Ichiban Sencha

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Green Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by SimpliciTEA
Average preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 15 sec 32 oz / 946 ml

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13 Tasting Notes View all

From Harney & Sons

This is the first production of the year, so it is called Ichiban. The Otsuka Family is famous for their deep-steamed Senchas, these have more broken leaves than other Senchas. The deep steaming makes for a quick brewing and flavorful tea.

The first production always has the elevated amounts of the antioxidant EGCG and amino acids that give the tea, a nice light sweetness, wonderful vegetal notes and good body. Since it is a Fukamushi (deep-steamed) sencha, please brew it for a short period – 1-2 minutes in 160 degree water.

About Harney & Sons View company

Since 1983 Harney & Sons has been the source for fine teas. We travel the globe to find the best teas and accept only the exceptional. We put our years of experience to work to bring you the best Single-Estate teas, and blends beyond compare.

13 Tasting Notes

1183 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 15 for 2014. BTW, Steepster undid my likes, too, today. I think it was because I was doing them on my phone? Who knows. In any case, if I missed your note it wasn’t intentional.

Back to the original time and temp for steeping and it makes such a difference. That bitter edge I found last time? Gone! The hint of butter to the mild, green vegetal taste? Back in force!

Lovely. I shall miss it. Now I must try to go focus on writing as I have an exercise due tonight. Alas, I fear my cats need vacuuming.


i do have the same problem if i like on my iphone. i thought its only me


Let’s hope the app gets here soon.

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2816 tasting notes

This was a sample I purchased from Harney and Sons with my last order. No, I do not need any more green tea but I couldn’t resist a few samples anyway!

I tend to like fukamushi senchas. I find overall they seem to be less astringent and bitter due to the steaming. I did infuse this at work today via regular infuser mug method. One problem is I don’t have a thermometer here at work and brewing Japanese greens can be a bit tricky. Also not sure of the age/freshness of this one – but since I was just buying a sample pack and not a tin I didn’t care that much.

I did find this to be a very flavorful tea. Steeps up to be a beautiful greenish gold color with those “tiny little bubbles” I like a lot in Japanese tea. The flavor is very umami. I am getting some nice vegetal/grassy notes along with some sweetness, a bit of nuttiness and finally a light palate cleansing astringency in the finish.

I probably won’t be buying a tin of this anytime soon, I already have more green tea than I can probably drink before it all goes stale. I did find this to be quite tasty, however.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Tiny bubbles and Sencha…….I know I’m in for a treat when that happens. :))

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59 tasting notes

Had this one again today in a larger quantity (a few cups rather than one small one), and decided that some aspects of the taste remind me of gyokuro! Certainly not a bad thing.

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171 tasting notes

OK, almost 40 mins for that last one, lets try again! … Well, then again, it turns out that this was not a good one to try to rush through!

Backlogging, and based almost entirely on my notes

Experience buying from Harney and Sons http://steepster.com/places/2779-harney-and-sons-online-millerton-new-york

Age of leaf: Lot # 11203: puts ”production” at end of June of 2011 (although according to their website, all their Japanese tea is from previous years harvest). I brewed it about three weeks after receiving it.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: They say enough for 3-4 cups, but, although I don’t know how to measure this tea, as it is incredibly dense (lots of small, chopped bits), for many reasons I believe this was enough for a full pot of 6-7 cups (at least by my standards), so I believe this was at least a half an ounce, if not more. Very small cut pieces (as advertised), color and smell similar to Harney and Son’s Gyokuro, but not as dark, and not as sweet smelling.

Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot, with metal infuser/plunger; stevia added.
Please see my profile if you are interested in my reasons why I steep the way I do
……….1st: 155; 1.5’…. Very strong grassy flavor (mostly like spinach).
……….2nd: 160; 1’…….More cloudy, more astringent, and not as sweet, but still lots of flavor.
……….3rd: 147; 45"…..Sweeter, and best taste yet!
……….4th: 152; 2.5’….Very dark and cloudy, good flavor.
……….5th: 162; ???’…Not as cloudy, and still flavor!

Color and aroma of tea liquor: bright lime green color (similar to Gyokuro); like any other quality Japanese tea, some of the smallest bits make it through the holes in my Bodum press to henceforth sit on the bottom of my pot (I guess they don’t like being held captive?). The nerve!

Flavor of tea liquor: I enjoyed it, but my wife did not like it’s spinach-like flavor. (Note: it became sweeter and more astringent when cooled).

Appearance of wet leaf: Like just about every quality Japanese tea I have had so far, it looked a lot like cut grass (I have cleaned many lawnmower and this looks a lot like the grass clippings! Upon second inspection, it is a lighter green color than the cut grass I remember). There are a few large pieces of stems mixed in with the “clippings.”

Value: For a sample, great, considering what I got for $2 (it is roughly $10/oz otherwise).

Overall: Per my notes, this was an adventure in brewing and tasting (probably the most fun time steeping a green tea I have ever had)! This tea stood up amazingly well to different times and temperatures all the while maintaining flavor throughout (with little astringency); having more experience with Japanese greens since then, this is very surprising, as my understanding is that you are lucky to get three good steepings out of one. I noted that I felt unusually calm and centered on the day I drank this (Because of lots of theanine? Who knows …). I even ate some of these leaves, and although I am not a fan of cooked spinach, I liked it! The more I read over my notes, and think back on my experience with this tea, the more I think I will have to revisit this tea sometime in the near future! Thank you Harney and Sons, Japan and the green tea industry over there for allowing me to experience this tea!

155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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121 tasting notes

This vegetal and grassy (almost brothy) brew has deep green leaves and bright green-yellow liquor.

The aroma is pleasant, lightly sweet and grassy with hints of avacado smoothness and just a touch of artichoke.

If you like Japanese green teas, you’ll LOVE this brew!

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3 tasting notes

The broth from this tea is somehow a little cloudy. The taste is the same as other sencha I’ve had. Other than the cloudy tea broth, this is a good tea with good flavor. Not sure about calling it ichiban though.

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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161 tasting notes

We love this tea over here at the shop. With just 2 teaspoons of this pricey sencha we made 3 pots in a Kyusu for 4 people, as well as 2 carafes of iced tea! Who says you can’t make tea last!

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42 tasting notes

It’s bright and grassy.

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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13 tasting notes

Sooo creamy and vegetal. 4 rinses in…a bit strong. _

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