1673 Tasting Notes

drank Deluxe Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1673 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
1673 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.

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drank Earl Grey by Ahmad Tea
1673 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
1673 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
1673 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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drank Organic Matcha by Matcha DNA
1673 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.

Amazon is an amusing place to look for matcha. It just is. The emphasis in the descriptions is usually on the amazing cure all powers of said tea. This one mostly walks the line without jumping into over hype mode. Well except for the “Never Irradiated – Not From Japan – Swiss EU and NOP Certified” sigh.

I used this today in a cold milk and Splenda frap. I noted before I liked this hot. I find I still like it, and more so cold. It has a nice fresh flavor with what struck my taste buds as kind of a leaf and melon note. I ended up adding two packets of Splenda to 12oz of milk to take it into Starbucks territory. It was not bitter or gritty. At about $2.47/oz this would be a nice everyday kind of powdered tea for frap use. I rated three teas higher (out of 12). One was three times as expensive. The other two (both from Red Leaf Tea) were less than half the price. Even so I found this to be pretty good for how I used it.

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drank Organic Matcha by Terra Verve
1673 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.

Looking back at my notes, I didn’t rate this as well as I thought I did. Hmmm. Anyway, I am now exploring these in a frappuccino style. Matcha, cold milk, and Splenda. This one is very dark (before milk), has a solid flavor and sweetness, along with a lingering aftertaste. I think my initial reaction lowered the score because of some bitterness, although I noted that I liked what the bitterness added. Cold, I don’t notice any negative in the taste. The problem with this one is the price tag. That is a lot of money for kitchen grade powder. Solid flavor – high price tag.

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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.

Today’s morning glass, made cold with milk and Splenda added. This is moderately expensive for culinary grade matcha. I do like the leafy flavor. As prepared it isn’t bitter. It is rather gritty even though it mixed easily. I added a second Splenda packet to take it in to Starbucks territory. The taste was solid but remained gritty. It is hard to have a color opinion when drinking it this way, as the milk washes all of them much lighter than Starbucks.

This was very middle of the road for me. You can do less expensive and better tasting by choosing several other options including the Red Leaf Tea versions – starter matcha or deluxe.

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drank Luzianne by Luzianne
1673 tasting notes

So, I am at moms on Saturday night. They always have a pitcher of Lipton DeCaf – on purpose. I took one sip, and asked, “You just open a new box?”
“No, why?”
“Uhmmm, no reason.”
“Oh, wait”, she says, “It’s not decaf. They were out, and its Luzianne.”
Yes, and thank you. I drink the Lipton without complaint because it is home. I am not saying this was great but comparatively speaking, it was a pleasant change of pace.

You haven’t seen much of me around lately. Not been feeling that well. My breathing is giving me fits. I told the praise team some changes needed to happen. I love playing but lately it is just too much. On a normal Sunday, including all music in the service, I’ll play about 10 different songs. This week I only played 5 and I quit halfway through the last. The church was in to it and we had a keyboard player there, so no one noticed. Trouble is he is seldom with us. He is usually out performing concerts. I am trying to encourage a new member, who used to play piano at her old church, to play. She says she can’t do what we do. That is not what I would want anyway. I want her to bring back some good old lively hymn book music. I would love to see her share a song, then us, back and forth. Truly blended style. If we can’t share on Sunday morning, what makes us think we can share on Monday morning?


I’m fairly certain that my parents use Luzianne for sun tea (they stopped using lipton after hearing my rants about how horrible it was). I hope that you find a solution for the music on Sunday mornings, so that you can have a break.


Love your desire to blend! Hope you’re feeling stronger soon.

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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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