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Recent Tasting Notes
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
The packaging changed for this matcha so I guessed Maeda-en changed the blend too. I don’t have any old to compare side by side but the usucha from this batch (with “Universal Quality” under “matcha” ) seems a little duller and rougher. It’s bright green and has the same grain and grass notes I remember. Larger lower quality batch for a growing market? I’ll have to check. Still very good for the price.
After such luxurious tea yesterday I went back to basics: BBC news and sencha. I made a second cup and threw in some lavender and spearmint for economical variety and I still crave lavender. Not bad, the crispness of the spearmint laced them together since this isn’t a very buttery sencha that loves lavender.