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Recent Tasting Notes
Afternoon tea here. I like the fact that you can cold brew this for an hour only and not overnight. it doesn’t seem to have as much pear flavor as I remember the first time around though. According to Steepster I have 214 teas in my cupboard and that doesn’t even include samples! I wonder if I can make a concerted effort to cut that number in 1/2 while I’m not working? At least I haven’t been buying a lot. ;)
Ok, I think I’ve officially given this tea enough tries. I tried cold brewing this time with about 2 tsp in my water bottle for only a few hours in the fridge. It was an improvement over the hot version with the apple flavor becoming more crisp and a little more prominent, but the waxy crayon feel/flavor was still there and highly distracting. So bummed cause I really wanted to love this one, but I guess I should also be relieved that there is one less tea out there that I’m constantly tempted to buy?
I couldn’t remember if it was this tea or the grape sencha that I liked, so since this was more readily available to me, I steeped this tea as my hot tea for the morning. Now, looking at my tasting notes, I realize that it was the grape sencha that I preferred, oops. This tea smells waxy, tastes waxy, and has a sort of waxy/greasy feel to it that it off-putting. It’s a real shame because the candy apple taste beneath all that is actually quite nice. I guess I will try cold brewing with the rest of it, and maybe that weird waxiness will magically disappear?
Aroma: Light roast, grassy, crisp, sweet
Liquor Color: Bright yellow-green
Liquor Flavor: Creamy, sweet, slight nuttiness, clean, smooth vegetal
Notes: When I first opened the bag, the aroma smelled so good. And the leaves were so pretty! Bold colors and straight lines. The wet leaf aroma was heavenly. This reminded me of a sencha in a less intense kind of way. Reminds me of a crisp spring day.
I’ve had the sample pack of this tea (unopened) for a few years now, which admittedly might have impacted the taste, but I thought it was getting around time to try it and that a tasting note wouldn’t be amiss.
The first scent I noticed from the dry leaf was tobacco, but after a few more sniffs I can also pick out a leafy smell — it reminds me of the woods in the fall. Not generally what I expect from tea, but I’ve never had houjicha before.
1st steep – boiling water, 30 seconds:
The liquor smells like tobacco too, but in a surprisingly pleasant way. A lovely golden color! I’m glad I’m using a clear mug. There’s not much that surprises me about the flavor, honestly — it’s got a smoky kind of flavor, although much weaker than I get from, say, lapsang souchong. There are some definite woodsy notes as well, and the flavor lingers in the throat after swallowing.
2nd steep – near boiling, 60 seconds:
There’s a pretty similar flavor profile here, although it’s less complex now. The leaf notes have now really taken over.
Ultimately this isn’t really my preferred flavor profile (I do enjoy smoky teas, but I’m not so fond of the other notes), but it’s a very interesting sipping experience and I’m glad it was included in the sampler! I can see it being particularly pleasant to sip on a cool fall day.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Smoke, Wood
From the UnflavoredTTB.
Brewed with a red clay kyusu. First infusion: 175°, 60 seconds. Second: 195°, 30 seconds. Third: 205°, 15 seconds. Forth: 205°, 15 seconds.
I reviewed this tea before, when I ordered the sampler. Thought I’d give it another go since I haven’t had it for more than year. I couldn’t smell the dry leaf very well – might have been due to the ziplock baggie – but the wet leaf aroma has strong buttery, squash, and spinach notes. The leaves are dark green and short, many broken up (not due to traveling, as I remember from the sampler packet). They produce neon green liquor which contains leaf particles, has a thick texture, and is full-bodied, flavorful, and wonderfully bitter and vegetal. If you’re interested in trying Japanese greens or want to get a general idea of how sencha tastes, I point to this tea.
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Flavors: Earth, Honey, Tobacco
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Flavors: Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal
I’ve never had a genmaicha like this before. A fine coating of matcha is dusted on everything, which looks pretty darn cool looking.
I saw the directions had instructions for icing this, and even though I basically ice or cold brew everything, I’ve never thought of trying a genmaicha cold. So obviously that’s what I had to try.
I combined both the first and second steepings and iced them. Dang, I like this. I’ve had roasty teas iced, and I’ve had green teas iced, but never together. I already know that I love the combination of roasty toasty comfort, with sweet delicious vegetal when hot, but cold it’s so similar, yet different when cold. Instead of being warm and comfy, it’s refreshing and complex. The notes are all the same, but the tone is different. This is another one I’ll need to restock.
Smelling this tea, it smells just like everything I love in a green tea: sweet vegetal spinachy goodness.
I set my stopwatch, and waited 45 seconds for it to steep. I let the leave float free, planning to strain it through a basket, but right before it was time to strain, I knocked the basket on the floor, and had to rush to go clean it, of course causing it to over steep.
The liquor smelled delicious and mouthwateringly vegetal. Unfortunately, sipping it was a bitter astringent mess. This cup went down the drain, and when I resteeped, I made sure to pull the leaves out at exactly 15 seconds. This cup was much smoother, sweeter, and more vegetal, but also mellow.
I had enough leaves yet, so I tried again, pulling the fresh leaves after 30 seconds just in case. Much better than the last first cup. I got all the vegetal spinach notes of the resteeping of the last cup, but a bit stronger and with a slight astringency. Definitely a good vegetal fresh green tea. Might need to restock this one.
I typically really enjoy senchas – and the flavouring seemed spot-on when I sniffed the bag – so I’m not sure what went wrong with this one.
The sencha base tasted really bland – more of a generic “green tea” than the more nuanced and complex flavours I’m used to – and although there was a great artificial grape smell when the tea was hot almost none of it came through to the actual flavour of the tea.
So I wasn’t all that impressed with the tea. I wanted it to live up to the expectations built up by the delicious scent…but it looks like it just couldn’t.
Yum, toasted rice! It’s been a while since I’ve had a (traditional) genmaicha. This one is definitely my favorite out of the three I’ve tried. It’s the smoothest and has a lot of yummy toasted rice flavor. I can taste the green tea in the background but it’s not rough or grassy like other genmaichas can be. I still don’t taste the matcha. I don’t feel that I necessarily need a traditional genmaicha in my cupboard right now. I have Laoshan Black Chocolate and I think it about covers my lovely toasted rice tea slot.
I still really need to try that buckwheat tea! I bet it’s just like this but without the green tea flavor at all. OM NOM NOM TOASTED RICE!
There was definitely a bit more than a teaspoon left, but I decided to use all of it because it didn’t look like enough for two cups. And it doesn’t seem to have come out super strong or anything weird, so I guess more was okay! I am definitely a fan of roasty notes in tea, and this is as roasty as they come. However, the flavor is definitely more “rough” than other similar teas like genmaicha, some blacks, roasted mate, etc. It reminds me of drinking dry autumn leaves. And while I do find it enjoyable, I tend to prefer the softer roasted flavors of the other roasty teas. So I don’t really feel the need to keep a houjicha around at the moment. Still good though, and thanks again for the sampler, Den’s!
Aroma: Fresh, sweet cantaloupe
Liquor Color: Emerald Green
Liquor Flavor: Mineral, savory, vegetal
Notes: This one was interesting. I had a hard time placing my finger on what I was tasting. It’s grassy and green but I got this fruity sweetness to it. It lingered in my mouth, kind of a mineral linger. I’m really having a hard time describing this. But I liked it in a strange way. Not usually something I would pick, but after having the sample, I enjoyed it.
Aroma: Deep, roasted, corn, brown rice
Liquor color: Light amber
Liquor Flavor: No bitterness, roasted flavor, rice, corn sweetness
Notes: This reminded me of genmaicha, the leaves looked like little pieces of bark. It was very smooth but rich. I still prefer genmaicha over this but it was a pretty good alternative.
Aroma: Fresh, grass, vibrant
Liquor Color: Bright green
Liquor Flavor: Bright, very clean, light astringency, mineral, very crisp with an underlying sweetness.
Notes: Drinking this hot made me want it cold. I’m noticing a pattern with wanting senchas iced. Felt so crisp and clean that I could see this as being energizing.
Aroma: Roasted nuttiness
Liquor Color: Bright green
Liquor Flavor: Roasted, nutty, warm smooth, rich with a sweet base
Notes: Yummy! Full flavored, I really enjoyed this. The popped rice is so delicious, making this a comfort tea. I could see this paring well with a chilly autumn night. The matcha adds a slight sweetness which I really enjoyed. I will be ordering this again.
Aroma: Sweet grass
Liquor Color: Deep yellowish green
*Liquor Flavor: Crisp grassiness, refreshing with a light sweetness
Notes: Bitterness is not something that’s a bad bitter in this tea. The sweetness is well balanced. I would not use the word bitter to describe this but instead, crisp. I think this would be a delicious energizing iced tea for the summer after a workout. I’m pretty new to Japanese greens but this one was pretty good.