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Ito En

Recent Tasting Notes

81
drank Jasmine Green Tea by Ito En
1614 tasting notes

While this certainly doesn’t compete with loose leaf this is hands down the best pre-bottled jasmine green tea I’ve ever had. When I’m traveling I like to stop by Whole Foods and pick up a few bottles to keep in the cooler. It has a very strong floral flavor and scent to it that I like and I find it very refreshing. It is unsweetened and I think it is perfect that way, but I have added honey on occasion when I’m craving something a little sweeter. This is nice at room temperature or iced but I do tend to find this a little more astringent when it is room temperature.

The scent is pleasant, but hard to smell unless poured into a glass. For some reason my bottle of tea smells like maple syrup and this is really messing with my head every time I go to take a drink because it makes me crave pancakes. It also keeps me from smelling the wonderful jasmine scent from my tea.

High Adventure

Girl! This is my favorite. I discovered this in Japan and was thrilled to find it stateside too. The best bottled jasmine I’ve ever tried — consistently delicious.

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91
drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
9 tasting notes

I purchased 2 cans based on the reviews this got. I dont have a strainer so I used a technique I saw on the internet to dry whisk the match in the bowl prior to adding water. This worked famously to remove any clumps! After adding the water and whisking the matcha foamed up perfectly, the color was a dark green. The taste was amazingly smooth with no bitterness. The caffeine kick was amazing. this is a very good everyday usucha for a great price.

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drank Tea's Tea Golden Oolong by Ito En
2272 tasting notes

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This isn’t bad if you are picking up a bottled tea. Now, I drank most of it with a meal of sticky rice and honeyed tempura chicken, so I didn’t get any of the green tea out of it. Even when I drank the last 1/4 there wasn’t any green tea flavor in it.

But the jasmine is a lovely aftertaste. It is a lot of jasmine, but I like knowing that it is there in an aftertaste. Really nice and refreshing. Pleasantly sweet as well.

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68

The rose flavor really hits you in this one so if you aren’t a floral tea fan I would suggest skipping it, it pretty much overwhelms the green tea. I love that this is unsweetened, but it has a slightly bitter taste from the Ascorbic Acid. You’ll find that in pretty much any bottled tea, although I think it is more noticeable in this one.

This is probably one of my favorite bottled teas and I remember how shocked I was when I first saw it. I love rose tea! This one is rather hard to find around here, but I generally keep a couple of bottles in the cooler when we go on road trips. Now that I live up north is is absolutely impossible to find fresh brewed tea at the gas stations and I refuse to stop at McDonalds for tea (my only other option on my route down south.)

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drank Tea's Tea Golden Oolong by Ito En
2272 tasting notes

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drank Tea's Tea Golden Oolong by Ito En
2272 tasting notes

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81
drank Megami Sencha by Ito En
30 tasting notes

When I was going to grad school, I picked up a job working at a beer store the size of a supermarket. I was a craft beer jerk, a snob, one of those guys who sniffs their beer at a bar and writes little notes to themselves and then secretly judges the person next to them based on what they are drinking (or the six-pack they are carrying out of the store). That was my life and my hobby and the only thing I talked about. I thought that working in the “industry” would help me appreciate it more, give me more of an understanding of it and provide me with a feeling that I was somehow contributing to the thing I was so involved and passionate about.

Did I extract information that helped me with beer; the making of it, the tasting of it, the culture of it? No. I stocked shelves. I hated it.

Why am I telling you this? Because apparently, I haven’t learned any lesson from that experience. I recently took a job working in tea. I thought if I immerse myself in tea by talking about it, educating people about it, answering questions about it for people who want to “get into tea” (like I once did), then I would feel like I am contributing to the culture that has given me so much.

It’s not as bad as stocking shelves but its not what I thought it would be. What is, really?

I give people misinformation when they ask me questions, even though I know the real answer. I have to try to get them to buy stuff when they don’t really need it. I tell them its some of the best out there when, really, its some of the same everywhere.

But I appreciate that I get to say I work in the thing I love. I get to try different tea everyday, get to talk to people about tea, and sometimes try to correct (however subtly) misinformation people are provided with (even from the place that pays me to say what they want me to say).

So. Long story short: sorry I’ve been away. Let’s steep.

I am constantly surprised with the selection at Wegmans Tea Bar (or tea areas). Yes, it might all be Ito-En but at least they have lose leaf tea. The Pittsford location has something like thirty teas(!) to choose from, they’re refrigerated, and they look and smell fresh. I got this bad boy from said Tea Bar.

The color is a beautiful lime-ish green, bright but soft. Not neon or highlighter green but close. It also doesn’t look watery. You ever have a green tea like that? One that looks almost creamy when you look at the liquid, not thin or light? Even after the particles drop and collect in a simple sludge at the bottom, the green hue has a slight thickness. Sign of quality or crap, I don’t know.

This is just my opinion but ff someone wonders what you mean by a balanced “vegetal” aroma or taste, I would recommend this type of tea. If you give someone a gyokuro, it might be too much in the vegetal department from 20ish days of letting it sit in the shade. I think this sencha is nice because it not only has that planty, grassy, lightness that a good green has but it also has just a hint of a matching bitterness that is almost imperceptible (probably from the temp. of my water, 170). The mouthfeel matches the vegetal notes and has a hint of weight to it, rather than just a watery thinness. Second steeping was at 140ish and was smoother and had a more mellow mouthfeel.

This is a great green for multiple reasons. It can be a into/intermediate tea to do research on (ex: what is sencha? what is umami? what is the difference between sencha and gyokuro?) when traversing the tea world. I think this is a great sipping tea for morning or afternoon and one that could go well with a meal or alone. I don’t drink a lot of sencha (I stick to Dragonwell as my fallback), but I want to start exploring more of this style of tea because I like the clean, vegetal, lightness of it. It seems very basic but I know there’s a lot going on to make it so simple. All good teas do.

Lastly, if you’ve made it this far (thank you for that…): anytime I drink a pretty high quality green (especially any oolong), my stomach makes CRAZY noises. Not hunger pangs but there’s definitely something going on inside. Does anyone else get reactions from their stomach after drinking tea? It doesn’t hurt or anything.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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drank Tea's Tea Golden Oolong by Ito En
2272 tasting notes

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91
drank Oi Ocha by Ito En
15 tasting notes

Yes! There is one bottled tea that I stand by. Oi Ocha has been my favorite for many many moons, and as far as I get into the tea drinking culture, as far as I advance in the tea industry, as dedicated as I am to the fine nuances of a freshly brewed cup— I LOVE my Oi Ocha. Call it a dirty-pleasure. Call it what you will. Just don’t try and pry it away from me.

Preparation
Iced

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72
drank Japanese Green Tea by Ito En
4 tasting notes

Definitely shocking to try a costco re-branded tea that I really enjoyed. I don’t drink Japanese greens very often, and almost never drink bagged teas, but this is always available at work and occasionally finds its way into my cup.

It’s a nice full bodied green with that tinge of strong vegetal fragrance that you find in Japanese greens. For a bagged tea it definitely exceeds expectations and I’m shocked to say that I’ve really enjoyed it the few times it’s found its way into my mug.

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

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86
drank Sobacha by Ito En
1 tasting notes

Was introduced to soba cha at a soba restaurant called Cocoron and it was a great tea to have with food. I picked this up when I saw it on sale but when I brewed this up it had a different flavor than I remembered.

This tea is much more fragrant and has a stronger flavor as well. It has an extremely nutty scent and taste almost like sesame and peanut. This was also sweeter than what I get in the restaurant so I will end up treating this more like a dessert tea.

This might not be for everyone but if you enjoy nutty/grain based teas then give it a try.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Jasmine Green Tea by Ito En
2272 tasting notes

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94

I always keep this handy in between drinking hot tea. I enjoy the robust flavor. It tastes of fresh teas and doesn’t have that flavor some other RTD teas have. Highly recommended for those who like a stronger RTD.

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35
drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
54 tasting notes

Wow! what a difference the chasen makes to matcha! def. worth every yen i spent on it!!!!!! <3

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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35
drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
54 tasting notes

I tried brewing 1/2 tsp in 4oz 140 degree water. Whisked with milk frother. first sip was a huge hit of astringency. I must has miss-measured the temp of the water or something. HAD to add milk today. whew! I was prepared to drink it straight to day but alas it was not to be.
maybe next time. when I have a chasen.

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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35
drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
54 tasting notes

I have to cans from PRD 03/02/2012.
My first experience with real matcha. I love it. I have been whisking it in 4oz hot water and then adding 8oz warmed milk and whisking with a stick milk foamer. I found it is better without sugar. I have been trying a sip or two of the tea just after is is whisked to get more used to the flavor. At first it tasted too bitter/grass/sour. At first i thought i needed to get used to it, but it turns out that if i add the right temp of water i love it. I like it whisked in water that is a bit cooler 120-145. 145 is the highest that i can go before i can’t stand it.
If you try this matcha and don’t like it, please try it again with a different water temp. break out the thermometer and take notes to see what temp you like.

Preparation
145 °F / 62 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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84
drank Uji Kabuse by Ito En
30 tasting notes

Picked this up at Wegmans in Penfield, NY. Stored properly in a large, airtight metal bin. Labeled as a Wegmans brand yet Ito En’s products match word-for-word every tea on the shelf in the store. Strange.

Listening to Bon Iver, thinking about a girl who probably isn’t thinking about me. It’s ok. It happens. Tea to the rescue.

Mildly grassy but not “liquified grass clippings”. Minimal vegetal tone at first but it disappears. The mouthfeel is light and the lingering but subtle creaminess that rests on the pallet is quiet and calming. It’s like the volume for the taste is set at 4 and the aftertaste slowly turns the dial back down to 1. A relaxed, midday tea, possibly a good choice for those trying green tea for the first time who want a little smoother endnote. Me? I’m just happy to sit here and let this nice and subdued tea do it’s quiet little thing that it does so well.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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88
drank O~i Ocha Ryokucha by Ito En
4 tasting notes

I just recently tried this tea for my daily work tea. It’s really good and as I usually steep the tea bag twice the taste lasts even for the second time. If you know Japanese the Haiku added on the back are a nice addition as well :)

I would recommend this tea to anyone that loves green tea.

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

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84
drank Tea's Tea Golden Oolong by Ito En
658 tasting notes

I think this stuff is great. I bought two bottles but was pretty convinced I was going to be disappointed/weirded out by them. Not so. They went fast. It’s actually very clean-tasting and refreshing: straight-up strong-brewed oolong flavour. It’s also one of the only not-water bottled beverages I feel comfortable drinking. I wish I could find more places that stock this!

Geoffrey Norman

I wonder if this is brewed with Japanese oolong. ponders

Jessie

Interesting ponderance! I only have experience with a few Japanese oolongs, all of which were exceedingly dark.

Tina S.

Oooh, this sounds interesting!

Jessie

It is! I wish it was sold more widely. I’ve only seen it at T&T Supermarket.

Tina S.

I suspected that’s where you found it! :D

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56

Sigh… Another sleepless night, this is the second time this week. I suppose it has something to do with my habit of drinking tea late at night, it’s just a hard thing for me to give up because I really enjoy doing that. Night time is my time of peace when I can truly be alone and savor my tea. Soo, I’m now on the hunt for some kind of decaf or herbal alternative. I’m just a little weary of decaf teas and I’ve never been all that fond of herbals for the most part. So hit me guys, what are some of your favorite decafs or herbals?

Anyways, the review. Hehe. Not much to say about this one, it’s alright I guess. Not great, ever so slightly above teabags in flavor. Easy to overbrew and it seems to have some acidity to it which I’ve never really experienced in tea before. But this is the first tea I’ve had from Ito En that let me down, I would still recommend their teas overall, especially their higher quality Japanese greens.

And now I wait for the rest of the Steepster world to get up because I have nothing better to do… :)

gmathis

Rooibos and honeybush blends are good evening teas—they’re a little bit “heavy” in taste and texture if you’re trying to fool yourself it’s real black tea.

The only tisane ingredient that I truly think assists me with relaxation/sleep is tulsi, and I suppose it’s a bit of an acquired taste.

Michelle

At night, I sometimes do a chamomile-spearmint-lavender-rose blend with a bit of local lavender honey, but I also find that I usually want to drink black or pu’erh teas at night… and then suffer the consequences!

Batrachoid

Oswego (or any plant in the monarda genus) is a great tea substitute in terms of taste. Fresh hops, passionflower, lavender and chamomile all help with sleep. Personally, bancha or genmaicha is usually the comforting brew before bed I need.

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75
drank Golden Oolong by Ito En
600 tasting notes

A review of Golden Oolong (unsweetened) Tea by Ito En

After another long walk, I am very thirsty and decided to have some Oolong iced tea. I took a tall glass and fill it with ice and after shaking the tea from the bottle slightly I pour it into my cup with ice. I notice that the tea’s color is a golden glow; similarly to the packaging.

As I taste this tea, it makes me think of cantaloupe and I am not sure why. I continue to sip this tea and read the bottles’ label: The tea leaves used for this Golden Oolong are flowery, fragrant Huan Jin guei “Golden Cinnamon”, and hearty and ripe Tie guan yin “Iron Goddess”. Oolong tea is semi oxidized, making it unique from green and black teas. Enjoy its robust and clean taste.

I am happy that I purchased this tea at the Japonaise Café when I last visited them. I am sorry that I did not purchase the Jasmine Tea that they had as well. Anyhow, I have sampled two teas by Ito En and they have both been very good teas.

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94

Silky.
Smooth.
Vibrant.
Fresh.
Vegetal.
Invigorating.
Energizing.

Man, I sure do love me some Japanese green tea.

Kashyap

i like your almost koan-like succinct expression

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