1617 Tasting Notes

drank 100% Organic Matcha by Kazu
1617 tasting notes

Finished this one off today with milk. It is such a wallflower. There is nothing objectionable about it, but then again there is nothing to notice. Kind of makes me sad when a tea is meh.

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I am a big fan of The Persimmon Tree. They generally approach flavored teas as I like them – with subtle flavoring. I want to taste the tea base. When it comes to LS, I want it to be a lot more robust with sweet pine smoky goodness, not ash trays. They deliver. It takes sweetening well if you are so inclined but doesn’t need it. Strong but not overwhelming. I tend to not mind if a LS has a bacon or smoked meat hint but this one does not. It is straight away LS. Worth your try if my description agrees with what you are looking for.

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drank Organic Matcha by uVernal
1617 tasting notes

Today’s random green tea powder pick. This one is kind of pricey for culinary grade matcha at $6.25/oz. The powder is a tad on the gray side. Hot I found this a bit puckery. Today I had it as a cold frap mixed with milk and sweetener. It mixed easily and foamed nicely with just a spoon in my tumbler. The color was light.

My opinion is this is really pretty tasty prepared this way. There is a really long lasting aftertaste. It does not taste exactly flowery but for whatever reason it made me think of roses. With Starbucks as the standard – this comes about as close as any to it from the blind taste test samples. While I liked both of the Red Leaf Tea samples better, if I had a bag of this, I would certainly drink it happily in frap form.

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drank Earl Grey by Nina's Paris
1617 tasting notes

I wrote exactly one review on my blog last month. Over achiever. Had plans to start June (JUNE!?!?) out better, but since waking up at least once every hour last night and today being a dreary gloomy gray day, dragging out the camera just wasn’t going to happen. Instead I’ve wandered about aimlessly much of the day. Finally got the ambition to brew. This was an excellent choice. The bergamot aroma of the dry leaf as well as the ruby red brew made me smile. This really is a good EG. I like mine a little on the rugged side, so I over leafed and used boiling water. That gave it a nice bite. Watching the leaf and cooling the water down to 195 or so will smooth it out nicely – but not today. This is barbarian tea day. grunt. scratch.


(I guess I was just born barbaric, then.:) Local weathercaster mentioned last night that our area had TWO rain free days in May. There’s this round yellow thing in my window today. Not sure what to do.


I recommend grabbing a lap full of kitty, a pitcher of over leafed barbarian tea, and head for the patio. It was gorgeous here today. Wish I could have spent it on the porch. Wife needed some stress reducing shopping therapy today. So, porch tomorrow… I hope.


Unfortunately, June is &*%^#&$#^ month at the salt mine. I can only dream of front porch lounging (sigh).


If you have the time, I heartily second KS’s suggestion. Spending a day outside on the porch with kitties, tea, and books sounds mighty fine indeed.

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drank Deluxe Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1617 tasting notes

I randomly grabbed this one out of the leftovers from the head to head blind taste test. When I realized which one I had grabbed I got a little excited. This is good stuff.

I mixed about 1 heaping tsp of powder and some Splenda with a couple ounces of milk and whipped it with a spoon. I used a double walled tumbler like they sell at Starbucks for frappes. It is tall and narrow so the tea foams up very easily even with a spoon. The powder all mixes in pretty easily even in cold milk.

Then I grabbed a half cup of crushed ice, ran it through the shaver and added it to the tumbler. I have Xantham gum to thicken it but didn’t add it today. Then I filled the tumbler with milk and stirred.

The color is nicely dark green like a Starbucks frappe. That’s where the similarity ends. When I was mixing this I thought it had a black tea aroma. As I taste, it is very much floral like an Alishan oolong. The sweetener is not really necessary as this is nicely sweet on its own. Seemed very smooth with no grit. The only thing I found to complain about is it disappeared long before I was ready.

This was my top rated pick from the test, easily blowing away the competition.

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drank Red Jade Black Tea by Oollo Tea
1617 tasting notes

I have been pacing myself today. It is hard because I actually feel like me.

So, Oollo Tea, they are new to me. They specialize in Taiwan teas and are located in Vancouver, BC, Canada. This one is a black tea. It smells pretty tasty upon opening. Immediately malt. Then at first I think grape? I agree with Oollo that it is really more raisin and plum. Regardless it is fruity and delicious smelling. I also catch a baked bread aroma.

The taste is pretty much similar to the scent except there is a bite or spicy note late in the sip. Zero bitterness. Very easy to drink. Now, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have caught this had I not read the description, but a few times late in the sip I caught light traces of cinnamon and peppermint flavor. Not the spice like bite but more the candy disk like presence.


Sounds tasty!

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drank Earl Grey by Ahmad Tea
1617 tasting notes

Besides my morning matcha milk drink, this is the first cup of tea I have made in weeks. It is a bit of a celebration cup. It was prepared in a single serving sized plastic percolator on the porch. I put the tea in a Finum instead of the filter basket. This made the tea steep during the entire percolating process. The different method made for a completely different taste. This is bright bergamot with much subdued tea taste.

The celebration is for feeling well enough to make the cup in the first place. Fired my pulmonologist. Got a new nurse practioner. She changed my medicine and found a new pulmonologist. I am starting to feel more human. Now to get well enough to play guitar again.


I am happy to read this KS.


Go get ’em!

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drank Organic Matcha by One Organic
1617 tasting notes

This is from the recent Red Leaf Tea side by side blind taste test. If you were included but haven’t completed your survey yet stop reading now.

I grabbed this culinary grade one today for my morning breakfast glass. I looked at the number on the sample and had it in my head I didn’t like this one hot. Went to my notes and learned I rated it kind of low but not the worst.

It actually smells kind of appealing today. I used a heaping tsp – closer to 2 tsp – of powder, 2 packets of Splenda, and 12oz of 2% milk. I start with 2oz and spoon stir until mixed and foamy. This part was pretty easy. Then I stir in the rest of the milk.

The taste was just kind of meh. It wasn’t bad, just meh. I was left wanting more when the glass was empty. Not more to drink, just more. I thought it was a bit gritty as well. Since I don’t have a proper whisk or frother, it is most likely my fault, however most of the others have mixed fine this way.

Bottom line, you could do worse, but you can do a lot better than meh.

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This is from the recent Red Leaf Tea side by side blind taste test. If you were included but haven’t completed your survey yet stop reading now.

During the testing phase I prepared all of these teas hot. This was my lowest rated one. The color is blah, the dry taste is bitter. Prepared the color was still blah and muddy, while the taste was bitter but leafy.

So today, I used 12oz of 2% milk, two packets of Splenda, and a well rounded tsp (more like 2 tsp) of leaf to make a cold frap type drink. What I have discovered is if you use enough powder, the tea foams up really easily, even with a spoon. Use too much and it is harder to get mixed. Anyway, when the proportions are right, the mix becomes heavy and thick like foamy cream. Pretty cool. This one accomplished the task easily.

The problem is the taste is just meh. It’s OK but nothing to remember. Making it worse, this is fairly pricey for culinary grade matcha at over $6/oz. That makes it 6 about times more expensive than my top two rated teas (Starter and Deluxe both from Red Leaf) and 6 times more expensive than the Tradition powder I have been using daily.

I see no reason to pay so much for meh, when you can do a lot better.

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drank Starter Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1617 tasting notes

This is from the recent Red Leaf Tea side by side blind taste test. If you were included but haven’t completed your survey yet stop reading now.

Last weekend we rented a cabin on the lake in a nearby state park. It was our 34th anniversary. I grabbed one of my numbered matcha samples from the test that I really liked – Kiss Me Organics. First thing each morning I mixed a heavy tsp of it with 12oz of cold milk and a double shot of Splenda Sat on the porch swing and watched as the misty rain washed across the lake. Beautiful and relaxing. The cold frap was more delicious than one from Starbucks because even with two packets of Splenda, it was not sickening sweet like SB. I thought it could not be any better. While the setting and circumstances had a lot to do with it, I really did like that culinary grade matcha.

This morning, back at home, I grabbed Starter Matcha from Red Leaf and mixed a new glass with the same amounts. The results were even more delicious, in my opinion, though the scenery in my den was not as exciting. Seriously, this makes a dark green tea with a nice grassy flavor and long smooth aftertaste. The best part is, this is one third the price of the previous matcha and even cheaper than the Tradition brand matcha I have been using on a daily basis by about a fourth (1.31/oz my old matcha compared to $0.94/oz Red Leaf).

I know my daily matcha in the past has been a slight bit of a compromise, although I wouldn’t drink it everyday if I did not like it. With this Starter Matcha, I am getting way more wonderful flavor and it will save me money. I actually rated this second highest in the blind test – before I knew what a great deal it is.

I put a pound of this and a pound of the Deluxe Matcha (my highest rated in the test) in the cart. Placed my gift certificate order. Went to Amazon to order some unrelated stuff, came back to my email to make sure the Amazon confirmation had been sent, and discovered the Red Leaf order had already been processed and shipped! Don’t know if they are always this on top of it but that was fast. That was a late afternoon. Two days later the package arrived. I now have enough matcha in cold storage to last a year. I’m a happy den camper.


Happy anniversary! Thirty-four years… that’s awesome.


Happy Anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. K S! May you enjoy many more love-filled, blessing-filled years!


way to go! You are are good man (or she is a good woman, probably both). Blessing to you both my friend!


Belated congrats!

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Having a passion for tea and living in rural America is a tough combination. The nearest tea vendor is 65 miles away. Joining Steepster has completely changed the direction of my tea journey.

My Rating System

90-100 Love it enough to keep around
80-90 Like a lot, would drink often
70-80 Above average
50-70 Average – take it or leave it
0-50 I don’t like it and don’t want to like it


Indiana, USA



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