2122 Tasting Notes

99
drank Gardens of Anxi by Verdant Tea
2122 tasting notes

I realized today that I haven’t had an oolong in a while. It’s been almost all black tea, black tea, black tea since I got back in the country. But something triggered in my mind and all of the sudden I really craved a tieguanyin. Also I went through my tea stash recently to update my swaps list, and I saw this one lying neglected in the back of the cupboard. For shame, and one of my favorite teas! It will be a very sad day when I run out of this one.

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

Oh, now I’m craving green oolong, too! Thank you for the reminder.

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87

I walked into the office this morning and happened to look down at a package by the mail boxes. Before I even saw my name on it I saw Verdant’s, and I snatched it up! I had forgotten I got my tea sent to my office instead of my PO Box! Yes, my precious Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black, you are finally mine! Being away all summer I never got a chance to order this one, and when I came back it was out of stock, then David announced it was being discontinued! No!! But it came back in stock before being discontinued, whew, so I bought 4oz, which is a lot of tea for me to buy at one time. And I had never even tried it, that’s how much faith I have in David’s blending.

I tore into the pouch and oh my goodness it smells delicious. Mouth-wateringly good. Like bergamot and cookies and chocolate. It has a decidedly baked-good note to it that is familiar but I can’t quite place. No, wait! It smells like rosey bergamot chocolates. Like maybe a rose-bergamot fondant dipped in dark chocolate (now I totally want to make that, but I know my boyfriend wouldn’t like it because he’s not a fan of either flavor!).

Steeped, the bergamot and the rose definitely took a back seat. Now I smell the familiar Laoshan Black toasty chocolate notes. My first sip is decidedly rose and chocolatey. Definitely toasty grain notes, with some creamyish citrus lurking in the shadows. The bergamot in this one is extremely light, and the rose isn’t super strong either. There seems to be a reason this one isn’t called an Earl Grey, and I’d be lying if I didn’t wish for a bit more bergamot, but it’s still an extremely delicious and amazing tea. Glad I got a supply of it before it disappeared!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

If you let it cool a bit the rose and burgamot comes out more I found. The flavor also grows on you…sneeky little tea. Like many floral tea’s a bit of sugar helps with the rose too I think. It’s really pretty.

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66

Well shoot. For some reason I thought I hadn’t tried this one yet, but apparently I had. Tells you how memorable it was! I basically concur with my first tasting note, in that this is fruity and decent enough but kind of boring, tea wise. I’m sure at one point in my tea journey it wouldn’t have bothered me at all that the black tea base is basically nonexistant in regards to the flavor (in fact I would have welcomed it), but that is not the case anymore. Oh well.

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

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87
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2122 tasting notes

Matcha, take two.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about matcha. Bitter matcha? Maybe you didn’t whisk long enough. Or maybe you whisked too long? Maybe you didn’t use enough matcha. Or maybe you used too much? Matcha preparation seems to me to be more an art than a science, and I am a scientist (I am also somewhat of an artist, but that is beside the point). :P

This morning I started out with about 1 tsp of matcha, which I sifted. Last time when I sifted I found little white granules in my matcha because my sieve is so fine, and I tossed them as not something I wanted. But then I read something on there that made me realize that they might actually be “flavor crystals” and maybe that’s why my first matcha wasn’t particularly caramelly. This time I dumped them in after sifting. I added some hot water, a few ounces, and whisked for just about 30 seconds (last time I spent longer whisking, I think). I took a sip, and it was definitely considerably less bitter and more caramelly than my last bowl. There was still an edge of bitterness so I added a couple of ounces of milk. That definitely took away all the bitterness and I was able to focus on the flavor. A little grassy, a little earthy, a decent helping of caramel. I thought I could draw the caramel out a little more even so I added a sprinkling of sugar, which worked pretty well. Yup, I could definitely get used to drinking this stuff! I need to experiment more, but it will be fun figuring all this out.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
softrevolution

Thanks for the info about the flavour crystals, I’d been tossing them out too!

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80

Argh, Steepster ate my tasting note!

I’m trying this one again before I send most of it off in a swap. I remember enjoying this tea, but I also never was drawn back to it, so I decided to find it a better home.

This is a really tasty tea, all caramelly and a bit chocolatey, with a decent black tea base. Yummy, but I don’t really crave it, so I’m happy to send it off to someone who might appreciate it more.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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87
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2122 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
2122 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
2122 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
2122 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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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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