Not quite as high on my list of favourites as the Quangzhou Milk Oolong or Gyokuro Yamashiro, but definitely a close competitor!
I finally splurged on a tin of this after getting a $100 gift card for Christmas. In the same trip I also picked up an adorable glass gongfu tea pot. So I’ll give a quick recap of both my steeper-and-mug tasting and my gongfu session (as I finish off my last couple gongfu steeps)
First, my steeper-and-mug. I used the lowest setting on my new Breville Variable Temperature Kettle (not the tea maker, just the kettle). 175F. Because it’s such a delicate tea, and I wanted to do a decent steep (3m30sec) I didn’t want to go the next step up to 185F. It was a good call because I ended up over steeping a bit (almost 5 minutes), but it didn’t go off because of it. The beautiful vegetal notes came through first, followed by a slight butteriness, and finally finishing with a sweet alfalfa taste. I felt like I was sitting in Java’s stall, sharing it with him, inhaling his soft alfalfa-laced breath. It was a very comforting cup of tea!
Now, tonight, after a really negative dinner with my parents and sister, I shut myself in my room and pulled my sencha ashikubo off my shelf and sat down to do some gonfu steeps. I used a heaping Perfect Spoonful, and the second setting on my kettle (185F).
First steep: 30sec. bold vegetal qualities, like steamed asparagus? overwhelmingly vegetal, couldn’t pick up on the sweet butteriness I loved about my mug.
Second: 45 sec. Alfalfa and butter lettuce. Grassy, slightly less “steamed vegetables”. Sweet, like Java’s breath after he eats a handful of alfalfa pellets. Comforting!
Third: 1m20sec. PEAS! I actually had a bit of a flail over this one, it was just like eating buttery sweet peas at family dinners! This is possibly the best flavour profile I’ve gotten from this tea!
Fourth: Final steep. 3min. I had to run and pee, so it went a bit longer than originally intended, oops! Peas, but with a slight bitterness (without being astringent/drying), kind of like eating peas straight from the pod after they were on the plant for a little too long. You know, when they’re over ripe, kind of hard, and not as sweet as they were at peak ripeness? Still enjoyable though!
This is definitely the nicest sencha I’ve had. I generally prefer gyokuro or korean seyjak when I want a straight green, but this may be my go-to green for a while, at least until DT restocks the Gyokuro Yamashiro!