403 Tasting Notes

90

Guys! Guys. This is a really good combination. You know how rooibos is kind of sweet, and kind of mild, and earthy, and almost spicy at times. And how pumpkin is also sweet, and mild and earthy, and then pumpkin pie has spices? You see where I’m going with this. There is some serious synergy in how the rooibos and the pumpkin pie flavor go together here, and the color is GORGEOUS and the whole thing is CAFFEINE-FREE so I get a pumpkin pie roobois latte for my bedtime snack.

The backstory is that I’d been over caffeinating a bit with Red Leaf’s matcha promotion so I decided to try the red matcha, which is powdered rooibos and thus caffeine free. It is very light and powdery,almost chalky in texture, and the color is a pastel version of normal rusty rooibos color. I’d say it has an even finer texture than the green matcha, and it mixes in really easily in comparison – a bit less tendency to clump.
This is ok plain, but it really shines latte-style with a bit of milk and sweetener (I like brown sugar or maples syrup); rooibos is slightly sweet on its own, definitely not bitter, but a little sweetener enhances the pumpkin pie flavor – less like just spices, and more like PIE! This is definitely one of my favorites so far!

You can buy this at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/pumpkin-pie-matcha.html

Janefan

This sounds awesome! great tasting note

teabird

Thanks! I was kind of dubious about the “red matcha” so it was a pleasant surprise to like it so much :)

Alphakitty

For some reason the beginning of your post reminded me of this: http://imgur.com/gallery/EFbvm

I bet the pumpkin pie would be the perfect combo with this one! I might order it with the black base too, I think it’s my favorite flavor from them.

teabird

Hee, it may very well be a meme of some sort – those things get into your brain. And I’ve been wanting to try the black base! I think I got some with my next order.

Alphakitty

The black base is really good with chocolatey flavors like tiramisu, cookies & cream, mocha, etc. They really compliment each other well, though I don’t know how good it would be with fruity flavors.

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89

It’s pumpkin season! When I opened the packet it smelled like a very spicy pumpkin pie – lots of cinnamon and clove, maybe a little pumpkin. I prepared it hot this morning, planning to add milk and turn it into the latte, but have been drinking it straight so far. I really like the level of spice and don’t want to mute it, and there’s zero bitterness to begin with. I spoiled myself with my experiments, so I have the royal matcha base – bright green, richly sweet.

I get more of the pumpkin in the taste than I did in the smell of the dry matcha – it’s a little tangy, a little sweet, a little earthy. The blend of flavor and green tea is a little strange this time: they’re both very good individually, but the whole is just the sum of those parts, no more. It’s a little like green chai, actually.

I got distracted and let this sit for awhile, so now it’s cold and stronger, so I’m adding a little milk. The creaminess is a nice addition – less like chai, more like pie! It would probably be really good with a little sweetener, but I didn’t think of it until just now – even with flavored matcha lattes, it still seems weird to sweeten green tea :P

Overall this is very good, I would definitely recommend, and you can buy for yourself here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/pumpkin-pie-matcha.html I got the delicate flavoring, which is fine for me, but if you really like pumpkin I’d go higher :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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85

Drinking this again today, probably my favorite of the 5 Nature’s Tea Leaf teas I got to try. Something about the interaction of the pu’erh and flowers just keeps tasting spicy to me! I’ve resteeped this a couple of times today; it’s a great choice for a rough day as it’s very forgiving of different steep times and temps, re-steeps several times, and the pu’erh gives me a good non-jittery energy kick.

But drinking this reminds me – as a thank you for reviewing, Nature’s Tea Leaf gave me a shareable coupon for 10% off! Feel free to use STEEPTY10OFF if you’re thinking of buying something! It expires at the end of October.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Slimming Tea by Nature's Tea Leaf
403 tasting notes

I’ve had this one a couple of times now, because I wasn’t quite sure how to describe it after the first. Very floral, very mild – I can barely taste the pu’erh – but the flavor depends quite a bit on which particular flowers make it into your teaspoon! The first time I tried it, it smelled like chamomile but tasted mostly of lemon and mint. This time it still smells like chamomile (or rather, Chrysanthemum I suppose), but tastes more like hibiscus with a hint of rosemary. The color of the liquor is a lovely pale orange, and the dry leaf is goreous, between the lemon, rose, jasmine, Chrysanthemum, and everything else – all different colors and textures.

I found the steeping instructions on the website (2tsp, 185 degree water, 2 minutes) worked better than the ones on the bag (1tsp, 202 degree water, 1 minute); the flowers are way too fluffy for 1tsp to do much, and the flavor came out better with a longer steep time.

I couldn’t help comparing this one to the Nature’s Bloom Pu-erh, since the composition is quite similar. I liked that one much better for having a stronger flavor, and more of the flowers I like (rose, jasmine) than those I don’t (hibiscus, Chrysanthemum).

I’ll probably be putting up a swap soon for this and a few other things that haven’t suited me, so if this sounds up your alley comment here or watch the swaps thread :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
darby

Would love to swap if you have extra!

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
403 tasting notes

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I rediscovered this at the back of a cupboard yesterday and was chagrined to see that it’s more than half full – the bunny has been neglected. But when I checked the steeping instructions I remembered why I set this tea aside: it confused me! 7 minutes with almost boiling water for a white tea? That seemed too complicated, so I decided to just try it Dragonwell style – tossing a couple tsp of leaves in the bottom of the mug, fill with hot but not boiling water, top up whenever the water gets low – and that’s working quite well so far. The liquor is a rich dark honey color, more like a light roasted oolong than a white tea. The flavors are also a bit roasty, as well as floral. It’s not getting bitter, but it is a little astringent. Hopefully this will be a nice & easygoing tea to last me through the day.

Ohhh, hello caffeine. Funny how it just hits me with some teas lately.

ETA: This did last quite well – I’d say I’ve refilled the mug about 6 times today, and it still tastes like tea, not just hot water _

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more

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Rich bagged tea, almost breakfast all on its own with some milk and honey. I’ve been keeping a box of this at the office for those mornings when I’m too bleary to think about making a nice loose-leaf cup

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91
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
403 tasting notes

Drinking the last of this today – I got a half ounce in the black tea sampler – and sad to see it go. I had a bit over a teaspoon left, so I brewed it somewhere between western and gongfu styles: I put all the leaf in my tiniest post (about 3.5 oz) and let it steep just long enough to develop some good color, around 30 seconds as it turned out. Two steeps like that made a good mug-full, and I’m hoping to get at least another 2 or three steeps out of it.

The flavor is delicious as ever, creamy and chocolatey in a way that you just don’t usually see in a black tea. Yum yum yum, I probably need to buy more of this once it’s in stock again. In the meantime, I still have Laoshan Chai and Bergamot Rose Black to keep me company _

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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91
drank Cheesecake Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
403 tasting notes

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92

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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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