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Recent Tasting Notes
I saw these matcha-dusted sencha sachets at a gourmet specialty store and decided to give them a try. I consumed quite a lot of matcha-dusted sencha over the course of a couple years of my life, but I have not had any lately. I used to buy two different kinds: Stash Premium Green with matcha, or Kirkland Signature Green with matcha. Both were quite decent, though the Stash was in a filter bag. Kirkland’s was the very first sachet I ever encountered, and I always felt that there was something luxurious about it. Apparently many other people felt that way as well, as now sachets are in virtual ubiquity.
Rishi has changed the name of this tea. I clicked on the link in the company description and was directed to Rishi’s home page. There is no tea now known as Super Green, only this Matcha Super Green, and this batch is said to hail from Kyushu, not specifically Kagoshima. On the box the cultivars are identified (somewhat surprisingly, since even most specialty tea emporia do not provide such detailed information on their teas). Here’s what it says: Asatsuyu, Yabukita, Okumidori, Okuyutaka. Make of that what you will!
The tea brews up bright emerald, as all matcha-infused sencha does, and the texture is super sumptuous. I found the brew itself to be a bit bitter, though I kept the time short (2 minutes) and the temperature low (73F).
Upon examining the sachet, I discovered that there were lots of stems along with the tea leaves. I was very surprised by this, as the Rishi loose-leaf teas have been very good. Slipping stalks into sencha sachets? They must be trying to cut corners.
Note that this new version is not identified as the same tea which won the award in 2010. There is no way that a stem-riddled sencha would win an award. The competition is incredibly stiff among sencha producers. Lest we forget: they live in an honor-shame culture!
Queued post, written May 23rd 2014
Auggy’s shared this with me in the most recent care parcel. I looked it up when I added it to my cupboard, but I don’t recall now what it is. It smells a bit raisin-y and fruity though. Berry-ish, I thought. After steeping it’s more floral, but not very floral like it was scented. Just a thin layer of floral on top. It’s sort of wood-y underneath that, but neither cocoa-y nor really grainy.
The flavour is quite floral as well, and also quite wood-y. Again, neither cocoa-y nor grainy. It’s not hay-y either. There’s a bit of a fruity aftertaste to it, which reminds me of cherries.
I honestly can’t tell what this stuff is. It has none of the characteristics of the areas I know best. Could it be some completely new to me area?
I have to look it up.
Oh, it’s from Taiwan! That is indeed a fairly unknown region to me. That explains why there were no recognisable elements to it at all.
As I drink and it cools a bit, I feel the flowery notes get a little more pronounced as do the fruity notes. The fruity notes actually expands a bit, no longer content to being merely an aftertaste. I still think it’s mostly a dark cherry, but I see on Steepster that others have likened it more to plums. Oh well, they’re both stone fruits. Close enough for jazz.
Cooling a little further, we’re at gulping temperature now, the floral note has changed and turned from floral into something more spicy. I felt like it was reminding me of something particular, but I couldn’t think of what, so I nipped off to the kitchen to have a snuffle around the spice shelves. This didn’t yield any positive results so if it is indeed something I ought to know, it’s not a spice we currently have. I did, however, narrow it down that I think it’s a bake-y spice rather than a cooking spice. Others have mentioned cloves and cinnamon, but I didn’t really think that was a match for me either.
This is a very interesting tea. It’s not that often anymore that I get to have a completely new region’s tea for the first time where it doesn’t remind me strongly of a neighbouring region.
I could have sworn this tea had been sweetened; it’s so sweet! Sipping this is like sipping honey. And, though I’m speaking out of order, the dry leaves smell like raisins. Actual raisins. I love this tea. I’ve gotten resteep after resteep of this tea and overstepped it a few times too, and every single cup has been enjoyable.
This said, this is my first Chinese black tea (shocking, I know) so I’m keeping my rating a little lower before I have another Yunnan to compare it to. But I really like this tea.
Flavors: Honey, Raisins, Stonefruits, Thick
The leaves of this Yunnan Gold smell strongly of honey and raisins after a quick rinse. The brew itself, however, has a very interesting heady quality to it that smells almost “perfume-like” to me. I would say it smells something like patchouli, and it comes through in the taste. If I’m not careful, it can be perceived as an almost “soapy” flavor so I have to tread lightly with my steepings of this tea. Beyond that there are definite notes of malt, and as the tea cools and I take some more sips, the flavor seems to mellow out some. There is something sort of sharp that kind of lingers on the tongue for a while. It’s got a bit of a peppery aftertaste.
Not my favorite Yunnan Gold. It’s not bad, but that heady aroma is a little bright for me. I prefer slightly darker, richer teas when it comes to this category.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Pepper, Raisins
Very good tea! It has a mouthfeel that is almost juicy, like a fresh nectarine. The aroma is part peach orchard and part coniferous forests. The taste is similar to the aroma, but a little bit more on the fresh, woodsy pine forest side, though the peach element is still very present. Anyways, great tea!
Flavors: Fruity, Peach, Pine
With all the teas I have in my cupboard this one has been overlooked for a long time. It used to be one of my favourites and I still like it. I normally do not like chai teas but I can’t taste much chai in this pu-erh tea which is probably one of the reasons I like it. Mint is prominent with vanilla notes. Goes well with the dark earthy pu-erh tea.
By the way, I noticed i didn’t have this in my Steepster cupboard but I’ve had it for awhile. I know there’s probably plenty more I’ve never updated. Sometimes it requires setting up the new tea on Steepster and I don’t always have the time.
Flavors: Earth, Peppermint, Vanilla
MissB sent this one my way and i’m SUPER glad she did. I really like this one. This is tart, sour blueberry – not that sticky sweet sort of blueberry. I suspect adding a little sweetner to this would make it delicious as well, but tonight i am enjoying the tartness of this. it’s not quite genuine blueberry taste but it is really nice. Especially since it’s a rooibos base and not a green base! wooohoo! thanks for sharing this one with me MissB!
Final Count: 174 [ Fake Cupboard at 110 teas with 64 Samples]
Another from my trade with Cameron B
This smells SO AMAZING OMG OMG OMG. Everything in the package smelled like Jasmine. It was like I opened a perfume bottle instead of a tea pouch.
I couldn’t get over how amazing it smelled. This was my first time with pearls and they were so CUTE. I am a geek I know, but I just freaked out over how cute they were.
I brewed this up at 175 degrees and 2 minutes and it smelled amazing the whole time. I poured a softly greenish tea in my cup (had to use one of the glass mugs for this one so I could see its color) and sweetened it a little after a testing sip. The sip was tasty but I like my tea sweet.. so sugar went in, but just a teaspoon. I sipped again and my mouth was happy. Green tea, tasty and delicious… No astringency or bitters. WOW! First time I’ve ever had a green tea I didn’t at least hate in some direction.
Well the flavor was nice and I sipped it warm for a while. The only issue I had was when it cooled all the way, I couldn’t finish it. Why? Because my brain was saying “This is perfume. Why are you drinking perfume? Stop drinking perfume, you’re going to be ill. This is PERFUME DAMNIT NOT TEA!” and I couldn’t win the argument. Only a few tablespoons made it to that stage tho. When it cools it really does smell just like Jasmine perfume and to make this worse, I actually wear a Jasmine Perfume most days >_< So I’m quite familiar with that scent and my brain was really sure I was drinking perfume haha. :)
I kept expecting a bad taste to appear because I kept thinking of drinking perfume.
It was not tho. It was always sweet and delicious and the Jasmine flavor was so floral and so VIVID. I couldn’t believe how bright the flavor was.
I like this. I may well need to seek some of this out. Thank you so much for sending this Cameron! I really enjoyed it ^^
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Jasmine, Perfume, Sweet
SSTTB: Pick #12
This is the second Mint Chai that I drank today as a direct comparison with Whispering Pines’ Peppermint Chai. Like I said in the tasting note for that one, the two were really, really dissimilar.
Unlike the WP blend – this one didn’t really feel like a Chai at all. Instead this one seemed to be much more about the smooth creamy vanilla mint flavour which perfectly fit the earthy Pu’Erh. The Pu’Erh base in this kinda reminded me of clay a little bit, and then the Vanilla/Mint due (which was pretty evenly balanced) sweetened it up a bit and kept it from feeling gritty or unpleasant. As far as the “Chai” element, in this one the most that I picked up on was the cinnamon in it which almost made it feel Christmas-y to me? For whatever reason.
Both were really good, just in different ways. However, I think that I liked Whispering Pines’ version better even though it was more Chai like, the reason for that being that I liked the weird Halva flavour I experienced with it because of the unexpected nostalgia. It was a tea that made me experience something other than the tea, and it’s kinda hard for this one to compete with that.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clay, Cream, Mint, Vanilla
I’ve had this (sealed) tin for a year or two, but when I first opened it the smell was as strong as if it had been blended yesterday. The black leaves appear to be almost be oiled – I’m not sure if that’s the oil of bergamot or if that’s their natural appearance.
The bergamot is strong in both scent and flavour almost to the point of being unpleasantly pungent when I tried drinking the tea without milk. With the addition of milk it’s much better, but the bergamot is still a bit strong for my preferences. It brings to mind Adagio’s Earl Grey Bravo though this is a bit smoother and more refined than that one. I seem to be having difficulty finding jut the right earl grey – most of the ones I’ve tries either go too light on the bergamot or add too much.
I made my friend who does not particularly like tea try this with me after I had purchased my first electric tea kettle (and splurged on tea to try with it) and he loved it and ended up drinking more than me, probably around three cups.
When I grabbed it in the store I could smell it through the box already. It smelt delicious, like freshly baked blueberry muffins. As soon as I got home I had to try it. I picked it over the other five flavors of tea I had bought that day. I was NOT disappointed.
It tasted exactly like it had smelt, but also had a hint of almost black tea too it. The blueberry sent was amazing, and the taste matched it perfectly. I am no tea expert, and my experience in trying rooibos is lacking, so I cannot comment on that much, but the flavor did not disappoint.
I know for a fact this is going to become one of my favorite teas in my collection and will be a reoccurring purchase for me!
I was craving some more hot green tea, but it was so hot that I opted for this Rishi Citron Green iced. Then it dawned on me: why not see how this tastes hot, before cooling it down?
Turns out that the hot brew is very tasty! This may be the most economical way to drink Rishi, since the iced tea bags pack a generous 10 grams, and they produce a beautiful liter of iced tea plus two nice glasses of hot. The first glass was from the first infusion, but then I resubmerged the bag in another glass of hot water, and I must say that it tastes as good as the first. This suggests that I should try a third, and I shall…
I don’t usually go for flavored green teas, but this one has a very good green tea base and some nice jasmine, in addition to the lemon grass (which fortunately is smooth, not strident here) and citrus oils.
I’m definitely increasing my rating of this tea. I do believe that I prefer it hot!
Flavors: Citrus, Jasmine
It looks as though the recipe for Rishi Citron Green may have changed. There is definitely no rooibos in this box! I prepared a quart-sized bag using the cold brew method, left to infuse in the refrigerator overnight.
To be honest, I was pessimistic because of the overwhelming scent of the dried tea, which was basically lemongrass, lemongrass, lemongrass. Fortunately, the iced tea tastes quite a bit more balanced. There are some other gentle citrus flavors mingling with a real jasmine green tea base. Not bad at all, though the lemongrass does dominate.
(Blazing New Rating #75)
I found the most exciting new coffee/tea shop ever!!!!! I drove by a shop about 3 miles from my house and noticed a new sign…. The Blue Box Cafe. I say to my self… Oh, how funny? Like Doctor Who. But then I go, sure it is… here in Elgin. Well guess what, it is a Doctor Who themed tea/coffee shop!!! Doctor Who and Tea… what could be better! This looks like my new obsession!
Well my cup of tea could have been better. Not much flavor, no bergamot. But they have other loose leaf teas, so I’ll try some more.
They have a nice selection of pastry, salads and sandwiches. Nothing looked Weight Watchers friendly, but I think I’ll find something I can eat without so many calories.I’m sure I’ll find my way there, frequently! :D
This is a fun little tea – it’s a leaf hopper, and I always find those fascinating. This one is a nice balance between dark oolong (nutty, roasty, but not too mineral) and the honey sweetness of the hopper influence. Really happy to have had the chance to try this one. Thank you Ubacat for sending this my way.
Undaunted by my recent lapse, I have donned my Blazing New Rating cap and brewed up another tea new to me: Rishi Peach Blossom.
Once again, I am impressed by a Rishi tea. This one boasts a combination of White Peony from Fujian and Silver Needle from Yunnan along with various essences, including citrus and jasmine, along with natural peach flavor.
Judging by the appearance of the dried leaves, there is much more White Peony than Silver Needle in this blend, but the brewed liquor is very smooth and tastes a lot fancier than your typical flavored White Peony, many of which are evidently of lower quality than this one, which is organic.
The liquor is bright yellow, to my surprise, and I can taste the orange oil in the background, especially after having read that it is there. Actually, I’m now on the second infusion, and it may be that the orange has become more dominant than the peach. The scent of the dried leaves was very, very peachy, but by now the liquor seems just as much about orange if not more than about peach.
I have not had that many peach-flavored teas, but I am impressed by the quality of the underlying white tea in this Rishi blend. I’ll probably try a third infusion tonight, as the spent leaves are still rather fragrant.
(Blazing New Rating #68)
Flavors: Orange, Peach
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Flavors: Floral, Honeydew, Sweet, Vegetal
Trying this one cold brewed this evening – since it’s the weekend, I’m not too worried about having caffeine this late. I used a teaspoon of pearls for 8 ounces of water and left it to brew in the fridge for six hours.
The floral is just way too strong for me when this is cold. I can’t taste anything but jasmine! I think I may try this again and just use a very short steep time, maybe two or three hours. Or I may try it hot brewed and then chilled. Ideas for tomorrow! :)
So this is my second jasmine pearl tea (the first being free sample from Yezi). I wish I could taste them both side-by-side, but without that option, I think I like this one a little better. The little pearls are tightly rolled and about a quarter inch in diameter. The smell of the dry tea is amazing – such a strong and sweet jasmine aroma. It smells like actual flowers, not like a perfume, which is a very good sign. The directions say to use a tablespoon (!) of tea per 8 ounces of water, so this is what I did. I think in the future I could definitely get away with using less per cup.
The brewed tea smells very jasminey, though definitely not as strongly as the dry (thank goodness). I can also catch a hint of a sweet, vegetal green tea behind the jasmine. I really enjoy the taste of this tea. The jasmine flavor is prominent and it’s definitely the star, but I can also taste the sweet and mellow green tea base. It came out a tiny bit bitter for me, but I think using less tea or maybe a tiny bit shorter steep would eliminate this. The aftertaste is very floral. I found this was delicious with just half a teaspoon of sugar – it seemed to round out the jasmine flavor.
Flavors: Jasmine, Sweet, Vegetal
First time I tried it it was like: ouch, that is a strong bergamot taste. I added some milk and I started to enjoy it more and more. It’s perfect for mornings like 6.am or so…Later then that, I prefer having the earl grey of Dammann Frere. I have always been faithful to the dammann frere taste, but will accept this only for a change once in a while.
What a roller coaster ride this tea has been! Rishi Orange Blossom sounded so exciting to me—I imagined something like a high-quality (Rishi) jasmine green tea, but with the jasmine petals switched out for orange blossoms. How could I, a major white floral maven, resist?
Upon opening the packet, I was shocked to see that the bulk of the dried material was lemongrass, not tea! The scent also smelled like orange oil (not orange blossom) with a hint of jasmine in the background. At this point, I was quite pessimistic.
The brew proved me wrong, however! I was expecting this blend to be completely overwhelmed by the abundant lemon grass. Instead, the golden liquor tasted very similar to a jasmine-scented green tea with a touch of lemon myrtle!
It’s a very pleasant blend, but this is not really an orange blossom tea, in my opinion. It’s more like a perfume tea, with a harmonious mingling of several essences. The green tea base is very much in the background, but it carries the floral scents well. Thank goodness lemongrass does not predominate!
second infusion: perhaps predictably, a reinfusion produced more of a lemongrass taste—almost a tisane!
third infusion: I did not taste this but transferred it to the refrigerator to drink iced. The liquor is still quite bright and strongly redolent of lemongrass…
(Blazing New Rating #35)