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40 Tasting Notes

86

Whipped up a quick bowl of this earlier today, and while it wasn’t as creamy or dreamy as it might have been with a chasen in a chawan, my little milk frother did the trick!

2 solid chashaku scoops in about ~10oz of recently boiled water was a little weak for my liking, but the deep “forest green” color was still outstanding! It had strong seaweed notes in it’s aroma, but had a relatively mild, slightly bitter “green” finish. I think it’s better (and sweeter) made strong.

A great “starter” matcha so far!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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77

Opened this up earlier today and was immediately impressed by its aroma. It’s a deep, jade powder that smells strongly of freshly ground-up raw tea leaves. Compared to the other powdered sencha I’ve tried (Den’s Organic), this one seems like a more full-bodied and potently vegetal brew — two chashaku was more than enough for my tall glass of ice tea.

To me, O-Cha’s Powdered Sencha tastes more like finely ground raw tea leaves than a dry tea powder (if that makes any sense), so I’m going to try brewing/blending it a couple different ways before I make my final verdict. It’s an outstanding value for the amount of raw leaf you’re getting (¥980 for 100g), but I might opt for the organic solution next time.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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92
drank Shincha Houryoku by Den's Tea
40 tasting notes

This is a very tasty tea that I’ve enjoyed immensely so far. I get notes of apricots and plums from the raw leaf; which is deep steamed, slightly dusty, and extremely fragrant. I’ve got 4/5 solid steepings out of each session so far — the longest I’ve ever been able to “stretch” any of Den’s teas.

The first cup tastes smooth and vegetal, with a hint of that buttery umami taste that I usually get from gyokuro. Lower temperatures help to bring bring out that umami flavor; which usually peaks around the 2nd or 3rd dense, jade cup. This is when its astringency starts to shine through, but it doesn’t become overbearing until the fourth or fifth cup. Later steepings make for a surprisingly flavorful iced tea!

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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92
drank Shincha Houryoku by Den's Tea
40 tasting notes

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drank Mountain Wūlóng by World Market
40 tasting notes

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83

Den’s Powdered Sencha is a nice way to boost your morning/afternoon productivity, or potentiate an otherwise underwhelming green tea. About a quarter teaspoon (or chashaku) scoop added to a cup of hot or cold water yields a surprisingly flavorful, nutritious cup of tea that’ll pick you up.

I’ve had the best results using a cheapo electric milk frother to “whisk” up the tea in the water before adding milk or ice; but you’ll want to keep a spoon or straw handy to make sure you stir up all the nutritious bits of tea.

The flavor is somewhat bitter, but unmistakably “green;” the perfect chioce for iced tea in a pinch. Also works great in a latte if you add an extra scoop and sweeten best results.

Preparation
Iced 0 min, 15 sec

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92
drank Shincha Houryoku by Den's Tea
40 tasting notes

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83
drank Grape Sencha by Den's Tea
40 tasting notes

Had a small sample of this along with my first order from Den’s, and when I finally ran out of my Gyokuro Kin and Sencha Shin Ryoku, I knew it was finally time to give it a try.

This tea is everything you would expect from it: loud and Grape-y. While a lot of flavored senchas seem to have a misting of fragrance or a handful of dried flowers, the Grape sencha is laden with dried cranberries, grapes, and flower petals; making it a particularly fragrant brew.

My first infusion was a little hot and long (180 for ~2 minutes in my kyusu), and made the somewhat overbearing. The directions say “boiling” for “30 seconds,” but I altered it a bit with slightly cooler water (165*) for 1:25. This made the tea leaves come through a little better, and allowed the “grapiness” to spread across the infusions a little more uniformly.

All in all, a very fruity, fun sencha. I prefer the crispness of the Rose sencha, but this tea certainly makes good on its promise.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Shinobi_cha

Have you tried their Shincha? http://www.denstea.com/b2011-shinchab-c-541.html It’s really good.
You mention in your profile recently getting into green tea — other vendors I can recommend from personal experience are:
http://www.maiko.ne.jp/english/index.html
http://www.sugimotousa.com/
And many people have good things to say about: http://www.o-cha.com/

However, Den’s Tea is still my favorite…

Cole

I have!! I just got an order of Shincha Houryoku and it is AMAZING four steeps in. Never had a tea hold up so good over multiple steepings. A little paranoid of radiation, but it’s from western Shizuoka, so I think I’ll take my chances for such tasty stuff.

Thanks for the reccomendations — I’d love to hear a couple of your suggestions from Maiko! I’m trying some matcha and Sakura sencha from o-cha soon, so I’ll let you know what I think :)

Shinobi_cha

Cool! Glad you got the Houryoku, it is good stuff. I had it last year too (for the first time). I got the Shincha Kunpu this year, which is also excellent.

Yeah, certainly post your review of the matcha and sakura sencha here on Steepster. I just received my first order from O-cha today, their Kirameki shincha and Kagoshima Yutaka Midori shincha. I’ll review them here as well!

Hmm… well, for Maiko, I’ve only had 3 things thus far (not quite finished with the last one) – Maruyama Sencha (eh, it was OK, many people like it but I don’t personally recommend), Shiawase Cha (pretty unique, fun tea, maybe worth trying if you like Genmaicha and want something a little different), and finally Yamashita’s 5 Gyokuro Sampler (8g of each tea). I highly recommend the sampler, as you can try some awesome teas at a decent price, but I would wait until it’s on sale. I think the normal price is 4,000 JPY (about $40-$45 depending on the rate they use), but I got it on sale for 3,000 JPY (at the time that was equal to $31). It’s expensive still somewhat, but far cheaper than buying any of the upper Gyokuro individually… as I said, I’m not done. I still have 2 left, the best two they carry, Yashiki no Cha and Takumi.

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70
drank Earl Grey Black by Teavana
40 tasting notes

Not a particularly great value for the price, but it does brew a fine cup of iced tea. Good balance of bergamot, too

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Bio

Tea lover since birth; recent convert to Japanese greens, Taiwanese Oolongs, and Chinese Puerh (and everything in-between).

Loves obscure vinyl, dark humor, technology, and most nerdy things. If you have similar tastes or enjoy a post, feel free to comment/message. Open to trades; particularly puerh!

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