Obubu TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
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 Solstice everyone! This was my choice to sit on my patio and enjoy. I absolutely love all of this company’s green teas. This one was not an exception. The dry leaf consists of very dark and faded green. This isn’t as vibrant as most of their spring harvests. I was discouraged at first by the leafs color, but I could tell it will be a treat by the aroma. The long dark green leaves carried a smooth deep umami and vegetal aroma. I placed these inside my warmed kyusu and shook them up a bit. The scent from my brewing vessel was very light. I could hint at fresh vegetables wrapped with a light floral tone. I brewed these up with very delicately heated water. The steeped leaves deepened to a robust spinach scent. The liquor was a pale iridescent jade. The initial sip was fantastic. This is truly a spring fiery brew. The flavor is light and floral with just the right amount of vegetal and umami. This brew carries a sweet honey undertone and is deeply refreshing. The brew became deeper and more full of darker tones as the steeps increased. I was able to pull three flavorful steepings out of my kyusu. This was a perfect smooth and beautiful brew for this summer solstice.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Smooth, Umami, Vegetal
Origin: Obubu Tea, Kyoto, Japan
Harvest: Summer 2014
So I received a new houhin from O-Cha and decided to break it in with this Sencha. I haven’t been that impressed with many of the Japanese teas I’ve had this year even though Senchas are probably my favorite kind of tea, so I was a little cautious about this tea even though it is from Obubu Tea being sold by What-Cha.
Dry Leaves: I think this is a machine harvested, judging by some of the smaller tea leaves. This isn’t as uniform tea as I like for Sencha, there are quite a few bits that would not stand out from Long Jings, while others are tightly coiled and sill there are some smaller fragments. I wasn’t too impressed by the leaves, but they had a lovely green bean aroma and a nice spectrum of colors. There were more yellows and blues in my sample packet.
Brewing Time: One Minute
Aroma: Vegetal and Camphor
Flavor: Sweet Grass, Seaweed and Spinach
Tasting Notes: The first steeping was bitterer then I expected, although I did not find it entirely unpleasant, at first I thought I used more tea leaves then I should have, but in subsequent infusions the tea started to shine. Besides the bitterness this first infusion felt very much like a run of the mill Sencha.
Brewing Time: One and a half Minutes
Flavor: Wet Grass, Vegetal, Hay, Citrus and Savory Bitterness
Tasting Notes: While it wasn’t as bitter as the previous infusion, it still had some bitterness, although it became much more pleasant. I was quite surprised, while I wasn’t that shocked to find a Japanese tea with some initial bitterness, I was amazed by how quick it became pleasant. Otherwise it started to develop a sweet finish.
I was quite fond of this infusion even though I liked the previous, this time it had a nice balance.
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Flavor: Grass, Savory Bitterness, Buttery and Sweet
Tasting Notes: It became much more simple than the previous infusions, and not as nuanced, although it was still quite pleasant. Even though the flavors were not as complex or as crisp as previous infusions, this was my favorite of the three infusions.
Overall I was impressed with this it was rather enjoyable for a summer tea. And at $8.80 for 50g (at the time of writing this) it is well worth the price. I am not sure if I would recommend this tea unless someone was familiar with Japanese greens. I haven’t had many summer senchas that start out as strong as this one then become sweeter in subsequent infusions which was a rather interesting transition for a sencha. While it may not be a daily drinker for everyone, it certainly s for me I can easily see myself buying more of this as my morning tea. I got about five infusions out of this tea although I might stop at four the next time.
After hike tea – I am trying to get back into shape and have been walking more but today it was a super intense hike. I am tired and wish I could kick back with some wine but I still have things to do today.
So tea it is ;)
This came from my Obubu sampler pack, I found it in my box of samples. I thought I finished the Obubu samples a while ago but found this one. This is a really delicious green tea, though it reminds me more of Chinese green tea than of a deep steamed Japanese green. It is yellow-ish gold in color and has a nutty flavor along with deep vegetal notes, a bit like a dragonwell. There is a mild bittersweetness in the finish. Something about it seems very soothing, which is good because I wanted a little boost but don’t want to be awake all night. A nice one from Obubu! I’d consider getting more of this sometime.
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
Thank you, Zack S., for this tea!
Opening the bag of this tea I loved how rich and earthy it smelled. I couldn’t believe how dark the leaves were-everything about this tea seemed to say that this was a black tea.-even when brewed up. But alas, I looked it up on the website and it is indeed a green tea. Apparently it is virtually caffeine free due to the roasting process, so I saved this tea until after work around supper time. I’ve been trying to work 6 days/week in order to pay off my credit card and save money and although I do not work a physically demanding job, I do need a pick me up after work. This is nice because it’s “real” tea (i.e not a tisane) but without caffeine. I love the depth of flavour and the smokiness. My only concern is if my stomach can handle it- it does have a bolder flavour and sometimes my stomach can react poorly to certain foods/drinks. I’ll keep an eye on my stomach, but I’m definitely going to continue drinking this as an after work pick me up. Love it.
Flavors: Smoke, Wood
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.
Only two untried Yunomi samples after this.
The dry leaf is very dark green and needle like, varying in size from 2cm pieces to small flakes. It smells a bit nutty and oceanic, in a way that leans toward being rich rather than light and breezy.
I steeped 2.8g, which was roughly 1tsp (whhhhy does the packet say 5g/1tsp?? These are not even close to being equivalent!) in an 8oz cup, with 80C water. Initially steeped for 30 seconds and then added another 10, for a total of 40s, which is plenty.
Steeped the liquor is a medium golden yellow and quite clear. The liquor smells like grass and honey, while the steeped leaf smells of seaweed.
On the palate this is predominantly honey with some nutty notes. There’s the characteristic vegetal notes of sencha but they are not as pronounced as they usually are – they mostly pop up in the finish, as a bit of a green tang. This is very sweet and really delicious. If I take a big gulp, there’s a brothy quality at the back of my throat and peas on the finish, but small sips don’t carry those notes.
I feel like a lot of the Japanese greens I have tried lately have had strong honey notes. I’m not sure if this is just the teas I’ve happened to select, or if my palate has changed (though I don’t think it has – I haven’t been noticing a lot of honey in other teas.) This leads to a lot of them feeling rather similar, and I think I’d have to sample them side by side to really pull out the differences or pick a favourite. But, I’m not complaining – honey is one of my favourite notes in tea, and all these samples have renewed my interest in Japanese greens. This is a dimension that I hadn’t previously experienced in sencha.
Flavors: Broth, Green, Honey, Peas, Seaweed, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal
This is the last of the Obubu sampler I got around to trying. I have to say this may have been my least favorite of their Houjicha. Despite it is made from a higher quality leaf, in this case their Sencha of the Summer Sun rather than bancha, the flavor did not seem more enjoyable to me. This Houjicha Gold is dominated by top notes. Everything registered really high and light on the patate. The darker tones I am used to enjoying with houjicha weren’t there and the body seemed very thin. I got some of the sunflower seed notes and a bit of other light hay-like flavors, but there was also a very strong ashy flavor like cigar ash that resulted even after brewing for only 1 minute with a 2.5g/100ml ratio. To me this tea tasted overly roasted. It’s strange because one of the teas I like more from Obubu is their Dark Roast Houjicha, which despite being roasted more heavily seems to have more mellow notes with a hint of sweetness among the roasty tastes.
Having glanced at some of the other reviews here, I’m kind of surprised I didn’t experience any of the caramel or floral-like notes. Having had Sencha of the Summer Sun before I would have expected some interesting more fragrant notes, but they weren’t present for me.
UPDATE: I have just learned that houjicha is usually brewed for 30 seconds instead of 1 minute, so I will write another review of this when I have more of this tea and can brew it for less time. I plan to order the Obubu Tea Sampler again soon because I enjoyed so many of the teas in it.
Flavors: Ash, Roasted
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
I got up this morning and set my table to entertain a day of Japanese tea, only I had to go out this morning and clean the house when I returned which means it’s coming up to 2pm and I have yet to taste some tea. I’ve decided to forget the other tasks I need to do until dinner time so I have an afternoon and early evening of tea. (Yay!)
Sencha of the Spring Sun sounds beautiful and warm. In appearance the Sencha is dark green with some light green stems and a high gloss. They are a mixture of small pieces and long pieces, all dry and sharp looking. It has a sweet (yet slightly astringent) scent with floral sweet pea, fresh grass and hay tones.
Tea – 5g
Water – 80 C
Volume – 180ml Futanashi Tokoname
Over three steeps
First Steep – 30 seconds
A warm juniper and fresh cut grass scent shines through. Flavour is mild, sweet and very fresh with grass and floral tones with some lightly toasted hay towards the after taste. Particularly sweetpea and mild but fresh seaweed.
Second Steep – 10 seconds
More vegetal tones are becoming present as it becomes stronger. Seaweed, sweetpea, fresh grass and broccoli being notable. A touch of astringency and dryness though nothing dramatic.
Third Steep – 30 seconds
More astringent and dry though remains sweet and with flavour. The astringency makes it more perfumed rather than being plain astringency.
A nice Sencha overall that has lingering after tastes and an abundance of flavours suitable for many steeps. Not the smoothest or highest quality but perfect for every day drinking.
Plus a side note – the sun came out while I was drinking this which was a nice touch, it shone down strong enough to make it feel like Spring again. I will carry on steeping this while I watch Hellfighters (with John Wayne), my nan used to love John Wayne and watching his films reminds me of her.
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
My first try with this tea was so light it was barely worth commenting on. I steeped 2.5g in 8oz of 60C water and no matter how long a steep, I didn’t get much flavour from the leaves.
This time around, I tried 3.5g in 80C water, and it’s much, much better. The liquor is yellow and smells sweet. The flavour is a bit grassy, but more sweet, dry hay than fresh cut green grass. There’s nutty notes, and maybe a hint of kale and honey.
I’m really enjoying this cup a lot. Easy to drink, complex but still delicious if you’re sipping absentmindedly.
Edit: Holy smokes. I steeped a second cup from the same leaves and forgot about what I was doing. This cup was much more vegetal, noticeably astringent (but not unpleasantly so) and just bursting with honey flavour. What an interesting development, particularly for a sencha!
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Hay, Honey, Kale, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal
The dry leaf is long, deep green and needle like. It has a delicate smell that is a hint petrichor, and cool, wet vegetation. Much less grassy and umami than is common in a sencha.
Steeped in 60C water, the liquor is a very pale, yellow green. At one minute there was a hint of sweetness and grass, but still that hot water taste. I steeped for an additional 30 seconds and then 30 seconds again, for two minutes total. At two minutes there’s a bit of a grassier and umami note that develops, but this is still very delicate and mild, with a smooth, creamy mouth feel.
I’m not sure if I underleafed this. Yunomi’s directions say 1tsp/5g per cup, but those are not equivalent measurements. I was planning on using 1tsp, but because of the length of the leaves, I was having a hard time scooping some out of the bag. So I pulled out my scale and shook some out. 2.5g was nearly 2tsp, which is what I ended up using.
I still have a fair bit of my sample left, so maybe next cup I’ll use more leaf or try brewing at a higher temp.
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, petrichor, Sweet, Umami
Woo, this is my last untried tea from Yunomi! This one was a free sample that they included with my recent order. I wasn’t expecting a sample and I was very pleasantly surprised to see the little kraft packet! I will say, I very much enjoy Yunomi’s new branding, it’s so clean and graphic! And their new sample packets are cute too, and they have steeping instructions on them (too bad I didn’t notice before steeping, ha ha). Anyway, on to the tea! The leaves are extremely thin, and some of them are slightly twisted. The color is a dark hunter green. Wow, this smells very different from the other sencha I’ve had lately – it’s drier in a way? Quite sweet with hay and grass elements.
The steeped liquor is a pale and clear yellow with a touch of green. I was afraid I understeeped this because the aroma is quite delicate – I can smell sweetness and some hay-like notes. However, after tasting it I’m confident that 45s was plenty of time. It does have a rather light and delicate flavor, but it has sufficient dimension to convince me that this is the way it’s supposed to taste. I will say, this absolutely makes me think of Spring, so the name is perfect! It has a nice sweetness as well as a touch of astringency that makes me want to drink more. There’s a strong and surprising hay-like flavor that reminds me of white tea a bit, along with a little bit of bitterness that balances the sweetness nicely. I can taste light vegetal and grass notes, but they’re much more subtle than most sencha. There’s a subtle fruity note here, something mild and sweet like apple. Overall, quite tasty!
Flavors: Apple, Astringent, Bitter, Grass, Hay, Sweet, Vegetal