107 Tasting Notes

86

Such an interesting tea, quite good flavors and a light peppery aroma.
I have been working my way through my sample pack from Obubu, and thought I would make this one today as it is so very warm and humid. I followed their recommended brewing instructions, using my kyusu to hold the entire 5 gram sample. Nice grassy fragrance to the dry leaves, and mix of leaf size as this is aracha (unsorted) tea straight from the farm.

1st steep: 30 seconds at 185F, yields a really nice light emerald green liquid, with slightly peppery aroma to the wet leaves. I can’t resist drinking this hot, saving the second steep for “iced” tea. It has a really nice vegetal taste, with more spinach flavors and grassy undertones. No kelpiness, just a real nice earthy green flavor.
2nd steep: quick 15 second steep at 185F, then poured over ice. This is truly where this tea shines. It tastes amazingly good, refreshing and ‘sparkling’ — but definitely not too sweet. It is beautifully clear, and an appealing gold-green.

I am cold brewing the remaining leaves to see if I can stretch this sample, not only because I am frugal, but because I am really liking this tea! This one is going on my shopping list…

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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87

Another very good quality Oolong from China Cha Dao. Nice aroma, slight scent of roasted apples and wood fire. A very mild sweetness to the flavor, and a wonderful feel in the mouth. Beautiful amber color, and you can see nice unfurling of the medium sized leaves.

I fist brewed a sample western style, with about 1 heaping teaspoon for 7 ounces of near boiling water. It lasted for several infusions and really got me hooked. This afternoon I tried brewing gong fu style in a small 150 ml zisha yixing, and the results were equally pleasing.

A very interesting journey in tasting this tea. It is one that I have enjoyed very much and look forward to drinking again.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Kashyap

did a bunch of people get on a list from China Cha Dao? seem like over the last 12hrs teas from them have been sampled…curious

E Alexander Gerster

Jerry Ma from China Cha Dao had a post in the Discussions area and sent out samples to a bunch of us. It was a very generous selection of his oolong teas. If you follow him, you can maybe get some samples from his next batch. I would be happy to send you part of my samples — especially the top three of his oolongs.

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92

Back in June, I ordered an Ito En Matcha Gift set from Amazon.com for about $30, that included a chawan (tea bowl), chashaku (bamboo scoop/spoon), chasen (tea whisk) and some matcha tea. I had no idea that the Tea’s Tea ceremonial grade matcha would be so good, and has quickly become my matcha of choice for usucha — or “thin/light tea.” I just checked out Ito En’s website (https://www.itoen.com/matcha-teas-tea-7-oz-can.html) and now they even have it on sale for less than $10 for a tin. A great deal, and now I see they even won an award for this Tea — I am not surprised!

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C

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93

Another very nice tea from Obubu Tea Plantations in Kyoto. I have been drinking this today using the parameters specified by Obubu, and it makes for a very pleasant set of infusions of a very bright and lightly buttery character. Nice vegetal taste with only a slight touch of bitterness in the first steep. It doesn’t take much imagination to taste the “early summer sun shining brightly.”

A really nice healthy green taste; It goes well with food, but I am enjoying it all on it’s own!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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95

This morning I finished up the last of my sample of Mt. Yiwu Sheng Pu’er, and I am truly sorry to see it go. It is one of the top three Sheng Pu’er teas that I have ever tasted, and shares this honor with the two other Sheng Pu’er teas I received in my Verdant Tea sampler. So nice that a company uses it’s sampler to put their best foot forward and tries to gain you as a customer.

Through multiple infusions, this tea takes you on a journey that is both quiet and adventurous. It is a walk through a rain filled forest, with stops along the way for a taste of spicyness, a later nibble at pear or apple, and a sniff of moss, mushrooms and distant campfire. Sorry if my description is a bit too imaginative, and should perhaps be more prosaic, but this Pu’er (along with the Verdant Teas ‘06 Artisan Revival and ’03 Mt Banxhang) gets me excited about Chinese Pu’er like no others.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec
David Duckler

This makes my day- Thank you for the vivid description, which I will keep in mind next time I brew up the Yiwu, and for the compliments on our sheng pu’ers. We go through adventurous tasting sessions of hundreds of teas to find the very small number of pu’ers that we end up offering. I learned much of what I know from tea master Wang Yanxin, who works with the small farmers and keeps thousands of kinds of tea in stock. I would describe a taste I was looking for, and she would pull out the brick from stack upon stack of pu’ers. She is always spot on, and am delighted to keep working with her, and send her enough money through orders for her to double the size of her shop and take serious trips to Xishuangbanna for me.

We found one new sheng pu’er that should make its way to America in the next month. I am excited for you to try it. Best Wishes,
David

Spoonvonstup

I also really like this description of yours. It captures the things I remember about this tea for which I can never find the words. The last two reviews on this one make me really want to pull this tea out and try it again soon.

Kashyap

and through a cup of tea…lovely company blooms…looking at these words weaves a beautiful character that should read ‘fellowship’

E Alexander Gerster

Getting nice “warm fuzzies” from online tea buds… ‘fellowship’ sounds good to me! From different corners of the USA, we bond through teas from far away. Makes all the distractions of daily life melt away. :)

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85

The aroma of the dry leaves and stems is very pleasant, with a grassy vegetal quality that is reminiscent of fresh cut hay and autumn breezes. The stems in my sample were quite prominent, and sturdier than those in the Yanagi Bancha sample I had tried previously, but the leaves were very fine, and a beautiful dark green.

Using my kyusu I did three extractions of this sample, all using approximately 3.5 ounces of water:
1st steep: 45 seconds at 180 F
2nd steep: a quick steep of only about 10 seconds at 180 F
3rd steep: 30 seconds at 180 F

The wet leaves have an amazing aroma, unlike any sencha I have tried before. An almost peppery quality like mustard greens, but this does not come through in the tea. All three infusions were of similar quality in being a bright yellow green, clear, refreshing and well balanced. There are some nice grassy undertones and a softness that is similar to many spring time pickings.

This would make a nice accompaniment to almost any meal, but is very pleasant to drink all alone. Another very nice tea from Obubu. :)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Kashyap

I’m drinking the Obubu Kabuse sencha this morning myself…lovely, creamy, buttery, sweet and vegetal….

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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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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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