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Recent Tasting Notes
Gotta drink at least a few samples each weekend :) I found this one to be relatively pleasant but nothing special and certainly nothing different. Not sure what they were going for with “fruit salad” but if they were hoping for a sort of generic fruity like melange of nothing in particular….mission accomplished!
Last rainbow matcha to try!
This one is so pretty; I mean, it’s very black! It smells softly like chocolate too, so I was especially excited to try it since I haven’t ever really had a really good chocolate flavoured matcha before. This one whisks up the same way all the other rainbow matchas do; not quite as smoothly as a regular matcha powder but very close. It really, really does look black! It’s super aesthetically pleasing to look at. I did mine as a latte though, so I added a lot of milk to it – it definitely takes on a much more grey colour with the milk, but that makes sense. I mean white plus black equals grey, after all.
Taste wise? It’s great! Actually, I think it’s probably even my favourite in terms of flavour of all the rainbow matchas I bought from Bluebird! It’s fairly mild in terms of flavour, but incredibly smooth and very natural. So what does it taste like, you ask? Cocoa powder! Like, definitely channeling some serious vibes of hot cocoa made from actual cocoa powder and not an instant hot chocolate mix. Since I’m not the world’s biggest fan of chocolate teas when not paired with some other flavour to contrast I know that this is something that wouldn’t ever be a ‘daily drinker’ for me because I’d get sick of it quickly. However as an occasional, dessert matcha treat with a super cool aesthetic component? Yeah, I’m all over this one!
I bought this one in January last year, and it’s sat in my cupboard ever since. I think that’s largely because it’s such an odd duck, I mean…a tea that tastes like meadow? This was released as the first tea in Bluebird’s Herbfield Series, which presumably never got off the ground since I’ve heard nothing more about it since. In any case, it’s a blend of UK grown herbs – rosemary, vervain, and feverfew, with some marigold petals thrown in for good measure.
It looks like the dried herb mixes you might find in the supermarket, but the scent is more appealing than I expected. It’s like freshly cut grass on a warm day; soft, mellow, and soothing. It conjures up warmth, to me, which is especially welcome on a bitter winter day like today. It’s summer captured in a scent.
To taste, it’s not quite so pleasant. The rosemary is very strong, and there’s a powerfully bitter aftertaste. It’s definitely a savoury tea, no question. After the initial hit of rosemary wears off, it tastes, basically, like grass – very green with a lot of chlorophyll. I’m not quite sure what Bluebird were thinking when they blended this, which perhaps accounts for the fact that no more followed. It’s unpleasant almost in the extreme as a drink, although I could sniff the leaves all day and feel quite happy. Perhaps I’ll use it as an odd kind of potpourri, because I definitely won’t be drinking it…
Tasting note 6000!!! This wasn’t really a planned tea to have for this milestone, but it does seem fitting that something so unique/fun get the honor…
This is the second of my new, fun rainbow matchas! I think this might be, of the three, the one I’m least excited about – it’s not overly/uniquely flavoured and by the point I’m pretty darn familiar with butterfly pea flower as a tea ingredient. Still, it’s a very cool concept and just because it’s the one I’m least excited about doesn’t mean I’m not excited at all.
I was surprised, opening the tin up, how normal the powder looked. I mean, the Beetberry Matcha was so distinctly different and this just looks like regular matcha. No hints of blue to the be seen. I used my largest chawan for this; less for the size and more because it’s covered in this beautiful blue/teal and gold pattern that reminds me so strongly of waves and fish/mermaid scales – it seemed incredibly fitting for this, supposedly, blue ‘Mermaid Matcha’.
Evening just pouring in the first, tiniest bit of water to whisk this up I didn’t really think “blue” as it was whisking. If anything it just looked like a very, very dark green maybe with some turquoise sort of undertones to it? When I was satisfied with how everything had whisked up initially I then added in more water to fill the bowl and it still didn’t look like anything more than a very, very dark turquoise-ish green. I was a little disappointed, to be honest. I mean, it totally wasn’t the normal colour of matcha but it didn’t look like what was advertised either…
Flavour wise, it was quite nice though – tasted a lot like the Ice Cream matcha that Bluebird also carries; which is to say notes of vanilla and carob. I was feeling the creaminess of the matcha, so I decided to amp it up by adding milk to my matcha bowl, and folks, that’s what the magic happened. Suddenly I had so much more than dark turquoise green matcha – I had honest to go BLUE MATCHA! I mean, it looked like fucking Bantha Milk – the blue milk from Star Wars. So pretty, and so interesting to look at! I mean, I wish I didn’t have to add milk to see that beautiful blue colouring, but I’m glad it was there even if it was hiding right under my nose. I feel a lot less deceived about the colouring of the matcha now.
Only other real ‘con’ to this one is just that it has the same issue I’ve found with other matcha from bluebird that the other ground up ingredients in the powder (carob/butterfly pea flower) are somewhat heavy and settled quite quicky. So you either need to drink fast, or stir often.
So, what must have been MONTHS ago I first learned about red matcha/beetroot matcha from OolongOwl and I became obsessed with trying it. However, I simply could NOT find any that I could get shipped into Canada or that wasn’t like $50CAD for shipping alone. I eventually gave up on trying it…
Then, Bluebird created their ‘Rainbow Matcha’ line up and everything changed! Not only were they carrying this red matcha/beetroot matcha but a black and a blue matcha as well! I had to have them all. And so I bought them, because I have no willpower.
Well, they showed up yesterday and I’m SO EXCITED to try them all out. Of course I had no option but start with the one that started the obsession/hunt in the first place. So, bring on the red matcha!
First things first, holy hell it really is BRIGHT red! I mean, I was whisking this up in my matcha bowl and it looked a little bit like sort of semi-congealed blood. Just, you know, a little grizzly in appearance. Not nearly as fun/whimsical as you’re want a bright red matcha to be. It’s all very very fascinating though. Other observations from whisking it are that it’s a bit clumpy and doesn’t break down as smoothly as other matchas – also, it’s a little heavier so it does settle faster than your typical matcha.
Flavour wise it was… unique.
I don’t want to say it was bad because it wasn’t – but it’s certainly a unique flavour and not at all what I expected, though I guess I’m not totally sure what the expectation was in the first place. I guess I’ll just start by stating the obvious – it does taste like beets. I like the taste of beets, so it’s fine for me – but that sweet, earthy sort of quality is 100% present and strong. Other than that, the sweetness/fruityness of the currant also comes through pretty clearly, and is just a touch medicinal tasting. I can’t remember if they actually specify if they’ve used red or black currant, but it definitely reminds me more of black than red – same sort of ‘heavyness’ and medicinal leaning tendencies.
Probably the biggest issue overall though is the licorice though. I hate the inclusion of it; it seems really unnecessary and it’s very, very strong/cloying, especially right in the finish where you’re just sort of slapped in the face with the presence of it. I think there’s enough going on with other flavours in the tea that it doesn’t ruin it for me, and I suppose I can see why they’d want to add sweetness to what is otherwise a really beet heavy profile but I just wish they’d used something else to do it.
Lets be real though, the main reason you’d be drinking this tea is aesthetic. Taste is important too, of course, but I wanted this because it’s a red matcha. Visuals, folks! In this case they trump the taste. I still like the flavour well enough, though.
Excited to try the rest of the ‘rainbow’ matchas now!
Free sample from the order that showed up today. Not really a flavour that interests me the bulk of the time; lemon and ginger that is. Still, a free sample is a free sample and I’ll try anything once!
I will say that this definitely did give me a really good burst of energy/kick. Unfortunately, it’s pretty late at night so that may or may not be a good thing. I should have waited drink it until tomorrow morning, but oh well. As for flavour, it’s not bad as far as ginger/lemon combos go. Much more lemon than ginger, in my opinion. Drinkable.
Ideal situation for this one, I think, would be with a bit of honey when one was feeling sick because the flavour would be really soothing/calming and you’d get the energy you generally need when you’re feeling unwell.
Pulled out a second of the Dreamtime collection teas to try this evening, since I’m so thoroughly exhausted. I don’t even really know why, except life. I figured I’d probably prefer this one to Lazy Boy, and I was right for the most part.
I made this one up as a latte (of course!), using 100ml milk and 2tsp tea in 300ml water. I started out with just 1/4 tsp of vanilla essence, but the flavour was pretty flat so I also added 1 tsp honey. It really needs the honey, as a latte – it adds a smooth sweetness this blend lacks otherwise, and tones down the dry woodiness of the rooibos. Which brings me neatly on to my biggest complaint about this tea, although it’s not that big really; the rooibos here is much more prominent that I expected, to the point where it almost overpowers everything else. I think preparing it as a latte rescued it to a certain extent, because milk can genuinely hide a multitude of sins. The honey didn’t go amiss, either.
To taste, this is light lemon-lavender. It’s a solid flavour pairing, and much more successful to my mind than Lazy Boy’s coconut-lavender. It’s pretty relaxing and not too over-flavoured – just enough to distract a busy mind. It reminds me a little of a lemon sherbet, although there’s no sourness. It’s that sweet, candy lemon flavour that’s doing it, most likely.
I like this one, although the base is a little jarring. It’s a tea I’d consider adding to my cupboard, since it’s both soothing and calming, and one of the more palatable “sleep” teas I’ve tried. Unfortunately, it’s limited edition. I don’t really understand that, because it’s not exactly a seasonal thing. I don’t know about you, but I need to sleep all year round? Mysteries!
Sipping this as I type. Love an Earl Grey Creme, no matter the brand, there’s just something nice about the sweet notes of vanilla mixed with bergamot.
I’m drinking this black today, Ceylon is a bit strong and bitter, probably nicer with milk, but the bergamot is medium strength with light touches of vanilla :P
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Citrusy, Vanilla
This was the second of Bluebird’s Valentine’s Day teas for this year. I missed this the first time round, because I think it was released during my time in the wilderness when I wasn’t really drinking/buying much/any tea. I’m still not quite sure what I was thinking, to be honest, but I’m certainly glad it’s over!
Anyway, I’m really glad to have had the opportunity to try this one, and it’s definitely my favourite of the two. Initially, it smells very much like Love Potion – there’s a strong, artificial strawberry scent that’s quite overpowering. Brewed, though, it’s a different story. Firstly, it’s pink! I know colour shouldn’t be a factor, but I can certainly get behind a pink tea. It’s a cheering thing just to look at. I made this one as a latte, because that’s very much my thing at the moment, and it was Bluebird’s recommended preparation method. I went with their suggestions, only adjusted for a smaller glass – something like 3tsp tea in 100ml water, with 150ml milk, 1/2 tsp honey, and 1/4 tsp vanilla essence. I’m really pleased with how it came out!
To taste, it’s much more in line with my expectations – liquid chocolate cake, and very creamy. It’s very reminiscent of its namesake, although obviously without the cream cheese icing. This one turns out pink because it contains beetroot, but that’s not much of a presence in flavour terms. I think it perhaps would be if I brewed it straight rather than as a latte, but here it’s just pure, perfect chocolate.
It definitely cheered up an irritating work week!
I have been interested in trying this one out since reading Scheherazade’s review, since chocolate, coconut, and lavender are three of my favorite things! (I’ve been making a lot of lavender cocoa recently, and even my friends are quite fond of it!) I wasn’t crazy about the flavor of the Cat’s Pyjamas tea sampler in the Dreamtime Collection I picked up from Bluebird (though that stuff is a miracle drug at helping me go to bed early, so I’ll definitely be keeping it around and drinking it with some extra lemon and honey to help with the taste for those nights when I need to turn in extra early, so it has its uses!), but based on ingredients alone, I have high hopes that the flavor of this particular Dreamtime Collection tea will be a bit more to my liking!
The tea has a nice lavender aroma, with some carmelly sweet notes from the rooibos. The flavor of the tea is a very sweet rooibos base that has some caramel and mellow chocolately notes; it isn’t a strong, rich flavor, but more of a sweet subnote. There is touch of a coconut flavor, but the floral lavender notes come out much stronger. I absolutely love lavender, but the flavor is a bit overwhelming to the coconut here.
I don’t typically add milk to rooibos, but I do love milk in lavender blacks, so I decided to go with Scheherazade’s suggestion and added a dash of some coconut creamer. That definitely helped balance out the coconut notes, and the creamy texture was very pleasant. I enjoyed the tea enough before, but found the flavor balance much nicer with the dash of coconut creamer! I really enjoy coconut and lavender and found the combination a nice, sweet, relaxing cuppa for the afternoon and evening.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Coconut, Floral, Lavender, Sweet
Love You Oolong Time! I love milk oolong, but this is the first time I can recall finding a flavored blend using milk oolong as a base. Milk oolong already has such an interesting flavor naturally, the idea of making a blend out of it both perplexed me and oddly piqued my interest, so I was quite interested in trying this one out.
I was happy to find that the mouthfeel of milk oolong holds out here; the tea has a very silky, creamy feel. I get some buttery notes from the base as well, though they are a little more subdued due to the rich, minty flavor of the tea, which comes to the forefront. There is a subtle sweetness in the background, that isn’t a rich, full, chocolately flavor, but there is a light, sweet, chocolate-mint candy impression left on the tongue in the aftertaste. I’m /really/ enjoying how this is all coming together; the milk oolong makes what would otherwise be just another standard choco-mint tea feel more creamy and buttery and dessert-like than it really should. It’s really good, and this is likely going to end up a permanent fixture in my cabinent. Right between my regular milk oolong and my chocolate mint rooibos, because while this is very similar in ways to each of those, neither of them can quite scratch the same itch as this.
Flavors: Butter, Candy, Chocolate, Creamy, Mint, Smooth, Sweet
This is the first of the Dreamtime Collection teas I’ve tried (except Dozy Girl, which is part of the standard Bluebird line-up, so I’m not really counting that one.) I like the idea of coconut and cocoa, but lavender has me feeling a little wary. I made this one up as a latte with coconut milk, as per Bluebird’s recommendation and, surprisingly, it’s pretty good. Not my favourite, but good.
Obviously the coconut milk has significantly amplified the coconut flavour here, and it’s also added a creaminess that would otherwise be lacking. The lavender is the second strongest flavour, and is still fairly pungently floral, but not obnoxiously so. The cocoa comes in last; really just a hint of chocolate towards the end of the sip.
I’m happy with how the cocoa and coconut work together – that’s a tried and tested combination. I’m not over sold on the lavender – it’s a little jarring, and it feels like it doesn’t really quite fit in here. As a combination, especially with the milk, it’s a touch rich and cloying – quite difficult to drink in latte quantities (which for me means 500ml plus.) A smaller cup would definitely suffice for me.
On the whole, though, it’s not too bad. I like the coconut/coconut milk, and I got a good night’s sleep so perhaps it helped some. It has a rooibos base, but I wouldn’t have known with it made up this way – it could have been herbal, or even black…there was no taste to give it away. Where rooibos is concerned, that’s probably a good thing.
I doubt I’d buy more of this one, just because lavender isn’t really my thing and I don’t think it works particularly well with coconut and cocoa. Glad to have tried it, though, because you never know!
Recently I picked up a sampler set of the Dreamtime Collection from Bluebird Tea Co., mostly because the blends in the set included lavender, and I’ve been on a big lavender kick lately. This was the only blend in the collection lacking lavender, and therefore the one I was the least interested in… but I have to turn in early tonight because I have a cataloger’s meeting that is at a library two hours away tomorrow (meaning I have to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to get on the road to make it in time!), so I figured this blend, with it’s valerian root (known as a holistic sleep aid) and chamomile (a beloved relaxant) would be a good choice to try to get me to bed a bit early.
As far as flavor… I’m not going to lie, this tea isn’t a favorite. I am not a fan of the flavor of chamomile, and that is all I can smell and taste from this cup of tea. I was really hoping that the lemon verbena in the blend would leave a stronger impression (or any impression, really) and bring some nice citrus notes to the forefront, but I just get that strong, floral, chamomile flavor. There is no cinnamon flavor or spicy warmth from the cinnamon in the blend, either. As far as I’m concerned, I may as well just be drinking plain chamomile tea, here. It’s pretty disappointing, especially since I prefer chamomile notes in a blend to be on the subtle side. When they are this strong, I have to add lemon juice and honey to the tea to make it more palatable.
So as far as taste goes, this tea fails for me. Fuctionally, though, this tea works very well! I had two cups in the evening, and I was really winding down, feeling quite groggy and drowsy well before my typical bedtime! As far as a nightcap to help unwind and get ready to go to bed, I think this herbal hits the spot! If you are looking for a good “unwind” tea to help you nod off, you may want to give this one a try!
Flavors: Floral, Sweet
I love this tea! I find this tea is really affective at calming and clearing the mind. Also, the taste really is like reaching nirvana. Just a wonderful mixture of green tea, jasmine, and the slightest hint of spearmint. Very well done.
Flavors: Jasmine, Spearmint
This is a hojicha green tea with almond an hazelnut flavors. Wow, the almond flavor is strong. Open the bag and it is a cloud of sweet marzipan. Brewed, the almond continues to be dominant, but it is coupled with the nutty, slightly floral hojicha. The green tea pairs well with the smooth almond. The green tea is definitely savory beneath all that marizpan, a bit brothy, and like stuffing I suppose. I was hoping for more herbal notes, or more apple, sage, or rosemary, to make this feel more thanksgiving-oriented, but the flavors are just not there. As the tea cools, you get more equal parts of marizpan and brothy green tea, which maybe aren’t the perfect pair. I think this should have gone more spicy and herbal, or gone for the sweet almond-cake taste all-around. Not bad, but not my favorite.
Flavors: Almond, Broth, Floral, Marzipan, Nutty
This was last night’s latte, and I’m going to say straight off that it’s the best flavoured matcha I’ve ever tried. Brewed, this is like drinking liquid blueberry muffin – it’s absolutely spot-on juicy/sweet/slightly tart blueberry, and that’s one thing, but there’s also a deliciously creamy, cake-like flavour that I absolutely wasn’t expecting. I can’t even imagine where it came from, if I’m honest, but I hope every cup of this is as good.
If you like dessert teas, you really need to try this one. It’s amazing.
This is a light, refreshing tea. I enjoy my fruity greens when they don’t have a thick, heavy, overwhelming taste, and this tea does that nicely. It has a somewhat softer touch of citrus than most lemon teas, and the sweet pineapple flavors take off some of the tangy edge. The tea is very smooth, and I pick up just a hint of a minty note in the aftertaste. As a warm tea, it is a pleasant enough sweeter lemon tea, but I definitely prefer this tea as an iced brew; cold brewing the tea gives it a very crisp, clean, refreshing flavor, and I really enjoy the citrus/pineapple flavor combination.
Flavors: Citrus, Lemon Zest, Mint, Pineapple, Sweet, Tangy
I bought this one largely so that I could make golden milk, because it’s probably not something I’m going to drink straight, if I’m honest! Given that it’s supposed to be good for colds/sore throats/general under-the-weatherness, I gave it a go pretty much as soon as I got home last night.
I went with Bluebird’s recipe, and used 300ml coconut milk, 1 tsp. of honey, and 1/2 tsp. of matcha. I added a sprinkle of cinnamon for pretties, and also because I was being reminded of curry quite a bit, and I wanted something sweet to cut through that.
In actual fact, I needn’t have worried. The coconut milk is pretty sweet on its own, and overpowers any lingering savoury notes from the turmeric. There’s really nothing curry-like about golden milk, except the colour (and the scent, while under construction!) It’s super creamy, although the milk is obviously contributing that – there’s nothing creamy about this particular matcha otherwise.
Taste wise, it’s predominantly coconut. There’s an additional sweetness from the honey, and a touch of spice from the cinnamon. The turmeric doesn’t play much of a contributing role in the flavour, and neither does the rooibos base of the matcha. There is a chilli-like heat that lingers in the aftertaste, and I have to assume that comes from the matcha. It makes for a pleasant counterpoint to all the sweet creaminess, and my throat certainly approves.
I appreciate that I’ve not really done the matcha justice by drowning it in coconut milk, and I can’t really comment much on what it’s like in its own right. What I do know is that it was easy to whisk up, stayed in suspension, and would likely be much more savoury brewed differently. I also know that golden milk is delicious! It could well be a new winter staple for me.