Den's Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

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
616 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
616 tasting notes

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78
drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
62 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
62 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
171 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
171 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
511 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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86

It’s freezing in my office! I needed something warm and toasty to soothe myself, so this roasted bancha from my Den’s Tea sampler should do the trick!
First steep 30 seconds: Brewed, this smells salty, like the Laoshan Black from Verdant smelled salty, but this one doesn’t quite have as much body behind it. My office mate described it as “everything-bagel tea”. The roasted flavor is not nearly as strong as some oolongs I’ve had before, but more warming, like fresh bread out of the oven that you know will taste sweet! And once it cools off some, I am getting a sweet aftertaste! This is a super enjoyable cup, just what I want right this moment. I’m going to have to get me some houjicha before cold weather rolls around again (maybe sooner if the office is going to stay arctic).
Seconds steep of 15 seconds: Darker color than the first, but flavors much more muted. still smells very nice.

Flavors: Roasted, Salty, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

What a perfectly well-rounded and tasty sencha! So long as one pays careful attention to the color of the steep, you can expect a full bodied, toasty sencha with every infusion, and I typically enjoy five or six steeps. I mention color because there’s a lot of power in these leaves, and it’s easy to oversteep on the first brew. I just wash the water straight through and enjoy.

It’s funny how a tea so well balanced can leave me without something in particular to say, for good or ill, but you should consider that a form of praise itself. Be sure you enjoy a potentially strong green tea with a fantastic roasted flavor. If you do, you’re all set. Enjoy.

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82

Yum! So smooth and green!
I’m thoroughly enjoying this cloudy cup from my Den’s tea sampler pack. I’m using the looseleaf version for this review.
First impression: so, so, so smooth! Maybe I’m just not used to good green tea, but even the brewed leaves are super soft! It tastes like spinach, fresh from my garden like I was munching on yesterday, minus the drying effect that spinach has. As it cools, it gets a little nutty, with a veggie-sweet aftertaste. When it was really hot, my first sip had a bit of a seaweed quality to it, but I couldn’t confirm on my second sip. Not near as roasty as I was expecting it to be. I guess the matcha is what is contributing to the thick mouthfeel, as well.
Seconds steep 15 seconds: Obviously a much clearer cup, without the matcha. I again got seaweed on the very first sip, but now with it is just slightly sweet veggies with a vague nuttiness. Still really nice!

Flavors: Spinach

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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73

Yay! My sampler pack is here!
I thought that my first introduction to Japanese green teas should be the classic, so I chose this sencha in a teabag for a first try. I chose the teabag version over the loose leaf because I wanted the save the latter since my tastes may be off from my particularly oniony lunch.
The smell of fresh green leaves, with an edge of sweetness, hit me the moment I opened the bag. The first steep of 60 seconds was a pleasant pea green, with a fresh veggie smell. It tasted slightly astringent, like raw collards, especially when hot. It definitely got sweeter once it cooled down, but the astringency never left, just got less dry. It’s a unique kind of astringency that I haven’t experienced in tea before. It makes your mouth water, like sucking on a penny does. The feeling and flavor of this aftertaste reminded me of the feeling in my mouth after I have just finished eating an artichoke.
The second steep (15 seconds, as per the directions in the nice booklet included with the sampler) is a touch fishy! I had heard that many Japanese greens have umami notes, but it is strange to experience it! There is little sweetness and no astringency. In fact, most of the flavors and scents from the previous steep are absent entirely! It reminds me quite a bit of my seaweed crisp snacks, minus the salt. I’m getting sesame, seaweed, and a hint of bok choy (cooked in broth). Interesting!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Osmanthe13

Thanks for the lovely review. I was just thinking about ordering the Den’s sampler and this really pushing me to do it now. :-).

Equusfell

Thank you! You should definitely order it! It’s only 3 bucks and no shipping! May I also suggest Verdant Tea’s 5 for 5 sampler? Great stuff in there and also free shipping!

Osmanthe13

I ordered Verdant Teas 5 for 5 sampler on Sunday :-D.

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85

I usually don’t like Japanese greens—too seaweedy for me unless it’s a flavored Sencha. This is lovely. Dry leaf has a sweet grass smell, wet leaf gets wonderfully nutty. It tastes sort of like a roasty Longjing but with a subtle seaweed taste. Not fishy by any means.

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

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Sample sipdown!

I’m an awful horrible person when it comes to brewing Japanese greens. I look at the steeping instructions – 3 oz for 1 tsp, for 1 minute, say – and say “Eff that!”

So I took the entire little packet I had of this (I think it was a swap from Jude? Or Ost?) and put the whole thing into my 24 oz teapot, brewed for 1 minute at 70ish.

The resulting liquor was a murky pea green and tasted umami and seaweedish and grassy and even slightly creamy from the matcha.

Technically I suppose I could get a second steep out of this, but I’m happy either way to have sipped down something else from the cupboard.

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85

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Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Milk, Pineapple

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90

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Flavors: Nutty, Smoked

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