2098 Tasting Notes

78
drank Pistachio Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2098 tasting notes

Latte time! This one turned into a delicious, nutty, creamy pistachio latte with almond milk. I still occasionally get a whiff or a taste of something that is almost clovey, like this is some kind of pistachio spice latte or something, but it is much reduced from the straight preparation. Definitely a delicious bowl of matcha!

BoxerMama

LOVE pistachio! Matcha scares me though.

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82
drank Pumpkin Pie Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2098 tasting notes

Made this one with 4oz of hot water and 4oz of warm almond milk (original, non-vanilla), with a pinch of sugar.

This matcha really shines as a latte. The thing about pumpkin pie is that it’s creamy and sweet, so adding more creamy and sweet elements really brings out the pumpkin pie flavor. It’s perfomance as a latte brings this one up into the high 80s in the ratings, and I will definitely really enjoy drinking it this way this fall.

charab

You’re reeeaaaally making me crave for a cup of matcha with these joyful updates, you know. Oh you.

Dinosara

Haha, sorry! :D Discovering a new type of tea is always fun.

charab

Indeed it is, and keep on posting these! They are delightful to read!

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87
drank Passionate Rose by Tea Palace
2098 tasting notes

This tea is just so tasty. Passion fruit and rose are some of my favorite flavors, and I love them together. And this tea is really well done, with authentic flavors for both on a nice, mild (but not boring), lovely ceylon base. One that is definitely on my cupboard essentials list, despite the fact I don’t drink it all that often (too many other teas! :P)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
CHAroma

What a great name for this tea too! Love it!

Ruby Woo Scarlett

Witty name indeed :D I love passion fruit but I don’t think I’d like it in tea. Mmmm.

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This tea was a gamble for me. I am not really a fan of Mi Lan Dancong oolongs so much, but I figured, what the heck I’m getting more and more into Chinese black teas, so I might as well give this one a go. I included a sample size of it in my most recent order.

When I first smelled the leaves I got just an aroma of slight chocolate and toasted grains, kind of like dark oolong. Then I exhaled into my teapot and inhaled immediately afterward and I got the most amazing apricot/plum/stone fruit aroma coming back at me. It was quite surprising!

I looked at the steeping instructions on Verdant’s website, and even the western instructions were not that western. I decided to go with the gong-fu instructions and bust out my tiny teapot/gaiwan hybrid for the first time since I returned from Madagascar. My pot is 6oz, so I used the entire 7g sample in it, which filled it about halfway as recommended on Verdant’s site. Two rinses, as instructed, and then the first steep, just a couple of seconds. The wet leaf smells crazy minerally with hints of cooked spinach, and the tea itself smells completely unexpectedly like the woods, like trees, like cinnamon. Actually I’m impressed that I detected that cinnamon note without reading about it first in the description, because I often don’t really find things like that until I go looking for them specifically. The tea is creamy and honeyed, though I don’t find it to be fruity. Never mind, my last, lukewarm sip of the first steep was a tiny stone-fruity. Overall a pretty oolongy steep.

After the second quick steep, the inside of the lid of my teapot and the wet leaf both yield a surprisingly strong floral note, but I would call it gardenia instead of jasmine. The liquor smells sweeter, more cinnamony and less earthy-vegetal, though the florals err on the vegetal side of things. The flavor is again honeyed and more floral this time, in an oolongy way, not a particularly flowery way. I get an aftertaste of asparagus, and as the second steep builds in my mouth the mineral flavor returns.

Overall I would echo others who say this tea seems very oolongy. I guess it’s hard to put a line down on oolong versus black tea sometimes, and this tea definitely straddles that line. Am I glad I tasted it? Absolutely. It was a fun experiment. But I doubt I’ll be picking more up since I’ve never really gotten into those dancong oolongs in the first place. Someone who was would no doubt find this tea very intriguing.

Preparation
Boiling

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82
drank Pumpkin Pie Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2098 tasting notes

This is flavor I could not wait to try. I am in love with all things pumpkin, so this one got purchased even before it went on sale last weekend (with a different coupon, though). I went ahead and ordered this with the basic matcha base and the “There’s matcha in there?!” flavoring level because I wanted a lot of pumpkin. Get it here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/pumpkin-pie-matcha.html

When I opened the pouch and sniffed I was very pleased because it smelled spicy, but also richly creamy-pumpkin. But you often can’t tell what something is going to taste like from its dry smell, and that seems to be the case here. For this first tasting I prepared the matcha with just hot water (then added a little sugar later). I got almost no froth when whisking this one, which has to be an effect of the flavoring somehow. It smelled very clovey when prepared, that really is the dominant aroma.

As for the initial taste, well, that was surprising. It honestly didn’t taste like much… some faint spicey and an earthy, minerally matcha base. I’m really not sure how that’s possible with the “There’s matcha in there?!” flavoring level, but it’s true. Then I added some sugar, which balanced the flavor a lot. It still didn’t taste as pumpkiny as the dry powder smelled, but it was certainly a more rounded spice flavor with a nice pumpkin undertone. Honestly I can’t wait to try this one as a latte, because I think it will really shine in that form.

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75
drank Black Dragon Pearls by Adagio Teas
2098 tasting notes

This tea sample comes courtesy of Sare during our recent swap. Thanks!

I asked for a sample of these pearls out of curiosity. I don’t know if I’ve ever had an Adagio tea, actually, but I do love the black dragon pearls I got from Teavivre so I wanted to compare those with another company’s (not that I’m looking for a replacement!)

The dry pearls smell really quite chocolatey, with maybe a touch of cinnamon, actually. Intriging! Sare sent me 4 pearls so I decided to use them all up in my 12oz mug, and hope that it will be strong enough. Steeped, it smells roasty and grain-y, not much if any chocolate. The flavor could be stronger, but that is likely an effect of using what is probably too few pearls (I think I would normally go with 5). Otherwise it is pleasantly sweetish and honeyed, with a somewhat molasses-y grain-y flavor. Quite a tasty tea, though not going to replace Teavivre’s version any time soon. It was good to get to try these from another vendor!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Pistachio Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2098 tasting notes

I am actually not a big eater of plain pistachios, but I love their nut-paste based desserts, like gelato or various truffles. Yum. So I really wanted to try this matcha, especially after trying the almond matcha in all its nutty glory. I ordered this one in the robust flavoring level, with the basic grade matcha, from here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/pistachio-matcha.html

As I opened the pouch, the matcha definitely smelled like pistachio essence, by which I don’t mean it smelled like a bag of pistachios, but more like pistachio gelato or pistachio marizpan (marzipan made with pistachios instead of almonds!). I prepared this matcha as usual, with 1/2tsp of matcha for 8oz of water, and a little sugar added part way through the bowl.

When I first smelled the prepared bowl of matcha, I was surprised and confused that it smelled kind of spicy, like nutmeg and cloves. Wha? It wasn’t unpleasant, just totally unexpected. The smell carries over to just the beginning part of the taste, where it initially seems a bit spicy but then morphs into a nutty, rich pistachio flavor. The matcha underneath definitely takes on an earthy flavor, and I can’t help but wonder if the spiciness isn’t at least in part from the matcha that the pistachio flavoring is just bringing to the foreground.

This is a really tasty matcha, though not precisely what I was looking for with the pistachio flavoring. The pistachio is definitely there and delicious, but the spiciness is kind of throwing me off a bit. My score may change as I try it more times and attempt to figure out all of its flavors.

Babble

Hmmmm… very interesting. I’m really intrigued by this matcha flavor, but “spicy” is not really a word I think of when it comes to pistachios.

I LOVE eating pistachio’s, though, and rarely have pistachio flavored things.

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91

When I went to Dammann Fréres in Paris, I bought one of the two ‘macaron’ teas they had, the Macaron Mangue Jasmin. I came back and I loved it so much, I wished I had bought the other, this one! Well fortunately for me QueenOfTarts wanted to swap me for some, so here it is, in my possession! Thanks QueenOfTarts!

The dry leaf smells lovely, like delicious, fresh, real black currants (cassis). I don’t detect a distinct violet note, but it does have perhaps a hint of a floral quality to it. The almondy macaron is also fairly subtle but lurking about in the corners. Steeped, the tea definitely smells like more of a mix of currants and violet; it’s more floral, and there is also more of the macaron aroma at the base of it.

I had high expectations for this tea, and I was not disappointed. It’s Dammann Fréres, how could I be? I have never been disappointed by a tea of theirs. This tea is fruity, floral and almondy (in a light, macaron-y way) all at the same time, and blended in perfect proportions. The black currant is lovely and berryful and sweet, the violet is light and floral, the macaron is slightly bakey-cookish in an ethereal way, just like a real macaron. Yum.

Aaand, now I want macarons.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

Just drink it 2 days ago …will do a review soon :)

softrevolution

Oh that sounds gorgeous. Too bad you can’t taste much of the violet, a violet tea sounds intriguing.

ashmanra

JacquelineM used to drink a violet tea that she loved. I think it was a green and was from Mariages Freres, and the name may have had Nuit in it? I will try to find it!

ashmanra

Found it! It was Dammann Freres Nuit à Versailles.

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59
drank Earl Black by 52teas
2098 tasting notes

I haven’t ordered from 52teas in a while, but when Red Leaf Tea offered a coupon for people who ordered from 52teas, I decided to take a perusal of their stocks to see if anything interested me. I do actually remember this one being released but I didn’t look closely and I assumed it was an Earl Grey black tea. I haven’t had the best successes with 52teas black teas in the past, so I didn’t give it a second glance until the other day when I noticed it was actually a black currant-bergamot white tea. Well then! I love bergamot, I love black currant, and a white tea seemed a decent base. I was excited.

The dry tea, however, smells disconcertingly like grape medicine. Hmm. The tea didn’t come with steeping parameters, and I don’t have a “default” for white teas because I don’t make them all that often, so I guesstimated some parameters after looking around a bit. The steeped tea also, unfortunately, smells like grape medicine. The taste is… weird. I have to say I don’t get bergamot or black currant out of this. It is oddly sweet (like really sweet!). Ok maybe some black currant candy flavors, but they are more grapey than curranty to me (and I don’t like grape flavoring). Meh. I can’t get the grape medicine out of my nose. And that sweetness, like there’s some kind of sweet additive, is not helping. It’s not undrinkable, but I am not likely to want another cup.

Oh well, onto the swap list it goes.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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92

I bet a lot of you are looking at the title of this and saying “what on earth is a sea buckthorn?” I didn’t know either until I went to Mongolia and saw bottles of orangey-yellow sea buckthorn juice in the grocery store with depictions of a cluster of berries of the same color on the label. I have sort of a penchant for foreign fruits, so I bought a bottle out of curiosity and totally loved it. I also looked for a sea buckthorn tea in the somewhat vast selection of teas in the Mongolian grocer’s, but it was a no go. So when I saw that, out of all of the weird flavors they have, Red Leaf offers a sea buckthorn matcha, well I knew I had to try that one. I ordered the basic matcha with a robust flavoring level, from here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/sea-buckthorn-matcha.html

This is one of my favorite matchas that I’ve tried, which is totally a surprise. And it’s one of my favorites because Sea Buckthorn is a flavor that seems like an extension of the natural matcha flavor, not an addition. When I opened up the pouch and smelled it, it really just smelled like straight up matcha, and I was kind of skeptical. However, as soon as the water hit the matcha I could smell the tart, acidic aroma coming out of the bowl. I always find it hard to describe a flavor in terms of other flavors; sea buckthorn is tart, almost apple-pear-ish, in a berry way, if that makes any sense at all. There’s no mistaking, though, that this matcha is sea buckthorn, and very well done. I don’t even know what artificial sea buckthorn would taste like (I suppose it would at least be a big chemical), but this one tastes all natural to me, like the sea buckthorn juice I gulped in Ulaanbaatar. It doesn’t need sugar, for sure, but it is more matcha-y without it. The sugar doesn’t make it sweet, but somewhat ironically brings out the tart, delicious sea buckthorn a bit more.

If you like tart flavors and are looking for an unusual matcha flavor you should consider checking out this matcha. It’s also a matcha I would consider springing for a higher grade on in the future, not because this one is bad, but because it is so prevalent, even in the robust flavoring level, that you would really notice.

Veronica

How interesting! I’ve never heard of sea buckthorn, so of course I had to google it. Love learning new things! :)

ashmanra

Wow! So glad you reviewed this! I would never have looked at it since I had no idea what a sea buckthorn was, but now it sounds very interesting.

Azzrian

I have had sea buckthorn shisha before. Its good stuff!

Cedes

Lol I use sea buckthorn oil for my ache works amazing! Lol I know its nothing about tea but just thought I;d throw it out there.

CHAroma

Sea buckthorn? Hmmm, maybe I’ll check it out. Thanks for the review!

Dinosara

Wish it was more common here! I really like it (and apparently it’s pretty good for you!)

DaisyChubb

very cool! What a great find for you :D

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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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