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drank Sencha Zuiko by Den's Tea
311 tasting notes

A sample of this came from my order. Thank you, Den’s Tea!

Brewed in a tokoname kyusu. This review is based on my tweaked brewing parameters. I tried the recommended parameters, but the increase from 160 to 185 for the second infusion was too much and produced an infusion not to my taste, so I kept the temperature a constant 160. Steeping times: 90, 60, 90, 105, 120.

I haven’t properly evaluated Japanese greens for at least two years. With this sencha, I was brought back to the fact that I have a hard time picking out varying distinctive notes the aroma and liquor. Actually, I’m even pretty bad at evaluating Chinese greens too. It’s a bit frustrating since I love green tea…

The dry leaf smells like, well, sencha. In a more evocative sense: mid-summer leaf sap scent carried by a warm wind. The leaf in the heated kyusu and the wet leaf aroma has a buttery note of zucchini.

The liquor is thick, full, and rounded with strong flavor. The first infusion has a vegetal bitterness, but in the second infusion and onward, this bitterness disappears and the liquor tastes sweeter, retaining the vegetal note. Gradually, the body lightens in flavor and thins in texture. Feels uplifting both in mood and energy.

I had this session outside. Fantastic day!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BElngedwNmG/
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This might be last year’s harvest (2015), but it still tastes fresh. However, this may be the void in my experience with Japanese greens. I’m happy to be on track with my first love.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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83
drank Shincha Kunpu by Den's Tea
2014 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox – Round #5 – Tea #51
The first and second steeps were completely different. The first cup was like a light nutty green tea. The second steep was like drinking a cup of matcha! It was too strange. The matcha like quality could be explained by it being the last of the sample. But that doesn’t really explain why the first cup was much different. It’s a unique green with either steep! I think I’m getting burned out on tasting notes but I think they will slow down soon… I’ll be sipping the old favorites again!

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This was the last of Den’s $3 sampler. I first sampled this tea as a very new tea drinker, and enjoyed it then.

Now as I return with far more tea experience, I love it even more. It smells much like Genmaicha and tastes somewhat like a roastier Genmaicha. The flavor is warming, toasty, and also just a little savory, just a hint of seaweed that to me makes it all the more interesting and delightful. It also resteeped well, full of flavor for 3 steeps despite being underleafed (rather than the recommended 2g or heaping tsp per 4oz, I had only a scant tsp remaining, and on top of that poured in more than 4oz water). I’m on #4, and this cup is lighter though still lovely.

I have barely explored Japanese teas — in many ways, they seem like their own world. Sure, Genmaicha is an easy bridge tea, and I’ve experienced some Senchas and a Kukichas with delightfully fresh, sweet, grassy flavors, yet haven’t fully embraced the astringency that seems such a key part of the experience of many (most?) Japanese greens.

But this tea is quite accessible. It is not all that different from a roasted oolong, like Harney’s Formosa Oolong, the tea that reminds me of what was served in the Chinese restaurant my family frequented when I was a kid. I was not a tea drinker then, but I’d drink cup after cup of that tea. It needed no adjustment period. Because of the hint of salt in this cup, this tea may be slightly less universally appealing, but I think it’s still very accessible.

No astringency. Easy to brew. Nothing intimidating. A unique combination of the hearty, roasty dominating flavor along with the tease of savory seaweed. This is the first Japanese tea that’s completely hooked me. I’m ready for more.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Of all the teas I’ve tried from Den’s, this is my favorite. It has a nutty flavor with just enough grassiness to make a pleasant compliment to the nuttiness rather than overpower it. This tea is easy on the stomach and palate. It gets a bit bitter if steeped too long, but it has never gotten to the point of being distasteful.

Flavors: Grass, Nutty

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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73

I’ve been drinking this every night after dinner for the past week or so. It isn’t my favorite tea, but it works well as an after dinner drink. It has a bright woody taste with a bit of sweetness that is strong enough to not be covered up by any food you may have recently eaten, and it’s much easier on the stomach than some of my other Den’s teas. The lower caffeine content also makes it a nice night time drink if you aren’t prepared to switch tea for something herbal.

Flavors: Sweet, Wood

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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97
drank Genmaicha Satsuki by Den's Tea
276 tasting notes

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this yet! This a very good genmaicha, all toasty and green. Would definitely buy again.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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50

Sample from one of the tea boxes this year. I really need to keep my samples better organized.

I’m not really a green tea person, but I I like to try new varieties on occasion just for variety and in case I find something that strikes my fancy. Also black tea triggers my heartburn, but green and white don’t seem to. So I pulled this out. It tastes mostly like spinach to me, with a very slight touch of bitterness. Not bad, but not something I would buy. I’ll probably mix it with dried carrot pieces next time.

Flavors: Spinach

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Evol Ving Ness

What is the point of the dried carrot pieces? Curious.

rosebudmelissa

I’ve mixed them with dandelion leaf before, and really liked the taste. They have a sweet, carroty flavor that is an interesting combination with a really vegetal tea.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you. And where are you getting them?

rosebudmelissa

I got the ones I currently have from the Butiki blending box, but you can find them on amazon.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you. I had no idea.

rosebudmelissa

You’re welcome! I’m trying to encourage greater knowledge and appreciation of herbal teas here on steepster. It’s what I drink most often, and I enjoy the wide variety of flavors. I’m still exploring myself, but I like to share what I’ve learned so far.

Evol Ving Ness

Yes, very much interested in herbal teas. What are your favourites or favourite tea blenders?

I am on tea moratorium for now. Far too many teas, but I am saving ideas for future.

I would be interested in blending boxes if such things exist not that Butiki is gone, so if you hear of good quality ones, I’d like to know.

rosebudmelissa

I especially like chamomile, peppermint, hibiscus, honeybush, green rooibos, roasted barley, toasted rice, and brewing cocoa. I like floral teas a lot, but am still trying to find good herbal varieties. I enjoy Celestial Seasoning’s line of Zinger (Hibiscus) teas, and a few of their other herbal blends. Adagio has some nice honeybush and fruity blends, and I really like their Green Rooibos Blueberry and Rooibos Earl Grey (although I don’t particularly care for the variety of Red Rooibos they use, so this blend is the only one I like). David’s Tea’s Forever Nuts is quite good, although I haven’t tried many of their other herbals yet. Lupicia has a good Barley tea. I haven’t tasted many of their other teas yet. I’ve liked everything I’ve tried so far from Numi, but that’s only a few things so far. Rebublic of Tea’s Coconut Cocoa is good, but I haven’t enjoyed too many of their other herbal teas. Stash’s Hibiscus blends taste awful, but I did like their Meyer Lemon, and Cinnamon Apple Chamomile. Twining’s has a nice Peppermint and Chamomile, but I haven’t liked any of their other herbals. 52teas sometimes has nice honeybush blends. Upton Tea Imports has a good straight Hibiscus. Crio Bru is really good, but I’ve found that I like it best if I mix in a little Roasted Barley. I’ve had good luck toasting my own rice for tea. I just used the long grain white rice we bought at our local supermarket. I’ve been working my way through the brands that have less expensive samples first as well as random things I’ve picked up from tea boxes, and the occasional tea that looked especially appealing. I don’t think I’ve seen any blending boxes other than the one that Butiki sent around when they closed, but sometimes nice things for blending show up in the Herbal and Decaf TTB I run. There’s a box out right now and there will probably be a new round of that starting sometime this summer that you could sign up for if you’re interested.

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89

Sipdown no. 183. A sample.

Last caffeine of the day. Sweet, green smell in the packet and lovely feathery green leaves. Steeps to a light yellow color with an aroma somewhere between mown grass and steamed peas.

Light, vegetal (still peas, mostly, and some broccoli) in the sip, and grassy in the aftertaste. Pretty much what I expected, though it’s been a while since I’ve had a Den’s sencha, or any sencha, and I really don’t recall what I was thinking in terms of ratings when I rated some of the others. Putting this one on a par with the highest rated in the past.

Another plus: green tea always makes me feel like I’m being so healthy. :-)

Flavors: Broccoli, Grass, Hay, Peas

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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92

I woke up craving sencha. This leaf, courtesy of KiwiDelight, fit the bill nicely. It’s grassy, slightly sweet, and light without being watery. Thanks, Kiwi!

KiwiDelight

You’re welcome! :3

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90

This was part of the $3 novice sampler back in March 2013. Yes, I know that green teas shouldn’t sit around for so long. But honestly? This was still delicious. It made for a perfect travel mug tea in the morning, full of roasty goodness. I added some honey when I got to work and the result was glorious. The sweetness of the honey balanced nicely with the grassiness of the green tea and roastiness of the popcorn/rice. I couldn’t really taste the matcha, but I do think it made for a nice little energy boost. This is one of those blends that proves teabags can still make good tea.

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89
drank Hashiri Shincha by Den's Tea
13 tasting notes

Lovely green tea. I brewed at the lower recommended temperature tonight and it made a big difference. Not at all bitter. Pretty pale yellow green color. I’m having 3rd steep now and it is still very good.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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90

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90

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85

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52
drank Pineapple Sencha by Den's Tea
530 tasting notes

Good morning everyone!

I made a cup of this one yesterday but let it steep far too long so the resulting brew was intolerably bitter. I took two sips and poured the rest down the sink.

Today, I was a bit more careful and let the water cool down for a good 4 minutes and let the tea steep for only 3 minutes. The first thing I noticed was a buttery aroma rising from the cup. It wasn’t savory but more of a sweet cream butter flavor. The tea liquid tastes and smells of pineapple, but even with the shorter steep and cooler temp it still tastes a little bitter.

I was really excited about this one after reading such great reviews here, but I’m just not too impressed after having tried it. Maybe I’ll try steeping this a few different ways in the future to see if I can find a way to enjoy it.

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Pineapple

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Plunkybug

Butter and pineapple sound good, but bitter, not so much. Maybe try steeping it differently, like you said.

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52
drank Pineapple Sencha by Den's Tea
530 tasting notes

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78
drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
60 tasting notes

second steep of the sample I tried yesterday. Steeped at 160 F for about 20 seconds, I think (I used about two cups of water this time, since I wanted extra for my homemade shampoo).

This cup was flavorful and much less bitter than yesterday’s steeping. There’s still a touch of bitterness, and a round floral edge to it. It reminds me more of jasmine green tea, with a slight cherry aroma instead of jasmine. Very nice. This is definitely a tea where you need to follow the instructions.

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78
drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
60 tasting notes

Got a sample of this from a BPAL sale. It smelled great, and the little pieces of dried cherry blossom looked so pretty against the green tea.

I let it steep for a little bit in the Zervo and let it drain into my cup. And then I might have gotten distracted with making breakfast, so it cooled down a lot before I drank it.

The cup has a distinct bitterness to it (maybe I should have let the water cool a bit more before steeping than after). It has a floral edge and aroma. As I keep sipping, there’s some subtle sweetness to it – it’s very fitting of my image of cherry blossom. And the green tea… how do I put this? It tastes like a very BRIGHT green tea. It’s like it’s been boosted with sunshine.

I don’t know if I’ll search out more of this (I used up my sample this time), but I probably wouldn’t say no to a cup.

Edit: after reading a bit more on the page, it looked like I oversteeped it. I might try a second or third steep before tossing the leaves. :)

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Grass, Green, Sweet

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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98
drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
135 tasting notes

After months of anxiously waiting and dreaming of this tea, I’m ecstatic to be reunited with it once again. And it’s just as good as ever. The dark green leaves scattered with pink buds are visually stunning. The scent of the dry leaf is pretty intense, but the cherry blossom and sencha are in perfect harmony with each other. You can tell they’ve used a high quality sencha base. The tea is grassy and buttery with a hint of floral cherry flavor. Nothing fake about the sakura flavor either. It’s light and very natural, similar to salt-pickled sakura blossoms but without the saltiness.

I underleaf by a lot but otherwise closely follow Den’s steeping times and temps. The cherry comes out more in the first two infusions while the 3rd is mostly sencha. Lately I’ve started blending it with other teas with great results. I cut it with regular sencha when I want to tone down the sakura flavor and genmaicha for added nuttiness. And it’s incredibly refreshing cold steeped.

Flavors: Butter, Cherry Blossom, Floral, Grass, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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98
drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
135 tasting notes

Received this in a swap with Stephanie.

My last cherry blossom tea was a bust. Teavana’s Sakura Allure was super tart and hibiscusy. I didn’t care for the artificial flavoring they add to their teas either.

But this tea was on point. It has a bright cherry flavor that intermingles harmoniously with the natural grassiness of the sencha and notes of spring blossoms. Normally I find cherry flavored anything too overbearing but the cherry here is delicate and light.

I brewed it per Den’s instructions. 1 min @ 175 for the first infusion, and 15 seconds using hotter water for the second. The first steep is grassier while in the second infusion the sencha takes a backseat and really lets the cherry blossom flavor shine through.

Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Grass

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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95
drank Houji-Genmaicha by Den's Tea
592 tasting notes

Ever since I found out that this tea existed, I’ve been wanting to try it. Houjichas and genmaichas are two of my very favorite types of teas, and I am always turning to one or the other for comfort or as a palette cleanser or for any other excuse. Today is a warmer day, so I opted to steep this one extra strong and pour over ice to drink as an iced tea. As it was steeping, I really could smell the strong genmaicha toastiness. When the tea finally cooled, I was surprised to find that the dominant taste was houjicha in contrast to the smell while it was steeping. In fact, for the first couple sips, all I could really taste was the houjicha. After settling into it, though, I can definitely pick up the toasty genmaicha toward the end of the sip. These teas blend together so perfectly! Perhaps they don’t quite contribute completely unique flavors to the tea, but I’m okay with it. I love my roasty Japanese green teas :)

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83

This is a nice organic black tea with subtle mango flavor, with a sweet and fruity aroma. I like drinking this straight, or with a little rock sugar and/or milk. I haven’t yet tried this iced but I imagine that’s very good too.

Flavors: Fruity, Mango

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95
drank Guricha by Den's Tea
509 tasting notes

Tasty green tea! Brothy mouthfeel, but the flavor is relatively mild and not astringent. I usually like a stronger vegetal flavor in my greens, but sometimes I want something lighter. This certainly isn’t the lightest green tea, don’t misunderstand my, but I mean only relative to what I usually drink. I love me a strong unami, but it’s one of those things I can easily get too much of and need a break from it. This tea is perfect for that.

Flavors: Broth, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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