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380 Tasting Notes
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This smells so sweet and buttery, like sweet potato pie, or butterscotch. The flavor is more rugged, showing grain and the peppery side of yunnan rather than chocolate or cream. There is a sweetness though, as I sip longer. The description suggests honey and butter on toast – that seems about right, but it’s a hearty wheat bread, well-toasted and crunchy.
Sometimes when I first sip I’m convinced that I oversteeped this, but then the bitterness never actually materializes, it just rolls into that rumbly dark toast taste.
I’m also going to wager that this is highly caffeinated, from the way it’s going to my head already.
Overall, a good strong black tea to drink straight-up and start the day
ETA: On my 3rd steep now, more mild but still flavorful, getting more sparkly spice and a bit of fruit.
western style, 2 heaping tsp to 8oz water
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Caramel Matcha comparison tasting, part 2/2!
This review is for the Royal Green matcha with Delicate flavoring.
The royal, when prepared, is a noticeably more vivid green than the classic matcha. It also whisks more easily into a foam, the foam lasts longer, and it smells… more like green tea somehow, in comparison. The caramel flavor isn’t less, exactly, but the tea flavor is more. On sipping, I can really taste a difference between the grades here. Some of the citrus notes I got in the royal Bavarian Cream matcha are also present here, so that’s actually the royal base. The tea is also sweeter! Really just a whole different flavor profile – think, like, sencha vs. gyokuro. Both good, green teas, prepared the same way, but one has a sweetness and depth of flavor.
A teaspoon of milk seemed to bring out all the flavors in the royal matcha in a really interesting way – not just the caramel but also the green tea. With the milk providing a creamy base, each flavor seems to stand more on its own.
As it cools, the royal/delicate doesn’t get bitter at all, it just shows different flavor facets – less bright citrus, more dark green and cream.
If anyone who’s been playing with Red Leaf’s matcha likes green tea and hasn’t tried the higher grades yet, I recommend doing so at least once! The Royal is different and fun.
This who tasting was fun! And now I have lots of caramel for blending with my other dessert flavors :)
You can buy this at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html
I set out to compare my 3 caramel matchas side-by-side, so I’m being very precise in my preparation this time: .6g matcha, then 5g cold water and stirring to get all the lumps out, then 2oz hot 185˚ water, then whisk to a foam.
This review is for the Classic Green matcha with Distinctive flavoring.
Now I that I have them both in front of me, I can actually taste the difference between the delicate and distinctive flavorings; it wasn’t immediately obvious to me before. The distinctive smells more strongly of caramel, the delicate more like matcha (duh). The distinctive tastes, not so much more caramel-y as sweeter – the caramel was already there in the delicate, but now it taste truer. I didn’t think to try adding sugar, though many people have said that improves the flavor even more.
I did try adding a teaspoon of milk to each. This really brought out the caramel flavor in the distinctive, where in the delicate it seemed to make the green tea taste a little harsher, oddly enough.
As they cool, the delicate gets a bit bitter but the distinctive really doesn’t – the caramel flavor just takes over more.
One odd thing I noticed was that the distinctive seemed to settle more quickly – I swirled each cup before sipping, every time, and had to swirl this one longer than the delicate to get it re-integrated. Something about the extra flavoring making it denser? Or just coincidence. Either way, a good thing for me to know so that I remember to mix it up before drinking.
You can buy this at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html
Finally I have time to do the tasting this tea deserves! I had never had Dragonwell tea before, or even a Dragonwell-styled tea, so the appearance of the leaves was quite striking. They’re flat! As if they had been pressed. I prepared it Dragonwell style, with about 3g tea in the bottom of a glass mug, then adding 175˚ water and starting to drink as soon as it’s cool enough. That took a few minutes for me (I’m a wuss – I can’t drink 150˚ water :P) so the liquor was a lovely fragrant pale green by the time I tasted it, and in the meantime I got to enjoy the beauty of the leaves dancing in the water (they float, then some turn vertical and bob up and down a bit, and gradually most sink to the bottom, though several remain upright as if they might float again). It also has the slight haze you get from silver needle teas.
Anyway, once I could drink it this was quite flavorful. I’m not good at identifying green tea flavors, but this is definitely vegetal, some mineral, and a little spicy at times.
I’ve gone through about 16oz water now, and I like this better as it goes on. The flavor waxes and wanes as I add water and let it sit, but overall it gets fuller and sweeter.
Woke up with a little sore throat, so I wanted a plain tea with honey. However, it’s way too early in the day for herbals – I need my morning black! I remembered this one being a bit tart, so it worked out just perfectly with honey.
Strong and yummy black tea base, with lots of true berry flavor. The hibiscus is understated, which I appreciate. It tastes like the tartness is coming from the blueberry and raspberry.
Yay caramel matcha! I’ve heard so many good things about this flavor, I figured it was the perfect one to use for some comparison testing, so I got three combinations. This review is for the Classic green matcha with delicate flavoring, and it’s already really good, so I can’t wait to see what the others are like.
I prepared this hot, classic style, which is not usually my favorite so it bodes well when I like a matcha made this way – and I do! This is rich, and strong, and the flavor is very true. It probably helps that caramel is a flavor that works well when warm, and that I’m used to a bit of bitterness from the green tea base when prepared hot (I don’t have that issue when it’s cold generally, and yes, I am careful about my water temp). This is like what really dark caramels seasoned with matcha powder might taste like
Ohhhh and this is even more delicious with a bit of milk. Just a little! But it smooths out that bitterness, and brings out the green tea flavor a bit, which I appreciate! There’s a reason I don’t get the super strong flavoring. I am curious to see how the distinctive flavoring will compare with this, so that one’s probably up next!
You can buy this for yourself at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html
Mmmm tiramisu matcha. I suppose I should branch out into the fruit or plain matchas eventually, but I’ve been having a lot of fun with the desserts so far. Opening the package today, this smelled creamy, chocolatey, and there was a little fruity sharpness to it also.
I prepared this the traditional way at first: 1 gram of matcha to about 4oz water – at this level I have enough matcha to get a decent froth and enough water that it doesn’t taste too thick and powdery for me to drink. I’ve given up on my chashaku, by the way, and just use a 1/2 tsp now because that is very close to 1 gram. The chashaku, once I measured, was giving me anywhere from .55 to 1.2 grams, depending on the angle I held it at and how the matcha piled.
Anyway, it tasted good just like that! I could have drunk the whole bowl straight, but I couldn’t resist adding a little milk – still good, but different! Much creamier, and the flavor got muted a bit. With just water, I could taste the flavors better – there’s so many that they’re hard to pull out, but the overall impression definitely aligns with tiramisu: cream, chocolate, sharpness that could come from coffee or cheese, fruitiness that I’ll attribute to rum :) I suspect this will be even better cold!
The was the starter grade of green matcha with delicate flavoring, and you can buy it at: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/tiramisu-matcha.html
Yum yum yum – this is all sweet and fruity and delicate and full-flavored at the same time. Like a good flavored white tea! I might have to try the Yabao on its own, because I’m having a hard time tasting the difference between it and a good white tea. The dry leaf is gorgeous, very fluffy with all the flowers and fruits and big buds.
Has anyone else had the Raspberry Champagne White tea? I know Red Leaf sells it, and a few other companies – this is like what all of those are trying to be :D That’s really the best description I can think of at the moment. I’m really glad I ordered this, and sorry it’s already gone… oh well. Out with the old, in with the new!
8oz water, 2 tsp tea, 3 steeps so far
I do love all the natural flavorings in Nature’s Tea Leaf’s teas. Not “natural flavors” but: my cinnamon oolong has big chunks of cinnamon bark in with the oolong tea – and that’s all. Using dried herbs, fruits, and flowers makes the flavors more real, but also often makes them blend better in my experience.
This is a green oolong, which I generally find buttery and floral, but a pretty light one. There’s a lot of cinnamon in the aroma, but the taste is well-balanced and, yes, buttery. therefore it reminds me of cinnamon rolls :D It’s not like eating a cinnamon roll – not sweet enough, also liquid – but it’s intensely reminiscent of one.
there’s a little bit of astringency or dryness when drinking – not enough to be unpleasant, rather it gives the tea some heft and character. There’s a lovely lingering aftertaste that has some of those floral notes I was expecting, and that were subdued in the scent and drinking taste.
ETA: On a second steep the cinnamon is less pronounced, but still present and adding a pleasant sweet/spicy richness to the oolong.
Very enjoyable! Unique and highly recommended
2tsp leaf to 8oz water, as recommended
Sweet and sour is right! I was expecting this to be very tart – I drank straight hibiscus tea for quite awhile until I burned out on it, so recognized the smell right away. The color is quite pink for green tea, but also a bit orangey – I’d say a rich salmon hue overall :)
Upon sipping, at first the flavor is just like the smell: sour and fruit. But then I got a lot of sencha on the middle- and after-taste, which surprised me (pleasantly!) The sencha gives a really solid base to the tea, adding some savoriness to balance the sour. I often add honey to fruit teas, but something about the sencha flavor made me want to drink this straight – it just blended so interestingly with the fruit, I didn’t want to overwhelm that with sweetness and lose the complexity.
There is still a lot of hibiscus and rosehip flavor overall (the orange is less prominent to me), but this is a pretty good blend considering the tendency of hibiscus to dominate anything it touches.
I expect this will last more than one steep, and I’m curious how the balance will shift. It would probably also be very good cold!
Oh this is neat: a floral and approachable pu’erh blend. The lavender is distinctive (prominent and unusual) and blends with the pu’erh in very interesting ways – reminds me of cinnamon, somehow, with the combination of earthiness and menthol. The flavors meld quite well overall, which I didn’t expect from rose, jasmine, lavender and pu’erh. The jasmine is probably the hardest for me to pick out. I was dubious about the steeping instructions too, but it came out just right. I’m quite curious to see if this will resteep well, as that’s one of the things I like about pu-erh
A second steep (higher temp, longer time since I forgot about it..) is mostly pu’erh, with only a hint of flowers to soften it. Still quite tasty! but the first steep is the one I’d hand to someone dubious about pu’erh :)
This is the second of my free samples from Nature’s Tea Leaf, and my favorite so far! I also really like the steeping instructions on their packaging, customized for each tea and right on the front label.
2 generous tsp leaf to 8oz water
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
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”
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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
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
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