579 Tasting Notes


A nice, light green tea with a hint of jasmine essence. It won’t be replacing my Rishi jasmine pearls any time soon but it was cheap ($3 at Homegoods) and makes an excellent bagged tea for the office. I actually prefer the flavor of this jasmine tea to many of the inexpensive brands I’ve bought from grocery stores and Asian markets and then had to throw out.

3 min, 0 sec

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drank Organic Oolong by Touch Organic
579 tasting notes

A surprisingly good oolong considering its a bagged tea. Very smooth with a lingering sweetness reminiscent of honey. Tastes great hot and iced.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Admittedly, I’m still new to matcha but I have to say Teavana’s makes a really delicious cup of tea. Most of the time I use it for matcha lattes but I also like to add a pinch to sencha – especially on subsequent infusions – for a nice flavor (and color) boost.

The tea itself produces a lovely vibrant green liqueur and has a creamy mouth feel. I like how easily it froths up leaving behind no grit at the bottom of your cup. But be careful…it can become astringent if you use too much or if your water temperature is too hot.

Teavana recommends brewing at 175 F which I find made the tea bitter. Instead I stick to 160 F and use a ratio of about 3/4 tsp tea to 3-4 oz water. For lattes, I add 3 oz of steamed milk and sometimes a light drizzle of honey over the top.

Although it’s supposed to deliver a fair amount of caffeine, I don’t really feel it’s effect. Might just be me though because I’m so used to having coffee in the morning. This is only my second matcha so my palette will likely evolve as I continue exploring other brands and higher grade teas. That said, this is a solid everyday matcha that I will continue drinking in the future. Another plus is that it’s USDA certified organic, one of the few legit organic Teavana teas.

160 °F / 71 °C

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drank Zen by Tazo
579 tasting notes

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Bleh. I knew this tea wasn’t going to be good as soon as I took the first whiff. It had a weird artificial coconut-y smell that reminded me of cheap air freshener. Went ahead and brewed it anyways and it tasted like dirty socks. Had to chuck it halfway through because I thought I was going to be sick. There is no detectable pineapple or even white tea flavor to the tea at all since the horrible fake coconut flavor overwhelms everything. Got this as a sample from Adagio with another order. Obviously, not recommended.

165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I bought this tea online through Google Offers. They were running a special for 60g each of flavored and regular matcha for $25. Always being a sucker for deals, I jumped on it and ended up with 120g of matcha. I was familiar with Japanese green teas already but this was my first foray into matcha and I really had no idea how to select quality matcha. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

The first thing I noticed was that the tea was yellowish not bright green like fresh matcha powder. When brewed the flavor of the tea was astringent and slightly fishy. It didn’t have the grassy, sweet flavor of a good Japanese green tea. Adjusting water temperature didn’t do much to improve flavor although it was somewhat tolerable at 160 F. I managed to salvage the tea by using it for matcha lattes along with a little bit of honey.

A pretty lousy tea all around. Not recommended.

160 °F / 71 °C

Ugh, bummer :(

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After being disappointed with some recent organic Japanese green tea purchases, I’m really enjoying this organic gyokuro.

From the moment I opened the pouch, I knew this tea was going to be good. The tea leaves had a exquisite aroma that was fresh, grassy, and mildly earthy all at the same time. Not surprising considering the production date was late May 2013 and I received the tea just a few months later.

However I was disappointed the first few times I brewed this tea. I followed the enclosed instructions and steeped for 60 to 75 seconds at 140 F. This resulted in a very weak brew that basically tasted like hot water. So I reverted back to my standard method for gyokuro: 1 heaping teaspoon per 6 oz of water @ 160 F. The result was a pleasantly grassy brew with notes of seaweed and spinach balanced with a light sweetness. First infusion yielded a pale yellowish green liquor. Second infusion was a stunning almost neon green and the color of the third was similar to the first. The flavor of the second infusion is similar to the first, distinctly vegetal but without the thick mouthfeel. Third infusion is similar to sencha. My temperature/times for each infusion:

1st: 160 F for about 65 seconds
2nd: 160 F for 35-40 seconds
3rd: 170 F for 90 seconds

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky



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