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.