470 Tasting Notes

90

Lapsang Souchong seems to be a love it or hate it kind of tea. I personally like smokey teas: not TOO smokey, but a hint of it can really elevate a blend. There’s a maple lapsang from Tealux that I am in love with, so I had high hopes for this blend. Smoke, chocolate, vanilla, sign me up!

Now, there are a lot of s’mores teas out there… and this isn’t one of them, of course. But they all lack one thing: sure, you’ve got the chocolate, marshmallow, graham cracker, but the best thing about s’mores is cooking them over a campfire. This tea… it’s s’mores in a cup! Gentle yet present smokiness, rich chocolate, a creaminess from the vanilla. It’s rich and scrumptious, but the smokiness really keeps it from being overly-sweet and dessert-y. I really love this one! It honestly makes me feel like I’m camping, and it is so perfect for this cooler weather.

I do get the coffe vibes too. It doesn’t really taste like coffee exactly, but the flavor profile reminds me of DT’s Coffee Pu-erh. It’s got a latte vibe going on for sure! A smokey latte of course haha. If you’re on the fence about LS, this is really a great tea to start with.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

My all time favorite LS!!! SO SO SO SO GOOD!

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
470 tasting notes

The other night I decided to experiment a bit with my matcha and made two iced lattes: one for me, one for the bf! Aka I drank half of his, since he is a slow drinker and I kept sneaking sips haha. They were:

1/2 Cookies & Cream (black, distinctive) 1/2 Caramel (green, delicate)

and

1/2 Bavarian Cream (50/50, distinctive) 1/2 Coconut (green, distinctive)

The goal was to see how the black & white bases fared when paired with a regular green base. Both were a great success! The caramel cookies & cream was my personal favorite: I LOVE the black base so much, and the juicy caramel flavor just brought it over the edge into matcha nirvana.

The Bavarian Coconut was good too, light and tropical! It really tasted like a coconut cream pie. The white was a little lost though, since it was really only 25% of the mug. I do have a 100% white blend in the mail, so I plan on making a white/green Mango Rose latte next time!

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80

My laptop died a few days ago (though I think the data is all going to be recoverable, I just need to reformat my HD due to a lovely corrupted OS), so I am SO behind on my tasting notes! I actually have a desktop for emergencies, but I was so sad about my poor little laptop that I didn’t have the heart to write about tea. It’s been with me for almost 6 years, the disk drive hasn’t worked for 3, it’s old and beaten up but I’ve grown very attached to it. So I actually had this tea 3 days ago (!) and never logged it. Oops! I have a lot of catching up to do, but I thought I’d start with my last sample from Nature’s Leaf Tea.

I cold brewed this overnight—sure, it’s cool outside, but I drink iced tea all year round! The color of this was almost hot pink when it was done, very pretty! Though usually that kind of coloration comes from hibiscus, here it’s the rosehips. And it’s tart because of them—quite tart! Not hibiscus icky tart, it’s nice and refreshing, though it’s hard to drink a lot at once due to the kind of sour aspects. They’re balanced by the orange quite well, and there really is a lot of orange flavor! I feel like the sencha is kind of lost though, since rosehip and orange are such strong flavors. It took a bit of getting used to, but it’s an interesting flavor combo! A bit sour/tart for my palette, but good nonetheless.

tea-sipper

I drink hot tea all year round — even if it is 95 degrees out. And I don’t take to anything over 80 well! But I have to have my hot tea. I haven’t actually made iced tea yet, but I guess I need to start, since I have to try the iced tea in my Nature’s Tea Leaf sample box! I think I saw nice instructions on their site though…

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drank Jasmint by Della Terra Teas
470 tasting notes

There are a few flavors/ingredients that I feel easily overwhelm blends. You know, the ones where if there’s more than a tiny pinch in your spoon, it’s all you are going to taste. Mint is clearly one: it’s often hard to taste anything BUT mint. Jasmine is another: even when combined with other strong florals like rose, I find it to be overwhelming if not used with a gentle hand. However, they’re both ingredients I love when used right (or on their own) so of course when I saw this blend added to Della Terra’s site I wanted to see them “face off” as it were. In a battle for flavor dominance, who will win?!

I only got a sample size for this: I love the option to choose your own Try Me pack, that way you can really get a feel for the blends before committing to buy large portions. So I have about 4 cups of Jasmint to experiment with: the first I cold brewed, since I love cold mint and cold floral teas. The smell is WOAH MINT, all up in your nose. Peppermint, I think? It’s got that sweetness that peppermint does, though of course I could be wrong. I thought “oh, well I see mint was the winner in this battle!” but of course I was wrong.

Upon taking a sip, there was a whole lot of jasmine! AND a whole lot of mint! The funny thing is, you don’t get them at the same time. Like, one sip is super minty and the next is super floral and jasmine-y. I think there’s an undercurrent of mint/jasmine combo but it seemed like one or the other was in the lead with each mouthful. Kind of weird, but an interesting tasting experience for sure! I do love both flavors, so I was definitely pleased by the outcome. A war of flavor in my cup! I’ll definitely be trying this one hot as well… perhaps then a victor will be named?

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I love this flavor combination! I was actually going to name my Whisper of the Woods blend Jasmint for a while :)

Alphakitty

Haha, there’s also an Adagio blend called “Jazz Mint”, it seems like the obvious name choice!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Yep! I’ve noticed recently, also, that coldbrewed teas taste completely different than hot brewed then chilled. Mint especially comes out much heavier than the tea itself when brewed in cold water.

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85

When I opened my box of samples from Nature’s Tea, I wasn’t really sure when I was going to drink this one. It smells a lot like Rishi’s Pu-erh Ginger, which I associate with cooler weather and sore throats. It’s been warm out, and I wasn’t sick, so it just didn’t seem like something I would be in the mood for. And I hate drinking tea I don’t feel like drinking: it really ruins the experience for me and I wanted to give this sample my full attention!

Well, as (un)luck would have it, there’s some kind of bug going around and the bf and I are both getting sore throats. Hooray… not. Well, I guess it’s the perfect opportunity to try this out! In the bag the smell is all ginger, but brewed you can pick out the rosemary and lemon a bit more. I added honey to both of ours, since it’s good for your throat and it seems to go really well with lemon & ginger flavor profiles.

This tea packs a punch! The ginger adds some serious spice, though it doesn’t overwhelm the cup. The rosemary is really strong as well, bringing to mind another Rishi tea—Bergamont Sage! It adds an interesting savory quality, which I always enjoy. The lemon is also there, though it takes a backseat to the rosemary/ginger combo. Of course you can taste the white tea too, not too much but enough to keep this from tasting like a straight-up tisane and more like actual tea.

It’s an interesting flavor profile—perhaps not one I’d reach for every day, but great for sore throats, lazy days and cold weather! The little sheet I got from them mentions that this is actually meant to be tried iced, so I am interested to see how that works as well. I’m guessing the lemon would be a lot stronger that way, so I plan on doing a cold brew soon to see what other flavors I can bring out of this blend.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Boo-urns, hope you’ll feel better soon, and that it won’t be a scary bad cold/flu or anything.

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80

When this tea first went up I was dying to get it. I really loved their Watermelon Blackberry Honeybush, and assumed this would be kind of similar (since, well, they were both fruity honeybushes), but I held off and was very glad I did since it ended up on sale! For $6 with shipping I was definitely willing to give this one a try.

I made this as a cold brew, since I can’t even imagine anything cucumber flavored being hot. I mean, cucumber = cold and crisp to me, so it has to be an iced tea! Like WBH this brews up really dark, like a black tea in color which is nice. Some part of me is still convinced I DON’T like honeybush, so it’s a bit of a brain trick haha. This blend actually smells a little… weird in the cup, kind of artificial? And a little medicinal too.

Thankfully it doesn’t taste artificial or medicinal! The cucumber is front and center, and contrary to how dark the brew is the flavor is actually quite light. It kind of tastes like cucumber water! There’s a little bit of fruitiness from the kiwi and some woodsy, sweet aspects from the honeybush but cucumber dominates the cup. It’s also got a hint of sourness, I’m not sure from what. It’s a good blend, though nothing at all like what I was expecting. I kind of expected a candy-aspect like the Watermelon Blackberry, which reminded me strongly of cotton candy, but this ended up being a very mellow, laid-back cup.

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95

My last matcha from this order! While I’m sad I won’t have any new ones to try (until I make another order, which I guarantee won’t take more than 24 hours haha), I now get to experiment! But before I do, this little gem is just begging for a review. Like with Bavarian Cream, I experimented a bit with the base. I loooove black tea, so of course I needed to try black matcha! And I honestly can’t think of a better flavor to go with it than Cookies & Cream. My matcha was as follows:

Size: Small (30 grams)
Matcha Base: Black Matcha
Flavor Level: Distinctive

One of these days I’ll pick a matcha I totally love and get it in the large size, but for now I like having small options of so many different flavors—I don’t feel like they are going to go bad or anything before I get to them! I have so many teas (nearing on 200 orz) that I just know I won’t use up large portions unless it’s a cupboard staple like Paris or Uji’s Genmaicha—stuff I drink ALL the time. And while I do drink matcha all the time, I like to mix up the flavors so I love that they offer this tiny size!

So, let’s talk about the black matcha base. It’s gotten so-so reviews on here, but I think my opinion is quite different on this one. First off, it looks like cocoa powder! It’s also much harder to get off a countertop than green matcha, which I unfortunately learned when I dropped a bit on it and it just smeared brown everywheeeere. I get so sad whenever I drop a bit of matcha… which sadly isn’t that uncommon, it’s always drifting off the edge of my spoon. Oh well, the sooner I go through a packet the sooner I get to order more I suppose!

I was expecting a lot less froth, but it really mixed up well and actually dissolved faster than green or green/white. Usually I have to kind of tip my mug around to get in all the corners where the matcha is clumping (even after sifting, since I don’t use the traditional bowl/fancy whisk but a mug and regular whisk), but this one whisked in like a dream! After adding some milk it looks like hot chocolate, and it smells like it too—cause of the flavoring I chose, it is very chocolatey! I think the base has some natural chocolate notes that are enhanced by the cookies & cream flavor.

The first sip was kind of weird, since it doesn’t taste at all like traditional matcha—no grassiness, none of that lip-smacking matcha flavor I’m so used to. It really does taste like black tea! Honestly, I don’t know why I was so surprised by this fact. It’s powdered black tea, of course it’s gonna taste like it! It’s a much richer base, I want to say creamier but I’m not quite sure how much of these notes I can attribute to the flavoring. I got the distinctive level, so I should be able to really taste the base thankfully!

What this base definitely has over regular matcha is how smooth it is. It just slides down your throat! And the flavor is so interesting, hard to pinpoint exactly but it’s definitely like a nice Chinese black. I wouldn’t say I like it MORE than regular matcha or even the 50/50 base but it’s a great option and I honestly think for this flavor it’s better with the black base than it would be with any other. This is how I felt about my Bavarian Cream 50/50 matcha—it’s nice to have so many options, now I know what flavors go well with what bases! For chocolatey flavors I will most definitely go with the black from now on, though I think it might be weird with something fruity.

So, about the actual cookies & cream flavor! It is SO GOOD. Like oreos in my cup! The chocolate is rich and dark, the cream is smooth and deliciously vanilla. It’s not as heavy and dense as the bavarian cream, it’s lighter and… fluffier. Not, you know, physically fluffy obviously, it just tastes more airy. I haven’t tried any chocolate-y matchas before, but damn is that flavor spot-on! I am so impressed with all the flavors they offer that I’ve tried, but what has really won me over is all the options. You get to feel like it’s match personalized just for you! I am head over heels in love with Red Leaf.

If you want your own Cookies & Cream matcha (and you should!) you can find it here:

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/cookies-and-cream-matcha.html

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96

The ingredients on this one seem a little perplexing, so I got a sample size only in my Try Me pack. I mean, a green walnut tea I can get behind, but with coconut and pineapple?! Uhh it sounds good, but very tropical and not at all like walnut brittle or reminiscent of English forests as the description claims. So I ordered this with skepticism, hoping for the best but expecting something… weird. Holy cow, I was wrong! I opened up the bag and the dry leaves smell like walnut candy. No tropical scent to be found, though there’s a good bit of coconut and pineapple in my sample. Curious!

There was one huuuge walnut in my bag, but I broke it up into little pieces just to evenly distribute the nutty goodness. The whole time I was preparing this tea (cooling the water, adding the leaves to the teapot, brewing it, etc) I was blown away by the smell. I want to eat these leaves, it’s just SO good! And the flavor… it’s even better. I honestly think some kind of magic must have gone into this tea, it is so very much walnut candy in a cup. Rich, buttery walnut! I think the green tea was a really good choice, it adds a flowery lightness and a buttery quality without overpowering the walnut: I think as a black tea this would be very different and not nearly as good.

Now, about the pineapple and coconut… I can’t taste them! Well, not as individual elements. There’s an almost-fruitiness, a creaminess possibly from the coconut, and a honey-sweetness I suppose is also coming from them. But damn, I would never in a million years guess the ingredients here! The more I drink, the more I am so in love with this. It really has almost cake-y notes, a strong vanilla taste and it really is like a baked cake with walnut brittle on top. Like… a vanilla cupcake, with a creamy frosting and then sprinkled with walnut brittle! It might seem crazy but I swear it is JUST what this tea tastes like. It’s so addictive, I am already on my second cup and think I can get 3 brews out of these leaves easy.

Thankfully my sample has enough for about 3 goes, but I know I need more of this in my life. It is SO good, I really want to try it iced now! Or make ice cream out of it… or buttercream frosting. Real, 6 stick of butter style buttercream, not wussy 1-stick frosting with tons of powdered sugar. Oh god the idea of baking with this tea is making my mouth water… if you are wondering what teas to start with from Della Terra (since they have a huge selection!) I would say this and Mother of Pearl: both are very, very special teas that I must always have on hand!

TeaBrat

ooh, I am tempted by this!

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89

About a week or so ago I was browsing through teas and this one caught my eye. Looking back, I can’t really remember how I found it: maybe in the Steepster database? Or I was linked to Nature’s Tea’s main website? In any case, I love floral teas so I really wanted to order it but I am broke so I held off on it. Miraculously, a few days after lusting after this tea, NTL announced that they were looking for people to do reviews—and this tea was included in the ones they’d be sending! I crossed my fingers and applied, and lo and behold I was chosen and got my teas 2 days later! Of course this is the one I wanted to try the most, but I really wanted to cold brew it so I ended up trying two of their teas hot while this one was in the fridge.

Like the Slimming Tea, it’s a really pretty blend, lots of whole rosebuds and jasmine flowers studded with lavender blossoms. Of course there’s pu-erh too, more in this blend considerably than in the Slimming Tea. I gave it a 12-hour steep, and it brewed up to a lovely golden color. Lighter than usual for a pu-erh, but I chalk that up to all the pretty flowers!

This is a VERY floral tea. Of course I love floral blends so I really enjoyed it: the rose and lavender are definitely the most prominent, with little wisps of jasmine coming in at the end of the sip. Rose and lavender can be really overpowering, but I don’t think either one outshines the other. They do seem to be significantly stronger than the jasmine, but not in an entirely negative way. I feel like I can taste other flavors “through” rose and lavender, but jasmine usually seems kind of overpowering so I’m glad it isn’t heavy-handed in this tea.

Finally there’s, of course, the pu-erh! I wouldn’t say this is a very strongly pu-erh blend, it’s more used as a base for the other flavors. It does add a distinctly earthy tone, and really grounds the floral taste. There’s a little bit of hay and a nutty background, which I’d attribute to the base tea. I do think it was a better choice than a straight black, since really we’ve all had floral blacks a million times. But the combo of floral tastes as well as the pu-erh really make this a pretty unique floral blend!

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95

This is the matcha I’ve really been looking forward to the most from my latest order. I mean, Bavarian Cream? Who can resist?! I looove Bavarian Cream, I could eat donuts filled with it all day long. Of course that isn’t an option unless I want to weight waaay too much, so I was so excited to see Red Leaf was making a matcha flavored with it! Healthy Bavarian cream? Sign me on!

I decided to experiment a bit with the base on this one. I didn’t want to go ALL the way white just in case I didn’t like it, and the sale + the gift certificate really gave me a lot of room to play around with all those nifty add-ons. I also have a matcha in the same order with a black base! I’m so excited to try that one out, but this one really won out in the battle for nighttime matcha. As I’ve mentioned before, it doesn’t give me enough of a buzz to really make it hard to sleep. Plus I’m a night owl, so it’s not like this is right before bed or anything! Anyway, my matcha was composed as follows:

Size: Small (30 grams)
Matcha Quality: 50% Green Matcha/50% White Matcha
Flavor Level Distinctive

I think the white matcha may possibly be a bit more… voluminous than the green? My bag seems extra-stuffed this time, and maybe it’s some sort of illusion but I’d swear it seems like there is a ton more in there. The color is more subdued than straight green matcha: it’s a bit… well, not duller, but the white/brown aspect definitely comes through. It’s actually a really pretty color! And it smells a little different too, less grassy. Oh, of course it smells mostly like Bavarian Cream!

The matcha whisks up with the same amount of foam as green: I’ve heard that white/red/black doesn’t have as many bubbles but the 50/50 mix seems to counteract this. Yum, matcha foam! It always makes me feel so fancy. The flavor of the matcha itself is really interesting. There’s that grassy, distinctive green matcha taste, but also something light and airy and almost… not floral, but it does definitely taste a bit like white tea! It’s also a bit smoother, but I’m not sure how much of that has to do with the flavoring.

So, let’s talk about Bavarian Cream! The joys of this stuff (the actual cream) isn’t just the taste, it’s the consistency too. Obviously matcha isn’t going to be, you know, a thick cream, but it does capture that special aspect! It’s really smooth and luscious, even thicker than usual. I mean thicker in mouthfeel, I don’t think it is actually any different in consistency than other matchas I’ve tried. But the sensation of custard is there! And the taste.. the taste is so good! Vanilla, cream, custard, heaven! It’s like donut filling in my cup! I think the 50/50 base is a good choice for this one, it tones down the grassiness a bit so it’s just creamy goodness. I wanted this one to be extra dessert-like and it is so spot on! You can pick it up here:

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/bavarian-cream-matcha.html

And I definitely recommend both the flavor and the base. It is so good, almost edging out Pumpkin Pie as my favorite!

QueenOfTarts

Mmmm.. Love your review of this! I’m not a big fan of white tea usually… do you think that you can really detect the white tea in this 50/50 blend?

Alphakitty

I’d say that the white tea isn’t really THAT prominent—it doesn’t taste like straight matcha, but it does have some of white tea’s best qualities. If you’re unsure if you’d like the white base, I think this is a great way to try it out! Plus it’s really nice with creamy flavors.

ashmanra

Good to know. I have been wanting to try white matcha. Now I know what flavors to narrow it down to a bit.

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Bio

Tea has always been a passion of mine, though I got away from it during college. A lack of cupboard space and a constant influx of people into my suite made me pretty much abandon my teas at home. But now that I’m done with school, it’s definitely come back with a vengeance—to the point where I’ve purchased about 65 different kinds in the past 3 months!

I like most kinds of teas—yes, even peach, which I used to think I disliked!. Oolongs are definitely my favorite, and I’m an avid fan of earl grey, floral teas, and chai blends along with anything melon. The only kind of teas on my “no” list are rooibos blends (which gives me headaches) and banana flavored ones since bananas are public enemy #1 in my mind.

The best thing about tea for me is how you can be passionate about it and still have it integrate into all of your other hobbies. I like a lot of things: writing, video games, books, sewing, figure collecting, astronomy… it’s a long list. But whatever I’m doing, I can have a cup of tea in hand!

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New York

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http://www.plastikitty.com/

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