100 Tasting Notes

83

I received my sampler from Obubu Tea and what a beautiful sampler it is. The packaging is artistically done, and all text is in Japanese, so if you may have to do a bit of detective work matching the inscriptions to translations provided on the guide provided. It is filled with different versions of Sencha, Genmaicha, and several different roasts of Houjicha. All great temptations, but I chose to start by brewing up this Bancha and am very happy I did!

Time to load up the sample into my kyusu, and take a few deep breaths of the lovely aroma of the dry leaves and stems. A bit like alfalfa hay, and a real sweetness that is hard to explain, but nice to experience.

1st steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F
2nd steep: 15 seconds at about 190 degrees F
3rd steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F

Now this is real aracha (http://www.obubutea.com/tea-info/aracha/), in the best way possible. It is nicely refreshing in being both mildly sweet and mildly savory. I found myself chewing on a couple of the twigs/stems just to verify this is where that fascinating sweet flavor is coming from. This may not have the refined complexities of the higher grade teas, but for me it is a really pleasant connection to the tea plantation, and I look forward to the other samples to follow!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Spoonvonstup

I’m intrigued! I have such little experience with Japanese teas, and I’ve been on the look-out for good vendors. I haven’t heard of Obubu until now, so I think some of their tea may be in my future.

E Alexander Gerster

My favorite Japanese tea vendors at the moment are Den’s Tea and Obubu — but I know there are other really good ones out there. I found Obubu because of their involvement with the International Tea Farms Alliance (http://www.teafarms.org/about/) that empowers worldwide tea artisans by connecting them to tea loving consumers… You have to keep us updated on your new experiences with Japanese teas. They can take you on a really amazing journey! :)

ScottTeaMan

You may also want to try Hibiki-an. I bought tea from them a couple times and it was the freshest Japanese tea I’ve ever drank.They have varying degrees of leaf, from House Sencha to Sencha Super Premium, etc. Free Shipping over $36, last time I checked. A very honest, fair company with great quality teas!

E Alexander Gerster

Great suggestion Scott! I have heard lots of good things about Hibiki-an, and they have some great teaware that I have been lusting over. :)

ScottTeaMan

Yeah, thats for sure. I ony wish I’d bought one of their Tokoname teapots, the Meteor Stream. Anyway, in 2008 it was $79, now it’s $93. I’m still consideing it, esp if I order tea from there as well. What do I mean IF I order tea from there?!

ScottTeaMan

Also I believe their tea is of higher quality, so it has increased in $$ as well (of course). It is still a bargain. Have you noticed International shipping costs from Japan?!

Years ago, I tried Genmaicha and couldn’t drink it. My tastes in tea and preparation have changed since then. So I’d like to try the Genmaicha Matcha-iri from Hibiki-an too. Going to drink some tea :)………….

CHAroma

This tasting note really makes me want to buy a sampler from Obubu! Thanks for sharing!

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74

Interesting combination of herbs in this infusion. I shared it with my mother who is a big fan of Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Tea, and enjoyed it as a nice afternoon break. We both felt a slight tingling on the tongue, which seems to be a property of the sage in the mix. It has a beautiful aroma and color, and a sweet herbaceous flavor. I was surprised at the beauty the dry cornflowers brings to the dry product, and we both agreed it would go great with some real shortbread cookies… Thanks Tea Forte for this nice sample, and I definitely give this one a thumbs up.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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99

I had a tough week, so last night I opened up my pouch of Den’s Gyokuro Kin, placed a good rounded teaspoon of leaves into my Sincha Kyusu and started to relax just smelling the aroma of this beautiful tea.

When Den’s says that “Gyokuro Kin is a cup of affordable luxury,” they are being modest as this is one really fantastic Gyokuro. There truly is a great harmony of natural sweetness and slight bitterness, supplemented by a mellow umami flavor and very light astringency.

1st cup: Water @ 160F; Steep 90 sec
2nd cup: Water @ 180F; Steep 30 sec
I couldn’t resist a 3rd steep, which was nice but gets a bit too astringent for me, and looses the mellowness. Truly a wonderful way to end the week!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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99

What a beautiful Spring Oolong! I loaded up my gaiwan and brewed just as David suggested, yielding a nice succession of cups almost exactly as described. Wonderful aromas, wonderful flavor and a really pleasant morning sipping on this tea.

Since I grow orchids, I didn’t get this as the most prominent scent. Instead I get the sweet honeysuckle, with a background of orange blossom and jasmine. The first two steeps give a slightly green flavor followed by buttery creaminess in the later brews and some even have a faint aroma of pine or fir trees behind the floral bouquet.

An outstanding tea, plain and simple. ;)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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77
drank Organic Chai by Tazo
100 tasting notes

I was pleasantly surprised by the nice medium body brew that I got out of this Tazo teabag. It was a little out of my usual taste preferences, but made for a nice refreshing cup of tea. Then again, there really is very little tea flavor that you can taste through the spices. This blend seems to have been created to be a good middle of the road chai, able to please the most people by being neither too spicy, or too weak, but having a nice bit of zip. Nice to taste a hint of Peppercorn, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, and Star Anise. I am really pleased that I gave this one a try.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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88

One of the great things about trying a company’s sampler pack is that you find something you really enjoy, but might not have tried on your own. I love Japanese green teas, and have had many cups of sencha, matcha and genmaicha over the last two decades. But this was the first time I tried a genmaicha with matcha in the blend. It was a true revelation.

ist steep: 30 seconds, 180F Bright green, cloudy liquid. Roasted rice aroma with a hint of sweetness. Nice comforting umami flavor with a little nutty and grassy character.

2nd steep: 15 seconds, 210F Bright olive green liquid with still a bit of matcha cloudiness. Aroma is a bit more sweet and less roasty. The flavor is still beautiful with just a hint of kelp flavor.

I look forward to adding more of this tea to my next order from Den’s Tea! :)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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83

Although I rarely have had Houjicha (hoji-cha) at home, it is one of the teas I have enjoyed in Japanese restaurants. It is high in umami flavors, with rich pleasant, roasty aroma. It is one of those teas that goes well with almost any meal.

I received this tea in my sampler from Den’s Tea, and have to echo my fellow Steepsterites that anyone who loves Japanese green teas is doing themselves a disservice if they don’t get this sampler (and more!) from Den’s.

Now on to my tasting…
Color of the infusion is a nice reddish brown. there is a wonderfully savory and aromatic nuttiness that blends with the roasted flavor. I find myself salivating and wanting another sip, time after time—and then it is gone! Wait, time to go for another steep.
Soothing, comforting, and really a pleasant feel on the tongue. Another tea to go on my shopping list. ;)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Cole

This tea is tasty hot, but I LOVE it iced. I usually brew it strong and pour over ice, but even just icing whatever you have leftover usually turns out great!

E Alexander Gerster

Hey Cole, I tried the Houjicha iced, using your method, and it is really nice! What a great taste for the summer… :) Thanks for inspiring me to try something new!

Cole

Definitely! :) Such a tasty iced tea — the perfect summer treat!

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90

This Sheng Puerh certainly brews up to a beautiful golden color and one tasty cup of tea. But I get ahead of myself… you really should take a good inhalation of the dry leaves and smell the aromas of heaven and earth. Redwood forest, eucalyptus trees, and the smell of a distant campfire all come to mind. The first infusion brings out such a brilliant color, and definitely is assertive in it’s flavor. Smooth, bold, robust without being overwhelming.

Subsequent infusions are lighter in color and flavor but bring a new sweetness and aroma. A fascinating tea that leaves me wanting more to brew up. Too bad I only had a small sample bag to try!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I have been drinking tea for most of my life, and enjoy learning about Tea Culture from all around the world. I learned early about Russian and British traditions first, since my parents came from Europe, followed by the teas and culture of Ceylon/Sri Lanka and India. Since I have been a practicing Buddhist for the better part of 25 years, I have strong ties to Asia, and have slowly been learning about the teas from each part of the world I encounter. It is a wonderful and interesting journey.

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Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

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