406 Tasting Notes

92

This is so delicious – I made it quick before going into a meeting today, and anytime I start to space out I can just inhale and it’s: dark chocolate. rose. citrus. Are there melted truffles in my cup??? There is a solid black tea flavor too, the laoshan black is just so chocolatey when hot – that’s always what I notice.

The flavor is losing a little intensity as it cools to lukewarm, but I remember this was good chilled so I’m putting the rest in the fridge for later!

I’m very glad I ordered more of this!

2 rounded tsp, three 6 oz steeps all poured off into one big mug

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Cold-brewed overnight, 4 tsp tea (came out to 10g) for 20oz water.

Color: light yellow/olive, slightly opaque. Scent: not much, because it’s cold, but gingery! Maybe a little lemon too. Taste: Wow that’s spicy. Herb-spice, not pepper-spice. I decided to add some honey to this because I was finding the rosemary and ginger pretty overwhelming; with honey, everything is smoothed out a bit and I can taste more of the lemon. This is very tangy and refreshing; the word “tonic” comes to mind. I haven’t had rosemary in beverages often, so that’s really standing out to me.
The white tea is completely overwhelmed by the spices, at least with the way I brewed it; their website recommends steeping hot then pouring over ice. Maybe I’ll try that next time.

Overall, this is very refreshing and tastes like it’s good for you :) I’d drink it on a hot day, or if I had an upset stomach. This is going on my list of “teas to drink when sick”

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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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

Preparation
Iced

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85
drank Fujian Baroque by Adagio Teas
406 tasting notes

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…

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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91

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

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92

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

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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91
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
406 tasting notes

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91
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
406 tasting notes

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Bio

Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.

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