Obubu TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea was pretty meh all around, I would say. Now, I’m not saying that because it compares unfavorably to nicer sencha or even gyokuro, because that wouldn’t make sense. This one didn’t stack up particularly well with a couple other similarly-priced and underprocessed teas I’ve tried from Yunomi.
The leaves were very interesting in appearance – you could say ugly or just “different.” They had a crisp grassy and nutty aroma when dry – after the first steep, they smelled like steamed spinach.
The flavor was pretty weak really. Some crisp grassy notes, along with a bit of a green spinach-y flavor. Getting three steeps out of it was a bit of a stretch, but they were all decent tasting. This tea wasn’t much more than drinkable. I think it might have done better on a warm summer morning, but even then I’d likely prefer even a cheap sencha.
Flavors: Grass, Spinach
I got this as a free sample from Yunomi. Very excited to try it… After sitting through it this morning, however, I’ve decided it’s not my cup of tea. I think that it is very good tea, but personally just not my favorite flavor profile.
I started this session with 5g of tea steeped at 140 degrees. The initial cup was sweet and grassy. There was an ever so slight hint of astringency and umami, but both were quite balanced. The overall flavor was of green beans.
The second steep was done at 175 degrees and was surprisingly similar to the first steep. It was overall still sweet, yet still had a strong “tea” flavor without the astringent bite. I realize that is not very descriptive, but it is very hard to describe. Almost the flavor of an astringent tea without the bite of astringency. Perhaps I simply mean a very vegetal tea. Not sure… :)
Finally, the last steep was conducted at 190 degrees. Finally, the tea was a bit more astringent. At the same time, however, it starts to lose its fullness and flavor. It was simply like a cheap astringent green tea. The wonderful flavor profile dissipated quite fast.
Overall, the quality of this tea was quite good and I did enjoy it. I just prefer less sweetness and more bold flavors in my Japanese green teas, or at least I did today.
Flavors: Green Beans, Sweet, Tea
I Haven’t done a non-puerh review in awhile.
I had last year’s harvest, and I think I liked that one more.
The leaf are long thin delicate emerald shards. They carry a sweet and inviting scent of warm grass, seaweed, and a creamy undertone, I dusted off my kyusu and prepared for brewing. I made mine thick, so I can pull more sweetness out. The brew was slightly clouded, but I bright pale jade. The taste is sweet with a lemon finish. The aftertaste presents thick umami which wipes away the citrus tone. I can catch some bitterness and harsh veggies within the body. The final finish is with raw kale; a very strong vegetal tone that strikes with bitterness. I brewed another pot (different leaves) to see if I can spot any other tones, and the brew was mostly consistent with what was previously stated; however, a slight dandelion floral tone was spotted mid sip. I liked this tea, but I do remember 2015 being sweeter, thicker, and less bitter green tones.
Flavors: Bitter Melon, Cream, Dandelion, Grass, Kale, Lemon, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
These leaves look crazy compared to your average sencha! Long leaves with some thick stems mixed in as well. Flavor was pretty different as well. I got a bit of grassiness, but it wasn’t quite the super green umami flavors that I sometimes get from sencha – it was more of a dry grassy flavor. I’m not 100% sure if that’s a result of the clearly different processing of the leaf or if it’s because it’s not quite as fresh as other ones I’ve been drinking. I preferred it with 175F water, as opposed to the 195F temp recommended on the package, but both were good.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Sweet
I’m really liking the senchas from Kyoto Obubu that I picked up on Yunomi. One of their Hojichas was really good too. This might be my favorite sencha yet (I think I might have said that about the last one I tried from them too). I found this one best with a 1m first steep rather than 2m. This had decently large leaves as well, like the Sencha of the Wind. Also, some small print on the bag states “this tea is an aracha (unrefined) version of sencha, the state which tea is sold from the farm to refinement factories.” I’m pretty sure this is a misprint. I’m fairly certain sencha can’t also be aracha…maybe? If it is aracha then I’m super confused lol.
The brewed leaves smelled like nice steamed vegetables, maybe asparagus as another reviewer noted. The first steep was a bit bitter with nutty and piney notes and a sweet grassy honey finish. Reaaaally good. This one was pretty powerful as well. I’m sure it wasn’t just this tea, as I had been drinking quite a bit before this one as well, but I noticed myself just trance out listening to whatever house-type beats my brother happened to be playing for a couple minutes at a time. Good times. Next steep was less bitter, but also not quite as sweet on the finish if that makes any sense. Still grassy, nutty and piney though. Went for another couple steeps, so didn’t quite have the longevity of the Sencha of the Wind, but I’m a sucker for that strength which comes through as a bitter flavor in tea, so if I was forced to choose, I’d pick this one.
I have more from this farm coming in another Yunomi order, including a Sencha of the Summer Sun or something. I wonder what it would be like to drink a blend of Sencha of the Wind, Earth, and Sun…Sencha of Earth, Wind and Fire? Anyways…good tea from Kyoto Obubu! Recommended for sure.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Honey, Nutty, Pine, Sweet
This may be my favorite sencha I’ve tasted so far. Interestingly, the leaves looked quite similar to the aracha I drank earlier today, rather than the more fragmentary look of most of the other sencha I’ve had. I again tried two different steeping methods – one with a longer first steep and then very quick steeps with hotter temperatures immediately, and then one with a shorter first steep and keeping temps down a bit. On this one, I preferred the shorter first steep method.
I don’t know if this is just an association in my brain between the name of this tea and the taste, or if whoever named it just did a good job, but I think a good descriptor for this tea’s flavor is “breezy.” Reading others’ reviews, I had to look up the word “petrichor,” but I think it descries the aroma of the warmed leaves very well. The flavor of this tea was very sweet and grassy. The tea had a thickness to it, but it didn’t feel heavy if that makes any sense. The leaves also just kept on giving. I got five steeps and feel like I could’ve gotten at least one more decent one if I wanted to. At the third steep, the grassiness died off a bit, replaced by a sweet green floral flavor. This is what kept it going for me, that flavor was awesome and didn’t feel like it was about to give out at any point. Good stuff, this.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Grass, Green, petrichor, Sweet
I have taken up fighting games again! So a bit of backstory, not sure the exact cause but a couple years ago my hands decided that playing fighting games and beat’em ups was not going to happen, all that movement was stupid painful. I gave up playing them and just delved deep into watching the pros play them at tournaments, but that seems to have changed. Ben got Killer Instinct on a whim (it has a free character that rotates so you can try it out, which is handy) and I played a bit, and what do ya know, no hand pain! Now I have to get back in shape, maybe in a year of grinding I can go to a tournament and play with the pros! Guess all the hand exercises and Ark playing paid off.
Today I continue on dreaming of spring teas (mine are still slowly making their way to me) by drinking the last of my stash from last year. Presenting Yunomi’s Obubu #4 Sencha of the Earth Spring Green Tea (2015 specifically) I love the names for Obubu’s Sencha, it is their names that has made me go along and try almost all of them, I think I have two left I have not tried yet. This tea is called this because it is made from Zairai plants, and those are tea plants grown from seeds taken from a tea plant before it was recognized as a specific cultivar. These specific plants are over 30 years old, and the strength of the earth is celebrated in the strength of the plants, because tea that tells a story is awesome in my book! They were not kidding when they said this tea is potent, the aroma is sweet like broken hay and sweetgrass with a very tiny touch of cotton (like the plant, not like the fabric) there are also green notes of course, blending edamame, bell pepper skin, and cut bamboo leaves. At the end there is a touch of dried seaweed and rice giving a bit of starchy and sea air quality to it.
I love how vibrant Sencha leaves get once steeped, they go from pine green to summer grass and its so pretty! What I don’t love is the deafening roar of the lawnmower outside destroying my ability to think, one day I will live in a place that doesn’t have grass…my yard will be moss, clover, rocks, and flowers! Anyway, the aroma of the soggy leaves is so green! It smells like crisp bamboo leaves, clover leaves and flowers, edamame, and sea air, it smells to me like summer. The liquid is light and sweet, like clovers and honey with distant cut grass and broken vegetation, it smells refreshing.
The first that that struck me about this tea is the really pleasant mouthfeel, it has body kinda like an Oolong, being thick and smooth. Usually I find Sencha to be fairly light, so this was a fun change of things. The taste starts with a blend of starchy rice and edamame with a gentle sweet quality to it, this moves onto the more expected green notes of broccoli and cut bamboo with just a subtle edge of mown grass adding a subtle bitterness. The finish is distant flowers and sea air, and I am sorry I cannot remember the name of the specific coastal flower I am thinking of, but it is light and a bit like sweet pea flower.
I steeped this tea a couple more times, jacking the heat up and flash steeping it for a double punch of intense sweetness at the front and bitterness at the middle with a lingering honey sweet finish. The thickness of the first steep stuck around which was fun, and later steeps bring out spinach and stronger ocean notes. As much as this was a spring tea it really reminds me of summer, late May when everything is lush and warm but the heat of summer has not started doing its worst yet.
a bit too dusty/bitter tasting for me, but it smells wonderful — flowery, sweet, and after three steepings i ate the leaves with salmon furikake (wish i had rice as well) and that was wonderful. it’s a bit too light with the 160F temperature so i went up closer to 180 for shorter steepings, which is when i got a stronger astringency and vegetal taste.
2015 Autumn batch:
I’m pretty sure this may be different than the past years. The leaf is large for a Japanese sencha.
https://instagram.com/p/9NFnYExYCN/ (middle left)
There are roughly four different shades between the leaf as it is dry as well which looks pretty before being steeped. This is a smooth and easy to brew sencha, but I believe the reason that this would be something to get over the other ‘Sencha of the" series would be it’s slightly less vegetable taste which is replaced with a tiny bit of dryness that reminds me of fall leaves.
I enjoy that the ‘fall’ / ‘autumn’ taste of this tea is not provided by a roasted taste, rather it is done by having the taste of the dry leaf that is somewhat dead; not that this doesn’t taste fresh, one just has to try it.
I ended up drinking all of this within two days and it is one of the few sencha that I have resteeped as well.
Very vegetable and pure. The liquid comes out darker as you rebrew it, which is rare for me to do with sencha. I brewed this three times and was quite happy every single time, it was close to a gyokuro without the buttery texture. The smoothness and size of the leaf of this tea when combined to its color… makes it certain that I will have my first flush sencha from Obubu on preorder come February 2016 :)
Tonight I finished packing over 1.2kg of tea to send out to people to discover new teas :)
What a process that was… however, Netflix helps a lot
Anyways, I was packing this tea up and realized I never actually drank it so I decided that I needed to. WOW talk about an instant flashback… drinking this reminded me of the tea that Japanese tea houses in Tokyo provide when you sit down inside. Normally the liquid is very green and has some bitterness to it because they don’t offer their highest tea or gyokuro but free tea is free tea :)
What I really enjoyed most about this is how pure it is. This is nothing but Japanese bancha and that is something to embrace. It isn’t the best and it isn’t bad, it is simply good. Everyday teas are quite a beautiful thing!
My best friend picked this out of the 4 samples I got from YUNOMI for sencha… unfortunately this one tasted a bit funky. I know I brewed it correctly, and twice at that, however something was off with this tea and I am unable to place it because I describe it as a sour fruit which shouldn’t find its way in a sencha. I believe this is just not as vegetable as I was hoping for a sencha nor was it as light as I like mine.
Generally I like my sencha to be like fresh dew off of a tea plant… which is what gyokuro reminds me of :)
One of my other press samples. It came with an origami crane. :)
Happy Summer. Though I made my first iced tea today, I have still been having it hot. This has a nutty/ roast scent, with some sweetness. The flavour is kinda caramel nut, with a rich roast almost coffee taste. There is a little grain/ toast as well.
Flavors: Caramel, Nuts, Nutty, Roasted, Toasty
HAPPY EARTH DAY!!
I know I’m late :/ I was so swamped yesterday I never even got the chance to sit down. So, better late than never. I picked this tea to celebrate and I chose the perfect brew.
The leaves are small and a rugged green with yellow strands. They seem a lot more rough and slightly dry compared to other Sencha. I gave these small wiry emeralds a short sniff and could hint at spice and autumn. I placed them in my warmed Kyusu and watched as the scent filled my tea room. I brewed up a cup of this delectable earthy brew. It was so pale it almost looked like the spring water I had just poured over these leaves. The taste matched this colour in subtly. It was a fresh vegetal tone with a spice and mineral undertone. It gave me a powerful tingling mouthfeel with soft and warm umami. This reminds me of the smooth tones of the earth. It tastes of early buds, first leaves, young roots, small pebbles, and light ocean waves with a little sunshine. The next brew the flavors aged and became more prominent. The liquor also turned into a serpentine jade. I enjoyed this tea a lot and it succeeded in celebrating the earth! The Obubu Tea Farm will never disappoint.
Flavors: Pine, Smooth, Spices, Umami, Vegetal
My latest sample. Decided to have this while watching anime, and playing Harvest Moon. The tea smells like seaweed, and a little spinach. There is a very seaweed- like flavour as well. It reminds me a little of wakame soup. (Will try again with sushi.)
Thanks for the sample, Yunomius.
Flavors: Green, Seaweed, Spinach
Awesome, another Obubu tea that had yet to be added to the directory. I’m happy to be the first reviewer.
The leaves of this sencha are very tightly rolled and very deep, dark green. I’m brewing about 3g per 100 ml of water in a Tokoname-ware Kyusu. I added 5C degrees each infusion. Half the time on second infusion, then increasing from there.
The scent of the warm leaves in the kyusu reminds me of sweet grass and foliage. As the leaves brew, they have immediately changed to a very bright emerald green. The brewed leaves smell more vegetal and still quite sweet. The tea liquor is a bold yellow, just a tinge green.
The flavor is intense, with a really rich umami and sweetness. There is only a slight bitterness in the finish. A difficult flavor to describe, there’s a bit of a fruity tanginess to it, like berries. I can definitely taste notes of melon, and there are subtle hints of mint or camphor in the aroma. The sweetness and umami of this tea really linger in my mouth, making me salivate quite a bit.
There is a top note that hits just a little bit strong, and combining with the bitterness tastes a bit soapy. It’s not overwhelming, but it could be offputting for some people. The second infusion is a little more bitter than the first, and has a definite melon note.
The third infusion is lighter, sweet and with less bitterness. More of the same flavors.
All in all, a really unique and interesting sencha, definitely one of the best I’ve had from Obubu if you’re not opposed to a bit of refreshing bitterness. This is one I will more than likely purchase again.
Flavors: Berry, Bitter, Melon, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
I received this as a sample from Yunomi.us. This was admittedly my first taste of a bancha but I was pretty impressed. I always read about how bancha is supposed to be one of the lowest grades of green tea so I wasn’t expecting anything that good.
Honestly I did find this to be an extremely drinkable green tea. It had a much lighter green taste as compared to most green teas. It had a slight sweetness to it with some very slight green hints. I may try to steep a bit more at a time next time and see what that produces. Overall this was a pretty good tea experience.
Flavors: Grass, Sweet
This was included in my Yunomi order :)
I decided I should try out some warm water steeping for this, so I gave it a shot. I ripped open this package to take in my surprise. I pour out some astonishing long emerald shards. They vary in color from forest green to a lime topaz. The aroma of these leaves is pure vegetal. This tea evokes growth! I prepare my kyusu for a pleasant brew. The first steeping was a translucent nectar. The syrup was softly sweet with notes of light grass. This brew carried a bright spring scent of a vegetable garden in full swing. The next subsequent brews gained more and more depth. This drink became grassy and full of umami. I was able to get four steepings from these leaves (which is a lot for japanese sencha). I love this tea and I cant wait for this years harvest!
Flavors: Buffalo Grass, Nectar, Umami, Vegetal
Got a brand new teeny tiny Kyusu from Yunomi today! It is perfect for me and my tiny tea needs. Pictures forthcoming!
I used this tea to introduce my new teapot to the world. I couldn’t find my Lotus Farms sincha so, this is one that I chose at random. It was a part of the ‘spring sencha’ sampler pack from Yunomi’s Obubu tea section. And by the way this one looks and tastes, I am real excited to try the rest. The tea was savory and rich. Just like biting into a fresh Napa cabbage. It is slightly nutty, and still really fresh, despite being a sample from tea harvested almost 10 months ago. I can’t wait until the 2015 spring harvests, I hope a newer version of this tea shows up, I would love to taste it side by side. I like my greens on the savory side, and this one is a really good balance between a touch of vegetal sweetness and all out salad buffet
Yay! My computer is kinda fixed! I successfully replaced the broken jack and discovered that I also need a new cord, luckily Ben’s mom has a Toshiba and is letting me borrow her cord for a few. Now I just need to get a new cord, so more waiting, but at least I know it is not a permanent problem. Unlike Ben’s who I am pretty sure has a massive corruption somewhere. I am practically giddy to have my machine back, it might be a real piece of crap, but it is mine and I love it.
So, today we are having a look at one of Yunomi and Obubu Tea’s rather romantic sounding Sencha, Sencha of the Autumn Moon, I just love the names of the various Sencha put out by Obubu, they are just beautiful. You might remember, a while ago I reviewed Sencha of the Summer Sun, it is my goal to try all the beautifully named Sencha, in theory in each season, but I was a little late with this one. So, about the name, this tea was harvested under a bright full moon, specifically the moon in late August early September during Otsukimi, or the Moon Viewing Festival. This festival is celebrated in several Asian cultures and I absolutely love it, personally I mix it up a bit when celebrating by incorporating different culture’s traditions. The aroma of the fairly massive leaves is very green, a mix of edamame, spinach, and a bit of hay and grass. It is not the most complex Sencha I have ever sniffed, but the aroma is strong and a good blend of sweet and green, I enjoy it and can certainly see this being an excellent tea to sniff while focusing on the moon.
Into the Kyusu it goes! Man, I really need a special occasion to bring out the amazing Somayaki Kyusu I have, it is so pretty but needs an unveiling, maybe having the computer fixed will be the occasion. Anyway, the aroma of the now very soggy leaves and stems is a bit nuttier, the edamame and toasted soybeans (I love snacking on those, so good!) aroma taking the forefront, while the spinach, hay, grass, and general green notes take up the rear. The liquid is sweet and green, blending sesame seed candies, hay, grass, and bamboo leaves into a nice green blend. Green is definitely the keyword with this tea, it is one of the most ‘I sniff in colors’ teas I have run into in a while.
The first steep is delightful moonlight pale gold, like a moon coming up over the horizon! The taste is really quite mild and subtle, it might be the most subtle first steep of a Sencha I have run into. The mouth feel is very smooth, it starts off with the green taste of grass and stems, this moves into the very distinct taste of bamboo leaves, and after that we have sweet hay and a finish of edamame that lingers. The first steep is relaxing, I could almost see myself sipping this before taking a nap.
The aroma of the second steep has a very similar feel to the first, balancing green and sweetness, though this time there is more focus on green with a stronger bamboo note and a touch of sea air. Like the aroma, this steep is much more green, with stronger notes of bamboo leaves, a bit of fresh grass, broken stems, fresh spinach, and just a hint of savory kelp. Ah, I do love it when a Sencha has that kelp note, it just makes me happy and reminds me of my much beloved seaweed salad. I enjoyed how mild this Sencha was, I think it will be a perfect addition to my Moon Viewing festival, it has enough of a presence to be noticeable without distracting you from the glorious autumn moon.
The dry leaf smells like an ocean breeze – light and cool, almost misty, with a touch of seaweed and salt.
Steeped, this one has a lot of marine qualities to it – strong seaweed and umami notes. Steeped for 45 seconds, it’s light and cooling. An additional 10 seconds changed it completely, making it very brothlike, with a much thicker body and a more savoury quality. There are hints of spinach and zucchini now.
Quite enjoyable. Less sweet than most of the other senchas I’ve sampled recently.
Edit: Second steep is weird. Tastes like generic fruity flavours and cannabis.
Flavors: Broth, Cannabis, Fruity, Ocean Breeze, Seaweed, Spinach, Umami, Zucchini
This is my 150th review! BOOM! FIREWORKS!
I like to review something special and out of ordinary for my reviews that are multiples of 50, so here’s one I’ve had for a bit that I haven’t gotten around to reviewing.
In Japan, this sakura blossom tisane is called Sakurayu. It’s made by picking fresh cherry blossoms in the spring and preserving them in salt and plum vinegar. The preparation method is a little tricky because of the salt. The method I’ve tried that worked best is to soak the flowers in hot water for about 5 minutes to remove the salt. This should be hot water like you’d draw from the tap. Maybe 140F degrees or less. You aren’t looking to steep the flowers, but to remove the salt. After this, you should put the blossoms directly into your teacup and pour on boiling water. Let them steep another 3 to 5 minutes.
The resulting drink is very light in color, but slightly yellow. The floating blossoms are gorgeous when they open into little fine poofs of pink. The scent and taste are surprisingly more like cherries than I’d imagine. I thought it’d be a bit more floral. I think some of this is actually plum flavor coming from the plum vinegar. There’s a hint of saltiness to this tea that is subtle, but if you save the initial brine from the flower that was soaked in hot water, you can scoop back in a little of this salty and flavorful brine a bit at a time if you want your drink to be a little more salty and flavorful. I personally enjoy it without putting any of this brine back in. It’s very delicate and spring-like.
I have also tried using these flowers to flavor sake. I soaked them in hot water for a few minutes to remove the salt, then put the flowers into my sake carafe and poured some sake in. The carafe was moved to a tall pot of water and then almost brought to a simmer to heat the sake inside. After this, I poured it back into the sake bottle, used a special pump that sucks the air back out, and put it into the fridge for a few hours to chill. I served it chilled and the sake was very sweet with a subtle cherry/floral taste and a really thick creamy texture. There was a tiny hint of saltiness, but it was not as detectable among the sweet flavor of the sake. These petals look just as beautiful in clear (filtered) sake as they do in water, and the flavor is even more delicious, if you like sake.
I really recommend these to any lovers of flowers, cherry trees, cherries, or Japan. This is a soothing spring beverage you can enjoy any time of the year.
UPDATE: I revisited this for the New Year and I found that adding just a bit of sugar really brought out the nice fruity and floral qualities of this and neutralized the saltiness. I only used about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar in a 5 oz cup with two flowers. It was really nice. I think I’ll be using sugar with Sakurayu from here on.
Flavors: Cherry, Flowers, Plums, Salt
Wow, I don’t know if my tastebuds have changed or if there’s just something magic about all these senchas I’ve been trying, but this one also tastes and smells strongly of honey. No complaints, I’m absolutely loving it, I’ve just rarely encountered strong honey notes in teas, and this is three senchas in a row.
In addition to the honey, this also has some strong umami and grass notes, with a noticeable but pleasant bit of bitterness.
The second steep is more bitter and earthy, with less sweetness.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Honey, Umami