Out of curiosity, this was the only tea I requested as a sample in my recent order (Thes du Japon generously throwing in 3 more!). This tea was a real surprise!
I have enjoyed Chinese green teas before, but for the most part, I prefer the effect steaming has on green teas, as opposed to pan-frying (typical Chinese method to prevent further oxidation). But, I had to try this tea, because it is so unique for a Japanese green, and must be more similar to the original teas that came over to Japan from China.
The opened (sample) pack smelled like chocolate, maybe like chocolate raspberries, and slightly earthy. The dry leaves were very similar in shape to Mellow Monk’s ‘Top Leaf’ or Den’s Tea’s ‘Guricha’ … but once they had been steeped several times, they opened up to be huge. You would never have guessed.
I was expecting the tea to be interesting, but not so delicious! The aroma is probably one of the best parts, faintly like stir-fryed snap peas, but as the description says, exactly like smell of roasting chestnuts. I knew that is a nice smell and all, but I never expected it to be so irresistible!
Finally, the flavor wasn’t (as I had been predicting) completely unlike regular sencha. No, this is definitely still a (unique) sencha. I was expecting a very Chinese-like, pan-fried, green tea. Instead, I got a nice union of the two – warming and tasty chestnuts, followed by a faint, but deliciously sweet bitterness.
I might have rated this higher, but it didn’t keep such a strong flavor or aroma for more than 2 infusions. The 3rd and 4th were still good, but didn’t have the same punch. However, I am definitely interested in trying more!