1613 Tasting Notes
I can’t figure out how to upload a full picture of the thing. Sorry.
Whisking matcha is labor intensive. I personally don’t enjoy it, especially first thing in the morning. Saw this and thought it was worth a shot.
When it arrived I thought, man that’s tiny. The housing is silver plastic. I know they were going for a metal look but honestly it looks cheap. I think some cool colors would look much more appealing. The batteries (2 AA) are not included. That is the bad stuff. Now on to the good.
I bought it from Amazon for less than $8. It came with a five dollar off coupon for the next Matcha DNA order (if that interests you). Installing batteries is easy. You can kind of feather the on off button to work the speed. It is not a speed control but I still found I could make it behave like one. Once up to speed, the button locks in place. It’s deceptively powerful. Make sure the wand is fully submerged and the cup is not over full before switching this on.
So how well does it work? Excellent. I could not achieve the level of foam this generates with my little kitchen whisk. Maybe with time and skill a bamboo whisk works as well (can’t imagine much better) but bamboo is more expensive and clean up sounds like work. I have found that by pulling the wand up towards the surface, I can make a cold milk latte half foam – even with cheaper matcha.
I have no idea how long this will last but I am very pleased with it so far.
Tea Pots n Treasures is in Indianapolis Indiana. The owner blends the teas. She has over 900 blends! Of course not all are available at once. This particular tea is about a year old. I put it in in a drawer, got very ill, and forgot it. That said, it is still pretty tasty. I added sweetener to revitalize the old leaf. That mostly worked. The aroma is complex. There is a lot going on but no one flavor really dominates. You do notice the peppermint first because, well, peppermint. Then the orange and rose hips mingle about. The vanilla is the weakest flavor but seems about right to me. The taste shows the age as the green tea really doesn’t jump out. It is there but not. You know? The mint is nicely cooling. The blood orange and rose hips mix into their own flavor thing. Kind of floral sort of. Kind of fruity, sort of. A touch earthy and dark. I finally decided it is like a tangy cranberry, plum, and orange. Finally, the vanilla brings it all together in a neat and creamy way. Despite the age and poor storage this was pleasantly enjoyable.
So, flavored matcha. Besides the green tea Frappe addiction and my own vanilla or caramel syrup creations, I haven’t had any experience. You have to start somewhere, right? Turns out I didn’t need to be apprehensive. This matcha base is from Japan. It is bright spring green. Using my new milk frother (that I am now totally sold on) this mixed super easy and created a super foamy drink. I used Splenda instead of sugar because the monkey misses me. My first impression was this tasted somewhere between the old Stash peach I used to love and actual peach. Then I read Oolong Owl’s excellent review. Of course – peaches and cream, how did I miss that? Smooth and creamy without a hint of bitterness. Definitely a refreshing afternoon sip for me.
Felt in the mood for a green today. Grabbed this one from Teasenz. I have had Xin Yang Mao Jian before and liked it. This one looks different. The dry leaf is very dark green and is tightly rolled like long wiry stems. It is almost like pulling a birds nest out of the bag. Dry it smells intensely of malt along with a sweet and sour aroma like fresh cut dewy grass. Once brewed the scent becomes heavily green and leafy. The first thing I notice when tasting is the bitter. I hate using that word when it is a good thing as it is here. It is crisp and refreshing. This is also sweet. Imagine that. The last time I had a Xin Yang Mao Jian I still had the Splenda monkey on my back. Now I’m clean and monkey free (mostly) and I recognize this as sweet – (sweet!). This feels thick and almost syrupy by mid sip, before trailing off into a hefty green vine like aftertaste that lingers. A Nice tea.
Now be aware the package said to steep this 4-5 minutes with 2-5 g of leaf. I went on the high end of both. After drinking I noticed the website said to steep this ONE minute. I knew better but went with the bag instructions. I fully plan to have a go at this again using the short steep. It was good but potent today. I think the reduced time will make this a wonderful refreshing break from reality – and who doesn’t need that?
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It was 53 this morning when I started outside with my cold matcha latte. Opted to stay in until it warmed up a little. Later I brewed a hot cup of lapsang souchong and began to play Kerbal Space Program. Today’s agenda was to launch a satellite to orbit Mun and look for locations on the moon with resources to build a refinery. Except, my early satellites tumbled out of control during ascent. My redesign made Mun orbit then proceeded to blow up for no good reason. Decided I was done destroying things up for the day. Grabbed the cup of LS and tried for the porch again. It was 68. Close enough. The LS was cool by this time. Didn’t care. It smells like BBQ but doesn’t taste that way. It is nicely sweet but not bacon or meat tasting. The smoke is at a stout but pleasant level. No ashes or ashtray here. Just pleasant sweet pine smoke.
3 Leaf Tea offered samples for review. I asked for this one in particular as I have never tried a tangerine pu’erh. The brewing instructions are for a western style brewed cup. 1 tsp of leaf and a cup of boiling water with a 3 minute steep.
The dry leaf is very pleasant to sniff. It is hay and fruit. The steeped leaf is barnyard but I know this seldom translates into the cup. The brew is almost ‘tea’ colored but a little more ruby tinted than your average orange pekoe.
The taste is dusty dry spiciness with a hint of tangerine zest. It is not astringent or bitter. There is a gentle but deep earthiness that confirms this is pu’erh. The second cup was pretty much like the first except maybe a touch more towards sweet. Goes down easily.
Not a deeply complex tea but a nice everyday sipper. Seems like a good base to play with your herbs and spices to see what you can invent.
This is a good solid everyday workhorse tea. It isn’t going to blow you away but it does the job. It appears to be very forgiving as to leafing and steep time. Perfect for early morning when you can’t be trusted with measuring or telling time. For those who like to be jolted awake, this might not be your tea. I prefer a more subtle wake up. There is no bitterness. I didn’t notice any dryness. What I got was cup that tastes dark, sweet, and leafy. I noticed some mild notes of smoke underneath (very mild). It should take milk or sugar well – though I tried neither. It should also work nicely iced. Your friends who don’t get your tea obsession would recognize this as tea.
Recommend as an everyday black
Maybe my memory is on the fritz but this just seems different than any Bao Zhong or Pouchong I have tried before. First the leaf has more green than I recall. There is also tan tips and the darker leaf kind of looks battle ship grey with white spots. The liquor is bright yellow which I did expect but the aroma is floral like Alishan. The taste is sweet and at first reminds me of corn with maybe a touch of malt. Then it moves towards the floral notes. The aftertaste is lingers green and viney.
I know most western folks seem to like their oolong dark and highly roasted. I do not. This is more my style. Light, crisp, and refreshing. A good afternoon sip, to chill or meditate.
I dare you to open the bag and inhale this then walk away. Ain’t no way. Dry this smells like a bouquet of peonies. So sweet and pretty. The leaf is equally beautiful with red and brown steaks along with silvery white tips. Once brewed the steep leaf scent is peaches, no grapes, no its orange. Love. The brew is liquid sunshine so bright and golden. The taste is muscat grape and hints of malt. Then it turns into mountain streams that fade into light orange blossoms. I was not in the mood for tea today until I opened this one. Gentle and amazingly complex. A definite winner.