Red Leaf Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
This shouldn’t be this good… I didn’t expect it to be this good preparing it the traditional way matcha is prepared in a chawan with hwhisk (say it, HWHISK! haha), two chashaku scoops of matcha and about 2.5 ounces of water.
The caramel flavor is rich and thick, it blends well with the really rich and vegetal matcha. The color looks like greenish mud. The sweet caramel flavor lingers on your tongue long after you’ve finished drinking it. I imagine this stuff is more intended to be used in lattes or the kitchen, but I quite enjoyed it this way. There are some tiny whitish rectangular pieces in the matcha that were left in the sifter, though some made it through. I don’t know what these are. At first I thought they were pieces of stem but there were no coarse pieces in the drink after mixing, so I must assume they were sugar crystals or some other solidified form of flavoring that dissolves in the tea.
While this matcha is definitely not my thing, I can’t help but give it a high rating. It isn’t something I’ll purchase, but I do enjoy the sample I have quite a bit. I would say this might be a good matcha to use if trying to get into preparing matcha with a whisk but you don’t like the taste of matcha much. It could be a good gateway, if it weren’t for the fact that it simply doesn’t hold a froth. The bubbles dissipate very quickly and the foam is very thin and unstable. Ah well. The flavor is what counts with this one, I imagine.
Flavors: Caramel, Green
This matcha whisked up in a jif and smells nice and sweet. The flavor is a nice balance of vegetal, sweet, and bitter. This is a very well-balanced matcha so it is aptly named if it’s considered the “classic”. The color is a deep foresty green. There’s a bit of tanginess or sourness that lingers on the tongue after a sip, similar to lemon juice.
This one is actually pretty good. It has all the qualities I’ve been finding in the different matcha teas from Red Leaf all rolled into one, a good intermediary.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Sour, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal
Whoa! I have to admit I was not at all prepared for this. I almost spit the matcha out after whisking it up and drinking a deep sip of it simply because I did not expect the reaction it had in my mouth. As soon as I felt this very tingly, intense vegetal presence in my mouth I was expecting an intense bitterness to follow. It is definitely astringent, but surprisingly not in the bitter sense. It’s like biting into a grapefruit wedge. It makes your tongue prickle and your mouth pucker, though the flavor is much more akin to seaweed or bok choy.
This one was really shocking. My description probably sounds kind of wonky. As far as matcha goes, this was a close encounter of the Third Kind. Really unexpected. Very intense flavor.
The Anaconda Malt Liquor of matcha teas right here… Gives ya WOOO!
Flavors: Bok Choy, Grapefruit, Seaweed
This matcha had a very mouth-filling taste and texture. It is bold in a sense, but in a very easy-to-handle kind of way. I really can’t pin down what flavors this has. Mostly it is sort of green and reminds me of tree leaves and fresh tree wood. There’s also a bit of metallic or mineral taste and a very subtle bitterness in the aftertaste that is definitely not too much for me.
This one was interesting. Nothing particularly stood out to me. It all seemed like one big bold mouth-filling flavor. It was a really different experience than I’ve had with Red Leaf’s other matchas, so I liked it. On the other hand, nothing stood out enough to make me particularly enthusiastic about it.
Flavors: Forest Floor, Mineral
I may have to bring this one back home from work and try it where I can control the temperature more accurately more maybe cold brew it or just properly make it to ice. I LOVE passionfruit so I was really disappointed with how much I hated this.
I had it hot at work, I don’t think it was the base that was really the problem, it was the passionfruit flavor. It just tasted odd to me, I don’t know if it was a combination of the tea and the flavor or that it just tasted really fake.
After a few sips I completely gave up on it as a hot tea, so I left it and poured it over ice at lunch. Even then, I still couldn’t get myself to finish it. Having it cold made it a bit better but it was still very offputting.
Then I come here and see people who I think have similar tastes to mine liked it quite a bit, so I really want to give it a second try before I probably swap it. That’s another thing I’m trying to do, rather than just sell stuff, switch it out for things I might like better since I’m trying to drink tea a lot more than I have been.
I really wish in the morning I could just have tea in a mug but unfortunately they have us in this classroom that I mentioned prior, I use a travel mug since I don’t want to spill all over my laptop or someone else’s as we are so close together! And we will have class like this for another YEAR! I guess there is always just using it in the afternoon but then again I already have both the travel mug AND a cold tumbler for water so I don’t want to add a third thing when I can just keep using the travel mug.
I really hate making tea at work too. They have one of these Flavia machines and it basically only fits shorter cups. So I always have to waste a waxy paper cup to get water in the first place. But they’re such flimsy cups, the water is so hot it burns. Before I was bringing in the travel mug, I would have to double cup to not hurt myself! And I came from a job where it was normally to me to be pouring 190-200 degree water and coffee before even putting a sleeve around it.
So it almost might be better to use a mug because maybe then it would fit under that dumb machine.
This is one of the more complex tasting matcha from Red Leaf Tea. The flavor starts sweet and then it gets a little roasty tasting, finishing in more sweetness accompanied by a pretty moderate dose of bitterness. There are sweet bready notes to it and notes of fresh sweet grasses and flowers.
This matcha is pretty good overall. It whisks and foams well, the color is a nice deep emerald green, and the flavor is not dull or uninteresting. The one downside of it to me is the bitterness which lingers on your tongue for a while after the sip, but oddly there is a sweetness that lingers there too, so the flavor is two-fold.
I’d say it’s a good brisk wake-me-up matcha for people who like a stronger beverage. I tend to stray from bitter flavors though, so I’ll pass on purchasing this one. I will, however, savor the samples I have left. :3
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass
Here is another tea from Red Leaf that just didn’t want to froth. The foam depleted and disappeared within moments, despite getting a pretty heavy froth going with very tiny bubbles. The color is sort of an olive drab.
This one has a sort of tangy bitterness to it. It’s hard to describe. There’s a really subtle hint of a honey like flavor but it gets overtaken by the bitterness in the finish of the sip. This tea has a bit of a sourness to it like biting into a lemon. It’s interesting. More unique in flavor than the Shokuku was, but also not as agreeable, and overall not one I would recommend for sitting and drinking. Might be good for the kitchen.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Sour
This matcha does not foam well. I tried twice to be sure it wasn’t a user error, used much less water to powder ratio the second time and got the same result. The foam simply dissolves very quickly after whisking it. The color is a sort of sludgy algae green.
The taste isn’t bad. It’s a subtle grassy kind of taste with little notes of weeds, hay, and earth. It’s not bitter at all, which is nice.
This seems like kitchen-grade matcha to me, so I do not recommend it for anyone looking to drink it by whisking in a chawan. Maybe those looking for something to mix into lattes or desserts would like this one. It has a rather straightforward grassy taste with little hints of sweetness that linger on the tongue.
Flavors: Earth, Grass, Hay
So I’m about a week or two into my newfound exploration of matcha. I am learning little-by-little, and if someone has a great resource about learning to prepare and drink matcha, please feel free to leave it in a comment or message me. Anyway, what I learned with the last bowl I made is that there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to whisk it for the right foamy texture. Lots of sites give a basic instruction for how to do this but I’ve found a couple of key points that really would have helped me more if only someone had mentioned them. They weren’t pointed out on any sites and I picked them up through observation of videos and through trial and error. More on that later. I will probably make a Youtube video to show the tricks, as it is easier to show than tell. What I learned this time is that the way you drink it is just as important as the way you prepare it.
I tend to close my lips quite a bit when I drink tea, and suck a little stream of it in so as not to dribble or slurp. With whisked usucha matcha, if you do this you are likely to sip at the liquid and leave behind a lot of the foam till after the liquid is gone. This is a mistake. Drink with your mouth open more and suck in the foam and water evenly. Not only will the texture be more silky and velvety, but the flavor will be MUCH less intense/bitter and more sweet and complex.
This was probably my second favorite of the matchas I’ve tried from Red Leaf tea. The dry powder had little hints of sweet lime scent like the one that was my favorite (Tanabata Matcha), but the flavor of this one was more like sweet grass and not much of a fruity taste. In fact, after adding water to the matcha it mostly smelled grassy and the little fruity hints in the scent were pretty much gone. There’s a touch of bitterness in the finish of this matcha, but as I mentioned, if you drink the foam and liquid evenly it really cuts this down to an enjoyable balance.
The more and more I experiment with matcha, the more I think most people who say they’ve tried it and don’t enjoy it just aren’t preparing it right, or haven’t had a good quality one. If you get it right the flavors can be even more sweet and forgiving than a lot of sencha out there, and I’ve met at least a few who like sencha but not matcha.
This was a fun matcha. A little sweet and not overly vegetal or umami-rich. I am finding I prefer my matcha this way. On the other hand, this one wasn’t remarkable. It was sort of an “everyday” kind of tea to me.
Flavors: Lime, Sweet, warm grass
The dry matcha powder smells like autumn leaves and spices, cinnamon primarily.
The taste of the whisked matcha is really interesting. Take a really good white peony and just imagine that flavor stacked upon itself until its no longer a delicate white tea, but a woodsy, earthy, mushroomy brew with a rich, strong flavor. There is not much in the way of bitterness though it is a little astringent on the tongue. The flavor is really intriguing though. It’s like an autumn walk through the woods. The mouth feel is really thick and creamy and there are tiny hints of chrysanthemum flower in the taste.
This is a nice alternative to matcha for those who don’t like the flavor of the traditional green type, and even for those who do, I think this would make a wonderful late summer or autumn seasonal drink.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Earth, Mushrooms, Wet wood
The dry matcha in my warmed chawan smells fruity and sweet.
After whisking the matcha, the smell is more vegetal and nutty with maybe a little hint of popcorn. The matcha tastes a little roasty and very umami rich like spinach with an accompanying bitterness that lingers on the tongue. It’s got a hint of fruit flavor hiding in the background, but mostly what comes through is a roasted taste. It is rather biting on the tongue.It also leaves a really gritty feeling in my mouth even though the matcha was put through an extremely fine sieve before whisking. There seem to be pieces that feel scratchy and dry. I’m not enjoying that at all. It kind of makes me choke.
Up to that point I was indifferent about it, but the drying texture of it is rather offputting to me. Nothing bad on Red Leaf Tea, I have rated another of their matchas “100” in another review.
Flavors: Coffee, Roasted, Spinach
I prepared this traditionally in a chawan with whisk.
The initial smell is very mild and sweet, like sweet bread or a field of wheat. The onset of the taste is bitter but only lightly so compared to most matcha I’ve tried. The taste evolves from grassy at first to mild and grainy like sweet bread or sweet greens (baby butter lettuce?).
This tea was very relaxing. It reminds me of the tall prairie grasses of late summer. I live in the great plains region of the US, and there’s a very distinct sweet smell in the air as the grass reaches its full growth in late summer, a mix between that which is fresh and green and that which is becoming golden and drying out. This matcha seemed to capture that essence for me, so I feel at home and at one with the nature around me when I sip into this tea.
This was easy to drink and had just the right amount of bitterness for those who like a little bitter taste in their tea. I have noticed lots of lower grade matchas can be offensively bitter to me, but this one complimented the flavor and was enjoyable. I wasn’t waiting for the bitterness to pass to actually taste something.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Sweet, warm grass
The dry matcha in the warm chawan smells sweet and citrusy like limes and other tropical fruit.
Oh my goodness this matcha is laden with sweetness. The taste also comes with a slightly fruity aftertaste that reminds me of limeade or key lime pie, the flavor of fresh lime that has been in some way sweetened. There is absolutely no astringency in this matcha at all. The flavor is so sweet and mellow, not overly grassy. It has a hint of dandelion flavor in the finish.
Wow, I am pretty new to matcha. This is probably the fifth one I’ve tried in the traditional method with a whisk and bowl. For the first few I was worried matcha just might not be for me. The taste tends to be so overpowering and bitter most times, but this matcha is just so incredibly refreshing and sweet! I love it! This has set the gold standard for matcha for me. I’m eager to see if anything else in my matcha sampling journey lives up to this one. I’ve got just shy of 20 samples, most are from Red Leaf Tea, so I’ll keep adding reviews as I try them.
The price tag on this tea is not to be taken lightly, but neither is the quality of the flavor. Time for me to start saving I guess.
Flavors: Dandelion, Fruity, Lime, Sweet
Let it be known, I am pretty new to matcha.
Prepared the traditional way in a chawan, this matcha smells and tastes a bit like toasted cereal grains. The flavor is tangy, robust, and astringent. There’s a strong grassy taste.
I am getting acquainted with matcha slowly, so my ratings and descriptions may be a little inadequate for now.
Flavors: Bitter, Grain, Grass, Oats, Umami
Looks like my double digits aren’t staying very long; I had a really good mail day today and my Secret Pumpkin package from Anlina arrived as well as my package from VariaTEA! I just need to enter all the new teas into my cupboard…
This one I’m finishing off as a smoothie/milkshake of sorts!
- 1 Frozen Banana
- The last of this matcha (about 2 tsp.)
- 1 cup of milk
It’s pretty good! The banana helps cut down on the chalkyness/mineral notes in the Boysenberry quiet a lot and just compliments the flavour in general.
Sample comes from Starfevre.
This is a matcha that I certainly would not have ordered from the site – but that sorta makes it the perfect one to receive a sample of; something that pushes my comfort level without making a commitment to it.
I made it in milk which was a weird concept for me; last time I had a berry matcha was Acai and I was definitely too chicken shit to do it in matcha on its own (though I did do it AND cheesecake). This wasn’t terrible though; just weird. The Boysenberry flavour definitely came out, but there was also a somewhat strong chalky/mineral flavour that combined with the berry reminded me of chewable children’s vitamins.
Hmm; gonna try something different next time – just not sure what.
Flavors: Berry, Mineral
Oh goodness this is unique. I prepared this the traditional way you’d prepare matcha, in a chawan with a chasen (whisk), got it to a nice bubbly froth. It tasted just as you’d kind of expect, very much leathery, earthy, dirty puer taste, but not dirty in the bad sense. It actually had a clean finish taste-wise, but a sort of powdery dirty mouthfeel. It’s kind of intense and dark, bitter like coffee.
While this tea is unique I almost wonder if it wouldn’t be better in some kind of interesting puer matcha latte or something. I think it lacks the complexity you get when steeping shu puer the normal way, plus you don’t get the many repeated infusions you would normally get with puer. I’m sure there’s an audience for this tea, out there… I’m just not sure who it is.
Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Leather
It seemed like such a missed opportunity to not make this one into a matcha soda so, to switch things up, that’s how I prepared the last of this one. I mean, champagne is meant to be bubbly right? So bring on the bubbles!
Taste wise; this was ok overall – it definitely tasted like champagne; but not as good as it was in milk. Also, there was an oddly floral quality to the soda version that wasn’t so present in the milk one. Both ways are tasty and sweet; but contrary to my expectations milk is superior. Next time I order matcha (probably not for a while; I still have lots from my last order to get through) this is gonna be included!
I’m really liking this new trend of brewing cold shaken matcha milk to work with me; it’s quicker than steeping tea in the morning, and tastes so so good. This one is so so good too; sweet and delicious! I’m happy I sent a sample to VariaTEA so she can enjoy it too!
I’m confidant I’ll be ordering this in my next (probably far off) matcha order. Bumping my rating up a touch.
I really, really hate posting out of order – but my small swap with Starfevre arrived today and when I opened it I just KNEW that this was the perfect tea to celebrate my 2000th tasting note with, even if I’m not having it in the “right order”. Wow. So many notes in what feels like such a short period of time…
I made this one whisked into cold milk because, when I was talking to Starfevre about this back when she was packing it for me, she told me she prepares it in
hot milk. That seemed weird to me for champagne as a flavour, but I trust her and that’s how I typically take my matcha anyway…
It was actually really good! I wish I hadn’t been so cautious with the amount of matcha I used because I think this could have been far more flavourful; but it was sweet and surprisingly smooth. A little hard to describe; but champagne itself is sorta hard to describe other than “it tastes like champagne and is bubbly”. Obviously this wasn’t bubbly. I look forward to my next cup with an increased ratio of matcha to milk!