1681 Tasting Notes
My son wanted to download a game on his computer and I have been wanting to try out a rather large mod for my Kerbal Space Adventure game. We both have metered connections so, yeah, Starbucks it is.
I asked for an Earl Grey iced with a shot of vanilla syrup. She rang it up as a London Fog and charged 4 something for it (seriously $4 for iced tea in a disposable plastic cup? but I digress). Sat down with it at the table and my wife looks at it and says, “That’s not what you ordered”.
“I know. That’s just the price you pay for ordering tea in a coffee place.”
Apparently a London fog has milk in it making it a pricey latte. I didn’t order a latte and probably should have said something, however, it was actually pretty tasty. So much so that I will make this my own self for about one tenth the price at home and I get to use a fancy non-disposable tupperware tumbler. Nothing but the best for me and uncle Si. That’s a fact Jack.
Part of the Revitalize Teaser Box from Free The Tea. Includes 4 samples – each about 5-7 servings and an infuser (tea ball with handles).
This is aimed at new to loose leaf users.
It is listed as containing premium organic green tea is blended with organic peppermint and dashed with organic spearmint leaves.
3 minute steep in 175F water produced a honey colored cup with a healthy mint presence. By the ingredient list, I expected a peppermint tea with notes of spearmint. Instead I get just the opposite. I’m not a spearmint fan. Here is works OK because the peppermint tempers it and the green tea melds with it nicely.
Couple not exactly complaints but I do wish I were able to separate the green tea taste out more. I think this is just the nature of mint tea. The other may just be my sample but much of the leaf pieces are very small. There are a few bigger pieces and the small ones are big enough to work in a tea ball. I think here I have just become accustomed to big whole leaf. On the whole as good or better than most entry level teas.
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Not really cause I love a rainy night and besides I’m no longer workin’ 9 to 5. Actually even though I am no longer working, DST ‘spring ahead’ still kicks my butt. I’m running on caffeine trying to adjust. I would never make a world traveler. Jet lag would kill me in a matter of days.
I need to be digging into my back log of to be reviewed teas. I have no brain for that today. So I reached for my comfort Earl, then put down the green tin and grabbed the red one instead. This is a very fragrant but not soapy bergamot tea that I find quite smooth for a Ceylon base. Ashmanra found the pre-Ceylon base (that’s Ceylon, not to be confused with Cylon) to be much smoother to her liking. My usual tea has a great deal of bite so this in comparison is much more refined.
This is probably a brand Picard would want in his replicator – stern but refined. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
Another of the infuser teas from Petit. These are single serve aluminum sticks. They come 12 in a box and each contains 2.5 g of leaf.
This smells so good to me. This from someone who normally just tolerates chai. It has all the typical spices but it just comes off different to me. The cinnamon is warm and sweet, reminding me of some gooey treat. The clove and cardamon blend in well without dominating or overwhelming.
Without additions this tasted lighter than expected. To me, it had almost a light rose note along with the gentle spices. Next I added some sweetener. This brings out a pepper note that wasn’t fully developed before. Finally, I added a splash of milk. Yes, definitely add the sweetener and the milk. So smooth and good that my cup was empty before I realized it. That never happens with me and chai.
This was yesterday’s tea. I’ve enjoyed these crystallized packets. Not just because they are convenient to the extreme. They also taste pretty good. They don’t have all the nuances of brewing some fine leaves yourself, but are better than bagged or any RTD that I have tried.
This one surprised me. All of the others have had a fairly sharp edge – almost tart. I like that but not everyone does. This blend is Assam and Ceylon. I expect a brisk bite. Instead this is smooth malt. They call it earthy. My mind interpreted it as woods and leafy. Fruity. Maybe a little floral. The color was dark orange leaning heavily towards ruby. At the end just before the aftertaste it develops a nice edge that breaks the smooth mold.
I next tried it cold by adding a packet to a 12 oz bottle of icy water. What is interesting to me is it had more edge iced. This works perfect for me. I like my hot breakfast tea to bring me evenly into the day rather than with a jolt. I want my iced tea to be more grrrr. This does both and pretty well.
These Pique teas are not pre-sweetened. They don’t need sweetened, but they take it well if you so desire.
I really had no idea what to expect. It kind of boggled my mind trying to picture LS without the heavy smoke. Would it be more like a Jin Jun Mei or Bohea? It is pretty much neither. When I first sniffed the open bag, I got a light note that seemed kind of grapey like a Nepalese tea. This quickly passed and was replaced with a hefty roasted aroma along with subtle cocoa notes.
3 minute steep in 195 F water produced a deep orange cup with ruby undertones. While the mug had the roasted aroma the taste was more woods and deep forest leaves. The roastiness is much less hardcore than the aroma. No bitterness and only a mild briskness. Hearty and rich came to mind.
Halfway through the mug I added a tiny amount of sweetener. It took it really well. Burnt sugar and cocoa notes are more obvious now. I did not try but would imagine it would handle milk well.
Contemplating trying this again as an iced tea.
I start every day with a heaping spoon of matcha and cold milk lightly sweetened. In the past year I have been privileged to try dozens of different matcha. I can honestly say I just don’t get most of them. I tried them prepared as close to traditional as I could manage, and by my preferred method, as here, a cold latte.
There were a handful I thought were really good. The Connoisseur matcha from Red Leaf comes to mind as one example, and it is a middle tier tea. It tasted good on its own, which they rarely do to me, and stood up to milk in a latte. Now, I could taste the difference with the very expensive stuff but to me it just wasn’t enough difference and besides I could never justify the $$$. Some are scary expensive.
I’m always going to try the house version to see how it stacks up against the name brand. I had been using Tradition brand matcha. It is a harmless and rather plain tea that is so cheap it turned me into a daily user. I’ll not be going back to it any time soon. This entry level version from Red Leaf blows its doors off. It would be very difficult to find anything better at the very bottom of the price range. The color is more yellow green than the better stuff, but the flavor stands up to milk. It is fruity and leafy tasting. For how I use it, this works really well. Which is a good thing as it is sold by the pound. Recommended for novice matcha drinkers, bargain hunters, and those among us who just don’t get it.
I received a box of this tea for review. It contains 25 nylon sachets/bags. Each is individually sealed in a protective envelop and contain 2.25 g of CTC. I probably have already lost 1/2 of you by mentioning bag and CTC in the same sentence. I personally use a lot of bagged tea and find if you are selective there are some jewels to be found. They do sell it in loose form though it is CTC. That is normal for nearly all tea originating in India.
Dry this has a pleasant malty aroma that only intensifies when steeped. The brew color is a truly beautiful cherry mahogany. I steeped for 2 1/2 minutes and the first sip was intensely eye opening brisk – just like a good breakfast tea should be IMHO. After the initial shock, I got the malt notes along with woody, fruity, and slightly sweet. Just as is it is pretty good.
For fun I added a little Splenda. This civilizes the savage bite, if you are in to that. I will admit it gave the malt and other notes a little more room to display what they had to offer.
Next, I did something for science I never try. I added a splash of milk. Brilliant! While it destroys the beautiful color, it totally surprised me otherwise. To me, milk normally muddies up the cup making all the notes indistinguishable from one another. Here, while it added nothing really new, it did marry all the flavors together while they remained separate notes. I don’t know if that even makes sense. What I know is at this point the cup became empty very fast.
Final analysis – I really enjoyed this and look forward to drinking more of it. In fact, I am going to try it iced in a few moments.
Life is hectic. I could go into details but we all have a lot going on in real life. In the rush, making time for proper tea has been near impossible most days of late. I am so glad I have had these crystallized teas to get me through.
I was highly skeptical at first. Yes they are convenient to the extreme. Pour into the cup, add hot water, drink. Don’t have hot water? Pour into an icy water bottle and shake. Nothing is simpler except over sweet bottled tea. The best part is they taste and smell way better than probably necessary. Are they going to replace your loose leaf stash? No, but if you don’t have time, what’s it matter?
This one smells intensely of green vegetation. I immediately picture tiny spring green leaves from China when the aroma hit me. Turns out this ‘sencha’ is grown in China and shaded the last week or so before picking.
The cup is light honey yellow. The taste is vegetive. There is a sharp clean citrus bite. The aftertaste is green, slightly sweet, and lingering.
I’m about to grab another packet and a water bottle before facing RL head on once again.
The ingredient list on Steepster wouldn’t let me add organic sugar cane or wheatgrass. They are in here with the matcha powder from Japan. This is a new to me company.
I learned a valuable lesson with the cute little sample tins. Don’t try to open them unless you are awake enough to pay attention. The lid was very tight. I didn’t stop to think it through (twist moron, twist). Yep, matcha all over the desk. Not the first time. Won’t be the last.
I was concerned about the additions to the matcha. I had never heard of wheatgrass. I have heard of sugar – which probably best explains why I have not heard of wheatgrass.
It is listed as 15 calories per serving so it is not even remotely as sweet as a green tea frap. The powder color is a pleasant spring green. I could not make it foam despite the use of a handheld frother. The cup color is a deep green.
While sweet, this is not candy level overdose. It is about where I would sweeten it myself. The taste is nicely grassy. The sweet grassy aftertaste lingers.
I also made a cold milk latte. With milk this foamed really well.
For me the only negative was the pre-sweetened mix, however as I said I was going to make it this sweet anyway.