My tasting notes: Nantou Dark

Between un-oxidized green teas and fully oxidized black teas there is a spectrum. This oxidation spectrum represents oolong teas. At one end of the spectrum, you will find oolongs that are more similar to green teas, whereas at the other end, there are oolongs that resemble black teas. Their beauty lies in their differences along this spectrum. Nantou Dark is a lightly oxidized oolong that is roasted (high fired). You can compare it to this other oolong I tasted here on the blog; they’re both oolongs but couldn’t be more different.

Matcha affogato

Affogato reminds me of Italy. A scoop of ice cream is "drowned" in a shot of espresso. A little guilty pleasure. Here I am deliberately switching espresso for matcha because the craft coffee movement is believed to be the predecessor of today’s high-quality tea industry, at least here in the United States. Thank you, craft coffee! I owe you one!The popularity of affogato lies in the combination of opposite flavors (bitter espresso VS sweet gelato) and different temperatures (hot espresso VS cold gelato). Opposites attract, we know that. Think of the many successful flavor combinations which rely on this principle, like sweet and salty (salted caramel, peanut butter and jelly, maple and bacon). It works. 

My tasting notes: Matcha Kan-no-shiro

I am sitting on a tatami mat. My legs start tingling but I barely notice it. My surroundings are so beautiful I can hardly perceive anything else. Outside the open screen windows there is a perfectly landscaped garden with stone lanterns and small stone bridges over a pond inhabited by black, orange and white koi. On the low table in front of me, a bowl of frothy matcha and a sweet rice treat. I am in Kyoto and I am never going to leave. Join me for a matcha tea tasting.