Not to toot my own horn, but the caramel matcha peach smoothie may have just reached perfection. Just like my last one with frozen peaches (with many thanks still going out to Sil ) and that heavenly dash of cinnamon, but today with a couple spoonfuls of the best vanilla yogurt added. It helped immensely in yesterday’s boysenberry matcha peach smoothie, but today, WOW!
63 Tasting Notes
Ok, well, I didn’t want to sit too long on the less-than-glowing review of this tea from a few days ago before trying it again. This time I used 7g to match the treatment I gave Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu and also the same 1, 2 and 3 minute steeps.
1st steep: It’s definitely stronger this time than it was with either the 3 or 5 minute steeps with 2.6g I used last time. It much darker in the cup, feels a little thicker (though not much), and the flavors are richer with freshly baked bread, cocoa and some peach. But it’s also got a stronger bitterness, with some sweetness developing after a while. But at least that means the flavors stick around longer too. This is no where near as deliriously good as the Bailin Gongfu: I don’t get the same flooding tide of inspiration with this tea. Right now I’d just consider this a good, sturdy cup of tea.
2nd steep: Astringency and bitterness seem to dominate this cup, but it’s still drinkable with some sweetness in the middle of the sip. There are flavors of bread with some cocoa.
3rd steep: I added a little honey this time. The dark color of the first two steeps is still there, but not much else. It feels thin. The honey is masking most of the bitterness even though I hardly put enough in to taste it. That’s really all I’m getting here. Just a rather tasteless cup of tea with an intermittent flavor of honey. Oh well.
Boysenberry smoothie this morning made with frozen peaches and some vanilla yogurt. Very nice, and I can feel the energy coming that I need for the day. Going shopping on a Saturday in Sydney—not for the faint-hearted!
Backlogging from yesterday.
Hubby was supposed to be out tonight, but he wasn’t feeling well today so he stayed home the whole day and night. But I’d already settled myself into the idea of an evening to myself, so I let him watch football while I went upstairs to read in bed—and have a secret pecan pie-like bar I got from the bakery today! That was guilty pleasure enough, so I had this Turkish Apple to go with it. It’s just refreshing.
Backlogging from yesterday.
Hubby stayed home yesterday, so I used the free babysitting to do my grocery shopping in peace. Coming home I knew I needed a cup of tea, and offered to make some for him as well. I’m determined to get him to a point of asking for tea, rather than me needing to ask him. He said he wanted “something fruity or sweet.” This fit the bill. I made three cups’ worth and we had the first two, but I made myself wait until I finished cleaning the kitchen before I let myself have the last cup. Now there’s some motivation!
I finally remembered to put some sliced peaches into the freezer last night. So, based on Sil’s very good recommendation, I made a caramel matcha peach smoothie this morning! And because I can never leave well enough alone in the kitchen, I added a dash of cinnamon. Wonderful! A fantastic way to start the day!
Day two of Spring-Is-Here-So-It’s-Smoothie-Season Season, even though it’s raining outside and dark enough that I’ve head to turn on the lights this afternoon. But yesterday’s caramel matcha banana smoothie was such a hit, I had to follow it up with today’s boysenberry matcha banana smoothie. Made just like yesterday’s but with a good scoop of yogurt to give it an extra “twang.” Good stuff!
I felt like having a black tea this morning, but thought I should stick with the Chinese teas since I’ve been focusing on those samples recently. This one is the last of my Chinese black tea samples, the rest coming from Teavivre.
I like Teavivre’s way of recommending not just the steeping temperature, but also amount of tea (particularly in grams) and the length of time for each steep. It just gives me a little more confidence that I’m treating each tea right. And at least with this Fujian Baroque, I think I’m justified in thinking so.
Adagio recommends one heaped teaspoon in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Okay, this may sound a strange question, but how much water? Teavivre will prescribe for both a 3oz gaiwan and an 8oz teapot. A “cup” of water in the tea world seems to be anything up to 250ml. There’s no mention from Adagio about how many steeps this will handle. So I did my usual 200ml, using my tea scoop that is 1.5tsp, and it weighed out at 2.6g. I did two steeps, 3 and 5 minutes respectively, both ends of Adagio’s listed times.
1st steep: The dry leaf looked nice with long twists of charcoal brown and some golden buds. There were gentle scents of cocoa, a little malt and freshly baked bread. The wet leaf smelled of that same bread and the Southern-style cooked-to-an-inch-of-its-life green beans that I’ve noticed before in a couple teas of this type. Not a bad thing, seems similar to those, though a good bit weaker. In the cup it was a dark mahogany color with a smooth but thin texture. It had both a bitterness and a slight semi-sweet taste. I could notice the freshly baked bread flavor, but I had to search really hard to find anything else. As the cup cooled (significantly) I could taste some cocoa and maybe some dark fruitiness like plums and berries. Overall, the feel and flavor was very thin, and not terribly interesting, certainly not compared to Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu or Keemun Hao Ya.
2nd steep: Uh oh. This steeped for 2 minutes longer than the first cup but it’s lighter this time. The first cup felt weak; what of this one? It’s now a medium mahogany color. I take a sip while it’s still much too hot, and it feels just as thin as the first cup, but at least there are some notes of cocoa and spice. As the cup cools to drinking temperature, the fresh bread flavor returns to join the cocoa and spice, but really it doesn’t leave much of an impression.
I need some help here. I’ll ask a question in the forums, but you can answer me here, too. Did I not treat this tea right, as I was wondering earlier in this review? I’ll compare this to Bailin Gongfu. Teavivre recommends 7g for 250ml, and steeps of 1, 2 and 3 minutes. That one was wonderful. I didn’t use half that amount of tea for this one but steeped for 3 and 5 minutes. So was this “my” fault, even though I used Adagio’s (sparse) recommendations? Or have I simply spoiled myself by having Teavivre’s offerings first? The evidence here on Steepster is that Teavivre would have higher quality tea than Adagio in most cases. Please, correct me if I am wrong. I am happy to accept the student position for a good TEAcher. (Sorry, once that came to me, I couldn’t think of another way to write that.)
Note: Despite how it reads, I was in a good mood prior to tasting (I’m not in a bad mood now, either), ready and eager to be pleased. I just feel let down by this particular tea session.
Yep, Spring’s here, so I’m having a smoothie! How best to start the Smoothie Season? With my first ever matcha smoothie! Thank you, Sil, for your caramel peach matcha smoothie that got me thinking caramel banana matcha smoothie! About a cup of milk, one frozen banana, 2 scoops caramel matcha (and a little Splenda—sue me, it’s my afternoon treat!), and BAM! I’m an instant genius. Ok, I know there’s nothing earth shattering here, but just let me have my moment. I’ve only recently discovered the wonders of Red Leaf Tea’s flavored matcha, and now I can pair it with one of my favourite warm weather things, the frozen banana smoothie. Not to mention the fact it’s matcha: I’m buzzed and in a good mood!
I think I’m discovering that my tastes lean towards the darker teas (though I’m yet to order any samples of puerh—I’m afraid of it!). But that’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed all of the greens and whites I’ve had. I haven’t had that many oolongs yet; this may be my third or fourth one. Descriptions I’ve read of Dong Ding in general and of this one by Teavivre sound delicious.
As usual, I’m following Teavivre’s recommendation of steeps of 1, 2, and 3 minutes with boiling water. I’m using the whole 7g sample package for 200-250ml.
1st steep: Opening the package I found lovely scents of gardenia that remind me of my mom, sweet grass and a buttery note. The wet leaf is amazing: I found it hard to keep my thoughts together as the scents raced around, full of cooked greens, heavy white florals, a light vanilla (but only just), and then butter, butter, butter! I could not believe that a tea could have this much butteriness just in the wet leaf, let alone the liquid! In the cup it was a pretty pale yellow, very smooth feeling and maybe a little oily. There was a very slight bitterness, but that seems really fitting with the flavor full of buttery greens and white florals that are lighter than in the wet leaf.
2nd steep: It’s hard to pour the right amount of water in the pot this time because the leaves take up so much more space in the infuser, so there’s probably closer to 250ml or maybe even more. Despite extra water, the tea is darker now as a nice light sunshine yellow. The flavors are also more equal now between the buttery greens and the white florals, but the florals really linger in my nose. Lil’ Miss is watching her shows now, but even with Postman Pat and Peppa Pig on, I manage to feel a little refined while drinking this on the couch.
And once again, the day took over and I never got to a third steep.
I’ve been holding off trying this sample because I’ve just been a bit afraid of it. I don’t know why; maybe it’s the legend this tea has created for itself, high expectations that my yet-learning mouth doesn’t want to dash in its immature tasting abilities. Maybe the Southern Girl predeliction for sweet teas in which I am trying to re-educate myself.
I used half of the sample pack, and that worked out to be about 2tsp for 200ml. I followed Teavivre’s recommendation of 1, 2, and 3 minute steeps.
1st steep: The wet leaf smells of cooked and subtly sweet vegetables, kind of like zucchini, with some toasted notes. I like toasted notes. With this shortest steep, it’s the palest of mint greens in the cup, and it has a thick, broth-like feel in my mouth. One of the kids did something, or made some sort of noise that made me look quickly in that direction while I was lifting the cup to my mouth, and I ended up missing. As it rolled down it honestly felt like a milkshake, albeit a warm one, on my chin. Now that sounds like I’m a dribbler. I do not currently need someone on hand to mop me up. But my imagination tells me that’s what it feels like to dribble a warm milkshake. You can stop shaking your heads. It’s the truth. The taste is very much like the wet leaf scent. I’m liking this!
2nd steep: A little darker color in the cup, more a pale yellow-green. And the same flavors only stronger this time, but a light orchid flavor comes out as the cup cools. This is really very nice!
Unfortunately I didn’t get to the third steep. Evening came up with everything it brings for me to do. Next time I’ll make sure to get all the way through! Looking forward to it!
I’m going to have another week or more of alternating between this boysenberry and the caramel matcha because I’ve promised myself to not order any more until I get towards the end of these. The restraint is the hardest part! But I also know I’ll be a bit sad when I get to the end of the boysenberry because it is just so good!
I have some cleaning to do today around the house. And I’m trying to reach for a cup of tea rather than snacks in the afternoon. I don’t want to do a long, drawn-out tasting session; I just want to feel like I have had a little something nice during a full and busy day.
This was a free sample I got with my first Adagio order. I didn’t smell tea when I opened the package, but I did get sweet potato, and also something a little acidic. What that last part comes from, I have no idea. In the cup, with milk and sugar, it’s a simple dessert tea. Sweet potato, cinnamon and nutmeg, and a scent of crust that honestly fills the room on its own. Going from room to room while cleaning, every time I came back to where my cup was I could smell baked pie crust on entering the room.
This is not a tea to take seriously. It’s not meant to inspire or fortify you for pondering the meaning of life. It’s just ready to help you feel a little pleased while you get on with your day.
No notes yet.
Made a latte each for my husband and me this morning, his first matcha other than a sip of my boysenberry yesterday. We may have another convert! That’s really good news—I need to have his support to be able to indulge in what I think will become a Red Leaf matcha obsession!
Made a latte with this matcha this morning. About 60ml (2oz) water to whisk, then about 175ml (6oz) milk frothed and warmed, sweetened with a little Splenda. It was actually less Splenda than I used yesterday when I made this with just water. So the flavor was more gentle and still fantastic! Hubby said he could smell something different and sweet before he came downstairs just like I could yesterday. I very kindly gave him a sip and he gave it the thumbs up too!
I wanted to like this tea because it sounded really interesting when I read about it. Opening the sample pack it seemed promising, smelling of orchids and fresh vegetation pretty equally. I used the whole 5g sample for 200ml of 80C water.
I want to say “1st steep” here like normal, but I didn’t get past that one, and that was for just over one minute. The wet leaf smelled much more of cooked greens with a little bit of orchid. First I noticed a strong and lasting bitterness. Then I could find the cooked greens and orchid like in the wet leaf. And then the bitterness again. And maybe that developed into a mineral-like taste. And then just that bitterness.
I don’t think I did anything wrong here because I used my Breville One-Touch as a variable temp kettle, so the water was definitely right. Teavivre recommended steeps of 1, 2, and 3 minutes, so I didn’t oversteep. I tried all afternoon to make myself want to try for a second steep. I just couldn’t do it. I don’t want to blame the tea, so I’ll just say maybe it isn’t for me. I don’t know if I’ll try the second sample or not.
I’ve been really excited to try this Boysenberry Matcha since I saw it on sale, but I needed to wait until I was ready and able to purchase the other various things for matcha (bowl, whisk, etc.) first. And then it was also prudent for me to order another flavour at the same time to help justify the shipping to Australia. (On a side note, Red Leaf Tea’s international postage prices are very reasonable, at least to Australia! I’m so glad it’s a calculated rate, not a flat rate.)
Here’s what I ordered: the small (30g) size in Starter Grade matcha with the Distinctive Flavor level and a small tin. And here’s where you can get yours: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/boysenberry-matcha.html
When I opened the gold foil pouch (non-resealable, by the way, so get a tin if you don’t already have one), I knew I did not let myself down in getting this. There were only one or two reviews for the boysenberry here when I placed my order, so I was taking a little leap of faith with it, but I did not go unrewarded for my boldness. Sweet, juicy boysenberries with their playful tartness filled my senses. Oh, but that’s not all. There was also that lovely floral smell I noticed in the caramel matcha I had for the last two days, the scent of good sencha and gyokuro, lurking in the background.
The lattes I made with the caramel matcha were a success, but the berries smelled so good that I continued in my resolve from earlier in the morning to make this one with just water. And a little Splenda, mind you. So I used 2 scoops (about 1 teaspoon), poured in about 60ml (2oz.) of 80C water and got to whisking. I didn’t get quite as much froth this morning, but that was more than likely me. Then I topped it up with what seemed to be close to another 175-200ml (6-7oz.) of water. It looked like I had right about a cup of emerald goodness in my bowl, so I think my eyeball estimates were pretty good.
And as if on cue, a little someone needed their bottom to be cleaned. Now I wouldn’t normally include something like this as part of a review, certainly not one meant to be appetizing, but it has a purpose: just trust me here. As Lil’ Miss and I reached the top of the stairs to come back down to my awaiting bowl of warm matcha, I was taken aback by the definite smell of boysenberries from all the way down in the kitchen! Remarkable!
So I was now even more excited to try this. Oh, it was just wonderful. Juicy and sweet-tart with a hint of that white floral I noticed in the dry matcha. I liked this one quite a bit more than the caramel matcha, and that one was good too. But it’s so hard to pass up beautiful fruit, and the same goes for fruit flavoured tea.
I know I got this on sale, and it’s not at that sale price anymore, but I tell you it is worth every penny and more. Don’t be the least bit afraid that there aren’t that many reviews for this flavor (yet). It’s a rather new option, and I’m so glad it’s there. More than that, I’m glad it’s here with me too!
I was holding off giving this matcha a number rating until I made it again. As I said yesterday, while I enjoyed it as my First Ever Matcha, there were a couple of things I’d do (only slightly) differently: make it a little sweeter and with warmer milk. Check and check. The result was a real success! I liked it yesterday—and loved the steady buzz with no crash—but this time it’s much more to my immediate liking, right from the first sip! I can see Red Leaf Tea’s matchas becoming a regular part of my morning. Look out, kids, here comes Mommy with energy to burn!
Here it is, my first ever matcha. And what else should I choose, but the highest rated matcha here on Steepster?
Everyone raves about the fast shipping from Red Leaf Tea. Unfortunately I had a longer wait than most since I live in Australia. But to receive my order in just over a week from the other side of the world is not bad at all! I should just consider it as exercise for my patience.
First, for the details. I ordered the small 30g size in the Starter Grade and selected the Distinctive Flavor level. With that I also ordered the small tin since, as others have mentioned, the slick, gold pouch the matcha comes in is not resealable. I also took the option of ordering a bamboo whisk, spoon and scoop. I ordered a chawan (matcha bowl) and whisk keeper elsewhere since Red Leaf Tea doesn’t sell these. But it’s a great deal to get the whisk, spoon and scoop with your matcha if you’re in need of them!
Here’s where you can get it: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html
And the moment comes: I open the pouch and a beautiful, sweet smell comes wafting up to my nose. Caramel, yes, but also a white floral scent that you find with really good sencha and gyokuro. So, we’ve got flavour and quality, nice! And that’s just with the Starter Grade matcha!
I sift 2 scoops (about 1 teaspoon) into the bowl, pour in about 60ml of water (that’s about 2oz.) and start to whisk. It comes out a deep emerald green and beautifully frothy. Now, I’m a Southern girl that’s been transplanted Down Under. I’ve been doing all of my recent tea sample tasting without any additions of milk or sugar. But I know myself. My first matcha should be as a latte to give me the best conditions for trying out something that is so very different from any other tea I would normally have to start my day. I pour a little more than 200ml of lowfat milk into my new Bodum milk frother and start pumping. Half a minute later, the contents have more than doubled. I place it in the microwave for 20 seconds and then pour it all into the bowl of whisked matcha. A sprinkle of sugar, and fold to combine. Done. Now all of that is not too much effort for something that looks marvellous. It’s this beautiful, fluffy, mint green concoction that I know is full of goodness and outstanding flavour. I mean, it does taste good, right? I haven’t actually tasted it yet, now that I think about it.
First sip, I taste the matcha. I’m surprised by how much it tastes like a good, but strong, sencha. It takes me a couple of more sips to have the caramel develop. But there it is, not taking over, just playing its part. Actually, I’m finding the matcha itself a bit strong a character this early in the day, but I’m not yet a lifetime devotee to straight Japanese green teas. I realised as I was putting the matcha into its tin originally that I probably could have gone straight to the Robust Flavor level, but I wanted to give matcha a real chance. I’m still very glad I did. After all, this is my first ever matcha, and I made a good choice. I’ll maybe try it a little sweeter next time, and I’ll probably warm the frothed milk more than I did today.
But I’ll tell you what: I feel great today. I don’t feel the least bit tired, not even running around after my two-year-old while carrying my hefty six-month-old on my hip. It’s a few hours later, and coffee would have made me crash a while ago. The matcha? Nope. I’m going strong and not the least bit let down.
I had been saving this sample for towards the end of my sample stash because I tend to save the best things for last. But I’m having a really hard time right now and I need to calm down and treat myself.
I was a little confused about how much to use for my teapot with 200ml of water. Teavivre’s site says 1tsp and equates that to 7g, and that’s not right. Others here have mentioned using 1tsp. Most notes though haven’t said outright how much they used, but hinted that they used the whole sample pack of 7g. I hedged my bets and used 3.5g, which turned out to be exactly my tea scoop that is 1.5tsp! With that amount I did Teavivre’s recommendation of 1, 2, and 3min steeps.
1st steep: On opening the pack, I was met, no, I was virtually mugged by sweet jasmine. But mugged in a good way, of course. Behind that was a subtle woody scent. After the steep, the pearls were only starting to open, and the woody scent seemed to be in the middle of the jasmine now, making me picture a swirling ball of jasmine with a small, central core of the woody-ness. It was just like being able to smell the flower and its stem. Tomato lovers know that a tomato smells best when it still has some vine attached, and this is the same; you get a fuller sensation. In the cup it was just the same, and all the heady aromas really filled my mouth and nose.
2nd steep: The pearls were most unfurled now, but they still kept the general pearl shape in the centers. This was very much like the first cup, but the woody scent in the wet leaf was now much more like green tree sap, a bit richer and deeper. I wouldn’t have expected to pick up on that. Rather proud of myself there.
3rd steep: I’m surprised that there still seems to be some centers of pearls mostly together. Looks like I could get another steep from this, but it’s getting late. I’ll have to try getting to four steeps next time. It’s also not noticeably different from the previous cup.
This is so smooth and velvety that it is almost creamy as someone else here mentioned. I haven’t tried the lower-priced Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearls, but based on everything I’ve had so far from Teavivre, I can’t imagine they would be a disappointment. But it looks like I’ll be getting one or the other of them for my permanent stash!
No notes yet.
I’ve got a quiet night to myself. Husband is out for a couple hours, kids are sleeping, and I’ve already passed my caffeine limit for the evening. The nice tang of this lets me have something sweet and light that’s also warming on this cool night. I really can’t feel ever guilty about Turkish Apple.
Broke my evening very-little-to-no-caffeine rule. Made a chai for my husband and myself to go with the Indian dinner tonight. The tea and the food just naturally brought out the best in each other. I hope I don’t pay for my caffeine splurge later though!