1220 Tasting Notes
Now, I’m a Southern girl through and through, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret…I was born a Yankee. Yup, born in South Bend, Indiana and raised in Michigan until I was ten, when we moved to Tennessee. As a Michigander, I can say with complete confidence that Michigan blueberries are the best blueberries in the entire world. Blueberry season comes around and the state explodes into a world of deliciousness. You can stop at just about any roadside stand and get a ten pound box of blueberries, or you can head out to one of those you-pick places, if you’re feeling particularly energetic (or you’ve got young kids…I’m looking at you, Mom!). Blueberries played a huge role in my childhood. We would snatch up all the blueberries we could during the season and freeze them. Blueberry pancakes, muffins, and cobblers were served all year round, but my favorite blueberry dish was blueberry ice cream. It’s a real complicated recipe, y’all ready? You take frozen blueberries and pour cold milk over them. Yup. We’re a simple folk.
But my love of blueberries has come with me through my travels and life path. So when I spotted a blueberry matcha, my immediate reaction was one of “Um, heck yes, please!” The scent when I open the package is to die for. Oh my goodness, blueberry. In your face, juicy, sweet blueberry. My mouth is watering already.
The taste? Oh my. No, no, let me rephrase that. Imagine that I’m George Takei. Oh myyyyyy. Yep, it’s that good. George Takei “Oh myyy” inducing good. You know when you go into one of those bath and body stores, and you pick something blueberry up, smell it, and immediately tell your wife you wish you had something that tastes as good as it smells and then you lick it and it just plain doesn’t taste as good as you want it to? No? Just me? Well, this matcha tastes the way those soaps smell. Intensely blueberry and incredibly delicious. Juicy is just the word that comes to mind with every sip…it’s incredible. I have a few blueberry fans among my friends who will go ape over this.
This review brought to you by the letter M and the number 2, which is the number of cups of matcha I’ve had this morning in an effort to taste them all and get my reviews written…and it’s only nine o’clock. Pray for my wife, folks, she’s in for a crazy morning.
So I am mightly impressed with matcha. For a few weeks now, I’ve been having a cup almost daily, and I have to say I’m seeing benefits. I don’t know if it can all be blamed on the matcha, but the matcha is the only real change I’ve made recently. When a tea company makes claims about the healthiness of their teas and how this tea will make you skinny or that tea will calm your anger, I tend to just laugh it off. Just another marketing ploy, I mean, really, it’s just tea. It’s delicious and better for you than soda (if you don’t weigh it down with tons of sugar and cream like I used to do), but it’s still just tea, not some magic potion that’s going to solve all of your problems.
Well. Since matcha came into my life, I’m more alert (obviously) and my system seems…cleaner. I don’t feel bogged down by the terrible foods I sometimes indulge in, and somehow my system seems less responsive to my dairy allergy. Don’t get me wrong, it still makes me sick, but it’s not the gut-wrenching “I’m gonna die” feeling I’m used to, it’s more of a “Oh man, I forgot and ate dairy again”. On the whole, I just feel healthier. Which is awesome. Everyone can afford to feel a little bit healthier, am I right?
Anyway, this tea (found here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/green-apple-matcha.html) smells amazing. Like juicy Granny Smith apples, sweet and tart all at the same time. I want to dip this tea in caramel. The flavor is perfect. It’s exactly what I expected this tea to taste like. It’s very juicy, my mouth is watering after every sip, and it’s tart without being stomach-turning sour. I am having a really hard time not adding some of my Red Leaf Tea Caramel matcha to this. They’re just begging to be blended. In college, I was big fan of the Caramel Apple shot, which is basically one part sour apple Pucker to one part butterscotch Schnapps. This seems like a good alternative for me to take to work and not get fired! Though now I’m wondering about matcha cocktails…
I love these matchas that are encouraging me to mix and match, play with different blends, bake…I love it! I wish I had the time to just lock myself in my kitchen with my matchas and experiment to my little heart’s content.
Now, those who follow me and my reviews know I can’t stop raving about the Madagascar Vanilla from Red Leaf Teas. I’m almost out of it already, it’s the one I reach for the most and when people ask which one they should try first, my immediate answer is “Vanilla. Oh my goodness, the vanilla.”
But Madagascar’s reign may soon be over.
French Vanilla is my one true love. French Vanilla anything. Vanilla was my favorite ice cream flavor before I gave up ice cream. French Vanilla is the ice cream flavor I will risk my dairy allergy for. It’s just so creamy and rich and guh, so good. So when Red Leaf Tea let me know they had a new matcha out, a French Vanilla (found here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/french-vanilla-matcha.html), I was sold. It immediately went into my cart and I feverishly finished my other reviews so I could order it as soon as possible.
I opened the package this morning and almost drooled. It smells like icing. Like I had just opened up a new tub of Betty Crocker vanilla frosting. Oh god, I want to drown in it. It’s almost too sweet for this early in the morning, but I don’t care! I have to have some of this now! I’ll make bacon later to make up for it.
It…it’s perfect. It’s everything I ever dreamed of in a vanilla matcha. Everything. Creamy, smooth, beyond amazing. I want to shout from the rooftops that I’ve found The One, the tea I’ve been searching for forever, the tea that is the reason I own 6 different vanilla rooibos and 8 variations on a vanilla black. This tea is my holy grail. It’s matcha, which I have come to love and value over almost any other tea, and it’s that French Vanilla goodness that rocks my world. I know it seems like I’ve gone a bit crazy, but this is just…guh. It’s fulfilling my ice cream cravings, my icing cravings, my everything cravings.
That said, I will likely keep the Madagascar around for mixing, as it seems to blend beautifully with other flavors, but when I want to sit down and just enjoy a good cup of matcha, the French Vanilla is what I will be reaching for. Oh yes, my pretty. We will have a long, happy life together. Red Leaf Tea, I honestly cannot thank you enough for introducing this blend.
Raspberries are my favorite fruit, hands-down. My grandmother used to have the most gorgeous raspberry plants in her backyard, and they would bear fruit for ages. Seriously, my mother’s birthday is in October and every year my grandmother would make her an angel food cake with fresh raspberry icing. I get my love of raspberries from my mom. But raspberry teas…they fall short for me, they tend to taste artificial and like raspberry candy. Don’t get me wrong, raspberry candy has its place, but I crave real raspberry flavor, I want a tea that tastes like I just ate the juiciest raspberry I’ve ever gotten my hands on. But I haven’t found that yet, which is why I was so excited to try this tea. Red Leaf Tea only uses natural flavoring in their matchas, so I’m really hoping that results in a natural raspberry taste. It also makes me really happy to see a company willing to refuse to use artificial flavoring.
Oh my goodness, this smells amazing. Red juicy raspberries, guh. So much love. I am so making this into an iced tea with summer with real raspberries in it. It doesn’t taste exactly like raspberries, but it’s darn close! Oh man it’s good. I need to try this iced. I will have a long, happy relationship with this this coming summer. It tastes purple. I don’t know why, it just does, in a really awesome way. I recently ordered a new travel mug in a “raspberry swirl” color, and this tea tastes the way I imagine that color would taste if it had a flavor….okay, now I’m just getting weird.
I am in love with matcha and I am in love with this particular one (found here:http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/raspberry-matcha.html). If you’re a fan of berries at all or raspberries in particular, then you need to try this matcha. I’m very eager to try this mixed together with one of my vanillas and make a raspberries and cream little beauty. Or cook with it! I get none of the matcha bitterness I’m used to, which is very nice. I did add sugar, I always add sugar to every tea I drink, otherwise the only tasting notes I would have would be “Tastes like tea. Needs sugar.” Ah well, as far as addictions go, it’s not the worst. I like to fool myself into thinking the goodness of the matcha outweighs the badness of the sugar, but I know I’m crazy. I might order some of Red Leaf Tea’s Sugar Destroyer matcha, just to see if blending that eliminates my need to oversugar my matchas.
So in my search for the perfect vanilla (which I’ve now found in Red Leaf Tea’s French Vanilla matcha), I’ve found that many caramel teas are close enough to temporarily satisfy me. But after a while I miss that vanilla creaminess and begin the hunt anew. Plus, caramel is my favorite sweet candy, though I prefer sour candies. But as a child who went through two sets of braces, caramel was not a treat I was allowed to indulge in often. But every Halloween I would buy a bag of those Caramel Apple suckers, braces be damned, and make them last for ages. My love affair with caramel has been a long and torrid one.
Anyway, caramel brings out those feel-good feeling in me. So of course when I was ordering my Green Apple matcha from Red Leaf Teas, the caramel (found here:http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html) had to tumble into my cart too! I have to try them mixed, or I’ll be doing my teenage self a grave disservice. But first, I’m going to try it by itself, with sugar added, of course. If it’s anything like their French Vanilla, I’m in for a treat. I’m trying to try all of the new ones, but all I want to do is return to that little gem.
On to the caramel! I’m only making a small cup of this as it is 9:30 at night and I want to sleep at some point. But hey, sleep is for the weak and matcha-less, right? Right. The smell is amazing. Like I just want to crawl into the package and spend the rest of forever there. The taste…mmm. Mmmmm….mmmm. Okay, it tastes like….mmmm. Maybe I needed a bigger cup. A soup bowl, perhaps. Guh…mmmm. It tastes like the French Vanilla, but with a lovely burnt sugar aftertaste that is rocking my world right now. It tastes like real caramel made on the stovetop with nothing but sugar, cream, and a big mess that is completely worth it. Mmmmm. When I was in high school, at a church carnival I won a caramel cake. It was a caramel-flavored cake that was laced with real caramel bits, caramel icing and drizzled with, you guessed it, caramel. This reminds me of that. Or the caramel pie from O’Charley’s, which was essentially a pie crust filled with caramel. This is amazing, and I want to order some with the “There’s matcha in this?” flavoring option so I can just drown in the caramelly goodness. This is a must-always-have-in-stock for me.
Edit: My wife just pointed out that it tastes like marshmallow Peep s’mores, and I couldn’t agree more! If you’ve never made s’mores with Peeps instead of marshmallows, you haven’t lived. Just ask my father in law XD.
This was my cold-steeped work tea on Wednesday, to go with my pink lunchbag with matching pink salad thermos and pink bento boxes. It was a very pink day nods
I used up the last of my stash for this, planning to head out to Tealish on Sunday to pick up more, but it’s out of stock! Woe. Ah well, that just gives me an excuse to travel downtown when it is back in stock. Nom. It’s fruity and tasty…one of my friends at work has had dragon fruit before and encouraged me to try it, so I might try to get my grubby hands on some in the near future.