I received my sampler from Obubu Tea and what a beautiful sampler it is. The packaging is artistically done, and all text is in Japanese, so if you may have to do a bit of detective work matching the inscriptions to translations provided on the guide provided. It is filled with different versions of Sencha, Genmaicha, and several different roasts of Houjicha. All great temptations, but I chose to start by brewing up this Bancha and am very happy I did!
Time to load up the sample into my kyusu, and take a few deep breaths of the lovely aroma of the dry leaves and stems. A bit like alfalfa hay, and a real sweetness that is hard to explain, but nice to experience.
1st steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F
2nd steep: 15 seconds at about 190 degrees F
3rd steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F
Now this is real aracha (http://www.obubutea.com/tea-info/aracha/), in the best way possible. It is nicely refreshing in being both mildly sweet and mildly savory. I found myself chewing on a couple of the twigs/stems just to verify this is where that fascinating sweet flavor is coming from. This may not have the refined complexities of the higher grade teas, but for me it is a really pleasant connection to the tea plantation, and I look forward to the other samples to follow!