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51 Tasting Notes
You know that very particular smell of a cinnamon roll, that combination of hot caramelized cinnamon over freshly baked bread? That is exactly what this tea smells like, both in the bag and in the cup. The taste isn’t quite as strong as the smell, but definitely gets across that baked cinnamon taste. Towards the bottom of the cup a faint note of icing even comes into play – brilliant. This is a dessert tea that I’ll be reaching for at every hour of the day.
I’m excited to dive into the world of Red Leaf’s flavored matchas! I sort of chose vanilla at random because there were so many that sounded good, and I’d never tried a flavored matcha before so I wasn’t sure what would go well with the pure green tea flavor of standard matchas. That seems like it would be a beast to try and flavor! But Red Leaf does it well, from what I hear.
I love a good vanilla flavoring, but this one is more subtle than most – more of a hint in the background than a loud presence. It adds a smooth sweetness compared to other unflavored matchas I have. As for the matcha itself, it’s quite delicious. A great example of matcha in general, without the astringency that’s put me off matcha before. You can tell they’ve used high quality green tea for this.
As for the whole presentation: the shipping is quick (and free if you order a 60g pack), and the tea comes in a foil bag that isn’t resealable, so have a small tin at the ready to transfer it over. Once I emptied mine into a tin I shook a bit of water into the packet just to make sure I got all the matcha-y goodness available to me.
I’m glad to have this in my cupboard and excited to try their other flavors! Maybe chocolate next?
I have no idea why Bird Pick is trying to front that this is a green tea when judging from the taste, shape, and brewing parameters it’s obviously an oolong. I picked some of this up in store because someone I follow mentioned it and I loved the idea of a buttery green…but yo, this is a milk oolong. It’s not a super high grade one, but it’s a milk oolong if I’ve ever tasted one. It’s a green oolong, yes, in that it’s not roasted (or whatever they do to oolong sometimes to make me dislike it – oxidize it? pan-fry it? overdry it?), so maybe that’s what it meant. Bird Pick can be weird with their naming, as with their Beauty Slim tea, which they sell as a green and which you would think means weight-loss, when in fact it’s a ku ding and slim refers to the needle-like shape of the leaves.
That said: I am not mad at this! It’s a tasty tea, and a sick deal for the price. As mentioned above, this is clearly a milk oolong (or silk oolong), referring in this case to the way the leaves are processed as I don’t think there’s any flavoring added. This tastes a lot like David’s Tea Quangzhou Milk Oolong except not quite as creamy – a few rungs lower in quality, but still a totally epic deal since milk oolong can be ridiculously pricey. If you have a Bird Pick shop near you I’d suggest a visit, their prices are reasonable and there’s none of the two ounce minimum nonsense that Teavana forces down your throat.
Anyway, here was my actual experience with this tea: I brewed it at first at 170 degrees for two minutes, still thinking it was a green, and that did pretty much nothing for it, the leaves barely unfurled and I didn’t get a lot of flavor out of it. Upon realizing it was not in fact a green tea, I did a second steep with water a minute or so off boil, and gave her three minutes. This let the leaves really start to open up and I got a delicious cup off of it. A nice, creamy mouth feel, rich buttery flavor, just a quality milk oolong through and through. I did two more steeps after that, again both near boiling, three and a half minutes and then four, and these cups were great as well. The fifth steep was pretty weak, but still gave me a little something. Not exciting enough to drink on its own but I stirred a teaspoon of matcha into it and it was great, gave the matcha some added interest.
Anyway, I really recommend this tea! Tastes great, resteeps well, marvelous value for the price, sucks that Bird Pick have trolled us all by calling it a green!
I was hoping to find this in loose leaf, but for some reason Bird Pick only carries this flavor in bagged form. The scent is what got me – dry it’s a sweet, milky caramel, no green at all in there. The bags are odd little things, silky pyramid pouches with strings too short for all but the smallest cups, so you have to clip the string to the cup or it gets dragged in by the weight of the bag. The tea within looks like ground spinach, a very lovely green color. No visible caramel bits, so I think this one is just infused.
I’m still learning my way around sencha, so I was pretty conservative with the steeping parameters on this one. The first time I made it I definitely gave it my standard three minutes for a green and boy did I end up with a cup of sweet spinach water. Blech. Cut the steep down this time and it’s better.
A whiff of caramel on the nose when I raise up the cup, but mostly this one’s all sencha. The first hot sips give me sencha all the way. As it cools down the caramel starts to come out, but only a hint of it, an extra sweetness that lingers in the mouth. Cooler still and the caramel finally begins to dominate, which is good since I don’t think sweet caramel and spinach-y sencha are the most natural pairing. Still, not a bad cup!
I just can’t get into this tea. I tend to like greener oolongs, but this one isn’t bad for a darker type, the flowery flavor definitely sets it apart. Unfortunately it’s not a flowery flavor I particularly like. Extra points added for the fact that I managed to get through an entire tin of this, including multiple steeps for each serving – so it can’t be that bad. It reminds me a bit of the teas you get at Chinese restaurants, and I think this flavor does better suit Chinese food, at least the fried/not-spicy kind you get at American buffets. Unfortunately I don’t eat like that very often, so I can’t say this tea was ever a great fit for my kitchen.
If you like more roasted/oxidized oolongs or floral flavors this will be right up your alley!
This might be my favorite black tea ever! I first tried it with a friend of mine, and cup after cup I just kept being like “I don’t even usually like black tea…but this is amazing!!” all enthused about it. I’ve had the worst trouble finding flavored black teas I like since I generally don’t have much of a taste for black tea as a base (or on its own, really), and this has been the first tea to give me hope that it’s not impossible to find good ones.
It really does have that buttery flavor, like a buttered rum Lifesaver only less artificial. There’s a creamy sweet scent as you raise the cup up to drink, and surprisingly it’s almost as strong in the actual taste as it is in the smell. Just all-around delicious, like a morning (or evening!) cup of candy. Yes!
I purchased this vanilla sencha, as well as Bird Pick’s caramel and honeydew senchas, and then 52Teas Banana Peach green, which has a sencha base…then I found out I’m pretty sure I don’t like sencha. Ack. This was the first I tried, and I’ve been fiddling with it since, trying to understand this particular green and make it work for me instead of against me.
The trouble is, no matter which variety I make, the sencha always pushes through and tastes, whether subtly or intensely, like I’m drinking ground-up spinach. Eurgh. I mean, I love spinach! But like, in salads, or on sandwiches. Not in a cup overlaid with a dessert-y taste.
The best I’ve managed to do with this one in particular is keep the steep super-short. So far the lowest I’ve gone is about a minute and a half, but I might reduce that further. This is also a pretty weird vanilla, I think, which doesn’t help – it’s a particularly creamy sort of vanilla flavoring, which normally I’d be over the moon about but I just don’t think it suits this variety of green. I’m going to keep fiddling with it, but any tips on how to best brew sencha would be appreciated!
I’m ridiculously susceptible to suggestion, so honestly just looking at this bright yellow tin with its cheerful exhortation puts a smile on my face. Luckily on top of that it has a really pleasant flavor! It’s lemony without being at all overbearing about it – I think even without the name I’d probably describe the flavor as bright and cheerful. I don’t get much of the peach flavor, but it’s a nice cup even without, so I can’t complain.
I just put this one through a ridiculous steep time – as in I set two bags into a portable cup about forty-eight hours ago in anticipation of taking it out with me, and ended up leaving it steeping in my intermittently very warm car for two days straight. I just took it out now and it’s quite tasty. God bless rooibos, it can really take so much abuse.
Making my way through the last of this, I just put two teaspoons of it straight into my two serving teapot, leaving the strainer out entirely so the leaves could properly get their steep on. This was a good call! I think this is one of the best cups I’ve gotten out of this, the leaves had plenty of room to fully unfurl and bump up against each other. It’s very pretty in the pot and rather pleasant to watch it steep, kind of like watching goldfish swim. Calming, you know?
I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing this one as I’ve since discovered other oolongs I find more spectacular, but I’ve enjoyed having this one in my cupboard and in my cup.
Just got this and Naivetea’s Wen Shan Bao Zhong in the mail, thanks to the SororiTEA Sisters for the heads-up (and promo code) on this deal! Today would have been even better since my David’s Tea order apparently arrived…except that for some reason they required me to sign for it, and the postal worker couldn’t be bothered to ring my doorbell or even knock on my door before leaving the “Sorry we missed you!” note and bailing. (Is it really missing me if you failed to ascertain whether I was there or not?) You’d think I lived in Mordor rather than down one dinky flight of stairs for all the laziness my location engenders in delivery people, geez.
Anyway, at least I have tonight to enjoy my new oolongs before I go pick up my DT order tomorrow and bury myself in a mountain of maple rooibos. The dry leaf of this one is very fragrant, with an intense lychee scent that made me realize my only contact with anything lychee in the past several years has been in the form of martinis. The leaves are very tightly curled and a beautiful shade of green. The directions recommended a tablespoon of leaves for six ounces of water, but I don’t have any measuring spoons so I just hazarded a teaspoon plus a bit extra.
The first steep was the strongest and best, I think, it had the full force of lychee behind it, almost completely disguising the flavor of the base oolong, which was fine with me – if you’re going to flavor your tea, then flavor your damn tea. By the fifth steep that flavor is mostly gone, leaving behind a subtle hint of oolong, like a particularly delicate white tea. The instructions said I could steep up to seven times, but by the sixth the leaves were completely unfurled and the cup had only the slightest suggestion of flavor. The steeps in between were quite pleasant though. This feels like a nice late spring or summer tea, best drank around sunset, each successive steep urging you on toward nighttime, light and sweet and warming. Mmm.
Oof! This is the most intensely ginger-scented tea I’ve ever experienced, that dry leaf is a knockout. Luckily for those of us who aren’t all in it for the big G, this tea tastes much milder than it smells. The dominant taste is still ginger (especially as it cools), but the peach provides a hint of sweetness and the white tea base adds a pleasant taste as well. I’m not sure what prompted me to buy this, but I’m glad I did!
I forgot that I included a cup of this in my morning ‘brew five cups at a time’ ritual (yeah, I work from home, this is my life), and when I took a random sip I was like what is this delicious drink?! If that’s not a ringing endorsement I don’t know what is.
Art of Tea does delightful things with rooibos, and I think this is their best. Delicious and sweet, like a pear-flavored dessert without the calories. The sweetness can get a wee bit cloying if you let it cool too much, but hot this is a cup of wondrous caramelly pear goodness. Recommended!
I think I got the last packet of this, which I’ll use as an explanation for the slight flavor of dustiness. I’m used to white teas being subtle, but I could have done with more flavor in this blend overall. I brewed according to the parameters, and for the longest recommended steep time, but I’m still getting, at most, a sort of suggestion of spice and pear in the back of the sip rather than any appreciable taste. Oh well, at least white tea is good for you!
This is the first tulsi tea I’ve ever tasted, and it’s a delight! I’m not sure which flavors are coming from the tulsi itself or the added fruits and flavorings, but it’s a mystery I’m content to leave unsolved for now because the end result is so good. It’s a very green-tasting tea, very bright and light and fresh in my mouth and all that – it reminds me of the flavor of green yerba mate. I’m not really getting apple or pear (maybe a bit of pear), but it’s good enough overall that I feel okay about that.
Glad I decided to try this!
I buy this every once in awhile when I feel like I can’t deal with drinking straight pu-erh any longer, but having worked my way through two ounces now I can’t quite recall why I keep thinking it’s any better. Maybe because I usually have it with milk, and right now I’m just drinking it straight, so I’m getting hit full on with that dusty old flavor that some pu-erhs have. I’m not getting any strawberry at all from this cup, which is weird because you can easily see all kinds of pretty strawberry bits in the tea itself. Where did they go? Did the pu-erh eat them?
Also I’ve now had Lupicia’s Chocolate and Strawberry Pu-erh, which is basically what this tea wants to be in terms of yummy flavoring, but isn’t. Advice: if you want a sweeter flavored pu-erh, buy that instead of this, it is about eight times yummier and I think they even use a better quality base tea.
I pick this one up whenever I see it on sale – it’s a good caffeinated morning cup when I don’t feel up for the heavier flavor of a yerba mate. It’s also a nice perk-up if I’m getting sleepy too early in the evening (example: right now. why am I so tired??). I used to drink this back when it was just plain old Slim Life, and I can’t honestly say I taste much of a difference with the addition of the blueberry. It’s more tart in the way that blueberries are tart, but without really having the taste of the fruit itself, if that makes sense.
Yogi says steep for three minutes, but I find that a 2:45 steep cuts it off just when it’s about to sneak in some bitterness. Also god only knows if this actually helps with weight loss, but for what it’s worth I always take some along with me when I go to visit my grandparents because I know they’ll be plying me with baked goods. Because a cup of caffeinated tea is really going to counterbalance dessert with every meal. Don’t give me that look, it helps me sleep at night.
I must say this oolong doesn’t do a whole lot for me, which is a shame since I’ve adored their other flavored oolongs in the past. The plum flavor is definitely subtle to the point of being barely identifiable in the mix; mostly this just tastes like a nice quality oolong, something to drink with food when you’re not really primed to notice what you’re drinking. I’m not too mad since I got this for 30% off (I didn’t even know Lupicia did random sales like that…reason enough to make the trek to the Century City location), but if you’re there looking for a good fruity oolong I’d say go with Lupicia’s pineapple or melon oolong.
I just made two cups of this in a tall glass, and added a generous dash of vanilla soymilk to top it off. This was an A+ decision, as now I’m getting a much cookie-r taste than just taking it straight. Good enough to bump the rating up a few points. Yum!
This one is just as fiddly and delicate as Kusmi’s almond green, but worth it in the end I think! The dry leaves smell very sweet, and the scent sticks around once brewed, though it’s much lighter. It’s clear the leaves have simply been infused with the strawberry scent, as there are no visible bits of strawberry in the dry leaf. I would have liked some in there for sure, as it is this brews up with way more of a green tea with a whiff of strawberry than what I think of when I hear the phrase “strawberry green tea.”
I will say this is one of the few greens I’ve had good luck resteeping. In fact, my usual method with this tea is to brew and then strain into a bigger cup to catch the little leafy bits, then resteep and strain into the same cup. The lighter second steep cuts any astringency that might have snuck into the first.
This tea is nuts! The fruit pieces are huuuuge and plentiful, bigger than anything I’ve ever seen. Even the rooibos bits are longer than I’m used to seeing! Probably the most impressive roobios presentation I’ve ever experienced.
All that isn’t just for show, though – this is one of the tastiest roobios blends I’ve had. I sincerely regret only getting the sample size of this one, I’ve torn through it! The banana scent is strongest as you bring it up to drink, and it lingers subtly there on the palate. Just a real, true banana flavor, nothing artificial about it. The mango comes through a bit too, with the coconut being present but not overly assertive. The rooibos itself is clearly high-quality, and I don’t taste any of the woodiness that I’ve come up against in Fusion’s other rooibos teas, thank god. This would be an instant reorder if Fusion’s shipping costs were a bit more bearable.
When I first got this one it reminded me pretty strongly of Teavana’s Matevana, but I’m starting to think that ultimately Matevana has a bit more to offer, a fuller taste than this one. Which isn’t to say this is bad – it’s a perfectly good mate, and the added flavors do a good job of calming the intensity of the roasted yerba mate. I don’t think I’ll be buying this one again though.
Good lord, people. I have been bound and bleeding determined to get the perfect steep out of this, to get as close as humanly possible to making the delicious scent of this tea match the actual taste of it. I kept getting cups that just weren’t cutting it.
I finally went out and bought a tea thermometer to make sure I had the temperature just right. I’ve also been fiddling with the right steeping device – my regular strainers kept letting bits of tea through that I could never quite strain out, so they kept steeping and soured the cup, but the disposable filters didn’t let the tea expand properly. So this morning I basically combined the best of the two – I tucked an open tea ball (well, an acorn-shaped strainer) into a reusable bamboo filter bag, so the tea could expand without any bits escaping. I put the tea in at 160 degrees and gave it exactly three minutes.
After all that, I’m calling this a success! I’m definitely getting the most almond flavor out of this of any prior steep. It’s still definitely more of a green tea flavor than I was hoping for, given that the scent suggests you’ll be drowning in marzipan. The almond is there, though. I think I just keep expecting that teas will be naturally sweet and then I’m put off when they’re not. Maybe I just need to admit defeat and start adding sugar already.
It pains me to admit the success of this green tea steeping method (open tea ball + reusable filter bag) because it’s such a pain in the butt, but I think it genuinely does allow for the best cup since the leaves get to expand properly but there are no bits left floating around to keep steeping. Green tea, thou art the cruelest mistress!
I have to be in the mood for this one, but when I’m feeling the need for a nice healthy cup of green tea this one hits the spot. I like to keep the steep short so it gets just grassy enough without getting all astringent on me.
I have a little tin of proper matcha that I can rarely stand to drink (it’s just so much! so much green tea! aaah!), so it’s nice that this one is around to make me feel virtuous about drinking green tea without overwhelming my delicate palate/soul.