127 Tasting Notes

47
drank Tahiti Cream by TeaFrog
127 tasting notes

I bought some TeaFrog samples in December, and they came in ziplock bags, so I need to hurry up and drink them. Tea doesn’t stay fresh in ziplock bags for long!

So the instructions say 1.5 tsp per some unknown amount of water. Awesome. I’m going to assume 8 oz. But then I realized that I just bought a scale. Measuring out (by volume) from the little sample packet was annoying, so I just dumped it on the scale. 9.80 g. I’m not sure how that translates into tsp? I’m new to this scale thing.

But, by eye, it looked like about a 16 oz amount of tea (I guess, I normally do tisanes which are less dense), so I dumped it in the Zarafina (herbal, loose, medium settings).

I may have used too much tea. It’s . . . weird. The rooibos is the dominant flavor, and it hits you first. Then in the middle there’s a touch of fruit, but it’s hard to tell what (the package says pineapple, coconut, and rose blossoms, but I just get generic fruit). The last bit is the woody rooibos flavor, and that hangs out in your mouth (hey, what’s going on? ROOIBOS IN THE HOUSE!). It’s not very pleasant.

The middle flavor is changing as it cools, but it’s still bookended by ROOIBOS! so… meh.

Cofftea

Oh… zip locks from a company?! Not good IMO.

Cofftea

It doesn’t translate into tsp because different teas way different amounts. For instance, 2.25g might be a teaspoon for blacks, but it’s about 1TB for whites. (well for as easily as you can measure whites which isn’t, hence why I bought the scale in the 1st place.) Comparing volume to weight is like comparing apples to oranges.

Cofftea

weigh, not way lol oops

denisend

They were just samples, so I don’t know how they package “normal” amounts. I wouldn’t really fault them on that.

I know that it’s not a direct translation b/c of density. Still, I’m not sure how much tea (by weight) I should be using, and the directions were by volume. That’s what I meant by translation.

Cofftea

Gotcha. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I like 2.25g/6oz for teas except chais and teas that have unique steeping parameters (such as Japanese greens)… or at least ones that I’m aware of- I’m still researching that. That translates into 3g for an 8oz cup. So you could give that a try for a base cuppa then go up or down as your tastebuds direct.:)

And IMO there isn’t anything as just samples. I think a sign of a good company (or anything other than a substandard company really) is to care for their tea no matter what the amount- and putting it in such packaging isn’t caring for it.

denisend

I disagree – it’s the responsibility of the company to make sure that it gets to me. I’d rather have ziplock bags placed in a box than a foil envelope in a padded mailer.

STORING the tea is my responsibility. If I want to store it for a long time, I need to put it in an adequate container. It’s not the job of the company to provide that container (in fact, I’d often prefer that they didn’t; I have PLENTY of canisters myself).

Cofftea

denisend, I agree that some companies over do the canisters- that hikes shipping and takes up a lot of cupboard space. I just mean it should be something that doesn’t let light in.

denisend

Again, it’s my responsibility to store tea appropriately. The company doesn’t know what the conditions are at my house.

Right now I’m keeping small samples in a box in a drawer, so they’re pretty well protected from light. shrug I’m not worried about it.

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(backlogging)

I finally found a chawan that I liked, so I pulled out the chawan, chasen (whisk) and chashaku (scoop) and fixed a bowl. It’s supposed to froth, isn’t it? I didn’t get any frothing.

Erm. Wow. Drinking green tea as matcha really emphasizes a lot of the things I don’t like about green tea. This one felt like drinking a bowl of grass.

I’m going to leave off the rating for a bit until I’ve tried a couple different varieties and see how they compare. I’m not sure if I don’t like it because I don’t like matcha or because of the tea itself.

(Don’t worry about the tools and such going to waste – the husband loves matcha, so now he can prepare it properly).

Cofftea

Awesome your hubby loves matcha!=D He should be on steepster if he isn’t already.;)

Cofftea

Oh, and I haven’t gotten frothing down either. The ones I’ve had that do froth do so right away upon my adding the water so I don’t think it’s anything I’m doing.

denisend

What I bought:

Chashaku: http://bit.ly/diHxwW Standard

Chasen: http://bit.ly/c55ePD – They have 2 options, a 75 and 120 strand whisk. More strands means (theoretically) that it’ll be easier to froth (more stuff getting pushed around with the same amount of effort).

Chawan: http://bit.ly/b9m64E – this is where I was being picky.
1. Color – must not clash with green matcha in it (some color combinations were weird to think about).
2. Size – Large enough to comfortably whisk, but not a bowl. Something too large and the tea would cool before I drank it (I drink green tea slow – I practically bolt fruit tisanes). The 20oz options are just TOO BIG.
3. Not lumpy. I just don’t like the look of the lumpy ones, I prefer slip cast or wheel pottery to completely hand made (hand finished is okay, too, just not free form).
4. More upright in shape than outward (not explaining this one well). Essentially, want a smaller surface of tea for cooling, because, again, I drink green tea slow. I know that technically different shaped chawans are for different types of preparation, but I don’t plan to build that much of a collection (the husband can spend HIS allowance if he wants to!).
5. Needed a “foot” (or pedestal). Something to help hold onto, and also I like the look of them better.

Think that was it…

mpierce87

I’m interested in trying matcha as I do like green tea, and I love the green tea latte made with matcha that Starbucks carries. I hesitate to buy the gear for the same reason, what if I don’t like it?

Cofftea

Wow! And I thought I put thought into researching my set. I, too, based my set on the chawan- just after price. I was so focused on what the chawan looked like, I never thought of factoring the color of the matcha into it. I had no matcha when I placed my order so I figured buying each item individually from UTI would be expensive, although I definitely want to try their matcha at some point.

Cofftea

@mrawlins2, my only suggestions would be to find a company that has a good return policy and to post the matcha in the “Take it away!” thread.

denisend

Cofftea – I really wanted to buy the chawan from Etsy, but just couldn’t find one that I liked for a price I was willing to pay. While price wasn’t a big factor in my purchase, the only one I that “spoke” to me was this one: http://bit.ly/9LQG0u It’s a bit much.

My husband will never get on Steepster. When I ask him about new teas, he’s like “it’s good” or “eh… I dunno”. He doesn’t want to read about new teas either because he’d want to try them and we have “enough” tea in the house. LOL.

Mrawlins2 – I wouldn’t worry about purchasing a bunch of tools if you want to try matcha, the only thing you really need is a whisk (and it doesn’t have to be a specialized bamboo whisk, an Aerolatte ( http://bit.ly/buDWw9 ) will work just fine (especially if in the future you want to do lattes). We also use ours for hot chocolate. YUM.

S

mrawlins2, you could just buy a whisk (and a spoon, optional) and make the matcha in a normal bowl. If you like it, you could get a nice bowl afterward. The whisk is only around 11 dollars on Amazon.com

S

Cool stuff denisend! The only thing I would suggest is play around with the amount of matcha you use…too much might be too bitter, and too little might be too weak. And make sure the water is cool enough….that was the mistake I made the first time I tried matcha. Oh, and sometimes how much you make can affect how you like it…I usually only use 3-4 ounces of water, because I know that it’s too strong for me to drink a full 8 ounces of at once (plus it cools down too much for me…I only like it when it’s hot!)

Cofftea

Shanti has a good point, too much matcha can upset my stomach. One thing I could never understand about chawans is why is it so big if you’re supposed to use a small amount of water?

S

I think part of it is that the bowl needs to be weighty enough to withstand being passed from person to person without breaking. It has to be deep enough that it won’t spill as it’s passed from hand to hand. It is also a piece of art, so that could affect the size. The other thing I’ve read is that sometimes the tea is shared communally, so that might account for the need for a large bowl. Also, the bowl has to be large enough to facilitate whisking…a shallower, smaller bowl would both be harder to move around in and might splash and spill.

S

I forgot to add, the size of the bowl will affect how slowly the tea cools down…a more shallow bowl will cool quickly than a deep one.

denisend

Cofftea – he seems to do good work; I wouldn’t mind paying that much if it was something that would be used regularly. In my house, though, a chawan is going to just be an occasional use item.

I’m also commissioning a mug from this potter: http://bit.ly/alWYhE
I love those swirls.

Shanti – A lot of the points that you brought up are the reasons why I was looking for a smaller chawan (rather than the 20 oz monsters I was finding at some sites!). Even accounting for the extra space, I’m not going to be preparing a lot!

Let me look for some of the resources I found on the shapes (I apparently didn’t bookmark them). I seem to remember that shallower bowls are generally used for thin matcha, but I can’t remember why.

Cofftea

Mine is 16oz and even if I prepare a half bowl, I can (albeit very slowly and carefully) get it to the living room.

S

denisend, I checked wikipedia and it says they use shallower bowls for thin matcha because thin is served in the summer (thick in the winter) and the shallow bowl lets the tea cool faster :)

Cofftea

Huh, I didn’t realize it was seasonal. Makes sense- I have used the term “blanket for my tongue” to describe it:)

S

Cofftea, I thought you don’t usually make thick? Did you write a tasting note for koicha style? I’d love to read it :D I’m too scared to try it that way hehe

Cofftea

Thick is relative. It’s not thick by the definition you have. I recieved 2 different set of steeping instructions. One said 1 scoop per 8oz water and the other said 1 scoop per 3oz. The closest to the authentic definition of thick will actually be my powdered sencha tomorrow moring. 1.5g/3oz water. I’d prepare it thicker in a heart beat, I just don’t have the funds to buy matcha any more often than I am now. Heck, I really shouldn’t buy it as much as I do. Unless of course you want to share, you matcha hoarder hehe;)

S

Oooh good luck tomorrow morning!
I know, I’m evil and should be on that show Hoarders :D
(BTW I’m going by “thick” via what Haruka (steepster member), my Japanese teacher, and wiki says, so I think it’s the “authentic” way, but I am not 100% sure)

But to each her own! Heck, right now, I’m going to mix some into my cocoa. I still want to try it with drinking chocolate like you make it someday, but my arteries are like “noooo! don’t kill us!” cry

Cofftea

Haha! You could always use unsweetened cocoa power instead of official drinking chocolate mix (and fat free milk of course). I’m not sure if the amounts would be equal though. What is a shame is that you have 3 pouches and your rating is so low. I hope you find a way to get that up:) And share it w/ friends:)

S

I know, I need to up my rating…I do like it more now that I’m recognizing it for what it is. Like Ricky said, comparing it to regular matcha is like comparing apples and, well, oranges :D

Cofftea

Oh yes. I totally agree.

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87

I’m not sure what’s up with me recently, I’ve been craving a lot of chai. Since it’s a bit of a PitA to make, when I don’t feel up to making it I have my standby instant tea (so I haven’t been logging much).

So I’ve been looking for a chawan to properly drink matcha and finally found one that I liked at Upton Tea Importers. Since I was placing an order, I HAD to buy some tea… right?

Opening the bag and smelling this one, I knew I was in for a treat. I usually don’t write about dry leaves (oh, yeah, tea leaves; they smell) but this blend made me want to jump in the bag with them. SO GOOD – mostly like chocolate. Yum.

This simmered on the stovetop (with milk and sugar) longer than I normally make chai for – I was puttering about in the kitchen making a pitcher of iced tea for the husband and doing other random things.

The taste…. it’s a tossup if I prefer this or Adagio’s Masala Chai. Adagio’s has a strong spice “bite” to it, while this is smooth and rich. I’ll probably end up keeping both in my cabinet for the foreseeable future and pulling out whichever my mood calls for.

The chocolate is still there, though it’s no longer dominant. It’s allowing the other flavors to play (though I’m not tasting cinnamon). So good!

Cofftea

Did you get the full matcha set or just the chawan?

denisend

I just wrote about my first matcha using the chawan; I’ll post links in that entry.

S

Yum, chocolate and cardamom sounds so good!

denisend

Shanti – it is! This is a great chai!

Cofftea

Sounds much like 52teas Mayan Chocolate Chai w/ out the “Mayan” lol. Green cardamom makes chai so pretty!

denisend

Cofftea – 52teas has a lot more ingredients in theirs (like ginger root, which is why haven’t tried it; that doesn’t sound good to me; also cayenne pepper? er, no thanks).

Cofftea

Oh… yeah see I love ginger- I have ginger root that I use for blending. And I LOVE cayenne! I can out spice my dad which is kinda funny.

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86
drank Masala Chai by Adagio Teas
127 tasting notes

So, I put myself on tea restriction, but this isn’t tea, it’s chai… right? I needed it.

Yeah….

I love how strong the spices are. This is fabulous.

Cofftea

Haha! You’re like me. Inspite of the massive stash I have, I do have a few staples I have to replenish when they run out.:)

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74
drank Chocolate Chai by Adagio Teas
127 tasting notes

The chocolate note is… interesting. I’m glad I made it with milk and sugar on the stovetop because otherwise I think the tannins would have been overpowering. I think I like it, but I’ll have to have more to be sure.

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89
drank Sour Apple by Adagio Teas
127 tasting notes

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78
drank African Autumn by Harney & Sons
127 tasting notes

Finally managed to get to the post office this morning with the packages of tea that I owe to people. Would have done it Saturday, but we were snowed in.

I brewed this one a little stronger than normal and it’s good. Sweetened with a bit of splenda, though I think it would do better with honey (honey is too messy for the office).

It’s a good blend of cranberry, orange, and rooibos. I know someone said they tasted hibiscus in here, but I’m not getting it… I’ve also noticed that I’m not as sensitive to hibiscus as others seem to be, though, so that may be why. I like it a lot as a fruity tea with just a hint of tartness.

(this is the bagged version)

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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63
drank Kama Chai Sutra by Tavalon Tea
127 tasting notes

Not as spicy as Adagio’s Masala Chai, this one is smoother, silkier, calmer. It has more “tea” taste instead of “spice” taste. It’s good, but when I want chai I want something with stronger spices.

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85
drank Sakurambo by Lupicia
127 tasting notes

(this is the bagged version)

I’m craving more Adagio sour apple, but I don’t have any at work. pouts

Lupicia doesn’t let me down though, I love their teas. This is a lightly flavored cherry black with a hint of sweetness.

Just not quite what I’m in the mood for.

S

Yeah, I hate it when I’m craving one tea and I make another that’s usually very good but at that time I’m not in the mood for it…it always makes me lose my appreciation for that tea, and in the future I forget how good it is.

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89
drank Sour Apple by Adagio Teas
127 tasting notes

(backlogging from last night)

I finally bought a scale, so I measured the amount of tea I’ve been putting in the Zarafina – 11.85 g for 16 oz of water (for the sour apple).

A bit more tart than normal. It may be because it’s hard to get the same mixture of apple pieces to the rest of the tea (which is hibiscus and cranberry, so very tart). It may be because I don’t have very many mugs that can comfortably hold 16 oz of tea, so I was using a clay mug, which was just wrong. I need to not do that any more with my fruity teas.

Anyway… I generally find this sour apple tea pretty soothing for right before bed. I love it, hot or cold.

Cofftea

Oooh! Gorgeous clay mug! And huge! I’ve never drank out of clay before. I’m coveting this now:)

denisend

The texture is rough, like fine grit sandpaper. I’ve held Yixing teapots and cups before with smooth textures, so I know that they don’t have to be that way. It’s not a pleasant experience, IMO.

Cofftea

I could so see making myself a big mug of chai in this… but is milk in clay a problem? Unfortunatley I don’t know much about clayware, although I really want to learn.

denisend

I don’t think so. My mom has a bunch of clay cassorole dishes that get milk and cream in them. There’s no problem. With the mug you just should pick one thing and stick with it and I’m not good at that.

Cofftea

Haha me either- but I could so devote a mug to Mayan Chocolate Chai- it deserves it. I really want to get into clay pots, so I might as well get into clay cups/mugs as well:)

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Bio

Engineer. Lives with her cats and husband. Likes fruity tisanes most of all, but willing to try anything.

Location

southern Maryland

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