Coffee Matcha from Red Leaf Tea

Coffee-matchaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green/Matcha

Where to Buy:  Red Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

When the easily recognizable and well loved taste of deliciously aromatic coffee is combined with the wildly popular regal Matcha, the resulting Coffee Matcha treat leaves its many takers delightfully breathless with pure palate sensations. This all-day treat provides the best companion for many days when work becomes too heavy or too boring and a person needs a delectable snack to carry them through the tedium. Coffee Matcha’s unforgettable taste and delicious aroma is irresistible to many coffee lovers.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The second matcha sample from Red Leaf Tea’s new “Choose Your Own” sampler!

I’m not a coffee person so on the rare occasion that I do decide I want to partake in some java I usually go for actual coffee, not coffee flavored tea. To me those two things are separate, and for a reason. However, I still couldn’t resist trying this flavour – I had this gut feeling that it was going to be done well.

Like the previous matcha from this sampler, I made this in cashew milk. It mixed up such a bright, cheery green too and the smell was definitely freshly brewed coffee; quite roasty.

I was surprised by just how strong and sweet this one is; and I know that sweet kick isn’t from the cashew milk either since it’s unsweetened – but with the level of rich sugaryness it made me think I was drinking more of a Iced Coffee/ Iced Cappuccino type drink like you can get from  Starbucks or Tim Hortons or whatever your coffee shop of choice is. At the same time, though it was quite sweet, it maintained a nice level of roast in the flavor and had some surprising caramel notes. And of course, from the milk, there was a faint nuttyness that worked really well with the coffee flavor. It probably only made the idea of drinking some sort of fancy sweet coffee drink stronger, if I’m being honest.

I wouldn’t buy this one again if I’m being honest; I just don’t do coffee – but it was surprisingly more nuanced than anticipated and like my gut told me it was in fact well done. So I do recommend trying it if coffee and sweet coffee drinks are your thing.

Organic Medium Oolong Tea from Arum Tea

MediumOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Arum Tea

Tea Description:  

Full sweet taste with floral fragrance with the hint of honey.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve tasted several different Indonesian teas over the years, but most of the teas from Indonesia that I’ve tried have been either green or black teas, I can’t recall having tried an Oolong from Indonesia!  So when my package from Arum Tea arrived today, this was the first tea that I tried.

The tea is packaged in tins with simple yet handsome labeling.  I like that the tin has a tight fitting lid and inside the tea was in a vacuum sealed pouch, ensuring a fresh product.

The dry leaf looks a lot like a Tie Guan Yin (perhaps a lightly roasted Tie Guan Yin).  The individual leaves have been tightly wound into pellets.  I measured out one bamboo scoop of the leaves into my gaiwan and using 180°F water, I performed a 15 second rinse before I infused the leaves for 45 seconds.  I strained the tea and then infused the leaves a second time for 1 minute.  Both of these infusions were combined into one teacup.

The leaves seem to open similarly to a Tie Guan Yin as well – that is to say, they open very slowly!  These leaves are waiting for more infusions!

But first, I need to sit back and enjoy this first cup.

The aroma wafting from my cup is floral, reminiscent of orchid.  The flavor is sweet – like honey!  The honey is a top note, and just below that sweet honey taste I taste notes of roasted nuts and hints of flower.  The sweetness remains on the palate from start to finish and lingers into the aftertaste.

It’s a very satisfying taste.  The floral notes are not sharp and they are more like a note in the distance … like the air that filters through a far off meadow and then is delivered to you through a gentle breeze.  You can experience those flowers but that essence mingles with a fresh airiness.

Those floral notes emerged in the second cup (the combination of infusions 3 and 4).  The tea is still sweet but a bit more crisp and slightly astringent.  This cup is not so much honey-esque, the sweetness comes from the flower and the sweet nutty tones that are still very much a part of the flavor of this tea.  As the cup cools slightly, the honey notes begin to come forward.

Interestingly enough, I found the honey notes to be at their sweetest for the third cup (infusions 5 and 6).  With this cup, the floral notes begin to meld with the nutty flavors and this creates a rather sweet taste as well.  The flavors are not sharp.  The astringency is mild.  This cup is smooth and sweet, sweet, sweet!

Given how much I enjoyed the third cup, I decided to try for one more cup to see how it goes.  The fourth cup (infusions 7 and 8) was quite similar to the second cup.  The honey notes seemed somewhat muted until the cup cooled a bit, but that gave me a chance to explore the floral notes and the nutty flavors that are now much more a unified flavor.  Sweet with both floral and nutty tones and the honey notes coming out to play as the temperature dropped a little.  This cup was still so flavorful and refreshing!

This tea is absolutely lovely and I’m really glad that I had this amazing opportunity to try it.  I would recommend this to any Oolong lover (especially those of you who love Tie Guan Yin) because it’s a little different … a change of pace.  It is familiar enough to a Tie Guan Yin but also deliciously different to keep things exciting for the palate.

Malabar Estate Java OP Clonal Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports

MalabarEstateJavaOPClonalTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Tea Description:

This selection was harvested at the peak of the summer flavory season. Dark, crepy leaves, combined with gold and silver downy tips produce a dark, clear liquor. The cup has interesting flavor notes and a hint of mahogany wood in the aroma. This is one of the best high-grown Java teas we have seen in years. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Steepster Select here.

Taster’s Review:

This Malabar Estate Java OP Clonal Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports is the first of the five teas that I’ll be sampling as part of this month’s Steepster Select box.  Every month, I receive two individually packaged single serving size of high quality, loose leaf tea of FIVE different teas.

The dry leaf of this tea is beautiful with its dark chocolate-y brown leaves with golden tips.  The tea brews up dark in color and rich in flavor.

The tea has a sweet undertone of caramel.  I detect notes of malt.  It’s a strong, robust sort of tea, one that would make a good first cup of the day.  I find that as I sip this tea, I am invigorated.  An excellent pick-me-up sort of tea.

Beyond that first impression, I am noticing some complexity.  I can taste fruit notes.  There are some grape flavors in there, evoking thoughts of wine.  And there is a sort of dry, astringent note toward the end of the sip which is similar to what I’d experience with a glass of wine too.

Mid-sip, I notice a slight orange-y note, as if this might be a “blend” with orange rind in it.  I can even taste the slight bitterness from the pith of the orange.  The orange notes seem to intensify as I continue to sip.  Others who have tasted this tea have mentioned a cinnamon note to this, and I get a very subtle, warm cinnamon note that seems to weave its way in and out of the sip.

Overall, a very good cuppa.  I’d happily drink this again.

Java – Pasir Nangka OP Black Tea from Upton Tea Imports

Pasir Nangka OPTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Tea Description:

The dark, bold, and wiry leaves of this selection yield a red coppery liquor with full flavor and smooth character. Notes of spice in the aroma add to the overall appeal. A great value to be enjoyed at any time of day. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t know if it’s just coincidence that I’ve been encountering more and more Indonesian teas lately or maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve been concerned about the volcano and maybe I’m unconsciously looking for teas from Indonesia.  However, I do want to say that my thoughts go out to those in Indonesia in the aftermath of the volcano.

This Pasir Nangka OP (Orange Pekoe) from Upton Tea Imports and produced in the Java region of Indonesia is a very pleasing full-flavored black tea.  It is robust and energizing!

It has a very hearty flavor – this tastes like something that I’d want in my teacup first thing in the morning on those mornings when I don’t really want to get up, but I have to.  This will help me feel that sense of alertness that I’ll need on a day like that.

It has a strongly “roasted” sort of flavor.  I don’t know if this is how black teas are usually processed in Indonesia … but, this definitely has a rich, roasty flavor to it.  I can taste hints of smoke and earth to it, as well as a background of spice notes that meld especially well with the aforementioned roasted notes.  There is a fair amount of astringency to this cup as well – my palate feels a little dry after each sip.

This is a tea that I’d recommend keeping your eye on the timer for, because while my cup was not what I’d call bitter, I could taste a subtle bitter tone that tells me that had I oversteeped this tea, it would have been bitter.  I brewed it for 2 1/2 minutes in boiling water, and that seems to be just the right amount of time for my palate.

Overall, an enjoyable cup of tea, but not my favorite black Indonesian tea.  It’s good though, and I’m glad I had this opportunity to try it.

Java Santosa from McNulty’s

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  McNulty’s

Company Description:

I was not able to locate a description of this tea on McNulty’s website.

Taster’s Review:

This black tea is a single estate tea from the Santosa estate in Java (an island in Indonesia).  Having tried only a few teas from Indonesia but quite enjoying those that I have tried, I always welcome the opportunity to try more.

The flavor of this tea is rich and robust.  It definitely has GUSTO to it to get you going!  A perfect morning tea, this tea would also make a nice pick-me-up for the afternoon.

There is a hint of underlying sweetness to this tea, but mostly what I am getting is a straightforward, STRONG, bright tasting black tea.  It has a toothsome quality to it, but not quite as much as a stout Assam.  A bit of astringency, but no bitterness.

A very pleasant black tea that would make an excellent alternative to the typical breakfast blend or morning Assam.  It takes the addition of milk and honey quite well, although I found it to be rather lovely without addition.