3 Tasting Notes
O-Cha’s Kabusecha is my favorite Kabusecha. Its taste is between a sencha and gyokuro, but leans more towards a gyokuro. After drinking it for a few years now, I find that it is a great way to switch-up my green tea routine. Japanese green teas hold a special place in my heart because of their “ocean taste” that I absolutely love. I find it amazing that a green tea can so vividly remind me of the ocean; O-Cha’s Kabusecha is no exception.
Dry Leaf: Beautiful emerald green needles that are fairly unbroken. The smell is full of briny sea tones that include fish (in a good way), shellfish, and seaweed. Also, there is a tinge of dry hay.
Ratio: 0.6g/1oz. water; 175 degrees F
1st: (1 min.) Neon yellow, clear infusion. The smell of the wet leaves is full of briny sea tones like the dry leaf smell (fish, shellfish, and seaweed). These same sea tones thankfully come through, in a big way, in the taste. A pronounced veggie sweetness is present throughout. The mouthfeel is wonderfully thick and miso soup-like. The astringency is low / non-existent. The taste leans towards gyokuro, but does have some aspects of sencha.
2nd: (30s) Wet leaves smell of veggie sweetness mixed with slightly less pronounced sea tones (same as above). Liquor is more green / yellow and cloudy. The taste has a more pronounced dry hay aspect, with less pronounced veggie sweetness and sea tones. Now, this tea is leaning more towards an asamushi sencha. The mouthfeel is not as thick and a slight, but nice astringency is present.
3rd: Wet leaves still smell of sweet veggies. I think it is great how persistent the smell is throughout the infusions. The liquor is still green / yellow and cloudy. The taste is beginning to wane with less tones of sea and dry hay. However, there is still some nuances of gyokuro sweetness. This infusion is much like the second but with a more subdued flavor profile.
Overall, I am incredibly fond of Japanese green teas that are full of sea tones. This Kabusecha is wonderful and a great way to break my tea routine of Japanese senchas and gyokuros. I recommend it highly!!
The dry leaves smell reminiscent of a young pu-erh with woody / mulchy tones mixed with cocoa, autumn foliage, and a hint of spice.
Brewed with a porcelain gaiwan (2.0g / 3.5 oz. water)
Rinse: Leaves smell strongly of cocoa, wet autumn foliage, and finishes with tones of dried fruits (dates maybe) and roasted flavors.
1st (4 min. as package states): Leaves smell of pungent, wet autumn foliage with cocoa tones underneath. This gives way to a caramel sweet smell mixed with dried fruits (dates). Liquor is brown with tinge of gold. Thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Cocoa and woody/mulchy flavors are present. Slight bitterness might be due to brewing, but it is not overbearing.
2nd (shorter, 3.5 min. due to bitterness): Leaves smell more like wet wood or mulch. Caramel tones are also pronounced with the dried fruit smell gone. Liquor is golden brown with a red tinge. The flavor has less cocoa tones and more pronounced caramel flavors accented by wet autumn foliage and wood. The mouthfeel is still syrupy.
3rd (3.5 min.): Leaves smell more one dimensional of wet autumn foliage. The taste is more one dimensional also and consists of wet autumn leaves with a touch of caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel is still surprisingly syrupy.
4th (4 min.): Taste profile is basically the same as the 3rd. However, the overall intensity is weakening and the mouthfeel is becoming thinner.
Overall, I did enjoy this tea. What surprised me the most is the persistency of the flavor and mouthfeel. This tea is balanced, has a fair bit of dimensions, and could be steeped 5-6 times. Rishi Tea’s Bai Hao Oolong would be a great starting point for anyone who wants to delve into the world of Oolong!
I preface this by saying that I am relatively new to the world of oolong and more versed in Japanese green teas. Ironically, this 2011 Da Yu Ling oolong is my first entry. Overall, I was not too happy with my brewing parameters. The flavor profile did not develop and stayed elusively subtle throughout five steepings. I will try again with more leaf and/or longer steeping times.
Parameters: 4.0g in 3.0oz. water; brewed gongfu style in a porcelain gaiwan.
Rinse: Wet leaves smell of caramel, honey, raisins, dried apricots, with light tones of citrus, gardenia / lilac, and roasted nuts. Liquor is yellow with a green tinge. Flavor is elusively faint with a minute touch of honey, florally sweetness.
1st (1.0 minute): Wet leaves smell of gardenia and lilac, followed by dried apricots, raisins, and toasted almonds. Liquor is golden. Flavor is faint but slightly more present. There is a caramel and honey sweetness, faint floral tones of gardenia or lilac, no bitterness or astringency present. Flavor profile is still hiding.
2nd (1.0 minute): Wet leaves smell of tasted nuts, bread, and lightly of dried apricots and raisins. Liquor is a darker golden color. Flavor is lightly floral with a honey sweetness and hint of toasted nuts near the end. This was the most flavorful steeping, but, again, I will adjust these brewing parameters.
3rd (1.5 minutes): Wet leaves smell of wet veggie matter (maybe autumn leaves?), toasted almonds, and lightly of apricots and raisins. Liquor is golden brown. Flavor consists of a light honey sweetness with a touch of faint floral and toasted tones.
4th (2.0 minutes): Wet leaves smell of toasted bread and very lightly of dried apricots and citrus. Liquor is golden brown. Flavor consists of a light caramel sweetness and toasty / roasty tones.
5th (2.5 minutes): Wet leaves smell of wet autumn leaves. Citrus, toasty, and dried apricot tones are gone. Liquor is golden brown. Flavor has faded away to a tinge of honey sweetness.
Overall, my brewing parameters need adjusting. The water temperature and volume were good, but more leaf is needed. When this is changed, I believe this tea will present itself with a balanced flavor profile consisting of honey sweetness, light floral tones, and citrus accents.