Yunomius

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Recent Tasting Notes

80

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!

Flavors: Grass

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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64

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

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85

One of my press samples. Decided to try this because I’ve been mostly drinking black teas lately. Since it’s Sunday, I’m also having my own Masterpiece Theater with the adaptation of my favourite Dickens novel (starting a young Harry Potter.) This tea smells so nice, it has that good toasty scent, along with some hints of grain and roast nuts. The roasted, nutty flavour is nice as well. Just what I needed for the cold, windy day.

Flavors: Grain, Roast nuts

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88

Watching Toradora! (とらドラ!?) Anime got me in the mood for some Japanese tea.

I open the little sample and am met with a bright green tea with a fair amount of toasted rice, it is a Genmaicha after all! What is more interesting is that the Matcha lightly coats it all which brings out the green colour more than usual. The Sencha is rather fine which also blends well. It has a sweet, creamy and grassy tone. Rather delicious!
https://instagram.com/p/zXe4EWsd1N/?modal=true
https://instagram.com/p/zXg-bbsd5s/?modal=true
https://instagram.com/p/zXhO24sd6O/?modal=true

Once steeped it’s bright green and smells creamy and toasted with some sweetness. Softer than the raw scent though still as delicious!

Flavour is slightly astringent with some umami and grass tones, followed with a creamy and light toasted after taste. It’s thick but at a nice balance of flavours. It doesn’t taste at all like a Genmaicha other than the gentle toasted element, otherwise the Matcha is dominant and takes centre stage of this blend. Either way it works very well together.

As it cools the sweet and creamy tones come through stronger and the umami softens.

2nd Steep
This tastes a lot more like Genmaicha. The toasted rice and cream are equal but the astringency and umami have toned down considerably, also the grass tones come through more with added floral, bread and biscuit notes. Much softer and a more pleasant steep than the first, though saying that I did enjoy the first steep too.

This was an interesting blend, the Matcha was dominant in the first steep but the Genmaicha dominated thereafter, it was like getting the best of both worlds in one yunomi cup. Interesting enough for me to add it to my wishlist for more. Plus the power of both has given me a wonderful green tea head rush!

Kon’nichiwa watashinonamaeha Kayleigh to watashi wa onaji kurai watashi wa ocha o aisuru yō ni anime ga daisukidesu.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Toasty, Umami

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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89

Since I needed to get up early for an outing, I decided to have this tea to start the day. It has a nice scent, sweet potatoes and molasses. The flavour is mildly sweet, and reminds me of dried fruit. Now I’m having my fourth cup while watching Star Trek.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Molasses, Sweet, Yams

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84

My latest sample. It smells nicely malty, and somewhat like dried fruit. The flavour is more baked bread, and honey. Goes nicely with my anime.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Honey, Malt

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85

I recently did a swap with KittyLovesTea, who sent me a very generous package of teas, most of which were Japanese (at my request). She very kindly included a pretty sizeable quantity of this tea – it smelled lovely, so I thought I’d give it a try last night!

As with all of the Japanese greens I’ve tried so far, I was really surprised by how small the dried leaves were! Some of them were almost needle like :O It had a lovely, fresh, grassy smell and the leaves were all a really deep, vibrant green.

I brewed up in my small glass pot, using pretty cool water (I followed the seemingly ubiquitous “warm water” steeping method – poured boiling water into my pot, left it for a short while, poured out into my two tasting cups, discarded the rest, poured the water back into the pot and then added the dried leaves).

The first infusion was sweet and mild, with a definite grassy, kinda floral flavour! It did have some of that savouriness, but it was mild and not too dominant! Later infusions were a little more balanced between sweet and savoury – still delicious and refreshing after our hearty dinner, though! :D

In all, this was certainly a lovely introduced to fine Japanese teas! I have enough left for another session, so I may try a similar set-up again, but using a Gaiwan. I don’t really have a small pot that’s suitable for sencha and other Japanese teas – maybe I’ll add a small kyusu and a gyokuro pot/set to my wishlist…! :D

Flavors: Cut grass, Floral

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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85

Oh, this is yummy. I’m not as good at describing green tea as I am black, but this is super delightful. It’s quite savory. Not as grassy or seaweed-y as I find most other Japanese greens. But not floral like Chinese greens either. It tastes most similar to a Sencha but with heavy creamy spinach notes. It has a nice silky mouthfeel with no bitterness.
The leaves are gorgeous as well. I was assuming that it would be completely stems, but there is a pretty decent amount of leaves in there as well. Probably 50/50. It’s just as lovely to look at as it is to drink.

Flavors: Creamy, Spinach

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 207 ML
Stephanie

mmmm stems

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80

Thanks to Yunomi for this sample.

The dry leaf smells roasted and nutty, very much like a potent houjicha. The pieces are irregular – some are small, twisty and black, like many black tea leaves. Others are flat, brown flakes of leaf.

1tsp, 90C, 5min.

This smells rich, creamy, nutty and roasted as it steeps. I’m reminded a lot of a houjicha I sampled recently. The flavour is distinct, however. Somewhat less sweet and having a bit more of a bite than I associate with houjicha. This has characteristics in common with some Chinese roasted oolongs. Fairly heavy body and very smooth.

All in all a very nice offering. I’m pleased to be able to try different types of Japanese teas.

Flavors: Char, Creamy, Nutty, Roasted, Smooth

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Oca Ocani

Sounds interesting. I really like Houjicha, but the Oolong teas I’ve tried so far from Yunomius were very close to black tea.
Maybe I should give this tea a try.

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92

I bought a sample of this tea and therefore provide only a first impression.
I decided against the recommended steeping method from Yunomius.
I gave gongfu cha a try with this tea and it turned out to be a good idea.
My parameters: 2g/80ml/95°C/10-20se, up to 10 infusions
The smell of the dried leaves was a little bit difficult to describe: for me it was a slight scent of lactic acid which even the steeped leaves had.
The color of the liquor was a clear honey-yellow with the same smell. The smell did not appear stronger or weaker.
The flavor was characterized by a mild sweetness with a slight acid base note. The sweetness was more or less neutral, maybe a touch of honey? but I´m not really sure.
The acid notes were wonderfully refreshing and discreetly lemony.

Flavors: Honey, Lemon

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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81

Saturday Sipdown
(Quick note – I’m Western brewing this for a change as I like my Kukicha strong)

In appearance the stems are a blend of green and yellow with a high gloss/shiny reflection.
In scent I can detect sweet grass, honeysuckle, perfume and fresh hay.

Once steeped the tea is cloudy yellow in colour with a sweet yet savoury grass and sweetpea scent. Somewhat similar to it’s raw scent.

Flavour is medium in strength with buttery grass and hay tones. Soft umami that lingers in the after taste, reminds me of asparagus and broccoli. Also some dryness.

As it cools the grass tones become stronger and the umami adds some astringency.

Overall: It’s a nice Kukicha that offers a lot of crisp flavours and nice balanced umami. A little soft for my liking and not as strong as I usually prefer, though very nice all the same.

Plus reminder of coupon: Free Standard Airmail shipping with a purchase of $50 or more, Free Express Airmail with a purchase of $100 or more. Use coupon code: { shipjan }. Offer ends Jan 31, Japan time.
https://yunomi.us/?ref=5

Flavors: Asparagus, Broccoli, Hay, Honeysuckle, Perfume, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 10 g 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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90
drank Sencha of the Summer Sun by Yunomius
45 tasting notes

Thanks a lot to YUNOMI for the free sample! It came beautifully packaged with a pretty postcard from the company.

As for the tea, I really enjoyed it. The more I steep it, the more I like it, actually. 10g might not seem like a large sample, but at three steeps and counting I’m really getting the most out of this tea. To my knowledge, this is the first straight sencha I’ve tried, so although I can’t offer the most educated opinion, I really enjoyed the experience. The first steep was more astringent than I’m used to, but from then on it mellowed out immediately. I’d definitely recommend a short steep time, as it’s quite bold. Overall, this one is very enjoyable. The customer service provided by the company is excellent as well.

Flavors: Grass, Vegetal

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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This is my second free press sample for this month from Yunomi. I have very little experience with gyokuro, and I thought this one sounded interesting. The “konacha” part of it means that it’s made from the broken leaf pieces that are left over after processing gyokuro. Therefore it steeps very quickly, and is much more economical than regular gyokuro. So cool, I love how the Japanese in particular are so into using every part of the tea plant. The leaf, as you might expect, is very tiny and broken, and it has both green and yellow colors. Dry scent is sweet grass and spinach. I was unsure how to steep this, so I just went with 160 degrees (happens to be my kettle’s lowest setting) for 30 seconds, when I would normally do 45.

The steeped tea is a lovely, slightly murky green/yellow color. It smells thick with spinach and sweet aromas. Whoa, I was not prepared for the flavor explosion! This tea has such an intense and rich umami flavor, it’s so good! It tastes like a puree of rich steamed greens with squash, mushrooms, and a bit of a rich nutty flavor. So rich and intense, but without even a hint of bitterness! There’s just a little touch of sweetness rounding this out, a very mild and natural sweetness like I find in roasted squash. So delicious!

I am a Yunomi affiliate! Please consider using my referral link if you decide to make a purchase: https://yunomi.us/?ref=12

Flavors: Butter, Butternut Squash, Creamy, Mushrooms, Nuts, Pumpkin, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Thick, Umami

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

Hooray, my monthly “press” samples from Yunomi arrived! They’re so generous with their free samples. This month I happened to choose two teas from the same brand independently of one another, and without noticing the connection until I was typing them in the “Notes” box of my order. I’ve been very interested in trying more kukicha teas, and especially karigane, after tasting a couple different ones and loving their mild, sweet flavor. So this was a natural choice for a free sample! The stems have their usual stick-like appearance with mixed deep green and yellow colors. Dry scent is grassy, but in a sweet and creamy way.

The steeped tea has a mild but very sweet aroma. This is so yummy! I noticed that other reviewers steeped this for much longer than I did (2 minutes vs. my 45 seconds) so I’m not sure if I’m doing it wrong… It certainly doesn’t taste like I am! The flavor is light but it feels like it should be, and there’s no lack of taste here. Main flavors are mild, sweet spinach with some grassy freshness. Maybe even a tiny bit of honeydew melon. Overall it’s incredibly sweet and creamy and silky smooth! Delicious!

I am a Yunomi affiliate! Please consider using my referral link if you decide to make a purchase: https://yunomi.us/?ref=12

Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Honeydew, Mineral, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

Backlog from earlier today. The first time that I steeped this tea, I used 185 F water, which turned out to be too hot. While the flavors were delicious, it was also a bit bitter. It didn’t help that the leaves were very fine and settled at the bottom of my mug, continuing to make the tea bitter as I drank it. Second time around, I used 165 F water, and it really did help with the initial bitterness. The problem with the leaves falling through and making it bitter were still there, though. I need to get a finer strainer.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this tea (despite the random bitterness) because it combines umami and vegetal flavors so well. Plus, it tastes clean yet a little thick at the same time. I find that true of most Japanese green teas, actually. Anyway, it is a very nice, sothing tea. I just hope I can find a better way to strain the leaves.

Anlina

I have one like this – the mess is incredibly fine and it sits in the top of my cha hai. I found them in China Town for less than $2 http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Stainless-steel-tea-infuser-strainer-with-fine-mesh-for-teapot-tea-set-coffee-tea-tools-free/32259771913.html

Jennkay

Ooh, thanks for the recommendation!

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85

While I’m mostly a black tea gal, I do relish my nightly cup of houjicha. I’ve been wanting to try these flavored houjichas for ages, but they were out of stock for quite some time. And when they came back Yunomius sadly removed the sample option. Cameron B. came to my to my rescue and generously sent me some samples. I’m trying to drink all my swaps/samples in the order I got them, but I decided to cheat and treat myself with one of these.

I’d had a houjicha + mint blend before and wasn’t super fond of it. The mint was too strong and the houjicha wasn’t of the best quality. But it sounded like a promising blend, so I was curious how it would work in this instance. The leaves seem to be a mix of regular hojicha and hoji-kukicha (my favorite!) and there are cute little silver balls hanging out in the mix. Sprinkles? Steeped a tsp for a bit over 2 minutes at 190ºish.

Yum! This is quite nice. The chocolate is creamy and melds right into the roasty houjicha. The mint is thankfully not overwhelming, but it’s barely noticeable. Just a refreshing bit of brightness. Not bad at all, but not really mint chocolate. The website recommends adding milk which sounds odd to me, but why not give it a try.

Added a splash and unsweetened soy and… yum! Surprisingly nice. The chocolate is very creamy and it tastes super nutty. I really like it! Sadly the mint is pretty much completely drown out, but it’s very tasty. Overall I really enjoyed this and will definitely consider picking up a package for myself. I do think it would be improved with more mint, or as a straight chocolate houjicha. But as-is it’s quite nice.

Flavors: Chocolate, Nuts, Roasted

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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90

This was one the “free press samples” I received with my Yunomi order last week. I already tasted the first flush version a few days ago, and I’m keen to see how the two compare. The leaves here are small, feathery, and flaky, and they’re somewhat broken up. Color is a very dark chocolate brown. They smell very hay-like in a sweet and comforting kind of way, with perhaps a bit of oats in there as well.

The steeped cup smells very fruity and rich with savory vegetal notes. Hm, I can definitely taste a difference between this and the first flush, and I prefer this one. This tea is richer and smoother, and it doesn’t have that Darjeeling-esque floral/spice flavor. Instead, there are comforting notes of bread, sweet potato, and rich dried fruits such as prune and raisin. There’s also a definite molasses-like flavor, which contrasts nicely with the bit of savoriness that also exists. It’s a vegetal sort of savory, but it’s definitely a cooked vegetable, perhaps some type of squash? Near the end, there’s a little bite of mild bitterness that helps to cut through the rich flavors this tea has. There’s a mild aftertaste of edamame. This one’s a keeper! (Bonus: cheaper than the first flush!)

I am a Yunomi affiliate! Please consider using my referral link if you decide to make a purchase: https://yunomi.us/?ref=12

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Butternut Squash, Dried Fruit, Molasses, Potato, Raisins, Soybean, Sweet Potatoes, Thick

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Tealizzy

Yum! On the wishlist!

Cameron B.

I would definitely recommend it. :)

Yunomi also does free “press” samples (Steepster counts). You can get two per month, and request specific teas.

Link: https://yunomi.us/shop/6142/free-tea-sample-10g-for-press-id-6142/

Tealizzy

Ooh, thanks for the tip!

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99

You know what, I have excitement building in me that I was going to wait to share, but if I don’t let it out I shall pop! So, for most of my gaming life (I cannot remember a time in my life that I did not have access to a gaming system, my dad and I hoarded them) I had a gaming system and pile of games in my bedroom. I would re-arrange my entire room to make it easy to lay in bed while gaming, because yours truly spent a lot of days home sick from school or too sick to play, I spent that time alternating between gaming and reading. Since living in Kansas City, the Xbox360 has been in the family room, and I have just hated that! Thanks to a little finagling, I will be getting a nice monitor and moving the Xbox to my bedroom, finally, on those sick days I can lay in bed and game without having to interact with anyone. That sounds a little mean in retrospect, just usually when I feel really icky I like being by myself, it is a very old habit I am not too likely to break. So, I am excited!!

It has been too long since this Gaijin had some Gyokuro, something I am rectifying right now, with Yunomi’s Kurihara Tea #2 Heritage Gyokuro Tea! The heritage part of this name refers to the super traditional way of shading this tea with handmade straw or bamboo mats, giving it an extra level of awesome. In case you are new to the ‘Jade Dew’ (that is what Gyokuro translates to) let me take you on a very green adventure! This Japanese tea is different from Sencha by being covered by a shade for a length of its growing time, this of course depends on how high of a grade of Gyokuro, the longer the shading the higher the quality. This is the most sought after and expensive tea to come out of Japan, now, if only I had a fancy Shiboridashi to brew it in using the specialized brewing method. So, enough rambling, onto sniffing the tea! The aroma of the vibrantly green leaves (seriously, they are as green as pine needles) is delightfully sweet, a blend of sweet chestnuts, wildflower honey, freshly mown hay, sweetgrass, and a tiny bit of distant wildflowers. Something about the aroma of Japanese green teas (especially the very verdant ones) reminds me of summer, either you have the sweet and green ones like this Gyokuro, or the sea air ones like some Sencha. Truly, this tea smells absolutely amazing, I might have actually inhaled a leaf after sniffing this tea so much!

Since brewing Gyokuro in the traditional way requires a large amount of leaf to a small amount of water, I decided to not use my Kyusu or make-shift Houhin (the holes are a little too big for a delicate tiny tea) and brewed the leaves in my double boiler-tea alchemy tool, for extra visual fun! The leaves look like they are almost bioluminescent while steeping, it is so pretty. The aroma of the steeped leaves is super sweet and very green, there are notes of sweet chestnut, cut hay, sweetgrass, and crushed bamboo leaves giving it a touch of sharpness. At the finish there is a tiny hint of kelp to bring in that umami note. The liquid is delicate, not at all faint, but the difference between a piece of silk floating through the air and dropping a book, both are noticeable but one is prettier to look at. There are notes of sweet chestnut (it seems to be the dominant note so far) and hay with underpinnings of bamboo and kelp. The liquid balances sweet, green, and savory very well.

So, first steeping time, and let me start by saying that this tea is thick! I love that about Gyokuro, when brewed with the traditional methods it is often called soupy or syrupy, and that is an apt description. It coats the mouth to an almost oily extent, almost like drinking warm, partially formed jello. The taste is an adventure, it starts sweet and nutty with chestnut notes and fresh hay. After this initial nutty sweetness the unami kicks in at the midtaste, it is fascinating, a blend of cooked spinach, bamboo shoots, and a touch of kelp. It tastes like eating the finished Gyokuro leaves as a salad. After this the taste goes to a slightly dry and a little bitter green like kale and vegetation. The finish is sweet grass and lingering honey.

For the second steep I upped the temperature and shortened the steeping time, as per Yunomi’s recommendation. The aroma is much more green this time around, with strong notes of spinach, kelp, and even a touch of kale in there as well. The finish is sweet with a touch of chestnut. So this steeping is a glorious example of how a tea can evolve, where the previous steep was sweet with a touch of umami, this tea is a kick in the face of savory notes. It is intense and delicious! Like a blend of kelp, kale, spinach, bamboo leaves and shoots, it tastes like a salad and growing things. There is bitterness, but it is bitterness of vegetation and green things, a bitterness that I absolutely love (and have come to realize that some people really dislike, much to my confusion) it evokes the foods of my youth with turnip greens and collards. The finish has a chestnut and wildflower honey sweetness that lingers, along with the smoothness of the mouthfeel. It is times like this that I wonder, why do I ever let myself run out of Gyokuro?

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/01/yunomi-kurihara-tea-2-heritage-gyokuro.html

dragondrool

I don’t think the hole-up-by-yourself thing is mean. It’s about perspective. When I’m really fibro-flaring and/or have a migraine going on, I tend to hole up, too. Only I couch mine as an avoidance of “inflicting myself on others”. :) How can that be mean? That’s a service!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Hehe I like that! Maybe I could make a fancy sign to hang on my door that says much the same, because I know I am cranky when I feel bad! Thank you, that actually makes me feel better!

I am somewhat reclusive by nature and worry that I come off as rude by being solitary rather than hanging out with everyone else.

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88
drank Onocha Tea: Bancha by Yunomius
972 tasting notes

Another tea from my January Yunomi subscription box. I think I’ve only tried one bancha ever, and it was from Harney & Sons (a reputable company, but I wouldn’t consider Japanese greens to be their strong suit). I didn’t enjoy it much, found it a bit rough for my tastes. Nevertheless, I’m excited to try another one, especially since this one is apparently lightly roasted to make it have a smoother flavor. I must say, I was quite surprised upon seeing the leaves! They’re quite large and very intact, which is something you don’t see that often with Japanese green teas (I assume this is because their leaves are somewhat more fragile than most teas). Dry scent is very mild and sweet grass. I went with a slightly lower water temperature than the package recommended, just because I’m used to steeping my green teas at 175 degrees and I was afraid to go too high.

The steeped tea is surprisingly pale in color, it’s a very light yellow-green. Right away, I can smell a savory seaweed/umami note. This tea is quite mild, though I’m not sure whether that’s intentional or the result of my steeping parameters. It certainly tastes intentional, meaning there is plenty of flavor here even if it’s mild overall. There’s a strong umami seaweed presence, but I find that delicious. The middle and end of the sip get very sweet, and it’s a clear sweetness like spring water. I can also taste a slight roasted nutty flavor, which I assume is from the roasting process. There’s a tiny bit of pleasant astringency as well. Overall, I’m very impressed with this one! I guess I should try more bancha.

I am a Yunomi affiliate! Please consider using my referral link if you decide to make a purchase: https://yunomi.us/?ref=12

Flavors: Broth, Nutty, Roasted, Seaweed, Sweet, Umami

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

I was totally surprised to find my Yunomi subscription box in my mailbox today! I guess I forgot that it comes so early in the month, looking back at my records I see that the last box came on the 5th of December. Either way, I love surprise tea! This month the box contains five different teas from the same seller – Onocha. These teas are from a family-owned farm in the town of Ono in the Yamaguchi Prefecture. I chose this one to try first because the addition of pea stems and leaves sounded interesting! The houjicha itself looks to be a very dark roast, and the dried pea stems and leaves are in large pieces, making this a rather chunky tea. Dry scent is roasted but not overly strong.

Mm, this is a tasty houjicha. It’s very smooth and mellow with a nice well-rounded roasted flavor and some sweetness. I’m unsure whether I can taste the pea leaves, as I don’t know what they taste like. If their flavor is there, it’s melding pretty seamlessly with the houjicha itself. I tend to prefer houji-kukicha because it’s generally smoother than regular houjicha, but this one is quite smooth and tasty.

I am a Yunomi affiliate! Please consider using my referral link if you decide to make a purchase: https://yunomi.us/?ref=12

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grass, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mikumofu

Surprise tea is the best tea!

Cameron B.

I know, right? :D

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68

Steeped 1tsp (3.8g) in 70C water. 30s wasn’t quite enough, yielding a very mild flavour, while 45s was almost too much. The liquor went from a bright, cloudy green to dark yellow-green in those 15 seconds.

The dry leaf is a pretty intense green, mostly dark with a few pale green pieces scattered throughout. Both needle-like and flat pieces of various sizes. The smell is different from other senchas I’ve had, grassy, peppery and almost chemical, though not in an unpleasant way.

Steeped, the liquor smells faintly nutty and metallic.

The flavour is interesting. There’s a faintly bitter edge, a soft vegetal flavour like zucchini and then a very strong, green flavour in the finish, which is long. Notes of peas, cucumber and lettuce. A fair bit of sweetness, and as the cup cools, a bit of honey.

Rather than typical tea astringency, this leaves my teeth feeling slightly fuzzy, like after eating raw spinach.

A very interesting tea. I don’t think it’s something I would reach for, and definitely not my favourite of the Morita tea garden offerings, but I’m glad I got to try it.

Flavors: Bitter, Cucumber, Grass, Honey, Lettuce, Metallic, Nutty, Peas, Peppercorn, Sweet, Zucchini

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

The last of my flavored houjichas from Ocharaka and Yunomi! Well, the last to be tried anyway. Honestly, when I was choosing which flavors to order I was leaning more toward the Orange Osmanthus, but a lot of other people seemed to take particular interest in this one so I figured I would try it instead. I do enjoy apple, but the mention of ginger in here scares me a bit as it’s not my favorite ingredient. There are chunks of dried apple mixed in with the usual roasted stems and leaves. Dry scent is very strong and sharp apple and it almost smells effervescent in a way.

The steeped tea smells mostly of mild roast with a bit of sweet apple mixed in. I like this one quite a bit actually. The flavoring is very mild, and it tastes more like a sweet fresh apple to me than baked, but I actually prefer that. The ginger is extremely subtle, it just makes the apple taste a teeny bit spiced and comes off more as a general “spice” note than ginger itself. The pair work very well with the mildly roasted houjicha base. Lovely! Thanks to everyone who sort of recommended this without realizing it, ha ha. :D

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Flavors: Apple, Roasted, Smooth, Spices, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaBrat

sounds good :)

Cameron B.

It’s tasty! I need to share some of these houjichas around, my reviews are the only ones so far.

Anlina

I’m really appreciating your tasting notes on these. I’ve been tempted by them, but I’m always hesitant to buy something that isn’t available as a sample size. Though I have tonnes of points on Yunomi, so that makes it feel less risky. :P

TeaBrat

If you want to swap again let me know ;)

Cameron B.

Anlina, I would most highly recommend the Japanese Pumpkin and the Grapefruit flavors, they’re delish! :)

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80

Woo, more Yunomi! Since I was making an order anyway, I added the listing for two free “press” samples and requested this tea and the second flush version. I’ve only tried one straight Japanese black tea before, and more experience is needed! :) The leaves are somewhat broken, though the original shape appears to be somewhat wide and flat. Their color is a dark chocolate brown, and there are stems included (a huge one ended up in my steeping basket!). The dry leaf smells eerily similar to cooked asparagus!

Steeped, the tea smells complex, with lots of different aromas going on. There’s definitely a Darjeeling-esque sort of floral note along with the steamed veggies from the dry scent and some rich bread and fruit aromas. Wow, this is definitely an interesting tea. Up front, it tastes quite bready and fruity (perhaps stonefruit along with something darker). Then somewhere in the middle, there’s a big ol’ slap of very musty hay or straw. The end brings out that Darjeeling character of sort of perfumey floral and herb notes, and it continues in the aftertaste. I find that as I keep sipping, that musty portion fades away and I’m left with the bread/fruit transitioning into floral/herbaceous. It’s also very slightly drying near the end. I’ll be interested to see how the second flush version compares.

I am a Yunomi affiliate! Please consider using my referral link if you decide to make a purchase: https://yunomi.us/?ref=12

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Floral, Herbs, Stonefruits, Sweet, Tannic, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Next one up from Yunomi and Ocharaka! Now, I’m pretty picky when it comes to chocolate teas, so I was unsure whether to order this one at all. In the end, I figured a mint houjicha still sounded pretty tasty, so even if the chocolate isn’t to my liking, I’ll still have that combination. The base is the same mix of roasted stems and leaves, and there are big pieces of peppermint along with a few tiny blue flower petals. Oddly enough, for some reason they felt the need to add tiny silver sphere sprinkles to this tea. I’m not sure what they’re meant to add… Dry scent is mostly roasted with sweet chocolate and a little bit of mint.

For some reason, this cup steeped up much darker than the Grapefruit & Honey version. The aroma is strongly roasted with a tiny bit of chocolate. Hmm, this one is less impressive than the other two flavors I’ve tried so far. I can taste some mint, but even that is quite mild next to the houjicha itself. I honestly don’t think I taste chocolate at all, even if I concentrate on it. So mostly this is just a plain (but high-quality) houjicha with a bit of peppermint added. Not bad, but disappointing nonetheless.

I am a Yunomi affiliate! Please consider using my referral link if you decide to make a purchase: https://yunomi.us/?ref=12

Flavors: Peppermint, Roasted, Smooth

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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