409 Tasting Notes

I got a sample of this with my last Verdant order, and had trouble describing it. Very different from an un-aged Tieguanyin! If I were tasting this blind, I probably would have thought it was a roasted oolong, but a very rocky/mineral tasting one. It did give me a little bit of the happy energy that pu’erh often does though. A very interesting experience, certainly :)

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Drinking Laoshan-style at the office (green leaves in the bottom of a glass mug draw some attention!) to make way for the new order coming soon :) Drinking the Laoshan Apothecary Green helped me learn to recognize the spicy-sweet notes in the this, as well as the leafy green ones

175 °F / 79 °C 8 min or more

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I just pre-ordered the Autumn Dragonwell Style Laoshan Green that should be coming out in the next week, so it seemed fitting to drink some of my actual Dragonwell today, to prepare :) I was much more relaxed about making it this time (last time I definitely fretted about doing it “right”). A heaping tsp of leaves was enough to cover the bottom of my glass mug, pour sub-boiling water along the sides, then straight down the middle to stir up the leaves – drink as soon as it’s cool. The leaves all sink to the bottom after a few minutes, which makes for easy drinking.

The flavors are sweet, grassy, mineral, rather juicy… none of the dryness, so far, that I was getting last time. My palate isn’t up to cashews or cherries :P but this is very enjoyable.

170 °F / 76 °C 8 min or more

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Got a sample of this in my last order – it has a lovely true jasmine scent, and big fluffy silver needles. The taste is surprisingly smoky, and there’s a hearty – almost brothy – texture. I just dumped the whole sample in my mug, started drinking once it was cool enough, and plan to re-steep by adding water through the day. I think my steeping practices peaked in diligence… awhile ago, and are shamefully casual now. I jest – it’s more that I’ve learned enough of tea culture to articulate my own philosophy, which hinges on appreciating and sharing tea rather than fretting about it _ If it tastes good and makes me smile, then I’m doing it right.

165 °F / 73 °C 8 min or more

This was pleasingly long-lasting, by the way – I drank the same infinite cup of jasmine tea all day! The flavor got less smokey/hearty and more sweet as the day went on.

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
409 tasting notes

Lime + cheesecake matcha! Not exactly was I was hoping for (key lime pie) but still quite good – more like that opaque green jello you get sometimes, in the jello salad or the layered jello desserts :P

Prepared hot, with milk and a dash of honey. Matcha seemed finicky to me at first, with all the whisking, but now that I’m used to the prep I love how quickly I can get my caffeine fix in the morning, compared to waiting for tea to steep :D

0 min, 15 sec

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Guys! Guys. This is a really good combination. You know how rooibos is kind of sweet, and kind of mild, and earthy, and almost spicy at times. And how pumpkin is also sweet, and mild and earthy, and then pumpkin pie has spices? You see where I’m going with this. There is some serious synergy in how the rooibos and the pumpkin pie flavor go together here, and the color is GORGEOUS and the whole thing is CAFFEINE-FREE so I get a pumpkin pie roobois latte for my bedtime snack.

The backstory is that I’d been over caffeinating a bit with Red Leaf’s matcha promotion so I decided to try the red matcha, which is powdered rooibos and thus caffeine free. It is very light and powdery,almost chalky in texture, and the color is a pastel version of normal rusty rooibos color. I’d say it has an even finer texture than the green matcha, and it mixes in really easily in comparison – a bit less tendency to clump.
This is ok plain, but it really shines latte-style with a bit of milk and sweetener (I like brown sugar or maples syrup); rooibos is slightly sweet on its own, definitely not bitter, but a little sweetener enhances the pumpkin pie flavor – less like just spices, and more like PIE! This is definitely one of my favorites so far!

You can buy this at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/pumpkin-pie-matcha.html


This sounds awesome! great tasting note


Thanks! I was kind of dubious about the “red matcha” so it was a pleasant surprise to like it so much :)


For some reason the beginning of your post reminded me of this: http://imgur.com/gallery/EFbvm

I bet the pumpkin pie would be the perfect combo with this one! I might order it with the black base too, I think it’s my favorite flavor from them.


Hee, it may very well be a meme of some sort – those things get into your brain. And I’ve been wanting to try the black base! I think I got some with my next order.


The black base is really good with chocolatey flavors like tiramisu, cookies & cream, mocha, etc. They really compliment each other well, though I don’t know how good it would be with fruity flavors.

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It’s pumpkin season! When I opened the packet it smelled like a very spicy pumpkin pie – lots of cinnamon and clove, maybe a little pumpkin. I prepared it hot this morning, planning to add milk and turn it into the latte, but have been drinking it straight so far. I really like the level of spice and don’t want to mute it, and there’s zero bitterness to begin with. I spoiled myself with my experiments, so I have the royal matcha base – bright green, richly sweet.

I get more of the pumpkin in the taste than I did in the smell of the dry matcha – it’s a little tangy, a little sweet, a little earthy. The blend of flavor and green tea is a little strange this time: they’re both very good individually, but the whole is just the sum of those parts, no more. It’s a little like green chai, actually.

I got distracted and let this sit for awhile, so now it’s cold and stronger, so I’m adding a little milk. The creaminess is a nice addition – less like chai, more like pie! It would probably be really good with a little sweetener, but I didn’t think of it until just now – even with flavored matcha lattes, it still seems weird to sweeten green tea :P

Overall this is very good, I would definitely recommend, and you can buy for yourself here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/pumpkin-pie-matcha.html I got the delicate flavoring, which is fine for me, but if you really like pumpkin I’d go higher :)

175 °F / 79 °C

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Drinking this again today, probably my favorite of the 5 Nature’s Tea Leaf teas I got to try. Something about the interaction of the pu’erh and flowers just keeps tasting spicy to me! I’ve resteeped this a couple of times today; it’s a great choice for a rough day as it’s very forgiving of different steep times and temps, re-steeps several times, and the pu’erh gives me a good non-jittery energy kick.

But drinking this reminds me – as a thank you for reviewing, Nature’s Tea Leaf gave me a shareable coupon for 10% off! Feel free to use STEEPTY10OFF if you’re thinking of buying something! It expires at the end of October.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Slimming Tea by Nature's Tea Leaf
409 tasting notes

I’ve had this one a couple of times now, because I wasn’t quite sure how to describe it after the first. Very floral, very mild – I can barely taste the pu’erh – but the flavor depends quite a bit on which particular flowers make it into your teaspoon! The first time I tried it, it smelled like chamomile but tasted mostly of lemon and mint. This time it still smells like chamomile (or rather, Chrysanthemum I suppose), but tastes more like hibiscus with a hint of rosemary. The color of the liquor is a lovely pale orange, and the dry leaf is goreous, between the lemon, rose, jasmine, Chrysanthemum, and everything else – all different colors and textures.

I found the steeping instructions on the website (2tsp, 185 degree water, 2 minutes) worked better than the ones on the bag (1tsp, 202 degree water, 1 minute); the flowers are way too fluffy for 1tsp to do much, and the flavor came out better with a longer steep time.

I couldn’t help comparing this one to the Nature’s Bloom Pu-erh, since the composition is quite similar. I liked that one much better for having a stronger flavor, and more of the flowers I like (rose, jasmine) than those I don’t (hibiscus, Chrysanthemum).

I’ll probably be putting up a swap soon for this and a few other things that haven’t suited me, so if this sounds up your alley comment here or watch the swaps thread :)

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Would love to swap if you have extra!

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.


Boston, MA



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