333 Tasting Notes
I typed in “matcha unknown” into the search box to see if it would get any hits—and what do you know, this is already there!
So anyway, I was walking by Minamoto Kitchoan (a Japanese confectionary shop) and saw that they were offering samples and matcha green tea. The tea was being prepared with a whisk in-store, and I think this is really the first time I’ve tried matcha with the traditional preparation. And it’s really good. It was served in a small cup, very dark green and frothy, and was deliciously creamy and smooth. Umami and sweet, rich…and somehow very different from the flavor of other teas or foods that have had matcha added to them. This was a whole other level, and I would love to get all the utensils and learn to prepare matcha at home now. But maybe that’s a project for another time :)
From the Simple Loose Leaf box. This is a unique-sounding oolong, and it did not disappoint. The tea comes in tightly wound “pearls” that unfurl a bit after rinse and one infusion, and expand fully after two. The first infusion (2 min) has a flavor and aroma of sesame seed and grains, like wheat crackers or maybe toasted rice. It’s savory but light, and went well with a sweeter afternoon snack. (Red bean paste and mochi wrapped in a sponge-like sakura pastry—yum!) The second infusion (4 min) mellows out substantially, making for a completely different experience. There’s a more floral, vegetal undertone from the leaf, as well as a sublimely smooth honey sweetness to the finish. It’s unlike any oolong I’ve tried before, and I feel like it has quite a story to tell!
I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and Valentine’s Day!
Second one of the free Twinings samples. This one smells like dried strawberry out of the bag, with more of the tart fruit aroma of pomegranate coming out after brewing. It’s a standard green tea, fairly smooth and on the grassy side. The fruit flavors are definitely all there, but a little artificial and candy-like. Not bad, not spectacular either.
This is my tea of the afternoon. The leaves are dark green, and there’s a strong jasmine fragrance as well as the slightest hint of mint. Brewed up, it’s a highly enjoyable jasmine green tea. Smooth, definitely “dark green” but not overly vegetal, with an almost vanilla quality in the base that the jasmine complements nicely. It’s mild and definitely relaxing as an afternoon or after-meal tea. But I didn’t notice any particular flavor from the mint. Upon further inspection, I had been storing the sample pouch vertically, and all the mint leaf pieces (much smaller than the tea leaves) had fallen to the bottom, so I didn’t get any of them. Next time I’ll mix it more evenly for a more accurate tasting experience.
No rating for now—but so far, so good! Thanks beelicious for the sample!
Those free Twinings samples they were giving to everyone from way back last year have finally arrived. I’d almost forgotten about them!
This one has a sweet blackcurrant scent, and brews up to a dark tea that is surprisingly smooth as well as brisk. I wasn’t expecting much from the filter bag, but it’s decent. It would make a nice iced tea given the berry-like blackcurrant flavor. The sweetness seems slightly artificial, but other than that it was a pretty good, unassuming fruity black tea.
There are coffee beans in this blend! It has a pleasant, coffee-like aroma as well. I was a little wary of the base as I have not tried any of DAVIDs pu-erh blends before, but it did not display any offensive qualities. There was no fishiness, and reviews to the contrary seem to be from some time ago, so they may have improved the blend since then. As for the quality of the taste…was it earthy? Possibly. Did it taste like coffee? A little bit. Was it smooth and recognizably not black tea? Yes. Did it have its own complexity or distinguishing qualities? Not so much. But oddly enough, it was enjoyable to drink—maybe I just craved that aromatic, coffee-and-caramel experience in the morning. In all, if I were to recommend a flavored pu-erh blend, I would pick a different one (the tea base is much more pronounced in Lupicia’s blends, for instance), but this isn’t bad either. Thanks to beelicious for the sample!