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Recent Tasting Notes
While this is a very smooth taste, it does have a black tea taste to it- though that is no surprise. I will not rate this tea on my own taste, which is what I generally do, but rather I will rate it on the merits of aroma, freshness, and leaf quality. The integrity of this black oolong leaf is rather strong for a Japanese tea as it taste very fresh and has a very smooth taste. Though I personally am not a fan of black tea, this does not have that strong bitter taste that I associate with black teas so it would be preferred over a straight black tea for me.
The color, the aroma, the brewing, the expansion, the vibrant leaf in the water, the smooth taste, the fine texture, the unexpected mellow brew… the experience.
This is one fine tea that provides a tea worthy to be called gyokuro. Many gyokuros that I have drank are too similar to a sencha, but this tea is a much higher quality and I am glad I chose it out of all the teas that could have been obtained instead.
Don’t let the light color of this teas liquid fool you, it provides a clean taste of Japanese shade grown tea that provides a wonderful aroma that expands inside your mouth as you sip on it.
Oh, yes. This hit the green tea spot this morning!
So buttery smooth, fresh and vegetal. Perfect balance of umami and zesty citrus brightness. I feel like it’m drinking spring in a cup! Too bad it’s been cold as fuzzzzzzz lately. I miss warm and sunny days ;/ what the hell spring?
Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Green, Umami
I drank an entire pot of this last night :)
Looking at the only other review on here kind of makes me curious… but, to clarify there is no citrus taste and astringency isn’t something I’d associate with this tea unless you over brew it of course.
175f for 90 seconds = really green liquid that makes one’s mouth happy :)
Lots of vegetable taste with a very fresh and smooth after taste. Even if I gave all the top of the package to others in the group buy, the bottom leaf is fantastic; just make sure to have the right steeping utensils.
Here’s to drinking a Japanese oolong for breakfast. I have been excited to try an oolong from Japan (I even have 3 kind!) so this was a looked forward to tea time. What I find interesting about this tea is that it taste very similar to a mild black tea if it was flavor was identified with the vegetable and fresh taste that Japanese teas have. Even though it’s an oolong tea, prepare yourself for a mild cup of black tasting tea with a kick of Japanese earth as I would call it. Very smooth. Again, very smooth.
Bleah, I am not feeling too great today for some reason. Woke up with big allergy face and also taking an antibiotic for an unrelated condition. Seems like a good day to focus on green tea and eating fruit.
So this is another sample shincha I got from Yunomi. By the way I noticed they are doing a free shipping deal on shincha this weekend if you spend $40 and with the discount code of KEY05. I just ordered from them (and have plenty of green tea too) but I don’t know if I can pass this deal up. I’ve been giving away some green tea to my BF because he likes it too. ;)
This is another good shincha, very vivid green in color and fresh tasting. You can get at least 2-3 decent steeps out of these teas. I feel like this is a little more bitter than the last one I tried from them. Maybe more of an asparagus flavor than spinach and definitely less on the sweet side. tasty though. I definitely feel healthy when I drink these teas but I don’t know if it’s the placebo effect.
One of a few shincha samples I purchased from Yunomi this spring. I hope I am not going to regret this caffeine later but I seem to do ok with Japanese green teas in the afternoon and the theanine helps me relax this as well.
A lovely shincha from Yunomi. Couldn’t grab the photo off their site, so sorry about that. I am drinking it in my new clay kyusu though which came from Japantown. Here’s the photo on IG: https://instagram.com/p/2mgX4JILZD
Anyway this is a really nice shincha. I did one 90 sec steep and one 60 sec steep and found I liked it slightly better at the 60 sec. mark. It has a lot of flavor, brothy with spinach type notes, a nice sweetness and a slight bitter finish. It seems very clean and fresh but it’s not the sweetest shincha I’ve tried. I might try steeping this at 30 seconds too. Pretty happy with it though, definitely a tasty tea and gives a nice relaxing energy :)
Home for the evening but not down for the count yet as my FB says I still need to walk another 2,000 steps. ha ha.
Got this in my new Yunomi order. I got mostly samples and I have been really curious about this one for a while now. Baked apple and roasted houijcha sounds like a really good combination to me. I steeped this according to the package directions, 1 minute at around 195f. I found the tea to be a little thin in taste and very gingery. I like ginger but wasn’t getting apple until the cup cooled down a little. I did get the apple as an aftertaste, but it is kind of on the light side and a bit artificial at that. Hmm. Not too impressed with this at the moment but I will try steeping the rest of the sample for a longer time period and see if that improves my experience of it. For now, I am not too upset that this is just a sample size.
Flavors: Apple, Ginger
Oh goody! One of those stupid headaches that won’t go away has decided to crop up, I hate them because they make it so hard to think straight and see straight, plus I tend to get so dizzy. I have had them my whole life, they just crop up and stay for anywhere from a week to a few months, pretty sure they are just part of having Fibromyalgia, plus they run in the family, probably because we are so smart! Blah, tea helps though, I am not a ‘tea for health’ reasons kinda person, but tea works on these headaches better than any pain killer, so it is not just the caffeine (I lived off Excedrin as a teenager, my stomach still thanks me for that one) but possibly the play of caffeine and theanine? Or maybe it is the soothing taste, hot liquid acting as a vasodilator in my head, and the ritual of tea as a whole bringing me peace. Regardless of the reason, I am glad it brings my head a bit of a rest so I can do things, like write this blog!
Recently I recieved a surprise package from Yunomi with Nakamura-En’s #01 Gyokuro Mecha, The Discovery inside. I do not remember requesting any samples to review lately, so maybe this came from their awesome Tea4Two program, whatever the reason for its arrival, it was very welcome because I had just run out of Gyokuro the other day. This particular Gyokuro is actually Mecha (no, not that kind of Mecha, sadly it is not a giant piloted robot, I am sad too) a tea that is basically the broken off tips and buds of the tea, this gives it a more robust taste and makes it cheaper than normal Gyokuro and high end Sencha. This also means that it is a bit cheaper, meaning if you are wanting to experiment with brewing Gyokuro the crazy leaf heavy traditional way or just try Gyokuro in general, it is a good introductory tea. I have to say, this might be the sweetest Gyokuro I have had the pleasure of sniffing (also such tiny leaves! must be careful to not inhale them) it is a blend if honey, freshly broken green grass and hay, and a chestnut and sweet pea finish. As I snuffled around in the tea leaves a bit longer, warming them up even more by breathing on them, delicate floral notes and a touch of kelp waft up from the emerald leaves.
Really, I should brew this in my Kyusu or pseudo-Houhin, but I always end up brewing Gyokuro in my glass steeping apparatus, because it is so pretty! The aroma of the now thoroughly soggy leaves is very green, like super green! Notes of grass and spinach, kelp and peas, and a tiny hint of chestnuts. It smells verdant, I see flashes of vibrant green in my mind as I sniff it. The liquid is light and sweet, and of course green, though it is no where as intense as the wet leaves. There are notes of honey and chestnut along with a strong grassy presence.
Holy soupy thickness! Oh man, that mouthfeel is something else, it does not coat the mouth, it paints it, it smothers it, it feels sensual like chocolate melting in the mouth, but less milky…and chocolaty, but a similar texture. The taste is super green, with a blend of spinach and grass at the first, then it goes on a mouth journey to asparagus and sweet peas, and at the finish we have chestnut and kelp. It blends savory and sweetness pretty perfectly. Speaking of chocolate, if you ever get the chance to mix really dark chocolate with Gyokuro, do it, it is an awesome pairing!
In the traditional style I went for a second steeping, jacking up the temperature and shortening the steeping time. It is safe to say that is luminous Hulk green tea is now a powerhouse of flavor, it is super savory with notes of kelp and cooked spinach, with a strong kale midtaste, this bitter green note pretty quickly fades to kelp and a touch of chestnut at the finish. It is pretty intense, in a good way, but be warned, do not go to the second steep lightly, be prepared with a spirit of steel!
I’m okay with the flavor, but too much powder or too hot water will make this extremely bitter and taste like pith. My only negative here is that there is sugar already in this mix and I don’t know how much.. The site lists “granulated sugar” in the ingredient list before “matcha” – at least in the US, the ingredients that are listed first are more abundant in the product than those listed later. I don’t want to think this is all sugar.
Oh, and definitely don’t use the full recommended amount of matcha – that’s a recipe for bitter tea.
One of my press samples, since I wanted to try an oolong. There is a nice, kinda earthy scent. The flavour is a bit nutty, which comes out more in the second mug. I got a little bit of molasses in the first cup. It has a slight smokiness, which works for the tea.
Glad to try a roasted oolong again. Thanks to Yunimous for this sample.
Flavors: Molasses, Nutty, Roasted
Another really lovely flavoured houjicha courtesy of Yunomi.
I had my first experience with noting the flavour of osmanthus just the other day, when sampling Tea Ave’s osmanthus oolong. It was really nice to have that experience to compare this to.
This has a lovely osmanthus flavour – that slightly floral, sweet, peachy flavour. It combines beautifully with the roasty notes of the houjicha. I didn’t notice much in the way of orange, but I also didn’t miss it either – this seemed just right, and well balanced just as is.
I’m really excited to try more flavoured houjicha in the future. They two I have from Yunomi are just delicious and a very unique tea experience.
Flavors: Nutty, Osmanthus, Peach, Roasted, Sweet
I’m not much of a houjicha person – I’m just starting to appreciate roasted teas more – but when I saw these flavoured hoijicha on Yunomi and then reviews here, I was really intrigued.
This is really excellent. The dry leaf is rich and roasty smelling, with a note that keeps making me think really milky milk chocolate, but I don’t think it’s actually chocolate.
I’ve tried this twice, once steeped per the directions on the packet – 2tsp, 2min, 90C, and once as a latte, 2tsp, 94C, extended steep and then into the blender with sugar and warm milk. It is awesome both ways.
The flavour of it is just so soothing and relaxing. It’s sweet and delicately roasty, with that same note that I want to associate with chocolate, and then there’s a lovely flavour of roasted pumpkin seeds (shelled) and just a hint of zucchini.
I’m really into this as an evening drink. It feels like the perfect thing to sip while winding down.
Thank you to Yunomi for the sample!
Flavors: Chocolate, Nutty, Roasted, Sweet, Zucchini
Thank you Christina for sending some of this my way. :)
This is a pretty nice genmaicha. The green isn’t offensive – not too grassy, not astringent, but I thought there wasn’t enough roasty from the rice. This came across as more green tea than genmaicha. Maybe I’m being harsh, yes there is some toasted rice flavor, I just with there was a lot more.
Enjoying it, but not loving it. Thanks though for sharing – always happy to try new ones.
One of my ‘press’ samples. It smells vegetal, with hints of baked bread, and grain. Perhaps even vegetable bread. The flavour is on the floral side, with more veggies. Good to try more Japanese black teas. Thanks to Yunomi for letting me try this.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Floral, Grain, Vegetal
This is definitely one of the best Houjichas I have drank. It has a strong roasted flavor but it also has a nice sweet flavor behind the roast. I really don’t know exactly what the sweet flavor tastes like specifically, but it’s good.
I brewed this once in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 2 min.
Flavors: Roasted, Sweet
This was my sample given to me by Yunomi in my recent present.
I open the package to reveal small forest emerald shards. The dry leaves invoke my senses with spring time jungles. The sweet buttery smell of fresh flora waft in the air. I already know that this tea is going to be delicious. The scent was a beautiful arrangement of everything Gyokuro.
I brewed in my new Bizenware Kyusu (also courtesy of Yunomi) with the cups to match. When brewing shade grown green tea, I am always careful of steeping time and temperature. The water hit these gorgeous leaves and the aroma began. The jungle scent maximized into a fantastic aroma. I could smell a strong vegetal scent with undertones of nectar and kale. I wanted this to last, ahahah.
The first sip was heavenly. It had a strong Umami and increasingly flavorful. The initial taste was smooth and vegetal. It tasted as a buttery flower. The flavor was invigorating and oh so silky. I could taste the harvest and the fields of Fukuoka. The flavor continued consistent and bright. The liquor was a pale iridescent green. It looked as a polished tourmaline in the sunshine.
This is an astonishing Gyokuro, and I am very greatly to be able to sample it.
P.S. I ate the leaves afterwards, very nice tea salad ;)
Flavors: Nectar, Smooth, Sweet, warm grass, Umami, Vegetal
Just came back from a visit to the ER for my asthma where they had to put me on a nebulizer. I have to ask my doctor for a prescription for one, my insurance would have to pay for it even if it may take a call from my Lawyer first. I needed a tea tonight and I wanted something low caffeine so this hojicha fits the bill. There are two main flavors I get, roasted and apple. The roasted is a little more potent than the apple. I would have liked it the other way around, but it is still quite good.
I brewed this one time in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 4 min.
Flavors: Apple, Roasted
I definitely get notes of dried fruit, baked bread and malt with this tea. However, they are all subdued, fairly well balanced. I am not liking it quite as much as the Japanese black I reviewed yesterday from a different brand. I think Yunomi says this tea is meant to be drank without sugar. It tasted good without sugar but I added it anyway. This is, like the other Japanese black from yesterday, a bit like a mild Sri Lankan breakfast tea.
I brewed this once in an 16oz Teavana Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 min.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Malt
This tea is quite tasty. I bought this with my Yunomi order received today. It’s too bad they only sell this in a 30g quantity. I would have like to have the option to pick up a larger size in the future. I would definitely buy this again. This tea blends the chocolate and the mint with the roasty flavor of the hojicha. No one flavor dominates and the chocolate flavor is not in your face powerful. The chocolate flavor nicely balances the roasted flavor so the roasted flavor is not too powerful as it is with some hojichas.
I brewed this one time in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 2 min. It came out quite well at two minutes. I normally give black teas three minutes but I find greens are better at 2 minutes.
I love Japanese green teas but they are brewed at such low temperatures! I like my tea to be hot. When it’s brewed at 140F or 160F and goes from a teapot to a cup (which have been warmed)it still cools down somewhat so that I am drinking lukewarm tea. Well, that’s my only beef about this tea. Otherwise it’s good.
I botched the first brewing. Didn’t read the instructions and just brewed at my regular green tea temperature (185F) for 1 min. It came out bitter. So I threw that out and started again. This time it’s sweet and grassy. Not as much umami as sencha or gyokuro. It is lighter and with less caffeine. I am now on the 2nd infusion. It seems to have lost some of the punch (sencha & gyokuro usually get stronger in the 2nd infusion). and there’s a bit of bitterness creeping back into it. This one gets bitter really easy!
After infusing, the tea smells very nutty and vegetal, like green beans
The brewed tea is a sort of yellow-green color, kind of sickly looking if I’m being honest. The scent is quite umami and reminds me of gyokuru. The flavor is unique. It has a flash of bitterness, but an agreeable kind and underneath that is a rich bed of umami with very green and vegetal tones, and some hints of herb and mushroom.
On the second infusion, the flavor is dramatically different, much more mellow and subdued, more sweet and nutty. I imagine this is because most of the matcha was poured and drank in the first infusion. There’s a bit of a sour tang in the finish.
The third infusion is even more subtle and tastes something like green beans and nuts. There’s a little saltiness as well. I got this sample from an acquaintance, so I can’t say how old it is, and it certainly hasn’t been properly stored for a Japanese green tea since I got it. I have had it in a little plastic bag just sitting in a box of other samples for months, so I imagine I am not experiencing this tea in its ideal state of freshness. I’ll lean a little higher on my rating to account for that.
I don’t know if matcha-laced teas are really my thing. I’ve only had a couple now. I enjoy sencha because most I have had are very calming and don’t have an intense feeling from caffeine. Adding matcha to the tea makes it seem more invigorating and gives me more of the sensation of caffeine rush, so I don’t particularly enjoy that. This wasn’t a bad tea. The flavor was nice, but it’s not really something I prefer… a little too “edgy” for me, I think.
Flavors: Bitter, Green Beans, Nuts, Umami