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Recent Tasting Notes
Quite bitter with first infusion at 170 degrees. Next day, I did a 10 second rinse, then used cold water and a overnight cold steep. Much improved. Color was less cloudy after the quick rinse. Bitterness decreased and sweetness increased. Good everyday ice tea.
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Flavors: Grain, Green, Popcorn, Tannin, Toasted, Toasted Rice, Toasty
Treat yo self!
Gyokuro must be brewed much cooler than other green teas, 140 F at the hottest. One is also to use a much higher ratio of tea to water than is typical. Such a sensitive tea! But, when I drink it I feel like I am back in Japan at a ryokan nestled in the mountains, and it brings me a little bliss and peace.
This tea leaves your tongue very moist, not dry, and even induces salivation after a sip. That may not sound too appealing, but the net result is that it leaves you wanting another sip, and another, and another. Though light, this tea has a nice round flavor. It is the opposite of astringent (is there a word for that?), smooth, and one to savor through multiple infusions.
Flavors: Sweet, Thick, Umami
I grew up on this tea, it’s been in my cupboard for all of my life it seems. It’s a solid every day easy to drink green tea. I live in Hawaii, so I do a lot of iced tea. I love tossing a teabag into a bottle of water or a cup of iced water to steep and drink right away, I guess even though its in a teabag, I drink it grandpa style, adding water to the cup… 1 teabag can easily cold infuse 40-48 oz of water this way.. It’s very convenient and refreshing. :D
This is the first time I’ve had Hoji-cha. It is rather fascinating to me in that I can taste the seaweed saltiness of the Japanese green tea and yet it also delivers a toasted dark flavor. So now it is this slightly charred seaweed flavor lingering on my mouth. Slightly burnt popcorn is something I am getting as well.
I’m sure none of these descriptors are making people’s ears perk up. Having no other stick to measure this with, I feel like it is a decent tea especially considering the low price. I really went back and forth on if I liked this or not but after my second cup, I think I’m coming around to appreciating it.
Flavors: Burnt, Popcorn, Salty, Seaweed
So, when I was misbehaving yesterday in the asian grocery, I made some purchases that totaled under $10, and I have to admit, I am happy. Like their genmaicha, Yamamotoyama’s hojicha is actually quite good. Yes, really. The “aroma” of the dry leaf had me wondering if maybe they threw some charred sticks and bark into the bag, but the brew is robust, smoky, and flavorful and smells fantastic.
Also I got this cute little kitty teacup for $1.99:
Who doesn’t love an asian grocery?
I picked up a big ole bag of this tea at my local asian grocery. It might be cheap as chips, but sometimes that’s not a bad thing. It’s toasty and warm, not bitter, and very much hitting the spot right now. Not much to say other than that. Well, actually it does make me wonder how much better a “high quality” genmaicha might be. Perhaps I’ll keep that in mind the next time I order from Yunomi.
Great alternative to Genmaicha tea from Ujinotsuyu (http://steepster.com/teas/ujinotsuyu/3511-genmaicha) when travelling or when loose tea is not an option.
I buy this in 16 count boxes of well sealed individual pouches from my (more or less) local Asian supermarket. It’s amazingly inexpensive, dependable, and it reminds me of Honey Smacks. I get that smacks are puffed wheat instead of rice but tell that to my brain.
When I’m not looking for an adventure of some kind and just want to idle on tasty, I pick this green tea and enjoy the toasty goodness. The tea itself is rather mild and vegetable, perfect for when you’re looking to simply hydrate and stay tea-headed all day while doing something else but you also have a sweet-toothed craving for all-day carbs.
Had this tea at a restaurant today, one of my favourite sushi places, though it’s not terribly authentic. I was cold so I ordered this as a hot tea. Sweetener got interesting because the restaurant was completely out of white sugar so I put some brown sugar in instead (sacreligious I know, I don’t care). It was..interesting and not awful. Which is about what I expect from restaurant bagged tea where I have no idea what any of the parameters are.
I was in the mood for some genmaicha today. This really hit the spot. I went through a genmaicha phase last year and probably had this tea 5 days a week for about 6 weeks. I don’t feel like I can drink this every day, as I kind of do get tired of it now, but it’s nice to add variety every once in a while. The roasted flavor from the brown rice really transforms the tea…pretty much completely masks the grassiness of the sencha. I steeped it for 3 minutes the first time, and 6 minutes the second time…no bitterness, it seems like it would be very difficult to oversteep this tea. Very inexpensive tea…I’m sure there are many better genmaichas out there, but this is easily obtained and worth drinking.
I probably drink this tea more than any other tea. Is it the best tea you’ll ever drink? No, of course not. But, it’s good, inexpensive, and widely available. It’s grassy and pleasantly bitter, with a nice bite to it. I usually steep it for about 2 minutes, and it can handle quite a few resteeps. This tea served as my introduction to Japanese green tea. I’ve since had sweeter senchas that were nice, and gyokuro, which is, of course, amazing. However, for an everyday tea, I’m always happy to grab this one. That being said, I’m going for the gyokuro tomorrow. :P
Though Yamamotoyama’s mid-level senchas are very good for their price, this “value” sencha isn’t actually much of a value. Even when purchased directly from Yamamotoyama, so that it doesn’t have time to sit on store shelves and get stale, I found it weak and unusually bitter. Doubling the quantity of leaves from one teaspoon to two doesn’t help. Not recommended.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Green
Though this was a good-quality fukamushi sencha, comparable to the more-expensive Den’s Tea fukamushi and the varieties I would drink while I lived in Japan, it’s now been discontinued, and I advise against purchasing it.
As its packaging is transparent – a very bad choice for green tea – it goes stale very quickly while sitting on store shelves. This was often a problem even before it was discontinued, but now that old stock can’t be replaced with new, and it can no longer be ordered direct from Yamamotoyama, you’re unlikely to find many packages worth drinking.
Yamamotoyama appear to have replaced both the “Ocha-Zanmai” and “Tokusen” mid-level lines with their new “Premium” line; I’d recommend looking for that instead.