39 Tasting Notes
Oh China Green Tips, I really want to like you. I take you home for my weekly mark-out hoping that maybe THIS tin will be the tin that does it. I’ve tried you hot, cold, strong, weak, blended with other teas; I’ve cut open your lovely sachet and tried to use you as a seasoning. I’ve even put you in an oil warmer to take some stink out of the air. But you’re just like that one friend that you really want to like because they seem nice at first, but when you get to know them, there’s something kind of ‘off’ about them, yet every time you get together, you hope that somehow they have changed.
As a lover of all things green, I should be delighted that I have a free supply of China Green Tips available to me by virtue of employment at Starbucks, but it just doesn’t do it for me. It smells okay, the leaves look pretty, and it’s supposedly high quality stuff. But I steep it and it just, it just… doesn’t taste that good. It has a metallic bitterness, and I wonder if it comes from the metal tins the tea comes in, or just a feature of the leaves. I’ve tried short steeps and long steeps, and a range of temperatures. Steeped short and hot and then poured over ice until it’s just barely flavored water is the most tolerable way I can drink it. If my stomach is feeling gross, sometimes I will make a hot cup to sip for the astringency. Resteeps? Forget about it… leaves are too deteriorated.
Steeped it a little longer and a little hotter this evening without the addition of matcha. Smooth, balanced, and toasty, but the surprise is the dry finish. The fullness of the matcha masked this aspect this morning. I’m sure the longer and hotter steep has something to do with it too.
Mmm, nice and toasty. Hearty flavor for first thing in the morning, like a bowl of oatmeal. Today I shook up my leaves with a pinch of matcha powder I bought from the bulk section of Whole Foods last night (I’m so lucky that Austin is home to the flagship store!) to give them a nice dusting. The matcha powder enhanced the sweetness of the rice, but got rinsed off by the second steep. A comforting tea for sure.
Bought this on a whim when I had a cold a few years back. It has depth in its mintyness from the combination of eucalyptus, peppermint, and menthol extract. Somehow they added 60% DV of vitamin C, and 50% DV of zinc. The tea is… medicinal. The stevia leaves in it add a little sweetness which is slightly off-putting for me, but this is the tea I always reach for when I’m sick, not especially for the taste, but for the blend of medicinal ingredients and the comfort of old habits.
I’ve been wanting to experiment with matcha powder, but damn, it’s expensive! I found this at Whole Foods for a modest price (compared to other choices), fully aware that it was cheaper because it is blended with quite a bit of sugar. My hope was that it would be a nice instant tea to take along with me in a water bottle. I thought, “What the hey, it’ll be just like the matcha we have at work. If nothing else, I’ll make tea lattes and baked goods.” And I was right. I tried it in water, hot and cold, and was severely disappointed because it was way too sweet for me.
However, steaming it in milk on my espresso machine recreates how I fell in love with matcha in the first place, yum! I’ve also had quite a bit of fun making matcha short bread and even some gnocchi with matcha powder. Although my experience with matcha is very narrow, this one is too light, sugary, and not matcha-y enough. Next time I will splurge on pure powdered leaves.
Bought some at the bulk section of Central Market. I was intrigued by the beautiful parakeet yellow-green stems and the description of a creamy, low astringency, umami brew. It smells like… God, does anyone remember the crackers ’Munch’Ems’? They were delicious, thin, salty, buttery, savory crackers I loved as a kid. The leaves smell like Munch’Ems mixed with onigiri wrapped in a big sheet of nori. The tea itself is light, creamy, and no astringency to speak of. Not something I am in the mood for every day, but when I want it, it hits just the right spot. P.S. Rishi’s instructions are 1 tbsp for 3-4 minutes, but I used only a teaspoon for 1.5 minutes the first brew, and 2.5 minutes the second time.
Just purchased this tea last night after seeing it at the grocery store. Couldn’t resist the price ($3.50 for 7 oz.). It’s a good, basic, daily sencha. It has a nice vegetal smell, and a pleasant astringency. However, it’s easy to over steep and is a little less forgiving than more expensive sencha from Rishi in terms of bitterness.
I LOVE me some mint tea. I get Refresh for free because I work for Starbucks. I frequently drink this over ice at work by steeping 2 bags in 12 oz. of boiling water and pouring over a 24 oz. cup of ice. It’s fresh, crisp, and has an unmistakable chocolate-y taste to it. Reminds me of York peppermint patties.
Refresh it great, and the full leaf version is much richer than the filterbag, but honestly, it’s not worth the price. If I didn’t get it for free, I would much sooner buy loose peppermint leaves from Central Market for $7 per POUND.