Popular Teas from YamamotoyamaSee All 37 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Words to describe this wonderful tea: smooth, buttery, light, subtle, defined, very very delicious and addictive. This tea is light without being weak, even on the second steep. I did do the second steep for 3 and a half minutes though, rather than the original 2 or 2 and a half. This tea tastes so amazing without a hint of bitterness or “off” flavors. I really can’t complain about a thing but the price, which for me was around $9.00 for a box of 20 tea bags.
I picked up one of the ‘big’ 200g packs of this tea from a Japanese restaurant-cum-gorcery-store in Manchester, as it was very cheap and looked like it would make a good ‘everyday tea’ – the leaves looked nice and green, if a little broken, through the packet so I thought I may as well give it a try!
The dried leaves had a surprisingly clean, almost fruity aroma – for me, this was a little nice than the smell some highly prized green teas. In my initial brew, I used 1.5 tsp in ~250 ml, with a steep of ~2’. In all honesty, I was quite disappointed with the resulting brew – the liquor looked super-cloudy and it was VERY bitter (for my tastes, anyway). One positive, though, was that even these initial, very astringent sips, left me with lovely fruity after-tastes, convincing me not to give up just yet…
So I through it out, feeling a little embarrassed (particularly after seeing some of the other reviews on here, and seeing the advice given), and rebrewed used the same leaves, this time for 1’30". This second steep was much better – the tea was a lovely golden colour, nice and clean, with a fresh, slightly marine aroma. The tea tasted wonderful too – those classic apricot notes were present, along with a little seaweed like after-taste. As it cooled, the tea became a little sweeter and the mild astringency fell away.
As the leaves were still lovely and aromatic, I thought I’d give them a third steep for 2’ – a good idea! The resultant liquor was a charming yellow-green and had a lovely, marine aroma. The tea still had the fruity, apricot notes that earlier brews had, but it was a milder cup (which suited me fine, now that I’d finished my breakfast!). It still had some seaweed notes, and that gentle astringency.
I would certainly recommend this Sencha as a budget, everyday tea – don’t be expecting the world’s finest, hand-picked, lovingly crafted green tea – this is not that. But for a fresh, flavoursome drink in the morning, I can think of far worse!
(I’ll probably try brewing this again tomorrow, or maybe even later today. I imagine I’ll try giving it a quick rinse first, to reduce some of the initial cloudiness, and I’ll definitely use less tea or a much shorter initial steep – maybe only 60" or so.)
Flavors: Apricot, Dried Fruit, Seaweed
Although it doesn’t say on the package, I can tell by looking at it that it is bancha. Sure, it may be the lowest grade of Japanese green, but I think it is ideal for Hojicha. You wouldn’t want to waste a good sencha or, heaven forbid, a gyokuro, on this type of process. Because of it’s low-caffeine content, I drink it in the late evening without any side effects. Today, I steeped the tea three times in my gaiwan before calling it quits.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Cedar, Dry Grass, Roasted Barley
Jasmine Tea is my favorite tea of all because it was the first of all tea I had ever had with my grandmother when I was 5 years old. She had given me the love of tea.
I first purchased Yamamotoyama Jasmine tea at Koreana Plaza now known as KP Asian Market in Oakland, CA (they have a variety of affordable teas $1.79 and up). First of all, I really like the box and packaging (starting to like the color pink too). Each tea pouch is individually sealed in an aluminum/paper pack (the first I have seen and pretty innovative, maybe just to me). It gives that sort of easy feeling when you want to carry on the go and I usually do. Of course, you can recycle the box but I’d like to keep it.
Usually, how strong you want your tea to taste weighs heavy on this brand. It can turn out pretty strong for just a single tea bag. I am the kind of person who likes strong fragrant smell and taste so I usually steep it for maybe 4 to 5 minutes but according to the package, 1 to 3 minutes is about right or as they say, “to desired taste”.
What else can I say about it? It’s super fragrant in taste and smell so it’s best to follow the box and steep 1 to 3 minutes if it’s your first jasmine green tea (I had some in the past that are way weaker in taste and smell). You can order from the website: http://www.yamamotoyama.com
Flavors: Flowers, Jasmine
One of my favorite frugal morning cups – a regular purchase for me at Mitsuwa (though I’m really there for the ramen at Santouka of course).
Brewed in an Indian made Korean style infuser cup.
Dry, I find Yamamotoyama to produce one of the more aromatic Genmaichas I’ve had – though by no means complex, the toasted rice and grassy tea (Bancha?) synergize with all the sweet potency you could desire.
Spring Bud-green liquor holds a few dozen microscopic leaves that dance along the eddies of heat before descending to rest uneasily on the bottom of the cup.
Dusty, grainy, and faintly grassy in the nose. Simple, earthy, easy-drinking, lightly toasted, with no real vegetal notes or bitterness as long as you don’t stew it. Hints of peanut husks. Delicate yet faintly creamy mouth-feel.
Second and third steep with boiling water for 30 seconds and 1 minute respectively.
Satisfying and sufficiently energizing to be a “daily drinker” if you were so inclined.
This is a very strong-tasting genmaicha, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Very umami, somewhat astringent, really brothy.
I may have oversteeped this, though – the directions I was given said 1 tbsp for 30 seconds to 1 minute at 176-194F. I did it for 1 minute at 177F. I’m really having trouble finding a genmaicha I like, it seems.