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Well I guess the crappiness of today has a second bright spot – the arrival of my matcha from Red Leaf Tea!

I’ll write a longer note later, but so far I’m sold. Having it as an agave-sweetened regular almond milk latte. The only concern? I swear it tastes like strawberry, not vanilla. But that could just be something funny that I’m tasting. It’s still delicious, and now I’m dying to try the actual strawberry one! And mango. And French vanilla. And…

ETA: Ok, so this was so much better than I was expecting! The flavouring tasted natural, not fake, and the matcha was obviously not low quality. The flavouring also didn’t overpower the lovely matcha flavour (I’m sure that might be a different story if I went for stronger flavouring options – which by the way is SUCH a good idea!) Another plus is that I didn’t find the matcha as bitter as straight matchas I’ve tried, so when mixed with regular almond milk, which is somewhat sweet, I definitely felt like extra sweetener was unnecessary. However, I needed an energy kick, so threw in a bit of agave syrup as well. The reduced bitterness also makes me feel like this might be a good matcha to try straight – which I haven’t been brave enough to try yet!

One of the best parts? I left about half my latte sitting in my car while I went to practice handbells with my group, and when i got back to my car it smelled SO WONDERFUL inside! And the smell is still lingering. It’s delightful. And definitely smells like vanilla, not strawberry, so who knows what’s up with my tastebuds.

Preparation
Iced
Azzrian

So obviously you figured out how to make matcha! LOL I have not tried again yet – any tips?

Azzrian

WAIT WAHT? You ordered different flavors of MATCHA? OMG trade trade trade incoming LOL hahaha

Kittenna

Hahaha, my matcha is not perfect, and it’s in latte form, which tends to cover up mistakes. Also, although it was a touch clumpy (entirely user error), they were not as bitter as when I make the one I have from DavidsTea. I just use a random amount of powder (2+ tsp) in a tiny amount (1/4 cup?) of hot milk, essentially beat it with a plastic spork thinger, and then top up with agave syrup and cold almond milk (I find heating up the almond milk is icky).

And heck yes, if you want to try this one you’ll find it in your next swap box :D

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Azzrian

So obviously you figured out how to make matcha! LOL I have not tried again yet – any tips?

Azzrian

WAIT WAHT? You ordered different flavors of MATCHA? OMG trade trade trade incoming LOL hahaha

Kittenna

Hahaha, my matcha is not perfect, and it’s in latte form, which tends to cover up mistakes. Also, although it was a touch clumpy (entirely user error), they were not as bitter as when I make the one I have from DavidsTea. I just use a random amount of powder (2+ tsp) in a tiny amount (1/4 cup?) of hot milk, essentially beat it with a plastic spork thinger, and then top up with agave syrup and cold almond milk (I find heating up the almond milk is icky).

And heck yes, if you want to try this one you’ll find it in your next swap box :D

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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