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Recent Tasting Notes
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
I slightly overleafed this since I didn’t have enough to justify leaving any leftover leaf when I made my pot of tea this morning. To compensate, I took the steep time down to 2 minutes rather than the 3 minutes I tried previously.
The tea was still a tad bitter, but otherwise not bad. Slightly umami and astringent, but nothing too overpowering. I’ll see if I can get a resteep out of this.
This is a really delightful, soft, sweet tea. Very subtle and gentle – so subtle, in fact, that I ended up resteeping this for 3 minutes, since the first steep at 2 minutes didn’t really make an impact.
Beautiful bright green leaves, lovely sweet smell, absolutely no bitterness…this was quite enjoyable.
Finally prepared this correctly. Nicely sweet, robust, and vegetal.
Then I ate it… with teriyaki sauce…
I brewed some of this last night in the cute little Brown Betty teapot that my mother found at the back of a cabinet yesterday. I didn’t even know we had one! It’s the perfect size – 2 cups – and it pours like a dream.
Hell, it even made this taste better, and considering I haven’t been bowled over by the houjichas I’ve tried, that’s saying something!
Oh tiny Brown Betty teapot, now you are mine, and I will cherish you always. :)
Backlog from last night.
This actually wasn’t that smoky, like I was expecting it to be. It still had that roasty, umami flavour, but I didn’t taste much smoke, which was surprising. It was otherwise quite gentle. I tried to use about 2 tsp of leaf for a 16-oz mug, but the leaf is a bit fluffy, so I might have underleafed it.
I have to admit that based on the teas in this sampler, I don’t know if houjicha teas are really my bag. I’ll see what happens when I try the dark roast, though.
Damn it, the number keeps going up! :P I suppose that’s what I get for going on hiatus when I still have a couple of orders on the way. Thankfully, I only have one more incoming, but it’s going to be +8 to my cupboard. Waaaaah…
I have really grown rather attached to this tea. I find that a moment comes fairly often when, either because of an overfull tummy or too much indulging, I want a nice fresh green tea. And this one does the trick! It’s mild, it’s sweet, and it has that lovely classic spinachy vegetal flavor. I will definitely be considering this for purchase once I’ve whittled my cupboard down. :)
Need to get back into these Japanese green samples I haven’t tried! Feeling like a nice mellow green after having several cups of black this morning. This is my first kabusecha, which is a green tea that has been shaded for a short time before picking. This tea was shaded for two weeks according to the website. The leaves look and smell like sencha, though they are maybe a little bit of a richer green color.
This tea is actually surprisingly light, and I am enjoying it a lot. It has the same butternut squash, spinach, and grass notes as other senchas. There is a definite creamy buttery quality to this though, and it’s quite mellow and smooth. Quite tasty, thanks Yunomi! I would absolutely drink this as an everyday green tea, and this may have to be a reorder.
Flavors: Butter, Butternut Squash, Grass, Spinach
I had a headache behind one of my eyes tonight, so I took an advil and then brewed some of this. A little bit after that, my stomach was giving me a bit of trouble (note to self: that rainbow sherbet was a baaad idea), so I hoped this would still help. I really need to find some ginger green tea soon.
Anyways, this tea was so good that I steeped it twice, and had the two cups back-to-back, which I almost never do (I tend to leave a bit of time between steeps). This time it was more astringent than I remember, but also had a pleasant grassy aftertaste. Both times the liquor was a lovely shade of greenish yellow, and there was very little dust despite being taken from the bottom of the sample bag. I’m debating whether to restock this or go with the other genmaicha sample I purchased from Yunomi.us. Decisions, decisions….
Wow, first tasting note!
I ordered this from Yunomius about 3 months ago, and finally opened the package today. What greeted me was a fairly standard-looking mix of green tea leaves, roasted rice, and popped kernels.
Lately I’ve become a bit wary of genmaichas because I’ve experienced some that taste like burnt popcorn. Luckily, this one is not like that.
The flavour of the rice is there – roasty, a tad salty – but the green tea in this tastes quite fresh and grassy, and slightly astringent. I really liked how much the green tea popped in this one. I should definitely have enough in the sample left for another pot.
First-ever gyokuro! I got this as a free sample from YunomiUS as part of my Japanese green exploration fun time (totally made that up). I don’t know anything about gyokuro, so I kind of browsed around on Steepster to come up with some steeping parameters for western-style. The dry leaf is a beautiful jewel-tone green and shiny, but it is extremely broken up, which I did not expect. It smells similar to a sencha, mostly like alfalfa and a sweet grassiness.
The brewed tea smelled a lot like sencha to me, too. It’s quite spinachy and somewhat sweet with a buttery zucchini element to it that is new to me. But wow, the taste of it took me completely by surprise! I can see similarities to a more heavily steamed sencha, but the level of intensity is so enormous here. There’s a second when I first sip where I don’t taste a whole lot, but then I’m immediately hit by this immensely deep and powerful butternut squash taste. There might be some asparagus in there, too. I also taste a slight bitterness which seems intrinsic to the tea, but I could have also screwed up the steeping. :P This tea has an extremely thick and creamy texture and it coats the tongue heavily. The flavor lingers on and on.
Honestly, this tea is a bit much for me. I don’t find it very well-suited to western brewing because the flavor is so intense and it continues to build as you drink it. I think I would like it more if I did the traditional smaller brew.
This was a very interesting tea experience! I definitely can’t assign a rating to this, I would have no idea where to start. :P
Flavors: Asparagus, Butternut Squash, Creamy, Grass, Spinach
Thank you KittyLovesTea for sending this a while ago! This is actually similar to the tea I just tried, even though the leaves seem very different even if they are both green. These leaves look like lawn mower clippings. :D There is also two different colors to them, a darker green and a lighter green. The flavor is very similar to the Dragonwell I had yesterday. It’s like creamed or breaded corn and the steep color is very light. The second cup was almost the same. I’m used to these types of greens being much different. Maybe I’m steeping them differently now. To be fair, the package says this expired at the end of February (way after KittyLovesTea sent it) and one sip did have a hint of that “old green tea leave” flavor, so I’m not trying this at its freshest. It’s still very good anyway. I’ll steep up the last teaspoon soon!
Steep #1 // 40 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Steep #2 // 42 min after boiling // 3 min
Another backlog from last night, and another sipdown!
I bought this as part of a sampler pack from Yunomi.us, and so far I’m undecided about whether I like houjichas or not. There’s something about the taste in the background – that sort of “curly” astringent taste I associate with some green oolongs – that I’m not too fond of.
However, I still have 2 more teas in the houjicha sampler pack to try. I really wonder if either the dark or smoky roasts will knock my socks off. One can hope…
This isn’t a sipdown, but now that I’ve made a full pot, it will be soon.
This is a tad astringent, but still quite soothing. The flavour is light, yet still present.
Mainly, though, I figured this would be an easy one to finish off, since it’s already open.
I bought the sampler set of this plus the Basic, Dark, and Smoky roasts from Yunomi.us. I tried the Basic roast a while back, and while I liked it, I had never had any houjicha before to compare it to.
This is the second one I’ve tried, and it’s really really mild. So mild that it’s hard to taste much of anything, but I don’t mind, as I’m just getting a nice cup of warmth rather than a lot of umami taste. I wonder how I’ll like the dark and smoky roasts, though.
This is super super green and I adore the leaves – they almost look like the greenest grass clippings. And this tastes super duper green. The second infusion was better than the first, which I accidently let steep longer than I wanted so it was really intense. The secondary steep had some citrussy taste to it as well. I enjoyed this very much.
Not sure what angle to come at this tea as I’ve never tried anything like it before. Seaweed (or Kombu/Konbucha/Kombucha – not to be mistaken for the mushroom) is a new type of tea completely for me. In powdered form you add 2g of powder (which they kindly provide you a spoon to measure with) and mix it with boiling water for roughly 100ml volume. Very simple and quick.
Reading about Kombu on Wikipedia it claims to be high source of B Vitamins, K Vitamin, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium and moderate-low levels of Vitamin C and E. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombu
Flavour wise this is very salty, I’m talking one of the saltiest things I’ve ever tasted. Not as bad as my experiment with pickled Sakura Blossoms (which I found to be inedible) but for someone who rarely uses salt this is very strong for me. Adding to the salt it’s also thick which makes it very broth like, so rather than salt water it’s a salty broth/soup which in a strange way is sort of nice. It tastes exactly as you would except seaweed to taste like. Sure I’ve tried seaweed from my local Chinese takeaway but it’s fried and mild…this tastes more raw.
No rating as I am still thinking ‘wtf is this’and ‘damn this is salty’. Will take some time for me to get used to this…if I ever do. But at least I can keep this down ie looking good so far.
Thank you Yunomi.us for this free sample that added as a nice surprise as I opened my order today.
Nice large leaves and lots of sticks in my 5g sample. Beautiful sweet and toasted scent that I liken to a honey cake I used to make in my automatic bread cooker machine. The more I sniff the more grassy and mineral it becomes but it is a very nice scent.
Since there were no instructions on the website for steeping this or any other bancha (that I can find) I will use Yunomi.us standard steeping method.
Tea – 5g
Water – 80C
Volume – 180ml
Vessel – Kyusu
First Steep – 30 seconds
Yellow green in colour with virtually no scent despite it’s very apparent colour. Flavour is mild with roasted grass tones and sweet honeysuckle that dissipates quickly and you are left with a touch of smoke in the after taste.
Second Steep – 10 seconds
More roasted and less grassy. Honeysuckle and sweetpea tones with a slight smoky after taste. Also a little sour. For the most part it’s sweet and a perfect strength for me personally.
Third Steep – 30 seconds
More toasted than sweet but it does lighten a lot in the after taste. Tastes like raw pea. No smoke this time, instead the after taste is grassy and mineral.
I enjoyed this Bancha much more than I thought I would, though the first steep was nice it was far from ‘special’ compared to others I have tried. It kicked up a gear after that and steep two and three were delicious, so very natural and sweet with light smoke. Plus now my mouth is coated in a delicious roasted sweet pea flavour that reminds me a little of light pea soup. I may get more of this in the future.
Flavors: Grass, Honey, Peas