1963 Tasting Notes
I recently ordered a sample of this blend from Red Leaf because I had been hearing so much about it. I didn’t realize that I could get a next-to-free sample of it, so I jumped on it when I had the chance. I was pleased that the sample actually came with two single-serving pouches.
I was surprised at how much was used for a single cup, but I dumped the whole pouch into my blender with milk and some ice cubes. I will say that this is dangerous because it is dead easy and super delicious! Mmmm, caramelly, sweet but not too sweet, with a thick richness that was amazing from just milk and a few small ice cubes (that didn’t add much, honestly). The flavor of the matcha definitely shines through, but it’s just well balanced overall. I want to go out and buy a huge amount immediately, but I really should get through all the matcha that is still in my freezer before I do. There is no doubt that the convenience factor and deliciousness factor for this is huge.
Thanks to Justea for providing this sample for review. I am pretty picky these days about teas and I no longer jump on every offer for free tea on the forums. But this company stuck out: working to bring a sustainable, whole-leaf tea processing company to Kenya, whose tea farmers grow most of the worlds’ tea (!) but see basically none of the profits as their product is chopped up into tea for bags. I have a soft spot for the fact that it’s Kenya, too, because I have spent some time in East Africa and the people there are so wonderful and really deserve a better option.
I tried this tea when I first got it because I couldn’t wait until the crowdfunding effort went live, now accessible at http://www.justea.com . At the time, I remember that it was malty and a bit sweet, but also with a decent hit of astringency. I think this astringency characterizes African teas in general, and more broadly it applies (for me) to most assams, which makes sense because the tea bushes in Africa are of var. assamica.
I steeped this one for a slightly shorter time than recommended (but at the recommended temp) and it has definitely toned down the astringency a bit. There’s pretty much no completely removing it, but it’s actually desirable for many people (usually described as “briskness”). The cup is a bit malty, with some cocoa notes in the nose but not really on the palate. There is definitely a slight fruitiness to this tea as well, perhaps a bit of stone fruit. Overall a very nice tea, and one I would highly recommend for lovers of a brisk morning cup. I can’t wait to try the Earl Grey that I also have from this company.
Another triumphant sipdown, 143. I ordered this tea from Georgia Tea Company not for it’s purported “weight loss” properties, but because it was described as a green/oolong blend that was mango flavored. I hate it when a company names a tea something like “weight loss.” Why couldn’t you just call it Mango Papaya Oolong or something? There’s nothing more weight loss about this tea than any other green/oolong/fruit blend.
I have to admit I never tried this hot. And I didn’t try it for quite a while, just like the Sleepy Hollow Pumpkin Chai. But when I did cold steeped, I was very pleasantly surprised. You know, this is pretty tasty! The oolong seems like it is probably a generic formosa, which gives a slight toasted note, but not too much. The mango is light and fruity, but the flavoring is definitely subtle in a good way. By the end of my “sample” (large pouch), I actually took to liking this one so much that I would consider repurchasing for cold brews in the future. But right now I am basking in the glow of having finished off another old tea from my cupboard.
I’ve had this tea for a while, although apparently not as long as I thought. I thought for sure at least two years, but it’s really more like a year and a half. I’ve never tried it because I wasn’t super impressed with most of the teas that I had ordered from Georgia Tea Company, and I had so many others to drink. But today I decided to go ahead and try it out. I am taking this tea with milk and sugar because I feel like most chais are better that way (they are a little overwhelming to me straight). I would assume that this is a re-sell of Culinary Teas’s tea of the same name.
Side note: I looked at my old order form for this company and was reminded how all of these at least 1oz bags of tea I got were supposed to be sample sizes that made 10 cups. On what planet?? When I was first starting out in the tea world I was excited by really large samples. Look at all this tea I’m getting for $2! But now they kind of annoy me. An ounce is not a sample. An ounce is actually a lot of tea to get through.
Anyway, this is less than inspiring. Perhaps it has lost a fair amount of luster due to age. It tastes spicy and a little dusty. No pumpkin. Not even any substantial black tea flavor, and I didn’t skimp on the leaf or steeping. It tastes thin and flat. I think I may just toss the pouch of this since I doubt I will convince myself to drink it again, and I wouldn’t want to send anyone an old, flavorless tea. Unexpected sipdown? 144.
Sipdown, 145. Woohoo, finally finishing this tea! I bought this a year and a half ago at the NY Coffee and Tea Festival, but then was immediately unimpressed by it once I got home. Then I had a whole tin of sachets and no desire to drink them. But I discovered that I do enjoy this one as a cold brew. It is creamy and bergamotty and all in all pretty tasty. Tasty enough that I have now finished it! It feels like a triumph.
Sipdown, 146. Normally I would have saved this tea for a time when my stomach was upset or I wasn’t feeling well (lemon, ginger), but sipdowns must be had. I accidentally set my timer for 1 hour and two minutes somehow, but noticed it after it had gone for about 4.5 minutes. Thankfully it survived its slightly long steep time without getting bitter or nasty.
Sipdown, 147. Time for round two of MF Earl Greys that I don’t expect to like all that much. But I’m still glad to try them, so thanks wheezybee!
I love most florals, and for a while I thought I loved lavender Earl Greys, but then lavender turned against me and I haven’t been a fan of it in teas. But you know what? This is pretty decent. I am enjoying this tea. The lavender is light and not too soapy or herby, and the base is smooth. Kind of boring, but smooth. I wouldn’t necessary go for it again, but I will happily drink the rest of this cup.
Sipdown, 148. I am getting dangerously close to 150, and I just won some oolong samples from Teavivre, so I need to get some sipdowns in. Of course many of the sipdowns I have are things I would prefer to give full reviews to, but so it goes. This sample comes to me thanks to wheezybee.
When I requested this sample from her I didn’t know it was a darjeeling base, and I’m not really a fan of darjeeling. But I will try it nonetheless! I always think that someday a darjeeling will make me love darjeelings, so I am always open to trying them. I’ve also learned to brew them cool as they quickly get bitter on me.
Well I guess I should have gone short time as well as cool with this one, because it is bitter bitter. And way astringent. The bergamot is fine, but the base is not. Yup, still don’t like darjeelings.
Sipdown that I never added to my cupboard. I got a sample of this in the last Lupicia newsletter, and cold brewed it. I really don’t like grape flavored things, and this sachet smelled like grape flavoring, although not really “purple” grape, but definitely the somewhat fake muscat candy that you can find at asian markets. True to name, I guess. It’s a bit wine-y as well, which also makes sense.
The cold steeped tea is similar in flavor/scent, although I like it more than I thought I would. I don’t mind it, is how I would say it. I don’t love it, but I don’t have problems finishing the cup. If you love muscat flavor, this is for you. If you are looking for an authentic grape flavored tea, perhaps not.
Sipdown, 145. Taking the time to post this note just because it’s a sipdown. I got the remainder of a sample of this from my swap with wheezybee, which I was only too happy to accept. I didn’t have any regular Laoshan Black in my cupboard, so this is a sipdown. Mmmm, still soooo good. Love this tea, whether it’s straight, in a blend, or the first picking that I still have. It’s become a comforting flavor to me at this point, the taste of delicious black tea.