Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Teavivre, Green Tea Powder

Teavivre Description:
Origin: Lin’an City in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.

Ingredients: made of the fresh organic tea leaves

Harvest time: May 20, 2013

Taste: complex layers of flavor, with an attractive taste that is brisk and slight bitter.

This Green Tea Powder comes from Hangzhou. It is made of the fresh organic tea leaves, milled into fine powder. The fresh tea leaves are in the shape of one bud with three to four leaves. Usually the water temperature for brewing this tea is at 60℃ to 80℃.

My Review:
Two things to clarify before I start. First, this is not matcha. Chinese green tea powder is the forefather of Japanese matcha. My understanding is tea powder is steamed whereas matcha is fried. Of course they also use leaf grown in different environments. Second, I am not reviewing this as intended - in other words, I am not brewing a hot cup. I am using this in an iced drink similar to Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino.

I love Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino. I love them but they are high in sugar, calories and they are on the expensive side. I have been trying to come up with an inexpensive, healthier, alternative. I have prepared this a few times now trying to tweak the parameters.

Today I am satisfied this is the best combination of ingredients for my tastes. I started with 8 oz of 2% milk in a blender. To this I added two packets of Splenda. Trust me it still isn't as sweet as Starbucks. Next I added one half teaspoon of green tea powder. A little goes a long way and if I use more it causes me stomach burn, so be careful. Another caution, when opening the tea powder bag, it will causes a green foggy cloud if you aren't extra careful. I next added a small tray of ice cubes that were first run through an ice shaver. I put the lid on the blender and pulsed until I had a frothy mix.

When I went to pour I noticed things had taken a nasty turn. When I previously scrubbed the blender, I did not get the base tightly screwed back on. So, yeah, the mix was running out the bottom. I went ahead and poured into my tall glass. Then I had to spend several minutes cleaning up a sweet sticky mess.

Whereas Starbucks matcha is bright green, this is more clay colored. It is green tinted tan. It is sweet, cold, and creamy. The taste is not Starbucks. That is OK, it is still a fun drink. Instead of the bright green flavor of matcha, this is more mellow brown tasting. Recently I reviewed The Persimmon Tree's Grade A Matcha. Once I got the proportions on the Teavivre powder worked out, these two taste very much alike.

If you are determined to duplicate Starbucks Frappuccino exactly, this isn't the tea base for you. If you are wanting just a similar style drink to satisfy your sweet tooth with a frothy mug this might do nicely.

Visit the Teavivre website.

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