Sencha Zuiko

Tea type
Green Tea
Ingredients
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Flavors
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Caffeine
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec 6 oz / 177 ml

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9 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This is a remarkable Sencha - very full-flavored ... brothy! Very smooth and vegetative. Grassy ... like a savory grassy flavor with hints of sweet. Not a bitter savory, although there are some...” Read full tasting note
    89
    LiberTEAS 4322 tasting notes
  • “I wanted to experiment, and brew this the way a Chinese tea is done in a gaiwan, so instead of the traditional 140 or 160 for 1-2 minutes, I did near-boiling water for 15 seconds. It came out only...” Read full tasting note
    95
    Shinobi_cha 280 tasting notes
  • “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...” Read full tasting note
    75
    teaddict 311 tasting notes
  • “There is just the slightest tinge of bitterness to this tea. I suspect that I over-steeped it by a few seconds. Nonetheless it is still quite nice. It smells buttery and vegetal with just the...” Read full tasting note
    89
    Carolyn 223 tasting notes

From Den's Tea

A top-tier Sencha grown at a high elevation. All Zuiko comes from a single tea garden where it is grown under the most meticulous and pampered conditions.

Origin: Honyama, Shizuoka
Harvest: First Flush 2009
Species: Yabukita

Tasting Profile:
This is a strong, thick full-bodied cup with an intense flavor of fresh green vegetables.

Den’s Preferred Brewing:
Water: 2oz @ 160F
Leaves: 2 grams or 1 rounded teaspoon
Steep: 90 sec
2nd Cup: Water @ 180F; Steep 30 sec

About Den's Tea View company

Company description not available.

9 Tasting Notes

89
4322 tasting notes

This is a remarkable Sencha – very full-flavored … brothy! Very smooth and vegetative. Grassy … like a savory grassy flavor with hints of sweet. Not a bitter savory, although there are some bitter notes in there, but it is more of a well-rounded savory kind of experience for the palate. Very nice.

ScottTeaMan

I really enjoy Senchas with that brothy character…….sounds delicious! :))

Stephanie

“Brothy”—yes that’s it exactly! Perfect description. :)

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95
280 tasting notes

I wanted to experiment, and brew this the way a Chinese tea is done in a gaiwan, so instead of the traditional 140 or 160 for 1-2 minutes, I did near-boiling water for 15 seconds.

It came out only sweet, delicious, and just what I would expect from a high quality sencha! I re-steeped it the same, again, just for 15 seconds each time. 4 good steepings all came out, and very little to no bitterness; it really surprised me and I’m going to use this method more often as it seems easier not to do (much less to measure or mess up when I don’t have to check the temperature and I can simply count, rather than using a timer!).

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Cofftea

LOL I do the opposite- steep Chinese sencha’s the Japanese way:)

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75
311 tasting notes

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.

Shinobi_cha

Now you’ve had a ‘lot’ more experience with Japanese greens, have you tried it again to see what you think?

Interestingly, the first time I had this, I enjoyed it enough to buy more, but it wasn’t until I had been drinking it for a while, and then tried a few other senchas, that I really appreciated it.

Any senchas (other than from Den’s Tea) that you recommend?

(I’m new to Japanese greens as of just one year ago now, all because of Den’s Tea $3 sampler!)

teaddict

Haven’t tried it again yet. I have tried enough other senchas to be clear that I have a strong preference for teas with less umami, so the sweetness shines through more, but this year I ordered some teas straight from a couple of different suppliers, and haven’t drunk through them yet. I probably will be ordering from Dens again within a few months, but not sure what I’ll order.

So many lovely teas to explore, and so little time! For sencha particularly, I really love it as my morning tea, but I rarely have the time to give it the proper attention later in the day—and sencha is touchy enough that I definitely have to give it time. So I go through my senchas slowly.

From last year’s harvests, I particularly enjoyed Sayamakaori and Honyama senchas from Yuuki Cha, and another Honyama from Norbu (the ‘Zairai’ varietal).

….just checked Den’s pages again, and guess what? The Shin-ryoku is from Honyama. I think there is a pattern developing here!

Shinobi_cha

That makes sense about the sweetness; I’m pretty sure the Zuiko is more umami than sweet. This last fall, Den’s came out with a ‘Kuradashi’ (aged) sencha; it was the same tea as the Shin-ryoku or Zuiko, but aged 6 months. That was somewhat sweeter and very citrusy, compared to the regular Zuiko — my favorite sencha this year so far.

Yes, I think the Zuiko and Shin-ryoku are from the same exact tea garden. I don’t know what the processing difference is to make the former more expensive than the latter though.
Interesting; I’ve noticed a few from Yuuki Cha and I may check them out someday. Once I’ve drunk through what I have in my cupboard (which is full right now), I want to try Hojo Tea and O-cha. Hojo has a Zairai sencha also from Honyama I believe. I read (I think on Hojo’s website) that Honyama is one of the oldest high-quality tea growing regions.

teaddict

When I next order from Den’s, I’ll probably stick to the Shin-ryoku, because the Zuiko was more strongly vegetal, with higher umami, which is not what I prefer. The only clear productions differences in the listings is a note that the Zuiko comes from a single garden, and is ‘scissor picked’ rather than machine harvested or hand picked.

Shinobi_cha

I’ve sampled the Shin-ryoku before, but I need to get try it again; the fact that you say it is sweeter or whatever makes me think I would like it. Perhaps the Kuradashi is actually their Shin-ryoku, and that explains why I liked it more than the Zuiko. I email and ask them what the difference is between the two, since I know it is the same family that produces both.

teaddict

How do you know it is the same family that produces both?

Just curious, because I don’t see that level of detail in the descriptions.

BTW, what I am referring to as ‘sweeter’ here should be translated to, more apparent sweetness due to lighter flavor with less umami to obscure the honey-sweet flavors.

Shinobi_cha

Den wrote this article on the 2009 shincha harvest, long before I had ever heard of their company. However, they re-printed it last April or May again, because a lot of the information was still relevant. I found it to be fascinating! And it explains a lot about their farm where Zuiko and Shin-ryoku come from: http://www.denstea.com/index.php?main_page=shincha_report

Thanks for clarifying about sweeter; that makes sense!

Shinobi_cha

With regards to the link, the article is long, so scroll down to ‘Nakamura Tea Farm’ for the relevant info.

teaddict

Thanks for the excellent link. Now more eager for their kunpu shincha…

Shinobi_cha

No problem! Yeah, I want to try it as well as the “108th night shincha”

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89
223 tasting notes

There is just the slightest tinge of bitterness to this tea. I suspect that I over-steeped it by a few seconds. Nonetheless it is still quite nice. It smells buttery and vegetal with just the slightest hint of flowers. My beloved says that it smells like a meadow and I can sense that as well. The taste is warm and calming with the same buttered vegetal promised by the fragrance.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

Green vegetables? Yum!

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77
102 tasting notes

Vegetal. Mild. Out of all the Den’s senchas I’ve tried, this one is the closest to being bitter. When I brewed it the suggested way, it was both weak and a tad bitter. So I experimented with brew temps and times, and found I got the best flavor when I brewed it for 2 min. 15 sec. at 150 F. When I brewed it this way, it was not bitter, and the grassy flavor stood out. The liquor is pale green in color. It’s a better quality sencha than many I’ve tried; however, it does not have the umami and depth of savory flavors I get from some other senchas, such as Den’s Fukamushi Sencha Yame.

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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88
6770 tasting notes

Semi sweet and semi vegetal – it’s a tad sooth – and quite memorable! I like this!

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99
27 tasting notes

Just got some of this since it’s on sale. First brew, used about 3oz water to 2.4g tea, for 90 seconds at 150F. The color is light yellow and very clean, almost no “dust”. The taste is…similar to a Chinese tea, like a good Dragonwell. There is just the right amount of bitterness and plenty of umami. Not as vegetal as some…this is a little more on the floral side. Overall, a very good tea, but a little expensive at it’s regular price.

Oh and as always, the extras Den puts in the order make it just that much better. Got a free sample of Mugicha (barley tea) that I’ve always wanted to try.

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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123 tasting notes

Alas, I am beginning to think my taste in green tea is woefully plebeian.

This was in my novice sampler from Den’s. I was pleased to find a strong almond scent in the leaves from the 1st steep, but it was not present in aroma of liquid. First sips revealed no sweetness at all. It was bitter, even sour. And very grassy, not in a good way. I suspect I am not cooling the water sufficiently before steeping.

So I did the 2nd steep with water I had poured back and forth about 8 times in an attempt to cool it to a much lower temperature, and steeped it about 90 sec. This time I got the sweet almond scent both from the leaves and from the aroma of the tea. Before tasting, I let it cool almost to lukewarm. Results: still bitter, the flavor more floral than green.

I have about one more trial of dry leaves on this one, so no numerical rating yet.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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