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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
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.
I wanted to love this, I really did, but unfortunately I did not.
I followed the provided directions: 180 degrees F, 60 seconds, 1 tsp to 3oz
This was a rich dark green, and smelled sweet and vegetal, a good sign. Unfortunatly it didn’t taste how it smelled. Theres a strong sharp bitterness to this tea. I can detect a slight vegetal note in the background, but the bitterness masked it. I don’t know if all the little bits at the bottom continued to steep while it cooled, or what, so until I try it again I’ll put off giving it a rating. As is though, it would be about 25.
Steeped this up according to the directions, and this is quite roasty!
Flavor-wise, this is so toasty and roasty, with a slight natural sweetness. It reminds me a lot of a genmaicha, but with a less vegetal green notes. Not bad at all.
I needed a little break after drinking new black teas all day! This sample is from KiwiDelight. I checked the Den’s website to see what exactly fukamushi sencha is. Turns out it just means that this is a deeply steamed sencha!
The aroma is very mild and sweetly vegetal with a little bit of wet grass. This is definitely the most seaweedy tasting tea I’ve had yet. And I don’t necessarily mean that as a bad thing! The primary taste is definitely seaweed, but there are also spinach and grass notes common among most senchas I’ve had. The flavor is quite mild, which I wouldn’t expect from something “deeply” steamed. I guess it has the opposite effect of what I would assume! Not to be confused with shaded sencha! :) Tasty, but not my favorite sencha ever.
Flavors: Grass, Seaweed, Smooth, Spinach
Den’s Tea sent this along as a sample with my order. I’m generally not a fan of powdered teas (matcha excepted, since it’s prepared differently). It’s really hard to get them mixed in properly. With this one, most of the powder settled in the bottom of the mug within a minute or two of mixing. I tried stirring again but the powder settled anyway.
This tastes ok. Nothing spectacular, but not unbearable either. A little seaweed-y. Drinkable, if it wasn’t for all that danged powder at the bottom. Wouldn’t buy it myself.
Another tea from KiwiDelight’s Japanese green sample extravaganza package. It’s a sencha tea with the teensiest cherry blossom buds in it. Cute! The smell is a bit odd… I don’t really smell the sencha, just a strange vinegar scent?
After the tea is brewed, it smells more like a sencha, albeit a mild one. It’s grassy and spinachy in a very light way. There’s a light floral note, and that weird vinegar odor is still there in the background. It tastes similar to the smell – mild grassy sencha with just a wisp of floral taste. I taste vinegar in the back of my mouth at the beginning of the sip – strange but not wholly unpleasant. I asked my boyfriend what he thought, and he said it reminded him of apple cider (what?! weirdo). It seems to me that the floral note is mostly in the aroma.
This was definitely a very delicate tea. I don’t think it lent itself very well to western style – either that or I should have used more leaf. Interesting, but I’m not in love. :P
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Sweet
This will be even a lamer note than my last. Wasn’t paying tons of attention to this cup of tea because I was working on a new Steampunk gun. But I can at least tell you that it makes a delicious cup of roasty goodness. ^^ So much better than the last Genmaicha I tried! Thanks, Cameron B. for letting me know about the Den’s Tea sampler! I’ll be sad when I can no longer steep this tea bag.
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!
Yay this is the last tea from my Den’s novice sampler. Gotta try ‘em all! I was pretty excited for this one since I really liked the tea bag version that was also included. The dry tea is a mixture of long, rough-looking, flat leaves with toasted rice and all of it is coated in matcha. The popped rice visually reminds me of Nerds candy and there was one huge piece that I totally considered eating, and I would have if it hadn’t been covered in matcha. The smell is not nearly as strong as I suspected it would be. It’s a light matcha scent and little hint of hay. I brewed it at 175 degrees for one minute.
The aroma of this tea is fantastic! It’s super toasty-smelling. On a short sniff, I don’t get any other smell. If I take a long sniff, I start to get the vegetal scent at the end. Smelling this tea made my mouth water. When I taste it, I get a lot of toasted rice flavor which is amazing. In the middle of the sip, there’s that slightly spinachy green tea taste along with a slightly sweeter hint from the matcha. The aftertaste is all amazing roastiness with a touch of spinach. This tea is very savory, it’s almost like eating instead of drinking. I love it so much!
Based on this, I think I really need to try some bancha! Sooooooon.
Flavors: Spinach, Toasted Rice, Vegetal
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!
Another tea from my Den’s sampler! The dry tea is medium brown leaves and stems with some broken leaves mixed in. It smells like toasted nuts or grains. Yum, I love toasty teas! I steeped this for two minutes.
The brewed tea smells, unsurprisingly, very toasty. There is also a smell that reminds me of piles of dried leaves in the fall, and a hint of grassiness. I was a little bit surprised that the first thing I tasted with my first sip was bean sprouts. However, this quickly changed to the toasted grains and autumn leaves flavors I was expecting. It’s interesting that there is still a manifestation of green here even though this is obviously heavily roasted. For some reason, this tea made my mouth feel grainy or dusty or something. I wouldn’t really call it astringency but I’m not sure what caused it. Overall, a very tasty tea and I could see this being good with milk. I may try steeping this for longer or with more tea for an even stronger toasty flavor.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grain, Toasted Rice
This is my second loose sencha from my Den’s novice sampler. The loose leaves are long and slender and a beautiful rich green color. They smell very sweet and vegetal, mostly spinach. I brewed a teaspoon of leaves for one minute.
The brewed tea smells similar to the leaves, like sweet steamed spinach. At first sip, I was very surprised by the strength of the brew, even though I only steeped one minute. The same flavors that were in the other sencha are present in this one, but in different amounts. It has the same steamed spinachy flavor but there is much more sweetness here and a strong sweet grass note. The squash is there but less so, and there is no bitterness, there is a sweet aftertaste instead. Overall, this sencha is much stronger in flavor, with a deeper spinach flavor and more sweetness. I think I actually prefer the cheaper version. Maybe I’ll be a bancha kind of person. :P
Flavors: Grass, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
Aw, I overleafed this a wee bit and it came out somewhat bitter. I guess in the future I should just throw out that awkward amount of leaf that would’ve been left over, since it’s not really worth it ruining my final cup. I first had this tea in my Den’s sampler and then Ost sent me another packet as a bonus sample in a swap. I like it a lot, it’s definitely one of the best senchas I’ve tried so far. Hooray Den’s! :)
Yum yum yum. Drinking this with my pizza and it’s so tasty. I actually tried a second infusion this time around (I did 45s compared to 1m for the first) and it’s still delicious. Tastes very similar to the first as far as I can tell, although I’m not sure I trust myself when I’m eating while drinking it. Also, this was my first time using my new Finium brew basket and it’s amazing.
Yay, happy place. Pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, and olives, and my tasty, tasty sencha. Nothing better!
I got two senchas in my Den’s novice sampler. I decided to try this one first since it’s the… I don’t know whether to say “lower-grade” but it’s the less expensive of the two. I must say, I’m very pleasantly surprised by the volume of these loose samples. There’s enough for at least 3 or 4 cups in here! The dry leaf smells like a mixture of dried and cut grass, but it’s also very sweet and almost creamy-smelling as well. I brewed one teaspoon of leaves for 1 minute.
The aroma of the brewed tea is very distinctly vegetal. I catch mostly scents of steamed spinach and butternut squash with grassy notes blended in. There is still a hint of sweetness. This tea tastes quite vegetal as well – still maintaining that steamed spinach flavor mixed with a nice grassiness. At the end of the sip, there is a pleasant bitterness which mixes very well with a note of butternut squash or pumpkin. I was shocked to find that neither squash nor pumpkin are options when choosing flavors! I did send a suggestion to add these two to the list. Overall, I found this tea quite delicious and I’m glad I have more of it, and I’m excited to try the other variety from Den’s.
Flavors: Grass, Spinach, Vegetal
This is the second tea I elected to try from my Den’s novice sampler. I figured I would get the tea bags out of the way and then get into the loose leaf varieties tomorrow. This also happens to be my first sencha. Like the genmaicha, there were no instructions for western style. The dry bag smelled strongly of grass with a little sweetness. I brewed it for two minutes.
The brewed tea smells vegetal and grassy. The taste is spinach mixed with sweet grass. There’s also a touch of asparagus (the tea bag was covered in quite a bit of powder – I’m not sure whether it was matcha or just powdered sencha leaf). I found this tea satisfying and quite delicious. As it cooled I started to get a slightly bitter note, so the next time I make sencha I’ll be sure to drink it faster.
(holding off on the rating until I can compare it to the loose leaf versions)
On a side note, I would love to get some general advice for steeping these Japanese greens teas western-style. In particular, the ones I have are senchas, genmaicha, and one houjicha. I would really love to just get some general guidelines for temperature and time for steeping these types of teas in 8 ounce quantities. Thanks in advance! :)
Flavors: Asparagus, Grass, Spinach, Vegetal
I recently ordered the green tea sampler for novices from Den’s Tea. I really love that they offer something like this to new customers. It’s only $3 and I got two tea bag samples plus four loose samples plus a booklet. AND they give you a coupon code for $3 off your next order of $15 or more, making the sampler free if you make a purchase later. Fantastic, thanks Den’s!
I’ve been curious about genmaicha for a while now, so this had to be the first one I tried. I actually got both a sachet and a loose sample of this tea, so it’ll be interesting to compare the two. The packet didn’t have brewing instructions and their instructions for genmaicha were tuned for a very small amount of water, so I read through some notes from other people and decided on a two minute steep. The dry sachet smelled mostly of matcha and vegetal green tea and there was quite a bit of matcha dust clinging all over it.
I was amazed by how roasty the brewed tea smelled! It basically smelled like all toasted rice with some of the green tea peeking in from the background. Yum yum! I was so impatient while waiting for this to cool so I could try it! XD I must say, this tea is delicious. It’s an excellent mix of spinachy green tea and asparagus-like matcha with a strong toasted rice flavor in the background, supporting the other flavors. The aftertaste is slightly bitter, but in a pleasant way when combined with the rice. I can’t wait to try all of these other green teas.
(holding off on the rating until I try the loose version!)
Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Spinach, Toasted Rice, Vegetal
Teeny Tiny TTB
Well I goofed with this one. By the time I realized that the recommended steep time is mere seconds, I had gone over. However, it’s still not too grassy. It’s buttery with a faint grape aroma and taste. Now, if you read my tasting note about Teavana Chateau Blanc, then you’ll know grape isn’t really a favorite of mine. This is nice enough, but it’s a similar type of grape flavor and so I’m not enthused enough to keep it around or buy.
This is a tea I’ve had a very long time and haven’t tried. I’m finding that I’m leaning more towards unflavored teas, so I wanted to try out some of the ones I had in my stash. I’m using office water to make this one, so these are all at 165.
Attempt 1: Since I only have 165 degree water, I have to search around a bit to get the right time. This one was two minutes. I can get some roastiness out of this but not much. The color was a light and looked weak. I’ll get some new leaves and try 30 seconds longer
Attempt 2: This one is 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The roast flavor seems more full, and I think I can get some of the actual tea flavor now. It’s also brewed up a very nice light amber color. I’ll try three minutes and see how that is, but I’m thinking this might be the winner
Attempt 3: This one was for three minutes. It seems to somehow have traded roast flavor for tea flavor. While this isn’t bad, I prefer the stronger roasted notes personally.