Den's TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Matcha people, I need your help please.
I am totally sucking at making matcha lately. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
Today I followed the directions to the letter with a never before opened tin of matcha.
One spoon, sifted. 3 oz water at 180F. Whisk in W motion.
I was unable to get the light green froth. Mine is olive green with just a tiny bit of bubbles at the top.
Am I not using enough matcha?
Apart from my seeming inability to prepare this correctly, I’m enjoying it. It’s creamier than the matcha I’ve been taking to work. I wouldn’t call it sweet, but it’s not sour or particularly bitter — just a tiny down note in the aftertaste.
It tastes very pleasantly of the ocean.
Flavors: Creamy, Marine, Seaweed
My favorite thing about gyokuro is how it looks. I love the fine leaves that look so soft and richly green. The dry leaves smell nutty, a bit like almonds, and the aroma has a juicy character.
I also like the color of the steeped tea — the green in the liquor, rather than the typical color somewhere on the yellow spectrum. This one is a light greenish yellow, more green than chartreuse.
The steeped tea smells brothy, a bit salty, a bit nutty, a bit vegetal. The flavor is grassier than some, which I like, but also has the seaweed notes that I’ve come to expect, and something a little on the nutty side, like edamame.
I made this at a slightly higher temperature than recommended for a first steep, mostly because the Breville won’t go lower than 160.
The description says this is Den’s best, and it is quite good. I wish I appreciated gyokuro more in general. I enjoy it but I feel as though its greatness is somewhat wasted on me since I’m just as happy to drink a good sencha.
Flavors: Almond, Broth, Grass, Nutty, Salty, Seaweed, Soybean
I just cracked this one open today and it smelled divine in the packet. Incredibly juicy-smelling. Vegetal (zucchini?) with a grassy overtone. Yum.
After steeping the aroma is quite savory, with a bit of seaweediness, and a buttery, brothy character. The tea is a clear butter yellow with some suspended particles. It has a thick mouthfeel.
Even though I oversteeped — I didn’t check the Breville setting and went for longer than I usually would have for green tea, and even longer than I should have for this one, and I probably could have gone with cooler water as well, I thought this was excellent. No hint of bitterness, and a really nice nutty aftertaste.
I am looking forward to trying it again with more attention to time and temp — but if this is what it tastes like when done wrong, I’m not sure I want to be right….
Flavors: Broth, Butter, Grass, Nutty, Seaweed, Zucchini
ah yes, made some of this to go with my late night snack (toast + apricot preserves). perfect. this time around it’s a little more astringent, but I think I maybe steeped it too long. it’s a bit fickle and I’m still playing around with how to best steep this.
late night tea, late night snack, late night perfect song:
hm, well, I’ve tried this tea three different ways! 1) in my lil’ shiboridashi, which was a MISTAKE bc these leaves have been cut really short? anyway, I made a MESS, which made the experience kinda…not great. 2) followed the directions and just did a 3 min. steep, this was delicious. beautiful copper colour, malt and brisk. 3) because the bag said: “it is good as straight tea or with milk” I tried it this morning with almond milk and it was just okay.
I think this tea just prefers the 3 min. steep, it loses flavour quickly if doing multiple steeps. it’s also a very interesting flavour that I don’t know how to describe, it’s different from other Japanese black teas I’ve had in the past, but I really like it?
unrelated: each month (?) Den’s Tea changes the free sample they send out with orders and THIS month it’s the Yuzu Kukicha + Matcha from last year and I AM SO EXCITED about it. I can’t wait for November so that I can stock up. dlakjdlajkdlasd.
found this tin and thought it would be a good substitute for my regular ‘I-have-to-go-to-work-and-need-matcha’ morning. though, technically, this does have matcha in it as well. I love this tea and will have to savor what little I have left until the winter.
(drinking this iced, because everything needs ice in the summer)
I was in a hurry when I ordered this tea and did not realize it wasn’t the pyramid-bagged sencha that I usually get from Den’s. But no matter, I just wanted anything that tasted better than the store-bought green teas I have been drinking recently.
It doesn’t taste bad, but it hardly tastes like anything at all. I brewed it first for 1 minute per package instructions and wrote off the lack of flavor to short brew time. Tried it again for two, then three minutes.
It has a very subtle flavor that one might miss if they aren’t really focused on the tea while drinking. I think next time I will brew it two bags at a time and see if that helps.
I also ordered loose-leaf kukicha, so I have backup for when I really need a flavorful tea, but I have four boxes of this to get through because I ordered in bulk. Oh well!
UPDATE: I brewed another cup using two tea bags, a 5min steep, and water at 170F. There was more flavor, but still mild relative to what I’m used to.
Random sample I’ve had from Den’s sitting around for a long time. The first infusion of this one is by far the best – likely because all the matcha ends up in that cup. Relatively sweet and spinachy tasting, with a bit of that toastiness from the popped rice. Easy to drink, but the matcha gives it enough of a kick to be slightly more interesting than your average genmaicha. I do think it distracts from the overall warm and simple nature of genmaicha though – so this is nice, but I think I’d rather go with genmaicha not dusted with matcha.
Flavors: Spinach, Sweet, Toasted Rice
Thoroughly decent Houjicha. Roasty and pleasant tasting, even though my sample got pretty crushed up riding around in my sample box(es) for probably over a year now. Been sipping down some stuff that I’ve been sitting on for a long time. Not all of it has been good. This one was!
I was running low on Den’s pineapple sencha, and checked the site. Saw it was Yuzu Kukicha season, so I got a pound of this instead. I had some last year, and regret not buying more. This is such a great everyday tea. Bright, charming, full of flavor, light sweetness, SO GREEN! The yuzu is very light in the background. I love drinking this iced to start the day, or have midday. I think I prefer the pineapple just a little bit more, BUT this is still up there. I do get a savory seaweedy element to it. I like it. I see this going well with seafood, sushi, or crab. Second brew isn’t as flavorful, or as green.
This was included as a sample in my order. I have had bancha in the past, and always hated it. It was bland and bitter. I just assumed this would follow suit. Not so! This tea was a huge surprise. It was greener than I was expecting a bancha to be. Really fresh smell.
I love this tea. It’s a shame it’s just a sample. Brewed up nicely as instructed with boiling water for 30 seconds. The second brew wasn’t as strong, prefer the first brew. This is for sure an everyday tea I could see myself drinking. So yummy, depth of flavor. Buttered spinach. Light astringency. Will buy more of this tea.
Now that I’m back to taking green tea to work with me every morning, I have a bunch of sample packets that are poised to be sipped down this next week. To ease my burden of recording sipdowns on days when I’m too rushed to do them, I opened a larger packet today. This.
The tea in the packet smells like kale chips! A salty/savory note on the one hand with a sweet green note on the other. Mixed together, I get kale chips! The dry leaves are long and spear-like, not dusty fine like a lot of sencha leaves.
Steeped, the aroma is savory and nutty. Strangely, the nut I get is closest to peanut, and there’s that hint of sweetness that makes it an almost peanut-brittle smell. It’s pale gold in color and clear.
The flavor has a hint of nuttiness, but mostly what I taste is a vegetal flavor with a slightly bitter finish. The closest I can come to naming the vegetable is spinach. I find this pretty un-grassy as Japanese green teas go. I have never been entirely sure I understood what was meant by the word umami, but I think it’s this.
I’m looking forward to drinking it again (next time not on the heels of eating orange flavored chewable vitamin C pills; who knows what that did to my taste buds).
Flavors: Kale, Peanut, Spinach, Umami
I don’t really drink much flavored tea anymore with the exception of naturally scented tea with flowers. Over the past year or so, Sakura has officially dethroned jasmine as my favorite floral flavor in tea. Den’s Sakura Sencha has been my cherry blossom tea of choice for a while now and I eagerly anticipate it’s release every spring. This year, they made the bold move of changing their winning blend and went all natural. The cherry flavoring was removed and matcha was added. While I applaud their effort, the new blend isn’t quite as satisfying as the previous one.
The matcha dusted green leaves are less visually appealing than the old blend with its long needle shaped leaves interspersed with elegant pink flower buds and sakura petals. The smell of the tea is also different. It reminded me of salt pickled cherry blossoms. The flavor is true to the aroma – a subtle taste of cherry blossom and umeboshi pickled plums. More savory than sweet and a bit drying in the mouth. The base of the old blend was a deep grassy green tea which I preferred. This one although good, seems to be more brothy.
Overall, while I enjoyed this tea I rate it lower than last year’s blend and Yunomi’s Sakura Sencha with Sugared Sakura Leaves. It’s briney, salty taste wasn’t my favorite and I missed the sweet sakura flavor of those other two. The matcha is an interesting idea but doesn’t add anything here. I hope Den’s tweaks this blend or goes back to the old formula.
Flavors: Plums, Sakura, Salty
This is from a teabox and now it is gone and I never wrote a tasting note. Here is one: the tea is ancient but the packaging is great, so the flavor shouldn’t be too bad. It still tastes fantastic to me — if anything, the green tea is so light. I used two teaspoons since there were so many popped rice pieces! And lots of matcha among the few leaves of green tea. The mug color is more yellow than green which is surprising with all the matcha. The flavor is all sweetness and toastiness and earthiness from the matcha. Sometimes this type of tea hits all the notes and this is an excellent one. I think my preferred genmaicha in stock would be one with matcha. (I also finished a couple other teas from teaboxes recently!)
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 30 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Thanks to Stephanie for this sample! I brewed it up in my Den’s Tea kyusu. The instructions are for two steeps but I got a third steep out of the leaf by brewing at 180f for about 3 minutes. It’s a basic, grassy sencha. I may have let the leaf get too old. It’s tasty but doesn’t have a lot of the nuance that I’ve come to expect from Den’s Tea. Still, it’s got a decently thick mouthfeel and clean flavor.