18 Tasting Notes
Ippodo tea indicates that Sencha should be steeped for 60 seconds at 176 F (80 C). Suggested ration of tea to water is 2 Tbsp (yes, Tbsp!) to 7 ounces (210ml) of water. To cool water to the proper temperature, Ippodo suggests transferring the water once by first pouring into a cup and then the tea pot. A second and third pot can also be brewed at 176 F (80 C) water with no steeping time.
I had a WONDERFUL cup of cold-brewed Hosen at the Ippodo shop in Kyoto. I think that this was the first time I understood the meaning of “umami” – it was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. Any Japanese green tea can be cold-brewed by steeping 2 Tbsp in 7 ounces of chilled water for 15 minutes. A second and third pot can be prepared by brewing the second pot for 7 minutes and the third for 3 minutes.
Ippodo tea indicates that Gyokuro should be steeped for 90 seconds at 140 F (60 F). Suggested ration of tea to water is 2 Tbsp (yes, Tbsp!) to 3 ounces (80ml) of water. To cool water to the proper temperature, Ippodo suggests transferring the water three times by first pouring into a cup, transferring that to a second, then third cup, then the tea pot.
I was in the mood for oolong today, so I picked this up while I was at work, because it seemed to be Teavana’s only unflavored oolong. It’s not bad, but it’s a pretty average tea for the price. The aroma of the dried leaves is fairly nice and does have some of the promised orchid aromas, but the flavor is similar to restaurant tea or bulk oolong that can be had much cheaper. This has none of the complex green, spicy, caramel, or buttery flavors of the better (and much lower priced) oolongs in my cupboard. I’m rating it a bit lower than I might otherwise because of the price and (in my opinion) dishonest marketing of this tea.
The dry leaf has a really complex malty-green-slightly peppery aroma. I’m not a tea expert, just an enthusiast, but I’ve not smelled another tea quite like this. The brewed tea is stronger than many oolongs, and reminds me quite a bit of a good single-estate Darjeeling. This is a really interesting and satisfying tea.
I bought this after sampling it in the store. I agree with the other reviewers who found that they could not get the same flavor brewing it at home. When I brew it, it is a fairly watery chai that tastes most strongly of cloves. I think the secret must be large quantities of tea with a hefty dose of sweetener to bring out the other flavors. It’s not terrible, but it’s not the best chai I’ve had. I prefer Tao of Tea’s Mate Chai – it has a more robust and complex flavor, and costs almost a dollar less per ounce.
This is good, but it’s more like a spiced hot chocolate than a chai. Very chocolate-y and not overly spicy, I’d recommend this for when you’re in the mood for a hot chocolate, rather than tea. This looks like hot chocolate powder with whole spices – I did not see any tea leaves at all in the bit that I used.