169 Tasting Notes
I drank this one today using the recommended parameters on Yunomi – uncharacteristically specific ones. 2m steep at 140F, followed by steeps of 5s, 5s at 195F. They then said it might be wise to stop drinking, as this tea contains a lot of caffeine. I disregarded this, considering I had already had two other sencha sessions earlier…figured I’d be fine. So I did another couple steeps, still 195F at 20s then 45s I believe.
First steep was a tad bitter, just enough to provide good balance, with toasty cucumber or zucchini vegetal notes. The second steep was quite astringent – it made me shudder on the first sip. As it cooled, the astringency got a little less aggressive and I was able to make out some grassy and bright cucumber notes. The next steep had some lighter cucumber vegetal notes, and the next two steeps were wimpy, slightly bitter echoes of this tea’s previous self.
Another good one. I’ll give it a try with different parameters tomorrow. I’m finding that if I have 3+ Japanese green tea sessions in one day, there’s about a 50% chance I’ll start to feel ill lol. I ordered way too many 2016 samples, trying to drink them before they go bad. Gonna have to have my stomach pumped by the time I get through them all.
Fuckin worth it though.
Flavors: Astringent, Cucumber, Grass, Vegetal, Zucchini
Really enjoyed this sencha. Equally good with both a long first steep and shorter first steep. With that longer first steep, it was decently bitter with heavy umami and a full-feeling thickness. Shorter steep gave it a lighter grassy/toasty flavor. Subsequent steeps either way were grassy with a smooth and drinkable character. Toward the end, the grassy flavor got more vegetal, as in less vibrantly green tasting.
My favorite aspect of this tea was the delayed aftertaste I got on the first 2-3 steeps with either method. It wasn’t an immediate aftertaste, but about 2 minutes after finishing a cup, my mouth started to fill up with a pretty distinct peachy/nectarine flavor. It was so good. Made my sessions take longer, as I didn’t want to start the next cup and wash that aftertaste out. Succulent and delicious. Not something I’ve gotten from a sencha before. I’m glad I got the Morita Tea Garden Sampler.
Flavors: Grass, Peach, Toasty, Umami, Vegetal
Much better the second time around. I’m sorry little Cannonballs, I treated you harshly yesterday. You didn’t deserve my hate! This time I used my 120mL gaiwan and 160F water. I was also much more careful with my steep times, knowing that this tea can turn into a bitter mess as soon as the little cannonballs begin to open up.
I started this off with a 20 second rinse to get it going and then the next 8 or so steeps stayed at or below 10 sec. Before the cannonballs opened up all the way, the tea was light and a little vegetal with a good sweetness. As they started opening up, the tea definitely got thick, a tad bitter, and picked up a savory and brothy characteristic. A couple steeps later, the savory flavor started mixing with a renewed sweetness, which soon developed a nice floral characteristic.
I suspect this tea is quick to bitterness because, as I saw looking at the spent tea, the cannonballs are comprised of very small and fragmentary leaves. Thus, once they open up, you’re hit with a bitter-bomb if you aren’t careful. Pretty tasty once I knew how to handle it.
Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal
Another nice sencha from Yunomi. I’m starting to think I should try all of my sencha with a long first steep (2m), because I almost always prefer the results with that long first steep. This tea had the classic buttery, nutty, grassy sencha aroma. The first steep was thick with buttery grassy notes and a deep umami flavor. In the next steep, that umami tended more towards bitterness, and I also picked up a bit of a vegetal flavor along with the grassiness. A couple subsequent steeps gave me thinner liquid but still decent grassy flavor. I’m finding it quite fun to pound through these sencha :)
Also, I got an instagram now!
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Nutty, Spinach, Toasty, Umami
Hmm…really wasn’t feeling this tea. It seemed like it was lacking all the bright/vibrant flavors that make green tea good. The wet leaves had a salty vegetal or seaweed aroma. The first couple steeps were alright, with some light corn sweetness and a bit of astringency. As the little balls started to open up, the tea got quite bitter, to the point where I had to lower my steep times back down. I got some vegetal notes and a brief citric note at one point. I will try this again with lower temp or cold brew.
I don’t know if this tea is just a little old for green tea or what, but it was pretty flat, bitter, and just meh overall.
Drank a random Japanese green tea I got as part of a swap with a redditor from Germany – the baggies came unlabeled, so it’s an adventure! I was a little worried he might have just sent me random odds and ends from the back of his cupboard, but this tea at least seemed decently fresh.
The wet leaves had an unusually vegetal aroma (for a sencha in my experience anyways), but this aroma didn’t translate to the flavor. The taste was sweet, grassy, buttery and nutty. I also got an aftertaste of fruit, which I don’t often get in sencha but do appreciate when it’s present. Successive steeps at 160F made a nice but lighter brew. I did one steep at 180F afterwards, which was decently bitter, but did yield a nice grassy flavor sounding the death knell of this tea.
Some of the leaves seemed to be decently intact, or at least in larger fragments than I usually see with sencha. That and the fact I got pretty clear liquid leads me to believe this was pretty lightly steamed. I think. Don’t know much about it though! :)
Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Grass, Nutty
Another 2016 Yunomi sample! I think this is the first time I’ve disagreed with Yunomi’s recommended brewing parameters. They recommended doing a 30s steep with 160F, followed by steeps of 10s and 40s at 175F. Doing it this way, the first steep was a bit light, while the next two steeps were very bitter! I found it better keeping the water temp low, and doing steeps of 1m, 30s, 1m, 2m all with 160F water.
The first steep was sweet and grassy, a bit buttery, with a very slight underlying bitterness. The aftertaste was a juicy sweet grassiness to me.
The second steep was much the same, with a slightly increased bitterness. The liquid from this steep was an amazingly vibrant green color.
The bitterness did not increase in the third or fourth steeps. The nice grassy flavors did get a little lighter, and I think on the third steep I encountered a bit of a vegetal spinach flavor as well.
Good tea, but I didn’t like it the way Yunomi recommended I brew it this time!
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Grass, Spinach, Sweet
So after trying this gongfu yesterday and finding the flavors rather light, I decided I’d try it western style using some longer steep times. I used 5.2g in an 8oz teapot with steep times of 2m, 4m, 10m. If anything, all three steeps were even weaker than my gongfu session! So, I must conclude that this is just a very light tea. Nothing wrong with that – it’s also smooth and quite easy to drink. It never got bitter, even when steeped for ten minutes. Just a little light and a touch boring to my palate. Glad I got to try it though :)
Flavors: Malt, Plums, Smooth
I got this as part of the Morita Tea sampler. This was a pretty good one. The aroma wasn’t quite as nutty/buttery as it would be for a sencha. I used 160F water and got steeps of 1m, 30s, 1m before upping temp to 180F and pulling one more 1m steep from the leaves.
The first steep had a robust grassy sweetness with some astringency underneath. Halfway through the first steep I started tasting some kind of pine-y flavors, along with some sweetness that kind of reminded me of honey, but I’m calling it more pine sap.
Next steep was creamy grassiness without the astringency. I didn’t get any of the pine or pine-sap flavors this time.
The last couple were just smooth grassy sweetness, with the final steep being pretty weak.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Pine, Smooth, Sweet
I think between group buys and swaps, I have three different Georgia Black teas to try. This is the first I’ve gotten to – acquired in a swap with JK7Ray I believe.
The dry leaves had a sour plum aroma, a little lesser after the first steep, surprisingly. This tea was light in flavor and body and quite simple as well, but I wouldn’t consider those negatives. Just different. I got 11 steeps with this black tea, starting with a couple at 12s, then 20s and increasing by 10s at a time until the last few where started increasing steep times faster. As I said, the flavor was consistent through most of the session – Malty plums, with an occasional sour note, not quite citrus fruit, more like an herbal lemongrass flavor. Only got it on like two steeps, and not consecutively. May try it Western style next time, as I’ve heard these Georgian teas can do better that way. So annoying to get out my big teapot and stuff though ;)
Flavors: Lemongrass, Malt, Plums