2183 Tasting Notes

73

Had this one last night and this morning, while staying at a friend’s place. It is so nasty and snowy and cold outside that I needed a quick, easy warmth and grabbed this off my shelf. My apartment actually got power back yesterday, but the bad news is that it appears that my thermostat is broken, so it’s still pretty cold in there.

I definitely need a careful hand when dishing out the powder on this one, and my cup last night resulted in a slurry of tea and spices at the bottom of the mug that had never been suspended properly. This morning I used less powder and it turned out well. I want to mix this with some hot cocoa and try it out!

TeaBrat

I hope you get warmed up sooN!

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85
drank Fig Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2183 tasting notes

The third of four new matchas for me to try! This one was on my short list because I love love figs, and it got several very good reviews. Red Leaf’s fruity matchas can sometimes be a little candy-ish (as opposed to real fruit flavor), but I’ve never had fig candy so I don’t think I will have that association! The aroma of the powder is sweet and fruity, and it smells kind of like fig jams or fig butters that I’ve had in the past.

I ordered this one with the classic (starter) matcha base and a robust level of flavoring, which are my go-to settings, from here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/fig-matcha.html

My first sip is awesomely figgy and delicious. As it cools and I am able to taste more and more, the flavor continues to intensify, and now I have a bit of natural sweetness hanging around on this one (no sugar added today!). The fig flavor is strong. Tasty, but very strong at the robust flavoring level. I’ve tried enough of Red Leaf’s fruit flavored matchas now to think that I could probably go with the distinctive level on most of them. Still I will have no problem finishing this one up and I can’t wait to mix it with other matchas I have as well.

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97
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
2183 tasting notes

Today I decided to try to brew this gongfu style. I’ve actually never tried to steep a black tea gongfu, though I have of course tasted a black tea steeped gongfu when I was in China. I watched David’s video on the Verdant website, and guestimated the amount of leaf to add into my pot (since I lack a scale, and also lack the confidence to know by sight).

My first steep was a rinse, but honestly it smelled too good not to drink. And man I’m glad I didn’t throw it out. The wet leaf smells deeply chocolatey and a bit roasted, and the liquor smells caramelly, honeyed, and like toasted grains. The flavor isn’t very strong (what do you expect from a rinse), but it is deliciously full of notes of chocolate, mollasses grains, and honey, including a rather prominent sweetness as it cools.

The second & third steeps were about 10 seconds, as per the video, and wow, this is a flavor I have never tasted when steeping it western style. It is more minerally, and more grainy. Chocolate notes are still there, but less prominent. The sweetness is darker, less honeyed and more like bittersweet chocolate (though not really “bitter” per se). It’s roastier, also, toasted and warm.

Fourth, fifth and sixth steeps return to the chocolatey, caramelly flavors that I know from this tea. Definitely delicious.

Seventh steep (at 1 min) started getting weak to my tastes, so I stopped. Still, this has to go down as one of my most successful gongfu brewing sessions with my ru kiln set. Can’t wait to try some more black teas in it!

MegWesley

Sounds amazing!

Faith

Seven steeps! Wowzers!

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78

Another day, another matcha. Still no power at my apartment, though I slept over at some friends’ last night because freezing temps do not sound like good sleeping weather to me.

Rose is one of my absolute favorite flavors. Can’t get enough rose. Rose candies, rose tea, rose everything, so rose matcha had to be high on my list to order. I decided to use this one to try out the white tea base, especially after Alphakitty talked about how delicious it was. I ended up ordering the robust flavoring because like I said, I can’t get enough rose. You can find this matcha here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/rose-matcha.html

When I opened the package, it was like whomph rose! It smelled so delicious and sweet. Not even what I would consider “perfumy” but more like a big fresh batch of loukoumi. When I smelled a little closer, it definitely had that rose-white-tea aroma, which of course makes sense. Unlike the black matcha yesterday, this one didn’t form any reasonable foam at all while whisking, but so it goes.

My first sip was rosey and delightful, and I probably could have drank the whole bowl as is, but I have gotten used to a little sweetness in my (hot) matchas, so I added just a pinch of sugar. It wasn’t actually enough to really make the bowl sweet, but it did bring out more flavors from the white tea base, including a bit of fruitiness. I had a hard time keeping the matcha in this one suspended in the liquid while drinking and had to whisk it every so often to re-mix it. It also, like the black matcha, wasn’t quite as disappearingly smooth as the green matcha.

The white matcha base definitely works well with the rose matcha, but I’m not sure I would go for it again; instead, I might try a more premium grade of the green. Still, a very delicious matcha and I won’t have any problem drinking it up!

softrevolution

Ooh I really need to try this one. I’m a rose lover too!

Kashyap

what is ‘white matcha’? I know how matcha is traditionally manufactured and how traditional white teas (yen zhen yao ba) are made, how modern white teas (bai mudan/pai mu dan) are made (both are Chinese), but I’m curious if ’white matcha is just machine ground bai mu dan (where traditional matcha is also stone ground). If you know I would be interested to learn about it
thanks,

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90
drank Earl Grey by Lupicia
2183 tasting notes

I was talking about this one earlier this morning and I started craving it. So delicious! I find it hard to wait for the cup to cool enough for me to drink it. Really this is a fantastic Earl, with a strong tasty bergamot and delicious base.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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77

I’m back in NY, and disappointed to find out my house still doesn’t have power. Unfortunately I have an electric stove, so I am SOL when it comes to trying to make tea at home. Also it was freaking cold last night (low of 33°F overnight), so my now-unheated apartment was not pleasant.

I schlepped all my matcha-making equiptment in to work today (it’s where my variable-temp tea kettle is anyway), except of course my almond milk, which sadly did not make it in my fridge. I got a package of Red Leaf matchas not long before I left last weekend but I never got around to trying them because I was so busy, and then they just sat on my table. I brought this one in today to try.

I chose this one to try out the black matcha base because I was intrigued by it and figured hazelnut would pair well with a black base. I got this one with robust flavoring, because that’s how I roll. You can find it here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/hazelnut-matcha.html

When I opened the pouch on this one I immediately smelled hazelnuts and black tea, but then an odd fruitiness crept in as well, almost like I might expect if this was a green matcha. When I whisked it, it produced the thickest, most luxurious foam I’ve ever had for any matcha I’ve tried. I sipped it while it was still hot and didn’t taste much, which could be more to do with the hotness of it than anything else, but I still went ahead and put in about a tsp of sugar. The result is nutty and smooth and delicious. There is maybe a hint of fruitiness but I am unsure whether that is a quirk of the hazelnut flavoring or the black matcha. I am enjoying the black matcha base and will probably get it on any future matchas that are chocolately flavored. When I got down to the bottom of the bowl it was a little grittier with a little more fallen pieces of tea than the green, but it really wasn’t bad at all. Can’t wait to try this one as a latte (eventually).

gmathis

Sorry to hear about the dark and cold. That’s just miserable. I’m glad you are able to have a little warmth at work.

cteresa

Really sorry to hear about that, hope all goes back to normal soon!

TeaBrat

sorry to hear about that, I hope you get some heat soon!

ashmanra

Oh no! Blessings to you, may you get power back SOON!

Bonnie

Still now power! Glad you can have heat and tea at work! Hope you have a wood stove or something and that the job is helping out people like you.

Kashyap

black matcha? powdered black tea? isn’t that like ‘fannings’…interesting

Nik

Did you say you’re out on LI? (Nassau or Suffolk?) Hope yesterday’s storm didn’t make things too much worse for you. =(

Dinosara

Nik – Suffolk, yeah. It doesn’t appear that the storm affected our power, but it has been really horrible outside and driving around is certainly no fun!

Nik

Ugh. =(

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78
drank Pistachio Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2183 tasting notes

This tasting note is pretty much exclusively a check-in for me. Some of you may know that I live on Long Island in NY, which was hit hard by Sandy. Fortunately for me, I have been in Ohio visiting my boyfriend since last Saturday. I was originally scheduled to return to NY on Tuesday, then Thursday, but horrible conditions in NY and Long Island have kept me trapped here until the weekend. But my school has been closed for the rest of the week, so I don’t have to worry about my teaching obligations. I know that my apartment fortunately didn’t flood, but that it probably still doesn’t have power (too bad for my food in the fridge/freezer).

I drank this cold on my drive down to Ohio, and definitely thank it for keeping me awake.

gmathis

Glad to hear you are safe! It’s got to be a nail-biter, anxious to check on things at home. Keep us posted. You’re in our prayers!

Ysaurella

happy to hear you’re ok :)

Fjellrev

So glad you’re alright!

Babble

Wow!! Glad you are ok!!

Veronica

Happy to hear you’re ok!

Invader Zim

At least you’re in a safer place, enjoy your extra time with your boyfriend :)

Plunkybug

Thanks for the check in.

Nik

Eep! Thanks for checking in.

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84

First of all I have to say thanks to Nature’s Leaf Teas for sending me these samples to review. I was also very impressed by the packaging of the samples—resealable, heavy plastic zip-top pouches with the brew instructions printed on them—and also the amount, a generous 1oz. I look forward to trying them all but today I had to jump right in with this one. I have a relatively newly-discovered love of fujian black teas, so I am excited to try this one.

The dry leaf has a nice look, pretty long with a few lighter colored leaves throughout, though not as long and spindly as some that I’ve seen. It smells grainy and alfalfa-y, which is what I would pretty much expect. Steeped, more chocolatey, molassesy aromas start coming out. The flavor is pleasant, a bit of cocoa powder, a bit of grain. When it was still a bit too hot for me to drink there was a hint of sweetness that made me think that the honey notes would grow, but alas, it seems to have faded as it cooled. I am thinking next time I will monkey with the steep parameters, but even so this is a tasty fujian and I’m glad I got the chance to try it. Thanks again!

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

The packaging was great! And it was really vacuum sealed and not just “fake sealed” like some other companies.

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78
drank Pistachio Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2183 tasting notes

I had this one cold at the gym tonight. At first I was unsure of how nutty matcha would be cold, but holy moly, it was delicious.

Again, 1/2tsp for a liter of water. I actually usually put it in my water bottle with a little water in the morning, then fill it the rest of the way up with cold water at the gym. Not sure, but I sometimes feel like giving the matcha time to stew in the cool water all day boosts the flavor. This one was nutty (natch), very pistachio-y, and even a hint sweet (no sugar involved!). Yum. I think I prefer this one cold, even.

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80

I am revisiting this tea for the first time in a while. I would like to bust through some of my older Dammann Frères teas so that I can possibly make an order from them… there are so many of their teas I want to try.

This one I have the least left of all of them. It really does remind me of Harney’s Florence, though I would have to taste them back to back to really remind myself of that because I haven’t had Florence in a long time. It’s lightly chocolatey and very nutty, with the barest hint of orange to it. When it was warmer it was a touch sweet in the aftertaste, though this seems to have faded and it is more astringent when cooled. Really quite a tasty tea, though not quite as spectacular as my other favorite DF teas.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I have yet to try any of Dammann Freres teas, although I’ve drooled over their website a bit ;)

momo

I am tempted when the tea boxes are over to see if a bunch of people would like to place a single order with them. So many I want, and the ones you can get in Sur La Table are not them.

Dinosara

DF are one if my favorite tea companies, and I was just thinking how I would like to split an order because they only sell tea in 100g or more, and that’s a bit too much for me at one time.

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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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