2201 Tasting Notes
This morning I decided to take a stab at matcha blending. I wanted to combine two matchas from Red Leaf Tea: Black Currant (flavor level: robust) and Almond (flavor level: “There’s matcha in there?!”), but they are both extremely powerful in the flavoring department and I feared it would be too much to drink them just like that. Fortunately I still have some plain matcha left over from the Red Leaf taste test, so I did 1:1:1 of each of those three matchas, and turned it into a latte. It turned out great! The combination of fruit and almond is French to me for some reason, and I felt like I was drinking a matcha version of a Dammann Fréres tea. The extra plain matcha slightly toned down the strong flavors but everything was still very curranty and almondy. I’ll definitely be making this combo again.
This was a nice oolong to have with lunch today, and I can see how traditional, lightly roasted tie guan yins like this one are great everyday teas. This is quite tasty, just roasted enough to give it a light touch, and “ground” it more than an unroasted, green, floral oolong. Quite a good example of these types of teas.
Made a latte with this one this morning with almond milk (natch). This is so delicious, but also super strong in flavoring; I definitely thing the almond flavoring is strong enough that I will be dropping down from the “There’s matcha in there?!” flavoring level when I have to reorder this one. Because this one is definitely a reorder!
Latte time! This one turned into a delicious, nutty, creamy pistachio latte with almond milk. I still occasionally get a whiff or a taste of something that is almost clovey, like this is some kind of pistachio spice latte or something, but it is much reduced from the straight preparation. Definitely a delicious bowl of matcha!
Made this one with 4oz of hot water and 4oz of warm almond milk (original, non-vanilla), with a pinch of sugar.
This matcha really shines as a latte. The thing about pumpkin pie is that it’s creamy and sweet, so adding more creamy and sweet elements really brings out the pumpkin pie flavor. It’s perfomance as a latte brings this one up into the high 80s in the ratings, and I will definitely really enjoy drinking it this way this fall.
This tea is just so tasty. Passion fruit and rose are some of my favorite flavors, and I love them together. And this tea is really well done, with authentic flavors for both on a nice, mild (but not boring), lovely ceylon base. One that is definitely on my cupboard essentials list, despite the fact I don’t drink it all that often (too many other teas! :P)
This tea was a gamble for me. I am not really a fan of Mi Lan Dancong oolongs so much, but I figured, what the heck I’m getting more and more into Chinese black teas, so I might as well give this one a go. I included a sample size of it in my most recent order.
When I first smelled the leaves I got just an aroma of slight chocolate and toasted grains, kind of like dark oolong. Then I exhaled into my teapot and inhaled immediately afterward and I got the most amazing apricot/plum/stone fruit aroma coming back at me. It was quite surprising!
I looked at the steeping instructions on Verdant’s website, and even the western instructions were not that western. I decided to go with the gong-fu instructions and bust out my tiny teapot/gaiwan hybrid for the first time since I returned from Madagascar. My pot is 6oz, so I used the entire 7g sample in it, which filled it about halfway as recommended on Verdant’s site. Two rinses, as instructed, and then the first steep, just a couple of seconds. The wet leaf smells crazy minerally with hints of cooked spinach, and the tea itself smells completely unexpectedly like the woods, like trees, like cinnamon. Actually I’m impressed that I detected that cinnamon note without reading about it first in the description, because I often don’t really find things like that until I go looking for them specifically. The tea is creamy and honeyed, though I don’t find it to be fruity. Never mind, my last, lukewarm sip of the first steep was a tiny stone-fruity. Overall a pretty oolongy steep.
After the second quick steep, the inside of the lid of my teapot and the wet leaf both yield a surprisingly strong floral note, but I would call it gardenia instead of jasmine. The liquor smells sweeter, more cinnamony and less earthy-vegetal, though the florals err on the vegetal side of things. The flavor is again honeyed and more floral this time, in an oolongy way, not a particularly flowery way. I get an aftertaste of asparagus, and as the second steep builds in my mouth the mineral flavor returns.
Overall I would echo others who say this tea seems very oolongy. I guess it’s hard to put a line down on oolong versus black tea sometimes, and this tea definitely straddles that line. Am I glad I tasted it? Absolutely. It was a fun experiment. But I doubt I’ll be picking more up since I’ve never really gotten into those dancong oolongs in the first place. Someone who was would no doubt find this tea very intriguing.
This is flavor I could not wait to try. I am in love with all things pumpkin, so this one got purchased even before it went on sale last weekend (with a different coupon, though). I went ahead and ordered this with the basic matcha base and the “There’s matcha in there?!” flavoring level because I wanted a lot of pumpkin. Get it here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/pumpkin-pie-matcha.html
When I opened the pouch and sniffed I was very pleased because it smelled spicy, but also richly creamy-pumpkin. But you often can’t tell what something is going to taste like from its dry smell, and that seems to be the case here. For this first tasting I prepared the matcha with just hot water (then added a little sugar later). I got almost no froth when whisking this one, which has to be an effect of the flavoring somehow. It smelled very clovey when prepared, that really is the dominant aroma.
As for the initial taste, well, that was surprising. It honestly didn’t taste like much… some faint spicey and an earthy, minerally matcha base. I’m really not sure how that’s possible with the “There’s matcha in there?!” flavoring level, but it’s true. Then I added some sugar, which balanced the flavor a lot. It still didn’t taste as pumpkiny as the dry powder smelled, but it was certainly a more rounded spice flavor with a nice pumpkin undertone. Honestly I can’t wait to try this one as a latte, because I think it will really shine in that form.
This tea sample comes courtesy of Sare during our recent swap. Thanks!
I asked for a sample of these pearls out of curiosity. I don’t know if I’ve ever had an Adagio tea, actually, but I do love the black dragon pearls I got from Teavivre so I wanted to compare those with another company’s (not that I’m looking for a replacement!)
The dry pearls smell really quite chocolatey, with maybe a touch of cinnamon, actually. Intriging! Sare sent me 4 pearls so I decided to use them all up in my 12oz mug, and hope that it will be strong enough. Steeped, it smells roasty and grain-y, not much if any chocolate. The flavor could be stronger, but that is likely an effect of using what is probably too few pearls (I think I would normally go with 5). Otherwise it is pleasantly sweetish and honeyed, with a somewhat molasses-y grain-y flavor. Quite a tasty tea, though not going to replace Teavivre’s version any time soon. It was good to get to try these from another vendor!
I am actually not a big eater of plain pistachios, but I love their nut-paste based desserts, like gelato or various truffles. Yum. So I really wanted to try this matcha, especially after trying the almond matcha in all its nutty glory. I ordered this one in the robust flavoring level, with the basic grade matcha, from here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/pistachio-matcha.html
As I opened the pouch, the matcha definitely smelled like pistachio essence, by which I don’t mean it smelled like a bag of pistachios, but more like pistachio gelato or pistachio marizpan (marzipan made with pistachios instead of almonds!). I prepared this matcha as usual, with 1/2tsp of matcha for 8oz of water, and a little sugar added part way through the bowl.
When I first smelled the prepared bowl of matcha, I was surprised and confused that it smelled kind of spicy, like nutmeg and cloves. Wha? It wasn’t unpleasant, just totally unexpected. The smell carries over to just the beginning part of the taste, where it initially seems a bit spicy but then morphs into a nutty, rich pistachio flavor. The matcha underneath definitely takes on an earthy flavor, and I can’t help but wonder if the spiciness isn’t at least in part from the matcha that the pistachio flavoring is just bringing to the foreground.
This is a really tasty matcha, though not precisely what I was looking for with the pistachio flavoring. The pistachio is definitely there and delicious, but the spiciness is kind of throwing me off a bit. My score may change as I try it more times and attempt to figure out all of its flavors.