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Recent Tasting Notes
I have some loose leaf houijcha at work but I wanted some today at home, so I picked up this little package of 10 teabags in Japantown. This is a mesh teabag which is a little bit better than the paper ones. This houijcha is made from roasted sencha.
The instructions on the package say to steep for 30 – 60 seconds, but that seemed a bit light so I ended up going for 90 seconds in the end. The aroma is delightful and flavor is pretty good. It has a very caramel, burnt sugar flavor but I’m detecting a tiny bit of vegetal bitterness in the finish. The other houjicha I have is a loose leaf from Den’s Tea that’s made out of roasted bancha. I have to say I prefer the Den’s version because it is sweeter and more aromatic (and it’s loose leaf, which makes a difference as well). But this is still a nice everyday tea, and good for the evening because there’s less caffeine. I need to try cold brewing it sometime! Yummy!
A nice dependable genmaicha, not my favorite that honor goes to genmaicha with some matcha thrown in, but still very dependable. It isn’t the gold genmaicha so I would like to try that as well, I’m sure it has some fancy sencha or something. I first had this tea in one of my favorite sushi places and I still want sushi with it every time I make it at home.
Appearance: dark (almost forest) green broken leaves with some golden yellow pieces. I really like the color of a shincha – it just seems like green tea is supposed to be this green. Liquor: mossy green. The liquor is more green than a lot of Japanese greens – hooray for the freshness (April 2012 harvest). Like most sencha there is some sedimentation, so a good strainer is recommended. Smell: very vegetal, with creamy high notes. Having lived in Japan, the smell of sencha is powerfully nostalgic. Taste: again, very vegetal, like spinach almost, but it’s sweet, creamy, and has nice nutty (chestnut) undertones. The aftertaste is grassy but only mildly astringent. I like the grassiness of a Japanese green, and this is a great example. Overall I’m really happy I was in Japantown recently to see this one. 9/10.
The aroma of the dry leaf is very grassy, like freshly-cut grass. The flavour is… awwww I screwed this one up too :( It’s sharp and astringent, definitely on the grassy side. I obviously used a bit too much leaf or infused a touch too long (probably the former, I used 1.5tsp instead of the recommended 1). It’s not terrible, but clearly could be better. Guess we’ll see what infusion two brings, although it looks like I won’t get to that tonight, and my experience with fresh greens is that they don’t do well the next day… so it might be a second freshly-brewed first infusion that I rate, now that I think about it.
Thanks for the sample, LiberTEAs!
ETA: Second infusion (170F/1:30, the following evening) is nothing too special. I don’t know if it’s lingering flavours in my mouth, or the fact that the tea sat for a day, but it’s not great. I will definitely have to give this a good second attempt later.
I’m new to loose leaf green teas, and have been trying different Chinese varieties. Picked this Japanese green up at lunch, just brewed my first pot. It is so much more complex and interesting than other greens I have tried. I can taste the “green” of the tea, it is well-balanced, and has a sweet caramel finish. To me, it is to other teas I have had, what a fresh micro-brewed ale is to a can of Budweiser.
having been drinking green tea for years leaf and tea bag I find Shiki Matcha powder by Maeda-en a very great tea in the morning [2 scoops-75ml water 80c and ashot of lime juice about 20ml ] also contacted Maeda-en in Japan to find a supplier in Glasgow as its hard to get here,give it a go , you wont regrete it
I have tried to make matcha I want to be able to make matcha – I watched videos, I read steepster reviews, I am seeing conflicting information and so I went for it and did 1/4 c water 2 scoops matcha powder that didnt work was too dark and murky and tasted odd. ( I have had matcha a few times so have a little bit of an idea what it should taste like ). Then I tried less matcha more water … no go. I just don’t know what I am doing wrong and which video or review to believe on how to make it. No rating – not the matcha’s fault. I also tried two different brands this and one from enjoyingtea.com
This is a solid green-tea that is readily available at your local Japanese super market (assuming you have a local Japanese Supermarket-fortunately I do). I haven’t really ventured out into online buying for my Japanese greenteas as I like to support my local Japanese stores, but I am thinking about trying what the internet has to offer pretty soon.
Having said that, I’ve drank sen-cha and houji-cha almost exclusively for my whole entire life, given the fact that I am half-Japanese. The stuff that we usually get gets shipped straight from Japan and is some pretty good stuff- nothing pretentious- just good clean straightforward high quality green tea.
Mae-dan provides a close substitute for when we run out of the HQ (high-quality) stuff. It has pretty clean taste, with what I can identify as a somewhat “frothy” taste to it. This usually signifies a high theanine content, which is supposedly what relaxes you to counteract the caffeine jitters you may encounter when drinking coffee.
This is a green tea I would recommend if you want to make green-tea a normal staple of your tea diet. It’s not gonna blow your sock off, but its solid, and its made with pretty good quality at a reasonable price.
Great tasting Gyokuro easily available in any Japanese market. The tea comes in a sealed 3oz foil bag. Sadly there is no way to re seal the bag so a tin or resealable foil bag is needed to preserve this.
When opening the small bag, you’re instantly hit with a very nice sweet grassy aroma, very fresh and very pleasant. As to be expected from a prepackaged tea, the dry leaf is made of small flat needles with lots of dust and broken pieces. The color of the dry leaf is stunning, with a rich vibrant green color.
I brewed this tea in a Japanese Kyusu according to Maeda-En’s instructions of 140-160F water and 2-3 min steep time.
This gave me a bright vivid green cup with a very sweet aroma and steamed veggie undertones. The tea was very sweet and grassy, with nutty hints, and a very subtle astringent finish. I re-brewed this tea with slightly hotter water and gave me a stronger flavored cup with a more astringent finish and a much more vivid green cup.
Overall this is a great green tea for those looking to taste the difference between sencha and gyokuro. While obviously not the best quality, it is a great everyday gyokuro as it is not very expensive ($18-$20 according to Maeda’s website but many Japanese markets sell this for a much cheaper price. I was able to get this tea for about $13) and great for those new to gyokuro (as you know, gyokuro is very special in the way it likes to be brewed). This was one of the first gyokuros I ever had and ever since I opened the small foil pouch, saw the vivid color of the leaf and tasted the delicious sweet brew, Gyokuro instantly became one of my favorite green teas.
A soothing genmai-cha. Very mild green tea flavor, this is very nutty and popcorny and is sitting well with me on this foggy afternoon. I can’t say I’m thrilled or excited by it but does anyone get that feeling with genmai-cha? There is matcha powder in here along with sencha… It works for me. :)
Sometimes I wonder if Maeda-en is like the Lipton of tea in Japan?
In any case this is a good basic tea for me which I have been drinking for years, I get it in Japantown and the price does not break the bank. I like the toasty, nutty flavor here which goes nicely sometimes as a breakfast drink when I want something mild.
I received this sample a while ago (about a year ago?) … had it stashed away and forgotten until going through my stash last night.
This is a pretty decent Gyokuro – certainly impressive for a bagged tea. Light and clean, very fresh tasting – especially noteworthy since I’ve held on to this for a year.
The first time I tried this tea more than two years ago, I despised it! I couldn’t stand it! My, how my taste buds have changed in that time.
My impression now is similar to Maeda-en’s other teas. It tastes more standard than premium to me.
Again the tea leaves are chopped too finely. The flavor is still good. It’s an authentic sencha. But I can’t taste any of the matcha notes in it. Overall, I’m underwhelmed.
If you’ve never tried green tea before, this is a good place to start. It’s a cheap way to discover if you’ll like other more robust green teas.
This is more of a standard houjicha than a premium to my taste buds. The pro: pure houjicha with no added flavorings.
Yes, it comes in a pyramid shaped bag. But I’ve never been convinced that makes much of a difference. The tea leaves themselves were minced into such tiny pieces, it was like dust. That’s a turn off for me. I think more whole leaves would create a richer flavor in the brewed tea.
If you’ve never had houjicha before, then this is definitely one I would recommend. It’s subtle in flavor and aroma and won’t overwhelm you. It’s nothing like other green teas.
Because the green tea leaves are roasted in houjichas, they have a completely different color and flavor from senchas. So, if you’ve had sencha and despise it (like me), don’t give up on all green teas!
Maeda-en Gold Genmai-cha has been a staple in my cupboard for most of my adult life, and is an all time favorite. I like it in the evening, when I am just winding down, and is one of my favorites to drink when eating light Asian foods. Veggie Sushi, brown rice and veggies or a simple mushroom soup go well with this tea. In fact, pouring this over a bowl of rice and veggies makes for one satisfying meal. Real comfort food.
I found an interesting chocolate bar that scremed “matcha match!” the second I saw it: Rightously Raw’s Maqui Rose Truffle bar. Especially since it’s made with raspberry powder, rosehip powder, Himalayan pink salt, rose powder…Tons of tart red, basically, like Madegascan chocolate. Shiki is the natural match ( given what’s on hand).
Whoo! The chocolate was almost too tart, like a rosehip truffle. Though trying this matcha as koicha out of curiousity made it mellow with the grain and grassness.!
Maeda-en now has “Universal/usucha” and “Ceremony” grades but at a slight price difference which made me think there isn’t much of a difference. Since this came out as wheat sweet and fairly smooth, I think it’s safe to say the universal suffices.
Especially since it now has an amazing raw truffle bar to harmonize with. =)
Having a cup of this after dinner. Lovely! Here’s my full-length review: http://www.teareviewblog.com/?p=13568