143 Tasting Notes

30
drank Emperor's Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
143 tasting notes

The dry matcha in my warmed chawan smells fruity and sweet.

After whisking the matcha, the smell is more vegetal and nutty with maybe a little hint of popcorn. The matcha tastes a little roasty and very umami rich like spinach with an accompanying bitterness that lingers on the tongue. It’s got a hint of fruit flavor hiding in the background, but mostly what comes through is a roasted taste. It is rather biting on the tongue.

It also leaves a really gritty feeling in my mouth even though the matcha was put through an extremely fine sieve before whisking. There seem to be pieces that feel scratchy and dry. I’m not enjoying that at all. It kind of makes me choke.

Up to that point I was indifferent about it, but the drying texture of it is rather offputting to me. Nothing bad on Red Leaf Tea, I have rated another of their matchas “100” in another review.

Flavors: Coffee, Roasted, Spinach

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86
drank Matsuri Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
143 tasting notes

I prepared this traditionally in a chawan with whisk.

The initial smell is very mild and sweet, like sweet bread or a field of wheat. The onset of the taste is bitter but only lightly so compared to most matcha I’ve tried. The taste evolves from grassy at first to mild and grainy like sweet bread or sweet greens (baby butter lettuce?).

This tea was very relaxing. It reminds me of the tall prairie grasses of late summer. I live in the great plains region of the US, and there’s a very distinct sweet smell in the air as the grass reaches its full growth in late summer, a mix between that which is fresh and green and that which is becoming golden and drying out. This matcha seemed to capture that essence for me, so I feel at home and at one with the nature around me when I sip into this tea.

This was easy to drink and had just the right amount of bitterness for those who like a little bitter taste in their tea. I have noticed lots of lower grade matchas can be offensively bitter to me, but this one complimented the flavor and was enjoyable. I wasn’t waiting for the bitterness to pass to actually taste something.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Sweet, warm grass

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100
drank Tanabata Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
143 tasting notes

The dry matcha in the warm chawan smells sweet and citrusy like limes and other tropical fruit.

Oh my goodness this matcha is laden with sweetness. The taste also comes with a slightly fruity aftertaste that reminds me of limeade or key lime pie, the flavor of fresh lime that has been in some way sweetened. There is absolutely no astringency in this matcha at all. The flavor is so sweet and mellow, not overly grassy. It has a hint of dandelion flavor in the finish.

Wow, I am pretty new to matcha. This is probably the fifth one I’ve tried in the traditional method with a whisk and bowl. For the first few I was worried matcha just might not be for me. The taste tends to be so overpowering and bitter most times, but this matcha is just so incredibly refreshing and sweet! I love it! This has set the gold standard for matcha for me. I’m eager to see if anything else in my matcha sampling journey lives up to this one. I’ve got just shy of 20 samples, most are from Red Leaf Tea, so I’ll keep adding reviews as I try them.

The price tag on this tea is not to be taken lightly, but neither is the quality of the flavor. Time for me to start saving I guess.

Flavors: Dandelion, Fruity, Lime, Sweet

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C
Lee

Do you know which grade this one is? I wonder if this one is ceremonial grade and has had its stems removed and is made with young leaves so you are liking it better. I haven’t had lots of different matches so look forward to your notes.

Lee

Matchas not matches lol

Lion

To my knowledge it is not ceremonial grade. But it is pretty expensive!

http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/tanabata-matcha.html#.VEfdEfnF97g

Lee

Cool! Enjoy!!

Lion

I wish I had a lot more of this. I just have a small sample, enough to make one more chawan probably. Must savor it!

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60
drank Kennin Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
143 tasting notes

Let it be known, I am pretty new to matcha.

Prepared the traditional way in a chawan, this matcha smells and tastes a bit like toasted cereal grains. The flavor is tangy, robust, and astringent. There’s a strong grassy taste.

I am getting acquainted with matcha slowly, so my ratings and descriptions may be a little inadequate for now.

Flavors: Bitter, Grain, Grass, Oats, Umami

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 OZ / 59 ML

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85

This tea tastes very green in the vegetal sense, and there are bean-like flavors present. If I didn’t know any better I might think this is a Chinese green tea. It has more of that flavor profile. There’s a nice sweetness to it and it is lacking the ocean and algae flavors I tend to encounter in a lot of Japanese green teas. There’s this subtle tang on the back of the tongue that is really interesting to me. It kind of reminds me of the tangy feeling of ginseng on the tongue. It’s only just slightly bitter in the finish.

The leaves of this sencha are very long and unbroken. There seems to be a lot of care in their production and handling. Often I encounter senchas with very small and broken up pieces. It makes for a cloudier brew and can be a bit of a mess, but this sencha brews up crystal clear with a ghostly pale green tinge. There are many factors in brewing this tea that make it clear to me these are very high quality leaves, and as this is a sample from a friend I have no idea about the source, company or price at this point.

A second infusion yields a heartier brew with a nice sweetness to it and some interesting notes of cinnamon, camphor, or clove… something on that spiced spectrum. The flavor is just wonderful. I find nothing lacking or “missing”. There’s nothing I can imagine that would improve this tea for me. It’s not the kind of flavor that knocks my socks off, but it is pristine, and that is saying a lot considering I’ve had this tea in a tiny ziplock bag for at least a couple months, so it has not been stored the way sencha aficionados would suggest you need to store it. It has maintained great qualities despite not being kept airtight.

I brewed this tea in a gaiwan. The first infusion was at 158F and I increased it to 167F on the second infusion and 176 on the third. This gentle way of brewing Japanese green teas has never done me wrong. As for infusion times it was 1 min, then 20 seconds, then 30 seconds.

The third and final infusion I drank was even more mellow, with similar flavors to the second infusion but a sort of “bready” taste in the background. This tea is very comforting. I had meant to drink it on a wonderfully warm and sunny day in the summertime to do justice to its name, but I kept forgetting about it and finally just got to it here in the crisp, cool beginnings of Autumn.

I can feel the sunlight and warm breeze and smell the green leaves, regardless.

EDIT: I am revisiting this tea after eating some Barbeque (a suggestion they made on the website, hehe). I brewed it a little stronger than the last time. It’s got a very zesty flavor with hints of pleasant bitterness. There is an almost orange-like flavor that lasts in your mouth. It’s great stuff!

Flavors: Beany, Camphor, Clove, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
TeaBrat

This is a fun sampler to try. I still have a few of my samples I need to finish from Obubu!

Lion

I love it! One of the most fun samplers I’ve bought, especially since I’m pretty noob to Japanese teas. The Sakurayu is such a cool inclusion, and … 5 types of houjicha? Wow! Most companies sell maybe one or two. That’s some dedication.

I still am really perplexed that my favorite 4 are the cheapest 4 sencha while the most expensive 3 sencha are my least favorite. I wonder what that means about my tastes in Japanese tea.

TeaBrat

wait until you’ve had a few gyokuros and let me know if you still feel the same ;)

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83

The dry leaves in the warm kyusu smelled faintly of fruit tree flowers. After the infusion the wet leaves smell sweet with a slight green bean or snap pea scent.

The flavor’s really milky and creamy to me. It’s light and delicate with a very full mouth feel that makes me salivate. Predominantly the flavor reminds me of sweet cream with a mild grassy backdrop.

The second infusion was mildly floral and sweet, and left a sweet sensation in my mouth for quite a while after.

This is perhaps the most delicate of the Obubu senchas, really lacking in astringency and not a really bold flavor either. It’s really smooth.

Flavors: Cream, Flowers, Sweet

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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100

This one’s off to a nice start, with the dry leaves in the warm kyusu having a scent of moss and crisp iceburg lettuce. The wet leaves smell like more moss and a sort of fruity smell that is like the inside of a melon or a pumpkin, also like the smell of fresh strawberries. I don’t mean the smell of cooked strawberries or strawberry ice cream or anything like that, but the smell of the berries fresh off the vine, tart and ripe.

WOW, that subtle berry-like flavor really comes through in the taste as well, reminding me a lot of strawberries, particularly the taste you get from biting into the seeds or the green part of the fruit. There are background notes with gentle nutty, creamy and woody qualities. A subtle grain-like taste may be a more accurate way to describe it, like rice or oatmeal.

I drank the first cup of this really fast. I could not stop. The flavor was just so good!

The second infusion is more light and sweet, definitely getting hints of pumpkin this time, and I promise you that’s not just because this is an Autumn themed tea. Haha. It’s in the last part of the sip, there’s a mellow pumpkin or gourd kind of taste.

This tea is unbelievably good for the price. I will be ordering some with my next order from Obubu.

I seriously left my room and came back minutes later to a room that smelled like strawberries…

Flavors: Grain, Moss, Pumpkin, Strawberry

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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87
drank Sencha of the Earth by Obubu Tea
143 tasting notes

Another Obubu tea is gracing my new kyusu. I have ordered Obubu’s Tea Sampler so you’ll be seeing me review all of these at some point or another.

After putting the leaves into the warm kyusu and letting them sit for a minute, the smell they emit is that of fish or lake (Hey, don’t knock it! Lake is one of the 8 fundamental elements in Taoist cosmology!) ;3

In goes the 158F water for 1 minute. The scent of the wet leaves is somewhat like green beans, with a hint of a meaty note like pate, there are also hints of seaweed, sesame and spinach. In contrast, the taste of the tea is really mellow and nutty with a hint of wood bark. There is a green grassy quality too the taste as well but it is on the more dark and soily side of that spectrum, not a bright, fresh dewy tasting grass. This tea is really umami and makes me salivate a lot. The mouthfeel is thick and while I may have used a bit too much water, there is really almost no bitterness present. Sencha of the Earth is a really perfect name for it (really, they’ve all had perfect names that I’ve tried so far) because it is a relaxing, stabilizing and grounding kind of energy this tea has. None of the fishy lake flavor came through in the flavor for me. I wouldn’t have minded a little of it, but for some of you reading this that might be a relief to hear. ;3

The second infusion is more rich and flavorful than what I got with the second infusion of other Obubu teas I’ve tried so far, and now there is a hint of cooling mint-like flavor at the end of a sip. The flavors have become just slightly more “peaked”, a little more tangy a little more astringent. It’s pointing up instead of down now. Interesting! Maybe a little tree has sprouted from the earth. ;3

Though the astringency is very mild, there’s a slight citrusy flavor that starts late int he sip and lingers in the mouth. Pretty awesome stuff. Some sencha are not very dynamic from one steep to the next, but that is definitely not the case with this tea.

The third infusion is really muted and mild, as is usual with sencha. Not a lot to note about that but it’s good enough to drink and come down from the experience with. :3

Flavors: Bark, Grass, Nutty, Umami

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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65
drank Yanagi Bancha by Obubu Tea
143 tasting notes

This is my first time having bancha. The leaves are all wiry and long and unkempt, pretty fun to look at.

The flavor is subtle and sweet, with a mostly buttery, nutty taste and a grassy smell. The smell of the wet leaves reminds me of wild prairie grasses in the late spring or early summer when they’re still wet and green.

This tea is very mild. I think I could have brewed it a lot stronger than I usually brew sencha and it would have tasted just fine. I can see why this is considered an everday tea. Everything about the flavor is agreeable but not remarkable. It’s the kind of tea you can appreciate without having to give your full attention to, a casual tea-drinker’s tea. I could see myself loading up a tea thermos with this to drink at work, but at home my time is usually filled with higher grade teas that are more of a centerpiece and a dedicated moment of the day.

For an everyday tea though, this has a really nice taste and quality to it. It’s charming and relaxing. As it’s cooling, I’m catching a little bit of seaweed/fish kind of taste, but I’m also alternating this with eating some food now. Otherwise until this point it was mostly just sweet.

Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Seaweed, Sweet

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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85
drank Kabuse Sencha by Obubu Tea
143 tasting notes

This tea is chock full of umami flavor, very savory. There are hints of brussel sprout and grilled cheese sandwich (mostly the flavor of bread that’s been toasted in a pan with butter). It leaves a really savory flavor in the mouth. I wouldn’t say this one is sweet particularly, just really rich and mellow.

By the second infusion the tea tastes a bit metallic as it cools down. It seems to have expended most of the flavor on the first infusion (only 1 minute). There are fresh green bean and mild nutty flavors, overall it seems very subdued.

I’m a little new to sencha, so I’m not sure how much flavor should be present in the repeat infusions. It seems from my experience that it’s usually a lot more muted after the first, so most of my rating for the tea comes from there.

I actually really preferred Obubu’s Sencha of Brightness to this top-of-the-line sencha from Obubu that is double the price.

Flavors: Butter, Toast, Umami, Vegetables

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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Bio

I’m a dedicated student and practitioner of Gongfu Cha and you can almost always find me brewing my tea in a gaiwan. I tend to stick to straight teas and scented teas rather than flavored tea blends with lots of non-tea ingredients. I dabble in tisanes and blends from time to time though.

To me, tea offers a time of peace and reflection in solitude, or sharing and enjoyment with friends. It has become a huge part of my life lately.

Aside from tea, I’m a novelist and creator of all types. I love to cook, create music, write, draw, decorate, and do just about anything creative I can get my paws on. I’m a sandwich and sushi chef and an aspiring beverage artist.

I am really interested in Asian cultures and have a much deeper interest than my shameless love for anime and Japanese video games.

I’m a friend to animals of all kinds. I couldn’t live in a world without animals. Conserving and respecting them is very important to me.

But I am mostly here on Steepster to talk tea! Let’s enjoy the world of tea together!

Tea Ratings:
I use the full scale
0 = Terrible
25 = Uninteresting or harsh
50 = So-So, I’m indifferent
75 = Enjoyable
100 = Incredible!

:3 <——Kitty smiley face

Location

Kansas City, USA

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