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74 Tasting Notes

67

Not too bad. I agree with this other review that I’ve had better Jasmine Silver Needles before. The first time I tried it was from Adagio and I was blown away. Imperial Tea Court makes an excellent one too. This one is fine, but not my favorite. I think the blending on other jasmine white needles is better. Imperial Tea Court probably takes the cake on this by a long shot.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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80

I’ve been meaning to try Matcha again for quite a long time and this is my first foray back into it… it was well worth it. I traveled to Japan in 2009 and unknowingly had Matcha several times at random sushi restaurants, etc. It was interesting there but I just figured it was a normal green tea, nothing special right? Oh man, was I wrong! This stuff really is something to pay attention to, and the different flavor and health benefits possible with matcha are well beyond any standard green tea. This is really a fascinating beverage and I am excited to get back into it.
Before this, I had never tried a flavoured matcha, in fact I had no idea such a thing could exist! Red Leaf pulls off the flavoured matcha with grace and skill, and offers a wild and impressive set of expected (vanilla bean, caramel, etc.) flavours and some wildly crazy and epic sounding ones (Coca Cola Matcha?!!!!) I am gonna have to try that one.
I bought the Red Leaf Starter (Basic Grade), Delicate flavouring of Caramel Matcha. This is available on their site here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html
Since I am a bit of a matcha newbie, I had to read their site about how to prepare it. It was very helpful. I got a whisk from Japantown and used a Chashaku (Bamboo Scoop) to measure out the matcha. I used 2 scoops and my first cup used the suggested amount, 3 oz of 80C water. I whisked it, poured it from the bowl to a mug and drank it from a mug, no extra water added. This was my previous experience with matcha in general, quite thick and vegetal. It was good.
In fact it was so good, I found myself going back to the kitchen to make a 2nd cup of it not 1 hr later!! This time I decided to change it up a bit, using only 1 scoop of matcha this time and a little less water, and then after whisking, adding a fair bit more water to reduce the thickness and make a larger drink. I think I actually enjoyed this better, it was a little sweeter this way and also allowed for a more tea-like experience (rather than a sort of “tea shot” like I had earlier). This was very tasty!
These are the only ways I have prepared it so far but I think it might be wiser (for my unrefined palate!) to buy the “Distinctive” flavouring next time so that I can get a stronger flavor. This one is subtle, but I tend to enjoy stronger more bold flavourings in my tea, so I think the next one I get from Red Leaf I will pay just a little extra to get more flavouring. Excited to follow this new tasty and healthy habit!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Happiness by Lupicia
74 tasting notes

An interesting combination of green tea and green rooibos. I don’t like it quite as much as the Tokio tea from Lupicia but it is still very nice. The green tea and green rooibos go nicely together, and I often enjoy those kind of combo teas. This tastes like something I tried from a cheaper company a while back, but much better. Very high quality tea as always from Lupicia, nice and smooth. Peachy flavour hits you right at the start of the sip. Aftertaste is fruity and floral without any of that terrible astringent overpowering green tea taste you can get from some green teas. Very nice cup.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Tokio by Lupicia
74 tasting notes

Wow this is fantastic. I smelled some of the recent featured Green Teas at Lupicia and this one was very striking. The fruity flavour goes very nicely with a smooth and chilled out green tea base – it is not strong and overpowering like some green teas can be. This is one of the nicer green teas I’ve had in a while… very awesome. Well done as always, Lupicia! They are always so good with their fruit-flavoured teas. Awesome stuff!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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90

Well, that was freakin’ awesome.

I’m a major fan of Jasmine Silver Needle tea since trying Adagio’s a while back and Imperial Tea Court’s version is an epic contender. It’s a really floral and tasty aroma, and I made it in my brand new gaiwan, also from Imperial Tea Court in San Francisco.

The directions suggested re-steeping for longer periods of time and I tried that, it worked pretty well. But the first 2 steepings were definitely strongest and most flavourful – it lasted maybe for only 4 or 5 steepings (still, not bad!) I used only about 3/4 of a teaspoon for a 4oz gaiwan, so maybe I should use a little more next time. Anyway, this was amazing and tasty and epic and I loved it. Well done!

This was a lot tastier and less astringent than Lupicia’s Jasmine Special Grade, though I think that one is actually a green jasmine. This was very well balanced, great subtle undertones but strong floral, jasmine punch at the beginning. Just awesome.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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90
drank Valentines by Adagio Teas
74 tasting notes

Upping my rating to 90. This stuff is awesome.

Steeped for 3 min this time rather than 5 (which led to some bitterness), that was perfect. Takes milk very well and is such an awesome afternoon treat. This is really very tasty, so well balanced. The floral and fruity tastes are present but not overwhelming as with other teas. This stuff rocks.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Valentines by Adagio Teas
74 tasting notes

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84

Thanks to Angel from TeaVivre for the great samples!

This was a very nice tea, similar in style to some silk oolongs I’ve tried in the past. There is a nice green tea-style “vegetal” flavour – it’s got that fresh grassy oolong taste which is very smooth and enjoyable. There is some light sweetness as well that blends nicely together for a very rounded taste – very straightforwardly good. This is a light tea which you could sip very casually and have a nice calm day. Very tasty and a great addition to the tea collection!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Maiden's Ecstasy by Samovar
74 tasting notes

Finally got a chance to try this and this is the best Pu-Erh I’ve tried yet.

No gross fishy smell or taste like I got from the Numi Emporer’s Pu-Erh tea bags and a fun and enjoyable brewing method too. Had the iron tea pot with boiled water and poured that into a small yixing clay pot which was a fun brewing method. The server suggested 30 sec brewing time so I followed that generally, or brewed up to 1 min or so. Did about 12 steepings.

At first the flavour was stronger, not quite in-your-face which was very encouraging. This does remind me a bit of Lapsang in the way that it’s more like you’re drinking a fancy hard liquor (like Islay Scotch, or something) than a tea. So a very interesting and fun experience out, and definitely nice vibe to have this outdoors at the fancy Samovar Tea Shop downtown in Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Don’t know if I’d make this one for myself at home if I got some, but it’s a fun tea to have out.

The flavour was rich and inviting but not overpowering which was really surprising. I found myself really enjoying the taste and making comparisons to Samovar’s (very strong) Yerba Mate as well – in the way that it’s sort of a “unique” tea, not an every day one, but it’s fun to have once in a while as you suspect it’s so strange that it’s epically good for your health.

I had a LOT of this tea, 2 full teapots full. I hadn’t had a ton of lunch beforehand so I started to notice the caffeine hitting me pretty hard – also it was a bit harsh on the stomach too – I suspect this might be better if not on an empty stomach. It was very nice while drinking it but perhaps I had too much, this might be a better one to share with someone, or perhaps have only 1 teapot instead of 2. In any case I still liked it and despite the very present flavours and strong reaction I would have it again, prob just with food next time.

Best Pu-Erh yet, but this is making me wonder if you’re not supposed to drink Pu-Erh like you drink Black Tea – I could have 3 mugs of black tea and never feel blech afterwards. Perhaps this is a bit more acidic or something and warrants a little more caution. But in any case it was fun, and I’d try it again.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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89

Thank you to Angel from TeaVivre for these very generous samples!

WOW. This was really fantastic. This is my first experience with TeaVivre and it
was excellent from the packaging to the tea quality. The tea is packaged twice for maintaining freshness, something I did not expect and was impressed with. I made
a large teapot with 2 of the internal packets and this tea impressed the heck out of my visitors from the very start. We did 2 infusions and it held up very well to the 2nd infusion.

The tea flavour was very unique: unlike anything I’ve tried before. This was very interesting and unusual, in a great way. My friend said, “It smells like honey.” I got notes of honey as well but the clearest image in my mind while drinking this tea was, “This is a Green Tea, gone Black!” It really reminded me of the flavour and enjoyment of a good green tea, it just happened to be a black tea! That was a surprising though, but as I drank further that thought continued. Very good! Great with milk or straight-up. A really unexpected and rich flavour, excellent.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Meagan T.

I’ve added this to my shopping list! It sounds amazing.

Mike Jutan

It was really unusual, got a bit of a kick if you steep it a bit stronger. I was impressed!

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Profile

Bio

Hello fellow tea nerds!

I’m Canadian and my parents are South African, plus I lived in England and Australia as a kid… so I’m rockin some pretty mad British Empire vibe and thus I’ve been a tea fan for quite some time. I am now totally hooked on loose-leaf. It’s super fun to try a bazillion new kinds of tea and choose the right one for a given moment in a day.

My favourite teas are well balanced, mild, maybe fruity/citrusy or with interesting flavours (eg: silk oolongs, grapefruit green rooibos, jasmine silver needle white tea, melon white tea). I also like a solid malty British or other bold style black teas with some oomph (eg: Yunnan Golden Tips, PG Tips).

Let’s nerd out together about why tea is so friggin’ epic!

Location

San Francisco, California

Website

http://www.mikejutan.com

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