635 Tasting Notes
Thank you to TeaBrat for providing this sample! In my opinion, this is a tea that requires milk and sweetener. A little longer infusion helps too. This definitely tastes like a cookie! I’ve been sipping on it and trying to decide what kind of cookie. At first, I thought caramel, then peanut butter, then thumbprint. Those are three vastly different kinds of cookies! I guess I have no idea what kind this tastes like, but it is delicious. A delicious cookie in tea form! I forgot how much I like Lupicia Teas. This is definitely worth getting again.
Flavors: Caramel, Cookie
This is my third sample from the flavored matcha sampler. It’s delicate flavoring with the classic base. The dry leaf aroma is full of beautiful vanilla goodness. The flavor is gently sweet vanilla bean. The aftertaste is really lovely and the best part of this tea in my opinion. The natural-tasting vanilla flavoring lingers long after the sip.
This is delicious but I think I’d prefer vanilla as a component in a flavoring rather than the only thing going on. I can recommend this one, even in the lower flavoring level. I think vanilla may be one of those flavors that you want to be delicate. Although I’m really on a vanilla kick right now and I almost always prefer for it to be punched up about 100 notches. So that I enjoy this in delicate flavoring level is saying something!
Flavors: Sweet, warm grass, Vanilla
This is my second sample from the flavored matcha sampler. It’s delicate flavoring with the classic base. The dry leaf aroma is as I remember Cheesecake Matcha to be. That’s a good sign. The flavor is definitely light but it is spot on cheesecake. Thank goodness! I’m so glad this is better than the Strawberry Matcha sample. I guess there’s still hope for this sampler after all.
I definitely recommend getting a higher flavoring level than delicate though. This is mostly matcha with a touch of cheesecake. The powder seems to have blended better with the water this time too. I can absolutely enjoy the rest of this sample, but I really prefer stronger flavorings in my matcha. If you’re looking for a good flavored matcha to try out, this one is a safe bet. I can confidently recommend it.
Flavors: Cheesecake, Creamy, Sweet, warm grass, Tangy
I’ve tried this particular sample three times before writing this note. I bought Red Leaf Tea’s new flavored matcha sampler. In total, I bought 12 teas for $25. This was the first one I tried because I’ve had it before and I loved it back then! That time it was robust flavoring with the classic base. Apparently, the entire sampler is made with delicate flavoring on the classic base. That flavoring level really makes a big difference.
I thought the dry leaf aroma was recognizably strawberry. But the brewed tea aroma was a little gross. Sadly, the first time I tried this sample, it was a bitter yucky mess. I prepared it with 175 degree water in my Nespresso Aeroccino. I waited a few weeks and then prepared it this way again. It was much better the second time so I must have done a better job at getting the right water ratio. However, it still just wasn’t quite right. There’s barely any strawberry flavoring to this at all, which is a huge disappointment. It tastes like the matcha powder isn’t dissolving in the water. So I’m drinking warm water with powder floating around in it. Yuck. I even put it through the Aeroccino twice so it was definitely whisked enough, and that’s the way I’ve prepared it in the past when I did like it and drank matcha frequently.
The third and final time, I decided to try out Red Leaf’s recommended cold latte. I still used the Aeroccino and I didn’t add ice. I also did start with warm water to get a paste going since the matcha dissolving in cold milk could be a problem. It frothed up huge this time, but I actually find the matcha foam off-putting. Drinking the cold strawberry matcha latte is weird. I can taste the matcha about the same as I could in the warm water. There’s no additional strawberry flavoring making itself known. Now there’s just the added flavor of skim milk.
Honestly, I am not a fan. I don’t know if it’s purely to blame on the flavoring level or what. I guess time will tell on that front because I have A LOT more samples to go through. So far, I’m really disappointed though. I spent a lot of money on this sampler and I could have just gotten a couple 30g packages at robust flavoring that I would have actually enjoyed. I think this sampler was a mistake. I’m leaving the rating unchanged from a few years ago, but I cannot recommend this sampler or flavoring level. I would probably rate this a 27.
ETA: I take back my negative review of the flavored matcha sampler. This particular matcha appears to be an outlier. The others I’ve tried are delicious.
This tea has been on my wish list for YEARS! So a BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC thank you to TeaBrat for giving me a sample!!
The brewed tea aroma is equal parts vanilla and caramel. Mmmm, this smells like a dream! A decadent, delicious, dessert dream! The flavor is a lot like the aroma but a tad bitter. I added some skim milk and Truvia and now it’s perfect! It’s heavily vanilla and heavily caramel and I am in love! Mmm, yes! This can replace the hole in my heart left by Butiki Teas’ Caramel Vanilla Assam being no longer available since they closed shop.
I’m always on the lookout for a great vanilla tea and caramel is an added bonus. Now I wish I had more! A lot more! But alas, an order will have to wait until I’ve sipped down my overflowing cupboard. I still have two Mariage Frères teas in there: Marco Polo, which I’ve only had probably twice, and Eros, which I have never tried. :P I’m pretty silly, aren’t I? Oh well. I LOVE THIS TEA! Thank you, TeaBrat!
My order of Golden Fleece arrived today!! Yay!!! Literally seconds after I just placed another Verdant order too. I think the universe is trying to send me a message that I need to stop ordering tea, but I can’t help myself! Is tea buying an addiction? ‘Cause if so, I think I have a problem.
ON TO THE TEA!
I started with a very quick 3-4 second wash and then a 7 second infusion. This tea has a wonderful umami. The mouthfeel is super silky smooth. It’s a little light on flavor in this first steep because I was trying to be conservative with the leaf. The cocoa and bread components are still there, just very faint. Oh no! It’s a tea disaster! I just spilled tea everywhere trying to pour the second infusion into my new red lotus teacup. :( Oh, and this second infusion is so good too!
I’m adding some pictures of my new teacup and the awesome bamboo tea scoop I splurged on. :) This is the tea that keeps on giving. Infusion after infusion are tasty and illuminate different nuances. This tea is as delightful as I remember. In fact, it may be even more delightful than I remember. It has lovely bread and cocoa notes that embody tea from the Yunnan province of China. There’s also a bit of spice in the aroma and flavor. I love it so much! Increasing the rating of 93 from three years ago to 96.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Spices
Thanks to TeaBrat for sharing this sample! I believe I last had this tea about five years ago, which predates my finding Steepster. The aroma is familiar and comforting. Milk Caramel is a lovely tea. It doesn’t taste like a flavored tea. Rather, it tastes like an unflavored tea that just naturally has this amazing flavor.
It’s a houjicha base, which is a roasted green tea. It has a lovely roasted, warm aroma and flavor that is very representative of high quality houjicha. The added flavoring listed is just almonds. Well, that’s why I love this tea so much. Give me almond anything and I’m in Heaven!
Milk Caramel is an interesting name because while this tea doesn’t have overt milk or caramel flavorings, it does evoke these notes. There’s a creaminess and a sweetness that is reminiscent of both milk and caramel. Mmmm, toasty and delicious! I am definitely a fan of this one! Maybe I’ll pick up some for the office…nooo! I must resist!
I’ve done a good job of resisting Verdant Tea’s latest sale and clearance and now they’re sold out of the teas I wanted. :( Sad for me but good for my wallet. I’ve already placed three orders with them over the last few months! I simply have no budget left for more tea. That’s why I’m especially thankful to TeaBrat for making this tasting possible. I’ve found a good tea friend in you! :)
Flavors: Almond, Creamy, Roasted, Sweet, Toasty
The dry leaf aroma is a dark, misty jasmine. It reminds me of fog and high mountaintops. The brewed tea aroma is a good mixture of oolong and floral jasmine. The first infusion is much more flavorful than previous reviews would have led me to expect. I wouldn’t describe this as light on jasmine flavor. Perhaps it’s the oolong base that confuses the taste buds. I believe green and white bases are more prevalent for jasmine scenting. But it’s a beautiful addition to this oolong!
I followed the gaiwan brewing instructions but opted to use my Teavana Perfectea Maker instead of my new Verdant Tea gaiwan. I’ve found that if I’m brewing a tea that calls for boiling water, I just can’t handle the heat with my fingertips on the delicate porcelain. The Teavana Perfectea Maker also allows for easy resteeping and controlled pouring into the Tea Ave cups.
I must say, I was blown away by Tea Ave’s generosity in their initial marketing campaign. I received two identical teaware gifts and sample teas, along with reusable totes and coupons to redeem on a future order. I gave one of these sets to my doula as a thank you for helping me through my tough birth experience. I kept the other for myself.
At first, I thought the aroma cup (the tall skinny one) was going to be a bit useless. But I figured there’s no harm in trying it, so I attempted to keep an open mind. And you know what? It actually does enhance the aroma of teas! The shorter, wider opening of the more traditional tea cup allows the tea to cool faster for quicker drinking but also allows the aroma to escape. I found it much easier to appreciate the aroma using the aroma cup, and it had the added bonus of keeping my refill hot. :) Once I finished one cup, I could immediately pour another from the aroma cup while a second infusion was steeping in the Teavana Perfectea Maker.
BACK TO THE TEA!
I detected a hint of pepperiness at the end of the first infusion. Latter infusions didn’t have that note though. I thoroughly enjoyed infusions 1-3. I allowed the fourth to cool a little too much while writing this note and a bitterness appeared that wasn’t in the earlier infusions. This tea is best enjoyed piping hot. I rinsed the leaves before the fifth infusion and that seems to have eradicated the bitter note. So it’s quite possible that letting the wet leaves sit exposed to air is what caused the bitterness. The tea itself is lovely. Funny, I just read the description of this tea on the package and it talks about fog too. That element really does come across in the aroma!
Overall, I found this tea to be a lovely balance of floral jasmine and buttery, creamy oolong. I don’t think I’ve had a jasmine-scented oolong before and I really quite like it. Oolong is one of my favorite teas. It’s pretty interesting and fun to me that there’s a new company completely devoted just to oolong teas. If I didn’t already have so much tea, I’d definitely consider placing an order. Hopefully I can drink through my stash enough to use that coupon before it expires. If not, I promise I’ll pass it along to one of my fellow Steepsterites. It definitely should not go to waste! I still have two more samples to try, but I think I can confidently say that I am a Tea Ave convert.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Jasmine
The dry leaf aroma is potent, in a good way! Early infusions are smoky, dark, and woodsy. There’re strong tobacco and leather notes, I’m assuming from the puer. Later infusions are lighter with more caramel and chocolate. I am definitely not a fan of the early infusions. I poured infusions 2-4 into a separate cup for my husband. He likes strong, dark flavors and drinks his coffee black. I, on the other hand, prefer blond roasted coffee with milk and sugar.
These later infusions are much more my style. I’d probably rate the early ones a 45 and the later ones an 80. Averaging the two gets me a rating of 63. I feel bad giving such a harsh rating to this tea though, so I’ll up it to 69. I think if you like these dark, strong, formidable flavors, then you’ll love this! If you’re like me and prefer to avoid smoke and tobacco notes in your tea, then you’ll probably want to steer clear of this one. (Unless you want to do like I did and give the early infusions to someone else. I’d hate to recommend throwing out the early infusions because this is a high quality blend and someone should enjoy it!)
Overall, I’m glad I only bought a sample size again. And wow, what a generous sample it is! I may give the rest away to a friend of mine. Although I do like the later infusions, I’m happy with ending my experience with this tea here. There’s just too much tea in the world (and in my cupboard) to drink something you don’t love!
Note: I last tried this blend two years ago and appear to have really loved it back then, seeing as it garnered a rating of 81. Therefore, I’ll leave the rating of this tasting note unchanged. However, I would like it to be known that I rate the 2015 blend of this tea as a 69. That’s probably largely due to the fact that I wasn’t a fan of this year’s Zhu Rong Yunnan Black harvest. See my note on that tea for more details.
And now for some pictures!
Flavors: Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Leather, Smoke, Tobacco