Product Review: Return of The Mega Matcha Showdown! Part 1

topmatchaphotoIt’s that time once again!

I have taken the (perhaps crazy) task of reviewing even more matcha than I anticipated:  Red Leaf Tea has asked me and a handful of skilled bloggers to take on the task of testing and comparing 30 or so different matcha in a large price range. I have been lax on comparing them, with traveling and whatnot, but I need to get cracking. Without further ado, here is the basic criteria in with I will be judging the teas by: Color, Texture, and Sweetness.

Note:  All the teas were provided to me for review by Red Leaf Tea. I was not aware of which brands were which beforehand.

Starter Matcha

Starter Matcha

  • Color: 3
  • Sweetness: 5
  • Texture: 4

The first sample I had was a light olive drab. The matcha woke up a bit with some hot water, but did not foam very well. Even though this tea was a tad gritty, it was smooth and grassy, in a good way.

Deluxe Matcha

Deluxe Matcha

  • Color: 6
  • Sweetness: 5
  • Texture: 6

I would recognize RLT’s matcha anywhere, thanks to the last taste test. This floral and sweet matcha this one was an improvement.. A muted grassy color, I got some really nice foam from it, but it may have just been through practice, heh. The mixture was surprisingly tart, but still quite smooth.

JK Tea Shop Ceremony Grade Matcha

JK Tea Shop Ceremony Grade Matcha

  • Color: 6
  • Sweetness: 5
  • Texture: 5

Third one up! This one had a bit of a wet paint smell to it. The powder was a lighter, pastel shade of spring green. Not a favorite.

Classic Matcha

Classic Matcha

  • Color: 6
  • Sweetness: 7
  • Texture: 6

Phew. At this time I realized that I had made a grave mistake. I hadn’t eaten before starting testing these, and I sure was feeling the effects. This one was the sweetest so far, with a lemony, acidic finish. It was a happy green color, which was promising.

Kiwami Supreme Ceremonial Matcha

Kiwami Supreme Ceremonial

  • Color: 7
  • Sweetness: 7
  • Texture: 7

This one smelled and tasted just like pistachios! There was some strong marine notes as well, and a smoothness to round it out.


Yunomi Excellent Kitchen Grade Matcha

Yunomi Excellent Kitchen Grade Matcha

  • Color: 7
  • Sweetness: 8
  • Texture: 7

A really good one in the bunch. It also has a good color, not as neon as #4, but what this one lacks in color, it makes up in taste.

Thanks for tuning in folks! Will it ever end? Stay tuned next time for another installment of Matcha Madness!

Midwest Tea Fest 2015: Part 2 – The Haul!

Now on to Part 2 of my ‘review’ of the Midwest Tea Fest! Oh, what goodness lies ahead!

TeaHaul1What kind of tea person would I be if I did not take home a massive haul of tea back with me? I packed very light for the trip, but brought a giant suitcase to hold it all in. When it was all packed tightly away, I just made the cut off size for a checked bag. 49.5lbs of nothing but tea, teaware, and toothpaste!

I know how it looks, there is a lot more teaware than there is tea. I waited too long to snag anything, and a lot of the teas being sold were essentially all gone. But! I fell in love with more teaware than I think is healthy for just one person. It was pretty crowded around all of the booths the majority of the time, it was a madhouse! Just watching the folks at the Queen’s Pantry feverishly weigh and pack all the teas that were flying off the ‘shelves’ was almost nauseating. I overheard the people at Shang Tea how they only prepared for 300 people, and there was easily twice as much in attendance.

TeaHaul2The few teas you see are mostly samples, the Rishi and Harney were in my goodie bag, and I got samples of Pomegranate white and gunpowder mint from Single Origin. I did purchase Single Origin Tea’s Jun Chiyabari, the last one on their table. There is a small round tin of Bingley’s 10yrs Oven Roasted Aged oolong, and I did pick up some of Shang’s Aged White. (Not at the actual festival though, I took the short walk to Crowne Plaza to their brick and mortar store to pick some up, they were not selling them at the fest.)

TeaHaul3I ended up doing something I never do, and that is indulge in any whim I had along the way. I bought three pieces from Pi Ceramics, a sweet goblet cup, a cha hai (sharing pitcher) for gongfu, and a short and stout kuysu! They are great looking pieces and have a good home here with me. I bought another sharing pitcher from Bingley’s, as well as a small glass teapot. The two small white cups are from Shang Tea, as well as the white infused mug, and the Tea Seed Oil. (Fun Fact: Tea Seed Oil has a smoke point of 455F. You could healthily fry with it!)

The two books you see are the darlings of my collection from the fest. The first is Nichole’s own book, Tea Log: Chronicle your journey of Tea which a very useful tool I know I will be filling up very quickly. And the hardcover 30th edition of Tea Lover’s Treasury by James Norwood Pratt was signed by the legend himself. I was overjoyed by the welcoming attitude he and his wife Valerie had towards everyone they talked to.

Large Grape Sandalwood Tea Table from Dragon Tea House

Large Grape Sandalwood Tea Table
Large Grape Sandalwood Tea Table

Product Information:

Where To Buy: Dragon Tea House

Product Description:

High grade handmade gongfu tea serving tray made with Sandalwood. Sandalwood is a fragrant wood from which an oil is derived for use in foods and cosmetics. The oil has been used widely in traditional Asian medicine and had been official in the United States at the turn of the century. Today, the oil finds little medicinal use but its widespread use as a popular fragrance continues. When pouring hot water on the tray, you could smell noticeable fragrance from it!

Chinese Gongfu style tea requires pouring away the water used to warm the teapot, tea brewer and cups, and the first rinse of the leaves is also discarded. Slatted trays with a water collection basin makes it easier to serve the tea. Preheat and rinse your cups and teapot using the interior of the tray to catch the waste water. Water then drains through the holes in the top, flowing down into the main part of the tray below. After your teatime, simply remove the cover and clean the interior easily.

This tray is suitable for Gongfu-style tea service for 4-6 people using Gongfu teaware.

Note: The depicted tea cups and accessories are shown for illustration purposes only. They must be purchased separately.

The tray is made with natural wood material, wood grain is different from one to another, you will not get exactly the same grain as pictured.

Learn more about this tea ware here.

Product Review:

Thanks to Dragon Tea House I absolutely adore this Large Grape Sandalwood Tea Table! I wanted one so badly but I was so particular as to what I wanted. Since this is not a small purchase in my household I was very selective in the tea tray I selected because it will be the only one I ever have, aside from the fact I really don’t see the need for more than one tea tray. Then again, they are so beautiful if I had a big home I would probably be prone to collecting them. Regardless, this is the tea tray I wanted and my hubby got it for me for Christmas. Good hubby.

I particularly like the size of this tray which is 48 by 33.5CM. I am sure there are even larger ones but this seems to be on the larger end of the spectrum from those I had scoped out. The detail and artwork in this tray are amazing! Also I love Sandalwood so when I considered the combined beauty and wood of this tray I knew it was the one for me. My tray is slightly lighter than the one pictured and I have included photos of my own personal tray here in the review.

My tray arrived very well packaged layered in bubble wrap and Styrofoam. There is not a nick or scratch on it. Its a solid piece and weighs heavy enough that it feels of high quality but on the other hand is not too heavy to move from place to place for use. It is also glossier than it looks in the photo provided from the website. The plastic basin is also of good quality and does not look as though it will crack or wear out anytime soon.

Tea Trays are of course a personal thing, everyone wants one that reflects their own taste and personality. One thing I can say about Dragon Tea House is that they have a really wide selection. One of the largest I have found.

My tray came with three tags which I can’t read although I wish I could. There is an artist mark on the tray as well but again I can’t read it. I did notice when I was looking around at tea trays that some of the artist marks looked better than others. What I mean is that some are really engraved into the table whereas others looked to be like they were stamped in. I would say that to me that makes a difference. The artist signature on my tray is indeed engraved. Now of course not everyone cares about the artistry in their tea tray, sometimes we are looking only for function but in my case I really wanted a piece that makes a statement and this tray certainly does that in my opinion.

When I had finished my selection of possible tea trays I would want, it came down to three trays, and all three happened to be from Dragon Tea House! Granted there were some pretty trays from other places but Dragon really does have one of the best selections out there, and are of excellent quality, so if you are in the market for a tea tray you should really check them out!

My Photos:



Tea Crafts – PRODUCT REVIEW: Tea Party Invitations and Greetings from Corazon Dulce at MyGrafico

This is a Product Review: Tea Crafts

Designer: Corazon Dulce

Where To Buy: MyGrafico

Direct link to this set in their shop is located HERE.


Don´t you just love this beautiful Teapots….this cute invitations templates are perfect for birthday party, scrapbooking, thank you cards and many more!! Size:5×7 inches (wording is sample only no font or text is provided)

FORMATS: EPS and JPEG (300dpi)


Commercial Credit Required: You must give credit to Corazón Dulce with a clickable link wherever the

design is displayed (example: Design by Corazón Dulce)

Commercial No Credit Required: You must purchase the extra fee for this use and credit is no needed.

Non-profit: This is for all personal or Non-profit use. Credit no required, but apreciated.


My Review on this Tea Crafting Product:

First let me start by saying I already have LOTS of plans for this set!  I think it’s wonderful and VERY easy to work with!  What I did here is just open a free program like Picasa and so a simple color edit and insert text.  This specific project I did all digital and will use as web buttons and logos, but I am also looking forward to printables, too!

I could probably work a reverse digi stamp or silhouette and craft with that or try some paper piecing even.

I really like the pastels!  Eventho I am not usually a fan of the color pink it works really well here and often very popular for Victorian Tea Parties – so I completely understand the color choices!  I, for one, am excited to use the greens for my projects.  What I did here, tho, is tweak the color a bit, which, again, is VERY easy to do in many free programs.

I think this set is very versatile!  Perfect for any tea lover, party planner, crafter, girlie-girl, kids crafts, digital divas, and otherwise!



PRODUCT REVIEW: Matcha Green Tea Lollipop from The Groovy Baker

Where to Buy:  The Groovy Baker on Etsy

Product Description:

*Real* Matcha Green Tea imported from Japan ~

With just a touch of lemon and creamy vanilla ~ a bit of pear adds depth and the toasted almonds some crunch and complexity.

Pretty clear green ~ just really nice.

Made with pure cane sugar, never any corn syrup.

Taster’s Review:

I found these beauties on Etsy one evening while I was browsing on the site, looking for new tea products.  And, yes, they really are as beautiful as they look!

The first thing I taste with these is the pear.  It doesn’t dominate the confection but it does come on strong at the start.  The Matcha flavor starts off much softer – the flavor is there from the start it is just rather delicate in the beginning.  After several licks I noticed that the green tea flavor started to really come through nicely, and by the time I was about halfway through the lollipop, the Matcha was prominent.

One thing that this lollipop does lack verses a bowl of Matcha tea is the bittersweet characteristic of Matcha due to the sugar in the candy.  I think that this is where the almonds really play their part well.  The almond slivers are embedded into the candy, and I found myself nibbling at them.  It offered a tasty nutty flavor as well as an interesting feel and look to the lollipop.  Moreover, the almonds helped bring out some of the less distinctive notes of the Matcha.

I just loved these lollipops.  Sweet (I guess that is a bit obvious, since it’s candy!) but with a delicious complexity that I wouldn’t get from an ordinary confection.  The perfect candy for someone who’s “nuts” about tea!

PS:  You can read more of my reviews of other flavors of lollipops from The Groovy Baker here.