243 Tasting Notes
Chai teas have definitely been growing on me. I now know the specifics in which I enjoy them and try to stick to those guidelines.
I like my blander chai teas to be hot with no additives. I like my spicy chai teas (ones that are heavily spiced, very aromatic) dirty. This chai, while not being overwhelmingly spicy, I do smell some cardamom, I see a clove, and maybe a hint of ginger, does smell very strongly of licorice. Blegh. I do not like licorice, this tells me that making this chai dirty will be the way to go.
My recipe was: boiling water + German rock sugar = simple syrup, add I scoop of tea, allow to boil 30 seconds, then turn heat off (but do not remove from heat source) for 2 minutes. During the two minutes, add splash of coffee, stir. Strain mixture into glass, add milk to taste. (In this case a fair amount of milk).
While still smelling strongly of licorice, I have added enough things so that I do not mind the flavor of it. When the sugar and milk and maybe even the coffee are added to the chai, the flavors seem to marry, I can taste cardamom up front, and a gingery note in the middle, followed up by a clove flavor, all smothered in a milk base. Overall, decent.
I do prefer chai tea when it has an additional flavor added, in this case it was chai with licorice, though that did not sound or smell so pleasant it turned out to be pretty good.
Backlogging from yesterday.
This was another sample from Ricky. Thanks Ricky!
As we know, I LOVE dragonwell. So I am going to be harsh, because my standards are pretty high. This tea was a little too weak for me brewed according to instructions. I brewed 3 minutes, hot, no additives. I found that the water was the right color and everything, the smell was a faint vegetal, as it should be, but the flavor just was not there.
I have also mentioned in my ramblings about green tea, that I also tend to simply add green, specifically dragonwell to a cup with hot water and drink it without ever straining. Allowing for maximum flavor (and sometimes bitterness) to come out of the leaves. In the case of the Damn Fine Dragonwell, I have to say that leaving the leaves submerged in the cup while enjoying was the best way. I feel we could have also brewed the tea longer than required, but this gives you a few good steeps, without getting bitter so there was no reason to have to make it in a pot and pour it off.
Overall, the tea was alright as long as you let it sit and infuse long enough, however the recommended time was not enough to get decent flavor out of the tea.
Backlogging from yesterday.
Lots of tea this weekend. Including my final brew on this tea (and another to come) from Ricky. Brewed hot, 3 minutes, no additives. The aroma on this is black tea. It is not strong, it is a subtle smell, yet relaxing and familiar. This is what a good black tea should smell like. The taste is the same, gentle and familiar, exactly how a black tea should taste. The tea is smooth and delightfully plain, there is no astringency, there is a faint suggestion of vanilla flavor. This would be fantastic with milk and sugar, though it does not need it. Overall, this was very good.
As a final note, I drank a lot of tea this weekend, unfortunately about five of them are NOT already in the database of Steepster, and since I am uber busy and even more lazy, it will be a few more days before I can get them in. Sorry.
Looking back at this, apparently I have never rated it though, it isone of the first teas I bought from Teavana. Long story short, I finished up this sample today/yesterday because one of my friends bought way too much of it at Teavana on Wednesday (so I inherited some). I did not combine the samples, as I normally would have because they are the same tea, because Teavana decided to “revamp” this tea recently by removing the raspberry flavor and adding actual little pieces of raspberries.
The original tea itself was just plain oolong with no pieces of fruit added, there was some strange essence of raspberry within the tea though. The aroma was faint with the dried leaves, but with the hot brewed tea, the aroma was definitely there. The flavor was mild, it tasted like a slightly fruity oolong. The raspberry flavor was not really describable, you tasted some sort of fruit, but it was not tart or bitter like some of their other fruity teas, instead it was sweet and gentle.
The old batch I rate at a 70.
This “new and improved” formula has little pieces of raspberries in it. You can see the pretty little chunks mixed amongst the darker leaves. The fragrance of the dried leaves is still gentle, but it is definitely stronger in the brewed tea. Also, the liquor is a slightly different color, a little darker than the previous version. The flavor is about the same though, it was really just an aesthetic upgrade.
Warning: I ramble for the first paragraph, if you do not care, skip right to the rating (second paragraph). Yesterday and today the northeast was hit with it’s third (and hopefully final) snowstorm of the year. So once again, I was snowed in and cabin fever is definitely setting in. In the past week or so, since the last blizzard, I have decided to “spring clean” up the house, and by house, I most nearly mean drink my tea that is almost complete but not quite there. You see, I have a nasty habit of opening dozens, hundreds, I-don’t-know-how-many, samples and packs and tins and boxes of tea and then trying it once, twice if I like it, then three times to write a rating and then never touching it again. This is a terrible habit, and every once in a while I step back and assess the mess I have made out of my kitchen and now into my living room. As I began, I have been finishing off teas so as to deplete the mess and with today’s being stuck at home, I got rid of a few teas. They were already rated, no fear, I did nothing special to them, but I am feeling accomplished as I have removed some of them.
Rating: So, now that I have finished open tea, I can go onto new samples. Yay! First up was Kashmiri Chai. The leaves are pretty, dark, and small, they are mixed with large spices; they smell slightly spicy.
First Infusion: 5 minutes, hot, no additives. This chai is very nice, gentle green and black tea blend with subtle hints of spice. I pick up cardamom and cinnamon mostly, maybe a hint of clove, overall it is very good. As with all of my chai, I must drink this hot, because as it cools the flavor of the tea is lost and the spices become overwhelming to me. This was the same for this tea, only the spices were not as overwhelming as other chai teas I have had. When I read “Kashmiri” I knew it meant the geographical region, but when I tasted it, I thought describing it like a cashmere scarf was not bad either, it is smooth and velvety, rich and intoxicating.
Second Infusion: 3 minutes, hot, no additives. I found that I did not want to oversteep for the second infusion, 3 minutes brought about an equivalent pot of tea. Slightly spiced, gentle tea, very aromatic and delicious.
Third Infusion: By this time I was looking for another way to do this, according to Golden Moon website, the tea can be enjoyed with cream and honey for a sweet treat. I did not have cream and due to the Snowpocalipse, I was not going to get any, but a splash of milk and a tiny touch of honey, made this tea extraordinary! The tea, brewed hot for 3 minutes, still had the spiced flavors and gentle tea blend, but now it had creamy sweetness added.
Highly recommended any of the three ways, this was a fantastic chai tea. I feel it was so good because it is not as strong as many other chais, it is well blended and gentle, so it is a good tea for people just starting to explore chai or people not so crazy about the amount of spice normally found in chai.
Tried this tea this evening with Madison, so far so good, I have some more to try for myself in the upcoming days, but definitely have to say that this changes the pu-erh game, if you will.
I have had bad experiences with pu-erh, I have had one great experience, and one “meh” (if you know what I mean) experience. I feel this can be another great experience if I give it a few finishing touches. Will try again and repost/report/update.
Had this matcha this morning with my protein shake and I HAD to post. I was definitely skeptical about the mandarin matcha with milk, however everyone had assured me it should be fine.
I added it to my vanilla ice cream protein shake. 1/2 teaspoon matcha to 16 ounce shake (the shakes are premade). It was a pale green, and the mandarin blended extremely well with the vanilla ice cream flavor, almost like a creamcicle, you know the orange and vanilla swirled ice cream you can get down the shore, with just a hint of matcha flavor at the end of each taste.
Very good way to have this, definitely started my morning off right!
Still more backlogging from the weekend, I slacked with posting this weekend severely, but never fear, I drank tea!
This tea could not be more aptly named. “Mandarin Silk” describes this tea almost perfectly. The mandarin is slight, it is extremely light in odor and flavor. However, it flows through the tea easily. The tea is creamy, smooth and silky. It is sweet without being sweetened and creamy without having any such product in it. I would best describe this silk as the creaminess and smoothness associated with milk chocolate; that melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavor.
The flavor is difficult to describe. You do not taste mandarin, but you can smell it. This is probably because the mouthfeel of the tea is overwhelming, the silky smoothness, is really the only thing you can absorb when drinking it. A faint sweetness lingers in the tea that makes me think more of a white chocolate confection than a tea at all.
This tea was delicious, however, the body and aroma of it were not my cup of tea (pun intended). Worth a try, but I am glad I did not buy it.
Tough day, lots of work today, got home and saw all the comments on the posts. Tried to make this again as a smoothie. A different type of smoothie this time:
1/4 cup frozen Dole mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
2 tsp. Mandarin Matcha (I will have none left at this rate)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cold water
This was a little thicker than yesterday, as in I used less liquid, and one such liquid was milk instead of all water. The milk worked well with the mandarin flavor in the matcha, I was pleasantly surprised because I had been hesitant all week. This version however, seems like it needs more milk if anything. I am going to look into yogurt for tomorrow and maybe orange juice to give this another go.
Definitely still worth experimenting with.
So I first tried this one on Saturday. We made it thick, with hot water and no additives. It is a dark green color, and smells heavily of mandarin and matcha. The main thing I got out of it was thick and bitter. Which it should be, mandarins are not always sweet, but the thickness of it was off-putting. So I decided not to rate it based on this (because it would not be good) and would try it again.
Tried it again on Sunday, using less matcha with more water. The color and fragrance were the same, but the matcha was definitely better. It was not as bitter, and if flowed more easily. The matcha flavor is strong and tends to overpower the mandarin a bit, I think I need to adjust something.
Today, I decided I did not want to be bothered with making the matcha in the bowl with this whisk and went straight to my smoothie:
1/4 cup of frozen mixed berries (no blackberries this time, avoiding the seeds)
1 tsp. Mandarin Matcha
Pinch of Splenda
3/4 cup of water
The frozen berries helped to keep this thick. I did not want to mix citrus with milk, so I used all water, in hindsight, I could have used orange juice, but I did not have any. I added the splenda because that is what I usually do make sure the berries do not make it bitter, this was especially important because I find the Mandarin matcha to be bitter.
The smoothie was the best way I enjoyed this. The Mandarin actually contrasted the sweetness of the the berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) and then the Splenda helped to brighten the flavors.
I would love to get this right as a straight matcha, if you have any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated.