34 Tasting Notes
This is my first time having the Genmaicha. After having many Japanese teas, I finally decided to give it a try. The story of how it started reminds me a lot of the legend of the Lapsang Souchong and its origins (they both were never intended to become the worldwide success they are). This is a mild tea with a light body, lingering little on the palate. It’s light enough that the lingering is very hard to tell and dissipates quickly (as it spreads across the palate). The sencha is concealed by the toasted rice; however, not to the point that it’s gone. You miss out on some of the less popular subtleties of the fine Sencha—e.g., briskness—and are able to enjoy a little extra something alongside the roasted rice. At first sip, I thought it was like a toasted piece of thinly sliced whole grain toast. After further savoring, it’s easily distinguishable from that. The Sencha provides a “green” flavor to it, giving you a simple, flat vegetal flavor to round out with the starch. I recommend this tea. It’s a good afternoon snack for sure!
Video clip (31 sec): http://qik.com/video/3537887
As I said in the video, this bright first flush Darjeeling provides a bright and slightly unsettling Muscatel edge. However, accompanied with the woody, wet stone aroma, the appeal is great. Complete with all that you would expect, this tea gives a fantastic presentation of sharp edges and deep, subtle roundness, all at once. Notes of light apricot also come forward from the background of the Darjeeling tea as you savor this blend.
This Japanese green tea is pleasantly grassy with creamy, medium weight body that lightly lingers on the top of the palate (cf. umami). Alongside this briny grass-like flavor comes a nuttiness resembling almonds. Adding more complexity to this cup, there is light cut on the back end that is reminiscent of a mellowed, bitter orange citrus (similar to the peel, but not as harsh). Complex in flavor, but simple in it’s description, this tea provides a very good warm cup on a cold day that can help intensify the mind’s introspection and, like any tea, the calmness to approach what you discover (paraphrased from Jason Witt).
This Assam is a CTC BOP second flush and it is very suddenly apparent when you see, smell, and taste this tea. To start off, it has a deep brown, chocolate liquor (similar to coffee). It has a robust malty aroma that is unilateral in that it is strongly simple and flat. When you drink this tea, you really don’t taste much. There is a certain briskness to it (2.5 of 5) that is apparent on the sides of the palate; however the strength of the tea overshadows the briskness that would accompany the rear of the palate (and quite possibly mellows out the bit as well). The Numalighur is very full bodied and provides a powerfully clean finish. In addition to this, lingering on this tea is intense to the point that it feels like it coats the tongue. TeaGschwendner is right when they say that this tea handles cream and sugar well (for the purpose of tasting, I did not use any additives). My consensus, this tea makes a great post-meal tea if you’re in the need for pick me up. Keep in mind that it is strong.
This tea will leave your taste buds shot. Not in a bad way; however, this should be the last tea one should try if you’re going through more than one.
This tea is great! Off the nose, I am getting a muscatel & vegetal aroma with a hint of cherry. It’s a full bodied green tea that lingers little and offers a very light briskness (0.75 out of 5, really that mild). You get a light buttery sweetness on the tongue alongside and a milder vegetal than you would get with a Sencha (the Shincha is the first month’s/Spring harvest of Sencha). I definitely recommend this tea. Not horribly complex, but a lovely tea!
(Caution: brew at 60°C/140°F)
This mild black tea gives off a bicuity aroma with a definite astringency. On the palate it is very lingering as it dries the mouth. Moving towards the rear of palate it provides a strong citrus bite (in line with the astringent aroma). Highly brisk, this tea is a great wake up tea. The pucker it gives you alongside the clean finish (yet mild body) work wonderfully along the higher caffeine levels. Not my favorite black by far, but I can definitely appreciate it for a post egg, bacon, and sausage breakfast tea.
This Vietnamese tea reminds me very little of an Assam in the aroma. Although it has that “biscuity” steam that billows from the cup, it is very light on the nose. Starting off, you get a strong and stout smokiness off the palate. You get a slight grape lingering that is overshadowed by the sharp bite you get off the back end. Full bodied, this tea lingers in the mouth while providing a clean finish. In this way, it is very similar to an Assam. I would recommend this as an occasional deviation from normal breakfast teas. Also, it can work well in the afternoon as a solid pick-me-up.
This tea is a calm Japanese green. Getting a light vegetal aroma (spinach-like). Very subtle, alongside a lightly citrus background (between a under-ripe peach and an clementine). The taste is equally as light. Chartreuse in color. Not as creamy as some other Japanese greens I have partaken in, the Gyokuro’s body has some lingering astringency that dries the mouth as it coats the mouth (unami); however, there is little if any briskness (pucker). Overall, this tea is pleasing with a mellow flavor and medium body (fuller than what you encounter with most greens).
(Caution: brew at 60°C)