Obubu seems to have a fairly unique approach when it comes to the green tea market. There are other tea farmers (like Hibiki-an) that sell directly to consumers, but Obubu sells all of its tea as aracha, which is unsorted tea. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but my understanding is that most of the green teas on the market have been sifted by machines by their size, and then once sifted, expertly blended with several other lots to come up with one unique, but consistent product (ie, if you know how to blend teas to achieve a desired taste, you can have the product taste the same every year no matter how good or poor the harvest is that year or other factors that come in to play).
Obubu, on the other hand, seems to distinguish their different products by where in the fields they grow them, and by which harvest (and method of growing, of course). I would guess that this can lead to a lot of variation in the product from year to year. The better the harvest, the better all of their products will be, and vice-versa.
I’m no expert, so that is just a guess.
Along those same lines, this is a cool, pretty unique tea. This is a 2nd harvest sencha, yet, it is covered for the last 2 weeks like a 1st harvest kabuse or gyokuro would be. If they didn’t cover it, I’m sure the flavor profile would be the nearly indistinguishable from their Sencha of the Summer Sun.
I did the first brewing with 40 degree water (5oz for the whole 5g sample) for 14 minutes. It tasted like a non-sweet gyokuro; lots of marine aroma and flavor, a little grassyness, maybe some hints of sweet.
The next steep was with boiling water for just 25 seconds. The wet leaf smelled a little peppery, and then was full of fruity notes just like a green oolong. I really liked that, and hoped that the cup would contain some of those oolong-like fruit flavors, as it would have been very unique.
The tea itself wasn’t bitter at all, nor astringent. None of the marine or nori flavors from the last brew were left. Instead, for some reason I tasted chocolate oranges. I’m not sure if the chocolate flavor was really there, but the orange flavor certainly was. This flavor wasn’t sour like citrus; but, again, like the orange flavor you get when you have a piece of orange-flavored chocolate. The body of the flavor didn’t taste like the fruity oolong the leaf smelled like. Other than the orange note, it was slightly sweet and grassy, but not a lot of depth.
I wonder if aracha is the reason I’ve felt like none of Obubu’s teas have had a lot of depth. There have been good/interesting flavors, and I have certainly liked a few of the teas, but many of them have seemed good at the beginning of the sip, only to give out towards the end and not leave any kind of aftertaste or aroma in the mouth.