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Recent Tasting Notes
I changed the info on this tea a bit to show that it can be acquired from Yunomi, since that’s where I got it, as well as where the original poster got hers from.
Anyway … a really good, vibrant tea. Very fresh tasting. Sweet with a sharp bitter tone that added contrast. A good balance between sweet and savory.
Light, brothy character, very comforting to sip.
A very unique sort of tisane, at least for me. I think it was a first for me … the first time I’ve had a tisane comprised of just mulberry leaves. It’s nice though.
Sweet fruity tones with leafy/grassy notes. Vaguely reminiscent of a sencha, actually. A very surprising tisane.
This is another tea that I received from my Monthly Mystery Tea Sampler’s Club from Yunomi. (I highly recommend this club. If you’re in to Japanese green teas … this is a great club to be a part of.)
This is my first experience with Gyokucha. It looks like a Chinese Gunpowder (although the color is brighter with the Gyokucha) and it tastes more like a Gyokuro, but it’s a bit crisper than a typical Gyokuro.
Nutty, sweet, and ends on a savory tone. A really interesting and delightful tea experience. Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/08/25/yunomi-monthly-mystery-tea-samplers-club-ureshino-gyokucha-ochatama/
This tea is a wonderful mixture of green colours and the leaves form thin, smallish pieces that are crisp to the touch. Like little grass shards.
It has a very sweet and grassy scent that is rather mineral and thick. I would say it smells astringent (if that is possible).
water – 80ml
Raw leaves – 5g
Temperature 60°C for first steep and 80°C thereafter
Four steeps – 2 minutes, 30 seconds thereafter
First steep – 2 minutes – 60°C
Cloudy yellow in colour. I exclaimed “Holy Monkey” when I tasted this…it’s bizarre. Sweet and buttery with mineral and astringency but altogether it tastes like some sort of Japanese soup broth but almost luke warm in temperature.
Second steep – 30s – 80°C
Cloudy yellow green now. It still reminds me of a soup broth. Very creamy, buttery, sweet and vegetal but there is something about it….something that makes it taste strange. More like an Oolong than a green I would say, like a milk oolong meets a mineral green tea.
Third steep – 30s – 80°C
This steep is less creamy and buttery but it is still noticeable in the after taste. The sweetness is now not masked as much as the other steeps and it has a slight toastness about it.
Fourth steep – 30s – 80°C
Now it tastes more like your standard green tea. It’s sweet, grassy, mineral, floral and delicious. This steep is more of what I was expecting throughout for this tea, I don’t think I have ever preferred a teas final steep above any other steeps before.
This tea was just way too bizarre for me and I feel it would be unfair to rate it…well I don’t have a clue what to rate it as anyway. It just is not for me, or at least not at this time.
6oz Teapot (180ml)
Tea Leaves – 5g
Water Temp – 60˚C and 90˚C
Four Steeps – 45s per steep
The Yunomi club sent me this sample with instructions to taste the first and third steep at 60˚C so I can experience the full (umami) of the tea.
“Umami, or savoriness, is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty)”.- On Yunomi website.
Getting my umami on sounds like fun so I shall follow said instructions. The leaves are such a beautiful dark green colour and are very reflective and shiny. They look like tiny needles in various lengths. It has a sweet, floral yet toasty scent. I think it may be the sweetest Sencha I have ever sniffed, but it’s just such a beautiful fragrance. This is one of those times I wish smell-o-vision was invented.
First Steep – 45s – 60˚C
Very subtle in flavour (as expected) but what is present is an amazing sweetness that is floral, grassy and yet tastes candied in a perfume sort of way. I know that may not make much sense but I believe this to be no ordinary Sencha. When I say sweet I mean honey sweet. Perhaps this is considered as a rinse? But why waste good tea when you can drink the rinse.
Second Steep – 45s – 90˚C
The increase in water temperature has clouded the water some. Also the raw leaves are stripped of some colour and are now lighter green. Flavour is still very sweet but much thicker than previously and with a little astringency. Floral, mineral, grassy and perfumed.
Third Steep – 45s – 60˚C
Remains cloudy. Increasing in sweetness once again without any astringency or thick mineral tastes. It is a touch dry in the after taste now which is mostly from the perfumed element.
Fourth Steep – 45s – 90˚C
I can taste that the end of this tea is present, it is now the mellowest of all four steeps and only bares a grassy sweetness.
Yunomi has mentioned eating green tea leaves before so I had a go with this tea since it was so very sweet. My first reaction was to expect it to be bitter but I found it no different than eating a piece of fresh spinach leaf. It would be great in a salad, or perhaps served next to some rice and beancurd.
I dare say that this is the best sencha that I have ever tried. It was amazing from start to finish in each aspect (quality, scent, flavour, experience). This has been added to my must buy list from Yunomi. Simply amazing!
I owe all of you an apology, as you noticed I did not blog yesterday, I completely forgot! The whole day I had this nagging ‘I know I am forgetting to do something’ and it wasn’t until I woke up this morning that I realized what it was. Feel free to blame the excessive amounts of Minecraft I have been playing this week. While out walking to the store today I thought to myself, I need to blog about a tea that captures the idea of Winter because it is really cold today.
Kyobancha by Yunomi.us and Obubu Tea Farm captures the idea of Winter in a different way than most teas. From Kyoto (that is where the Kyo part of the name comes from) this Bancha is plucked in March, having spent the entire Winter curing on the bush and then roasted. A rare tea, even hard to find in Japan, I knew I had to try it because the idea of this tea’s Winter journey makes me think that a little bit of the season is captured in the leaf. I am nothing if not whimsical in my way of looking at nature. The aroma is that of old leaves, like it is late Autumn and you are walking through a forest where all the leaves have fallen and there is that distinct aroma of old leaves and crispness. There is a roasted aroma but it is faint compared to other roasted teas and there is also a mild loamy aroma that ties it in with the forest imagery. I really enjoy where the aroma of this tea transports my mind.
Once the leaves are steeped the aroma of loam becomes stronger, as does the roasted aroma. I can also pick up notes of umami as I move the leaves away from my nose. It is savory and rich with also an earthy note and a very delicate hint of smoke. The liquid has a strong roasted aroma, but also notes of buttery sweetness.
Time for tasting! The first thing I notice is the buttery and very smooth mouthfeel, it just slides down my throat and I have be careful to not chug it! The flavor is sweet and rich with notes of earthiness and loam with a hint of wood. It reminds me a bit of brandy but without the alcohol, hard to imagine alcohol without the alcohol, I know. There is of course a roasted taste as well, it is mild, I could see someone who is not a huge fan of roasted teas enjoying this one. The flavors in this tea, while being distinct are also very subtle, it is a soothing tea for when you don’t want to be overwhelmed by flavor and just want to enjoy the delicate. As the tea cools it becomes sweeter and smoother. This tea is wonderful for cold days or right before bed (especially since it has almost no caffeine) and is very soothing to the stomach after a rich meal.
Ok, so I didn’t exactly do a side by side comparison with the smoky roast because I’ve been swamped, but I will say that based on memory and multiple tastings now of both teas, I think I prefer this one overall. It has just the right amount of roasted intensity and flavor for a more everyday kind of tea. The smoky one was just a tad over the top to be drinking all the time for me. Now that I’m fully obsessed with houjichas, I now need to compare this one to the one I got from Den’s for my final final decision on which one to heavily stock up on. Or maybe I’ll just do both, haha.
I received this tea in one of my Mystery Tea Sampler’s Club envelopes. I love this club … every month I would get an envelope with three tea samples to try, and all the teas that I’ve tried thus far from Yunomi have been wonderful. Unfortunately, my subscription ended, hopefully, I will be able to renew the subscription as a christmas gift that my husband doesn’t know that he’s getting me. :)
A delicious roasty-toasty flavor, although as the name suggests, it’s a bit lighter than in a darker roasted Houjicha. Sweet and mild, with a barely noticeable astringency. A really nice cuppa.
A really, really, really good Gyokuro!
A truly extraordinary Gyokuro. If I could only have one tea to drink for the rest of my life and I had to choose a Gyokuro, this would be the one I’d choose. I’ve tasted quite a few Gyokuro teas, and I’ve liked just about every one that I’ve tasted, but this one is the best of the best.
This is one of the very best Genmaicha teas I’ve ever tasted.
It tastes exceptionally fresh and vibrant and sweet. A delightful roasty-toasty-ness to it. And something that’s a little different from other genmaicha – in addition to the Sencha tea and toasted/popped rice, this also has “rice cracker balls” in it, and this … just makes it taste better!
I love this stuff!
Not sure what I did differently than last time, but this time around, the tea has a smokier taste than I remember. I’m on my third steep and the flavor is still pretty strong (though not as strong as the first cup). Still need to do a side by side with dark roast, though.
Very nice roasted, savory taste from this one. Definitely has a stronger flavor than the light/basic houjichas from Yunomi. I seems similar to the dark roast, but I can’t remember for sure. I would have to do a side by side comparison to really tease out the differences I think. Anyway, I resteeped this throughout the day, but it did start to just taste like flavored water around the 4th/5th steep (wasn’t keeping a strict count really). Anyway, I will try to taste this one close in time to the dark roast to decide which one to reorder. Both are great, but it seems a bit redundant to get both.
I wanted something a little more delicate but still comforting this evening, and this is what I came up with. It has that nice roasted houjicha flavor without being completely overwhelming. When my sample runs out, though, I think I will opt to restock on a houjicha with a stronger flavor (like the dark roast). Enjoying it while it lasts, though!
So far, I have tried the light and basic roast houjicha from Yunomi and enjoyed them. However, I felt like the flavors could have been stronger in those two in particular. When I tried this tea, I felt like I had finally found that intensity of flavor that I had wanted from the previous two. This may sound strange, but the smoky flavor almost reminds me of roasted dried seaweed. My tasting notes on houjichas always make them seem so weird and unappetizing, but I swear that I love them! I think that houjichas have officially taken over genmaichas in my book. Anyway, I have the smoky roast left to try, so I’m thinking I’ll either prefer it to this one or it will be a little too intense for my taste. I’m excited to find out!
I received this as part of my Yunomi monthly club package. I enjoy playing Japanese RPG’s and drinking authentic Japanese tea :) So that is my plan for this lazy Sunday.
The loose blend is rather large in size and whilst raw smells dry and herbal but nicely so. In other words it’s not too strong like herbal teas can be.
Steeped with the 10 minute recommended guide line and using boiling water. My sample was 10g so I only had one pot worth of this.
Once steeped it’s brown in colour with a mild herbal, ricey and earthen spicy aroma.
It’s very aromatic and Japanese in flavour. Medium strength with a refreshing taste similar to mint but more herbal based and milder. It also tastes toasted with a slight sour after taste.
A very interesting herbal blend that I’m considering purchasing more of. Would make a nice bedtime tea, or even morning tea.
Sipdown! Excited because I have too much tea, but sad because I really enjoyed this tea. It was pretty savory for a sencha. The problem I had with it was that the tea leaves were very fine and fell through the strainer. Since I took a long time to drink my tea, it ended up being pretty bitter.
I’m rapidly falling in love with Japanese green teas and hojicha in particular. This hojicha had a lighter color than the others that I’ve tried. It also had a slightly less roasty taste and was closer to other Japanese greens in my opinion. I drank this while eating something spicy and a little sweet, so the roasted, savory taste went well with the food. I’m starting to realize that all the Japanese green teas I’ve tried so far have been good for drinking while eating food.
I got this in the post a few days. Since I had gotten into green teas again. My kitchen smells like chocolate cake, except the tea mug which smells like rice cakes. Which is a pleasant scent.
This is only my second time having genmaicha. I like the toasted rice flavour. And I’ve always enjoyed matcha. I still feel like I should be having this in a tea house with onigiri. Thanks to Yunomi for letting me try this.
I’m finding out that all these hojichas that I’ve been drinking have the same dried anchovy smell when I open up the packets. This one has a lighter roasted taste than hojichas that I’ve had before, which makes sense given its name. I think this is a good one for the evening but overall, I would prefer to have a slightly stronger roasted taste. The texture is very clean with no bitterness or astringency. A very comforting cup of tea, especially since I feel like I might be getting sick.
I’ve kind of been a tea making disaster lately. Today, I didn’t realize the bottom of this free sample packet had a hole in it, so I opened it from the top. Cue tea falling out of both ends and me frantically scooping it into my infuser. Not to mention that this tea is on the fine side, so it would fall through the strainer. Sigh. The point is that the steeping and measurement was not so accurate this time around.
Anyway, this tea interestingly smells savory yet tastes more grassy to me. The texture is also thicker, which is nice to have on a windy day like today. I’m terrible at identifying and describing tastes, but I think this one may be a little too umami for me. At least that’s what I think it is. I am still enjoying the cup, though!
Edit: On the second steep, that intense umami-ness went away, and it has a cleaner taste now. The problem now is that it’s a little bland to me. I’ll have to experiment with the other half of the sample to hit that right medium. I also tried some of the tea leaves and it was surprisingly mild. It had a seaweed texture with a green tea taste. Might be yummy to mix it into some rice or something next time.
This is one of the two free samples I got from Yunomi and the first of their teas that I’ve tried. The dry leaf had a slight fishy smell to me, kind of like dried anchovies. The tea itself was pretty savory and less grassy/vegetal than other Japanese green teas that I’ve had. I drank this on its own, but I think it would be a great tea to have with a meal, maybe with some spicy foods. I really enjoyed this!
I was actually given some of this tea by a Japanese woman who works at a cafe I frequent on the way to class. She helps me with my Japanese and I help her with English (not that she needs it). She told me that the tea was produced by some of her family members who work on a tea farm in a place called Yame （八女） which literally translates to 8 women. I was given the impression that it was 8 of her sisters, cousins and aunties producing delicious tea on the island of Kyushu. This is apparently not the case.
Now I’m not actually sure as to what kind of tea it is, as all she had told me was that it was ‘YAMECHA’. After a few cups and a whiff of a Gyokuro at a nearby tea supplier, I surmised that it was in fact a Yame Gyokuro (similar leaf colour and aroma, and apparently about 50% of Gyokuro produced in Japan is from Yame, so the odds are in this assumption’s favour!)
I was very grateful for the tea (she had given me a lot of it), and was eager to figure out how to brew the stuff.
One of my Chinese acquaintances, while we were having a tea session, exclaimed that he knew exactly how to brew it: he took a huge scoop of the tea, ground it down to a powder in a pestle and mortar, and then poured the powder into a tall glass and proceeded to pour boiling hot water over it.
The product was an extremely bitter brew that nobody could finish.
So that’s not how you do it.
I was still curious as to how to brew it, so once I got home from the taste testing I gave it another go, using only my instincts.
I brewed it as you would brew a regular green tea (about 80C for about 1.5 minutes), and it produced a very murky cup of tea. It appeared that due to the varying sizes of tea leaf particles, a good portion of the tea had passed through the strainer and into the cup. In addition, there was a mysterious white foam collecting around the rim of the cup. I thought to myself, “protein?”. Not entirely sure what was going on there. It was a pleasant cup of tea none-the-less.
I decided today to give it a traditional brewing: sitting down with all the bits-and-pieces, my tiny tea gong and my laptop at hand to record the fleeting sensations and the pass through my sensory faculties.
Brewed at 70C for 1.5/2 minutes
This tea has a very warming sweetness, delicate grassiness and faintly nutty flavour. It has a satisfyingly full mouth-feel, and lingers long enough for you to be able to fully appreciate it, as well as time to bid it farewell. The flavour is deeply rich, much like the ‘Pakistan green’ of the leaves (I had to look that colour up; it seems like a slightly awkward descriptor though).
Aroma: Again very warming, deep and rich.
The colour of the liquid is a nice bright green, however I notice that there are particles of varying sizes swirling in my cup, giving it an almost murky appearance. Once they settle it is almost a ‘Paris green’ (again, had to look it up – so many types of green!).
I’m not entire sure what is meant to be done about the particles. Are they an intended feature of the cup? Or perhaps a fine strainer is necessary? I’m not entirely bothered by them, simply curious as to their intentions. Perhaps they add to the mouth-feel that was so satisfyingly bold.
Either way, this is one of my favourite green teas to date, and I intend on making each cup as special as the last.
As my tea drinking day starts drawing to a close, I thought a cup of this tasty gyokuro that I kept from the HHTTB would be nice. Sweet & vegetal, it’s almost like a thin spring greens soup.
A very unique Oolong – different is good! Sweet, mild, fruity … with a hint of sour to provide an interesting sweet and sour experience.
Notes of flower in the distance, but this is much more a fruity tea than a floral tea. Definitely one worth trying if you’re an Oolong fan! And the price is right!
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/05/08/certified-organic-oolong-tea-by-the-takeo-family-from-yunomi/