348 Tasting Notes


This is a regular sencha with a complicated name. Make that, a regular “rough” sencha somewhat mimicking the “aracha”-style of green tea. The leaves were long, reedy, and not quite as uniform as ordinary refined sencha. In truth, it looked like the Chinese sencha used in many green tea blends. Suits me just fine, I loved the stuff. Put analogously, this tasted like a celery stick lathered in honey-flavored peanut butter. Sure, it’s grassy like senchas are, but there’s more at work here than just that – a fruity lean, a nutty nuance, a sweet finishing act. Worth a visit even with the long-arse name.

Full Review: http://www.teaviews.com/2011/03/18/review-norbu-tea-kondouwase-arashiage-asamushi-2010-spring/

150 °F / 65 °C 2 min, 0 sec

“…this tasted like a celery stick lathered in honey-flavored peanut butter”—perfect description! :)

Geoffrey Norman

It was the only one that fit. ;-)

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This is a Ceylon green tea blended with a strange Ayurvedic flower called Sepalika Mala. It also goes by “Night-flowering Jasmine”. Not to be confused with regular jasmine. The petals sorta smell like lotus. As a tea, combined with a remarkably dark green tea base, it imparts a liquor that is oolong-ish gold with a taste that resembles a sheng pu-erh in its even-textured – almost wine-like – notes. Probably the first green tea blend in a long time I’ve been absolutely floored by.

Full Review: http://www.teaviews.com/2011/03/28/review-de-vos-tea-floral-green-tea/

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This – to me – was more green tea than pu-erh in taste. Something about it echoed the “unfinished” aspect of its name, kinda like it needed pu-erh-like composting to bring out its full potential. Other than that, what it did impart was a wine-y foretaste, an earthy middle, and a green tea-ish vegetal finish. Not quite as good as Norbu’s Nan Nuo mao cha but still decent.

Full Review: http://www.teaviews.com/2011/03/19/review-norbu-tea-pasha-zhong-zhai-mao-cha-2010-fall/

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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Saved the best for last. Of the three Pure Matcha products I sampled, this was the one I saved for the tail end. The wonderfully odd wares took point, but now it was time to sip the flagship. I even bought a chashaku (bamboo spoon) for the occasion. The powder alone looked wonderful – bright, vibrant green. It was even loudly sweet-smelling. Prepping it was easy. It frothed up wonderfully when whisked. To the taste…wow…without exaggeration, this was the best matcha I’ve ever had. Sweet, kelpy, slightly-vegetal excellence. It was like hot, liquid green tea ice-cream.

Full review: Pending on www.itsallabouttheleaf.com

160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I’ve only ever had lapacho – or Pau D’Arco – once. And felt it tasted pleasant but mediocre – like a lot of herbals. This was an interesting take on the beverage. Lapacho is the base for many requisite chai spices. And vanilla. LOTS of vanilla. Or at least lots of vanilla flavoring. Right outta the gate, vanilla dominates. I love vanilla, but sometimes too much is too much. That didn’t translate to taste, though. On the flavor front, it resembled a cross between hot apple cider and…TheraFlu. I found the oddity delightful.

Full Review: http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/2035/tea-review-distinctly-tea-lapacho-vanilla-chai-2/

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On first impression, one would think they were looking at hot cocoa mix. It has the look and smell of it, after all. Sweet yet robust. Only after pouring hot water and whisking the heck out of it, does one find its black tea-ish-ness clear. Of the blended Assam and Darjeeling profiles, the former dominates. This is more malty than muscatel, but it also possesses a nutty middle and a sweet finish. Astringency is thankfully mild but still there. Only gripe I have is that this clumps quite easily, a pre-sift with a strainer is required. Other than that, a very good new take on an old school form.

Full Review: http://www.teaviews.com/2011/03/15/review-pure-matcha-black-matcha/

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I’ve been on the hunt for a matcha substitute (informally) – that didn’t possess the caffeine kick – for some time. I ran across this product from TeaEqualsBliss ‘s review, and I was immediately captivated. I echo her thoughts that this is a quality rooibos, you can tell from smell alone. Very sweet. Smelled like the long-cut variety. I prepped it like I would any matcha – chasen, miso soup bowl, whisked the heck out of it. It frothed up a little, but not much. Taste-wise, it was a damn good tasting rooibos but with a thicker consistency. Quite a successful for an unusual delivery. If I had one gripe – and it’s a small one, it’s that I want to see a GREEN rooibos matcha. Beyond that, good show.

Full Review: http://www.lazyliteratus.com/1173

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

I agree; I would definitely try a green rooibos matcha.
Maybe I told you wrong, perhaps you need two * on each side for *bold**?


No, that wasn’t it. Just one.
Perhaps on your review the system was confused by the apostrophe after ’Bliss’’…

Brett Floyd

I’ve been really curious about this red matcha… Might have to try some

Geoffrey Norman

@Shinobicha – The apostrophe was what killed the emboldening. Eh, no matter.

@Brett – It is worth your valuable time if you have a rooibos lean to begin with.


Guess I’m not the only one who uses a miso bowl, eh? I think they work even better than most chawans for usucha. Does it seperate quickly or vary in taste with temperature?

And given that everyone who sees this matcha says they want green rooibos matcha, I’m guessing we’ll see some by autumn. XD Maybe honeybush too.

Geoffrey Norman

Miso bowls were all I had. And acquiring more isn’t that difficult. Ooooo, honybush matcha. Hadn’t thought o’ that.


I’ve heard so much about this from different people, I may have to try this too. I don’t know enough about green rooibos to know if I’d prefer it, but if it’s a good red, I know my family will like it.
I wonder if this would work up into a matcha-style latte?

Geoffrey Norman

Green rooibos is like green tea dipped in honey. It has all of green tea’s strengths and none of its weaknesses. As for whether the Red Matcha will work as a latte? No doubt about it. It’s tailor-made to be whisked with a frother.

Organic Tulsi Tea

Thanks for the insight Geoffrey! Green rooibos is good but have you tried an Organic Tulsi Tea? There are a few people who knows about this one.
I read more about tulsi tea from Dr Mercola’s at http://organicindia.mercola.com/tulsi-tea.aspx

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I forgot I even had this in my cupboard – both the real one and the Steepster one. Found it while hunting for a white tea to imbibe. White Peony isn’t always what I go for. I usually skip her over for her Silver Needle sibling. Jing’s, though, was something special. And sipping it again, I was reminded of how much I loved it. Notes of citrus and raisin, as well as a general floral and fruity presentation. Glad I found this again. Like a revisit with an old friend.

Original Review Here: http://www.teaviews.com/2010/07/12/review-jing-tea-organic-white-peony-supreme-white-tea-4/

165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I loooooove me some Nan Nuo Shan pu-erhs. This marked the first time I was able to sample a maocha (i.e. “proto”-pu-erh). The leaves looked like Hawaii-grown green tea, but with an aroma akin to beef jerky. Taste-wise, however, they had the wine-y note of a pu-erh twice its age. Impressed? A smidge…

Full Review: http://www.teaviews.com/2011/04/02/review-norbu-tea-2010-ban-po-lao-zhai-mao-cha-loose-sheng-pu-erh-tea/

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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This is my second superb white tea in two days. I’m starting to feel blessed or something. This is unique in that the varietal used is often only used to create raw pu-erh. The leaves can only be harvested in early spring. The buds smell like wilderness – milky, minty, wild. That experience also translates to the taste yeilding a cup similar to Greek Mountain “tea” but far more nuanced. White tea is back on its pedestal next to Yunnan Golds…in my mind.

Full Review: http://www.teaviews.com/2011/03/31/review-norbu-tea-ya-bao-camellia-varietal-wild-white-tea-spring-2010/

165 °F / 73 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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I moonlight as a procrastinating writer and daylight as a trader of jack. I appreciate good tea, good beer, and food that is bad for me. Someday I’ll write the great American novel. And it’ll probably have something to do with tea or beer…or both. In the meantime, I subsist.

Tea Blog: http://www.steepstories.com

TeaCuplets: http://lazyliteratus.tumblr.com/





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