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Backlog from a few days ago.
I could have sworn that I wrote a note about this tea before, but I guess not. In any event, this is a sipdown!
I used more western steeping measurements and even slightly underleafed and oversteeped the brew. Despite this, the cup was surprisingly pleasant! I generally steel myself for the bitterness of gyokuros, but this was gentle and nutty. Not sure if I’ll get more, but this was a nice sendoff.
Having this one this morning. Brewed accorking to Yunomi. First brewing : 1 tsp, , 1/3 cup water at 110F, 2 minutes. It was rich and sweet like heavy seaweed. No astringency at all. Second brewing: 1/3 cup , 185F, 20sec. This one had a stronger astringency due to the higher temperature but the sweetness was still coming through. Good but very different than the first brewing. My little teapot was not filtering out all the tiny leaves so with both the first and second brewing, I was getting those tiny leaves at the bottom of my cup. That’s what was giving it a strong strong seaweed taste at the bottom of the cup. So far, very delicious and very different. Will update further with more steepings! I would classify this tea as a very special occasion tea or special treat. The special steepings are a little tricky to follow and the tea is amazing. Definitely worth keeping in small quantities for that special treat.
Flavors: Seaweed, Sweet
From Cameron B in a swap!
Brewed with a shudei kyusu. 1st infusion: 160 degrees, 45 seconds. 2nd and 3rd: 170, 30 seconds.
I love the color of the wet leaf – such a deep yet vibrant green! This gyokuro has a citrusy dry aroma. The wet aroma smells of the spinach, almost sugary. The liquor is bright green, full-bodied, thick-textured, and very sweet. The first and third infusions are buttery with a spinach note, and the second tastes more like squash with the slightest hint of bitterness (the good kind).
A good quality gyokuro, but it’s too sweet for me. Thanks for giving me a chance to try it, Cameron B!
I’m still not completely sold on houjichas, but I was surprised by how dark the brew was when I finished steeping. It was a deep, dark umber. A cool brown, not a warm welcoming one.
The taste was fairly similar to the other Obubu houjichas I sampled, but that’s ok. Woody, roasty, smoky, somewhat “curly”. Just need to make a few more pots of this to finish it off.
My husband always enjoys drinking tea with me though he doesn’t share my special fondness of it. When I first gave him Matcha and mentioned it’s amazing health properties he waned in disbelief and left it at that. Months down the line he read an article about Matcha tea in a Men’s Health magazine and how it is beneficial to have before and after a work out. My husband being a gym type (well, he likes to think so anyway) asked me to get some Matcha to blend into his protein shake. Well after a week or so of searching I settled on this brand and purchased three packets, it was amazing value of only around $18 for 100g and on top of that I had a coupon.
That was a good five or so months ago, now this is my go to every day Matcha. Yes it’s kitchen grade but it’s an amazing kitchen grade. It’s not bitter, nor fishy, nor chemical like or anything else which is unlike some of the others I have tried in the past. This is a lovely medium greenish colour that steeps dark with water and tastes light, grassy and sweet. It may have a slight touch of bitterness but I find Matcha does in general anyway, including ceremonial.
So for an everyday Matcha I highly recommend this, it’s the best I have found in terms of flavour, quality and price. My husband is also smitten with it, and while he may not go to the gym often he still drinks his Matcha.
Having a Kindle Fire is probably the most awesome thing I have experienced in a while, combine that with a free trial to Kindle Unlimited, and I am pretty sure my ‘books read’ count this year is going to sky-rocket past 100, easily. If I am lucky I can afford to keep the Kindle Unlimited thing after my free trial, because $10 for a mountain of books is just awesome. I love being able to carry all those books around with me without being crushed under their weight, a common problem when I travel around, I need my books! Having a book has always been a security blanket for me, I never leave the house without one.
Today’s tea comes from Yunomi, they recently gave their website a re-do, it caught me off guard, but it looks quite snazzy. From Kurihara Tea #12 Shira-Ore Stem Tea with Matcha will be the tea that gets to take a soak in my Kyusu today. Usually called Kukicha, stem tea in the Yame Region of Southern Japan is called Shira-Ore. It takes the stems separated out during the production of Sencha and mixes them with a bit of leaves to balance out the flavor and some Matcha to add in some richness. The aroma of the dry leaves is so green! There are notes of cut grass, fresh spinach, and an underlying sweet nuttiness, the aroma reminds me of the smell of summer when everything is in full growth.
Ah, the aroma of sweet, fresh, vegetation is a beautiful thing, especially to sniff when once is not in the best mood, it is like taking a walk through a lush field on a summer day, but without the worry of annoying bitey bugs. There are notes of fresh hay, cut grass, spinach, nuttiness, and a tiny hint of a green algae note. The liquid is sweet and green, there is a bit of grass and spinach with a sweet nutty quality and a tiny hint of umami filled kelp.
The first steep is delightfully mellow, not to be boring but the tea tastes pretty much exactly as it smells, no mysterious hidden notes that appear in the taste. Fresh green growth, cut grass, sweet fresh hay, and a nice nutty sweet finish. Very refreshing, especially if you, like me, are a lover of all things green. I should say that the Matcha taste is very mild, a lot of teas with added Matcha usually have a very distinct kick of of the stuff, this one is very light, so if you are one who is afraid of Matcha, this could be a good introduction to its taste.
I decided to go for a second steep (while I vigorously browse for new books for my kindle, that thing is going to be loaded with books for my train trip) the aroma is a warm grass green and sweet, mellow, Matcha. It reminds me of sun warmed green growth, where earlier it was a field in morning, this time it is late and lazy afternoon. The taste this time around has a more umami sea air and kelp tinge to it, with less sweetness and more green, there is a touch of cooked kale and fresh vegetation, with a finish of hay. An excellent example of stems being awesome.
This is my second free “press” sample from Yunomi.us last month (I just got an email telling me that my free samples for this month shipped, yay). I’m just going to say it, I don’t have much experience with gyokuro and the last one I tried was a bit too much for me. But onward we go, for science! The leaves of this tea are quite thin and lightweight, and almost needle-like in shape. Their color is a rich jewel-tone evergreen. Dry scent is strongly sweet and vegetal, and almost fruity (pineapple?). I steeped a level teaspoon at 160 degrees for 2 minutes.
Once steeped, the tea has a strong and intense vegetal aroma, with a lovely mixture of sweet and savory tones and a touch of seaweed. Oh wow, I was blown away at first sip! This tea is so amazingly sweet and smooth, and super creamy in texture. Drinking this reminds me of eating a nice hearty, thick soup. The vegetal flavor is deep and luscious, and a mixture of mild steamed greens and silky butternut squash or sweet potato puree. There’s also a lovely rich nutty flavor here, definitely with a touch of roast. It’s a decadent nut, like macadamia or cashew. So delicious and satisfying!
Flavors: Butternut Squash, Creamy, Nuts, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Thick
I feel much better today! It is delightfully chilly, my Minecraft Hoodie is out of my trunk, and my cat is nestled in my lap. Pretty sure all my problems were being caused by allergies, after a really scary asthma attack last night I decided to take some allergy meds and oh man, such an improvement. I forget that my allergies go bonkers in Autumn in Kansas City, I am so glad I am escaping to PA, I might avoid the worst of it. Allergies or no, I love this time of year…being under blankets and having a snugly heat-seeking cat make it extra wonderful. I am in an excellent mood.
Today’s tea from Yunomi might have the distinction of being the most interesting tea I have ever reviewed, I cannot tell you how excited I was to try Furyu’s Bancha Goishicha! This rare dark tea from Kochi Prefecture in the town of Otoyo, it is named Goishicha because the chunks of tea are reminiscent of the game of Go. For a while this tea was extremely rare (having only one producer) but recently thanks to the local government there are more producers of this unique tea. One of the things that makes this tea so fancy is the way it is made, using a method called after-fermentation, first the leaves are steamed, stacked, and covered with a mat to allow it to ferment, but wait…there’s more! After that the leaves are stuffed into a barrel with a rock on top to continue fermenting it, lastly the leaves are laid in the sun to try. You can see that a lot of work went into making this tea. Sniffing this hockey puck of tea is awesome, it smells more like food than tea, with notes of old oak wood, soy sauce, salty sea air, a tiny bit of smoke, wet leather, and a bit of a savory meaty finish. I can certainly see why this tea is used to make Chagayu, because it smells like food! I kinda want to eat this tea instead of putting it into my kyusu.
So, after giving the chunk of tea a five minute steep, my kyusu is leaking some powerful aromas, I am not sure the word pungent fits, but wow, that is fascinating! The aroma of the wet leaves is sauce, seriously guys, it smells like sauce, like someone blended soy sauce, Ponzu Sauce, Mirin Sauce, kelp and old wet leather. The liquid smells like food too, the same saucy concoction but with a hint of rice and more of an aged, oak cask aroma.
Wow! Ok that is so weird! It does not taste like any tea I have ever had, and I have had a lot of tea! It starts off very sour, like lemons mixed with soy sauce, a nice dash of kelp, with a finish of leather and mushrooms. It tastes like a mix of my favorite sauces and is really intense, I decided to try it chilled as well so I refreshed my cup and put it in the fridge for a few. Cold takes the edge off the sour, so if you find that lemony sourness is too much for you (I eat salt covered lemons as a stomach soother, so it is totally not too much for me) I suggest chilling it.
Guess who is going for a round two? Yeah, it is me, I want to see what this chunk of aged tea can do! The aroma of this steep has a sweetness to it, along with of a leather tone with a great combo of saucers from the previous steep. This steep is much milder, it is still sour, but instead of tasting like an entire lemon, it is like a little squeeze of lemon with notes of Mirin and Soy sauce. The aftertaste is smoky and leathery with a lemony quality that lingers for a long time. I am amazed at how refreshing this tea is, I feel rather invigorating, but not in a caffeine way, but more of a I just dove into a mountain creek in summer kind of refreshed.
Oh man, the third steep is where it is at! The aroma is pretty much identical to the second steep, so no new observations there. The taste however, well, that is just fun! It is the perfect balance of sourness, sweetness, and savory. The notes of sweet plum wine, leather, mushrooms, soy, lemon, kelp…it is awesome! The lemony sourness lingers along with gentle smokiness, again I feel really refreshed after this steep. I had a great day with this tea, I sat sipping it all day being enamored by the uniqueness of this tea. I certainly want more, I want to make all my tea friends try this, I want to cook with it, I want to have it around when I need a pick-me-up tea. This tea is absolute love.
For photos (including my cat being adorable) and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/yunomi-furyu-bancha-goishicha-tea-review.html
Flavors: Leather, Lemon, Mushrooms, Seaweed, Soy sauce
Lewis & Clark Traveling Teabox – Tea #28
Tea box winding down! It has been an experience! This green is one of those green teas that actually look like grass clippings. Sometimes sencha looks like flat leaves rather than grass. The taste is light and very buttery. Mostly butter. Very tasty.
Steep #1 // 32 min after boiling // 2 min
Marco Polo TTB
THIS BOX IS MASSIVE and there’s so many teas I’ve never had before! This is a definite first.
Nice, sweet, light aroma coming out of the package.
Definitely has that roasted genmaicha smell right when I poured the water in! Now with the matcha, what difference does the matcha make? I haven’t a clue, so that why I’m here to find out!
Hmm.. Tastes like a slightly buttery version of the generic genmaicha I’ve had. Nice, and I can definitely tell the difference between the two.
And back into the box this goes!
Flavors: Butter, Roasted, Toasted Rice
My free “press” samples from Yunomi.us came! I was very excited to see a black tea, as I’ve been curious about Japanese black teas but have never tried one. The leaves are small and very fragile-looking, and they’re curled up into little loops and ‘u’ shapes. The color is a rich dark reddish brown with some grey in it. Dry, it smells like musty hay with some malt and honey mixed in. I steeped about 1.5 teaspoons of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once brewed, this tea smells quite malty with an interesting almost grassy note to it, accompanied by grain and honey. The flavor here is kind of hard to describe, especially since it seems to change a lot during the sip. But I’m going to try to describe it anyway! Initially, it tastes like musty hay and is quite brisk (I think I may have overleafed a tad as at one point it’s almost bitter). At the same time, there’s a bit of a grassy quality and some astringency. Toward the middle of the sip, the flavor transforms into this luscious and creamy bread amazingness! Lovely sweet, crusty bread with creamy honey over the top and a touch of mild fruity preserves. The aftertaste is all creamy bread and honey, and it lingers for some time. I am very curious to see how this tea turns out using an actual teaspoon of tea instead of my heaping variety. I might try a lower temperature too, as the packet recommends 195 degrees.
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Biting, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Grass, Hay, Honey, Honeysuckle, Jam, Malt, Musty, Sweet, Toast
From the Lewis and Clark TTB.
Brewed with shudei kyusu. Steeping times: 1 min, 30 sec, 1 min.
The wet leaf aroma is savory: buttery and sweet with pumpkin and squash. A pleasure to smell in the late afternoon. The first infusion is clear and light on the tongue, yet full-bodied and flavorful. Reminiscent of the sweet seaweed-like quality of kukicha. A graceful infusion.
The second is thicker, more like soup broth. It retains the sweetness form the first infusion, though it also has squash notes. I botched the third infusion: it’s much thicker, darker in color (too dark), and bitter (although I can still taste the tea’s essence). I should have let the leaf steep for a shorter a time.
This is a lovely Japanese green. Too bad there aren’t more in this box.
Lewis & Clarke TTB
This is the first of the five samples I took out before sending the box on its way. I’ve tried houjicha once in the past, and didn’t really like it, so I figured I’d give it another chance. The leaf is a mixture of leaf and stem pieces, are they’re a light to medium golden brown in color. Dry scent is roasty and autumn leafy with a surprising amount of sweetness. I let mine steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once brewed, it’s very roasty-smelling and reminds me of autumn leaves and roasted oolong. There’s not as much sweetness here are there was in the dry. If I’m remembering correctly, this one tastes pretty similar to the other houjicha that I tried. It just tastes like roasted autumn leaves with straw and a little bit of a toasted nut flavor. It’s decent and I’ll finish it, but this isn’t something I would ever need to keep in my cupboard.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Straw
Lewis & Clarke TTB
This isn’t going to be a very good note, as I drank this while playing Diablo III… Sorry! The leaves are thin and flat, and very dark green. Dry scent is fresh-cut grass. I did a 1 minute steep, as I generally do with sencha.
I must say, this tea is very tasty! I drank most of the cup stone cold, because I got distracted by the game (click click click!). The vegetal flavor is somewhat strong but not harsh or biting, and it’s quite sweet with a creamy texture. I actually found it interesting that I get a floral note from this tea, which is not something I have experienced with other sencha. Overall, quite good if you enjoy Japanese greens!
Flavors: Butternut Squash, Creamy, Floral, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
Lewis & Clarke TTB
Genmaicha is one of my favorites, so I had to try this one! My serving was the last one in the pouch, so the leaves were rather crushed and I got a lot of tea dust. Dry scent was toasty rice with some grassiness. I considered going for a 2-minute steep, but I was concerned because of the tea dust, so I did 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Once steeped, it smells very toasty with grassy undertones. I was surprised to find a rather strong seaweed taste in this tea, and not at all displeased! It’s also quite grassy. This tea tastes more like green tea than genmaicha to me, which is unfortunate. I can barely taste the toasted rice here, and that may have something to do with the tea dust. I can, however, taste the matcha with its concentrated creamy green tea flavor. A tasty tea, but I can hardly consider it genmaicha because of the lack of rice flavor. :(
A note concerning the rating: My rating for this tea is based upon overall taste, which was decent. However, I am not recommending it because I would not consider it to be good as a genmaicha, which is what it’s claiming.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grass, Roasted, Seaweed, Vegetal
Lewis & Clarke TTB
I seem to be the only one interested in these odder teas so far. :P This one literally looks like I scooped up a handful of debris off the forest floor and put it into a cup – it’s large dried leaves, twigs, and these huge shiny seeds that resemble small acorns. It mostly smells like musty autumn leaves with a touch of herbal spicy note. I did a 10 minute steep in boiling water.
Brewed, it smells somewhat spicy, maybe similar to ginger? And that autumn leaf smell is also present. I can also taste that hint of spice, and it kind of reminds me of clove? Maybe with a little ginger too. This tea is quite mild and it has a bit of a roasted flavor, which is nice. It reminds me in some ways of Whispering Pines’s Elder Grove, but without the berry flavor. The aftertaste reminds me of roasted coffee beans. There’s also something here that’s similar to licorice root, because I’m getting a slight sweet aftertaste, but it’s very mild and doesn’t bother me here. Overall, I like this one a lot, which is rather unexpected considering how odd I thought it would be. :)
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Coffee, Ginger, Licorice, Roasted
Lewis & Clarke TTB
Okay, this just sounded interesting. And no one has tried it yet, so I’m exploring uncharted territory! Lol. Visually, it definitely looks like chunks of dried root, similar to dried ginger root or something similar. Dry scent is quite earthy and musty with some similarities to hay or straw. Maybe a bit of bran? There were no instructions regarding steep time or water temperature, so I just went with boiling for 5 minutes, which is what I generally do for herbals.
Brewed, it smells pleasantly roasty and reminds me of sunflower seeds or peanuts in the shell, and maybe bran flakes?
AHHHH I HATE WAITING FOR TEA TO COOL!
Ahem. The taste reminds me of peanut or sunflower seed shells. Somewhat musty, somewhat roasty, a bit woody? Definitely dead-on for sunflower or peanut shells. There’s a bit of similarity to houjicha but with less roast and more wood. Interesting, and not at all unpleasant! And apparently rich in fatty acids! Lol. :)
Flavors: Hay, Musty, Roasted, Straw, Wood
I’ve almost finished 50g of this and forgot to write a review in the progress. I have one pots worth left after this one so it looks like I caught it just in time. For now I will do quick notes.
Leaves smell grassy and sweet with an orchid like floral affair.
Once steeped the tea is bright green in colour and matches it’s raw scent.
In flavour this is very grassy with a hint of flowers which seems perfumed and pronounced. Though albeit a medium strength Bancha so it’s not overly strong in any aspect. It’s also somewhat buttery and smooth, very easy to drink and enjoy.
This was not a favourite of mine though it does give a very nice tea buzz. Also though I never found myself craving this tea I also never complained from having it. I may buy this tea again in the future for an every day Bancha but it’s not one I will keep stocked on my shelf.
Flavors: Grass, Orchid
First steeping: two heaping teaspoons of leaf in 6 oz of water, at 165 degrees for 90 seconds. VERY intense umami and brine flavors, almost like drinking ocean water. Slightly sweet with no bitterness. Second steeping: 175 degrees for 30 seconds. More vegetal and more balanced. I actually preferred the second steeping, which tasted much like the first steeping of the other gyokuros that I’ve tried. Third steeping: also 175 for 30 sec. Much milder but good, with more sweetness coming through and still no bitterness. It reminds me a little of a kukicha now.
Flavors: Broth, Butter, Salt, Salty, Seaweed, Sweet, Umami, Vegetables, Vegetal