drank Ichiban Sencha by Harney & Sons
1280 tasting notes

Still suffering from some cough thing that is now, fortunately, fairly intermittent rather than pretty much all the time. My body feels like it’s been through a war. I need to exercise, but haven’t gotten back in the saddle yet.

So, the second to last of the samples in the Harney & Sons green tea sampler. Really the last, I guess, as the fourth is a yellow tea. Kind of excited about that one as I haven’t had a yellow tea before.

But first, this one. OMG. What an amazing smell in the sample tin. I’ve smelled butter in green tea before, but this is beyond butter. It’s like that melted butter they bring for you to dip crab or lobster in. And a vegetal smell, too, which is what the butter is drenching. There’s a really interesting additional note that smells a little like a baking spice to me. A weird sort of very vague ginger or allspice sort of smell. Hmm.

The leaves are incredibly fine. They remind me of those iron shavings that they used to put behind plastic on a card when I was a kid, and you were supposed to take a magnet and draw on the plastic, which would distribute them over a picture on the card and enable you to make a beard on a face or something of that nature. It occurred to me that it could feel really nice to jump naked into a swimming pool filled with these leaves (and no water). No idea where that thought came from.

The aroma is still a bit buttery, though much more dilute, and there’s a plantiness to the aroma that is a bit like water chestnuts. The liquor is pale green.

It has a sweet, green taste that’s a little surprising in its lack of overly vegetal flavor given the smell of the dry leaves. Mild, smooth, no bitterness. Some butter, a little nuttiness.

It’s been a few days since I had the Kagoshima Sencha which I quite liked, and I like this one at least as well, though I thought it had… hmmm… dare I say more flavor? Or at least stronger flavor. It may also be that given the fine-ness of the leaves I should use a bit more tea than I did? Because I’m getting a really peaceful, sleepy tea here. Which is fine, though given the price differential I’m not sure I’d choose this over the Kagoshima.

It could also be that my palate hasn’t yet fully awakened to the nuances of green teas, and that months from now I’ll look back on this and wonder how I could have come to this conclusion.

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Glad that you’re on the road to recovery (but yuck, I hate lingering coughs).


Thanks! Me too, and this one has been especially awful…

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Glad that you’re on the road to recovery (but yuck, I hate lingering coughs).


Thanks! Me too, and this one has been especially awful…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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