Hide

Welcome to Steepster, an online tea community.

Write a tea journal, see what others are drinking and get recommendations from people you trust. or Learn More

92 Tasting Notes

97
drank Wenshan Baozhong by Harney & Sons
92 tasting notes

Excellent green oolong, with a strong buttery component and a wonderful flower-sweet aftertaste. The smell of the cup is sweetness, kind of like honey and bananas (?) and just barely gardenia/jasmine-y. Perhaps this all, combined, is what honeysuckle smells like?

I was expecting the flavor to be like a green Tie Guan Yin, but this pouchong is more alike buttered sweet vegetables than the magnolia and gardenia bouquet of TGY. The sweetness of this cup is amazing…it’s making me think of honey drizzled on french bread, for some reason.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Hawaii-Grown Oolong by Samovar
92 tasting notes

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82

The first time I made this blend (Masala Chai + Irish Breakfast), I tried to brew it like a regular tea and added milk. The result? Gag-worthy roasted yam juice tea. Today, I thought I’d try this again, this time making this in a more authentic way. I used teaplz’s instructions as restated by Kitch3ntools (http://steepster.com/Kitch3ntools/posts/21032), and I also added 4 green cardamom pods to the saucepan as it was brewing. I just eyeballed the amounts and might have used a bit more sugar that was called for, but the result was delicious! Yay!
The spice mix tastes very similar to my mom’s homemade chai. The dry leaf smells like cinnamon, which I wasn’t too thrilled about, but I can’t really taste any in the final cup. I like that there are whole cloves in the mix. The balance of tea to spices was perfect for me. I do wish the base had more English Breakfast than Irish Breakfast in it, as I don’t really like Irish Breakfast (too yam-ey). The malt from the IB comes through the milk just a smidge, so if you like that, you’ll probably really like this blend.

Preparation
8 min or more

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

93
drank Honey Ginseng by The Republic of Tea
92 tasting notes

Oh, I really like this tea. I was not expecting to like this tea. I was expecting some kind of hibiscusy, bitter-crushed-up green tea, yucky herbal concoction. But the actual tea? It smelled like honey! Really! Like actual, from the jar, honey. And no hibiscus in sight! Along with the honey was a flowery taste, which I’m guessing is the ginseng. This tea would be any honey or sweet tea lover’s dream. I didn’t add any honey to my cup, but I’m sure this tea, with a bit of honey added, would convert any black/sweet tea drinker who thinks green tea tastes like water. This is a definite repurchase for me.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 45 sec
Janefan

this one is very good with a touch of honey. I used to get it whenever I went to Panera bread. It’s also fairly forgiving, as they brew it super hot.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

91
drank Orange Jasmine by China Mist
92 tasting notes

Wow…I kind of love this tea, and I have no idea how to order more of it! My mother actually found this in the clearance bin at the store. Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting much. However, upon opening the individually wrapped packets, I was happy see that these were actually whole leaf teas, encased in nylon sachets. Just under 3 minutes of steeping results in a well-balanced cup of jasmine white tea, with a hint of sweet orange. More than 3 minutes of steeping and the brew begins to get bitter, so it’s important to watch the time on this one. The tea is not too perfumey, and you can taste the white tea base. The orange is secondary to the jasmine and white tea, like a hint of flavor floating above the jasmine white tea base. The actual character of the orange flavor changes from sip to sip. Near the beginning of the cup, it reminded me of a sweet, “dark” orange flavor (like in orange soda, but less artificial); and now, by the end, I’m thinking of navel oranges. Mmm. I need to figure out how to get more of this….

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 45 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82
drank Strawberry Matcha by 52teas
92 tasting notes

Thank you Ricky for this sample and for being a very patient swap buddy :)

I love the smell of the strawberries in this mix…it’s like strawberry milk or strawberry ice cream. Yum. Unfortunately, my matcha is a little affected by the smell/taste of some of the other teas in the box, so I’m not sure how much of the mellowed, milky flavor is from the matcha itself and how much is from the other yummy teas Ricky sent me. :)

This matcha, like 52teas Mandarin Matcha, has a kind of strange sharp, sour note. I’m not sure why…I assumed in the case of the Mandarin Matcha it was the acidity of the orange, but the same sourness is in this matcha as well. Maybe its a preservative or a flavoring thing? Or just the quality of the matcha itself? Who knows, but it’s keeping me from really loving this.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C
TeaEqualsBliss

I’m thinking this is one I will have to try at some point! :)

SoccerMom

The sharpness in this one put me off. I haven’t craved it since my second attempt which was mildly better than the first.

LiberTEAS

@Shanti: I notice the tart note as well. I attribute it to the combination of the fruit and matcha… since matcha has kind of a different sweetness than does either of these fruits, maybe the matcha brings out more of the tart of the fruit? I don’t know for sure, but I was just kind of thinking that was why… sort of like when you eat a chocolate cupcake and then drink orange juice… the orange juice tastes a bit sour after eating the sweet cupcake. :)

S

I thought it might be that as well, but it’s the same strange tartness in both the mandarin matcha and the strawberry matcha, and to me it doesn’t seem to be connected to the “fruit” flavor very much. I’m guessing it’s a preservative or something.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

88
drank Ceremonial Grade DoMatcha by DoMatcha
92 tasting notes

My package finally arrived! Included was a 1.06 tin of ceremonial grade matcha and a bamboo whisk (chasen). Thank you to DoMatcha for holding this contest! I decided to go ahead and prepare this thick style right off the bat. For those who are unfamiliar with matcha, there are two ways matcha is usually prepared: thick style (koicha) and thin style (usucha). Koicha is prepared using more matcha and less water, and thus requires very high grade matcha; using a lower grade matcha to make koicha will result in a bitter, undrinkable mess. Generally speaking, the higher the grade of matcha, the sweeter and less bitter it will be. I’m using the directions a friend of mine told me about preparing koicha, as well as the instructions listed at http://www.yuuki-cha.com/matcha_green_tea_powder.php. Note: These directions are for koicha (thick) matcha, and not usucha.

1. Sift 3.5 chashaku scoops of matcha into pre-heated, dry bowl.
The chashaku is a bamboo scoop that comes with many matcha sets. I read on a blog that the amount of matcha in a single chashaku scoop should be about the size of an almond—if anyone has learned tea ceremony, please let me know if this is accurate.
2. Heat 40-50mL of water to a temperature between 70°C and 80°C (158°F and 176°F).
I went with just under 50 mL of 165°F water which probably cooled down a little before I had a chance to add it to the matcha powder.
3. Add a small amount of the water to the sifted matcha to create a thick paste. Using the chasen (bamboo whisk), knead (don’t whisk!) the water and matcha powder together using up/down and left/right motions, or a calm 360° rotating motion.
The water and matcha paste actually was fairly smooth from what I could see, probably thanks to the sifting. It almost looked like green paint.
4. Add the rest of the water to the matcha powder. Continue kneading, not whisking, the matcha. Koicha is not supposed to be frothy, and the kneading should produce a tea that is thick, smooth, and without froth.

The resulting tea was thick and smooth. I was shocked because there was absolutely no bitterness. None. Whatsoever. Maybe my taste buds are off because I’m used to drinking very concentrated matcha using crappy quality powder, but really: I didn’t taste any bitterness or astringency. The flavor of the matcha was a little more on the savory side than sweet. It was vegetal and just lightly sweet, similar to steamed green beans, and oh so creamy…mmm. There wasn’t much of a sea or seaweedy taste. There was no grittiness or left-over clumps, and there was such a small amount of tea (50 ml) that there was no opportunity for settling. The temperature was a bit cool for me, probably because I sifted the powder after the water was done heating up, instead of before, so it just sat on my counter losing heat. Oops.

I prepared a bowl of my really low grade matcha from Mighty Leaf in the same way, and the result was a very bitter and had a thinner mouthfeel, for some reason. So, another plus of the DoMatcha ceremonial grade: the mouthfeel was really smooth, thick, and creamy. The Mighty Leaf was also gritty and didn’t mix as well as the DoMatcha, but that might have been because of error in preparation.

Unfortunately, this is the first ceremonial grade matcha I’ve ever tried, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. However, this is a really delicious matcha, and the lack of bitterness, the sweetness and savoriness, and the creamy and thick mouthfeel all make this one a winner for me.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C
LiberTEAS

Best tasting note on Matcha Ever! :)

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I know it truly is great and btw great note.

__Morgana__

Terrific instructional note. This is a great how-to for me as I’ve never made matcha before and my chawan just arrived in the mail yesterday so now I feel like I am ready! Or I did, until I realized I had neglected to get a scoop. Hmm. Do I need a scoop before I can do this? Or alternatively, any idea how much a scoop translates into in teaspoons?

LiberTEAS

Morgana: I now have a chashaku scoop, but until about 2 weeks ago, I have been drinking Matcha (for years!) without one, a teaspoon works just fine, and using the “almond size” guideline as suggested in this tasting note would be a good starting point… and know that everyone’s tastes are quite different, so experiment a little to find what works best for you. Best of luck with it! Matcha is awesome!

S

Hmm, I’m not sure how much one scoop is in teaspoons, but if you can visualize an almond, that’s about the size of a scoop. A heaping scoop would be about 1 1/2 almonds, I suppose. :)

Also, if anyone is wondering how to make thin-style usucha, you use 1 1/2 to 2 scoops of matcha, and 70 mL of water. Whisk the matcha using a “W” or zigzag motion, and voila!

__Morgana__

Almond with or without the shell?

LiberTEAS

Oh… you also don’t need a fancy sifter (a tea strainer works as does a simple, small strainer that I picked up in the grocery store for a buck fifty). You don’t even need a chawan… you can use a smallish cereal bowl. I used to use a fork to whisk my matcha until I finally broke down and bought a chasen… and that is the one tool that I would say is probably the most essential… but it could probably be replaced with a small wire whisk…

S

One more thing: definitely start out with usucha if this is your first time making matcha! Koicha can be kind of off-putting if you’re not used to making matcha, and even usucha can seem strong sometimes. I like to do 3 to 4 ounces of water and 3 to 4 scoops of matcha.

Another thing to keep in mind: koicha requires very high grade matcha, so I wouldn’t necessarily use 52teas or Might Leaf matcha to make koicha :) but of course, that’s what experimentation is for :)

S

Almond without the shell (I’m not sure how big they are with the shell), but I tend to do a little bit bigger than almost sized scoops since a lot of websites say “heaping” scoops…so yeah, I’m not totally sure about the size.

LiberTEAS

Yes, I totally agree with Shanti. I made that very mistake of making Koicha once with a lower grade of Matcha and it was not a good thing (but it is a mistake that can be easily remedied if you add more water to thin it out a bit…) This is one reason why I usually buy high grade Matcha now, unless I find a interesting flavor (Frank’s flavored Matchas have been amazing) or latte mix that intrigues me (I’m loving Domo’s chocolate and I love Pirate’s Chai). But for unflavored Matcha, I go with Ceremonial grade because I do prefer mine slightly thicker.

LiberTEAS

Just visualize a large, roasted almond without the shell… that will give you a nice starting point… and then experiment from there to find the “just right” scoop for you. Even with the chashaku scoop I still go by “eye” than I do by “scoop” because I’ve sort of trained myself to the amount that looks right.

S

I agree with LiberTEAS…the scoop isn’t precise (you can google chashaku for an image) and it really does come down to just eyeballing the amount you like.

Rabs

Shanti: I wanted to add another thank you! for the wonderfully detailed note! I have yet to try (non-Starbucks) Matcha, but I know when I finally do that I’ll track this note down :D

SoccerMom

Great tasting note very informative! Thanks Shanti!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84
drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
92 tasting notes

Okay so….my new bag of Coconut Cream Pie came in. Unfortunately, I broke my french press while trying to wash it, so I had to make this in a tea ball. When I opened my bag, it smelled so strong and made me gag (I hate coconut usually…). What gives, CCP? Maybe the sample Ricky gave me lost some of its flavor/smell because it was older, or was a different batch, but this bag is too strong. The steeped tea tasted very strongly of coconut as well, in the bad way. Sigh.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Rabs

Oh nose!!!!! :(

Jillian

That’s a shame, I really enjoyed this tea but it definitely is heavier on the coconut. Adagio’s Capricorn blend is good is you prefer something that’s more creamy than nutty.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

96

I’ve been spoiling myself all day…first Dawn, now Jackee…

By the way, if anyone has any recommendations for Keemuns or Yunnans that are smokey and delicious like Jackee, let me know! I’m already dreading the day my tin runs out…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec
Doulton

For me Jackee segued into the Lapsong Souchongs that I love so much. Jackee and his smoke have left me permanently intoxicated.

Stephanie

Me too! I’m rationing Jackee—there’s only a precious bit of him left!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

Busy college student; 20 years old; tea-novice. Grew up on homemade chai and black tea with milk and sugar.

Following These People