt like I had to have some matcha today, though – I’ve only been back at work two days, and I’m already feeling tired by mid-afternoon. Matcha seems to help, so it’s definitely featuring in my future one way or another.

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80

I started drinking this late last night. I was in the mood to actually sit and watch a movie (it usually takes me a few sittings to watch a movie….my ADHD kicks in after 45 minutes).

Anyway, this was pretty solid. I turned this into a latte. It helped bring that caramel out with the “hot movie butter” flavor. Quite unique. No artificial flavors, which is nice.

Thank you, Liquid Proust, for adding this to the box.

Flavors: Butter, Popcorn

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100

Sipdown! Finally under 200 – now to see how long I can keep it that way :)

I finished this one off as a latte this morning. I’m feeling totally knackered at the moment, but matcha seems to improve my energy levels at least a little. More to this point, this one is delicious, and makes for a great start to any morning.

Thanks again to Roswell Strange for sharing this one with me!

Sil

whoohoo! grats on getting down to 200!

Super Starling!

Sipdowns are just an excuse to buy another 3 blends, right? Is that science? ;)

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100

A sample from Roswell Strange, who helpfully fixed me up with some flavoured matcha. Why is it so hard to come by in the UK? The first thing I have to say about this one, though, is “oh man” – it’s SO good. I wasn’t really expecting it to taste exactly like a mixed berry pie, especially since dry the scent was mostly cinnamon and vegetal green tea. It does, though! I can definitely taste strawberry, with flashes of blueberry, raspberry, and a touch of black cherry. If you imagined those berries warm, in a thick, rich red-berry sauce, encased in buttery, cinnamon dusted pastry, then you’d have this tea. It’s that flavour accurate, and that good.

I made my cup as a latte, whisking 1/4 tsp of matcha into about an inch of boiling water, topped off with hot milk. At first, I only got the berry flavour – and I’ve no complaint about that because it’s incredibly flavour accurate. As I sipped, however, I did begin to notice the cinnamon, and then the buttery “pie crust” element came to the fore. It kind of creeps up on you, until you’re not drinking berry matcha anymore, but rich berry pie matcha. Best effect ever!

There probably aren’t words to describe exactly how much I’m enjoying this one. It’s my favourite of the Red Leaf matchas I’ve tried so far, and I’ve liked a fair few so that’s a definite compliment. For the record, my sample is of the distinctive flavouring level.

Thanks again to Roswell Strange for introducing me to this wonder :)

Roswell Strange

Stephanie originally introduced me to this one; it’s one I absolutely would have skipped over otherwise. It’s SO wonderful, though. Don’t know if you like almond/cashew milk at all but I think the nutty flavours of either really compliment this one as well :)

Fjellrev

Awesome! I had this on my list but wasn’t sure about how artificial the berry aspect would be since I find their raspberry and strawberry ones to be overly fake.

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85
drank Almond Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1868 tasting notes

There was a sample of this sitting in my cupboard that I finally got around to trying. I love matcha but it takes a bit more work than you average cup of tea. It smells and tastes very strongly of almond extract which I’m pretty sure was what was used to flavour this tea. Not that I mind I love almond extract – it makes me think of baking. But if you’re not a fan of almond extract this probably isn’t a matcha for you.

I prepared this matcha by sifting in 3/4 tsp of matcha powder then I added a few tablespoons of hot water just enough to help break up the clumps and then I added about a 3/4 cup of hot skim milk, and together with a drizzle of honey I whisked everything together in my mug and topped it with a few spoonfuls of frothed milk.

It’s a yummy treat on a rainy day like today. It’s absolutely pouring outside and my patio looks like a lake. I’m so glad it held off for my grad though, the actual ceremony was inside, but afterwards we all went over to one of a my prof’s houses for a BBQ

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75

A sample from Roswell Strange, who kindly agreed to help me expand my flavoured matcha horizons. This is the second I’ve tried of the samples she sent me, and since it’s a little cold this morning it seemed like a pretty appropriate “warm up” flavour when I arrived at work. I made it up as a latte – 1/4 tsp of leaf whisked into about an inch of water, then topped up with hot milk.

The flavour is pretty good. It seemed very sweet and buttery initially, which reminded me very much of pie crust. The cinnamon emerged second, and added nicely to that effect. The apple is a little more fleeting, but there’s definitely something in the mid-sip that reminds me a lot of apple pie filling, although shop-bought rather than homemade. There’s something just a little artificial about it. The apple is sweet and floury rather than sharp and crisp, which is the opposite of my preference, but it works with the pie/baked goods theme here, and is tolerable in that respect.

I feel like I got on pretty well with this one, and I’m looking forward to experimenting a bit with preparation methods and suchlike. Thanks again to Roswell Strange for the opportunity to try this one.

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85

This morning I had a hankering to try this cold, so I whisked 1/4 tsp into a shot glass of cold milk, as a kind of mini-milkshake trial. It’s good – I can taste the bubblegum pretty clearly, followed by the creaminess of the milk. It’s much like a latte, really, only cold, and a little more intense because of the volumes involved. The aftertaste is especially good – bubblegum is such an artificial flavour, but I was definitely in the mood for it today and I LOVE it! Thanks again to Roswell Strange for sharing this with me.

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