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Recent Tasting Notes
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
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.
The Early July TeaLog Catchup !
So I wanted a plain green tea late at night and wasn’t sure I wanted multiple infusions. When, I don’t know why, I remembered these teabag samples included with the tin of Shincha I won from them. So I took them down, looked through them, and selected this one because two of the others were toasty roasty kinds and the third was sencha which I’ve had been before and are usually nice but not great to me. So I selected the Gyokuro, not knowing anything about it.
The teabag packet had no steeping instructions so I pulled up the Maeda-en website on my phone and easily got them off there. Plus I noted that they described gyokuro’s as rich, grassy, and savory. I opened the packet and omg did that teabag smell good! Rich! Savory! But most seaweedy / kelpy than grassy to me.
I steeped it in 8oz of water instead of the recommended 6oz. Both the first and second steeps were plenty strong. I sipped. OMG sushi restaurant tea!! Awesomesocks!! I drank it, I resteeped, I drank that. I resteeped again in the morning. But that steep was more water than tea. Maybe if I hadn’t let the bag sit overnight it wouldn’t have been.
I want more of this tea. Either in bagged form or loose leaf. It would be so good to drink with Asian takeout.
2nd steep: 3 mins, 165 F
3rd steep: left bag in cup
Rating: 60 (good bagged tea range)
Maeda-en web site indicates 1 tbsp of leaves, brewed in 9-12 ounces of hot water (160 to 190), for 1 minute, but their packaging indicates 1 tsp of leaves, brewed in 8-12 ounces of hot water (160 to 190), for 1 minute. I veered towards a stronger brew.
Dry leaf: A mild sweet green aroma, with a deep green color. Leaves finely broken up.
1st Brew: 4 teaspoons tea leaf for 8 oz of water at 180, brewing 1.5 minutes. Tea Liquor is a cloudy yellow with mild green color. the aroma is sweet. Slightly pungent, mild flavor.
Infused Leaf: is finely broken and falls to bottom at a good rate.
2nd Brew: 6 oz of water at 180, brewing 2.5 minutes. Tea Liquor is a cloudy yellow with mild green color. the aroma is sweet. Mild flavor. At back of palate nice vegetal flavor lingers.
3rd Brew: 6 oz of water at 190, brewing 3.5 minutes. Tea Liquor is still cloudy yellow with mild green color. very slight sweet aroma. Flavor mildly earth. Slight astringency.
Note: Acceptable, very economical Fukamushi in a pinch, although not very exciting, deep or lively.
Went with the boyfriend to a place called “Rollboto” where you can make your own sushi. Sort of like a Chipotle but sushi style. I also picked up this green tea as a drink because it looked exotic. Of course, afterwards I do some homework and realize its quite common (and cheap) but no big.
Tea was not bad. There was definitely a roasted quality to it that I wasn’t expecting especially since the bag made no mention of it. I prefer more straight greens, but it’s definitely drinkable.
What amazed me was that I got 3 good steepings out of this puny bag. Okay, more like 2.5 since the third was kinda weak, but for a measly tea bag I’ll take it.
Rating 95, 10-29-2012 :
This was my Go To Everyday Tea. It is very reasonably priced for its rich flavor palate. +- 5.50 US dollar for 5.3 oz
1st Infusion: A rich green grassy aroma. The 1st brew is very satisfying, with a slightly woody upper palate. Tannin upper palate taste is also present. Delivers every time a rich, deep, complex palate.
2nd Brew: I use slightly hotter water +-190 and let it steep 5 minutes. A slightly milder taste but still complex, mossy green color.
Update for December 2012 purchase:
I had rated this tea at 95, but unfortunately I bought two packages of this tea in December which were very disappointing. Possibly I got two very old dried out batches (although the package indicates best by 04Nov13. I may call the company to find out how to read the packaging date. This had been my go to everyday green tea. The last two batches were subpar not tasting green at all rather more like brown boring tea. I will try another package later in the Spring. Now I am on the prowl for other everyday sencha’s.
This is an excellent new crop tea. I wish I had more, highly recommended. I enjoy my green teas somewhat strong so steep longer than most. Also, for the past year I’ve chosen to enjoy almost exclusively quality Japanese Senchas.
1st Brew ; A light delicate very young green flavor. It has a mellow slightly earthy sweetness, with upper palate flavor and very slight bitter after taste (if brewed strong). Color of the brew is lime to mossy green depending on strength. The tea is very fine and young so leaves settles at the bottom of the vessel nicely.
2nd Brew; lighter but nicely green and sweet. Leaves a desire for greater depth, but has nice green after taste on upper palate. Sweetness in mouth. Still lime green color.
We usually get this tea for my work. Everyone really enjoys it instead of their usual cup of coffee. I like it was well but for me the taste is a little bit too bitter and “roasty”. All in all it’s not a bad tea! When it’s on sale at Japanese Market’s it’s well worth it :)
This tea is noted as steering me to the other side of the tea world. Away from black tea bags from my early upbringing (of which was not the end of the world, it still was pleasant and exposed me to tea at an early age), to the wonderful experience of loose leaf.
For some reason, I love Sencha! Its hard for me to relate to the distaste that some have for the more grassy notes. That is one of the things that draws me to green teas in the first place!
Its nice sometimes to get away from the fermented, flavored and roasted teas. Back to the beginning and the basics, where one finds green tea with many of its fine qualities.
This tea does not disappoint! It may not be the highest grade in all of the know world, but it certainly isn’t the lowest either. Its a nice in between, everyday type of tea. It carries many of the beautiful qualities that you would expect to find while drinking a green tea. Smooth, certainly vegetal and will bite back if you forget about it and either steep it too long or use a higher water temperature. There is a definite clarity of mind and pure natural energy to give you the extra pep needed to finish the day.
There is no reason to overlook this fine green tea, if you are needing an economical cupboard filler for an everyday use! You won’t regret it.
I tend to steep this Houji-Cha a little longer than the 30 sec recommended time. I prefer: 2 min 30 sec @ 175 degrees Fahrenheit. This produces a pale amber colored cup, with a light honeysuckle nectar with a lasting toasted almond notes. Reminds me of a weaker Phoenix Dan Cong oolong; also, lingers like some the dark teas (pu-erhs). This is a great option for one that wants to mix it up a bit and still stay with a straight tea.
Tea of the afternoon here. I wonder if houjicha has significantly fewer health benefits than regular green tea due to the roasting process. I couldn’t find any more information about that by doing a quick Google search; if anyone knows, please enlighten me.
Anyway houjicha is a great afternoon tea for me and this variety by Maeda-en is fairly good. I’ve had a few other houijchas that seem slightly sweeter but I’m enjoying it today. It’s also good with soymilk.
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.