2067 Tasting Notes

87
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2067 tasting notes

I am the very definition of a beginning matcha drinker: I have never once even tried matcha before, much less made it myself. I’ve only had matcha-flavored stuff before, like matcha flavored marshmallows from the asian grocery, and I was actually never that big of a fan, so I never was that interested in even trying matcha.

But then of course Red Leaf Teas showed up on the scene with all their flavored matchas, getting astronomically good reviews, and I thought, well, maybe a flavored matcha is for me. I actually noticed it before I went to Madagascar this summer, but I didn’t get around to ordering any until now. I was waiting for a flavor I couldn’t resist to go on sale, and then they did caramel, so I was sold. This one has fantastic reviews, and I do love caramel. You can find it here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html

I ordered the robust level of flavoring because, like I described, I am a matcha wimp and I wanted a lot of flavoring. I also got the basic (starter) matcha as a base, and a tin to put it in. My matcha shipped super quickly on the same day (I actually didn’t even notice I had gotten a shipping notice because I thought it was my receipt!), and didn’t take long to travel. I waited anxiously for my package to arrive and then ran to the post office (to my PO Box) to get it when I saw it was delivered, especially since I wanted to get my review in before the free matcha program changes tonight. I was happy to see a brochure with how to prepare matcha instructions in it because I am totally clueless! I knew I would need a sieve and a whisk and a bowl, so I had those ready.

The minute I cut open the foil envelope of matcha I was swamped with delicious caramel scent. Smelling it a bit closer brought out a kind of fruity aroma, which I assume must just be the matcha. It kind of reminded me of a caramel apple or something like that. Following the instructions on the brochure I ended up sifting 1.5tsp in my bowl (I was unsure on the instructions whether each scoop was supposed to be 0.5–1tsp, or two scoops was that total?). My very fine sieve (yay HomeGoods) worked well, and there were definitely more clumps than it first seemed, so I’m glad I sifted. I added a few ounces of water (though I didn’t measure exactly how much) at about 180°F and whisked with my metal cooking whisk vigorously. It frothed pretty well but I think my technique is lacking! Right when the water hit the matcha I smelled a much stronger green tea flavor and a distinct earthiness, but not so much caramel.

I took a sip, but it was pretty strong and bitter so I whisked some more, added more water and whisked some more. Better. Still a little bitter, but I am chalking that up to user error. Maybe I just need to add some sugar, too, since I tend to be a bit sensative to bitterness, but I didn’t have any with me. Anyway, that kind of fruity caramel came through, the flavor blooming in the sip. The green tea wasn’t too vegetal or in your face like I was fearing, but I’m definitely glad I got the robust flavoring. The caramel was not as strong as I thought it would be, but it was present (and again that might be user error), and I did finish the entire bowl pretty fast! I am excited to try this in latte form, and I’m sure I will look up all kinds of tips and tricks for matcha now. I also wanted matcha to add to smoothies and to try some baking with it, and this seems like it would be amazing for both. I just bought some brownie mix at the store, and now I am thinking maybe some caramel matcha brownies? I don’t know if the flavor would be drowned out, though. Research must be done!

So again, I had Robust Flavoring, Basic (Starter) Grade Matcha. You can find it here:
http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html

ETA: The aroma on this matcha is so powerful and delicious smelling that now my entire office smells like caramel and someone just came in wondering if there was delicious cake or candy in here!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C
Nik

I am really happy to read your review, because not only have I never had matcha before, I’ve never had matcha-flavoured anything before, either. I placed my order entirely because of the Red Leaf Tea matcha reviews here on Steepster. Right now I’m very much having a “here goes nothing!”-type feeling, and it’s reassuring to read the opinion of someone only slightly more matcha-experienced than I. Thank you!

Dinosara

Glad to have been some help! :) I look forward to seeing your review as well. Gotta perfect my matcha-making technique!

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87
drank Amandine Rose by Teavana
2067 tasting notes

Sorry I haven’t been around so much, I’ve been crazy busy with work. Hoping the pace slows a little after next week!

I haven’t had this tea in quite a long time. It’s one of the few Teavana teas that I’ve tried that I really love. It’s a pretty divisive tea, based mostly on whether you enjoy a lot of rose in your teas or not. I happen to very much enjoy tons of rose in my teas, so I love it. And yes, it is still as delicious as I remember it. Sweet and almondy and rosey, with a bit of cookie-ish flavor in there. And though I love it, the base is so flat and uninteresting. I used to not care about the base, it was mostly just a vehicle for the flavorings. Now I want to taste an awesome, high quality base that is complemented (or complements) the flavorings. If only I had a rose-marzipan blend on a really high quality black base! :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Life happens. Nice to see you though!

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92

Today is an exam day for the class I am teaching, which means being busy preparing it and giving it all day. Fortunately we got done a little bit early this morning so I was able to come back to my office and have a nice cup of tea. For some reason I was craving this one and all its chocolately glory.

Oh yes, this is delicious. This is by far my favorite chocolate flavored tea, and that is partly due to the great flavoring but I think majorly to do with the quality of the base tea, which has caramelly, honeyed, chocolatey notes on its own. Yum.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Yogini Undefined

ok now my mouth is watering. I haven’t tried a chocolate tea as of yet. Do you add anything to this brew or drink it straight?

Dinosara

I drink this one straight. I think with additions this would be so rich! Like hot chocolate or something, LOL.

Yogini Undefined

ahh ok, good to know, thank you! I think that’s why I’m almost afraid to try a chocolate tea, because I’m worried I’ll be expecting it to taste like hot chocolate and then be disappointed. I guess I just need to be open to the experience lol

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82
drank Indian Nimbu by Harney & Sons
2067 tasting notes

Wow it’s been a long time since I had this one! And it certainly is delicious. Caramel is such a great flavor to add to nearly everything, really, and this is no exception. I think the caramel here is blended deftly enough that it just seems like a delicious natural character of the tea itself, blended with a lovely lemony-bergamot. This is such a pleasant tea to come back to after a long time.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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77
drank Lemon Drop by California Tea House
2067 tasting notes

It’s been a long time since I’ve had this tea, but I suddenly started feeling a bit queasy this morning and I knew I had to dig it out. It’s a lemon-ginger green blend, and I’ve used it many times in the past to settle my stomach.

Fortunately, it is working. Despite the fact that this tea is getting old, it’s still plenty lemony and there’s enough ginger to settle my stomach (though not really enough to taste in a big way. Lemon Drop to the rescue once again.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Yogini Undefined

Hope you feel better soon! :)

ashmanra

Feel better! It seems like a lot of people are getting sick over the last few days. Several have mentioned colds and tummy troubles.

TeaBrat

this sounds good. I hope you feel better!

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69
drank Diamond Jubilee by Harney & Sons
2067 tasting notes

SimplyJenW spoils me, sending me so many tea samples. :) This was a surprise inclusion to my sample of the Dammann Fréres Earl Grey. Thanks for sending it along!

So despite the fact that I love a lot of Harney blends, and some of my favorite teas are Harney teas, I have never been too keen on their Earls. Way too light in the bergamot department, and at least the last time I had them I didn’t care for the bases. I’ve tried several different varieties to no avail, so we’ll see how this one fares! The dried leaf at least smells nice and citrusy.

Well I have to say that I definitely enjoy this one. It is definitely a lightly flavored tea, but the citrus is nice and fruity, and it seems to be a good blend of a faint bergamot with other citrus. I’m not sure if I just like this particular base, or if through my newfound appreciation of unflavored black teas I have come to enjoy the base they use for their Earls in general. Is it enough to make me revisit their other Earls? Perhaps, but like I said they’re all really delicately flavored and when I want an Earl, I want bergamot in a big way, so I doubt they’ll ever top my list in that department.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Earl Grey by Lupicia
2067 tasting notes

I wanted to try this Earl not long after trying the Dammann Freres Earl (both gifts from SimplyJenW, as it turns out!) since I remembered this one as being one of my top versions and I wanted to compare them. The first time I had this one I accidentally brewed it with water just under the boil, so I am also interested to see how this one fares when brewed at boiling.

Ah yes, this is such a delicious Earl. I do love Dammann Fréres’ Earl, mostly because I love love the base they use. This one is amazing because of the bergamot, which is just some of the most delicious bergamot ever. Fruity and creamy and floral and sweet. The DF bergamot is a perfectly nice bergamot, but this one is exceptional. I think if I could have this bergamot on the DF base, it would be the perfect Earl. Barring that, I guess I might just have to keep both of them around. :)

This tea consumed while listening to The Heavy’s new album “The Glorious Dead”

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80

Oh Monday morning, you come so quickly. I needed a nice strong black tea to wake me up (and I will likely need another to keep me away during lecture this afternoon) so I chose this one, which came to me recently from SimplyJenW! She knows that I’ve been really into Panyang/Tanyangs and other related blacks lately, so she generously sent me a sample of this one along with the Dammann Fréres Earl Grey.

The dry leaf smells promising; a bit caramelly, a bit alfalfa-ish, a bit cocoa-y. Steeped the cocoa notes come way further, and it’s a bit roasted cacao nibs in character. This is a pretty tasty panyang. It doesn’t totally bowl me over but it is a very pleasant tea to be sipping on this morning while I am writing exam questions. It’s got a slight astringency to it and I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be benefited by a slightly lower steep temp, though it isn’t really bitter bitter, just kind of like cacao nibs or maybe cocoa powder. I don’t really find many caramel or honey notes but those can be pretty elusive. It does remind me of the base of their Rose Congou and I can almost taste phantom rose, though maybe that’s left over from the rose petal confit I had with my yogurt and granola this morning. Thanks again for the sample, Jen!

Taking a page from tunes&tea’s book, this tea was consumed while listening to the new Divine Fits album.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
tunes&tea

I will check this out IMMEDIATELY! What I longed for, a music reference to come back to me! 1,000 thank yous and please keep it up.

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88

It feels like forever since I’ve had a good solid Earl, mostly because that is true, it has been ages. But yesterday while I was running around picking up stuff for my new apartment I checked my PO box and found a lovely package from SimplyJenW. Yay! This was one of the teas that she sent me. I love Dammann Fréres but I have never tried an Earl from them so I am definitely excited.

Jen says that this seems like it has the same base as their Goût Russe, which is exciting because that tea is delicious. And so is this one! Geez, Dammann Fréres, why do you have to be so excellent all the time? This is a lovely Earl. It’s basically Goût Russe with only bergamot instead of a melange of citrus. The bergamot isn’t super powerful, but nor is it very weak. A perfect amount of bergamot to complement the delicious black tea base, which is that nice blend of Chinese black teas that ends up being warm and rich and just yum.

Thanks a bunch for sending me some of this Earl, Jen! It is definitely on my list of teas to acquire from DF. I have the most gigantic order ever planned once I somehow reduce my currently epic stash.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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95

Second tea of the morning. I have all these teas that I’ve only tried once! This is from the previous harvest of this tea. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a jasmine tea, and my mouth is watering in anticipation.

Mm, this is definitely a nice jasmine tea. It’s not quite sweet in the way that some jasmine teas can get, but it is very fragrant and delicious. The white tea provides a nice background for the jasmine, which is very fresh tasting. I think I could have used a bit more leaf in this (tough to dish out teaspoons when the leaves are so long and spindly!) but that can be easily remedied for the next!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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