Ito En

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86

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.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

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?

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

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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78

Just steeped up a pitcher of cold brewed green tea with mint leaves and lime slices. Refrigerated overnight. No mess and easy to throw together, perfect when getting home after a hot afternoon.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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87

I will not get sick, I will not get sick, I will not get sick…. I’ve been repeating this mantra, and I am busting out every remedy I own. This was definitely something my body could use. This is my staple for matcha. I do treat myself to something new every now and again, but I use this for a general bowl. I believe this to be a fantastic matcha, for the price. It is relatively inexpensive and, when whisked right, comes out to a delicious bowl full of goodness. I usually brew usucha with this so it’s easy to get down. The taste is very buttery and full of umami. I use 6 chaksaku scoops for my bowl (its a glass one that is slightly larger than most). This has a slight vegetal tone and wet grass flavor. I rarely experience a bitter taste and it is always smooth. I’ve had a few other matcha that have been incredibly worse. My local tea shop sells “matcha” which is a puke yellow and causes headaches. This is much better and half the price. There is a lot of matcha out there that is amazingly better but its also triple the cash. This will do for now :) I hope to cure this sickness before it even strikes, hahah. The remedy hunt goes on!

https://instagram.com/p/0neF4mTGeV/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Sweet, warm grass, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C
Skulleigh

chants Don’t get sick! (Hope you don’t!)
Your local shop’s match sounds horrible! I just googled yours, and the price looks great, I might have to check it out once I am through my current tin.

Haveteawilltravel

Its still on the edge hahah, I can feel it coming.
The shops matcha is terrible. Its a low quality culinary grade that they sell to people to drink, I can’t stand it. Few people actually realize what they are drinking and chock it up as “thats what matcha is supposed to taste like.”
You should check this one out though hahah its yummy :D

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73

I picked up a little can of this while grocery shopping at the local Korean supermarket. The can design is cute, but I poured it out before drinking to get a better look at the color. (I’ve been finding that visuals are an important part of the experience of enjoying tea—using a dark mug or thermos just isn’t the same!)

Well, the color of this one is a very murky yellowish-green that reminds me of vegetable smoothies. It has a seaweed aroma commonly found with Japanese green teas (and as I later discovered, this one actually contains seaweed too). The taste is quite nice—it has that smoothness that I associate with Ito En’s bottled green teas. The matcha adds some body and umami flavor. It’s not something that I would often reach for, but it is a nice chilled drink and probably a decent energy boost.

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drank Sencha With Matcha by Ito En
514 tasting notes

More Advent Calendar Tea!

http://instagram.com/p/wUJJ74AybL/
http://instagram.com/p/wUKA1xAyR8/

From the matcha in with the sencha, the tea is a little cloudy. It’s nice, but not outstanding. It wasn’t bitter at all, though, fairly sweet, but not as strong as I like. (I generally overleaf my sencha, so I made it in my 5oz cup, but I still felt like there wasn’t enough here.)

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65

I enjoyed the texture and look of the finer, grassier Japanese teas. This yielded a somewhat bitter, very spinachy cup. While decent overall, it isn’t really my cup. I prefer my green teas a little less bitter; I have black teas to satisfy that itch!

Flavors: Cut grass, Herbaceous, Spinach

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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82
drank Sencha Shot by Ito En
72 tasting notes

World Market snag. Good stuff; better, imo, than reaching for a red bull. Does what it says on the tine, cold strong sencha; nice as well.

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81
drank Oolong Shot by Ito En
72 tasting notes

Nice heavy oolong,. The weight of the can is nice, like the sencha shot, and the taste of the oolong is nice, not spicy or bland, but fitting for a warm day.

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80
drank Oi Ocha by Ito En
72 tasting notes

World Market pick-up. Great stuff on a hot day. Not a whole lot to offer, but what it packs in the bottle is pure refreshment.

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drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
44 tasting notes

It’s like a cup of lawn clippings, judging the appearance and aroma. Very springy.

I was surprised by the steeping guidelines (they want me to add BOILING water? Really?), but followed them anyhow. It’s yielded a yellowish green drink, and the grassiness has persisted in both the nose and the mouth. I like the astringency on the back end of the sip, and the bitter spinachness up front.

I’m excited to try the next steeping!

Flavors: Bitter, Cut grass, Spinach

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95
drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
22 tasting notes

This was really great. A fun tea to try in my Steepster box.

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1
drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
33 tasting notes

Definitely smelling the grass that others have mentioned, but not as bad and in much more of that classic green tea way. I meant to steep it at boiling like the directions mentioned, but I got distracted so it’s steeping at 172 degrees right now. Oh well. I won’t lie, the smell of this tea just smells…bad. My first thought was rotten eggs, but I don’t want to go that far. I literally had to hold my nose to sip it. The taste is pretty grassy, but that nasty egg taste is lurking in the background. This is getting dumped.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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66
drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
20 tasting notes

hypem.com is down right now. I have exhausted all avenues to cool-ness. Thus, I sit here writing about tea.

This tea tastes like a mediocre life. Having just seen the enigmatic yet transformative Iggy Azalea at Atlanta’s recent music festival, I feel like I have some authority on the matter.

Leading an unfulfilling life scares me. The scariest part being everyone with the wool over their eyes being led hand-in-hand into the slaughterhouse, singing kumbaya and cooking quiche. Shakespeare could not have imagined a more sardonic future. I haven’t seen RoboCop. Maybe I’m a PU$$Y.

“Pus pus pus!”

Luckily, we have mavens like IGGY to stave off our ever-quiescent society. The true madonna of our times, Iggy, not only exposes us to the truth (in warning us against falling into a mediocre life) but also fights against a heathen robotic uprising that seeks to prey on our youth!

Just take a peek at Iggy’s unparalleled PU$$Y linked below. The predatory robotic voice emphatically belts out “Pussy. Pussy. Pussy.” A cold, driven emotion lies underneath his articulate facade. What are his motivations? Clearly, Iggy is lashing out against the over-sexualization in society. What long term effects must we suffer before we see how our fleshy fetish will condemn us?

I can’t speak for her, but I believe that Iggy isn’t trying to shelter our children per say, but she does try to protect the collective innocence. Unfortunately, there are the unenlightened among us that clearly misunderstand Iggy’s artistic virtues. Below is an excerpt from saboteur365’s April 27th blog post:

“The one thing these Illuminati creations all have in common, whether they be Iggy, Gaga, Paris, Kim, or others, is their Satanic lifestyles, which they promote through video, music, TV, and film. The message is clear and it’s aimed at children: Worship Satan. Satan will reward you. It’s the Illuminati at work, doing what they do, which is enslaving humanity in its Satanic grip.”

But I don’t want to let some radical fundamentalist nonsense derail my tea review! The Australian(s) is great – it has a dry grass, almost zucchini taste to it, with inviting whiffs akin to boiling spaghetti.


No Mediocre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdsTUfDTEhQ
PU$$Y (listen for the Pus Pus Pus!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As-05Gnihcw
saboteur365’s April Post: http://saboteur365.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/iggy-azalea-a-great-message-for-little-girls-says-good-morning-america/

Flavors: Dry Grass, Spinach, Zucchini

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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82
drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
62 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
253 tasting notes

This is the first Shincha that I’ve tried that actually smelled like grass. That term gets used a lot in describing tea but this really does smell and of course, look like dried cut grass. As I smell deeper, there are a few notes of cream.
I am a little shocked by the 212F temp too but I’m following directions lol.
After I see the wet leaf, it is more understandable the 212F temp. The wet leaves are very strong and I would describe them as semi-waxy. They are very pretty and hearty.
The liquor is a light spring yellow green color and it smells like grass as well.
The flavor is also a touch of grass but there is a cream note in there as well. There is a touch of bitter but it’s an enjoyable bitter not offensive.
I’m glad I’m having this after lunch because I have a feeling there is high caffeine to this and also I want food in my stomach.
Overall, very interesting tea and it’s cool that it comes from Victoria, Australia.

Cool to find a new tea company to check out too because I was not aware of Ito En.

From the Steepster Select Box; September, 2014

Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Grass

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Cameron B.

I’ll definitely have to try this with the recommended parameters and see how different it is. :P

Lee

Yes, you should try a Japanese shincha as well so you can see the difference in the leaves because these are far out. I tried to find which varietal leaf this is on the Ito En site but it doesn’t say. Australia is hot so it is a hearty one for sure.

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88
drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
972 tasting notes

This tea is from September’s Steepster Select box. I was excited to find it there because it seems like a unique region and because I’ve never had a shincha before. The leaves are a dark and rich green with some yellow tones, and they look as if they’ve been rolled up long-ways (as in, rolled along the long edge into long tubes, if that makes sense). Dry scent is sweet and vegetal with some slight grassiness and a nice nutty smell. The directions recommended a 3 minute steep at boiling, which kind of made my eyes bug out of my head. Not knowing whether shincha required vastly different parameters, I asked in Steepster chat, and they thought it sounded insane too. So I did a 1 minute steep and 175 degrees instead.

Once brewed, the tea smells very sweet and creamy with a nice spinach aroma. Oh yum! The vegetal flavor starts out somewhat mild, but somewhere mid-sip it becomes suddenly intense and amazing! There’s a mixture of steamed spinach and butternut squash, and it’s very creamy and sweet. There’s the slightest amount of pleasant mineral flavor, like clean water from a stream, along with a light seaweed taste. The aftertaste is deep, sweet, and vegetal, and it lingers nicely. Super delicious!

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Creamy, Mineral, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML
KiwiDelight

I thought I sent you some Night Shincha from Upton’s…Or was that someone else? (scratches head)

Cameron B.

I guess it was someone else. You’ve been holding out on me! :P

KiwiDelight

I finished it a while ago D:

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83

First steep was quick and colorful with a light almost neon green color and a slightly earthy scent with a burst of green and fresh cut grass after sipping. The tea has a full bodied floral element to it in the background both in aroma and in taste.

I ran the second steep a bit quick to see how the flavors develop but I find it to be a bit astringent on the second pass without as much of the florals or grass. Still a very clean bright color and good taste

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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85
drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
248 tasting notes

This just arrived the other day as part of my Steepster select subscription, so I’m drinking it during a slow day at work. Since I can’t brew it with the recomended directions, I improvised, using an 8oz cup, a finum brew basket, and boiled tap water. I let the water sit for a good 10 minutes to cool off, I’m not a fan of the bitterness that overwhelms the flavor of Japanese-style greens when brewed too hot.

After steeping for 2-2.5 minutes, I decided to see what the aroma was like, and was pleasantly surprised. It actually smells sweetly herbaceous/grassy, and reminds me a bit of when I used to “help” (read – get in the way and slow down the process of) my grandfather make hay on his farm. The flavor is a bit more conventional, grassy and a bit stringent, aftertaste lingers on the hard palate for a good minute and a half. Seems like a good everyday tea, nothing that makes me want to hoard it away (like my golden fleece, that’s only for special occasions), but still better than your average Japanese-style green. I’ll write more after the next steep.

Well, the second steep was fairly bland and generic. Most japanese-style teas lose a lot of flavor quickly, but this went from “interesting” to “upper middle class”. Good, but not great, lost both the astringency and the sweetness, not much else to say.

Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Herbaceous, Sweet

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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14

Big disappointment. Looks and smells wonderful, but tastes like a mediocre teabag on its 6th infusion no matter how hard I brew. At least it was cheap.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 15 OZ / 443 ML

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77

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62
drank Oi Ocha Dark by Ito En
14 tasting notes

much as I love regular Oi Ocha and can drink it all day, this version is just too strong.

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87
drank Oi Ocha by Ito En
14 tasting notes

The best bottled tea I’ve had.

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