Matcha from ZenTei . . . . .

In the last wave of summer weather, I brewed up a cup of matcha from ZenTei.  It was an easy choice, after my eye caught a glimpse of its beautiful packaging on my tea shelf. This matcha is a hand-ground, organic green tea.

The powdered tea is smooth and green, though a bit muted in color.  Matcha is best at its freshest and greenest, and I should note that I’m tasting this sample after a friend, so it’s possible my sample was just a little past its prime.

In the warm weather, I tried this iced, unsweetened and without milk.  The matcha is very vegetal, leafy, and grassy.  This is a culinary grade matcha, so it’s best when paired with other flavors in baking, or when mixed with juice smoothies, or in a foamy milk latte.

I definitely preferred this tea as an iced latte with vanilla almond milk.  The sweet, nutty, frothy milk helped add more dimension to the grassy matcha, and added a touch of much-needed sweetness.

This is a versatile tea.  Mix it in your next batch of cookies, prepare it in a traditional whisk and bowl, or shake it up in a milkshake bottle.  Just don’t shake up a hot latte or you’ll be dealing with a matcha bomb; cold water matcha-shakes only.  Perfect for a high-caffeine, iced latte, pick-me-up on a hot summer morning.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Matcha
Where to Buy: ZenTei

Culinary-Grade Matcha has a stronger tea flavor than a traditional Ceremonial-Grade and allows the Matcha flavor to shine through even if mixed with other ingredients.  Traditionally whisked into a frothy beverage, Matcha can be blended into smoothies, green tea lattes or green tea lemonade.  Matcha is also perfect sprinkled over fruit or yogurt, added to salt to create a savory seasoning, mixed into baked goods recipes or added to ice cream.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Raspberry Matcha from Tea’s Me

There were a few days recently where winter temperatures let up and I was able to go out in the sun with fewer layers and coats. Sunny days like that really put you in the mind for spring. When the weather gets warmer, I trade in my hot morning cup of black tea for a refreshing cup of iced matcha green tea.

Matcha teas come in powdered form and can be used in milk for frothy lattes, in smoothies for a healthy boost, or whisked in a bowl for a traditional style.  Raspberry matcha from Tea’s Me Company is pre-sweetened with cane sugar and real fruit flavors, and is the perfect matcha for desserts, lattes, and smoothies. Even with the included sugar, the tea is not too candy-like, and it stays true to form, truly tasting like fresh raspberries. There’s not much in the way of green, grassy matcha in this tea, the green tea stays in the background and lets the raspberry take the lead.
If you’re looking for a traditional matcha experience, this may be too sweet for you, but if you’re in the mood for something refreshing and berry-sweet, it will be a great tea to try. I drank this, shaken, with just iced water, but it could easily be made into a dessert with milk and raspberry syrup. Or this would add a sweet, fruity kick to a morning smoothie or shake. I’ve seen a lot of vanilla or chocolate flavored matchas, but raspberry is a bit harder to come by.  It makes Raspberry Matcha from Tea’s Me Company a nice sunny-day treat!



Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: matcha green tea powder
Where to Buy: Tea’s Me
Description: Whether you want a boost of energy, refreshing drink or healthy cooking ingredient, Tea’s Me raspberry matcha is here for you. Matcha is one of the healthiest drinks on earth and now boasts an amazing taste. All of our Matcha is sourced from Japan, the birth place of Matcha 500 years ago. Great for cooking, lattes, smoothies and of course tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Strawberry Banana Black Tea from 52Teas

StrawberryBananaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

I think someone suggested this.  Honestly, I can’t remember.  I’m getting old and you know they say the memory is the second thing to go.  Wish I could remember what the first is.  Anyway, of all of our teas, our banana teas and our strawberry teas seem to be extra popular, so why NOT make a strawberry banana tea?  Sure, I imagine it’s not the most original combination we’ve ever come up with, but it might just be one of the most delicious!

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

OK … when Frank told me that this would be the tea for the week of May 26th, I was less than thrilled with the news.  See, I sent him a quick message and told him that his tea for that week needed to be spectacular, because it was my birthday week.  So I had big expectations.  Like something fabulously chocolate-y or something like that.  Perhaps a new tomato blend.

Note to Frank:  I would still love to try a green tea with tomato and basil and black pepper and perhaps some tulsi … maybe a Chinese Sencha and Gunpowder blend for a base.  Call it LIberTEAS Summer Salad Tea.

But I wasn’t expecting him to say something like Strawberry Banana.  Of the many fruit combinations that are out there, Strawberry Banana is one of the most popular.  You can find it in flavored yogurts and in just about every smoothie bar out there.  And I’m not a big fan.  In fact, I’ve often found myself wondering what it is about this combination that seems to attract so many fans.  I mean, I like strawberry.  I like banana.  But together, they just … kind of lose something.  The strawberry is less strawberry-ish, and the banana is less banana-y.

And while I do like strawberry teas and banana teas on their own, I just didn’t see Strawberry Banana Black Tea as one that I would really do flips over, nor is it one that I would have purchased for myself if I didn’t actually subscribe to 52Teas and automatically receive each of the 52Teas that they make every year.  I’m just not a fan of the combination of Strawberry and Banana.

But, believe it or not, this is actually pretty good.  There is a plentiful strawberry flavor, and I find that I’m tasting strawberry long after the sip is finished.  It is a long lasting flavor that keeps on going into the aftertaste.  The strawberry tastes sweet and a little bit tart, with that tingly berry sensation that tickles my tongue at the finish.  The banana isn’t quite as strong but it is a nice flavor.  It’s a sweeter banana note, and it actually has a slight creaminess to it that I like.

The black tea base is a smooth tasting base.  It doesn’t taste as rich as I seem to remember some of the black teas from 52Teas tasting, so I don’t know if they changed their black tea base again or if it’s just because of the way this particular blend of flavors work with the black tea base.  It’s still a brisk tasting black tea, and it’s got a nice, smooth, round taste to it and I’m enjoying it.  I’m not finding it to be overly astringent nor is it a tannic tasting tea, so it’s a good base, just not quite as … rich in flavor as I remember the black tea base from 52Teas tasting.

This is good, and it makes me really glad I’m a subscriber and I had the chance to try this tea, because like I said before, I probably wouldn’t have tried it otherwise.  This wouldn’t have been a tea that I added to my cart if I were shopping without the subscription.  It tastes good hot, and it’s delightful iced too!. My youngest daughter gave a happy thumbs up to it too!  We both enjoyed it!

Mocha Flavored Matcha from Red Leaf Tea

Mocca-MatchaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green (Matcha)

Where to Buy:  Red Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Mocha Matcha with its chocolate undertones and grassy essence can turn any ordinary day into a rare trip for their palate. Its fine coffee taste with the promise of sheer enjoyment make Mocha Matcha a favorite treat for all hours of the day and night when a person needs to relax and recline. Its understated hints of chocolate also make it a great choice for special occasions when people are looking for a smooth and even flavor that will be perfectly satisfying for them.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yummy!  This Mocha flavored Matcha from Red Leaf Tea is quite a treat for this former mocha maniac!  Every morning before work, my indulgence used to be a cup of tasty chocolate-y, creamy mocha.  That is … until I realized that it was the coffee that was making me feel nauseated at around 11 am.  Once I cut out the mochas and the coffee … I didn’t get that 11 am icky ill feeling.

But this Mocha Matcha allows me to enjoy the deliciously creamy, chocolate coffee-ish flavor of a Mocha without the side effects that I’d otherwise experience with a cup of Mocha.  In addition, I get the health benefits – all the antioxidants and the minerals – of the green tea leaf from the Matcha!  That sounds like a win-win for me!

For this batch of flavored Matcha from Red Leaf Tea, I went with my usual specifications:  the classic grade of green Matcha with the distinctive level of flavoring.  And it’s just PERFECT!  This tastes a lot like something I’d buy at the corner coffee shop, but at a fraction of the price!  I prepared it “latte-style” today, using milk instead of water which enhanced the “mocha-esque” qualities of the flavoring.  The result is a sweet, creamy, coffee shop treat!

The distinctive level of flavoring here gives a good balance between mocha taste and matcha.  I taste the grassy/leafy taste of the Matcha – the notes of vegetation – but it’s not an overwhelming grassy taste.  The natural cacao undertones of the Matcha meld beautifully with the chocolate notes of the mocha flavoring.  The chocolate notes … well, of course, the chocoholic in me wants MORE chocolate always, but, I like the level of chocolate flavor here.  It s chocolate-y but it doesn’t overpower the coffee notes.

This is a sweet, creamy, delicious mocha like beverage.  There is just enough bitter taste from the coffee to keep it interesting.  The chocolate and coffee notes complement each other very well, and I like the way they entice the best flavors from each other.  The matcha tastes smooth, with a lovely creamy texture.

Another HIT from Red Leaf Tea.  This is one I’d recommend to someone who – like me – can’t enjoy that morning mocha because of the 11 am discomfort.  This has the flavor of the mocha without the pain!  Like I said … it’s a win-win!

Lime Matcha from Red Leaf Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green (Matcha)

Where to Buy:  Red Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Lime Matcha’s rich deeply tangy flavor is excellent for many baked foods. It also lends its rich freshness to many pies, ice creams and smoothies. It also makes an exceptional accompaniment for many fish dishes because it brings out the taste of the fish in a deliciously satisfying way.  This flavor is also a taste enhancer and brings out the true taste of many low taste foods and drinks. It is great for special occasions where people need their taste buds enlivened by the added presence of Lime Matcha in their foods and drinks.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I mentioned on Steepster, I ordered this Lime Matcha primarily for the blending opportunities it offered.  I have managed to amass quite a collection of flavored Matcha, as you can imagine, and I wanted to add a flavor or two that could be used as something that would add interest to other flavors.  Mainly, I was thinking that this would taste mighty good with the Watermelon, but I am sure it would go nicely with other flavors as well.

The aroma of the dry leaf as well as the prepared Matcha is that of a lime tree.  It smells quite like the scents I’d notice if I were sitting beneath a lime tree:  the sunny, citrus-y fragrance of lime, hints of lime blossom, the leaves, the earth, and the tree itself.  All of those smells are captured within this flavored Matcha.

This is really quite a unique and delightful Matcha.  The tartness of the lime is strong but not overpowering, and it offers a pleasing contrast to the sweet, “green” taste of the Matcha.  Also compelling are the bitter notes of the lime, and I suspect that it is this characteristic especially that allows me to explore the earthy tones of the Matcha a bit better.  I usually taste a hint of earthiness to a Matcha, but now I taste more than just a hint.  It isn’t a overwhelming component to the taste but it is enough to add real interest to the overall tea.

It is these bitter notes that have caught my attention, as well as my imagination.  I am wondering how this Matcha might taste prepared in a similar fashion to how I prepared this bowl, but with one difference:  the addition of a pinch of salt to the bowl just before whisking.  I wonder how the salt will affect these bitter tones.  Will it make the Matcha taste sweeter?  I think it will, and I look forward to finding out in the near future.  I also look forward to adding a bit of this Matcha to smoothies too!  YUM!

A really lovely Matcha experience – I love the way that the lime has brightened up the bowl.  Very nice, indeed!