Red Leaf TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you Red Leaf for giving me a chance to name my own price and try an amazing matcha. Due to my matcha novice nature and the price of high quality matchas, I have only tried some of the more “smoothie grade” level of matchas. This was a stunning departure from those teas. First, right out of the pouch, I noticed the Emperor’s Matcha was much finer, smoother, velvety in texture than other matchas I had tried. It was also a much richer color. I used my usual proportions of tea and water, knowing it might be too strong, but though I would try it anyway. I drank this hot after being whisked in a bowl. It frothed up nicely and despite my lack of sifter, it blended in generally smoothly. The flavor of this tea is the usual distinctly vegetal matcha green flavors; this was not too overpowering nor was it sour or bitter. The matchas I had been trying lately were too sweet with flavoring, or just sort of generally green in flavor, sort of forward and vegetable-sour. Emperor’s Matcha was exceedingly smooth in look, feel, and taste. This isn’t “creamy” in a dessert way, but it is gently, naturally sweet and mellow, sort of like vanilla grass in the best way possible. No need for milk or sweetener, this is my new favorite pure matcha. Certainly an inspiration. Thanks again Red Leaf Tea!
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Green, Smooth, Vanilla, Vegetal
I just got home from an epic adventure, and by epic adventure I mean I went to Target! So, fun story, I have special needs when it comes to body care products, specifically I need ones without aloe because of my stupid allergy. EVERYTHING HAS ALOE, so the hunt for specific aloe free products is a pain. I need special shampoo, the selenium kind for my sebhorrheic dermatitis, and half of the blasted things have aloe, but you know in hair and skin care I kinda get it. What I do not get is why wipes have aloe, I spent a good 20 minutes checking and double checking all the wipe brands till I found an aloe free one…and you can bet I bought extra refills. I really do feel like I am on an epic quest whenever I have to buy body care stuff.
So, it is Monday, meaning it is MATCHA TIME! Woo! Today we are taking a look at Red Leaf Tea’s Rose Matcha, from their flavored Matcha line. This one is made from basic grade (classic) delicate flavor and regular non-organic Matcha. They have other flavor and grade options, and one day I would love to try the different flavors with a higher grade, but I am super cheap, so for now this is what we got. The aroma is super rosy, which is good, because I love roses in my food. It borders between rose perfume and a full bloom rose garden, mix in the fresh vegetation and grassiness and you have a Matcha that smells like summer in an English garden, memories of childhood tea parties in a rose garden while wearing Victorian dresses pop into my head.
I decided to pull out my tiny Chawan to have this traditionally first. Whisking it was a bit of a pain, but I did get a bit of a froth after a while. The color is not the prettiest, but since it is basic grade that is not too surprising. The taste is not too bad, it is a touch bitter like kale, but after an initial hint of bitterness it explodes into oddly fairly mellow rose. Let me explain, the rose takes over as the main taste and it is very distinct, but it is not like taking a drink of rose perfume. The rose lingers for quite a while as an aftertaste.
Next is the obvious latte, the real way flavored Matcha shines. I find that mixing a bit with water making a paste and then mixing with milk and if needed sugar makes for a much easier blend, especially if you do not feel like breaking out the hand mixer (I am lazy) Also I apologize for the awful cup, I just today decided to get a nice clear glass one to make it prettier. The taste reminds me of one of my favorite drinks, rose milk, an Indian drink mixing Rooh Afza Rose Syrup and milk, it was a delicious summer favorite that I miss drinking (I ran out of the syrup and never replaced it) basically it is roses and milk, what makes it different from the Indian drink is it has a grassy undertone and is not as sweet (could of changed that if I wanted to, but I liked it not so sweet) and with a slightly nutty finish. The rose lingers in the back of the mouth and in the nose for quite a while, and it has a slight dryness at the finish. I am curious to see how these would be baked into cookies with some saffron and cardamon, like a Matcha Falooda blend!
I randomly grabbed this one out of the leftovers from the head to head blind taste test. When I realized which one I had grabbed I got a little excited. This is good stuff.
I mixed about 1 heaping tsp of powder and some Splenda with a couple ounces of milk and whipped it with a spoon. I used a double walled tumbler like they sell at Starbucks for frappes. It is tall and narrow so the tea foams up very easily even with a spoon. The powder all mixes in pretty easily even in cold milk.
Then I grabbed a half cup of crushed ice, ran it through the shaver and added it to the tumbler. I have Xantham gum to thicken it but didn’t add it today. Then I filled the tumbler with milk and stirred.
The color is nicely dark green like a Starbucks frappe. That’s where the similarity ends. When I was mixing this I thought it had a black tea aroma. As I taste, it is very much floral like an Alishan oolong. The sweetener is not really necessary as this is nicely sweet on its own. Seemed very smooth with no grit. The only thing I found to complain about is it disappeared long before I was ready.
This was my top rated pick from the test, easily blowing away the competition.
After reading all of the rave reviews of this matcha I had to give it a try. So good call with that experiment, Red Leaf! It definitely worked on me :) I was specifically interested in the floral notes Lion promised in his review. I do love matcha, but some of them can be very vegetal which I don’t love, so floral sounded like a nice option.
So I decided to just go for the full pound option thinking I could toss it in smoothies or baked goods if I didn’t love it. Thankfully I do! It is truly as delicious as the reviews stated. Not bitter in the least and intensely floral, like a concentrated high mountain oolong. It is beautiful shaken in water (a way I generally don’t like matcha) and so so sooo good as a latte. I can’t get enough of it. I do have to say I’m almost convinced it has to be a powdered oolong though, right? I can’t think of any greens (even Chinese greens) that have such intense floral notes.
Admittedly I was unsure of whether to give it 100 or not. On one hand it is absolutely divine! But there are a few cons. Besides the small sample size, it is only available in a 1lb non-resealable bag. And because the floral notes are so strong it really clashes with any syrups I may want to flavor it with. While those are both kind of big issues for me, overall the tea is so tasty I decided to give it the full 100 it deserved. I definitely recommend picking up a sample size if it sounds like something you’d be interested in.
Flavors: Flowers, Green
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.
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!
Flavors: Bitter, Flowers, Hay, Honey, Kale, Spinach, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Umami
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
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
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!)
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
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
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
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.
Flavors: Bitter, Creamy, Dust, Milk, Sweet, Vegetal, White Chocolate
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.
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. :)
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!
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
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
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.
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