1236 Tasting Notes
Now, when I was in college, I worked in the campus library. Said campus library also contained a coffee shop where I got an employee discount, so I lived on sugary coffee drinks. I loved them, especially anything mixed with caramel. I learned how to brew coffee at home (yes, it took me until college to learn this), but it was never quite the same, so day after day I bought coffee after expensive coffee. It turns out, my body takes issue with both caffeine and dairy, so eventually I had to give up coffee. Have you ever seen a librarian strung out on coffee? Scary stuff. But considering I only liked it with extra sugar and way too much cream, it was probably for the best. Now, every once in a while my father in law will brew up a two cup pot when we’re at his house and offer me a cup, but I just don’t touch coffee anymore. Haven’t since I started drinking looseleaf tea about two years ago. But occasionally, I miss it. Occasionally I just want a big cup of creamy coffee goodness and I have to tell myself no.
So when I spotted this matcha, I had to have it. The caffeine in matcha doesn’t affect me the way the caffeine in coffee does, and so I am very, very eager to try this. Maybe I’ll even sprinkle in a bit of caramel….next time.
When the package is opened, the smell of coffee hits you square in the nose. Mmm, I miss that smell. That smell only grows stronger as the matcha is brewed…mmm, it smells yummy. Okay, so, it’s love at first sip. It tastes like strong, sweet coffee. It is lovely…there’s even a hint of chocolate! I can’t wait to try this in latte form with some Caramel Matcha…maybe even the English Toffee to bring out the chocolate in both. Definitely begging to be mixed with vanilla soy milk. If you’re a coffee fan, or an ex-coffee fan like myself, this is a matcha to try (found here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/orange-matcha-clone.html). It’s so, so good. It’s like an expensive coffee from Starbucks without the too high price tag and the horrible side effects of coffee! The aftertaste is almost one of roasted barley, which I like. Coffee always tasted burnt to me. But this is lovely. I see a happy future for me with this matcha at my side.
Now, full disclosure here: I’m not a cherry fan. I’m just not. Cherry is one of those throwaway flavors that they include in a pack of candy just to tease the kids who don’t get the good flavors like strawberry or grape. Now, bing cherries are delicious, but maraschino need to stay far, far away from me. But my wife loves them. Cherry anything, and she loves it. So this is a “tempt her to the dark side of matcha” purchase, as she doesn’t like matcha much. Today we’re trying all three I bought for her…and then feverishly cleaning the house while hopped up on matcha goodness. But I am interested in seeing if it tastes like a real cherry or a cherry flavoring. And if it’s a real cherry, which one? Bing? Black? Sour? Maraschino? The world may never know…because my cherry palate is about as refined as a brick. I should have bought the chocolate matcha and made her a cherry chocolate milkshake…she’d be sold in a minute! Maybe I’ll find some chocolate soy milk…yeah…
Regardless, I’m looking forward to trying this! A whole new world and all that. What’s life without a few new experiences? Holy cherry, batman! It is very, very cherry. I mixed a full scoop with 200 millilitres of chocolate soy milk for the wife, but had a sip or two of it straight before I mixed in the milk. Mmm. If I liked cherry, I would be all over this. The taste of the matcha isn’t lost at all, but cherry is definitely the frontrunner. It is a maraschino cherry flavor, but according to my wife, this is far from a bad thing. I can smell it from across the room and it smells amazing. Kind of like a cherry slushie without all of the horrible syrup and artificial flavoring. I think iced, this would be an incredibly refreshing treat…it makes me want to try making matcha popsicles. Maybe matcha fudgicles, or cherry chocolate pudding. Definitely going to experiment with this little beauty to make various different treats for that wife of mine. Maybe I’ll order the Cola matcha with the next round and mix it with that…mmm. Now that one I can get behind. Or cherry vanilla….yum. This matcha just inspires me to play around a bit and try new flavors. Maybe cherry is one that I’ll keep around, if only to experiment with (found here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/cherry-matcha.html).
I know, I know. These reviews are nothing but memories, but I can’t help it! If I can drink a tasty drink that is good for me, gives me energy, and makes me think of happy things, well, why wouldn’t I? This one is all my grandmother and my father. Every Thanksgiving, my grandmother would let us drink cranberry juice mixed with ginger ale, and we felt so grown up. So grown up! It’s still my preferred way of drinking cranberry juice, and when the cranberry ginger ale is released around the holidays, all I do is think of her. Her son, my father, is a ginger ale memory for me too, it’s his favorite soft drink. Vernor’s, if you’ve got it, or Schweppes, but Canada Dry will do in a pinch and make him think of me anyway. When my wife is ill, it’s ginger ale, if you please, not lemon-lime anything. You know that old adage that girls always search for someone like their father? It’s so true in my case…my wife and my father are amazingly alike. So when I spotted it on the Red Leaf tea website, I had to grab it for my campaign to get her to like matcha. Who knows, I might convert my dad with it when he comes up to visit next (found here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/ginger-ale-matcha.html)!
This is wonderful. Ginger and I are not the best of buddies, but I’m coming around to it. This reminds me of a local ginger ale found only in Middle Kentucky called “Ale-8-1”. It’s full of ginger flavor, but in a very good way. If you get this one, don’t be put off by the overwhelming ginger smell, it’s not nearly as strong as it smells, which is a good thing to me. It would definitely be a matcha I reach for when I’m headed into work with an upset stomach, but need a pick me up. I don’t think it’s one I’ll keep in stock, but it’s not one I’ll be actively trying to swap away either. I’m excited to try it with the cranberry. If you’re familiar with ginger ale brands, it’s more of a Vernor’s than anything else. Lord have mercy, I spend way too much time with ginger ale, apparently. But if I can talk my Dad into trying matcha, this will definitely be the one I lead with. Who knows, my father in law greatly enjoyed the French Vanilla matcha from Red Leaf Tea, maybe my dad can be won over as well!
Now, I have to say, I am wildly impressed with Red Leaf Tea. With the sheer amount of matcha I’ve been getting through this promotion, I was starting to feel like I was taking advantage of their goodwill and resolved to hang up my reviewing hat, saying that I had tried all the flavors I wanted to try. Imagine my pleased surprise when I mentioned this in a review and they responded to let me know they were releasing new flavors soon and encouraging me to keep trying new ones and keep reviewing! I know they read all reviews posted and I’ve received wonderfully kind responses to my reviews and emails to them. Their customer service is stellar and it makes it so that I want to recommend their teas to everyone I meet (and I do!). And while yes, I have gotten a ton of matcha through this promotion, I’ve also gained an adoration of matcha that will keep me coming to them long after I really do stop reviewing their product. But by now they know me, and they know my reviews and they’re just wonderfully kind to me. When I received my package yesterday, I found a little matcha spoon included with my order! I don’t know if it’s a promotion I just didn’t see, or if it was for me specially, but it certainly made my day!
I don’t know an awful lot about English toffee, but what I do know, I like. I got this one to try with my wife, in an effort to get her to like matcha. We’ll see how it goes!
When I opened the package, (found here:http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/english-toffee-matcha.html) it smelled a lot like the Caramel Matcha from Red Leaf Tea, which is very promising. I love their Caramel matcha. Brewed up, it still smelled like caramel, but with a hint of chocolate. And that’s exactly what it tastes like, caramel mixed together with tasty, tasty chocolate. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but this is very, very good. Very sweet too, but not overwhelmingly so. But then again, I like my teas sweet. But when I see pictures of English Toffee, this is what I think it would taste like, so yay! I love that it even tastes like that crunchy caramel….mmm. This would be a very good starter matcha for those who like sweet things, English Toffee especially. I might even win my wife over with this one!
Guh, cotton candy. This was the flavor I most looked forward to, and it’s the one I ripped into and gleefully made a cup as soon as the package arrived. So much for my nap, I have matcha to drink! I didn’t even read the description on the site, it just instantly wound up in my cart. Cotton candy is childhood to me, as well as a good number of college years spent drinking cotton candy cosmos. I can hear my mother in my head right now. “No, you can’t get cotton candy, if we’re going to pay $5 for a snack, it’s going to be something more than just spun sugar!” But rarely she would cave and oh man. Oooooh man. I remember at one company picnic, they had a cotton candy machine, and you could have all the cotton candy you wanted. They even showed you how to make it! It was amazing. It was the ultimate snack of my childhood. Fast forward a few years to the summer between my first and second year of college. I had an apartment with three other girls, two of whom I didn’t know, and I was working at Beech Bend Park. Now, if you know where that is, you either a) went to Western Kentucky University or b) are a biker, because it’s adjacent to the Beech Bend racetrack and the Beech Bend Campground, where Harley days are held every year. Usually, I got stuck working the teacups (ironic, huh?), but every once in a while, I got to work food services and I got to make the cotton candy. Oh my goodness. Heaven. Hot work, but heaven. A year or two later I went to O’Charley’s with a friend and spotted the Cotton Candy Cosmo on the menu. Unable to resist anything cotton candy, I had to try out. Out came a martini glass overflowing with fresh cotton candy. A little shaker contained vodka and when your poured the vodka over the cotton candy, it melted and mixed in so beautifully that you forgot you were drinking way too much alcohol.
Now it’s my go-to snack when the wife takes me to the movies. It’s $3 and it makes my inner kid go bouncing all over the place. This tea does the same thing (found here:http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/cotton-candy-matcha.html). It’s…it’s amazing how much it really does taste like cotton candy, especially when cold. The cooler my cup got, the more it tasted like those little fluffy clouds of heaven. You can still taste the matcha, and it has an odd creaminess to it, but it’s just…wow. Wow. It all blends together and it even has that burnt sugar bit at the end of the sip. I’m going to take a cup of this to the Zoo next Tuesday, ride the carousel, and just go back in time to the carnivals and theme parks of my youth.
There are few things in this world that scream “summer” to me like watermelon. Unfortunately, they’re one of those rare treats as my father is allergic to it, so I only had it at other people’s parties when growing up. Now, my wife doesn’t like it, so it’s rare I can convince myself to lug a watermelon home and slice it up, just for myself. But the local grocery store now has mini seedless watermelons for a good price, so I’ve already had two so far this summer and plan on going back for another on Friday. So much love for watermelon in my heart. It’s just juicy and delicious and amazing. I’m just curious, did anyone out there grow up salting their watermelon? Until I was 10, we lived in Michigan and I’d never even heard of it, but when we moved to Tennessee, everyone did it. It does bring out the juiciness of it, but it’s also, you know, terrible for you.
Now, I know watermelon can be a tough flavor for tea. Many people have tried (two come to mind in 52teas watermelon iced tea and DavidsTea’s Luscious Watermelon), but I have to say I wasn’t horribly impressed with those I’ve tried. So while I had to try it, I just had to, I wasn’t holding out a lot of high hopes for this watermelon matcha (found here:http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/watermelon-matcha.html). When I opened the package, I got juicy watermelon…but a hint of metallic or whatever it was that made the lemon, peach, and mango teas so bitter. But since warm weather has moved in, I’ve gotten into the habit of mixing my tea with room temperature or cold water, and it definitely paid off this time. I get juicy, creamy watermelon and absolutely no bitterness. Mmmm, this is good. This is really good. It’s light and refreshing and utterly perfect for these coming summer months…it’s gonna be a scorcher. This is the watermelon I’ve been searching for and I can’t wait to try it blended up with some fresh melon. This kind of tastes like a watermelon bubble tea, but without the overwhelming sweetness. Maybe I need to find some tapioca pearls. It reminds me of the Ten Ren watermelon oolong blended with fresh melon, not Freshly Squeezed’s idea of a bubble tea. I’m only a little bitter, I promise. But this is a definite restock for me, and one I will definitely be sharing with friends and family.
This is the story of a girl…a girl who went through two sets of braces. A girl who spent most of high school unable to chew bubble gum. Before I got the first set of braces, I was a bubble gum fiend. My favorite Easter candy was that little mini egg carton filled with bubble gum eggs. Still is, to be honest. But after two sets of braces and a TMJ surgery, I was firmly broken of the habit of chewing gum. If I’m offered a piece, I take it, but I don’t tend to buy it. But when I do, I buy the bubble gum flavor…is there anything better? It’s another one of those flavors I associate with childhood and so this brings up all sorts of good memories, even at first whiff. Bubble gum ice cream, does anyone remember that? The rainbow ice cream filled with little gum pieces…it was two treats in one! Two treats that made two separate royal messes! I also broke my nephew of bubble gum at the age of 3 (he’s 13 now). I wasn’t thinking and his folks said he could have a gumball, so I gave him one of mine. Filled with Shocktart powder. He won’t touch the stuff now, ha! I should feel guilty, but I bet his dentist thanks me for it.
Anyway, bubble gum has a very fond place in my heart, and it brings up all kinds of memories. It was another of the new matcha flavors that immediately hopped into my cart and I had to try immediately (found here:http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/bubble-gum-matcha.html). And I’m so glad I did. It’s definitely the bubble gum ice cream of bubble gum flavors, a rainbow of different tastes and flavors, but under the single heading of bubble gum. Generic bubble gum. Not the teeth-rotting super sugary kind, but the Bazooka Joe kind that loses its flavor too quick. Except this tea doesn’t lose any of its flavor. Oh gosh, it’s good. My brain keeps trying to make me chew the tea, it tastes so much like bubble gum. I wish I had known about this when I was younger! I keep going back for sip after sip. It’s taking definite willpower to put it down long enough to write this review! I want to blow bubbles with it. I get the feeling this would make amazing cupcakes, maybe with cotton candy icing. Yum, yum, yum. Definitely a staple in my cupboard.
So this is…interesting. The lemongrass and mint really work to make it refreshing. It isn’t too tart, but there isn’t anything outstanding about it. It’s just a decent herbal. It was a sample and I have enough for another pot to cold steep, so while it won’t be any hardship finishing it off, it’s not something I feel the need to stock up on.