403 Tasting Notes
Wow, the dry matcha smells incredibly strong, like I just opened a pack or oreos, but a little thicker and creamier.
I prepared this in a way that is quickly becoming my standard, since I got some good smoothie cups to take to work: 2 chashaku scoops of matcha, fill the 16oz cup about half way with water, blend (OMG my stick blender makes this so easy – no lumps! Nice froth! No sifting needed!) fill the rest of the cup with whole milk and ice. My matcha lattes stay cold easily for a couple hours, which is plenty of time for me to drink them :)
My first impression upon sipping this one agrees with the smell of thedry matcha: the flavor is strong and noticeable. The green tea flavor is actually pretty overwhelmed. It must just be something about the Cookies & Cream flavor, as opposed to the others I’ve tried, but this is kind of like being hit in the face with a carton of cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream. It’s definitely a contrast to the Royal Bavarian Cream I had yesterday, and even stronger than my “distinctively” flavored cheesecake matcha. I found myself wondering if I somehow prepared this stronger than usual? It’s possible, but if that were the case I’d expect more green tea flavor too, and that’s not what I’m getting here.
As you may have figured out, the flavor is really too strong for my taste (even on delicate, which this is) and comes across kind of artificial to me. Boo! This is the first time I’ve had that issue with Red Leaf’s matcha – I thought maybe they were magic :/ However! The aftertaste is quite good, as if I’ve been eating that cookies & cream ice cream I mentioned and just set it down for a minute. I think I need to give this another chance, so I’ll try preparing it in the classic style (warm, whisked) as well as cold with just water – hopefully one of those will work better for me.
If you are a big cookies & cream fan, I would certainly recommend this, with the caveat to try the delicate flavor first! On the other hand, if you’ve been looking for a matcha flavor that lets you forget you’re drinking matcha – look no further! This is like a cookies & cream milkshake all on its own :P
You can buy it for yourself at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/cookies-and-cream-matcha.html
A tiny bit of this was hiding in the back of my cupboard – it’s a couple years old, but with some extra leaf and care in prep (preheating my mug, which I rarely bother with) it still quite good! Has all the chocolatey rich spice notes I like. After having Rishi’s China Breakfast for so long, it kind of tastes like a wannabe…
New Red Leaf Matcha order! Bavarian cream, and I splurged on the royal matcha this time. I mostly wanted to see if I can taste the difference but also (if I can tell the difference), do I prefer the better matcha + less flavoring, or basic matcha + more flavoring? After this, I’m leaning towards the former, which surprised me!
Anyway, I really like this. The royal matcha is a lovely vibrant green, as powder or in water, a bit brighter than the basic grade. Even with less flavoring (delicate, rather than the distinctive I tried last time), this is sweet and flavorful. I am frankly impressed with myself – not exactly a connoisseur of green teas – for being able to taste a difference. Of course, for science(!) I should get the same flavor in different grades and have someone else prepare it as a blind test… maybe next time :P. For now, I am convinced that the royal matcha is truly distinctive.
I first tried this iced (the easiest way to prepare things at work) with about 1/2 tsp to 16 oz water. First impressions: cream, lime???. There is definitely something citrusy here, in addition to the sweet cream flavor. Also, not the least bit of bitterness. The flavor is very light and refreshing, where I was expecting it to be heavy. I mean, Bavarian cream, right? But this is creamy and rich and light at the same time, kind of like cream soda. If someone had given me this to try without telling me the flavor, I think I would have guessed key lime pie because of the citrusy sweet notes along with the cream (… now I’m hoping they get a key lime pie flavor so I can compare!). I also want to try the royal matcha plain to see if that’s where the citrus is coming from, it’s really baffling me.
I also prepared this warm, but at work I don’t have my chawan and chasen and I’m having a bit more trouble with clumps this time. I’ve gotten away without a sifter so far, but I suppose it makes sense that the finer grade of matcha would clump more easily. Anyway, the warm matcha was quite good, even with the powdery sensation that comes of insufficient whisking. A little milk (unsurprisingly) really brought out the creaminess and made this a decadent dessert drink.
Between the royal matcha and the delicate flavor, I don’t think I’d use this in smoothies or cooking – the flavor is too fine and mild. It’s meant to be drunk plain, or nearly.
You can buy this for yourself at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/bavarian-cream-matcha.html
Oh my goodness delicious. I don’t have time to do a good review right nwo, but I just wanted to make myself a note that this is really good, plain or with milk, possibly my favorite black from Verdant so far!
I’m on steep 7 so far.
I ended up steeping this at least 15 times – I don’t usually go that high, even where it’s indicated. I iced some overnight, which brought out the sweet malty/wheat flavors
2.5g leaf, 3.5oz water, gongfu style
Mmmm, this smelled like cheesecake as soon as I opened the package. This is the first matcha I ever bought to prepare at home – I’ve had it in lattes and ice cream, but that’s all – so I’m kind of excited.
I used 1 chashaku scoop to about 4oz water. My scoop seemed pretty big? Next time I’ll just measure by weight to see how much 1 gram is on the chashaku. I added water a little at a time, starting with the matcha as a paste to get rid of any lumps since I wasn’t using a strainer – this worked quite well! I had a nice froth going for awhile too, but then I added more water and it never really came back, so I might have had my proportions off.
My first impression on sipping was “oof, bitter” frankly, but then… the bitterness never really materialized? It’s more like it tastes like it ought to be bitter, but it’s only a flavor not actually the mouth-scrunching sensation. (Keep in mind, I’ve never had matcha straight before – I have no idea how normal this is). And then the aftertaste is pure cheesecake.
And now I’ve finished the whole bowl. That didn’t take long! And I kind of want more, so I think this stuff must be growing on me. My stomach is not as happy as my mouth though, so matcha may not become a regular first-thing-in-the-morning ritual for me.
I was still excited about the new tea though, so I decided to make some cold to take to work with me. This was a fantastic decision. I used the method described here (http://blog.mellowmonk.com/2010/07/cold-brewing-matcha-in-bottle.html), and accordingly used much less matcha than I would have tried without instruction – about 1/2 teaspoon to 16oz cold water. It worked out perfectly though – cold, mild, and refreshing, yet sweet and rich from the cheesecake flavor. The cheesecake flavor itself is pretty good, too. Cream, sugar, a slight tang from the cheese, a hint of graham cracker crust are all distinguishable. At this rate, I should get 15-30 servings out of the 30g packet, which is more than I would have guessed – a little bit of tasty cheesecake matcha goes a long way!
I think I liked this better cold than hot, and it was easier to prepare and drink through the day. I suspect it will do very well blended with other things, like milk, or ice cream. Maybe even my herbal coffee substitute? Clearly I’m not cut out to be a traditionalist with my matcha, but with flavors like cheesecake, cotton candy, and English toffee to try, who cares?!
You can buy this from Red Leaf Tea at: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/cheesecake-matcha.html
I got the small packet, starter quality green matcha (I do want to try the higher grades now), and distinctive flavoring (will definitely play with this).
Oooooh these rose petals are gorgeous! They were pretty enough in the dry leaf, but by the time it finished steeping they had unfurled across the surface of the tea. There’s a lovely true rose scent to the aroma too – no fake flavoring here. I keep inhaling the hot mug because it’s not cool enough to drink yet! Which makes me notice htat there’s a dark chocolatey note too. Yum yum yum.
I didn’t really notice the bergamot in the smell, but I do when tasting. And now I’ve just got the words “Oh wow, this is so delicious” running on loop through my head.
This is intensely well balanced: rose and bergamot/citrus bringing out the dark chocolatey tea. I noticed the rose and chocolate most at first, but getting through the mug I note that there’s lot of sharp citrus on the front end (when I first sip), then the bergamot lingers a bit as the chocolate comes in more on the aftertaste.
Can you tell that I love the chocolate in this Laoshan Black?
A++, might buy more, except that this is so distinctive I don’t know how often I’ll be in the mood to drink it! It’ll be interesting to see how quickly I go through the half ounce sample.
Saving the 2nd and 3rd steeps in the frige for tomorrow!
Oh yum, the chilled later steeps are light light and citrusy and rosy; much less chocolate, but you can still tell that there’s black tea in there. This would probably be even more delightful with honey, but certainly doesn’t need it.
2tsp, slightly rounded, 6-8oz water, added 1 minute for each steep
Brought this in to the office to try Western style today. I didn’t mention this in my last note, but the dry leaves are really pretty. Big and twisty and dark, but then there are a few silver needles scattered throughout – it’s a beautiful contrast.
The brew is a little harsher with this style, but also heartier and tastes more like a black tea to me. The aftertaste is slightly smoky.
The third steep (1.5 minutes) was pretty weak, so for the fourth I upped the time to 3 minutes, and the fifth was 5+ minutes
4th steep was still weak for my taste, 5th was quite nice
Overall, an interesting change for a breakfast tea, but probably not one I’d buy a stock of, personally