15 Tasting Notes
Thoughts on this store aside, Teavana sells some nice, quality matcha green tea. This tea, done in traditional 1-2tsp:6-8oz water ratio came out slightly astringent (good for matcha), wonderfully vegetal (as you have guessed, good as well), and ever so slightly sweet. Not as sweet as some matchas I’ve tasted if this is what you are after. Of course, make sure you NEVER have anything sweet before drinking your matcha. This (sometimes) highly expensive and (sometimes, but more rarely) high-quality green tea is drunk communally, and served with either savory treats or after drinking, sweet treats. This is a great example of the tencha green tea leaf harvested after spending its life under the shade and processed either by hand or mechanical means. I would definitely buy my green tea from Teavana again (especially in the larger 3.5 oz. size).
So here’s why I didn’t give this tea a higher rating: 1) Matcha should be fresh tasting, smooth, slightly bitter, immensely vegetal, and FRESH tasting, this tea simply was not, 2) the tea was delivered in a tin with the green tea pouring out of the tin when it arrived (of course the tea was “sealed” with a plastic wrapper, 3) the tea was not hermetically sealed which, for matcha green tea, is a big no-no. Now onto tasting note: this brew was a ratio of 1 tsp to 6-8 ounces. The tea aroma was moderately fresh smelling, but on the slightly flat side. The tea liquor was granular/powdery forest green in color. Usually, my other matchas are more of a lighter green than this with the same ratio. The taste of the tea was VERY bitter, the kind that you associate with drinking dish-washing soap, not the good kind of astringency normally found in quality matcha green tea. I honestly don’t know what to do with this tea except dilute completely in colder water and try it that way, or put on food as one might use culinary-grade matcha. I feel very sorry, however, that at the cost of imperial (ceremonial-grade) matcha, I now have a small tin of low-grade culinary matcha. For a better quality matcha buy from Teavana. I rarely tout this “tea” store for anything, but they must be commended for their high-quality, ceremonial-grade matcha.
“Heavenly” is the best description of this tea. The green oolong used to make this wonderful tea is some of the finest that I have tasted from Taiwan. If that was not good enough, the “cream,” what ever that might consist of, makes this tea purely exquisite! I brewed the traditional 2-3 (2:30 exactly) minutes at 195 Fahrenheit in purified water, and was rewarded after two steepings, with two wonderful pots of tea. This tea has an aroma of caramel and sweet green oolong. The flavor is the oolong is surprisingly mellow, were it not for leaving out the sugar, this tea would taste like you were drinking a cup of liguid caramel. The aftertaste contains an ever-so-slight briskness, but also a bit of the creaminess lingers on as well taking the edge off. Overall, and I am not one to give such steadfast valuations of teas, I would consider this tea the best cream/milk/silk oolong I have ever had. Thank you very much Tillerman’s Tea!! I do hope you are still around (I bought this tea, if you could believe, on a Nov. 2008 trip to San Francisco) so I can buy some more from you!
This Ti Kuan/Quan Yin has nice smoky top notes, as well as a rich mellow middle note. This tea does have floral base notes and a lingering floral aftertaste. Ti Kuan Yin drinkers must be comfortable with roasted/smoky notes. Not nearly as smoky as lapsang souchong, but imagine a very mild lapsang mixed with a nice floral chinese green tea. A good sipping tea.
I had this tea two very different ways, both western style brewing in a glass tea pot, the first way I had this tea was by using 195 degree water for a 2 minute brew: the result was a slightly burned tea, but it brought out many deep flavors of the tea. There was a slight bitterness to the tea. The second way I brewed this teas was by using 160 degree water for around 2 minutes. The tea produced a wonderful light floral/grassy flavor, light-green/yellow liquor, and the leaves themselves turned a little lighter green after steeping. The tea is a fine example of first flush Spring teas from Sichuan, and unlike the spicy food the region is known for, this tea is mellow, floral, and sweet. I look forward to buying a whole lot more of this tea (at the price point it cannot be beat)!!
As far as creme earl greys go, this one was a little disappointing, but not entirely bad. The tea itself is a tad on the bitter side, and there is a slight aftertaste of cough syrup. This might be an over-concentration of the bergamot oil used or it might be too old/young black tea. The aroma, on the other hand, is heavenly! This is a deceiving tea. I only rated it so low because it should be a sipping tea, but it cannot be enjoyed hour after hour if it is even a little bitter (the tannins take their toll eventually, don’t do it with bitter tea). Will try a re-steap at a higher temp (200 or 205) and shorter steep time (3 min) and see what changes.
I don’t know what to say. This tea tasted as if it were lacking depth. The tea brewed a nice color, and the smell was not bad, but the taste was just not there. I’m hoping to try out different temps or steep times to get the extra dimension out. This tea was, relatively, one of the most expensive teas at Tea Zone; thus, I expected more… Anyway, I’ll try again some other time after changing it up a little. Will get a Breville tea maker soon and intend to do some rapid steepsearching with it on this tea.
This silver needle white tea from tea zone was mellow, not even a hint of bitterness. No flavors, no bad tastes coming out of this tea. It REALLY helps to have purified water (aka. de-flourinated de-chlorinated water) for a tea this light. GREAT sipping tea. The quality of the tea is somewhere around good to excellent (~85/100). Used about 19 needles for about 10 ounces of hot water.
This Anxi Silk Oolong from RBTC is an excellent version of the popular milk-flavored oolongs. This tea gives off a wonderful creamy aroma, and brews a nice clear, but milky-tasting brew. The flavor is wonderful, and the quality is good to excellent of the tea they use. This tea definitely ages well. I just finished off my bag which was 3-4 years old, and it nearly the same taste. Of course, with time and with many oolongs, oolong tea ages well, but tends to mellow out the longer it is kept. My tea was kept in its airtight silver RBTC bag which may have preserved the taste somewhat. It would be interesting to find out what someone thinks of a silk oolong that was jar aged. CAUTION: I did not intend to age this tea, I merely forgot in the mass of tea that I have. As milk/silk oolongs sometimes contain dried milk, but usually a shelf-stable/pasteurized variety of milk, I let it go this long, but I cannot say for certain whether all teas will remain unspoiled DO wash tea after a long period of rest (aging), as this is always the key to sanitizing/pulling out flavors of these types of tea. This tea gets at least three quality brews, but use a good deal of it, short steeps, and in a nice sized yixing (or glass if you fear the milk may taint the yixing clay).