311 Tasting Notes
I love this one: smoky, sweet, earthy, and if I keep my infusions short enough, not bitter.
1 gram of leaf per ounce water just off the boil, in gaiwan or small yixing, flash rinse, then short steeps, 10", 10", 15", 15", 20", 20", and so forth. I have continued to enjoy 20+ infusions from this tea. It also does nicely bulk brewed: a good wedge of tea, toss it into the kamjove, flash rinse, then steep a minute or so, pour several more volumes of water through it quickly, and add all to the thermos for a long afternoon’s work or meeting or drive.
Another one I love so much that I have one beeng at work, one at the new satellite office, and gave one to a good tea buddy who also loves it, and now I need to bring another chunk home because I have run out here, and that is not a good thing!
This is fairly pricey like most Korean teas, apparently due to rarity with most being consumed inside Korea.
The leaves are dark, small, twisted, with toasty and fruity odors. When added to the prewarmed gaiwan, 2.5 g per 75mL/2.5 oz water, the odor is stronger, mostly fruity and tart.
The first 30 second infusion with water several minutes off the boil (probably about 180 degrees) yields an amber infusion, tasted like dilute black tea—touch of fruit, bit of toasty, but very little of the floral and earthy notes I expect from my chinese oolongs.
2nd infusion at 170 degrees (thought it was a bit warmer, surprised when it was so cool in the cup), also abotu 30 seconds, again tastes strongly of….well…black tea. A little fruity, very tea-like, a little hint of caramel.
For the 4th infusion, I put water just off the boil for 20 seconds, and a little more sweetness comes out. It reminds me a bit of the Yunnan Oriental Beauty I got from Yunnan Sourcing: tastes strongly oxidized, like a black tea, but without any of the bitterness that makes most of them intolerable to me.
The leaves are broken, curled, dark after infusion, and again, has a strong tea scent. (‘Tea scent’ here is code for smells like lipton, but that seems like a bad word to use describing a pleasant mild tea.)
It is easy and pleasant, but not that special for the price.
Same review on my web site, with photos (no ads):
This is a sweet, vegetal sencha I’m drinking to start the day. Alternating it with the Sencha Shin-ryoku, it might have a bit more umami, but really hard to be sure. They’re very similar, and I prefer both to the Fukamushi sencha maki I bought previously from Den’s.
I’m still pretty new to the Japanese greens, first tried them just six months ago, so have only had half a dozen different senchas, mostly small samples, to compare this to.
I spent a couple of months alternating this and the Sencha Select from the Cultured cup as my daily first of the morning brew. It was very nice, but I prefer the brighter taste of the less-steamed tea to the stronger umami of this one. So with my next order, I went back to Dens regular senchas, and have been happier with them.
I was finishing off some Den’s Fukamushi-Sencha Maki at the time that I opened a sample of this one, and I was so impressed by the bright sweetness in contrast to the more umami taste of the fukamushi that I ordered more, along with the Sencha Zuiko. So far, I can’t tell much difference between the two, except perhaps a little more umami in the Zuiko. When I do think I can tell a difference, I actually prefer the Shin-ryoku. It’s a nice morning cup of tea.
And yes, it is temperature sensitive. I do my first infusions at 160 F 30" and may let a 2nd or 3rd get as hot as 170 for a shorter time, but no hotter. I’m a bitter-wimp.
I am writing a note based on the assumption per other’s description that this is the Silver Needle Yellow Tea from Hunan, which I bought from Wing Hop Fung recently. I had bought something labelled ‘yellow tea’ a year or more before, loved it, but wasn’t sure where I’d bought it or which tea it was when I ran out and wanted to replace it. This tea appeared dark olive, not as downy as the silver needle I get from Chado.
But the Hunan Silver Needle Yellow Tea was not what I was looking for: not as sweet, more astringent, and even bitter. i have been unable to find a sweet spot to brew this tea, and I have gone all the way down to 160 degrees like for a very delicate white tea without a satisfying result. So….am I describing the same tea as the others here, or a different one?
I ended up giving the tea away to someone else who will hopefully find a sweet spot for brewing it better than I did!
Their web site describes it as a ‘semi-oxidized, earthy brew’. I found the dry tea leaves to be fairly dark, and very tightly rolled. I took just a small amount—enough to cover the bottom of the small 2.5oz/75mL gaiwan—for my first brewing, and after a couple of infusions the leaves nearly fill the gaiwan.
The first impression was rich, thick liquor, sweet and floral and rich, but when several combined infusions sat for a while in my 10 oz cup, the sweetness was much less pronounced, and a deeper, earthier flavor appeared.
I am used to some flavor changes as teas sit: I typically brew up a quart of my teas at a time, and drink that from a thermos over several hours during my workday. But I’ve not noticed such a rapid and profound change in any of my lightly oxidized Ali Shan and Tie Guan Yin Oolongs before.
I guess that’s why its described as “earthy” rather than predominantly sweet. Very interesting tea.
This is a mellow, sweet, gentle young puerh. It is perfect for introducing new tea drinkers to puerh, because it is not only mellow and a little earthy, but the sweetness draws them in. I keep a pouch of this one at home, at work, and at the satellite office.
An amazing, rich, sweet, floral oolong tea. I have steeped this one about 12 times, when using a small amount of the tightly rolled leaves to cover the bottom of a yixing pot or gaiwan, which unfurl gradually to nearly fill the pot by the end of the session.
Infusions from 30 seconds to 3 minutes by that 10th or 12th.
Probably my favorite tea since I first tried it. It stays sweet and rich longer than the lovely AliShan oolongs also carried by norbu. After trying both of these teas, I immediately bought many more little pouches of it, and squirreled them away for holiday gifts. Now that I’m running out of what I reserved for me, I’m hoarding it a bit. It’s that good.
Finally opened this tea up, which I ordered as part of my first order from Den’s Tea. I was shy of bitterness in green teas, hadn’t yet figured out how to steep them, so ordered a little of this, a little of a gyokuro, and a green tea sampler. I figured out how to enjoy the senchas and the gyokuro, and now am drinking one of them nearly every morning, and then this tea got left in the back of the cupboard. But tonight I opened it up, am enjoying the toastiness, and am going to send a thank you to the tea-friend who suggested it as an entry to Japanese tea. It is a little more one-note than my favorite darker oolongs, with the toasted note over a mild herbaceousness, but still entirely pleasant, easy, mellow. I will doubtless pick up a little of this from time to time.