Naked Teas Galore’s Matcha Latte

Organic Matcha Latte by Naked Teas Galore
Green Tea (Matcha) / Flavoured
$3.25 for 25g sampler or $14.95 for 227g

First Impressions

Organic Matcha Latte was a little packet I picked up when I was at the Naked Teas Galore retail location in Langley, BC some time ago. I really appreciated that their flavoured matcha selection was available in both sample packets as well as much larger bags (25g vs 227g!). I opted for a few 25g packets so I could get a couple cups to try before committing to a larger bag or tin. Organic Matcha Latte comes in a sealed, resealable foiled bag. The front label tells me the name and ingredients, the back provides preparation instructions.

Organic Matcha Latte isn’t as green as I expected, nor bright. The colour reminds me of a shade of green I might find in some moss or something like that. There is a considerable amount of cane sugar granules, so I really wasn’t able to sift the powder when preparing it. Organic Matcha Latte consists of: organic cane sugar, organic matcha, and citric acid. The powder blend smells a bit sweet, I can’t really smell the matcha.

Preparation

Naked Teas Galore provides preparation instructions for making this either hot or cold. For hot, it’s mix with a hot milk of your choice. For cold, it’s to add the powder blend to a shaker cup, and then add ice and milk. I didn’t sift the powder, because the cane sugar granules are so large, and I mixed this with heated unsweetened organic soy milk directly in the cup.

First Taste

Organic Matcha Latte doesn’t really colour the soy milk too much – soy milk is naturally a bit of a cream colour, and the Organic Matcha Latte just gives it a slightly dull green colour. Organic Matcha Latte does taste sweet – I can taste all that cane sugar! I found that the matcha flavour was very mild – I didn’t note any grassy or umami flavour notes in the profile of the drink, with just a hint of matcha flavour at the tail end of each sip.

A Second Cup?

As always, matcha cannot be ‘resteeped’ because you drink everything all up.

My Overall Impression

I didn’t like Naked Teas Galore’s Organic Matcha Latte. I think this blend was just disappointing to me from the get-go. From the lack of green in the powder, to the colour of the drink after mixing it – it just wasn’t what I was expecting it to smell, look, or taste like because it lacked the flavour profile of matcha for me.

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Udyan Tea’s Da Hong Pao Black Tea

Da Hong Pao Black Tea by Udyan Tea
Black Tea / Straight
585 for 100g

Udyan Tea has provided me with Da Hong Pao Black Tea for the purposes of writing an honest review.

First Impressions

Udyan Tea’s Da Hong Pao Black Tea came to me in a matte sealed, resealable bag with just a bit of information about the tea listed on the label. For those not in the know, the traditional Da Hong Pao tea (Big Red Robe tea) comes from Wuyishan in China and is a dark oolong tea. It’s traditionally a tea that is very expensive – the real stuff is more expensive than gold, at nearly $10,000USD for a pot of tea.

This Da Hong Pao from Udyan Tea is grown in Nepal and is processed as a black tea, which makes the name choice questionable considering the history (and legitimacy) of using the name of Da Hong Pao.

This Da Hong Pao is a black tea that was harvested in the autumn of 2018 and is considerably less expensive than $10,000USD for a pot. The leaves are wiry and dark, and are reddish brown in colour. There’s a mix of earthy and floral aroma from the dry leaf.

Preparation

Udyan Tea recommends steeping Da Hong Pao Black Tea in 90-95°C (194-203°F) water for 4 to 5 minutes. My initial steep was for 5 minutes in 91°C (195°F) water.

First Taste

Da Hong Pao Black Tea steeps to a deep reddish orange. There’s a nice aroma from the steeped tea – it’s more floral than earthy compared to the dry leaf. I found when I steeped it for the 5 minutes, there was a slight bitterness and astringency to it. The earthy quality is more present in the taste of the tea than the floral, surprisingly. There’s no sweetness to it, despite the floral notes. The astringency makes itself known at the end of each sip.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Da Hong Pao Black Tea twice, adding an additional 30 seconds per resteep. I found that the tea got increasingly earthy in flavour and less floral in the flavour of the tea. Da Hong Pao became more astringent with each steep.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Udyan Tea’s Da Hong Pao Black Tea was just okay. I wish the tea had been more floral than earthy to my tastes as I drank it and resteeped the leaves, as I expected the flavours to match better with the dry leaf. As well, it’s a bit disappointing that a classic name of a tea is being appropriated, since there may be people who are wanting to try a Big Red Robe tea and getting a decent black tea from Nepal instead – not that there is anything wrong with tea from Nepal, but it’s the principle of the matter.

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Masters Teas’s Shincha Sencha

Shincha Sencha by Masters Teas
Green Tea / Straight
$29.00USD for 1.5oz

Master Teas has provided me with Shincha Sencha for the purposes of writing an honest review.

First Impressions

Shincha Sencha came to me in a sealed, resealable bag from Masters Teas. The sample label has little information – I know it was harvested in April 2019 from Shizuoka Japan – but that’s about it. But the place to go for more information the Masters Teas website, where I learned that this tea is from the farmer Katahira, a tea farmer who’s been growing tea for 15 years a part of the family business. This particular green tea can be steeped for 7 times, as per Masters Teas.

The leaves are dark green and flat leaves with some pops of bright green throughout. There’s a nice pleasant umami note in the fragrance, which otherwise has a light grassy aroma to it that’s almost sweet to the senses.

Preparation

Masters Teas recommends steeping Shincha Sencha in 180°F (82°C) water for 2 to 3 minutes. I used 185°F (85°C) water that was cooled for a little over 5 minutes and did an initial steep of Shincha Sencha for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Shincha Sencha steeps to a pale yellow colour. It has a very light fruity and grassy aroma to it, which is pleasant. I found the flavour of this green tea to have a mix of salty, grassy, fruity, and savoury notes to it. The fruity flavour was very similar to apricots, but it was very light in comparison to the other flavours that I found in my cup. With the 2 minute steep, I found that Shincha Sencha was smooth and a pleasant cup of tea to drink.

A Second Cup?

I resteeps Shincha Sencha eight times, because Masters Teas suggested seven infusions. I found that the flavour profile shifted slowly towards more and more savoury and less sweet as I got further into the resteeps. As always, I added an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. The colour of the tea got deeper with each steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Masters Teas’s Shincha Sencha. I really enjoyed the complexity of the flavour that I found in this Japanese green tea, it made for a great experience as I noted the shift in the balance of the flavours with each steep. Shincha Sencha definitely has a great savoury/umami flavour to it, and I think it would be great paired with a meal or to counter against the sweetness of desserts. I would highly recommend resteeping this tea though, to get the full experience of the flavours.

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