2184 Tasting Notes

82
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
2184 tasting notes

One of the types of tea I’ve never gotten into is chai. I mean, I love chai when I get it at a restaurant, all milky and sugary, but I never make it myself. Partly because most of the time I make my tea at work, and I don’t keep milk or sugar there, and partly because I feel like it’s often best made on a stovetop. I always fear chai will be too strong and too spicy when made as I usually make tea.

This one got really great reviews, and when Sare offered to send me a sample of it in our recent swap I said ok. I do love love love pumpkin anything. Today I decided to make up a cup. I had to use a tea sack that I got in a Talbott Teas gift pack because my teapot is somewhere in storage still, and I decided to just try it straight first just to see how it held up without milk or sugar.

I also hadn’t sought this one out because in the past I’ve never been super impressed with DavidsTeas’ offerings. I mean, they’ve been pretty good but not spectacular, and nothing I would come back for. I have to say, this tea changes that. This tea is really delicious. It is primarily pumpkiny with a nice bit of pumpkin-pie spice type flavoring, but not too spicy like I might expect from a chai. For me, that’s just fine. I think possibly it could be steeped really strong and it might be more like a traditional chai (with pumpkin!). I also can’t really distinctly taste the black tea, but it isn’t bitter or anything so it’s not so bad. I can imagine this with a fantastic chocolatey black base, though, and it would be amazing. Still, I might have to go by DavidsTea next time I am in the city and pick up some more of this tea. Thanks fro recommending it, Sare!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sare

So glad you like it!! Im not big on Chia ether but this I fell in LOVE WITH and I do Steep mine for a very long time at work lol Never had chia with milk will need to try!

charab

Would love to find out how the pumpkin version would turn out when making pralines, since the normal chai is already delicious when accompanied with milk or dark chocolate. Something to suggest to my confectioner friend, hmmm…

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87
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2184 tasting notes

I know, another caramel matcha tasting note today from me? Normally I wouldn’t bother but I wanted to share my recent concotion… Caramel Matcha Apple Cider.

So I just picked up a half gallon of apple cider at a local farm stand, and as I was looking at it it dawned on me: I bet that would go good with caramel matcha! Like a caramel apple. Mmmm. I didn’t want the cider to overwhelm the matcha so I made my matcha with 1tsp matcha, 4oz hot water, and 4oz hot cider. It is sweet and tart and caramelly and matcha-y and delicious. It’s tarter than I expected it to be, actually; I assumed that it would be very sweet because cider is so normally sweet, but something about the matcha is bringing out the tartness. It works because the caramel offsets it a bit. I can definitely see myself doing this again.

DaisyChubb

Um, you are amazing. Yum!

Azzrian

Awesome!

LiberTEAS

Oh my goodness this sounds yummy. Might have to try it myself.

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87
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2184 tasting notes

Om nom, matcha is quickly becoming an every-day tea for me, unlike any other tea in my arsenal! Who would have guessed? I can’t wait to get my next package from Red Leaf, which should be here on Monday.

Also I just had to share the kitchen towels I just bought with you guys: http://amzn.com/B007X5PHNA

The Eastern Towhee (or Rufous-sided as labeled here) has a song that sounds like “Drink your teaaaaa!” I’ve always wanted something with tea and towhees, and finally I have found one! I love the design. Wish it came on more things than just towels! Now I just need a Carolina Wren (their song is often depicted as “tea kettle tea kettle tea kettle tea!”)

DaisyChubb

yaaay I love the tea towels!

ashmanra

Pretty towels! My yard is full of both birds. The little Towhees are so funny – they throw our pine bark all over the walkway as they hop and scrape for bugs. The wrens are easy to identify – if you hear a bird that is singing so loudly it sounds as if it may explode, you are hearing a Carolina wren. They are ADORABLE and nest under our back carport every year. They cling to our back door and peer into the kitchen at us.

Dinosara

Yay! They are so adorable. I think a wren would make a great shape for a teapot since they are such round, ball-like birds to start with.

charab

Very cute! Dunno if you’ve heard about the design brand called Pip studio who design overly cute porcelain and other stuff, but still manage to stay sane with the colors and patterns. The things with birds are the best ones. Too pinkish for me but my friend is head over heels in love with them.

http://www.pipstudio.com/en/floral-porcelain/coffee-tea?page=1&pageSize=12&sort=0

Dinosara

Wow, charab, those are so cute!! I love the bird designs (and yeah, I’d probably go for the blue or khaki backgrounds instead of the pink!)

ashmanra

Those are too cute for words!

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99
drank Passionfruit Oolong by Naivetea
2184 tasting notes

My university is totally killing me lately. They have not been able to get my pay disbursement right, and even their attempts at fixing it have been royally f***ed up. Plus now my university email address is bouncing all mail sent to it. Joy! >:(

I needed some nice, relaxing tea. I haven’t had any of my Naivetea teas in a long time, even though there are some that I am head over heels with. This is one of those teas.

Oh my god why have I not drank this recently. This tea is so absolutely delicious its mind blowing. So incredibly naturally sweet, it’s as if I’m actually drinking passion fruit juice, but better because there is amazing green oolong flavor behind it. Gotta drink this more often, and get a whole tin of it from Naivetea at some point.

Well this is certainly making me feel a bit better. Can always rely on tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

I have to look this place up! I don’t believe I have ever had their teas and you make this one sound AMAZING!
Sorry about the college stuff – sounds screwy to say the least!
Why can’t people do their jobs right???

Dinosara

They have some of the best flavored oolongs out there. I highly recommend checking them out! And they have neat build-your-own sampler packs.

Also, your last question is something I ask myself frequently! :P

Azzrian

LOL – I will check them out – I love build your own sampler packs like Della Terra has! Checking them out now – but being mindful I need to pay bills haha!

BlueKittyMeow

Nothing in my life, including getting the runaround when starting a business in NYC has ever been as complicated as dealing with university bureaucracy. :( And I didn’t have nice tea then either! That might have helped a little… I hope it all gets cleared up quickly!

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87
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2184 tasting notes

I actually drank this match yesterday and today, but neglected to log it yesterday. I am really loving this one and have hit my stride preparing it, stumbling out of bed in the morning to put water on the stove. I do use about a tsp of sugar to really bring out the caramel, but not because it’s bitter or anything (because it’s not). I am eager to try all the rest of my flavors that I just ordered!

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85

I received this one as a free sample in my latest Verdant order. It’s a tea I’ve been meaning to try but have never got around to ordering or requesting a sample, so I’m glad David read my mind and included it. The website says that the current harvest (2012) is acutally sold out, so I guess I got some of the last bits of it!

The dry tea smells surprisingly floral and not grassy-green teaish at all. Steeped western style it has that lovely, bakery-ish buttery aroma I have come to associate with fine green teas. I never knew about that before, so the first time I encountered it, it was a shock! A pleasant shock. This one doesn’t fall into the cookie-ish category on the flavor, though. No, this is bright and fruity and a tiny bit floral. It also has this almost tingly feel to the sip. There’s also a bit of a snap pea flavor lurking about the edges. This tea is oh so summery to me, which makes it kind of an odd choice for a fall day, but it is delicious nonetheless. I feel like I could have probably used a bit more leaf, not shocking since it is so curly and thus difficult to dish out with a teaspoon, but it still has a good amount of flavor and plenty of aroma.

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

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94
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
2184 tasting notes

Oh Golden Fleece, you are so freaking amazing. So naturally sweet, so spicy and smooth at the same time. It is such a great fall tea, what with it’s spiced sweet-potato flavors. And honey. Major yum. I don’t have a lot of time to write about this tea today, but you can bet I am savoring it.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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83

I wanted to try this tea again since it has been a long time since I last had it. The last time I was pleasantly surprised but I wished it was an all black tea instead of a black/green blend, and I think that holds here. Despite that, it is a nicely almondy tea, and definitely one of the more almondy ones I’ve encountered over the years. It does have a marzipanny feel and a bit of an apricot hint, which really brightens up the sip, but I just wish it was on a yummier base. Still, it’s tasty and one of the few teas I’ve found that’s really almondy enough for me!

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

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70

Hmm, I could have sworn I would have done a review for this tea already, but perhaps not. I am in any case almost finished with the large sample from MBSC, though I think I gave some of it away. I am drinking it this morning for the benefits of the raspberry leaf in it, which has helped me out in the past. I thought that another raspberry black tea that I had was the same as this one (i.e., sourced from MBSC), but it appears that it is lacking the raspberry leaf, so I may be looking for a source for that in a bit.

Anyway, this tea is tasty enough, with a nice sweet-tart raspberry flavor, and enough raspberry leaf to do the trick. It’s not quite enough of a draw to make me want to repurchase, mostly because the black tea is kind of meh and I want some straight raspberry leaf for future months.

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

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87
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2184 tasting notes

This morning I had to get up at, no joke, 3:30am so I could drive two hours to the airport for my flight to Ohio to visit my boyfriend. If there was ever a time to need to the matcha energy boost, it was this morning!

I did a dual preparation, first off a bowl of hot matcha. This time I used probably 3/4tsp of matcha, and I actually measured out 8oz of water. Pour, whisk, pour. This time after I added all of the water I took a sip and was amazed. Here was the natural sweetness that people talk about with matcha. Even the addition of a little sugar (to try to bring out the caramel a biiiit more, but really it was pretty prevalent) didn’t really do much to it. I finally think I figured out a decent matcha prep method! When I first sip I don’t necessarily taste tons of caramel, but it quickly builds up to be nice and strong.

For my second preparation I tried the “cold brew” matcha so I could take it with me on the road. A half teaspoon of matcha in an old Simply Orange juice bottle (~13oz), a little cold water, a lot of shaking until it looked dissolved enough, and then I filled the rest of the bottle up with cold water. At first sip I thought I hadn’t added enough matcha. It seemed weak. But a couple more sips reassured me that it actually had good flavor, and the caramel came through well. This prep was so easy and so delicious… all of the matcha-y natural sweetness, all of the lovely caramel flavor.

Even that much matcha can’t really help keep me alert now that I’m at the airport waiting for the plane, but it certainly made the drive go well.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
gmathis

3:30…that’s love :)

Nik

I’m really enjoying the journal of your matcha experience. Thanks for documenting each experiment! :D

charab

Really interesting chain of experiments, fantastic to read. I’m also still a little bit novice with matcha so thank you for sharing your experiences with it, helps a lot! By the way if you haven’t tried already I recommend to taste matcha ice cream, which is basically just ordinary vanilla ice cream with some matcha mixed with it. You just take the amount of ice cream you want to eat, then decide how strong matcha flavour you want (I usually go with two teaspoons but it really depends on the amounts and the taste you’re after) and then just mix it patiently with a spoon so it really ends up all smooth and green. Easy to make, delicious to eat, and highly addicting.

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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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