Popular Teas from Obubu TeaSee All 31 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
A really tasty Houjicha! I love the roasty-toasty, nutty flavor of this. This is one of the very best Houjicha – if not THE best Houjicha – that I’ve yet to try. This is top-notch!
In addition to the roasted nutty flavor, I also tasted lovely notes of golden caramel and even the slightest floral tone which I found unique about this tea.
Sweet and savory, with a savory note arriving at about mid-sip. It’s that contrast that really makes this an exciting Houjicha for me, usually a houjicha is sweet but only sweet with it’s roasty-toasty nutty flavors … but the slight sharpness that I get from the flowery taste here really perks up the palate when it hits.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/02/22/hoji-cha-gold-houjicha-gold-from-kyoto-obubu-tea-plantations/
Sipdown! I’m kind of proud of myself for clearing out my cupboard so well. Although I probably will make up for it as soon as I get my Obubu shipment.
I’m not sure if my notes are really reflecting this at all but I’ve been on a big Japanese culture kick of late. Literature, food, tea, everything. I decided to do my first tea subscription with Obubu tea just because I’ve bee having so much fun with it all (that and I like that the subscription also has some benefit to the community).
Anyway, this was a free sample with my Sencha order and I’m drinking it in my new DAVIDsTEA double wall glass tumbler (12 oz volume). I steeped up the whole sample since it was around 8 grams and the instructions said to use 5 g for 5 oz. I used the below parameters and no additives.
The dry leaf smell was of an almost burnt sencha. I know I’ve had houjicha before but I am pretty sure it used bancha leaves as I remember huge brown leaves, and not the blade of grass sized leaves that characterize sencha. I’m not a fan of outright burnt or ash tasting teas so I’m hoping this tones it down just to a pleasant toasted rice-esque note once it steeps.
Despite being sencha based, this tastes a lot like the houjicha I remember. Very genmaicha like, really. It is also very smooth and not bitter in the slightest, with discernible hints of seaweed. Sometimes teas take me a while to drink because my brain likes to ruminate over the flavors. But this – I’m not sure how to really explain it other than for a hot tea it is surprisingly refreshing and slides down your throat like water. Maybe its the minerality I’m trying to describe? Because that is a savory/umami quality I really enjoy in tea as well.
Anyway, I like this. I’m excited to see what my spring tea from Obubu will be because I’ve quite enjoyed their offerings so far!
Ever since that yummy encounter with the Obukucha tea I’ve been wanting to see if pickled cherry blossom would be as good as the pickled plum in that green tea.
Unfortunately that’s a no.
I think it’s because the salted, vinegared blossom also has a sweetness to it, and that’s like putting sugar on salt and vinegar chips. Or at least that’s what my tastebuds equated it with, and that is just gross.
Even once its steeped, as gorgeous as the pink flower looks floating in the tea, it just doesn’t ever have a flavor I can stand. Sweetened vinegar is just not my thing. Oh well, I’m really glad I got to try it and see for sure!
Wanted some hot tea with dinner, which, incidentally was bacon and eggs. I’ve heard that green tea is really good with heavier food and I’ve got to say this was true here.
Also, I’m still shocked that boiling water and a 30 second steep doesn’t yield a bitter mess. But it doesn’t – I get a sweet, buttery green taste that really cleanses the palate, and tastes even more refreshing as it cools.
I recently joined Obubu’s tea club and I have to say it was a great decision if most of the teas are going to be like this one!
Flavors: Butter, Grass
Had this for “lunch” at work with some leftover udon stir fry. I brought it in my DAVIDsTEA glass travel tumbler (http://www.davidstea.com/double-wall-travel-mug?&TF=ADA13E5CAE3F&DEID) because I’m really trying to find some system for me to drink tea while I’m at work.
sidenote rant, please skip below if you just want to read the tea review
My work is seriously NOT conducive to tea drinking, guys. First of all, only closed containers allowed out at the nurses station (which makes sense because we don’t need to spill stuff out there and that would definitely happen). Second of all, I’m getting better about managing my time but there are still nights where I do NOT sit down. This is not conducive for fussy teas. Or a tea tumbler that doesn’t hold its heat properly. So…I’m pretty much limited to bagged, non-fussy teas but even then I don’t get to drink the whole thing before it goes ice cold, so I feel like I waste more than I consume.
It’s frustrating because I really think tea would keep me a lot less frazzled at work but there’s just no way to do it well. Welcome to the last… oh… 16 months of my life. Any suggestions on workability would be much appreciated.
Okay. So the tea tumbler worked great. But I definitely oversteeped this guy because holy wow bitter. I probably overleafed too even though I did follow instructions on based on the volume of water and grams of tea leaves.
Oh well, it paired pretty nicely with my lunch, I just don’t think I’d take it to work again since it’s too easy to mess up. One of these days I will find a winning combination of tea + teaware. Or several winning combinations, I guess, since I get bored if I just drink one tea over and over.
I hope that day comes soon…
I am loving the idea of some vegetal greens since the January Steepster select box. I’ve also officially decided that I really like Japanese greens more than Chinese ones. Obubu has a tea club and I have to say that I’m really considering it because fresh Japanese tea every two months? Yes please.
I got this particular sencha because it was described as being the most savory of the sencha offerings. It certainly smells amazing – spinach and seaweed at the same time. I’m definitely going to have to follow the suggestion of putting the leaves in some white sushi rice with soy sauce because once steeped the leaves look like fresh steamed veggies. The fact this is both food and beverage makes me love it that much more.
There is some discernible bitterness here but that changes as it cools. Its got the brothy loveliness that all really good senchas have, and what can best be described as umami since I feel like it alternates between sweet and savory within the same cup.
This was a good choice – sweet and savory, brothy and buttery. Complex and simplicity all rolled in one. I am going to have no trouble putting this away, and I think I’ll join the Obubu club if for no other reason than to see how the flavors of sencha change throughout a year.
Flavors: Butter, Grass
Today was the first day in my 22 years of life that I truly got the experience matcha. I’ve tried matcha before, but it was always as a super sweet latte—which I never really cared for. I bought matcha powder a long time ago-some random brand at a grocery store— it was bitter and I wound up tossing it.
Obubu’s Gokou Matcha has changed everything for the better. I ordered it from Yunomi.us during the Matcha Day sale. It’s slightly sweet and creamy— without having to add cream or sugar. Now I’m sad I only ordered a small bag.
The sky outside is crazy dark, it looks like a massive amount of storms are heading my way. Of course I have no idea if it will storm, but I really hope it does, thunderstorms are my favorite form of weather. It really feels like spring today, which I am sure cannot last, but all the snow melting has made everything into mud, which makes for some happy mold spores. But let us focus on a different time of year today.
Today’s tea is Dark Roast Houjicha from Yunomi.us and grown by Obubu Tea Farms in Kyoto Prefecture. This is the third strongest roast of the Houjicha presented by Obubu Tea Farms, described as having a smoky flavor that is both light and sweet, that sounds like my kind of tea. The aroma of this tea is in one word, yummy. But that is a boring description, the aroma is very roasted and mildly smoky with notes of cedar wood and autumn leaves. It very much so smells like the clean and smoky autumn air in a forest, it makes me nostalgic and full of longing for autumn in the mountains.
Brewing the leaves makes the aroma much richer with stronger notes of cedar and hints of earthiness. The tea leaves smell savory, like dried oak leaves and roasted wood. Again it is very evocative of autumn air. The liquid however is sweeter, like freshly mown hay and roasted nuts. There is still notes of cedar smoke but it is much fainter.
Perhaps tasting this tea will infuse me with the essence of autumn, I have no idea what that would even mean but maybe it will take away the longing for mountains. The taste is richly roasted, intensely so, though not intensely smoky like their Smoky Roast Houjicha. There is a mild hint of cedar smoke that blends well with the roasted tea flavor. The tea starts off savory and roasted and fades to sweetness so it is like a hint of honey by the end of the sip. As the tea cools I notice a woody quality and a hint of astringency. Overall I think I like this one just a little more than the Smoky Roast, but I will have to try the other roast levels before I officially name a favorite.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cedar, Honey
Tea #30 from HHTTB2
Thumbing through the reviews, I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one getting the Sencha flavor still coming through in this cup. It’s definitely a unique experience, as I’m used to that flavor being blitzed away through the roasting and replaced with something wholy different.
In any case, this tastes like heavily roasted veggies with a definite nutty and toasty quality. Vegetal, but warm and savory.
And it made me crave smashed parsnips with rosemary and garlic. Huh.
I finally opened this sencha! I was trying to finish my Sencha Fukamidori from Den’s first, since these types of greens apparently spoil rather quickly.
This is very different from the senchas I’m used to. It is still buttery and spinachy, but there’s a haylike or grassy quality as well. Kind of like sencha with some white tea thrown in? I find it interesting that this is the summer harvest sencha, because the hay notes really make me think of summer time!
There is a little sweetness but not as much as other senchas, so this one seems pretty savory to me. No bitteness at all though (I made sure to steep at a nice low temp) and very little astringency. Nice sencha, very glad I won it from a Yunomi.us giveaway! :)
Tea #1 from Here’s Hoping Travelling Teabox
I was quite excited to brew up a Houjicha. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Houjicha tea and I was craving one.
I thought at first that there was something wrong with this tea, like maybe it has been affected by other tea flavors in the box. I detect a strange sort of generic fruitiness in the back ground. Aside from that, it certainly doesn’t taste like the Houjicha teas I’ve had before. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but I don’t like it. Reading the other reviews here, I can see that it should taste unique, but I don’t know how much of what I taste is the tea or how much is tea box ‘pollution.’
Today was a good day, I got to visit my favorite local Asian Market, the illustrious International 888 Store that is as big as a large supermarket and has a huge selection of yummy foods. Also and entire large aisle devoted to tea which I spend way to much time lingering in. Of course there are lots of beautiful tea pots and some clothes as well, what can I say, I love this store and visiting it is one of my favorite things. Also my reviewing schedule for tea is totally thrown off because I got to try a tea that has been on my ‘to try list’ for years! The package arrived last night and I could have tried it immediately, but it is far to beautiful a tea to drink at night, this needs sunlight.
Today I am reviewing Sakura Tea by Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantations and Yunomi.us! I was told (more like warned a bit) that this tea is ‘uniquely Japanese’ and may be a bit weird, this warning was completely unnecissary because I love a lot of ‘uniquely Japanese’ things (I mean I eat Beni Shoga straight from the jar and eat seaweed like they are chips, I love Japanese food!) So of course when I see a beautiful and very delicate tea made from cherry blossoms preserved in salt and plum vinegar, I think to myself “I have got to get my greedy little hands on some of that” and several years later, I finally did! The aroma is sweet and a bit tangy, it reminds me of pickled peaches, or more likely pickled plums but a touch sweeter. The floral notes are very subtle and the tartness mixed with salt is a delicious aroma. I admit it, I licked the salt crystals out of the package, I may be a salt addict.
At first I wanted to try the tea without adding any of the salt brine from the initial soaking, just nothing but flower. The aroma is very mild with a blend of sweetness and flowers, it smells very much so like a spring breeze carrying the aroma of flowers from a distance. The taste is as mild as the aroma, delicately sweet and floral with just a touch saltiness. There is also a smooth and nutty aftertaste.
Adding the brine makes the aroma a little stronger and the taste, well, lets just say I might have giggled a bit at how good it was. It leaves the mouth feeling smooth and the taste is creamy with hints of tartness and floral. It is a bit salty, but deliciously so! It does not leave the mouth feeling dried out as one would expect from something salt pickled, but instead invigorates the salivary glands. The aftertaste is nutty and enjoyable.
It was recommended that you can brew it with other teas, specifically Genmai Cha and Sencha, conveniently I have some of both so first let us try the Genmai Cha. It seems strange to say it, but Genmai Cha is a pretty potent tea, at least when compared to Sakura Tea, so the addition of a flower certainly does not overpower the already present taste. It does compliment it very well with notes of sweetness and delicate floral tones. I really enjoyed the subtle sweetness added to what I usually consider to be a savory tea.
Brewing the flower with Sencha was a wonderful idea, really this is delicious. It adds a buttery sweetness and the floral and pickled notes are much more prominent than in the Genmai Cha. I feel a bit bad, I want to get into detailed descriptions on how wonderful this mixture of flavors is, but it honestly boggles my mind a bit. It is one of those moments where I think my Synesthesia kicked in and all I can perceive are colors. Beautiful spring colors swirling in my mouth!
Lastly I found a recipe for a Sweet Sakura Latte and had some time to kill while waiting for Ben to return home from school, so I wanted to try it out. He arrived home the moment I finished photographing the results and I deiced to let him have the first sip, expecting the worst (as a rule he is not a fan of most Japanese foods and teas) but surprisingly he really enjoyed it. We ended up splitting the latte, which was nice. The taste is creamy and sweet with just a hint of the salt. There are strong notes of floral that finish off with a nutty aftertaste.
This is my last backlog for this evening … I’m gonna try to do a little bit every night and hopefully I’ll get caught up eventually!
This was a very interesting Houjicha … I could still taste the vegetative tones of the Sencha in this tea, as well as some of the floral tones of the Sencha … usually, it’s been my experience that with the roasting process, the houjicha becomes an entirely new flavor but here, I taste notes of the Sencha still … I like that though!
The vegetative notes taste a bit like roasted vegetables … and I like this unique taste. There is a slight creamy tone to this cup too … it’s a little bit nutty, a little bit toasty and warm, a little bit vegetative and savory, and a little bit sweet and creamy! A really nice cuppa.
I am delightfully full of smoked pork BBQ, so it makes sense that I would want a tea that is very proud of its smoky roast, it is the theme of the evening! Yunomi.us was kind enough to send me samples of two of their teas to review and this blog post will cover the first, Houjicha (Smoky Roast) by Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantations. Before I actually start discussing the tea, I want to say a brief thank you to Yunomi for having some of the most informative packaging ever. This simple brown foil package states not only the typical name and type of tea, but also the plantation that produced it (and its address) a use by date, storage instructions, and where to get very detailed steeping information. Bravo, Yunomi, and thank you for giving the tea consumer more information!
These leaves captured Autumn!
Enough poetic waxing on packaging and on to the actual tea! Houjicha (Smoky Roast) is a tea that calls to any who love a roasted tea. In fact the Smoky Roast is Obubu Tea Plantation most heavily roasted of their Houjicha, and of course I had to try it because I love smoky and roasted teas, they might be one of my favorite type of tea treatments. The first thing to notice is of course, the aroma. This Houjicha manages to embody everything wonderful about late Autumn and early Winter and it is heavenly. The sweet earthiness mixed with the smoky roast gives that clean, smoky aroma that the air takes on that time of year. It mixes piney resin without the campfire smoke of teas like Lapsang Souchong. The sweetness is like burnt sugar which blends well with the woodsy aroma. A very complex aroma that my fancy tea books that I read would describe as ‘empyreumatic’ and you all know I am fond of using fancy jargon.
Once steeping the leaves take on a rich almost coffee like aroma, very rich and very roasted. This is a tea I could recommend to an avid coffee drinker to convert them to the tea brigade! I just love how rich and slightly nutty the aroma of the brewed leaves are. I do not, however, like how much fail my paper filters are made of. Note to everyone, Melitta coffee pot filters are not good. The liquid of the brewed leaves is also incredibly rich and pleasantly sweet! Notes of roasted nuts and pine resin with a finish of caramelized sugar.
First brew looks like Autumn leaves!
The first steeping is intensely complex! Certainly the most complex Houjicha I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. I had one of those actually audible, lip-smacking ‘aaaaah’ moments when I first sipped this tea, which I believe is actually frowned upon in my formal tea drinking occasions. The joys of being home alone when drinking tea! The tea is very rich and very bright, the mellow sweetness mixing with resinous smokiness again captures the joy of late Autumn. Along with these flavors there is a slight astringency that is just so slight that it is very pleasant and adds a slight surprise. There is a tiny, tiny after taste of umami which just made this complex tea perfectly well rounded.
The next steeping is slightly milder but still manages to maintain its richness and adds just a touch of maltiness. I love the roasted taste of this Houjicha, it is such a perfect tea that just brings joy with every sip. I certainly plan on trying all the different levels of Obubu Plantation’s roasts (among other things from Yunomi) and cannot wait to try the other sample I got from them
Thanks, Nicole Martin, for this tea!
It seems that in the last couple of days I am doomed to oversteep. I get so distracted. Ah well! I will reserve my rating until I can try this again with a proper steep time.
The roasted flavor is VERY strong and I’m glad I only have the light roast! I imagine the dark roast might be like charcoal. There is also a very bright citric note that weirdly reminds me of darjeeling.
Additionally there is a creamy, nutty note that is really pleasant.
The friendly people at Obubu Tea sent me this free of charge! Included was a discount code and a lovely hand-written note; I was touched and impressed. My throat has been very sore as of late, so I used boiling hot water on this one. I enjoy very strong flavors in my teas, which is why I believe I prefer blacks, so I would probably be seen as mistreating most greens that come my way. I am a supertaster, however, and fully appreciate subtle flavors, so I don’t think greens are lost on me. My heart would still very much like to procure a gaiwan and treat these delicate Japanese and Chinese greens with a more traditional preparation.
The leaves are beautifully fragrant. I sniffed the bag more times than I care to admit! The water was boiling, so I didn’t steep this too long (unusual for me). The mesh sleeve for my cast iron teapot had gone on the fritz, so I had to use one of my cups. The perforations in the cup let through some of the smaller bits of leaves, but that doesn’t deter me in the least; I find it rather endearing.
THIS is what I picture when I think of green tea. It was perfect. It was all there, the grassy flavor, the faint fruit aroma, tinge of bitterness, followed by a hint of sweetness. There was slight astringency, which I so enjoy and feel creates a perfect foil with the sweet aftertaste. Sencha of the Wind was unlike a lot of green teas that I have had, with full body but still clean and refreshing. My aching throat was grateful, and after the first sip I greedily devoured the rest of the cup. And since it was only a cup, I still have some left. I can’t wait for my next!
Thank you, Obubu Tea, for this quality tea experience! I cannot wait to try more of your varieties.
I drank this Dark roast along side the Light roast version.
This tea is rich, earthy and smokey. The smokey is quite different than other smokey teas (ie campfire smokey) but more of a roasted nut smokey. The 2nd steeping was Amazing! Deep, chocolately notes – like a smore without the marshmallow. This one is not as sweet as the light roast, but pretty good. It almost similar to a black tea but is sweeter and not as thick in flavor.
I’d be tempted to purchase more, but I think I need to get my claws on the “Smokey” version first to compare.
For steeping, I followed Yunomis’ standard steeping instructions http://yunomi.us/713/standard-steeping-technique/
Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/houjicha-from-obubu-tea-via-yunomi-us-mystery-tea-samplers-club/
I was craving something roasty! ROASTY! I really wanted an oolong (especially since I’m staring at a cart full of Taiwanese oolongs that I’m debating on) but not the long gongfu process that I prefer. Besides the roasty craving, I got a crazy snacking craving, so hoping some tea would chill it out.
It did! Though i really oversteeped this one, where it is a suggested 30 second steeping, I added 3 minutes! Ehhh, i couldn’t find the steeping instructions and just didn’t care. The flavor is quite strong but lost those sweet notes.