Bird & Blend Matcha Advent Calendar – Day 13

Oh, Bird & Blend, what unusual matchas you have… This one is full of activated charcoal. It has virtually no dry scent at all. It seemed extremely fine in the tin, but I sifted it into my chawan anyway, and was happy I did because there were some big clumps of cocoa powder.

Wow, this was pitch black before I added the milk. In fact, it tried to stain my chasen a little bit and required some more strenuous cleaning to get it off.

This is an interesting once. Even with the 8 ounces of soy milk, it’s still quite a dark grey color. I’m not sure if it’s because of the charcoal, but it has a somewhat gritty texture – not terribly unpleasant or anything, just something of note. The flavor is a nice mix of grassy and slightly umami matcha with a bit of a roasty hit. I’m not sure if that’s from the cocoa, as supposedly charcoal doesn’t have any flavor. I can taste the rich cocoa flavor as well.

Overall, this is actually quite tasty aside from the texture. Hopefully their Cocoa Matcha is also in the calendar and tastes similar, as I really don’t care about the charcoal aspect.

From the Bonne Maman calendar, today we have Strawberry-Redcurrant (Fraise-Groseille) spread. I’m not sure I know what redcurrant tastes like, it’s not a common flavor here in the States. I know what they look like, and they’re one of the “four red fruits”, but I’ve never tried one. I would guess semi-tart? Anyway, this tastes of yummy strawberry jam with a bit more zing, I assume from the redcurrant. I hope they have a plain redcurrant jam in this calendar, as I would love to try it. For science…

Flavors: Cocoa, Grain, Grass, Roasted nuts, Sweet, Umami

Iced 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m 29 years old and currently living in Austin, Texas with my boyfriend of 5 years. We’re both software engineers, currently working in the field of Machine Learning. I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-faced dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one.

I am also an avid yarn collector (errr, I mean knitter!) when the hot Austin weather allows for it… Find me on Ravelry under the name LorenWeiss!

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I will often sweeten iced tea. I brew Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. I have recently started to brew gongfu cha style!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, just let me know via PM!

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms, including black, green, oolong, and white teas, as well as maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I am open to more exploration of puerh, but it’s not generally one of my favorites. I am not often a fan of fruit-based tisanes.

My very favorite straight teas tend to be from China, Japan, or Taiwan. I also enjoy matcha!

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially mango and pineapple.

Dessert: Again, all the things! I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I do very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura and chamomile. But I’m not crazy about rose and lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a main flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea. Smoke can be tasty when it’s not heavy-handed.

Favorite Purveyors:
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Taiwan Tea Crafts
Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age.

My profile photo is by inkpug!


Austin, Texas



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