87
drank Organic Sencha by Den's Tea
1165 tasting notes

Number 2 from the Den’s sampler — this was what they put in for the variable, seasonal tea. It’s leaves are lovely and delicate, almost feathery, and very green. They smell juicy and vegetal, like the unflavored Chinese greens I’ve tasted: a mix of cabbage, spinach, asparagus and butter, but there is also a fresh, field-like note to them. I hesitate to call it grassy because some people view that as a negative. Bucolic would be an apt substitute. There is something else as well, a slight marine scent. It’s interesting to me that this can coexist with the pastoral one. It’s rather like what you’d expect to smell if you were standing in coastal farmland.

60 seconds at 160F got me a gentle chartreuse colored liquor with extremely fine solute suspended in it. The aroma was very like that of the dry leaves, though milder.

The taste is fresh and pleasant, vegetal but not as much so or as buttery as in the Chinese greens I’ve tasted. Though I haven’t tasted that many green teas and certainly have not knowingly tasted a sencha before, this is what I think of when I think of what a green tea tastes like. It’s a sort of Platonic ideal of green-teaness, which is a cool association, though I have to wonder why I have this archetype in my head when I have no experience to back it up.

I was relieved that it wasn’t bitter or grassy (in a bad way), and I think it’s the sort of taste that will grow on me. Though I’m naturally drawn to the big, bold, robust flavors of black teas, there are times when you want a sauvignon blanc rather than a big cab.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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