129 Tasting Notes
Did this one with both a really long first steep and in my more normal method, like I did with my last shincha. I liked this one better. The leaf fragments seemed noticeably larger in this one.
First session: (160F) 2m, (180F) 20s, 45s, (190F) 60s, then one long steep at ~175.
The first steep was certainly bitter, but it was a bitterness which lent the tea such wonderful depth when combined with the thick texture and succulent green floral note that I got out of this. At least that’s what it seemed like to me. I also could’ve been getting some of that umami flavor and struggling to describe it. Second steep had a touch of bitterness left to it, gone by the third. Those two steeps had a sweet vegetal flavor, like peas or green beans with a slight grassiness. This shincha is a lot less grassy than the last one I tried. The last two steeps were notably clearer and had a gentle, sweet vegetal taste.
Second Session: (160F) 1m, 30s (175F) 45s, 1m (158F) a longer steep.
This one definitely had a sweeter first brew with that sweet beany vegetal flavor in the fore. It also had a toasty flavor which reminded me of sweet bread – this is something I didn’t get at all in the last session. The second steep was vegetal with a grassy aftertaste, the strongest I tasted the grassiness in this tea. My next two steeps were grassy/vegetal with a really nice sweet fruity aftertaste, reminding me of melon. Last steep was, like in the previous session, a softer echo of the vegetal flavor I had been getting. This was a pretty nice one.
Flavors: Beany, Bitter, Floral, Grass, Melon, Sweet, Toasty, Vegetal
I’m quite excited for my package from Yunomi – my first decently sized order from them. I have very little experience with Japanese Green tea, but I got a cool starter set from Den’s Tea (just a kyusu really), and figured I’d give some shincha a try this year! So I have about 10-15 different shinchas to try, and this is the first one I randomly pulled out of the box.
I tried two different brewing methods – the one I’ve been using for the few sencha I’ve tried, and then the “Warm water” method recommended on Yunomi’s site. My method is 160 degrees with steep times of 1m, 30s (raise temp to 170), 30-45s, (raise temp to 180 – sometimes), 60s.
The other method was 160 degrees, steep times of 2m (raise temp to 180), 20s, (raise temp to 190), 45s, (raise temp to 212), 60s. This seemed weird to me, especially with the really long first brew and the high temps at the end (granted, the site said to use “hotter” temps on subsequent steeps, only being as specific as 180-212F).
I’m afraid that, as I have little experience with this sort of tea, my reviews may all be similar – It will probably take me time to differentiate the flavors I’m tasting in these teas, just as it did with the puerh tea I’ve been drinking more of. So far though, it seems that Japanese greens as a category (vs. sheng puerh) is a bit more homogenous when it comes to flavor – they all have a decent bit of grassiness, mainly.
So! Onto this tea specifically. As foreshadowed above, both methods produced a nice and yellow-green liquid with strong grassy notes. I believe I preferred the “warm water” method, as the tea had a thicker texture and a more bracing bitterness. It seemed that the first couple steeps in both methods had some bitter notes, but with the longer first steep, the thicker and richer texture seemed almost to mellow out the bitterness. Having trouble discerning much besides grass. In the second or third steep on warmer method, I think I detected some fruitiness in the aftertaste, but that was about it.
I think I’m going to be looking at this shincha box as a crash course in Japanese Greens. I may not get “full enjoyment” out of this tea, like I might if I had more experience with this sub-type of tea, but it will be a good learning experience, and can help inform me on what I like in the future.
Anybody with more expertise than me – how different is this shincha going to be from other senchas and whatnot that are harvested later in the season/year? Thanks!
Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Grass, Thick
I found this sheng to be very sweet and quite long-lasting. Used 7g in a 100mL gaiwan with boiled water (turned it down to 200F later in the session). I drank this over a 24 hour period, leaving it overnight because I had to get to bed before I finished the session, it took so long. 17 steeps total I believe.
The leaves from this tea are pretty cool looking, with some white/silver leaves mixed with different shades of brown and green. Dry, they smelled buttery and fruity, and after rinsing the leaves, it was more of just a sweet fruity/maybe herbal aroma. Different from most raw puerhs in that respect.
I successfully kept my steep times down with this one, as I seem to fail to do so often! Working on that! So I got almost 10 steeps in before my steep time rose above 20 sec. Right from the start this tea was thick and sweet, with honey and floral flavors dominating it. Also got some grassy/hay flavors in the front on a couple steeps, always accompanied by a nice honey sweet finish. The texture of the liquor was creamy even through the late steeps. On my 4th steep I was reminded of brown sugar. Even that steep had the honey finish, so definitely one of the sweeter raw puerhs I’ve tried. In steeps 3-7 or so, the thickness and flavor were very notable not only in my mouth, but as I swallowed as well, giving a good throat-feel which I don’t get all that often.
I didn’t get too much of the fruit flavor that I smelled in the leaves (like apricot). It reared its head just barely every once in a while, but I only tasted it distinctly on my final steep, when I just left some water sitting in the gaiwan for maybe 5 min.
Towards the middle of my session, it started to get a little drying and just a touch bitter. This was right before I went to bed last night, so when I came back to the tea, I lowered the temp to 200 degrees and was rewarded with another 6 or 7 lighter but still pleasantly sweet cups of tea.
I really did enjoy this session, but I don’t think I would want a full cake of it, because at some points it was almost sickly sweet to me at some points. As I drink more puerh, I think I’m starting to find that I like mine to have at least some bitterness to them. Makes them seem stronger maybe. I wonder how this tea would age. Not much of any bitterness to age out of it – would it get sweeter? That might be crazy lol.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Sweet, Thick
After reading others’ reviews, I think I might have increased my steep times too quickly – something I need to work on. I seem to do that with a lot of my sessions. I got this sample as part of a Liquid Proust puerh box. I used all 6.3g in my 100mL gaiwan.
I found the aroma from the leaves to be a tobacco-y with almost a hint of something citric as well. Flavor in the early steeps was a light grassy or hay with a thick and creamy texture – the texture is definitely one of the highlights of this tea. I mostly got a dry hay/straw/grass flavor with increasing bitterness followed by a nice and sweet honey-tasting huigan. A pretty good tea, but not one that I need to buy a cake of.
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Honey, Straw
First session I used 175 degree water, second used 185 – the max of the recommended temperature range. Surprisingly (to me anyways) it was much better with hotter water, though it could also be because I managed steep times a little bit better.
When I opened the bag, it smelled exactly like sweet honey. Unfortunately I didn’t get such an intense honey note anywhere in the flavor of the tea. I got a lot of kinda nutty flavors in this, a little bit toasty as well. I was getting a sweet finish on both the early and late steeps that did remind me of honey, but unfortunately not as strong or distinct as in the aroma of the dry leaves. In my first session I was getting a bit of a dryness or bitterness after the first couple steeps, I believe because I ramped my steep times up too quickly. I didn’t get much of any fruity flavor in this one though at one point the flavor was reminding me of lemon – but it didn’t really taste like lemon…if that makes any sense. With the hotter water I got a nicer and thicker body, with a more prominent corn sweetness. Why can’t I list corn as a flavor note? I hear people describe teas as having a “corn sweetness” all the time. Anyways, a pretty good green tea. I will have to try some other ones as well, I get the sense this tea would have been a lot more flavorful if it was more fresh.
Flavors: Honey, Nutty, Sweet, Toasty
This tea was pretty good. I think it’s the first semi-aged Yiwu I’ve tried. I still got a lot of the softer straw/floral flavors that I seem to get with Yiwu teas, but also a little different, like the flavor was beginning to change. It seemed a little bit woodier to me. Around the 4th and 5th steeps I got an interesting sweetness, sort of reminiscent of brown sugar, but this didn’t last long. In some of the later steeps I started to notice a nice floral-honey sweetness. I think these last steeps may be the highlight of the session. Has a decent body, but I wouldn’t really describe it as creamy, and I didn’t notice much of any qi with this tea. The flavor was not particularly lasting.
This tea seems like it could make a decent daily drinker. It does not fit my tastes well enough to consider buying a cake, but I certainly enjoyed my 25g sample.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Straw, Sweet, Wood
Used 7g with boiling water in a 100mL gaiwan. It was quite good, especially steeps 2-5 or so. Got some kind of creamy vegetal or hay notes. It got more and more drying as I went past steep five though, so I think next time I’ll try this with either 200 degree water or a bit less leaf. I suppose I could go and try it both ways. Also, after reading Tea Urchin’s description, I think I may have increased steep times a little bit too quickly. Definitely is good though :)
Flavors: Creamy, Hay, Sweet, Vegetal
Not normally a fan of black teas to a great degree, but these W2T ones have been interesting so far. This one didn’t turn quite a beautifully red as the last one I tried, stayed a little more orangey-brown. Still tasted good. Interestingly, the dry leaf smelled kind of roasted/nutty to me. Wet leaf more malty than anything else. Tasted yams, some resinous, piney flavors. Not smokey at all to me. Lasted about as long as I’d expect a black tea to last. This is certainly the freshest black tea I’ve had – not sure exactly what it would be like if it rested longer. I don’t know how black tea develops in short term situations after production – or long term for that matter.
Flavors: Malt, Pine, Yams
From Dark Matter 2016. These heichas are very interesting. They seem to change flavors almost every steep. I used 5.1g in a 100mL gaiwan with boiled water – steeps of 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60s, 90s.
The dry leaves had a kind of coconut sweetness aroma. The wet leaf smelled like a caramel or coconut latte to me, which was surprising.
First steep had an odd flavor, almost tasted chemically at first, but I also detected notes of coconut and vegetal notes, as well as a creamy texture and a light coffee-like bitterness. Next steep mostly vegetal and coconut flavors. Started to get some woody notes in the next steep. Steep number four was pretty different, some floral and caramel notes in there – decently sweet. Woodiness stayed throughout the rest of the session as well as some floral flavors. As with the other heicha I tasted from Dark Matter, it got a little odd tasting in the last couple steeps, tasted like oversteeped flowers or something. Glad that Dark Matter included these heichas, as I might not have ever tried this type of tea otherwise. Thanks LiquidProust!
Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, Coffee, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood
Drank a puerh I got from Liquid Proust tonight – not from one of the group buys. It was labeled “2011 Cha QZ – YS” (Also could’ve said 45 instead of YS lol). Neither he nor I could figure out what it actually was. Oh well. Used 4.8g in a 60mL gaiwan, so I was worried about bitterness, but it wasn’t bad. Seemed like a pretty gentle tea, possibly Yiwu. I got lighter floral sweetness with some soft fruity notes mixed in as well. It was pretty good tea, but I have no idea what tea it actually was lol.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Hay, Sweet