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86 Tasting Notes

99
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
86 tasting notes

I’m so excited! My matcha is finally here. After reading all the amazing reviews about Red Leaf here on Steepster, I just had to jump on the matcha bandwagon. I hemmed and hawed for quite a while because the selection of flavoured matcha is a bit overwhelming. I settled on Royal Matcha Tea and Caramel Matcha because I felt the need to try the pure version as well as the yummy deliciousness that everyone keeps talking about. You can find it here:
http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html

When I opened the bag of Caramel Matcha, I thought I’d gone to tea heaven. Seriously, I could sit here and smell this all day. Sweet yummy caramel. I do wish I had gotten the little tins; I thought the bags would be resealable like other teas I’ve purchased online. Well, live and learn. Besides, my tea is here!! I was so nervous about messing this up since 1) I’ve had really bad tea mojo lately (see my last 3 reviews), and 2) I really, really wanted to make a great bowl of matcha with this. I have a chasen already, and got the little bamboo spoon with my Red Leaf order. I still don’t have a proper chawan; I’m waiting to find the right design for me. I have a small sifter, but anticipation led me to blindly forget it right beside the bowl, and I dumped a teaspoon of matcha in. Poured in 3 oz of water that I boiled, then let sit for a few minutes to cool. Like Alphakitty, I measured out the water exactly because I really didn’t want to mess it up. I’m still working on my whisking technique. I can build up a pretty good foam but it disappears in the time it takes to walk from the kitchen to my desk. Not sure if that means I’m not whisking enough. My first sip definitely told me I didn’t whisk enough. Too grassy and no caramel taste.

After further whisking, I was very happy. The scent is still nice and strong; even in my now empty bowl. The matcha was still a tad bitter but wonderfully delicious. I got hints of caramel at first. I got even more after I added a pinch of sugar and more whisking. I went for the “distinctive” level of flavouring. I will probably bump it up to “robust” next time. I have got to learn to drink faster though because it got cold really quickly. I also should have read up on how much caffeine is in here before drinking matcha at 7:30 pm.

So let’s go for broke and make a matcha latte too. Another teaspoon of matcha (again forgetting to sift…will drinking matcha help with my memory?), 3 oz of hot water…lots of whisking…1 bare teaspoon of sugar and a cup of heated soy milk…more whisking. And I’m in heaven. Sleep? Who needs sleep when I have the most amazing matcha sitting right in front of me?

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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drank Sheri's Blend by 52teas
86 tasting notes

Why have I not been able to write positive review lately? Have I lost my tea mojo?

I tried this tea shortly after I received it, but didn’t like it so I put in the back of my cupboard as a “maybe I did something wrong so I’ll have to try again” tea. Tonight I felt like a rooibos before bed and thought now’s as good a time as any to give it another go.

Dry, the tea smells like soap to me. Overpoweringly floral and kind of off-putting.

Steeped, it smells wood and soap. Still not very appealing. I started by drinking it hot with no additives. Guess what it tasted like to me? Yup, soap. And a teaspoon of sugar didn’t make it any better. It’s cold now, and marginally more tolerable but I can’t finish this mug. :(

I have loved every other tea I’ve had from 52teas, so it’s definitely just a matter of personal taste. Plus, there is only 1 review that rates this under 70, so it’s well received by others. I don’t feel right giving this a rating given the circumstances.

I will be giving this away, so let me know if you want it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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94
drank Citron Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
86 tasting notes

After the Beauty Renewal tea disaster, I pulled this out of my cupboard. Of course, forgetting that I much prefer this iced than hot. Sigh. I just can’t win tonight.

I love the lemony scent with light whiffs of jasmine. I bought some organic honey from the Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks ago so added that (but a little too much unfortunately). It’s more tea flavoured honey at this point than lemony, jasmine-y or oolong-y. Can’t I just have a decent cup of tea tonight?

Not changing the rating because I still love this as my go-to iced tea. But no more tea experiments tonight.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Insence&Tea

Sorry about your mishaps :( Despite those this sounds like a wonderful tea, considering I love citrus and oolong, so I’ll have to look into getting some

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4
drank Beauty Renewal by Teaopia
86 tasting notes

I really, really dislike saying that a tea is terrible…but this tea is terrible :( So much so that I don’t think I can bring myself to try it again to see if I’m wrong.

The second I opened the tin, I was pretty sure I was going to have a tough time with this. Dry, it smells like old herbs that have been sitting around for way too long; musty and unpleasant. I thought that maybe it’s one of those cases where something good for you doesn’t seem so good (like Buckley’s).

It wasn’t any better steeped. At that point, it smelled like old grass; kinda like when you walk through a forest and come across a patch of rotting plant matter. I was scared to take a sip.

It has a medicinal quality to it. It certainly smells worse than it tastes, but not by much. I couldn’t tell you what ingredients are so problematic for me: white tea, gingko leaves, burdock root, tulsi leaves, elderflowers, papaya leaves, bamboo leaves, echinacea leaves, dandelion leaves, chamomile, sarsaparilla root and marigold petals. All I can tell you is that I couldn’t take more than a few sips while it was hot and one more sip when cooled to confirm I didn’t like it before it went down the drain.

The other Wellness blends got better ratings. Maybe this just isn’t my cup of tea (ha, ha). I feel bad because this tin was a birthday gift from a very good friend, but there’s no way I’ll finish it.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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91

I bought this earlier in the year when I happened to be in Regina for a workshop. It was fun exploring my old haunts, and even more fun to find a specialty tea store :) I’m surprised I haven’t logged this one yet though.

I bought Latte Macchiato because 1) I love coffee just as much as I love tea and 2) I wanted to compare it to the Latte Macchiato from Adonia Tea in Vancouver. They both have a dry scent that’s a pleasant mix of earthy tea and fresh coffee. Adonia has the strange but yummy yogurt crispies in their blend. Cuppa’T has coconut flakes which I love.

They both taste very similar as well. Just a hint of coffee, and a nice creaminess. This blend is a bit more astringent than Adonia’s. Maybe I’ll just cut down on the steeping time. I had this today with a teaspoon of sugar and some So Delicious coconut milk to add to the coconut flakes. It’s a very nice way to start the weekend.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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43
drank Vanilla Rooibos by Shanti Tea
86 tasting notes

Decided to finish up this sample by making a pitcher of iced tea. Still meh. Again, it’s not bad; it’s just not remarkable in any way. It’s probably marginally better as a hot tea. I’m glad I got this out of my cupboard before the new teas from 52teas and Red Leaf get here. (I really have to stop buying more and start drinking more.)

Preparation
Iced

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73
drank Rooibos Renewal by Saje
86 tasting notes

I was a little nervous for this one after the fiasco with Saje’s Chai Comfort. Turns out that this is the tea that I sampled in the store. And it is as nice as I remembered it being. It has wonderful citrus notes, but I can’t find the vanilla and lavender that are supposed to be in there. I’m on my second steeping; it’s still nice and strong even though it’s in a bag.

So Saje is redeemed with this tea. One more flavour in my stash to try (Mint Miracle)…we’ll see how that one fares another day.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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80

Try #2 this morning: 2.5 tsp of matcha, little bit of hot water to get it dissolved, and 1 cup of 1% milk.

Yup, milk is definitely the way to go. (Or soy, almond, coconut, or rice milks that are unsweetened) I was much happier with my latte today. I downed it faster too so that it didn’t have time to get all cold on me. The only sad thing is that I don’t have any more milk in the apartment :( Now I’m going to have to find something else for my next cup of tea.

As a side note, please read my most recent blog post. It’s not tea related (other than the fact that I mentioned this mug of matcha latte); it’s about the Indigo Adopt a School program to bring books to students across Canada. I’m determined to spread the news as much as I can because I love reading, and I can’t imagine not having enough books in the school library.
http://missmylin.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/adopt-a-school/

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80

I’m so excited! I’ve been wanting to try my hand at matcha for a while now but didn’t know how to get started. Then, I was at Nutters, an organic grocery here in Red Deer, and I found a whole section on matcha. Woo hoo! After spending way too much time reading all the packages, I thought this would be a good starting point.

I love matcha lattes, but they can get crazy expensive at the chain coffee shops. I also love coconut, so the instructions on the back on this bag really appealed to me. Got myself a chasen while I was there too.

I was actually a little nervous while preparing the latte this morning. I really didn’t want to screw up. I don’t have a proper chawan, but I have a wide mouth latte mug so that had to do. Followed the instructions to a tee, using heated So Delicious Original coconut milk.

Wow is this ever sweet! And I like sweet. But this was very unexpected. I checked, and sure enough, the first ingredient in the tea is cane sugar. Plus the coconut milk is sweetened. Gotta remember that next time. The combination of coconut flavour in both the tea and milk is very nice. My latte cooled down super fast though. Not sure I like that. There was a lot of tea accumulated at the bottom of the mug. Does that mean I didn’t whisk it enough? Probably, because it got very grainy near the end of the mug.

I liked this quite a bit, particularly since it was my first time making matcha at home. No bitterness, just yummy tea. Definitely have to tone down the sweetness somehow. I ordered some matcha from Red Leaf last night, so I’ll be able to try caramel and royal matcha soon.

LiberTEAS

Matcha tends to separate as it sits, so unless you down it really fast. So, it’s not necessarily that you didn’t whisk enough but that you need to whisk again if you don’t drink it really quickly.

You won’t get as much sweetness with the unsweetened matcha that you get from Red Leaf, the latte mixes tend to be mostly sugar.

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51

So, three bags of tea steeped for 5 minutes in a bit of hot water, then fill the pitcher with cold water and stick in the fridge overnight. Time to try this puppy iced. Oh, also added 3/4 cup of simple syrup.

This is much nicer iced. I tried it first without sweetening, but it was just another iced green tea. It’s the sugar that I find brings out the blueberry notes. I’m much happier with this than I was with the hot tea. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing that I don’t have a lot of this hanging around.

Preparation
Iced
Fjellrev

Disney makes tea?! You learn something everyday.

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Workaholic, optometric assisting guru, trainer extraordinaire, photo geek, kick-ass volunteer; all in 1 not-so-neat package!

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Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

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