405 Tasting Notes

drank Cheesecake Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
405 tasting notes

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I discovered this when I moved to Boston and went to a vegan cafe that sold no coffee because they didn’t want to compete with the independent coffee shop next door; they served Dandy Blend instead. I tried it with almond milk and I was hooked! It’s an instant herbal tea, essentially, that naturally tastes and feels very similar to coffee. It is a little milder – there’s no real bitterness – but prepared hot with milk, the feeling is “yep, that’s a latte.”

I found a store that sells the powder, and have been drinking it at home ever since. Two things to love beyond the fact that it’s delicious: it’s completely caffeine free, and instant. It’s made from the water-soluble parts of several plants (dandelion, chicory, a couple more) so it actually dissolves in water (unlike matcha, which is technically a suspension, and that’s why you have to work so hard to get it to whisk into the water).

One of my favorite ways to prepare this is instant chai: a shake of ground cinnamon and nutmeg, a teaspoon of dandy, and it’s ready to go! Hot or cold. I also like to stir fancy local honeys into it – with a little less powder, the flavor of the dandy blend is mild enough to let the taste the honey shine.

Anyway, it was long past time that I start logging this. I’ve gone through a full 7oz over the last few months and just bought another bag (at $12 for a bag with ~100 servings, it’s pretty economical too). I drink it whenever I’m craving strong tea late in the day, but don’t want the caffeine, and to experiment with crazy flavored drinks.

Highly recommended!

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec

This sounds really intriguing!


Wow I’m also intrigued!


Maybe I should get some samples to send out :)

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
405 tasting notes

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drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
405 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

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
405 tasting notes

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

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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.


Boston, MA



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