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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks to Liquid Proust for the sample
The dry tea is interesting: perfect leaves with a bit of stem attached. They appear to have no processing other than being dried. Tastes like a green tea crossed with a white: Smells more floral than vegetal, with a predominantly grassy flavor. My favorite style of green. For whatever reason, this tea made me want to meditate. Very relaxing. I’m not a big fan of green teas, but this could make me a convert. 2nd steep was less interesting
This is a strange and interesting green tea. I’m not at all sure I brewed it right. The directions call for 15g for 2 liters, strange way to write the directions. So I halved the amount and put it in my teapot. Only then did I realize the teapot I had put it in was more of a half liter. So I removed the leaves and put them in a bigger glass teapot. I brewed approximately 7g of leaf for 3 min in approx 1 liter of water. What I got was a light colored fairly vegetal, grassy tasting tea. It’s not bad but I think it would have been better if the directions had called for a reasonable sized pot.
I am so far behind in my sample tasting. This tea was with the Yunomi group buy and just getting around to trying it now. I brewed it gong fu with the first infusion pretty short (15sec) but am really enjoying it. It doesn’t have that heavy bold taste that some black teas do (that could be in part because of how I brewed it). It’s a bit sweet with a nice malty flavour and a fruity note. It’s weird, but I had a feeling this tea was going to be fruity before I brewed it up or even smelled it. This was my first black Japanese tea too.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Sweet
Picked up a 10g sample of this with my order that arrived today. As it is caffeine free I am trying it tonight. The main note is one of grass. However this does not come with the bitterness of green tea. It is kind of neutral tasting, not really sweet and not really bitter. It is quite interesting. I am actually going to see if it will resteep. I only brewed about 8oz with 5g of leaf using 175 degree water for 3 min. In the end this is a hard to to recommend or not recommend. For someone who wants to try different herbals it is interesting.
From the Here’s Hoping TTB, R5
Kind of bland and sad. It tasted kind of more like a chinese black and green tea blend than a roasted green tea. My first Houjicha was also from Yunomi and it got me throughly hooked, so this was a disappointment.Recommended steeping is 1 min @194F, but it didn’t give off much flavor even at 3+ min. To be fair the ‘best by’ on the package is APR 2015 (It’s now NOV 2015, for future reference). I wouldn’t have expected it to be so bland regardless. Oh well, it was a really small sample. Sipdown?
p.s. – this listing was really confusing to find. There’s a vendor name (Yunomi), a ‘by: NaturaliTea’, and ‘sold by: Matcha Latte Media’. =/
I love that this comes in a can rather than a pouch. Plus it’s got a ring pull to open it for a real sense of freshness. Not to mention the plastic re-sealable lid for ease of use.
As I open the ring pull the Matcha is revealed, it’s a glorious shade of grass green and bares an amazing, sweet aroma of lightly toasted grass. Delicate but beautiful!
A quick inspection of the packaging reveals that this comes from Sakae-cho, Odawara, Kanagawa in Japan.
I will be preparing this Matcha Uji Style with water temp 75C.
he resulting Matcha is silky and bright green in colour with a wonderful, thick froth. Scent matches it’s raw state to that of toasted sweetgrass.
Flavour is sweet but with some astringency. Grassy notes mixed with cream and seaweed. Very pleasing and thicker than I thought it would be from the scent. A touch of dryness in the after taste but with a lingering grass tone.
This was extremely pleasant and a joy to drink. It also has to be said this got bonus points for being organic. I’m generally a fan of NaturaliTea and this holds to their quality and style. In terms of it being a ceremonial Matcha I would say this was a very nice example and it compares very well to some top names/brands.
For these reasons I will be rating this an 8.5/10. Almost a 9 but for me there was perhaps too much sweetness.
For pics please view my blog: http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2015/11/03/organic-matcha-memories-with-naturalitea/
Flavors: Cream, Grass, Sweet
This is a very umami-rich gyokuro with deep seaweed and vegetal notes. I first brewed it according to package directions, 5 grams per 6 oz, at 122 F for 5 minutes and then 155 F for 15 seconds. That produced a rich broth with an intense savory flavor. A little too rich for me though.
So I dialed down the leaf quantity and brewed it like sencha: 1 tsp per 4 oz steeped in 160 F for 45 seconds. The resultant cup had the same savory flavor as before, but less intense and balanced with a smooth buttery flavor and a hint of sweetness. No astringency whatsoever. Subsequent infusions for 25 and 60 seconds respectively were good but didn’t have the same fullness of flavor as the first.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Seaweed, Umami
After drinking through the Tosa Bancha (which I have to buy more of) I decided to try this one out to see if it’d be something I want more of.
This bancha is stronger, but it comes at the cost of a dry afternote that is a bit heavier than I want. The green tea taste is a little subdued as well with the wood/roast in this one so it may be suited for others but it is not that awesome balance that the Tosa had. This is the kind of tea that will easily warm someone up on a chilly day though with a good punch of flavor and warmth.
I’m on my 4th restroom break because of this tea!
That’s tea talk for: I have drank over 50 ounces of this.
The balance of roast and green tea in this blend is absolutely amazing; so much so that I may not stock up on roasted oolongs this year if the other banchas I try are this good. Not only does it have the mild earth notes hidden in its roast quality, there is this woodsy after taste/feel that is welcoming.
Just… this is wonderful.
It is a bit brisk today! I learned this when I woke up this afternoon to both of the cats burrowed into me seeking warmth. Tao got very cross when I decided to leave the blanket pile, even going so far as to dig her claws into me (gently, well, gently for Tao, she is such a beast) when I moved. Espeon just made sad noises in her sleep, which was really quite pitiful. After extracting myself from the bed, tucking in the cats, I finally gave into the evils and opened the heater vent. Looks like autumn is well under way!
Since it is autumn, why not go for a thematically appropriate tea? From Yunomi and NaturaliTea, #11 Autumn Bancha Green Tea, this tea is grown in Shizouka and is harvested in early October, meaning that yes, this is 2014’s harvest since it is just now harvest time. The aroma of these MASSIVE leaves (seriously, the tea frog is very happy to sit on this pile of leaves) is quite sharp, like sniffing a pile of fresh oak leaves, cut grass, a touch of nuttiness, these leaves smell like nature, like being outside, enjoying all the various leaves and grass smells nature can offer. I know people say stop and smell the roses, but don’t forget the leaves, stems, pollen, and all the other parts of the plant, sniffing them is awesome too!
Into my green gaiwan that pretends to be a houhin the jumbo leaves go for a nice hot bath. Bancha does best steeping at hotter temperatures, the more delicate Sencha would burn…pretty sure Gyokuro would just explode. The aroma of the soggy leaves is grassy and leafy, yeah the leaves smell like leaves, specifically oak leaves and fresh tea leaves, freshly plucked right off the plant. There is also a bit of fresh spinach and just a touch of sesame seeds. The liquid is bright and green, I smell colors! Seriously though, the aroma is very fresh and green, like gently steamed spinach and grass, oak leaves, and crushed vegetation. It smells like nature, I keep saying that, but it is very much so a distinct smell of growing things.
Tasting this tea is like tasting a pile of leaves, and I am totally ok with that! It is not really vegetal (there is a tiny hint of spinach) it is straight up vegetation. Bright notes of cut grass and sweetgrass, sharp notes of oak leaves and tea leaves, the green notes of gently crushed vegetation similar to the smell of leaves as you walk through undergrowth. It is very green and very fresh tasting, for all that this is an autumn harvested tea, it tastes like the full growth of summer. I got a couple more steeps off of this tea (but totally derped and forgot to take pictures, sorry about that) and the taste stayed pretty much the same, with an increase in strength at the second steep and the third steep had a toasty note which added a fun bit of depth.
This sample came from Christina. Thanks Christina!
This tea is full of a nutty, grainy goodness. There’s a bit of roasty flavour to it too but it seems to me that this is a bit less roasted flavour than other buckwheat teas I’ve had. I’m really not sure about that and would have to try them side by side to determine.
Anyway, greatly enjoyed this cup. It comes at a great time when the weather is cooling down. I haven’t had any desire to have buckwheat tea during the hot summer days. Somehow it just loses it’s charm when I have it during a warm or hot day. Just like hot chocolate, this tea is best on cold days. The colder the better. It really warms you up inside and makes you feel cozy.
Flavors: Grain, Nutty, Roasted nuts
Blergh. I think I brewed it too long. Or something. It tastes like how acetone smells, very much on the after taste too. Kind of like when you’re trying to drink orange juice after brushing your teeth. I’ve steeped it twice though to drink during two different times of the day and it still tastes this way. I think this is from the Xmas cards swap last year, but it doesn’t have any markings other than the tea name so I don’t know.
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 :)