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Recent Tasting Notes
I am currently drowning my sorrows in terribly Hip-hop and Rap, it seems growing up in Atlanta means I never really lost my taste for Krunk, though in my defense I love good Rap, the bad stuff is just a guilty pleasure. Why am I drowning my sorrows you ask? My variable kettle went on to a glorious afterlife, I am sure it is heating water in Valhalla now with all the Warboys, all shiny and chrome.
Today’s tea is a fun blend of tea techniques and cultures, Yunomi’s Chakouan’s Ureshino Kamairicha, a Japanese Green Tea where the familiar steaming step is skipped and the tea is pan fired instead, similar to the way green teas in China are made. This technique was brought from China in the 15th-16th century and is a specialty in a couple southern regions, Ureshino in Saga Prefecture being one of those regions. The aroma of the curly leaves is quite nutty and sweet, it has a distinct note of sesame seeds which give the leaves their gentle sweetness. Underneath those notes of sesame seeds is a sharp leafy note of raw spinach and a bit of fresh kelp, adding an umami tone.
Into my pseudo-houhin the leaves go, luckily the leaves are fairly large so they don’t all go out the somewhat large holes, always glad when that happens. The aroma of the soggy leaves is a blend of cooked spinach and kelp, reminds me a bit of seaweed salad, but with a whole lot of extra sesame seeds. Just the right amount of green and seaweed to make me salivate. The liquid is nutty and sweet, like toasted sesame seeds and not much else, seems like all the aroma is in the leaves.
Tasting time! The texture is very smooth, and just a little bit on the thick side. It is surprisingly sweet and nutty, ok, not really surprisingly nutty, but the honey sweetness was a pleasant surprise. This initial burst of sweetness moves to a combination of sesame seeds and chestnuts, after that we have a nice burst of steamed spinach and a great finish of fresh kelp. The aftertaste surprisingly is a gentle fruity nuttiness that lingers for a while.
Second steeping time! The aroma is not changed much from the first steep, notes of toasted sesame, but there is a gentle undertone of fresh grass to go along with it, still pretty faint. This time the taste starts out green and crisp, no sweetness or nuttiness, crisp bell peppers and spinach with a finish of kelp. This tea is a fascinating thing, you have the familiar notes of a Japanese green mixed with the nutty toastiness of a Chinese green, I really appreciate the blending of techniques.
I’m pretty sure this is the tea I have… mine says Furyu imasaka bancha from yunomi which is like 3 letters off what it says here so I have to assume, yeah?
I got this one because Yunomi had a whole section called “dark teas” and they were all rather expensive and so I got curious what this even was. Once I opened the sample I figured it was just some fancy shade-grown bancha since thats pretty well how the leaves look/smell. I got notes of hay and wood mostly, slightly minty and its somehow earthy but light, I guess kind of more similar to a hojicha than a bancha.
Anyhow, the package wanted me to steep…10g of leaves (my sample had 5g) for 10 mins in .. 1L-1.5L which were definitely the strangest steeping instructions I’ve ever seen. nonetheless, I did the 10 minutes, with maybe 2.5g in 16oz of water. the leaves came out pitch black and kind of reflect the light into the same sort of rainbow as gas which is striking, and the tea is a dark crimson, not unlike a black tea.
Heres where everything got strange. I smelled the tea itself and its almost indescribable, it sort of reminds me of a campfire.. I think.. like camping in general, a tad fishy even.
On the first sip, I want to say that it’s smoky but.. not in the conventional way of smoky teas I’ve had in the past.. like i’m thinking actual smoke. It’s retained that fishiness, but in a mild and pleasant way, and its thick and almost meat-like, with no astringency as far as I can tell.
As it’s cooling I’m starting to taste rice, and the vaguest hints of grass and vegetation, i’m getting a bit of astringency now, since presumably it’s stronger at the bottom.
What an interesting tea, I think it’s really helped me remember why I got so excited by tea in the beginning, my excitement’s been waning recently and it’s nice to have this bit of reminder :)
Flavors: Campfire, Earth, Fishy, Grass, Hay, Meat, Mint, Rice, Smoke, Vegetal, Wood
Happy Autumn! Yesterday, I went to a Japanese Fall Festival. Most fun. However, nobody had brewed tea. Just a local Asian tea company with wares for sale. Did enjoy checking out their sample jars. The gyokuro smelled nice, and I remembered I had some.
It smells nicely like seaweed and spinach. There is a seaweed flavour as well. Reminds me a little of seaweed salad.Somewhat sweet and vegetal. And I get a hint of nuts. Would have went well with the onigiri I had yesterday afternoon.
Flavors: Nuts, Seaweed, Spinach, Vegetal
Today has been an utterly lumpy day. I have pretty much spent the entire time I have been awake staring at my screen, a big lump in my chair, wrapped in a fuzzy sweater. The very ideal lazy Sunday, which is nice since I did not sleep so well last night. I do not indulge very often, but some days just doing nothing is refreshing.
For today’s tea I am taking a look at Yunomi’s Onocha’s Mochi Rice Genmaicha, a classic tea with a slightly unusual twist, and you all probably know by now, I really like atypical Genmaicha, I find them fun. Yunomi recently redid their website, and their usual wealth of information about the tea is not present yet, though there is a bit about Onocha and its history. From what I can gather about this tea, it is good old fashioned Green Tea (probably Bancha) with Mochi Rice, though this is not too uncommon, but it seems for the most bog standard Genmaicha it is toasted brown rice with popped sorghum to give it the ‘popcorn’ appeal. Once in a while you get one with mochi rice. The aroma of the rice and tea blend is a great blend of toast, fresh grass, and a gentle sweet nuttiness much like you get when you open a steamer full of rice. Hilariously it smells nothing like the Mochiko flour I use for my various baking projects.
Into the tiny kyusu the leaves and rice go for their bath, and I can smell the toasty aroma creeping ever closer from my tea desk to my computer desk, it is quite nice. No surprise the leaves are very toasted smelling, strong notes of toasted rice and grain with an equally strong grassy green aroma, this is a robust Genmaicha. The liquid is a balance of grass, umami rich kelp, and toasted rice. This is an aroma that is very much so savory and not at all sweet.
The taste is very rice heavy, a perfect blend of toasted rice and slightly sweet steamed rice. After this initial rice burst is savory kelp, fresh and slightly sharp grass, and a bit of a grainy finish. It is rich and refreshing, one of those teas that to me tastes like a warm comfy sweater, probably because years ago when I was recovering from surgery I pretty much lived off of Genmaicha. I will say this one is more savory than most I have had, but brewing at a lower temperature I find brings out the sweetness, so take that as you will.
Fragrant, sweet, flowery, complex, and inexpensive, this tea took me by surprise since there was little information on the actual plants and tea garden, which seems to be grown at lower elevations. Regardless, the Morita family really knows how to make tea. I think this was $12 when I purchased it in the spring and it was a real treat. I tend to purchase organic senchas since they tend to be tastier due to the amount of investment made in the soil and where they are grown, but this tea, which seems to be grown in the suburbs of Saitama, not far from Tokyo, is like a hidden gem.
The dried leaves are broken up, but are very fragrant. The steeped leave a pungently fruity and flowery aroma. The tea soup is an attractive shade of green. The first steep is flowery, uplifting, pure tasting, and refreshing. The following steeps are rich and sweet, and reveal a complex mixture of sweet vegetal notes, minerals, and tannins.
Very enjoyable, but I think the tea has been renamed kakurei or hoju.
I would call this tea farmer’s Kabusecha. The leaves are dark green, larger than conventional versions, and not very uniform. It’s closer to a gyokuro than a sencha. The steeped leaf is darker and has a oceanic fragrance. On the 1st steep, my initial reaction is: “these guys got it right.” Very delicate, light, uplifting, and buttery in texture. I’m getting some vegetal notes described in the previous tasting note, but coupled with clear hints of nori (roasted seaweed). One the 2nd steep, nori notes are more pronounced and complex, and the overall flavor is deeper and more savory. The 3rd steep is rich with savory notes of nori and asparagus, with an added mineral quality to it. Very interesting and unique tea.
I found this tea intense, complex, and intriguing. It has a velvety quality that is buttery, soft, and yet very stimulating. You could find any vegetable flavor in this tea if you look hard enough in between sips. I found brussle sprouts, kale chips, buttered herbs, and pronounced fresh nori. There is a pleasant returning sweetness, as well. There is a lot of caffeine in this tea. It’s perfect for all-nighters.
The various hues of greens in the dry leaf bits reminded me of the moss in Kyoto’s temple gardens.
Drank this one tonight with a cold salad. This is one of the few teas that I have ever had where smelling it actually ruins the taste. The flavor of this is quite nice, but the smell is rough… I think the roasted nature to it makes it odd to drink if you smell it, but the fruity and citrus notes are very enjoyable. Overall it was a fantastic paring for a cold salad on a hot day :)
I got a sample of this in my swap with Cameron B. I haven’t had the chance to try many Japanese blacks, so this was an exciting sample for me. It did indeed have an unusual flavor profile. There’s sweetness, malt, and notes of honey—so far, so standard. But there’s also hay, verging on grassiness, which I’d associate more with a white or green tea. There’s a bit of astringency, though not too much. I can’t say I fell in love with this tea, or that it’s something I feel the need to stock up on, but it’s always nice to get the chance to try something different.
I hadn’t read anything about this ‘tea’ other than the name of it prior to making it this afternoon and the whole packet is in Japanese so I couldn’t take much usual information from the packaging. I expected to be drinking a Yuzu flavoured matcha that was just premeasured so I pulled out my chawan. Imagine my surprise when I cut the package open and saw what’s essentially powdered/crystal juice mix…
Other than being taken aback by what I’m actually drinking and not what I thought I’d be drinking, my biggest problem with this is honestly just the amount of sugar to “other” ingredients. I say other because while I fully taste very sweet orangey citrus type flavour (yuzu) I’m incredibly skeptical about the matcha in this. It’s got to be a very, very small amount; visually what was in the package was pretty much pale yellow powder or finally crushed sugar – nothing green. I don’t taste green tea/matcha either – just intensely sweet ‘instant lemonade’ sort of citrus notes.
I should probably also point out I drank this hot and in just water since apparently this is a matcha ‘latte’ mix (from what I’m seeing from other reviews). I completely endorse making this in water over milk though; based on my experience today I think that would be a very, very bad idea. But ultimately if I had gone into this knowing this is what I was going to be drinking I think I’d have probably liked it; I certainly didn’t find it bitter like other people did – more than anything it was too sweet.
First time ever trying Gyokuro; was provided this sample in a tea exchange with the wonderful Oolong Owl. 1st steep, room temp water, just enough to cover the leaves, 7 minutes. Subsequent steeps at 160, starting at 15 seconds, and adding about 5 each subsequent steep.
First steep: Oh lord. Sweet mother in heaven, what is this incredibly gorgeous taste? Oh my my my. UMAMI I would like to go swimming in this tea. Is that weird? Intensely sweet and savory. Buttered beans and greens and seaweed and something indescribable. Jade dew, exactly – it’s a viscous bright green soup, mouthfeel addicts would love this tea. I haven’t been this happy drinking tea since…. since the last time I drank tea. Which was this morning. Anyway!… it would appear that I’m going to have to find a dealer and apologize in advance to my wallet.
EDIT: I am freakin’ tea smashed from this stuff. Now, excuse me while I go kiss the sky…
EDIT2: I just ate the steeped leaves with my lunch, chicken and cabbage seasoned with salt, gyokuro, and kelp seasoning. Delicious!
i thought today would be a green day but as i was going through the yunomi box, found this one up next..just as well coz i found a chocolate to snack on :D
a quick first steep right after boiling, i could sense the maltiness. i like to try tea when it is not yet too strong. it is nice. second steep twice the time but middlish is not good..so im steeping for longer for a stronger flavour.
hm! i thought id left it too long as the tea had already sorta cooled but rather than bitterness, i get a slight sweetness, initially elusive but gently spreads out. maybe it’s just my inexperience but i dont get any cocoa notes on this one? still good tho. (bites on nestle crunch and sips..hm. i think this tea is better not paired with chocolate. or i just got the wrong chocolate, lol.
I made this at work on break thinking I was about to have a matcha break… I have no idea what I ended up having.
Being in Japan earlier this year, I have a good understanding of what yuzu and matcha taste like separately. I don’t believe this tea provides either of those experiences.
YUNOMI is the best place to get sourced Japanese teas, but this just was not something I can say I would want to drink again.
Interestingly, in Japanese stores you can pick up yuzu sencha drink mix sticks that are better.
Thank You Liquid Proust for this sample. This is a tasty tea with a most unusual brewing method. I did my best to follow the directions on the Yunomi website. You basically boil the hell out of this tea on a stove top for ten minutes. SO that’s what I did. I was expecting something bitter but there was no bitterness to this tea. This is quite good. I would order this the next time I put in an order with Yunomi. It had a natural sweet flavor to it but I added sugar anyway. It is incredibly smooth. I am basically at a loss for why this tea didn’t turn bitter. Normally boiling water will turn some teas bitter and this was not boiling water that you were allowing to begin cooling. This was steeping at a rolling boil. I don’t know more about how to describe this so I think I’m going to give up trying.
I have heard that this is a Japanese version of puerh but to me it is vastly different, except that I guess it is fermented in a manner similar to ripe puerh. The taste, however is nothing like ripe puerh so a comparison can’t be made in reality.
Another crucial difference in the way this is brewed in comparison to gongfu brewing is I only used 2.8g of leaf for 500ml of water. For a small 180ml teapot and puerh I would use 10g. I do not know if this can be resteeped.
Enjoying this tea this morning. I find a lot of Japanese teas are so over the top that they make nice occasional teas but not everyday teas. At least that’s my experience on tasting some. I realize there are plenty of everyday senchas out there.
This one has a delicious green bean, mossy green & sweet flavor without being over the top. It still borders on decadent because it’s soooo good but I could it enjoy it more often.
I would definitely consider adding this one to my next Yunomi order.
Flavors: Green Beans, Moss, Sweet
This tea was from the Yunomi group buy that Liquid Proust arranged.
I can’t believe I’m the first one reviewing this tea.
I brewed Western style and only infused 40 sec at 185F. It brews up a bright emerld green with a sweet grassy/mossy aroma. Lovely! This tea is supposed to have the Sakura cherry blossom aroma which ups it price a bit I see. Well, like I said, I got a nice aroma but I didn’t think it was like a Cherry blossom. I don’t eat or smell cherry blossoms so I’m not sure what I am looking for. This tea had great umami but not overly strong like some gyokuro teas. Sweet and grassy/mossy.
So when I got near the end of the cup and it had cooled down, I could pick up this aroma that was kind of cherry blossom like. It was very good and this was just the first infusion so will have to see how other infusions go.
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Grass, Moss, Sweet