Ito En

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drank Green Tea by Ito En
212 tasting notes

Pretty sure this is the tea I was served last night when we went out for Thai. Nothing special, but it was drinkable for keeping warm in a chilly restaurant. Beany vegetal, pretty diluted, so it probably could have used less water, plus, they poured the water in the mug and brought me the teabag to put in myself.

Flavors: Beany, Vegetal

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85
drank Oi Ocha Dark by Ito En
239 tasting notes

This is the last of the Ito En bottled teas I purchased last week. As I sit here drinking it iced, it is my favorite of the bunch. I tend to prefer robust and vegetal green teas and this one definitely is that kind of tea.

On the nose, the golden amber liquor produces a strong, grassy vegetal scent with an undertone of grain. In the mouth, I picked up on clear notes of grass, hay, straw, and grain accompanied by a hint of honey on the finish. The sensation in the mouth is heavy and drying. This is definitely a filling tea. Compared to some other bottled teas that I have tried, the ascorbic acid presence is not terribly distracting.

This is a nice bottled tea. It strikes me as being a step up from the regular Oi Ocha. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good bottled tea with a bit of bite.

Flavors: Grain, Grass, Hay, Honey, Straw

Preparation
Iced

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80
drank Oi Ocha by Ito En
239 tasting notes

I’m kind of backlogging indirectly here. I am drinking a bottle of this tea as I type this review, but I have had this before. I used to drink this tea in college. I recall purchasing it when I wanted a green tea on the go. I think I always used to buy it at either CVS or Walgreen’s, but I could be wrong. I used to stock up on this and Arizona Blueberry White Tea so I could have some bottled teas to throw in the fridge and grab on the way to class.

Drinking this now, I can see why I used to buy it so frequently. It has a mildly vegetal nose. In the mouth, there is a nicely pronounced grassiness, as well as hints of hay, straw, and vegetables. The ascorbic acid presence is not particularly noticeable. I also get a slightly peachy, nectar-like sweetness on the back of the throat.

Overall, I think this is a nice bottled green tea. I am really enjoying it iced at the moment. I could see myself purchasing this one more often if it were more available in my immediate area.

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Nectar, Peach, Straw, Vegetal

Preparation
Iced

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19
drank Jasmine Green Tea by Ito En
239 tasting notes

I must be the outlier here. I’m still working my way through my recent Ito En acquisitions, but so far, this is the only one for which I really do not care. It’s a jasmine green tea that neither smells nor tastes like jasmine.

On the nose, I do not get much of an aroma. There is maybe a hint of floral character and a slight grassiness, but not much else. In the mouth, the taste up front is very grassy and vegetal. It kind of tastes like a combination of straw, hay, and grass. There is a slight fruitiness too that I can only describe as overripe cantaloupe. The floral character is faint, and to me, only barely identifiable as jasmine. Also, I must say that I find the ascorbic acid presence to be pretty noticeable. I have not gotten as much of it from the other Ito En teas I have tried to this point.

After being impressed with the golden oolong, I was more than willing to approach this bottled tea with an open mind. Unfortunately, it has really let me down hard. I have yet to find a bottled jasmine tea that I enjoy. I guess I’ll keep searching and pass on this one in the future.

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Straw

Preparation
Iced

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72

Living in what sometimes seems like the middle of nowhere can be so frustrating. I couldn’t find anything to descale my electric tea kettle or coffee maker at my local grocery store and had to make the 30 minute drive to Pikeville, KY first thing this morning to find something. Well, I was able to find some descaler, but I also came home with new tea that I most certainly did not need. I knew there was a reason I avoided the large Food City there. I ended up coming home with 2 boxes of Wissotzky Tea (Imperial Earl Grey and English Breakfast), a box of PG Tips (I just couldn’t resist), and 4 bottles of various Ito En iced teas. This Golden Oolong was one of them.

According to the back of the bottle, this tea is a blend of Huang Jin Gui and Tieguanyin. I’m a huge fan of the latter, but don’t care so much for the former. On the nose, I got a mild blend of banana, cinnamon, osmanthus, honey, and peach. In the mouth, I detected notes of butter, banana, osmanthus, apricot, nectarine, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and peach. There were also subtle undercurrents of wood and grain.

Truthfully, this tea was kind of surprising. I have avoided bottled pre-brewed oolongs for years because the few that I have had have been uniformly horrible. I am not even really a fan of making iced oolong. Saying that I approached this tea with low expectations would be a huge understatement. This wasn’t bad though. It was very smooth and nothing about it seemed artificial. It would not be something I would choose to reach for with regularity, but for a cheap, quick oolong on the go, it is quite nice. I’m impressed.

Flavors: Apricot, banana, Butter, Cinnamon, Fruity, Grain, Honey, Nutmeg, Osmanthus, Peach, Wood

Preparation
Iced

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99

271 – golden oolong by Ito en. Review.

Ru Yao dragon teapot, gongfucha.

Dry leaf: fruity, floral.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BL3to3Pg-YC/

Wet leaf: fruity, floral, peachy, green grapes.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BL3v07NgL7T/

1x short rinse

Light steep: I taste/smell; light
-> cream, peaches, apricots, floral, smoke, green grapes.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BL3urhJgV2S/

Medium steep: I taste/smell; the same as light steep. (Weird)

Heavy steep: I taste/smell; strong smoke.
strong to almost overpowering -> bitterness, green grapes, peaches, apricots, floral, cream. Very strong mouth drying effect.

All in all, a wonderful tea! Nice aroma, tastes, and cha qi. However the dry mouth effect is creepy. I rate a 99.

http://www.itoen.com/loose-leaf/oolong/golden-oolong#.WAu2t_krKM8

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Cream, Floral, Grapes, Peach, Smoke

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 15 g 165 OZ / 4879 ML

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100
drank Megami Sencha by Ito En
1 tasting notes

Insanely delicious and totally unique tea. Dark green, vegetal flavor with super high theanine content (I suspect). I’ve never found anything that matches Megami, or even comes close. At $79/lb at Wegman’s, it’s been a challenge to afford my daily habit – but I do – year after year.

Flavors: Grass, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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82
drank Koto No Tsuki by Ito En
109 tasting notes

Sipdown!

Enjoyed this to the very end. Excellent for price and quality.

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82
drank Koto No Tsuki by Ito En
109 tasting notes

Like many of my teas… this one is also past its best before date.. by like, more than an entire year.

This is what happens when you buy at a much faster rate than you can drink, and you live in Australia where there aren’t enough people to gift or swap tea with.

Anyway, this was a Japan souvenir from my boyfriend. First time I made it, I followed a website’s directions to use water ‘just below boiling.’ I assumed this to mean 90-95C and it turned out very bitter with no froth.

Gave this another shot at 80C recommended elsewhere, and it was perfect! Beautiful foam, no bitterness at all. Light and smooth, with vegetal and herbaceous flavours. Slight umami quality, most likely more intense if this wasn’t past its best before date by a year.

Reminds me of my own time in Japan, attending a tea ceremony tutorial in Kyoto. The quality of this matcha is not too far off from the ceremonial grade quality used by my hostess and teacher. Not quite, but not too far off.

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1

Bitter, tasteless dishwater, total RIPOFFSAVE YOUR $$$$$

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This matcha is a bit lighter and sweeter with a more grassy fresh taste to it compared to the other Ito En grocery store matcha.

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C

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drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
258 tasting notes

This is the first matcha that I have had so I do not have any basis to compare it with other matchas. The matcha comes off to me as a strong green tea that is surprisingly smooth. I am only able to whip up much of a froth in the bowl but I am not sure if it has to do with the quality or my lack of experience in making matcha.

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C

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68
drank Sencha Shot by Ito En
333 tasting notes

Picked this up at a local grocery recently. I wasn’t expecting too much of a canned tea, though it did turn out better than expected. It’s a decently smooth and energizing sencha with an umami undertone, and no excessive grassiness or off-ness that comes with overbrewing. There is, however, a noticeable bitterness. It’s convenient as a cold and unadulterated drink of tea when you’re not able to brew your own, but doesn’t otherwise stand out.

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98
drank Oi Ocha Dark by Ito En
19 tasting notes

This is my favorite bottled tea. Hands down!

Robust, full flavor. Dark, rich green tea, zero bitterness, it is smooth and incredibly delicious! I would buy this by the case.

My only wish is if Ito-En sold the loose leaf for this brew… I can’t figure it out, it is a mystery to me! A delicious, delicious mystery!

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42
drank Golden Oolong by Ito En
97 tasting notes

Has the slight roasty bitterness of black tea or of smoky Tieguanyins, without the fragrance / fruitiness / floral notes / butteriness that I like in an Oolong. Nice that they stock it in my office fridge, but I would not drink this again.

Flavors: Roasted, Smoke

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90
drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
193 tasting notes

I really love his matcha. While I am by no means a matcha connoisseur I have tried my fair share and this one rates pretty highly amongst them all. It is definitely one of the sweetest matchas I have had. Just opening a fresh tin you are greeted with a beautiful, lasting sweet scent which directly translates to the liquor once mixed. The color is an entirely gorgeous vibrant green. Seriously, this stuff is almost electric.

My only complaint is that it does clump a bit more than other matcha I have. Perhaps due to the fact that it takes quite some time to get it through a strainer. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s nothing a good shake after blending can’t help.

My matcha drinking suffered during winter, but now that we are back to having bearable days (temperature wise) I am again drinking my daily matcha latte. Currently I’m near obsessed mixing this one with ~3/4 of a pump of Monin’s cantaloupe syrup. Gorgeous! Pure decadent refreshing summer in a cup. Today I had some with their cucumber syrup and I can see this becoming my new favorite. If you haven’t tried any of Monin’s syrups I can’t recommend them enough. Especially along with this tea :)

Flavors: Sweet

Preparation
Iced

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64
drank Green Tea by Ito En
31 tasting notes

Normal and uninspiring, this green tea is the perfect thing as I sit in the airport near a Japanese restaurant waiting for a flight. It doesn’t have any aftertaste, and it tastes like green-tea-flavored-hot-water. It probably wasn’t steeped hot enough, but who cares? I’m just happy to have it. Would I drink it again? Absolutely. Would I buy it? Sure, if I’m traveling. Would I seek it out? Probably not, because I have loose leaf teas that I really like.

Flavors: Grass, Green

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Ureshino Tama Ryokucha by Ito En
67 tasting notes

A nice, mellow tea, good for a night cap. It has a vegetal/seaweed scent and mouth feel, but not too roasty. It has a light citrus aftertaste, too. Very subtle and sweet finish. I find myself making this tea when I’m all “tea’ed” out.

Flavors: Citrus, Grass, Seaweed

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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74
drank Genmaicha by Ito En
184 tasting notes

I’m sure this is a lower quality Genmaicha but I have to say I really enjoyed the distinct popcorn/toasted rice goodness of this tonight. Nothing too special but a good every day tea.

Flavors: Popcorn, Toasted Rice

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec 4 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank matcha LOVE Sweetened by Ito En
681 tasting notes

Okay so I totally went to the LA International Tea Festival today and IT WAS FANTASTIC OH MY GOSH.
I went with a couple friends who enjoyed tea, and they knew I liked tea, but I think today was the day they realized that I freakin loved tea.

Anyway, I had a TON of tea today and I want to write about all the teas that I had, but I forgot to write down the names/tasting notes for all of them D: The only one that I remember was this one.

Just a super simple sweetened canned matcha drink. Like an energy drink for matcha lovers :) It definitely can’t replace real matcha, but this is just a super easy way to drink it AND it was only a dollar each so I was okay with that (I bought 5 hehe)


I had tons of fun at the festival and my friends and I even saw a Japanese Tea Ceremony (and I saw my manager at the theater it was held in as well???).
We walked around places, I was talking to a bunch of the vendors about tea and it was so nice talking to their travels. I ALSO MET //THE// ROSA LI FROM ROSALI TEA. And freakin Alex Harney was there and I talked to him as well. SO MANY PEOPLE I NEARLY DIED.

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90

Got 10 of these at $1 each at Stop & Shop this week! I used to pay $2.50 per bottle when I worked in NYC! I find each batch to be different – sometimes it’s more jasmine-y than other times. The batch I got now is more on the green tea side. The jasmine aroma hits you first, then as you drink it, the green tea becomes more prevalent in flavor. I’ve always purchased these teas because of how they smell – they are truly aromatic!

Flavors: Floral, Jasmine

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95
drank Sobacha by Ito En
53 tasting notes

Cold Brew
I used 1TBSP and 1TSP of Sobacha and let it steep for 48 hours. I’ve cold brewed this tea before and if you’re in need for a quick fix this is an easy tea to cold brew. Its about ready in 4 hours and the flavor doesn’t change much so there is no urgency in removing the tea. Also, tea is totally edible so no need for a tea bag.

Flavors: Roasted Barley

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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75
drank House Sencha by Ito En
1 tasting notes

Session A: 3 grams tea in 5 ounces of 205 degree water for 5 minutes
Session B: 2.5 grams tea in 6 ounces of 176 degree water for 1.5 minutes
Appearance Session A Session B
Dry Leaf: thin strips, dark green with same
few pieces of yellow
Infused Leaf larger pieces with rough edges same
that support CTC process
Liquor: light yellow darker tone yellow

Aroma
Dry Leaf: fresh grass same
Infused Leaf: steamed spinach same
Liquor: vegetal same

Liquor Flavor/Mouth Feel
Hot: astringent bitter
Cool: earthy bitter more even with just a hint of possible sweetness

Finish & Overall Impression: I can’t imagine purposely making this tea to sip for pleasure. I accept that this is a learning experience and my taste will evolve. The extremes with temperature and steep time are to bring out the characteristics so students can more readily experience the flavor. They were very harsh. I’m hopeful that steeping at lower water temperature and for shorter time will have the tea be more agreeable to me.

Next Time: Decided to try again sooner than expected on June 9, 2015, as my first tea pet arrived. It’s nice to know she will be part of all my cuppings.

Session C: 0.7 grams (0.5 teaspoon) tea in 5 ounces of 150 degree water for 1.5 minutes.

Appearance of Liquor: very pale yellow
Aroma of Infused Leaf and Liquor: outside on sunny spring day with fresh cut grass
Liquor Flavor/Mouth Feel: Very unassuming; like water with a hint of vegetal flavor. Thin.

The Next, Next Time: I think I can handle more flavor so will go for 1 teaspoon tea in 5 ounces of 150 degree water for 1.5 minutes.

I did these cuppings using a pocket thermometer because I believed it to be a classic/traditional approach. I am uncomfortable with the accuracy, especially with Session B. I will use my variable temperature Bonavita with next cupping for comparison.

Flavors: Grass

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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86
drank Lavender Sencha by Ito En
921 tasting notes

Happy Thursday! A day of throwbacks and D&D, well the Dungeons and Dragons is all me, but the throwing back is all over the internet. Maybe on these tea themed #TBT I should occasionally toss in older pics of me, from my younger days of a myriad of different hair colors. There is a terrifying noise coming from the basement, thought you all should know, apparently something is FINALLY being done about the foundation leak (took other people’s stuff being ruined and a massive mold colony before anyone would listen to me, not that I am bitter) and the repair man who is checking things out has a creepy machine. I could go down and see what the machine actually is, but I like the idea of some steam-powered monstrosity better.

This tea was procured during the summer before I became a tea blogger, well not true, I became a tea blogger during that summer visit with my mom, it was one of those ‘I have found my true calling’ moments, and it was awesome. Anyway, getting lost in nostalgia, I bought a heaping pile of Ito-En’s Lavender Sencha while visiting Pennsylvania, and the awesome grocery store Wegman’s, my go to place to buy tea back when I lived in that state. This very aromatic tea is a blend of European Lavender and Fine Sencha (according to their map it is from the Kagoshima region) blending regions for one of the more sublime Sencha blends I have run into. The aroma is heavenly, well, if you like lavender, it blends the floral to the point of almost being soapy, and sweet grassiness and fresh vegetation. It smells very much so like a fresh lavender field in bloom.

The aroma of the now soggy and very vibrantly lavender…lavender, is more balanced. There is sweet freshly cut grass and honey along with gentle lavender notes. Not so much a soapy kick in the face. The liquid is gentle and fairly delicate, with notes of hay and grass along with honey and lavender. I am not sure I put much stock in aromatherapy, but the lavender certainly relaxes me…more teas need it.

The taste is surprisingly not overwhelming with lavender, I was expecting a blast in the face, but nah, it is gentle and sweet. The Sencha is delightfully refreshing and green, with notes of hay and grass, with just a touch of kale and kelp. When I first tried this tea and noticed a touch of bitterness I thought it was the green tea oversteeped or at a too high temperature (but I brewed it at 155!) but since then I have discovered that lavender is actually a bit bitter. The mouthfeel is fun, a bit tacky, like flower nectar, and the end of the tea, once you let it get a bit chilled (if you are a sipper like me) the lavender becomes stronger and is very relaxing. I rather like this tea hot and cold brewed over the summer, it is good for relaxing with a nice cup of a very nature themed tea. And now, for my obligatory TBT photo, it is from January of 2009, back when I was sporting red hair.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/05/ito-en-lavender-sencha-tbt-tea-review.html

Kirkoneill1988

steam-powered monstrosity FTW! :D too bad there was no asparagus taste. sencha tastes even better with it.

TeaNecromancer

I do like the heavy vegetal notes, but I think with the lavender it could have clashed really grossly :P

Kirkoneill1988

dont forget to roll 3d6 to hit for natural 18 to kill the steam-powered monstrosity. oh wait! did it flee back into the man’s truck?

TeaNecromancer

Oh it hard core fled back to the truck, which is sad, I was hoping to use my skills on it!

Kirkoneill1988

but it would use self destruct for damage (7d6)

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