Obubu TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This one’s off to a nice start, with the dry leaves in the warm kyusu having a scent of moss and crisp iceburg lettuce. The wet leaves smell like more moss and a sort of fruity smell that is like the inside of a melon or a pumpkin, also like the smell of fresh strawberries. I don’t mean the smell of cooked strawberries or strawberry ice cream or anything like that, but the smell of the berries fresh off the vine, tart and ripe.
WOW, that subtle berry-like flavor really comes through in the taste as well, reminding me a lot of strawberries, particularly the taste you get from biting into the seeds or the green part of the fruit. There are background notes with gentle nutty, creamy and woody qualities. A subtle grain-like taste may be a more accurate way to describe it, like rice or oatmeal.
I drank the first cup of this really fast. I could not stop. The flavor was just so good!
The second infusion is more light and sweet, definitely getting hints of pumpkin this time, and I promise you that’s not just because this is an Autumn themed tea. Haha. It’s in the last part of the sip, there’s a mellow pumpkin or gourd kind of taste.
This tea is unbelievably good for the price. I will be ordering some with my next order from Obubu.
I seriously left my room and came back minutes later to a room that smelled like strawberries…
Flavors: Grain, Moss, Pumpkin, Strawberry
Another Obubu tea is gracing my new kyusu. I have ordered Obubu’s Tea Sampler so you’ll be seeing me review all of these at some point or another.
After putting the leaves into the warm kyusu and letting them sit for a minute, the smell they emit is that of fish or lake (Hey, don’t knock it! Lake is one of the 8 fundamental elements in Taoist cosmology!) ;3
In goes the 158F water for 1 minute. The scent of the wet leaves is somewhat like green beans, with a hint of a meaty note like pate, there are also hints of seaweed, sesame and spinach. In contrast, the taste of the tea is really mellow and nutty with a hint of wood bark. There is a green grassy quality too the taste as well but it is on the more dark and soily side of that spectrum, not a bright, fresh dewy tasting grass. This tea is really umami and makes me salivate a lot. The mouthfeel is thick and while I may have used a bit too much water, there is really almost no bitterness present. Sencha of the Earth is a really perfect name for it (really, they’ve all had perfect names that I’ve tried so far) because it is a relaxing, stabilizing and grounding kind of energy this tea has. None of the fishy lake flavor came through in the flavor for me. I wouldn’t have minded a little of it, but for some of you reading this that might be a relief to hear. ;3
The second infusion is more rich and flavorful than what I got with the second infusion of other Obubu teas I’ve tried so far, and now there is a hint of cooling mint-like flavor at the end of a sip. The flavors have become just slightly more “peaked”, a little more tangy a little more astringent. It’s pointing up instead of down now. Interesting! Maybe a little tree has sprouted from the earth. ;3
Though the astringency is very mild, there’s a slight citrusy flavor that starts late int he sip and lingers in the mouth. Pretty awesome stuff. Some sencha are not very dynamic from one steep to the next, but that is definitely not the case with this tea.
The third infusion is really muted and mild, as is usual with sencha. Not a lot to note about that but it’s good enough to drink and come down from the experience with. :3
Flavors: Bark, Grass, Nutty, Umami
So, by mistake I overlooked a response to a tasting note I wrote about Steepster Select’s Obukucha from earlier this year. I was swooning about the briny seaweed notes in that tea, waxing poetic about how it is exactly the taste profile I want in a Japanese tea, etc.
The reply, written 8 months ago, would have saved me A LOT of searching for flavor profiles. Turns out that the salty mineral taste I seek is Uji region specific. D’OH. So I ordered some of that, but in the mean time I have like 5 other senchas to get through before they lose their freshness. This tea, which I got from the Obubu tea club earlier in the year, is one of them.
Brewed at the hot water steeping parameters ( 5g. tea for 6 oz. water @ 212F for 30 seconds), I opened this and the dry leaf smelled immediately of sweet buttered spinach. It looked like jade green grass clippings, so, quality sencha in other words.
Now that I know that sencha varies by region I’m that much more fascinated and interested in picking up the differences for myself. This is an earthy sencha – in that it gives me no marine/seaweed characteristics whatsoever. It is grassy, and again, that sweet, buttery spinach is what I taste. It doesn’t have what I necessarily consider to be umami, but it does have just a touch of astringence when it cools. Overall its a sweeter sencha, and a solid one if salty brothy senchas aren’t your thing.
Also, it pairs quite well with seaweed salad and udon noodles. I can speak from experience :).
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Spinach
This is my first time having bancha. The leaves are all wiry and long and unkempt, pretty fun to look at.
The flavor is subtle and sweet, with a mostly buttery, nutty taste and a grassy smell. The smell of the wet leaves reminds me of wild prairie grasses in the late spring or early summer when they’re still wet and green.
This tea is very mild. I think I could have brewed it a lot stronger than I usually brew sencha and it would have tasted just fine. I can see why this is considered an everday tea. Everything about the flavor is agreeable but not remarkable. It’s the kind of tea you can appreciate without having to give your full attention to, a casual tea-drinker’s tea. I could see myself loading up a tea thermos with this to drink at work, but at home my time is usually filled with higher grade teas that are more of a centerpiece and a dedicated moment of the day.
For an everyday tea though, this has a really nice taste and quality to it. It’s charming and relaxing. As it’s cooling, I’m catching a little bit of seaweed/fish kind of taste, but I’m also alternating this with eating some food now. Otherwise until this point it was mostly just sweet.
Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Seaweed, Sweet
This tea is chock full of umami flavor, very savory. There are hints of brussel sprout and grilled cheese sandwich (mostly the flavor of bread that’s been toasted in a pan with butter). It leaves a really savory flavor in the mouth. I wouldn’t say this one is sweet particularly, just really rich and mellow.
By the second infusion the tea tastes a bit metallic as it cools down. It seems to have expended most of the flavor on the first infusion (only 1 minute). There are fresh green bean and mild nutty flavors, overall it seems very subdued.
I’m a little new to sencha, so I’m not sure how much flavor should be present in the repeat infusions. It seems from my experience that it’s usually a lot more muted after the first, so most of my rating for the tea comes from there.
I actually really preferred Obubu’s Sencha of Brightness to this top-of-the-line sencha from Obubu that is double the price.
Flavors: Butter, Toast, Umami, Vegetables
This will be the first sencha tea to brew and review in my new tokonome kyusu, which is absolutely gorgeous (and my first kyusu). I bought an expensive one because I wanted to be set with one that was really my tastes and not be tempted to buy another down the road. If anyone is curious, it’s this one: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-teapot-Tokoname-Umehara-7-78oz/dp/B00CD8NPTU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413654555&sr=8-1&keywords=kyusu+shoji
Anyhow, on to the tea. The scent of Sencha of Brightness is intoxicating after letting the leaves sit in the warm kyusu for a minute. The smell is of sweet corn on the cob, peony flowers and toasted almonds. It’s smelling eerily similar to my all time favorite tea, Kenyan Silver Needle. Let’s see how it brews up.
The brew is a delicate spring green. The taste is sublime. It has an incredibly smooth mouthfeel… and this may sound weird but the texture reminds me of yogurt. It’s velvety and thick. The flavor has a mellow nutty start that changes to a slightly green and vegetal one with afternotes of cooling mint sensation. I can easily see why this Sencha of Brightness was named from the idea of sparkling light reflecting on cooling waters. The tea is very mellow with almost no astringency, only a slight bit in the finish.
On the second infusion the taste is much more mild. It’s still quite sweet and there are little notes of seaweed and grass like one might expect from sencha. The third infusion is also rather light in flavor and tastes similar to the second. I may have used a lower amount of leaf than I should have.
This tea was humbling. I really like it a lot.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Flowers, Nutty, Seaweed, Sweet
My husband chose this tea after our recent Japanese tea binge over the last few days.
This tea is rather finely chopped with some largish stem pieces present amongst the dark/medium green shiny leaves. It has a sweet grass scent with a dry, perfume finish.
Yellow tea liquid is produced with a toasted grass scent, mild but still with some sweetness.
Strength is mild with toasted rice and grass flavours. There is a slight bitterness but nothing major. Also a dominant grassy after taste which sweetens and becomes dry.
A further steep reveals more grass notes with bitterness though it remains mild. Still plenty of flavour for a second steep.
Overall it’s a nice Bancha, the sort that would suit every day drinking. Yes it’s considered low grade in terms of quality but it doesn’t taste nor feel that way at all.
Flavors: Sweet, warm grass, Toasted Rice
This tea tastes very green in the vegetal sense, and there are bean-like flavors present. If I didn’t know any better I might think this is a Chinese green tea. It has more of that flavor profile. There’s a nice sweetness to it and it is lacking the ocean and algae flavors I tend to encounter in a lot of Japanese green teas. There’s this subtle tang on the back of the tongue that is really interesting to me. It kind of reminds me of the tangy feeling of ginseng on the tongue. It’s only just slightly bitter in the finish.
The leaves of this sencha are very long and unbroken. There seems to be a lot of care in their production and handling. Often I encounter senchas with very small and broken up pieces. It makes for a cloudier brew and can be a bit of a mess, but this sencha brews up crystal clear with a ghostly pale green tinge. There are many factors in brewing this tea that make it clear to me these are very high quality leaves, and as this is a sample from a friend I have no idea about the source, company or price at this point.
A second infusion yields a heartier brew with a nice sweetness to it and some interesting notes of cinnamon, camphor, or clove… something on that spiced spectrum. The flavor is just wonderful. I find nothing lacking or “missing”. There’s nothing I can imagine that would improve this tea for me. It’s not the kind of flavor that knocks my socks off, but it is pristine, and that is saying a lot considering I’ve had this tea in a tiny ziplock bag for at least a couple months, so it has not been stored the way sencha aficionados would suggest you need to store it. It has maintained great qualities despite not being kept airtight.
I brewed this tea in a gaiwan. The first infusion was at 158F and I increased it to 167F on the second infusion and 176 on the third. This gentle way of brewing Japanese green teas has never done me wrong. As for infusion times it was 1 min, then 20 seconds, then 30 seconds.
The third and final infusion I drank was even more mellow, with similar flavors to the second infusion but a sort of “bready” taste in the background. This tea is very comforting. I had meant to drink it on a wonderfully warm and sunny day in the summertime to do justice to its name, but I kept forgetting about it and finally just got to it here in the crisp, cool beginnings of Autumn.
I can feel the sunlight and warm breeze and smell the green leaves, regardless.
EDIT: I am revisiting this tea after eating some Barbeque (a suggestion they made on the website, hehe). I brewed it a little stronger than the last time. It’s got a very zesty flavor with hints of pleasant bitterness. There is an almost orange-like flavor that lasts in your mouth. It’s great stuff!
Flavors: Beany, Camphor, Clove, Sweet, Vegetal
Mmm. This sample is my after lunch tea (giant arugula salad).
I like genmaicha but I can’t say it’s one of those things I really adore. This blend could change my mind about that! It’s mixed with one of Obubu’s sweet, light senchas. The combination of that and the nutty, somewhat salty toasted brown rice is really delightful. It leaves a wonderful aftertaste in your mouth that seems to linger. This is one of the nicest genmais I’ve ever had… if I order more teas from Obubu someday I will definitely need to add this, or maybe I will need to become a customer of Yunomi.us ;)
Now it’s back to finishing off my paper before tomorrow’s class (fingers crossed!)
Good (late) morning Steepster!
Ugh, I am tired today, didn’t sleep too well last night and then got up at 5 am with my Sweetie who had to catch a flight. I did manage to nap for a few hours when I got home but don’t feel so energetic yet.
This is one of the samples I got from Obubu tea. So far, this may be one of my favorites. The tea liquor is light and definitely on the sweeter side, with notes of spinach and peas. There is only a very slight palate cleansing finish in the astringency. There’s something about the flavor in this that’s really nice and delicate, but not too light on impact. Recommended :)
Now off I go to apply for some more jobs… zzzz… boring!
Tea #2 of the day…
Wow I was so looking forward to trying the senchas from Obubu, but sadly none of them have really blown me away so far and they all seem sort of similar. I made the sample in my Lupicia handy cooler and was just so eager to scarf down some green tea I am now drinking it by the glassful. Maybe I should have made this is a smaller teapot?
Anyway my tea liquor is very light, compared to other kabuse senchas I’ve had this isn’t nearly as bright green. It has a nice sweet vegetal flavor — reminds me of peas — but with a bit of palette cleansing astringency in the finish. Definitely not a bad tea, jut not super thrilling.
It does seem to be waking me up, however!
This is a nice tea. The first infusion was a touch bitter. I might steep it less time next time I have this. After that, just nice. The first few infusions were more vegetable-ish, but now it’s just almost creamy and sweet. I think this is the fifth infusion I’ve gotten from it.
The afternoon cuppa….
I don’t think I’ve ever had a dark roast houijcha before so I was looking forward to trying this. It’s pretty yummy! It definitely has a roasted flavor that is reminiscent of coffee, but there’s also a fruity, sort of cherry flavor about it and something creamy that would best be described as caramel. Normally houijcha is nothing for me to get super excited over, but this was a delicious sample. Glad I was able to try it…
Flavors: Caramel, Cherry, Coffee
Good morning Steepster… I drank a lot of tea yesterday but didn’t post tasting notes because a lot of what I drank were things I have posted notes for multiple times.
Anyway, here’s another sample from the Obubu tea sampler pack. Bancha is a lesser grade of tea than sencha, but it’s still drinkable in my opinion. This has sort of a vegetaly-seaweed taste with a definite bitterness in the finish. It isn’t my favorite from Obubu by far but I will definitely finish off the pot I made this morning. Compared to their senchas it isn’t as light and sweet, but still far better than most if the mass market green teas you find on the market.
I feel like my tasting notes are getting shorter but that’s because I’m trying to limit the time I spend on social media sites… so please forgive me :)
Green tea of the morning here. I decided just to dump the whole sample into my 18 oz. Lupicia handy cooler today, so I can drink a lot of green tea!
This is definitely different than other senchas I have tried, like the ones from Den’s and Lupicia. It definitely looks and appears lighter to me and not quite as vividly green. It has a nice, sweet flavor with a bit of palate cleansing astringency in the finish. There’s a bit of nuttiness somewhere… The flavor is vegetal, it reminds me a lot of spinach. This is a nice green tea! I’m not sure I would necessarily need more to add into my huge stash that’s FULL of green tea but I’ve enjoyed this a lot. After I drank a bunch of this, I am feeling GOOD!
Backlog from yesterday, Steepster was acting really slow and would not allow me to do much.
This was a nice houjicha, definitely very roasty and earthy with a slight smoky note. I tried it hot and also over ice, it was good both ways but I wish it was a bit sweeter somehow.
It is certainly summer time now, even if technically the solstice isn’t until tomorrow. We have not had a day below 85 degrees in a few weeks, and I have achieved full melt. I really dislike the heat, you would think growing up in the South would make me used to it, but each summer I seem to hate it just a little bit more. Good thing the basement tea lair stays mostly cool, for now anyway.
Today’s tea is Sencha of the Summer Sun from Obubu Tea Plantations by way of Yunomi.us. This particular Sencha from Kyoto grown on an uncovered west-facing slope and plucked after it has been bathed by the July sun. It is a strong Sencha, perfect for washing down oily BBQ on a summer day, at least that is what the website says and I am inclined to believe it. The aroma of the vibrantly green leaves is sweet, a blend of sweet hay, grass, and spinach. There is a touch of seaweed at the finish giving the tea a bit of that sea-side aroma that I so love in teas. It might be the name playing havoc with my sense, but the aroma really does remind me of summer.
Once the tea has a nice visit with some water in my Kyusu, the aroma of the wet leaves is sweet like fresh hay and just a little bit fruity. There is also a hint of kelp and vegetal, though it is not as strong. The aroma of the liquid almost seems ethereal, there are faint notes of sweet grass and kelp, but they seem ghostly and like a memory.
The first steep is sweet, it starts with a sweet grass taste that fades to fresh cherry. After this initial sweetness, the taste fades to a grassy bitterness and a touch of kale. The finish returns to a gentle sweetness that takes all the bitterness away, the hay sweetness lingers for quite a while.
On the second steeping, the aroma is much more grassy and strong, no more ethereal memories of tea, you can definitely tell you are sniffing a cup of Sencha this time. The taste is also more intense, quite green and grassy that fades to vegetal kale bitter green. Like the first steep after the bitter green taste you are greeted with a nice sweet finish that lingers.
The aroma of the third steep is much grassier and kelpy, it is more savory than sweet this time around. The taste is also quite grassy and fresh, this fades to kelp. Lastly the taste is quite sweet with a fruity aftertaste. This tea I found quite refreshing, I think it actually does go really well with heavy foods, though I did not test it with BBQ, but I am sure it works just fine. I can see people who are not a fan of bitter green tastes not enjoying this Sencha as much, but since I am a fan of it I found it quite enjoyable.
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Kale, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet
Tea #2 from the Obubu sample pack. I noticed this tea also brews up lightly — it isn’t the same color as the picture on their website. I used a small Japanese teapot that holds about 4 oz of tea and 1/2 the 5 gram sample. I wonder if I should be using the whole thing?
This tea is nice but I am not overly impressed with it. Compared to the"brightness" sencha of yesterday it definitely has a more assertive and bitter aftertaste although the notes up front are marine-y and vegetal.
I steeped the first pot for 2 minutes because I didn’t think it was dark enough after checking out the color. Then the 2nd steep I did for 60 seconds and it was a little bit better but I still didn’t love it. Not sure what I should be doing for better results with this one — or perhaps I just prefer more deeply steamed senchas.
This was my one indulgence for June which just arrived today … YIPPEE! I’ve always wanted to try the Obubu tea sampler pack and now I have the time to try them all and even write tasting notes. :) I love Japanese teas so I can’t imagine I’ll have anything too bad to say about the selections.
I picked this one at random from the sampler pack, I knew I wanted to try a sencha but I wasn’t sure which one. It has such a lovely name. I steeped this for 90 seconds and it has a very light colored infusion, one that I might associate more with Chinese tea than Japanese. The aroma is lightly vegetal and a bit flowery.
For a sencha, this is very mild. The description says this tea is made with more mature leaves so perhaps that is why. Also they claim it is good as an iced tea, so I’ll have to try the rest of my sample that way. For now I’m enjoying it hot. The flavor is very mild and sweet. It has some light grassy notes but also a bit of sweet vegetables like corn. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Japanese tea that’s this mild before, no astringency whatsover. It’s very tasty and soothing, like floating away on a green tea cloud.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Grass
The Leaf: Nice, deep, dark green hue throughout the leaves, with a certain sheen to them. They are rolled very tightly. Each leaf is very thin and long, like a needle, average length is about 3-4cm. Some of the leaves are bent back around themselves making them look almost like tiny hair pins. The scent is deep and grassy, almost with slight nutty undertone.
The Brew: The liquor is a light pale green-yellow. It is clear, but with a large amount of leaf hair suspended making it seem slightly cloudy. The aroma is bright and fresh. The overtone is of fresh cut grass, while I detect an undertone of citrus rind. The taste is fairly astringent with a full, bright, crispness. With this, though, there is an underlying umami flavor, making the full flavor have a certain richness. The mouthfeel is very dry, due to the astringency and possible the high concentration of leaf hair. Long after the flavor is gone, there is a certain tackiness left on the tongue.
Note: I brewed this tea by putting the leaves in a glass carafe along with cold water, then setting it out in the sun for approximately 4 hours. This is known as sun tea. The temperature of the water only becomes warm, probably less than 40 degrees Celsius.
I drink all of my teas cold.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass
The Leaf: Very dark with a mix of both curled and semi-flat leaves. sizes of the broken leaves range from a few degrees above fannings to almost whole intact leaves; quarters and halves. there is a small percentage of stems also present. The scent is fairly strong and bright, with apparent maltiness; nice but flat.
The Brew: The liquor is a nice golden brown, clear, and with very little leaf hair. The aroma is not unlike the scent of the leaves, bright and slightly malty. There is almost an herbal undertone to it as well, but I can’t quite place it. The taste is bright and fairly dry. There is a slight sweetness, but mostly I get brisk, slightly malty, and bitter or sour flavors; almost that of a lemon. The mouthfeel is quite dry leaving a slight feeling on the tongue for a while. The flavor and aroma reminds me most of a Ceylon tea, perhaps Kandy.
I drink all of my teas cold.
Saturday Sipdown #4!
I had just barely enough leaf left for one cup, so I used what I could even though I underleafed it a tad. I also used a lower temperature — 77C instead of 80C.
Oddly enough, I think underleafing it even more works! This time, I detected flavours I hadn’t in the past – I tasted honey in the midsip and stone fruits in the aftertaste, even with the typical sencha flavour in the front.
I’ve really been on an unflavoured-greens kick in the morning lately. And I’m happy to continue reporting that I prefer steeping Yunomi.us’ teas western-style rather than following the style listed on Yunomi’s website.
This is slightly umami, but it’s not bad. Nice and calming, a good follow-up to breakfast.