53 Tasting Notes

84

Once again a tea that I was very excited to try. I guess that is what happens when you choose what samples to buy! One of my first prolonged experiences with yellow tea, and I was not disappointed. Very much worth the cost, which is definitely not within the everyday drinking price range.

The dry leaf was full of long, whole pieces that were a medium green in color. The aroma of these leaves was sweet and floral, very much like a silver needle. The aroma was quite strong and full. After the initial steeping, the leaves let go more of this wonderful aroma.

The liquor was a beautiful deep golden yellow. A dark gold that I have never seen before in tea. The aroma of this liquor was light and hard to decipher, albeit very pleasant.

The taste of the liquor was stunning. Floral, sweet, with zero astringency. Stronger than a silver needle, but lighter, fresher, and sweeter than green tea with a slight honey aftertaste.

Overall I would place this tea in the same category as silver needle (albeit a much different tea). It is delicate, exquisite, yet expensive. A tea to be enjoyed for special occasions when you desire something special.

Ratings (from 0-10)

8 – Dry Leaf Appearance
9 – Dry Leaf Smell
7 – Wet Leaf Appearance
8 – Wet Leaf Smell
9 – Liquor Appearance
8 – Aroma
9 – Taste
8 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

= 84

Rating Multipliers

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Honey

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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74

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this tea, but I really really enjoyed it. Definitely one I will be purchasing again in greater volume.

The dry leaf appeared in a variety of sizes. The color, however, was a uniform deep deep green as should be expected from a fukamushi. The aroma of the dry leaf is hard to describe. I want to call it deeply green, but that is more visual the related to smell. Nevertheless, that is what comes to mind. It was sweetly vegetal with hints of hay, but overall I would choose to describe it as deeply green.

The first steep of 5g in 1cup of water at 160 degrees for 30 seconds was not initially impressive. The wet leaf was average. The aroma of the leaf was slightly better. The aroma was strongly reminiscent of kale, spinach, and other bitter greens. The liquor, however, started to stand out. It has the appearance of a beautiful lime green color with lots of suspended leaf, even through my fairly fine strainer. The aroma was bitter, reminiscent of kale and bitter greens again.

The taste, however, was very much redeeming. It was simply very well balanced. It has a very light bitterness balanced with a sweetness and an astringent aftertaste. It is all things combined into one sip. Overall highly enjoyable.

Ratings (from 0-10)

6 – Dry Leaf Appearance
8 – Dry Leaf Smell
6 – Wet Leaf Appearance
7 – Wet Leaf Smell
8 – Liquor Appearance
7 – Aroma
8 – Taste
7 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

= 73.5 = 74

Rating Multipliers

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Flavors: Bitter, Green, Hay, Kale

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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65

I was very excited to get this tea from Ian to try out. I’ve been eying it for a while due to it’s low cost and the fact that it is organic (a big plus for me). It seemed like a good everyday sencha. I have to say, I was not disappointed.

The dry leaf, although not super uniform, is a beautiful deep green. The aroma is fresh, grassy, and slightly sweet. After the water hits the leafs they turn into your typical wet tea leaf. A mixture of different shades of light and dark green. The aroma of the wet leaf is slightly sweeter than the dry. The liquor is a beautiful yellow, almost green. The yellow is much more prominent. The aroma of the liquor is light. Nothing too strong.

The taste is that of an average sencha. There is nothing that stands out, besides that it tastes good. It is grassy, sweet, and slightly astringent all at the same time. There are hints of umami, but nothing overwhelming like a gyokuro. Overall just a very good average sencha. Something I will certainly be adding to my everyday drink rotation due to the excellent price.

Ratings (from 0-10)

7 – Dry Leaf Appearance
7 – Dry Leaf Smell
7 – Wet Leaf Appearance
8 – Wet Leaf Smell
7 – Liquor Appearance
5 – Aroma
7 – Taste
10 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

= 65

Rating Multipliers

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Umami

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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74

This was a very interesting and different tea that I greatly enjoyed sampling. I’ll most definitely be acquiring some to have on stock in the future.

I started off with 5g of tea. The dry leaf was not uniform at all. There were pieces that looked like small flakes, needles, and just powder. Some leaves were light, but most were a deep green. The aroma was very nice. Very typical sencha. Sweet and vegetal with a slight acidic side.

After steeping for 1 min with 250ml of 160 degree water the leaves took on a wet seaweed appearance. Fuzzy and hay like. All clinging together. A light green color. The aroma was typical sencha with a tendency towards acidic and sour notes.

The liquor of the first infusion was an even pale, dirty green. A nice puke green, but in an appealing sort of way. I know, it sounds weird. The aroma was very faint, but my sinus’s were congested as well so that could have been part of it.

The taste was very different and unique. My first impression was umami, but with a strong astringency as well. Lots of bitterness, but not overpowering. It was a strong yet enjoyable bitterness. There were also very very slight notes of earthy smokiness maybe. Not sure exactly. I’ll have to try again when I try this the second time around.

The second infusion was stronger, more bitter, with hints of smoke and sourness. Still easy to drink. Not overpowering and very enjoyable.

Ratings (from 0-10)

7 – Dry Leaf Appearance
8 – Dry Leaf Smell
5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
6 – Wet Leaf Smell
7 – Liquor Appearance
7 – Aroma
8 – Taste
9 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

= 73.5 = 74

Rating Multipliers

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Smoke, Sour, Umami

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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78

I really enjoyed this gyokuro. Great umami while having a lingering taste and notes of green beans, brussel sprouts and a hint of saltiness (I know, maybe my brain made that part up).

To start, the dry leaves were a wonderful deep green. They were very fine and spindly and mostly quite uniform. The aroma was a deep deep sweet umami.

I started with 5g tea in 75ml of 120 degree water for 2 minutes. The first infusion produced a pale yellow liquor. It was nothing too special, but it did look nice. The aroma of the the liquor was of deep umami. The taste was very strong umami. Very deep, full, with a lingering in the back of the mouth.

The second infusion with 250ml of 190 degree water for 15 seconds produced a beautiful bright green liquor. The aroma had strong scents of seaweed and a slightly saltiness in the the back of the mouth. Saltwater. The taste was full, rounder, and had a bite throughout the mouth compared to the initial infusion.

The third infusion (steeped as the second) was mellower. Started to lose flavor. Had a slightly astringent bite. Slight sweet green bean taste. Perhaps notes of brussel sprouts.

Rating

8 – Dry Leaf Appearance
8 – Dry Leaf Smell
8 – Wet Leaf Appearance
9 – Wet Leaf Smell
6 – Liquor Appearance
8 – Aroma
8 – Taste
5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Total = 78

Multiplication factors

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Flavors: Green Beans, Salt, Seaweed, Umami

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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56

After reading some of the reviews on this tea, I realize I may be the black sheep. I personally was not a big fan of this tea. It was extremely astringent, but not in a good way. It left his astringent taste that just tasted bad. It’s hard to describe. I just found it having a bad aftertaste.

To start, the dry leaf’s appearance was a finely chopped mix of light and dark green pieces. It was very powdery and left an interesting first impression. I initially thought this was a sign of poor quality, but realized that this is what “konacha” means. I’m still new to Japanese terms so I was ignorant of this fact. The smell of the dry leaf was like astringent greens. Very reminiscent of matcha.

For the first infusion, I steeped 5g of tea for 30 seconds at 140 degrees in 75ml of water. The resulting liquor was a greenish/yellow with lots of leaf particles and powder (due to the broken up aspect of the leaf). It did not look super appealing. The aroma was not bad though. It had a very deep matcha smell. Bitter. The wet leaves themselves were a beautiful deep green mush (due to the small leave size). The aroma was nice and light. Not too overpowering.

The taste was umami and astringent. Initially this was really great. However, following the initial burst of umami and astringency was a super bitter bad aftertaste. It was not a simple bite, but a taste that left me running my tongue around in my mouth trying to get rid of all the liquid. Furthermore, this bad taste lingered. Now, this was not something that ruined the tea, but something I personally cannot stand.

The second infusion was made with 250ml of 160 degree water for 30 seconds. The liquor was a very deep green and very matcha like. Much more appealing than the first infusion. The aroma, however, was pretty lacking. It just wasn’t strong enough to really smell. The taste was similar to the first infusion in the fact that it was very astringent and bitter. There was a strong taste of overcooked spinach. Again, a lingering bad bitter aftertaste.

Overall this tea was ok. After reading the other reviews I am looking forward to trying it again. Maybe I simply don’t appreciate the flavor profile. Regardless, at this point it is not my favorite by any means nor would I recommend it.

Ratings (from 1-10)

6 – Dry Leaf Appearance
7 – Dry Leaf Smell
7 – Wet Leaf Appearance
6 – Wet Leaf Smell
4 – Liquor Appearance
6 – Aroma
5 – Taste
5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Total = 56

Rating Multipliers

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Flavors: Astringent, Spinach

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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78

To start I would like to say I’m trying out a new rating system listed at the end of this review. I’m a math person so it’s pretty systematic. It’s an attempt to standardize my ratings and reviews. It might be tweaked as I go along, but for now it is how I will be rating all my tea reviews.

This was an enjoyable tea. My initial reaction to the dry leaf was it’s variety, yet uniform look. It consists of a mix of longer slivers and short flattened pieces of leaf. However, there is not much between these sizes, so it is also fairly uniform. It was a lovely dark green color. Not as dark as a fukamushi, but very close. The smell of the dry leaf was of very sweet grass.

The initial steep was at 150 degrees for 75 seconds with 200 ml of water.

The wet leaf lightened from the dry leaf surprisingly. Not as appealing. The aroma, however, was a lovely fresh, damp seaweed smell with a slight bite. The liquor was a pale, greenish yellow, although definitely more green than yellow. The aroma from the liquor was like sweet grass, seaweed, and green beans with a slight bite detected in the back of the throat. The taste was a pleasant balance of umami, sweetness, and astringency. There was a nice full feeling in the mouth with a slight bite in the back of the mouth, although neither was overwhelming.

The second infusion was for 15 seconds at 175 degrees with 250ml of water. The aroma lessened quite considerably with this infusion. The taste become more mellow. Almost zero astringency. Notes of walnuts. Vegetal, but sweet at the same time.

Overall a great sencha. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Definitely in the range of high quality everyday senchas.

Rating

7 – Dry Leaf Appearance
8 – Dry Leaf Smell
6 – Wet Leaf Appearance
7 – Wet Leaf Smell
7 – Liquor Appearance
8 – Aroma
8 – Taste
8 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Total = 77.5 = 78

Multiplication Factors

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Flavors: Astringent, Green Beans, Seaweed, Walnut, Wet Moss

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

Basic sencha in my opinion. Easy to drink. Well balanced. Nice light green/yellow color. Nothing special or spectacular though. A very good average, but it also doesn’t surprise you or offer anything special. Seems like a great everyday tea though.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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Profile

Bio

Hello everyone,

I’m a recent college grad just beginning my career. I love reading and spending time outdoors hiking, cycling, or just sitting in a hammock with a book.

I was first exposed to tea from my mother, who has been drinking a few types of green tea for ages. During high school and college I started to explore on my own and have become a tea enthusiast, trying everything I can get my hands on and drinking tea every day.

My favorite teas right now are Silver Needle and Bi Luo Chun. I’ve also been enjoying my explorations in pu-erh which started with some samples at a tea shop in San Francisco. I’m no where near knowledgable yet, but I enjoy learning about it. I have found I do not like sheng! Oh well…

Outside of Chinese teas I also love exploring Japanese green teas. I’m not as proficient yet, but I’m honing in my tasting abilities.

As far as non-caffeine stuff goes, I am a huge fan of all things rooibos. I go through red rooibos by the pound. I’m also a fan of mint, ginger, licorice, and chamomile.

I’m a math system so I have a pretty in depth rating system:

All categories are rated from 1-10 and multiplied by the factor listed to the left and tallied to get a rating out of 100 for Steepster.

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Location

Cleveland, Ohio

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