Thursday, June 25, 2015

Matsuri Matcha - Red Leaf Tea

   I’ve historically not been the biggest fan of Matcha and have pretty much shied away from trying it further. I used a gift certificate for this one though, I figured why not? And I have to say I’m glad I did!
I do still prefer other kinds of tea over Matcha, but I’m no longer fully counting it out of my rotation. This matcha definitely has a pleasant sweetness to it that you can bring out even further with the smallest dab of honey. You definitely taste the green grassyness that matcha, and indeed green tea, are known for but not in a over powering way like some out there. Additionally plenty of Matcha’s have more of a steamed vegetable taste and this one thankfully DOES NOT. There is a very slight bitterness when you first sip but then it disappears, which is another huge bonus for this Matcha.
Please note I used the traditional bamboo whisk method for preparation and used two bamboo scoops of matcha for 8oz of water [I don’t like it too strong ;-) ]
Flavors: Sweet, warm grass

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Teasenz Da Hong Pao

   I found it quite amazing how different the taste is from the dry smell. I also liked how long the twists were. Overall this tea is very similar to houjicha [i think anyway]. The dry twists have an almost slight raisin smell to them with a somewhat earthy note as well. The prepared tea smells roasty just like houjicha but the taste is a bit more subtle than houjicha. I think i’ll try steeping it longer next time and see how it compares then. Either way, I would recommend this tea to anyone preferring a good roasty flavor probably during/after a meal or specifically in the afternoon. Due to it’s scent and flavor it’s a more savory type of tea. Thanks to Teasenz for this sample!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Himalayan Black Tartary Buckwheat - Teasenz

I received this tea as part of a sample from Teasenz. I’m not a big fan of roasted rice with green tea [Genmaicha] and so figured I wouldn’t like this one much. Wow was I surprised! I would say if you like Houjicha [roasted sencha] tea type flavors or heck even if you like a bowl of cheerios then you should give this tea at least a taste! If you want something warm, but a little different from the normal tisane/tea fare then definitely try this gem.
The smell reminds me of cereal, specifically regular cheerios for whatever reason. The taste is similar to the smell but with more pronounced roastyness [yes I make up words]. Definitely a afternoon or mealtime type tea.

Flavors: Roasted Barley, Cereal, Cheerios?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Matcha Sample Results

   Multitudes of days later I'm finally getting to this yay! Sorry for the delay to anyone reading this. This post is meant as an accompaniment to my previous one, flushing out the previous reported results of my Matcha tasting experience. One thing to note is that all of these are culinary grade which is probably by the results were pretty low on most all of them. Culinary grade is used more in cooking and usually isn't used all by itself like in a tea. Ceremonial grade is the best kid for regular standalone tea usage.

Sample #1
It's Color was olive green and when samples reminded me of steamed veggies. This matcha was mostly bitter with little to no sweetness.

Matcha was from "Matcha Organics" found here:

Sample #2

This one had a lighter olive green color and when sampled I noted a light grassy flavor. Overall this tea was bitter.

Matcha was from "Tradition" found here:

Sample #3

This sample was a bit brighter of a green and also contained a light grassy flavor. This matcha was less bitter but still had a bitter edge to it.

Matcha was from "Doctor King" found here:

Sample #4

This sample had a similar light olive green color to sample #2. The matcha was less bitter than previous samples and had a light sweetness to it.

Matcha was from "One Organic" found here:

Sample #5

This sample had a similar olive green color to sample #1. The matcha had a very strong cooked grass like scent and flavor. This matcha was almost unbearably bitter with no sweetness anywhere to be found.

Matcha was from "Enzo" found here:

Sample #6

This sample had a light green color accompanied by some light green notes. This matcha was less bitter with a slight sweetness to it.

Matcha was from "TerraVerve" found here:

Sample #7

This sample had a very light olive green color and when tasted reminded me of paper pulp. It was very bitter with no sweetness at all. Definitely would not recommend this one!

Matcha was from "Kazu Foods" found here:

Sample #8

This sample had an olive green color and reminded me of steamed asparagus when tasted. This was quite bitter with no sweetness anywhere. Also would NOT recommend this one!

Matcha was from "Matcha DNA" found here:

Sample #9

This sample was a nice bright green color with light fresh grass notes which were quite pleasant. This matcha was less bitter compared to it's rivals. It also had some light sweetness. I would recommend this matcha for culinary uses.

Matcha was from "Kiss Me Organics" found here:

Sample #10

This sample was olive green in color and it's taste reminded me of steamed asparagus just like sample #8. This seems to be a death knell for matcha as far as I'm concerned. Matcha was very bitter with no sweetness what-so-ever. Would not recommend this matcha!

Matcha was from "uVernal" found here:

Sample #11

This sample was a light olive green color and had a vegetal scent. It's taste reminded me of paper with a chemical aftertaste. In other words this was not at all pleasant. No sweetness to be found in this one. Not my least favorite one on this list but not in my top 3 by any means.

Matcha was from "Red-Leaf Tea" found here:

Sample #12

This sample was light green and had an almost floral type scent. This one was quite different from the rest. It was bitter but had a slight sweetness too. Might be one to try to see if it suites your pallet.

Matcha was from "Red-Leaf Tea" found here:

Final Thoughts

Over all I would say that color seemed to have a huge bearing on how good/bad a matcha was. The brighter and more vibrant the green color was the better it tasted. By contrast the more olive green the matcha looked the worse it tasted. Some of these samples were almost unbearable to try and I only got a few sips down before having to toss the rest of the cup. Overall I was not a fan of drinking culinary grade matcha thought and I question why we sampled it plain versus in it's intended use in culinary endeavors. Someday in the future I'll have to get my hands on some good ceremonial grade matcha which is actually meant for drinking and see how that compares to this. Until then I'll keep my matcha in my food ;-). Speaking of green tea products in food have you tried Chobani's green tea yogurt? It's limited time and very delicious! I would highly recommend getting your hands on some before it's gone! And no Chobani in no way sponsers my blog haha [i wish]

Friday, May 15, 2015

Matcha Sampling Results!

   Some of you probably already knew that I was sampling a variety of Matcha for a blind taste test study being done by Red Leaf Tea. Well that finished awhile ago but I'm finally getting around to posting my results on this blog, yay!       Sometimes work just kicks your butt enough that it delays life in general, unfortunately.

   This is going to be a two part post. For the first part I will add a general summary of my results and for the second post [coming soon] you'll see some individual comments on each one and what each sample actually is in name and price. Thanks for reading!

The powder in each sample:

Price Comparison:

Individual Matcha Ratings:

Averaged Matcha Ratings:

Rating Versus Price:

   Some very nice people created these charts for me so I really can't take credit, but aren't they awesome!?!?! The best part is seeing that price doesn't always equal taste. In some cases we see the rating is actually higher than others while the price is lower. I know this first post was chart heavy but I promise to delve more into the nitty gritty details of each sample in the next couple of days!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Teasenz: Honeysuckle

I received a very full box of tea samples from Teasenz in the mail yesterday and I've never had Honeysuckle tea before so figured I'd try it first. First, I loved the look of the "leaves", they looked so clean and pretty! They smelled like what I'd imagine combining butter and honey would. I was surprised that when I drained it into my cup it actually had a green hue to it.
I'm not sure I would pay tons of money for this one simply because there are so many others type of tisane and tea out there that I'd buy first but this was definitely a pleasant experience. The flavor note I come back to time and again is "buttery". I think this would be a great before bed tea with a little honey added to balance the butteryness.

Main Flavors: Buttery, Slight Honey Notes

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tealated White Peachy Cream Review

This is the second sample I received from Tealated. I have to say I did like the coconut one better but I'm a coconut fiend so that's not surprising ;-). There was a background flavor that I wasn't very fond of but I can't quite tell exactly what that is. I'm thinking it's something to do with the flowers they added into this one. In general I'm not a huge fan of flowers in teas, but that's just me. Other than that this tea was peachy goodness! While I'm on the fence as to whether I myself would order it in large amounts in the future or not I will definitely enjoy the rest of the sample. If I know someone that loves peach flavor I would definitely recommend it to them. The white tea flavor gets masked a bit more in this one too. I've read a few comments mentioning the belief that this tea uses Shou Mei White tea which is I think 3rd tier tea behind Silver Needle and Bai Mudan.

Main Flavors: Peachy Goodness, Slight White Tea Hints, Unidentified "Flower" Flavor?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tealated Cream of White Coconut

I was very pleased to find some Tealated samples in my mailbox yesterday. Of those samples I was so far able to try this one. This tea is marvelous! It makes me think of sandy beaches and warm sunshine as I'm sipping my way through it. I grew up in tropical countries and so ate my fair share of coconuts and drank plenty of their water as well. In short, I love coconut anything. So for me this tea was right on the money!

The nice thing about this tea from a tea lover's perspective [leaving my love of coconut out of it] is that it is very well balanced. I've had plenty of blended teas where all you can taste is the added flavor, be it citrus or something else. In the case of this tea you can definitely taste the tea leaves themselves along with the coconut. This was quite a nice surprise. 

All in all I think this is a tea I'll have to actually purchase at some point in the future.

Main Flavors: White Tea, Coconut, Creamy Aspect [can't quite describe it] 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Obubu: Yanagi Bancha

Probably one of the most easily drinkable green teas I've ever tried. I tend to prefer the world of lighter tea flavors over their heavier black brethren anyway. 

I would highly recommend this tea to those drinkers out there that shy away from heavily green/grassy flavors.

This tea brews a light yellowish liquor as expected from a less grassy flavored green. This is one of those teas that is very refreshing and can be had multiple times the same day without really getting tired of it. That's the nice bonus of lighter greens and white teas.

Now Bancha is basically on the lower end of the grade scale for green teas. This means it is usually made from the leftover torn leaves and sometimes stems that were rejected for higher grades like Sencha. It is still higher on the quality scale than say a typical green tea bag like Bigelow Green Tea. Bigelow and similar companies use sweepings/fannings leftover after the good tea is packaged. Tea dust is another good way to describe what is put in many green tea bags.

Main Flavors/Attributes: Light Green/Grassy flavor, very lightly vegetal, slight sweetness.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Tea History

For those of you really new to the tea world, the following videos may help give some background. The videos specialize in discussion about the origins of Pu'er tea but you also get a good sense as to where tea in general originated. We're of course talking about real tea and not "tisane" which means not tea. Tisane has been around as long as someone tossed something in hot water and then drank it.

Video Part 1

Video Part 2

Fu Brick Tea

Today we're talking about Fu Bricks. The first image is a full 1000g brick in packaging while the second image is a close-up to show the special 'golden flower' fungus that makes this pressed fermented tea special.

This review is about the Jing Wei Fu Brick:

This is my second time drinking this wonderful tea. The first time I made it the first steep was the best and I did not rinse the tea first. This time I tried giving them a quick rinse before steeping. I’m not sure if that was the cause or if this bunch didn’t have as much golden flower fungus in it but it didn’t taste quite the same. The amazing flavors were still there but they seemed a lot less distinct and more muted. On my second steep of the same leaves I steeped it for longer and I did get a bit more spices type of a flavor but the sweetness was still missing a little bit. This time around I also detect a bit more wet wood type of a scent and flavor. All in all I still quite enjoyed this tea but it wasn’t quite as good as the first time around I had tried it.

Main Flavors: Spices, Wet Wood

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bigelow: Constant Comment Review

Going to start this blog out on a familiar note to some. This happens to be free where I work so it's an easy grab when my loose leaf is at home. So here we go!

I’m pretty much riding the fence any time I drink this tea. On the one hand it’s pretty decent for a bagged black tea. But on the other hand compared to some of the good loose leaf I’ve had it doesn’t come close.
Even if the taste doesn’t make you scream out for joy, the smell is quite nice. Definitely a scent that would be soothing and relaxing on a cold or stressful day.
I taste and smell the orange flavor for sure. It lingers as the aftertaste for quite awhile too. The spices are right there in the background when you take a sip.
Wouldn't write home about this tea, but it’s a decent tea bag.

Main Flavors: Orange Zest, Spices

What's This Blog About?

Tea, that is what this blog is all about.

Inquiring minds will be informed with facts about tea, from the plant in the field to the warm deliciousness in your cup.

Reviews will be plentiful as I explore the wonderful world of tea with various preparation methods and various tea varieties.

So stick with me, and experience the world of tea through my senses and perhaps if you wish to join me on this journey, your own.