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Recent Tasting Notes
I drink matcha 4x a week and somehow the last stuff I had from Yunomi lasted a few months which was surprising to me. This is the other matcha I bought during Cyber Monday and I think it works well as a morning matcha. Out of all the matcha I’ve had before, this one whisk the easiest. The color is bit brighter than the last stuff I had and the taste has some more depth to it with a sweet after taste. The texture isn’t as thin as the last stuff; not in comparison for how much powder is used, but for the same amount.
Price wise: I think this will be roughly $13 a month if it last two months for me which means I’m at under $1 per session/morning breakfast. I’ll be looking at Azuma for other products because this one seems to be solid. The can it is in is more appealing as well as the plastic top isn’t so flimsy like other products.
From the Herbal TTB. Amount taken is actually 1.5 tsp. There is some left for another 8oz cup if anyone was wants to try.
18 herbs?!? Wowee. Here they are from the website: Barley tea, job’s tears, sicklepod seeds, cat’s whiskers (herb), dokudami (herb), oolong tea, tumeric, guava leaves, biwa (loquat) leaves, mikan (Japanese mandarin) peels, brown rice, pine leaves, ohbako, benibana, persimmon leaves, amachazuru, sarunokoshikake (fungi), cinnamon.
Oolong. OK. This is not a purely herbal blend then. Considering the number of ingredients and that I’m taking them from a sample packet, there wouldn’t be much of each, including the oolong. Still. This is under the herbal section.
That aside, I have never tasted practically every single one of these ingredients. This blend is difficult to evaluate. I thought I smelled and tasted a solid note of juniper berries. No barley – it wasn’t something I grabbed a lot of. That may have been the sicklepod seeds.
Pleasant cup, but I’m not hooked. You might get something else out of this, so go for it. It is something I’ve never seen before.
Thank heavens Andrew sent me a green tea. I’ve had so much oolongs, blacks, and pu-erhs that I’ve started to get a bit overwhelmed. That is especially true this morning. That Wu Yi varietal was starting to give me a massive headache. The astringency started to follow really badly too.
This green goodness saved my palette. Super fresh, green, and yummy. It distinctly tastes like spinach, asparagus, umami, avocado, and sea weed in a really nice way. Plus I’m personally getting a bit of a creamy, almost oily mouth feel. My stomach is starting to settle. That could just be psychological-veggies can have the tendency to do that to me. It’s so GREEN. I especially like the later steeps. All of them were incredibly short, the longest being 30 sec toward the end. 5-10 sec was the average.
Flavors: Asparagus, Green, Pleasantly Sour, Spinach, Umami, Vegetables
Not bad (Certainly won’t complain for the $3 I spent on 100g of it). With quicker steep times the main flavor I get is one of toasted nuts, especially for the first few steeps. The nuttiness drops off after around 3 steeps, replaced by a light corn-like sweetness. The dry leaves smell strangely of the inside of a pumpkin, and the wet leaves smell like roasted pumpkin seeds. At first I thought this tea was roasted, but I now believe that was simply because I was using too hot of water at first. Not really good enough that I’d go and buy any more of it.
Flavors: Roasted nuts, Sweet
Was planning on waiting until I had a chance to gongfu this. I decided to give up waiting and brewed it western style this morning. It’s quite taste with a sweet fruity note off the bat. This looks and tastes like a black tea, ,not on oolong. The sweet note might be described as plums, perhaps cherries. It hard to pin down. There is little in the way of bitterness or astringency here and I detect no malt.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz teavana glass perfect tea maker/gravity steeper withi 7.2g leaf and 190 degree water for 3 min after a 10 second rinse.
At first sip I didn’t like this tea that much. But as I drink it it is improving. The main note is a kind of a burnt note from the brown rice, not sure how else to describe it. There is a secondary note from the green tea, barely perceptible and somewhat grassy. Overall I like this tea.
I steeped this tea one time with 10g leaf and 190 degree water in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper for 1 min. 10g seems like a lot but those were the Yunomi directions.
Well I’m in the reviewing mood today but have no new teas to review. Ho-hum. I did find this sample from Yunomi which was unopened but past its suggested “drink by” date, so I will leave my impressions gingerly.
I haven’t particularly given much love to my beautiful Tokoname-yaki kyusu lately. I really need to sift through old emails and see if I can figure out who made this thing because it is handmade and is easily the most beautiful and precisely-crafted teaware in my collection.
Anyway, these bancha leaves are the big yellowish green leaves I’m used to seeing. The scent of the leaves after the first infusion is mildly floral and nutty with a bit of the scent of prairie grass in late summer. Most people would use the word hay here, but I like the more idyllic descriptor of golden grasses drying out with splashes of living growth and wildflowers in the mix. It’s a distinct smell. If you’ve gotten to visit any tall prairies you know it, and I grew up among them, so I cant depart it from my memory. The scent of the leaves is also slightly herbal and reminds me of the scent of dry matcha.
The flavor is more enjoyable than I expected, especially from expired tea. It tastes like yellow apple peels and walnuts and packs a pretty decent umami for a bancha. It’s very clean and crisp, quite rich in flavor too. There’s a tart black currant kind of note late in the sip and it lingers. There is a hint of bitterness but I think the tartness and the richness of flavor work together pretty well in hiding it. It has a slightly dry finish as well but a bit of lingering sweetness too.
This tea was relaxing. Good by me. :3
EDIT: I found the aforementioned email and it is made by Shoji Umehara. If you see any of his works, I highly recommend them. My kyusu has the most immaculate lid fit I’ve seen on a teaware (zero wiggle room, but can be rotated smoothly), and the shape and glazing of this kyusu are just perfect.
EDIT EDIT: I found the old Amazon page with pictures of it, though this one I ordered from Chado Tea House (they are the ones who were selling it on Amazon too) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CD8NPTU?tag=tystoyboxpair-20
Flavors: Apple Skins, Black Currant, Floral, Sweet, warm grass, Walnut
This is a tasty black tea. There is little malt, bitterness, or astringency. It’s got a nice somewhat sweet, barely perceptible spicy note to it. I’m not sure what to call the sweet note. The website just describes it as mild and fragrant. This is accurate but I’m not sure how to describe the fragrance involved. The dry leaves had an odd smell to them but I didn’t get any of that in the brew.
I brewed this once in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for 2 min.
This is an interesting black tea. It’s got something of a spicy note to it that I almost mistook for wet storage taste. But this tea is I think a 2015 black tea so it shouldn’t have any storage taste. The spicy taste has something of a bitter character to it I guess. Not sure if I would buy this one again but it is an interesting tea.
I steeped this tea once in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for 3 min.
The third and final tencha sample… so sad to not have any more.
The first one I had was the best by far, the sweet tender taste… so good.
This leaf however would out preform it in regards to being matcha. Why is that? Simple: This leaf keeps the vegetable integrity while having a slight sweetness to it. A combination like that is key for a matcha, but for a loose leaf tea I like my sweets so this ranks in #2. I really like the Yunomi series based teas that are put together. I think I might get suckered into getting the aged green Japanese tea leaf one which is 2014 and 2015 side by side.
I got the best news from my phone today, clearly the weather gods have heard my cries, because guess what is happening on Friday? Yes, snow! It will only be an inch and technically it is a day after my birthday, but whatever, until I move far to the north (or in the mountains) this might be as close as I get to a blizzard on my birthday! If all goes well it will be late at night so I can get my gallivanting done early in the day and then just enjoy the snowy night.
Today’s tea is a bit of an opposite to the weather, here we are on the cusp of winter, and I am talking about one of the iconic spring teas! Yunomi’s Takeo Tea Farm: Limited Organic Shincha (Isecha), #3 “Ume” it is a Shincha, or the earliest harvest, is probably some of the most coveted Sencha, it is immensely fresh and a bit of a pain to get stateside, I am usually lucky to get a sample of it a year, and this is my 2015 Shincha. I got my sample right at the same time that Yunomi switched website, and my only complaint about the new site is the lack of interesting information, it used to be each of the teas would have a lot of details about them, now only some do…and this particular one is sparse on details. The aroma of the leaves is, well, it is also a bit sparse, very faint notes of kelp and spinach with a touch of fresh lettuce, but really this is a faint, faint, Shincha.
Into my tiny kyusu the leaves go for a nice steeping, one day I will have the shiboridashi I ordered, but slow shipping is slow. I love these tiny leaves, but they are a pain to clean out of the screen, so I look forward to a shiboridashi. The aroma of the leaves is still really mild, notes of spinach and kelp with a gentle grassiness at the finish. The liquid has almost no aroma at all, I was beginning to worry my nose had failed me, but after sniffing some familiar things I was sad to admit that this tea just smells like faint grass water.
I admit to some apprehension, see taste is mostly smell, the olfactory system is so intertwined with the sense of taste (the gustatory system) that usually if it is lacking, the food is lacking. One of the reasons I loathe having a stuffy nose, I tend to panic if I can’t smell or taste properly, not sure if that is an offshoot of my sensory disorder or a normal reaction, clearly I need to take a poll! Ok, enough waffling, this tea did not live up to my past experiences with Shincha…and I find myself wondering if I accidentally ordered the 2014 harvest, but since I remember getting the 2015 and my package did not have the harvest date on it I can’t be sure. The taste is like buttery spinach water and a gentle nutty finish, and that is it. I tried for a second steep just to see if a higher temperature would help, but nope, this tea was just not on its game. This is the first time I have been disappointed by a tea from Yunomi, but I didn’t want the rest of my sample to go to waste, I gave it to a friend who absolutely loved it…proving once again, that taste is subjective and there is a tea for everyone out there somewhere.
Green tea season is over for me due to the weather change, but Yunomi had recently put up this spring harvest sencha with the name dragon in it… I’m a sucker for such things so I picked it up with my banchas for the winter.
Here’s the thing: This leaf is small and ugly, but after trying this… I can safely say that the price was worth it. At something like $20 an ounce (for the sample price) that’s steep. This is the second best Japanese green tea I’ve had, behind the Okinawa shincha which was mind blowing good. The long lingering mouth feel is slimely with a taste of vegetable goodness. What confuses me about this tea is it’s overall taste and aftertaste. I’ve used three cups to taste this because each time I get the sensation that I just ate a cooked vegetable. I’m not sure if I like that or not, but it’s pretty dang cool. The leaf once brewed is still small and ugly, but I’m after taste and it is giving me a wonderful taste with an interesting experience.
First, I need to just point out that Yunomi is growing to be something much bigger and better than what it was when I had the group buy earlier this year. Their new site, the new cultivators, and just… everything! I’m impressed and excited to see what is to come.
Anyways, I was very excited when I saw a tencha sampler. A must buy for me :)
This is one very interesting experience. The taste is pure Japanese tea freshness. The odd part though is how it taste like matcha which is probably the way everyone has always tencha, rather than loose leaf. It’s somewhat hard to explain without sounding nasty, but to tencha taste like a non thick version of matcha. Smooth with an ending velvety vegetable taste that lingers briefly. This was the first of the three that I have drank and I have no negative remarks beside the pricing of tencha which is understandable.
I think I have an obsession with Liches (who Ben swears the plural is Lichen, and I am not sure I want to agree with that or not) I just absolutely love them! To me, painting a magical armor wearing or magic slinging skeleton glowing with undead magical energy is just the best thing, I might like painting them more than I do monsters. There are currently more Liches (my blue banshee totally counts) on my tea table then elves and monsters, and I am in the market for more…yep, I totally have an obsession. I blame Tolkien, since I am pretty sure my love for them started with the Nazgul and Barrow Wights…or maybe it came from the creepy Horned King from The Black Cauldron?
Today we are taking a trip to Japan for something beautiful and green, Yunomi’s Obubu #5 Kirameki No Sencha, Shaded Summer Green Tea. From the Kyoto Obubu Tea Farm in, you guessed it, Kyoto, this Sencha is shaded for two weeks before harvesting, giving it a lightness after its strong summer sunlight. The name, Kirameki no Sencha is evocative of shimmering light dancing on water, and that sounds beautiful, and I am a little sad I am drinking this so late in the year, it sounds like the perfect summer drink. Now, before I get into the way these leaves smell, I have to say wow, these are some big leaves! Very large, especially for a Sencha, I was very impressed by their pine needle like appearance and color. Ok, that aside, sniffing time! The leaves are at first nutty and sweet, notes of sesame seeds and a gentle honey sweetness, then it starts to get an umami note of toasted nori which blends really well with the sesame seed notes. The finishing notes are freshly mown grass and a sharp bell pepper greenness which lingers in the nose.
Into my tiny kyusu the leaves go, and the aroma coming of the now wet leaves is quite green! Fresh kelp and toasted nori blended with asparagus and cooked bell peppers. Undertones of fresh grass and a touch of sweet hay cut through the mostly savory notes. The liquid is sweet and warm, like sunlight on a summer day, where it has warmed the grass and hay, blending the aromas of nature. Underneath that is a gentle nuttiness and just the tiniest hint of kelp and sea air.
The first steeping is clean and smooth, the mouthfeel is very light, I can see why this tea is described as one that is good for a summer day, a combination of a lower brewing temperature and lightness would be very refreshing when it is hot. It starts with notes of lettuce and fresh kelp, cut grass and a touch of sea air. Then it moves to gentle sesame seeds and builds to a gentle sweetness that lingers into the aftertaste. The transition between umami and sweet is gradual and not jarring, which I always find quite nice.
Second steeping, the aroma is sweeter, no sea air or kelp to be found, just honey, sesame seeds, and grass. This steeping was smooth like the first, but the mouthfeel is more buttery than light, giving it a bit more depth. It is greener this time around, and not just in color, notes of kelp and spinach with a touch of grass and a finish of sesame seeds at the finish. Usually Sencha makes me feel energized, hilariously right after drinking this one I fell asleep, that was a first!
This is one of the teas Liquid Proust donated to the Herbal and Decaf TTB. Thank you!
I used half of this sample, since it said it made two cups. It tasted mostly like a light barley tea. I could tell there were other flavors in there giving it a bit more depth, but they were so light I could barely tell they were there, and couldn’t really place them. I really like barley tea, so I would definitely drink this again.
Flavors: Roasted Barley
I was planning to review some of my YUNOMI order tomorrow, but I just have to write about this now.
First let me mention this: I only bought this tea because it is an aged Japanese tea, that to me sounds rare/odd/cool/musttry.
My only experience with tea stems went horrible last time because it was quite unappealing in taste and appearance. While this tea still looks lame, it brews out a wonderful cup of calmness. Knowing it’s past midnight, I chose this tea because it was aged to reduce the caffeine content. The taste of stem is surely there and the explanation of ‘slightly roasted’ cannot be worded better . What makes me happy that I bought 100g of this tea is that it is great. This is a through and through an autumn tea. I’ll probably be buying more since I might end up sending this out for others to try.
It’s as if I’m drinking the woodsy remains of a roasted bancha that has settled in time to taste like a falling leaf that has recently became orange with red spots on it. Yeah, that’s how it taste.
This was an enjoyable, great quality sencha especially for the price. Full bodied and very well balanced sweetness and mild astringency. I started off steeping it at 155 F and then dropped the temperature by about 5 degrees with each subsequent steep. The tea got lighter and creamier as it progressed. On the fourth steep, I bumped up the temperature to 165 F and let it go for 2.5 mins. Still produced a tasty cup. A very refreshing sencha overall!
Flavors: Grass, Smooth
The smell of the dry leaf and the taste of brewed cup are fishy, similar to bonito flakes with a deeply vegetal aftertaste. Even at the lowest brewing temperature of 140 F, there is very little sweetness and mostly bitterness. Tastes like your drinking water from a fishy lake. By far the foulest tasting Japanese green tea I’ve had yet.
Flavors: Fishy, Vegetables
This delicious and fragrant sencha is underrated and inexpensive. I gave it an 84 for the value I got from the low price. I assumed the Kurihara bros would make a very flavorful sencha at a low price since I’ve tried their gyokuro samples, which I highly recommend. This tea is simple and easy to brew. The broken dried leaves appear to be mid-steamed and the tea soup is a vibrant lime green hue. I picked up roasted asparagus, edamame, and peach. Another good quality of the tea, is the fragrance it leaves at the bottom of the cup and it’s after taste, usually evidence that the tea bushes are grown at higher elevations.
Before I knew it my tea tin was empty again.
From the EU TTB
This is a green tea like none I’ve seen before. It’s almost powdered, the leaf is so fine! I went with a traditional western-style brew since I wasn’t really sure how to approach it – 1 tsp of leaf given 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright yellow.
To taste, this is like a rather concentrated green tea. I probably could have made do with less leaf, or a much, much shorter brew time. It’s drinkable like this, though. The flavour is very grassy, almost like a cup full of liquidised fresh cut grass, basically. It’s hard to taste anything else – if indeed there is anything to taste! It’s sweet in a hay-like way, with just the tiniest bit of underlying bitterness. I probably could have avoided that with a more accomplished brewing, though. There’s no astringency, so that’s a point in its favour for sure.
I felt wrong footed by this one, so my impression of it probably isn’t quite what it should have been. Any errors here are mine, though, and it was actually a pretty pleasant cup of green tea once I got used to the intensity of flavour. It’s probably not one I’d return to, though – at least not without some detailed brewing instructions!
This was with my last Yunomi order and I added them purely because they were on sale. Plus I have been trying a few tea bags from Nakazen recently and this is another to add to the collection.
These teabags are each individually sealed in a silver foil pack for added freshness. The outer packaging can also be re-sealed.
Opening the foil pack I am met with a large polystyrene teabag with a white appearance and a tag attached to string. I cannot see any dust/fannings in the silver foil pack or my hand as I handle the bag. Though white I can see dark leaves filling roughly 1/4 of the space. They are small pieces of leaf. As I sniff the bag it is subtle with some wooden tones and a hint of dryness.
Steep one tea bag for 1 minutes with 100C water. (As seen on the pack)
While it steeps I don’t believe I’ve heard of Tsubaki tea before. A Google search says that it’s also known as: “camellia japonica (a relative of camellia sinensis or tea)”.
The Yunomi website also offers some information on this.
Well once steeped the colour is golden brown (like a dark honey) and it bares a bitter, earthy, wooden and smoky tea. It smells like Pu Erh! I was seriously not expecting that. Just like a Ripe Pu Erh.
Flavour is milder than the scent though still somewhat similar to Pu Erh. It’s medium strength with damp earth, dry wood and a soft smoke after taste. There is also some sweetness to it though mild compared to the earthiness. The dryness increases and coats my tongue over time.
Half way down the mug at this point and I keep having to tell myself it’s not a Pu Erh. Still despite the fact of something it isn’t I like what it actually is. It’s not as ‘offensive’ as Pu Erh can be at times but you have the characteristics of it, plus it has a calming effect. I’m losing train of thought as I carry on typing.
In terms of this being bagged I would not have guessed had I not seen it with my own eyes. It made for ‘unusual’ drinking but I’m still happy I picked this one up.
Recently I received an order from Yunomi of which they were kind to include this tisane as a free gift. While admittedly hibiscus is not something I would usually order it is nice to try something different. Plus I feel tisanes are something I should drink more of, going caffeine free every now and then sounds like a good idea.
They do offer this as two versions on their website: loose leaf and teabag. This is the teabag version.
The bags are a good quality thin polystyrene (very typical Japanese tea bag design). They are white and a little bit see through with 1/5 filled with small, chopped petals. As I sniff the bag I am met with a dry, sweet, tangy and herbal scent. Very hibiscus strong and herbal but also not overly thick.
Steeping: Popping one bag into boiling water for three minutes.
Colour is deep, deep red. Scent is floral, sweet yet sour and overall rather soft.
Flavour is stronger than the smell though it’s not as thick as I expected (or feared). The hibiscus is sweet with sour after tones and a touch of dryness, this leads to a herbal after taste. The sourness is actually rather minimal considering, likening this to sherbet. ie. More sweet than sour.
Half way down my mug I’m finding this to remain consistent with the first sip. The dryness is not increasing and nor is the herbal tang that tisanes tend to have.
Overall I thought this was nice, more pleasant tasting than I had imagined being generally a non hibiscus fan. This was of fair quality and strength which complimented the hibiscus. A simple tisane but a nice companion on this warm night.
I’ve had this tea for awhile and have enjoyed it , but never left a review. Had it stored in the fridge and it seems to have kept it fresh.
It tastes great. A sweet grassy sencha. A little bit fruity. It’s a deep green colour like gyokuro but lighter than gyokuro. It’s also organic-grown without pesticides. A big plus in my book. If I order from Yunomi in the future I would put this one on the order.