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Recent Tasting Notes
It’s that time of year again for great tea value opportunities! …
TeaVivre’s 4th Anniversary Celebration!
I’m actually drinking a green tea called blue butterfly, but it’s not getting its own entry yet because I’m not sure if it just tastes like a combination of gentle fruits with bubblegum and dish soap, or if my bottle absorbed some of the flavour of the Fairy Liquid when I gave it a really thorough soak last night. UGH. :(
i tried steeping the following
least i can say i was not impressed..
i could barely taste the sheng even when i did a ration of ttl 5g 50/50 2.5g each
i guess one must mix like/like teas then.
So today’s blog is going to be something different, it will not just be me writing this time! Time for an introduction:
First, allow me to simultaneously introduce myself and disabuse you of any notion of my credibility: I am a tea barbarian. As you may have pieced together from Amanda’s fleeting references to me on this blog, my taste runs to strong Blacks in boiling water. I may not be so debased as to use cream or sugar (save with Indian-style teas), but my palate certainly lacks the subtleTEA (I made this pun just to further reduce your estimation of my character) you are accustomed to seeing in this blog.
Why, then, am I contributing my thoughts now? Upon seeing Amanda getting this assortment of exciting candies, I came to two simultaneous resolutions: if they were terrible, I should not allow the woman I love to suffer alone… and if they were good, I needed an excuse to muscle in on some of that candy.
As you will see, both resolutions were soundly fulfilled!
Matcha Caramels-Red Leaf Tea
These were just a little too sweet for my liking, the caramel is very sugary and the white chocolate very sweet, the Matcha taste is pretty mild, I think if it were stronger I would really like these because it would make the sweet not as intense. 2 out of 5
To the best of my knowledge, there is no direct Macha-less equivalent of these fancy little candies. But why would you need one? I’m a sucker for caramels in general, but the hard-ish coating and Matcha flavor take these to a whole new level. I gorged myself on these, clearing a bag in an hour – twice. Five out of five.
Matcha Crunch Bars
Why, how, WHY!?! Seriously, what went wrong? It starts out sweet, like really low quality nasty white chocolate and grassiness from the Matcha and then it gets really weird. Like soap and wax paper blended into a disgusting dance, but you know I have had worse, but that aftertaste just WILL NOT GO AWAY! It lingers forever, like eating Matcha flavored soap laced with sugar. -4 out of 5 (also giving these to a friend as a way of introducing them to Matcha candy aka getting rid of them is a good way to never have them eat anything you give them that is green again, oops)
Crunch bars may be my favorite chocolate bar, so I was most excited for these out of all the options. This was a terrible, terrible mistake. To their credit, unlike Aero, they did not hold back on Matcha flavor – even the crispy sections hold the taste strongly. On first taste, if you like traditional Matcha more than I do, you might think this is a really well done snack. Take my advice: start with small bites. Or, better yet, no bites at all. The flavor you get from these bars will not fade with time, so much as it will actually rot on your tongue, turning more bitter, and harder to ignore, by the second. After eating just one of them, I found myself unable to make it stop or enjoy other flavors for over an hour of constantly chugging water to clean it away. Buy this solely as a practical joke on a tea lover you particularly despise. Death out of five.
Matcha Kit Kat Bars
So ever wondered what white chocolate and a Matcha latte with a side of wafer cookies tasted like? It tastes like a Matcha Kit Kat! I really liked these, they might have been my favorite of the candies I tried, they tasted bright and green with just amount of sweetness to be enjoyable. I feel bad, I only gave Ben one at the end of the tasting because I just tore through the bag, definitely a 5 out of 5 for me!
Sure, I like Kit Kats, but after the Crunch bars, I’ll be honest: I was ready to give up on the whole exercise. Amanda’s prompting and these Kit Kats lured me back. They probably have the most even split on this list between candy sweetness and Matcha flavor (the caramels are sweeter, and all the others are much less so), for a really well-rounded and iconic experience. Four out of five.
Aero Matcha Bars
Oh man, I have not had a legit Aero bar in ages, so nostalgia! I love the texture, and that is really it. The chocolate coating is waxy and lame, just generic chocolate bar, the Matcha center tastes like vaguely Matcha themed chalk, it was not bad, but it was super boring. 3 out of 5
I’ve never had the non-Matcha version of this chocolate – apparently, it’s an English thing. It has a fairly standard exterior, but is all full of little waferey balls which crunch and fizz in your mouth. The good and bad news here is: those balls don’t hold much flavor. The outer chocolate was mild enough that I found Matcha Aeros to be a lot like just air – I don’t know whether this differs from what I’d think of normal Aeros. Two out of five.
Lotte Matcha Caramel
I grabbed these little chewy things on a whim because I love chewy candies and they were super cheap (unlike the others, except the RLT caramels, I still feel somewhat cheated) I loved LOVED the texture and really that was it. Ever have those waxy nickle nips, after the liquid gets slurped out you get the wax bottles and if you were like me you chewed on them for hours trying to extract every bit of sugar out. Same texture, different taste, like the person who developed these has heard of Matcha but never experienced it. It is super odd, a bit grassy, and also spicy with a definite pepper finish. I am still trying to decide if I liked them or not. 3 out of 5
I’ve never heard of these before, so I was curious about them. From the size and texture, I expected something like a Matcha Starburst, but the actual effect is less sweet than that – and also, less Matcha. Sure, you can taste the tea somewhat (moreso than in, say, the Aero), but mostly, it just tasted odd. Like toothpaste and pepper? Or perhaps like Anise and grass? It was in no way unpleasant, but I’m not sure I can think of much to recommend it. Two out of five.
What I learned from this experience? Matcha candies are overpriced and I should just stick to making them myself. Currently in my fridge is a pound of Matcha chocolates I made and nibble on whenever I get the craving! I do want to experiment with more random things with Matcha in them I find at the store!
Photos and all that good stuff: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/06/matcha-candy-adventure-with-guest.html
First time I’ve used this random steepings tag! This was a sipdown of an unidentified teabag sample I received from Mina in the Hapatite tea swap. It was labelled ‘black tea with fruits and spice’ and is in a little round, organic-looking (?) teabag. Other than that I have no info. I can’t say that I mind – I definitely wouldn’t be picking any more up! The scent is very cinnamon-y, and the main note is also overwhelming cinnamon. I think this has stevia in, as it’s very sweet with no additives, and there’s a lingering back note of orange. It is so so cloying and sweet, and almost undrinkable. Blech. Sorry Mina!
I would rate this tea around a 16.
I couldn’t find Yinzhu silver needle green in the database, so I decided to review it here.
This poor tea. I wonder if it was in the box too long, or was contaminated by the other tea’s, but it sadly did not taste very good. I found in my first couple of sips a vegetal flavour, but it was too faint. Unfortunately, the tea tasted a little stale and perhaps somewhat contaminated. I think if this were fresher, it would have tasted a lot better.
I was working in the garden yesterday, cleaning it up, and planted a couple of things even though it’s a bit too early to do that. It was really hot yesterday, so I’m really glad that I had a cold brew going on.
In the box was hibiscus from Sadaf (I couldn’t find this in the database and didn’t feel like putting it in). I’m not generally a fan of overly tart food and beverage items, so I surprised myself by cold brewing this up. With lots of rock sugar. And you know what? It was very tasty and refreshing after all that gardening. Another surprise tea that I will probably pick up.
Since it is unlikely that my tea of choice tonight will be purchased again any time soon and I am unsure that anyone on Steepster would also have it in their stash. I am including this under this “Random Steepings” entry.
Tonight I am drinking “Honeybush & Rooibos” by the South African Collection. This was picked up on my way out of Swaziland, via the stop Johannesburg airport. Not much to say about it. I like to add honey to this one to sweeten it up a bit. I haven’t had this in quite some time. It is a nice reminder that simple can be just as enjoyable.
Thought I would use this entry as I do not know how to put the Mystery Tea #2 from Butiki in my cupboard. Yes, I am just now getting to this!!! I have been away since it came in the mail :(. It was a difficult time being away from my tea stash. But we are now reunited and it is time to get back in my routine, which includes LOTS of tea :D
I’ve never seen a tea like this! It looks almost bead-like and it’s tiny. My assumption is that it’s black tea. The smell is amazing, raspberry is the only scent I can place. There is another scent that is complementing it beautifully. Brewed, this isn’t as appealing although still berry-ish. My suspicions of this being a black tea were confirmed as I needed to add sugar to it, and then a little more sugar. There is still a little bit of bite in the back of the throat that I don’t really care for. Overall, I think this could be a decent morning tea for me, as it is mostly pleasant.
Today was such a completely awful day. I knew I needed something extra special to comfort me. So, I decided to mix a portion of my Premium Taiwanese Assam with Whispering Pine’s Imperial Gold Bud Dian Hong and add some pure ground vanilla. This hit the spot perfectly. It was sweet, creamy, malty, chocolatey, caramely and vanillay goodness. This cup did not make it long since I couldn’t stop drinking it. I’m crossing my fingers that the rest of the day is just a bit better.
Instead of trying to review every tea from the last weekend (I can’t really remember details), I’ll put them here.
1: Bigelow Ceylon Teabag – First of all, yuck. Second of all, why does an airplane only have one kind of tea? I asked the flight attendant for hot tea and asked what kinds they had and she was all “I don’t know. It’s in a bag or something.”
2: 2006 Jinggu Ripe Dragon Egg Pu-erh – This is a very smooth and lovely shou. Light caramel color, so not as dark as a lot of shous that I’ve had. Overall, a really good tea from the Here’s hoping TTB
3: Blood Orange Pu-erh – I’m not sure which company this was from since I don’t have the bag in front of me.. But this was really good. A nice subtle tang from the blood orange without having that pith taste that a lot of citrus teas have.. Really well balanced. From the Here’s Hoping TTB
4. Lemon Rose Bud (Fusion Teas) – Another from the Here’s Hoping TTB. Really light and flavorful. I’m enjoying the lemon taste even though most lemon teas don’t do it for me. I really like lemon to be in your face. This isn’t tart, but it’s nice and soothing.
More from the Butiki Educational TTB
Gui Fei – This is kinda roasty and sweet.. I know it’s called “honey tea” but I really didn’t taste much of a honey flavor
Long Feng Xia – This is super smooth and buttery/creamy. I loved this!
Here’s the magic part! Since I brewed both teas at the same time (different pots) I poured half of each flavor into the same cup! Wow is that good XD I’d recommend that if anyone else gets the chance to mix these, that they do it!
Bonus: I tried the Puerh #6 as well.. mmm.. barbeque mushroom shou.. :P Not my thing, but it was okay nonetheless.
Tasting note #100!
The following teas were from the Butiki Educational TTB – I haven’t had a chance to write notes, so here’s a brief synopsis..
Wen Shan Bao Zhong #2 – A little sweetness and roasted flavor. Not something that I would go buy more of.
Hong Shui #1 – Again, a nice roasted oolong with a little spice on the back end.
Ali Shan #4 – A nice green oolong base with a sweet vegetal note.
Jin Xuan – Not what I was expecting.. Didn’t really get any creaminess from this tea. It really just tasted like the Ali Shan that I had before it.
From the Butiki Educational TTB
Today’s tea is the Vietnamese Green :)
I brewed this like a normal green with 175 degree water for a minute (it was a little longer than this since I got distracted). I’m not really finding any typical green tea flavors in this! I’m getting the taste of a lightly roasted oolong, which is good, but not what I was expecting. Also, it’s very one-note, so it’s kinda boring and gets hard to drink after the first half of the cup.
Channeling my inner Lou Bega…
Ladies and gentlemen.. this is Puerh #5.
From the Butiki Educational TTB :)
I wish I knew what I was drinking.. So, this is obviously a sheng.. Well, it’s in a bag marked puerh and it looks like a sheng? So, I heat up some water to about 195 degrees and put 5g in my gaiwan. After a short rinse, I taste the first five second brew..
Are we sure this is a sheng? It’s not very sheng-y. Granted, I still know nothing about puerh, but this definitely tastes and smells like most of the Indian teas that I enjoy. I didn’t know such complex flavor could come from a pu! The first steep is a barrage of flavors and I tried to capture them all. I felt that there were hints of raisin and dried fruits, but with a slight (very slight) vegetal finish. This first steep is super smooth and has a very full feeling in the mouth.
The second steep.. Okay! Now we have some pepper kicking through! Still a great finish and smooth feeling. I didn’t think that I would like pepper raisin tea :P
Third.. The flavor of the pepper raisin tea is still there, but I have this overwhelming feeling that I’m drinking water. The flavor kinda dissipated with the first two steeps :/ The aftertaste on the third steep is a strong pepper kick.
Third.. The flavor of the pepper raisin tea is still there, but I have this overwhelming feeling that I’m drinking water. The flavor kinda dissipated with the first two steeps :/ The aftertaste on the third steep is a strong pepper kick.70/100
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Pepper, Raisins, Vegetal
Butiki Educational TTB
I didn’t know where to start, so I opened up the oolong bag, since I enjoy a lot of oolongs. I just kinda looked through them for one that looked interesting and came across the Bihar Oolong from India. It smelled great – kind of a muscatel, sweet/fruity smell – so I figured I couldn’t go wrong.
I brewed this for 2.5 minutes at 195. The resulting brew has an interesting smell, but I thought it tasted completely different than the smell. The taste is nice and sweet with a grape/apricot flavor. Very nice tea and I enjoyed multiple steeps!
Flavors: Apricot, Muscatel, Sweet
Okay, quick note about the Butiki Sponsored Herbal Mixing Box.
As I was parceling out a couple herbs to try, I was curious about the Honeysuckle Flowers. they looked like the herbal version of Dian Hong. Boy, was I ever wrong.
This is the singular most disgusting thing i have ever had the misfortune of putting in my teapot. I might as well have been sucking on a piece of dusty old leather. the lingering taste of dried shiitake mushrooms and mold on my tongue made me gag. I wasn’t sure if the copper penny note was the tea or blood in my mouth.
It’s supposedly meant to help miraculously with the flu, digestive inflictions, and other viral infections. I’m sorry, but constipation sounds like more fun than drinking a cup of this tea.
I went for an early spring hike today! It felt so good to re-charge and to reconnect with the beauty of nature. I’m sorry (not sorry) to sound cheesy, but I was feeling all crusted and stale from the drain of city life. I need to do some earthing to connect myself to the big blue planet around me. Just hearing the absence of sound for a couple of hours made me feel so much better. Nothing but the wind through the trees. No cars, no airplanes, no people. A rare bird song every now and again, but mostly silence and the sound of my feet. It was still a little snowy here and there, but nothing too bad that the trail became too slushy. I was pretty lucky to make it back to my car before it began snowing. ahh, pure bliss.
So the tea that I brought with me was my homemade version of Celestial Seasoning’s Morning Thunder. I used to love that stuff. It was ideal for my hike today. It was smoky, and robust, and really seriously warming.
.5g of Tippy’s Lumberjack + 3g Capital Tea LTD’s Meleng Estate Assam + 2g Roasted Yerba Mate. I threw in a couple of cinnamon chips as well. It turned out to be pretty much perfect.
Empty Stomach + Matcha + Young Sheng = Party time
Forgot to mention I started the day with matcha empty stomach followed my young sheng…. needless to say I felt like puking. When I say felt like puking I don’t mean “oh em gee that girls instagram is gross, puke” I mean you are 6-7 shots deep on cheap plastic handle vodka and your friends say one more ! with results in your mouth uncontrollable mouth watering to lubricate the reverse of traffic out of your esophagus tandem with the involuntary crunches like an impromptu 6 min abs video.
Now Im sure many of you are saying duh empty stomach matcha alone should equal you on your knees praying to the porcelain gods but I was always the Macho man, back to back young raw bulang on empty stomach and low fat diet, routinely start my day off with matcha if I needed to be up and alert for extended hours, etc. But my limit seems to be the masochistic combination of empty+ matcha+ young sheng
Apologizes if any of this is lowbrow but it is more for my reference than anything and if I could make some of these private I would
So… I tried to cheat and taste this 14 days early… the mistake was leaving it in the water for 7 minutes :/
I’ll just wait until it’s ‘ready’