I’ve been looking forward to trying this one; I bought it when it was 50% off, when SpecialTeas was finally going out of business. I’ve also been dreading trying this one, afraid that it would be so good, I would be sad that it would likely never be available again.
So far though, I’ve found it to be a happy medium. It isn’t quite as good as I expected from the description (though still awesome), but it isn’t so good that no other tea will substitute once it’s gone.
I tried their brewing parameters first a couple of days ago. 140 for 1.5 minutes brought a good infusion, but it seemed a little on the weak side. The next day, I tried 160 for 1.5 minutes, and while that was good, it tasted almost exactly like Sencha Zuiko from Den’s tea. I’m no expert taster by any means, so I’m sure someone could tell the differences, but it was very close. The main difference I felt (yesterday) was that it didn’t have a lot of carry. The flavors were a good mix of sweet, bitter, and light veggies, but it seemed to lack a mouth-filling aftertaste.
Today, however, since they seem to suggest brewing it like a gyokuro (my guess is for the typical American palate, to avoid any bitterness), I tried 140 for 2.5 minutes (a full minute longer than their parameters). It was quite delicious! Pleasingly sweet, and interestingly—even though this is an asamushi (light steamed) sencha—it had a very deep, umami flavor, as if it was a fukamushi! It had an almost thick texture. I didn’t taste their description of fruity/citrus, and unfortunately, it still didn’t have much in terms of aftertaste.
I enjoyed the first two infusions a lot, but the third one wasn’t very remarkable. The last took on a character that seems to be very common toward the end of a pot of sencha, it was sweet, thin, and almost fruity.
I am giving this an initial rating, but may adjust it some as I find better ways to brew it.