1686 Tasting Notes

drank Unsmoked Lapsang Souchong by 3 Leaf Tea
1686 tasting notes

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.

R.F. Hill

Would you say that it acts more like a pu-erh then?

K S

No, nothing like a puerh. Definitely a black tea. The scent is more like a heavy roasted oolong. The taste maybe between the two but definitely black tea, just without the heavy smoke.

gmathis

Interesting—strength without smoke! Sounds great.

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drank Starter Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1686 tasting notes

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.

Kristal

I totally hear you. Matcha is not for me for a few reasons, and depending on the company (Steeped Tea comes to mind) it can be wickedly expensive. Glad you found a kind you like!

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drank Black Tea by Assam1860
1686 tasting notes

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.

Nicole

sounds like a good quick option!

R.F. Hill

I like good bagged tea! And it’s oftentimes convenient to make when you’re short on time.

gmathis

A good and friendly bagged option—sounds great!

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drank Sencha by Pique Tea
1686 tasting notes

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.

gmathis

So glad for a collection of decent bagged options right now :)

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drank Sweet Matcha Vitality by Free The Tea
1686 tasting notes

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.

Fjellrev

Aww, it happens to the best of us!

The 13th Doctor

I work at teavana and have experienced spilling a ton of matcha on my apron/clothes and having green dust everywhere for the whole day. HAH It’s almost like glitter.

Interesting to add in for the wheatgrass. Do you know if they did it for health benefits of it or just as a filler?

K S

My desktop might as well be a nice spring green – because it always looks that way. Like glitter, no matter how much you clean there is still some left.

I wondered about the wheatgrass myself. It probably serves both functions – keep costs down while adding something beneficial. The website mentions superfood, vitamins, and other health words, so I really think the main intention is to appeal to the health conscious tea buyers. Unlike the companies that load the tea down with big chunks of dried fruit that do nothing for the taste, the wheatgrass probably has a purpose. Those of us drinking our latte with a bag of cookies won’t mind as it tastes pretty good.

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drank Brazilian Acai Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1686 tasting notes

Where did my previous logs of this go? Yesterday I used the last of my open unflavored matcha. This morning I didn’t want to mess with the unopened bags (I have 2 lbs in the freezer) especially since they are not in resealable bags. I did have 3 opened samples of flavored matcha. This one sounded fun at 6:00 a.m. I mostly wanted to play with my new frother. Abt 1 tsp and 3 oz cold milk in a 12 oz tumbler. Nearly filled with foam – so, happy with the frother. I haven’t had acai in a while and I kind of forgot what it tasted like. I was surprised it actually tasted good in combination with milk. Fruity, not tart. Good choice. Went down fast.

Lala

I might have missed it, but what kind of frother did you decide on?

K S

I am a little embarrassed to admit I clicked the wrong button on Amazon and pretty sure I way overpaid. I was going for the Tim the Tool Man Turbo-charged model: http://www.amazon.com/Elementi-Premier-Frother-Powerful-Torque/dp/B00WTLPYTK

Instead I have one that is about like the $3 one I replaced. If it only lasts six months I’ll try something else.

I got this one: http://www.amazon.com/Handheld-Electric-Milk-Frother-Maker/dp/B00TQJALK0

Nattie

My previous logs have been going missing too :/

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drank Om Cashmere Saffron by Petit Tea
1686 tasting notes

The other day I reviewed Petit’s Opulence version of Cashmere Saffron that is an aluminum infuser stick version. This is from the Om series and is a silk pyramid sachet.

The dry aroma of both is nearly identical. It is a floral that reminds me of lavender talc. Here I also catch notes of the cardamom. I steeped two minutes in 175 F water. The color kind of reminded me of sunflowers (wishful thinking I guess).

The taste is as different as it is similar to the infuser. This one leads strongly with the floral saffron without being perfumey. I taste the green cardamom under the saffron. It supports and fills out the flavor. This trails into a mild bite from the green tea. The bite is much less intense than I experienced with the infuser. I don’t really taste the cinnamon at all here, which is surprising as it was the leading edge of the infuser cup.

At first I was not sure what I thought of this one. It is very different than anything I would normally drink. The more I sipped the more I began to get it. I think this would appeal to floral lovers and possibly the chai fans. Very different.

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drank Mint Sencha by Pique Tea
1686 tasting notes

We have a major lake in the back yard from heavy rain. Thankful. In northern Indiana they are getting heavy snow. I hate snow. I hate winter. I thought I hated spearmint.

This is a spearmint and sencha green tea in crystallized form. While my brain keeps telling me this is instant tea, my taste buds remain unconvinced. Super easy to make. Pour the packet powder into the mug add some water at 175F. Drink. I don’t even need to stir.

Instead of tasting like toothpaste which I never ever buy spearmint toothpaste – ever, this is just different. I am thinking it is like jasmine, which I thought I didn’t like until I had a better one. This is obviously spearmint and intense, but not icky intense.

It is accompanied by an equally intense amount of grassy bite. It reminds me of the level of bite often found in Ceylon tea. I rather like that.

I’m pretty sure if someone handed me a cup of Pique tea and didn’t tell me, I would not know it wasn’t home brewed loose leaf. It is an interesting idea, done well.

ashmanra I prefer spearmint to peppermint in tea!

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drank Opulence Cashmere Saffron by Petit Tea
1686 tasting notes

This is another of the aluminum infuser type teas from Petit. The ingredients are listed as green tea, cinnamon, and cardamom. However, their pyramid sachet lists ingredients as green tea, natural saffron, natural cardamom, cinnamon & other natural flavours. I believe the same ingredients are in the infuser. As soon as I removed the outer plastic wrap, I noticed a floral scent that kind of reminded me of a lavender talc powder. After steeping 2 minutes this mellows way down and I now also catch cardamom in the aroma. The taste is completely different. I first notice cinnamon. It is a pleasant adult level (not over sweet, not grab you spicy). Next I catch the cardamom with its light clove like notes. I catch the green tea briefly just as the aftertaste kicks in. All this blends in the brain with the floral aroma for a kind of exotic experience.

Fjellrev

Very intriguing!

hawkband1

That sounds cool

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Bought in 2011. 6 oz of pu for $5.99. It smelled and tasted really bad back then. Still has a not great but tolerable smell. With time the taste has become mild, sweet, cedar, loam, and light leather. Has a hefty dusty note as well. Certainly not great puerh but a pleasant everyday sip. Worth every penny :)

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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

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Indiana, USA

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