Den's Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

85

Yummy. Can definitely taste the sweet matcha, though not terribly specifically, but more as a muted sweetness that makes the popcorn taste not so strong. Interested in trying this in a teapot, not a bag like I had to use for work.

Cofftea

In honor of my purchase this morning? lol Good timing:)

jennlea

Yay for my favorite tea!

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69
drank Sencha Shin-ryoku by Den's Tea
10 tasting notes

Shin-Ryoku is a Shincha or “new tea”/“first flush”, essentially the first harvest of sencha in Japan. If I remember correctly, its traditional to only consume Shincha within the first couple months of harvest, regardless of vacuum-sealed packaging and freezing. But, hey, it was a free sample, so I have no real grounds to complain.

Anyhow, this tea is VERY temperature sensitive.

Den is kind enough to personalize each tea’s brewing instructions, on his website. Which calls for 1.5 teaspoons 4oz of water at 160f/71c for 60 seconds.
My first attempt, ended up with 1.5 teaspoons around 170f/76c for 60 seconds, 5 oz of water. It was too bitter for me.

I tried again with 4oz of water at 160f, maybe even high 150f’s by the time I put the leafs in, for 60 seconds. It came out a watery-pale yellow, compared to the more common gold-yellow seen in sencha, that I was worried I under-steeped it, perhaps I did, but I found it to be a smooth with natural sweet notes.

The suggestions for re-steeping on Den’s is not personalized. The FAQ area has some generic suggestions, and not specific to this tea, which recommended 15 seconds for Sencha’s. However this may not apply to Shin-Cha, due to quantity of leaf (for such small quantities of water, its common for most sencha to be only 1 teaspoon, not 1.5 like shincha).

Second steep, I “tried” 170f for 25seconds, and it had the taste I’m more familiar with in sencha, but I found the bitterness to sneaking in. I think the bitterness never left me, following subsequent steep attempts, always sitting on my palate. Re-steep at 185f for 3rd time, 60 seconds, the bitterness started to come in much stronger. By the fourth, 5mins boiling, and fifth 10mins boiling, it was more akin water, despite a strong colour persisting.

From my experience, this tea walks a very thin line between sweetness and astringency, that is ultimately decided on by the water temperature, sure this is common with all japanese tea’s, but in this case, the temps were almost gyokuro levels for me. If I had more of it, I would like to experiment with it further. I’m ultimately curious what would happen if I had kept the water temp low for the second steep. Or just as high, as my “guess”, but with only 15 seconds. Freshly harvested Shincha/Shin-ryoku may also affect the taste, but we’re going to have to wait another 3 months for that.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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90

First off, Den’s Tea is a wonderful company. If you’re considering ordering from them, I say “Do it!” Timely delivery and they included their catalog, a pamphlet about the health benefits of green tea, and a magazine about Japanese cuisine and culture. It’s the small things, yes?

Of course, all of this would be nothing if they didn’t sell high quality tea.

I’ve tried all four teas I bought from Den’s and they’re all absolutely delicious. (More reviews coming soon!) Today me and my housemates celebrated Christmas. It was wonderful. We all went to church, had breakfast together, opened presents, ate a fantastic homemade dinner (each person made one part of it), and, finally, played cards together. No homework, no stress. Just quality time. And I don’t have school tomorrow! (That’s the cherry on top, my friends.) In any case, my housemate Shane got me an awesome elephant teapot. The tea comes out of its trunk! Love it! In fact, I just finished an elephant of Fukamushi Sencha Special.

According to the Den’s Tea webpage fukamushi sencha is steamed at least two times longer than regular sencha. I believe this is the first deep steamed sencha I’ve had. The dry leaf smells full and fresh with light fruity notes. The flavor is deep and complex. Pleasantly grassy with hints of ripe fruits and brine rounded out by a wonderful taste of milk at the back. The aftertaste is milk then fruit.

I think I’m starting to get a hint of what good sencha can be.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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88

My first taste of Sencha and I really enjoy it. I have to say it is unlike any other flavor I have had with a tea. I am looking forward to trying other Japanese green teas from Den’s Tea. The best $3 I have spent in 2010. Can’t beat this sampler pack.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Shinobi_cha

I agree…best $3 I have spent in 2010.
And do try others – I haven’t been disappointed yet with his teas.

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80
drank Organic Sencha by Den's Tea
224 tasting notes

Nice sweet grassy aroma and taste. Brews into a greenish yellow murky liquid. It is soothing.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Green Kukicha by Den's Tea
27 tasting notes

Currently my favorite tea. Den’s Kukicha is like a sweet, nutty tasting sencha. Relatively easy to brew and affordable.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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90

Tastes better than the Fuka-Midori, a little more complex, yet mellower. More expensive, however.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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80
drank Bancha Suruga by Den's Tea
27 tasting notes

Simple and easy to brew. Affordable and still tasty.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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79

Earlier I had a second cup.

Cofftea

I need another $6 to make an even $30 for upcoming Den’s order… I’m considering throwing of this in to put me over the top. I’m not sure yet…

silvermage2000

If you really like pineapple you should consider it.

Carolyn

You really should consider doing just that, Cofftea. I think the pineapple sencha is the best of Den’s flavored senchas.

Cofftea

@Carolyn, I dunno if it can beat their apple!=D (That’s the only one I’ve tried) I’m considering rose too, but rose teas are pretty common so I think I’ll go w/ something more unique.

Ricky

I’m with you Cofftea. I want to try all their flavored Sencha, but I’m also hesitant. I mean their apple was pretty good, but it was like drinking a tea version of apple juice.

Cofftea

Ricky, I’m not sure you understood… or maybe I don’t understand you lol. I LOVE their apple sencha!

Ricky

Sorry, I was being confusing. I agree with you that their rose Sencha will probably taste pretty common like other rose tea varieties. I’m tempted to try their Pineapple next as it’s a bit more unique. I liked their Apple Sencha, but I’m afraid pineapple is going to be like Apple Sencha ( tea that tastes like apple juice).

Cofftea

Oh ok, gotcha. Except I don’t have the “but I’m afraid” feeling since I was so impressed w/ the apple. But I will be disappointed if it turns out to be a tea that tastes like apple juice since it’s pineapple hehe. So there ya go, we should get identical orders then. I’m gonna try the Matcha Miyabi that Carolyn swears by. But then there’s also the orange that has me curious after drinking 52teas mandarin matcha. Oh my gosh… I just thought of a wonderful idea! A screwdriver using orange sencha instead of orange juice! I like green olives in mine. Oh gosh… now which one do I choose???

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79

This sencha and pieces of pineapple. This smells like pineapple. I steeped it a short time. And the taste is a medium pineapple taste and green tea. The pineapple in this is nice and tangy and the green tea is not overbearing. I think this is pretty good.

Ricky

I have to try this one eventually.

silvermage2000

Thanks for commenting its good if you like pineapple.

Ricky

See that’s why I’m wary. I use to love pineapple, but grew to hate it after I ate like four of them in one sitting. Now I can’t really stand it.

silvermage2000

Well I guess its up to you wether you think you will like it?

Ricky

I’m slowly trying to get into pineapple again.

If I won’t like it, I’m sure someone else will =]

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40
drank Sencha Fuka-midori by Den's Tea
24 tasting notes

Not for me.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
caustiq

Steeped it too long. I should’ve steeped for 45s apparently.

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76
drank Grape Sencha by Den's Tea
420 tasting notes

This has grapes cranberry raspberry and sencha. This smells mostly like grape. In the leaves there are purple shreds and pink buds. I did not steep this very long and I added sugar. But I am only getting a medium grape taste with the green tea. I do think this is good. Does anyone have any advice on steep time?

Cofftea

I haven’t tried this one (and don’t really want to), but I’ve found I love their apple sencha steeped in a ratio of 4.5tsp in 6oz of water heated to 160 degrees for 1.5 min so maybe give that a try. Hope that works for you!

silvermage2000

Thank you I will keep that in mind.

Carolyn

I use 170 degree temp and 30 seconds steep time.

silvermage2000

Thanks Carolyn.

~lauren.

The package says 190°F for 30 seconds steep while the website says boiling for 30 sec steep for the first infusion.

Cofftea

I do know they changed some of their steeping parameters, maybe the packaging just didn’t get changed yet?

Cofftea

Maybe I would like this after all since it also has cranberries and raspberries… although that makes me very disappointed they don’t call it “mixed berry sencha”/

~lauren.

Oh, you think that’s the case with the steep/water temp? How would I know if they changed the parameters? The website just mentioned boiled water – which I thought pretty high for sencha.

TeaEqualsBliss

Interesting comments and suggestions here, ladies, thanks for contributing to this!!!

~lauren.

This is such a visually pretty tea (plus the aroma, yum) – it deserves to be done right (plus I have rest of the packet remaining) and I really want it to taste good, you know?

~lauren.

You are right, of course, about the name because grape (while a strong component) is not the only standout, cranberries and raspberries are present as well and can be tasted, too.

Cofftea

Lauren, this is taken from the homepage of denstea.com

“New Tea Descriptions, Brewing Recommendations and more
We have noticed that North American tea drinkers have developed a deeper appreciation for the taste Japanese green tea. The past year has brought many requests for more information on the traditional and authentic ways to enjoy Japanese teas. As a result of these requests, we are providing more detailed information about each tea. We have also revised the brewing parameters for each tea to brew a more authentic cup. Other new items on our website are a “Tea Navigator” to help you select teas to suit your needs and more IFAQs for those who want information on teas and tea culture. Enjoy our updated website."

~lauren.

Huh, I went directly to the tea page instead! And you were right, they didn’t update the packaging and not knowing any better, followed that! Thanks, Cofftea!

~lauren.

Followed all the trails on the den’s tea website to the ‘perfect brewing guide’ and still found suggested 4oz water/1tsp tea/boiled water/30 sec steep. weird. But will play with parameters to get a nice cuppa!

Cofftea

Lauren, that’s because the package suggestions are probably the old ones.

~lauren.

No no, I got that off the perfect brewing page on den’s website! Seriously! To recap from website http://www.denstea.com/index.php?main_page=perfect_brewing: Premium Sencha 2-3oz water/1tsp tea/160°F/45-90sec steep depending on variety; grape sencha 4 oz water/1tsp tea/boiling/30 sec steep (on bottom 1/4 of chart); package says 190°F/30 sec steep. All parameters that can be changed for individual taste.

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70
drank Apple Sencha by Den's Tea
260 tasting notes

The Final Sipdown: Day 16.1

Lots of phone calls happening today. Could be because my throat is dry from a nearly one and a half hour phone conversation, but I am gulping this down right now. Need to slow down to log it, but can’thelpitmustdrink.

Phew, okay. That was a close one. Still got some left.

There’s a lot of bitterness in this cup even though I only steeped it for 30 seconds [ish] but I put a lot of leaf in that little strainer and so that might be the culprit.

That bitter taste is met with a high, sugary, fruity sweetness. It tapers off at the finish and is completely overwhelmed by the sweeter part of this tea. The aftertaste is actually quite lovely.

As for the apple, it’s definitely present in the scent [at one point I got the smell of rubber cement in the scent of the liquid, though, and that wasn’t so nice]. Though it remains in the taste it isn’t nearly as obvious it is in the aroma. The apple comes through most clearly for me in the finish.

Here’s what I find interesting about this tea. The closest thing it’s tasting like in terms of liquid apple concoctions is sparkling apple cider. What it really tastes like, though, is apple. Like real apple juice. As in the juice that squirts out when you bite into an apple; not that sugary bottled stuff. I’m finding it light and refreshing. Springy, almost.

In the wake of the fact that I came home to the lid of my kyusu being BWOH-KEN [mistakes happen, but that sucker was over fifty dollars], I am going to take what enjoyment I can get. While I don’t like the fact that I really can’t taste the green tea in this tea, it’s lightening my mood. Well, that and this episode of Sarah’s House that I’m watching. And the Christmas tree.

I’m just going to sit here, finish this cup, and woo-sah. And bump the rating on this a bit.

Teas Downed: 29

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Auggy

Poor kyusu lid! I understand your pain, though. My ‘spensive kyusu lid met the tile floor a while back. The husband glued it back together but it’s not quite the same. So sad. :(

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70
drank Apple Sencha by Den's Tea
260 tasting notes

Lena sent me a bit of this tea, and I was in the mood for something fruity tonight so…ta da! Now give me a cookie. [Just kidding. Maybe. Do you have cookies?]

She had written down a 30 second steep time, was counting it in my head and I got a little distracted [not surprising] so it was probably closer to 45. Not that I’m sure that would have made a huge difference. It didn’t come out bitter or anything, thankfully.

The liquid smells distinctly of apple. To me it’s clearly apple of more of the granny-smith, green variety, but also…baked. Something about it makes me think of apple baked into a pie without the additional seasoning.

At first, the taste was very much like every green apple candy I’ve had without about 95% of the sweetness. As it cooled down, however, it began to fill out. I can’t place exactly what it was that happened, but I think that I got a little bit more of that sour taste [in a good way] and the sweetness balanced out really nicely with it. By the time I reached the bottom of my cup I was pretty satisfied.

I hardly got any sencha taste, though it could very well be that it just mingled very well with the apple taste. In looking at the leaves, I hadn’t been expecting a really bold, robust sencha taste [they’re a bit dark and a little twiggy] so I think that this is a case of the quality matching up pretty well with the flavor profile.

I didn’t give this another steep because it was pretty light to begin with, though in the future when I have a little more time I might give it a go just to play around. I definitely enjoyed this, but as we almost always have apples around here I usually just eat one when I’m craving one. So, I don’t think that this is going to be something I’ll order.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Ricky

Nope, no Sencha taste. It’s just like drinking Apple juice tea. I like it though =), it’s refreshing.

Carolyn

You can actually resteep it nearly forever without losing the taste.

LENA

hey, 30 seconds is what Den’s recommended! just keeping it real. :)

takgoti

@Carolyn Good to know! I’ll keep going next time.

@LENA HAHAHA, I didn’t mean to sound like I was doubting you! I should be used to the quick steep times with the Japanese teas but I still must “WAT?” sometimes.

LENA

just messing with ya. i always do a double take when the steeping time is in seconds.

takgoti

Hehe. Thanks for sending it to me though! I enjoyed it – and now I have a much better idea of what to expect when looking at Den’s flavored sencha. It might result in an order of a different flavor.

Carolyn

My favorite is the pineapple sencha. It tastes like buttered pineapple to me.

Ricky

I have a feeling Den’s flavored Sencha are all like that. I’m tempted to get that pineapple one =D

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83
drank Gyokuro Kin by Den's Tea
62 tasting notes

This is the third of the three teas that I recently purchased from Den’s tea and this is by far my favorite of the three. Of course that is a slightly unfair comparison because the other two were senchas, and I am a much bigger fan of gyokuro, but I felt that the two senchas really did not have that much flavor.

Regardless, this gyokuro has the sweet/bitter combination that you expect out of a gyokuro, but it also has an interesting note of pine tree after the initial burst of flavor.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

Pine… yummy!

Teafreak

Yeah, it was a really odd taste, but it wasn’t bad. It was pretty subtle, nothing too overpowering

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74

Here’s the second of three teas that I recently purchased when Den had a sale of a few of his teas. I brewed this in a 4 oz Kyusu that I purchased from Yuuki-Cha, and I followed Den’s instructions for the first steeping (160 degrees, 30 seconds, 1 teaspoon or 3 grams for me).

As with the sencha that I had yesterday, I really don’t feel like I’m getting the full array of vegetal and seaweed tones that I typically get from my other senchas. This certainly isn’t a bad tea per se, but there is nothing special about it. I did enjoy this one a little bit more than the sencha-ryoku I had yesterday, and this tea also had a beautiful emerald green brew.

Next time I think I am going to try steeping perhaps with 4 g of tea for the 4 oz of water. Den recommends a teaspoon (I’m guessing 2-3 g here), but perhaps i need to try a little more and see if that gives me the taste I’m looking for.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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72
drank Sencha Shin-ryoku by Den's Tea
62 tasting notes

Den’s Tea recently had a discount on a bunch of his teas so I thought I’d give some a try.

This one tastes like a typical sencha, it is grassy with a hint of sweetness. It tastes pretty good, but I don’t taste anything very distinct about this particular tea.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Sencha Zuiko by Den's Tea
224 tasting notes

There is just the slightest tinge of bitterness to this tea. I suspect that I over-steeped it by a few seconds. Nonetheless it is still quite nice. It smells buttery and vegetal with just the slightest hint of flowers. My beloved says that it smells like a meadow and I can sense that as well. The taste is warm and calming with the same buttered vegetal promised by the fragrance.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

Green vegetables? Yum!

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93

I had to go off on a variety of errands, which seemed like a good excuse to try out my marvelous new JoeMo tea travel mug that I got through one of the Steepster Select offers (via TeaFrog) and this cold-brewed iced tea from Den’s Tea. I’m so glad I did! All I had to do was place the little pyramid silk tea bag in the tea holder of the mug (which works for loose tea as well), pour in cold water and wait. Den’s Tea suggests an hour, but I was impatient and was sipping wonderful mango flavored iced tea in 45 minutes. The mug is a revelation. It is sturdy, cleverly designed, has a lift out tea strainer, and a mechanism that makes drinking out of the mug a great deal more pleasurable than most travel mugs. I highly recommend it. Here is the link: http://teafrog.com/teas/joemo-xl-tea-travel-mug.html

On to the tea! I was surprised. It was tasty, well-flavored, non-bitter and basically delicious. I didn’t think that cold-brewing would work that well, but it did. The tea has a creamy mango sencha flavor that went well with my errands. Also highly recommended.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
takgoti

Oooh! I have the travel mug from Teas Etc. that I enjoy, but I like the look of this one, too. Bookmark’d!

Also, I have no recollection of this on SS. Must have missed it. Humph.

Carolyn

It was either right before or right after the Soropot so I imagine you were in your little Soropot heaven fugue state. I think this is the best travel tea device I’ve ever seen.

takgoti

Likely true! Ok, I think this is going to finish off my next round of tea purchasing. I’m going to try and be good and wait until next month. We’ll see how well that works.

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90
drank Mecha by Den's Tea
27 tasting notes

I had heard this tea was “strong” so I hesitated to try it, but once I did I was not disappointed! It’s flavor is “strong”, but not bitter. It simply has a strong tea flavor, similar to that of sencha, but with a different feel in the mouth. Very tasty.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Cofftea

MECHA!:) Have you tried sencha? Just wondering if you think it tastes as much like it as I do.

Ken Durocher

It really does taste like sencha, which makes sense I guess, being the by product of sencha “sifting”. But you’d think being a by product would be a bad thing :P

Cofftea

Oh my gosh I’m such an idiot. I ment matcha, not sencha. duh…

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85

A very nice medium quality sencha. Affordable and delicious.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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90

Plain genmaicha is nice, but this genmaicha extra green gives it a slightly more sweet green tea flavor, and really balances it will.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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88
drank Sencha Fuka-midori by Den's Tea
8 tasting notes

This was my first real sencha, so I can’t compare it to others but I can say it was quite good. I got four good infusions out of it (60s, 20s, 30s, 60s). All were pretty consistent, although 2 and 3 had a stronger flavor than 1 and 4. This was also my first order with Den’s, and they sent me all kinds of tea catalogs and brochures and information. Very nice.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

I love the sampler and the brewing parameters sheet! Den’s is just amazing in general. I’ve gotten one tea as a swap, made one purchase, and will make more.

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60
drank Apple Sencha by Den's Tea
161 tasting notes

Made a quick cup as I’m getting ready to leave the office. Apple-licious…and tastes even better considering I’m about to be off work for 4 days in a row. Sweet!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

I’ll be back after the break to post and read about all of the teas we will be getting for Christmas. crosses fingers

Angrboda

Merry Christmas, Lena. :)

TeaEqualsBliss

Woot! Woot! Thumbs up to 4 days off!

Hyrulehippie

Merry Christmas! I think there may be either some tea or a gift certificate with my name on it under the tree! o yay for everyone knowing I’m a junkie.

takgoti

Merry Christmas!!!

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