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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a limited edition tea by Ippodo that I purchased at their store in NYC. I was looking for something cheap and tasty to drink and found this to be a great affordable tea that was a cut above grocery store genmaicha. Unlike other genmaicha, the toasty roasty “popcorn” taste of the toasted brown rice is much less apparent. Instead, there is smooth and bright, juicy, lemongrass-like note that erupts in your mouth while the savory brown rice translates into a creamy avocado flavor that is sweeter in nature than the fishy, savory, umami I normally find in Japanese green teas. The tea itself is quite pretty as well. The dry bancha consists of very shiny, smooth, uniformly cut pieces that are such a rich vibrant green. I really can’t stop looking at it! Consequently, the liquor produced is a bright “spring-y” green.
I HIGHLY suggest steeping it only briefly. In my opinion, the grassier taste and additional dryness and slight bitterness that accompanies a long steeping don’t really add anything great to this tea. Brewing instructions from ippodo also suggest a short 30 second steep time and to pour out the tea completely rather than leave it continually stewing in the pot with the leaves.Amount you get for the price makes it great for daily sipping.
This is a pleasant tea you could use for a daily drinker. Nothing overwhelming and fills your room with a pleasant aroma. Also low in caffeine so feel free to drink it even in the evening.
Opening the package I was greeted with the pleasant smell of toasty wood.
1st Steep: This came out a light amber color and tasted a lot like a light coffee and green tea mix.
2nd Steep: This powered up the wood and fire taste and it showed in the much darker color. Little resemblance of green tea remained. Still nothing overwhelming however. It left me with a slight pleasant smoke aftertastes.
3rd Steep: This went back into a coffee like taste with hints of smoke.
Further steeps: I lengthened the steeping times as I went on. Not a lot to speak of here. It did not turn bitter at all. The smoke and wood smell began to disappear and went back into the coffee and green tea like mix. After around eight steeps flavor pretty much disappeared even after long steeps.
Overall I do recommend this tea. Its a great one to throw in any time of day.
Flavors: Coffee, Fireplace, Smoked, Toasted, Wood
I recently, got my Ippodo order.
I have tried their matchas Spring, Summer, and Autum. Now finally I was able to try their cooking grade matcha.
This is a sweet matcha, when you open it, you can clearly see is not a powerful green as a ceremonial matcha is.
Ippodo recommends to place a certain amount of this matcha in a bottle, place some cold water and drink, unless you like sweet matcha with water then go ahead but I will recommend this to be drinked as a Matcha latte.
My personal recommendation is to use soy milk instead of cow milk, the soy enhances the matcha flavor, cow milk will only make the matcha flavour disappear.
If you have a pot then after heating the milk you can use a milk fluffler, always use a sieve to make the matcha finer if not you will get this clumps. If you are using a machine that warms the milk and at the same time makes this fluffy milk, make sure to not boil the milk but to heat the milk to 60 degrees Celsius, you can sieve the matcha and the machine will do everything for you.
This matcha is very creamy and the sweetness is not overpowering.
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Sweet
This is my 1/2 way point review. I have been drinking this tea daily now for a week. I think I can some up my feelings with theae points about the tea:
1. Broth like umami (think chicken soup with no salt)
There’s a reason why people don’t add sugar to fine green Japanese tea. I find myself needing a sweet snack beside it, though.
2. Bright yellow colour (in a white cup), yellow green in clear.
People walk by and see this colour and are like wow. Much the way they do with matcha.
3. Amazing dry leaf (the way they sort this tea is incredible)
If you see pictures of the fresh and rolled leaves next to each other, you wonder if they are the same. The sifting and rolling leaves a product that feels like needles. I have not
Seen this from store bought senchas.
4. Ice brings out the green character. The aroma of the dried leaves and iced tea match very closely and enhance appreciation.
Overall, I am happy with it.
2017 Ippodo Shincha is Here! I pre-ordered it so that I would get it at the earliest possible moment. And I would have, had the post office not let it sit in my city for 4 days before delivering it. It was shipped on a Monday in Japan, and made it here by Friday 10:00 a.m. where it sat over a long weekend.
The packaging was excellent like it always is from Japan. It was gift wrapped and
A large tin was included. The tea was divided into two air tight satchets.
I followed the instructions for a first brew. 10 g of tea and about 200 mL of water for 40 seconds total. These instructions seemed reasonable for sencha.
The result: good yellow sencha colour, mild sencha taste bordering on grapefruit at the end.
I brewed this several more times. I didn’t note anything in particular.
Unlike the other sencha in my cupboard, I guarantee this did not taste like socks.
I’m going to try some bottled water.
Sencha Hosen: by ippodo tea.
So I had this tea laying around for a few months. So I guess I never reviewed it lol. Here you go.
Ru Yao dragon teapot gongfucha.
Dry leaf: green, grass.
Wet leaf: sweet grass, freshly cut grass, sweet, veggies, seafood (?).
Light steep; I taste/smell: light —> asparagus, sweet grass, veggies,
Peaches (?), Medium -→ bitterness (somewhat pleasant), freshly cut grass.
(Forgot photo: it was nothing much. Almost a lime green. )
Medium steep; I taste/smell: light peaches (?). medium —→ asparagus, sweet grass, veggies, bitterness (meh) freshly cut grass.
(•groans•… Must I do a heavy steep? This tea is stale and not too fresh. I blame myself for forgetting about it. But review I must. At least the flecks around the teapot look pretty. )
Heavy steep; I taste/smell; light —→ peaches (?), asparagus, sweet grass, freshly cut grass. Medium to strong bitterness. (This steep did not turn out nearly as bad as I thought it would)
All in all a nice tea even though it’s kind of stale and not too fresh. (I still blame myself for not reviewing it sooner) ok flavours and aromas. Weird cha qi. I rate a 75. only because it was yummy when it was fresh. Otherwise, I would rate a 50.
I’m not sure if I ordered this or if it was a gift from Paola Mannaro.
Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Green, Sweet, Vegetal
Kuki (stems) guyokuro. By ippodo
Dry stems: veggie like
Wet stems: intensified veggies
Light steep: I taste/smell; light veggies, asparagus, freshly cut grass , sweet and slight to light bitterness.
Medium steep: I taste/smell; medium veggies, fresh cut grass, asparagus and bitterness. Little to no sweetness.
Heavy steep: (skipped due to possible strong bitterness) sometimes i can stand bitter teas (can be pleasant) however, sometimes it’s unpleasant. i’m not going to risk it
All in all, this tea is nice but it’s not the best from japan that I’ve had. I rate 90 and suggest one try this tea with a bit of caution. (Possible bitterness)
Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Freshly Cut Grass, Sweet, Vegetables
In an attempt to use this up I prepped an ice brew of this before I went to bed. I put tea in my strainer and filled it the rest of the way with ice cubes. I woke up to a concentrated sencha flavor shot. It was strikingly different from the tea I had last night by being super vegetal like the juice leftover from defrosting spinach. It also had a crazy buttery mouthfeel that lingered for awhile.
There’s usually enough flavor left in the tea leaves to hot brew this so that’s what I did. And it’s back to regular sencha.
My tin is labled sho-ikeno-o, but Ippodo seems to only use the spelling this listing is under. This was purchased a few years ago in the Ippodo shop in Kyoto so it’s a bit past its prime and a bit duller than it was when fresh. Sentimental reasons have kept me from finishing it off but I’m hoping to do so now that I’m trying more tea. Plus I could really use the tin for my next sencha.
Despite its age it’s still a good well rounded tea and still holds its own against many of the low to mid grade senchas I have had. It’s vegetal, savory, a little bitter. I may still be feeling sentimental, but to me this is what sencha is and the basis upon which I judge other sencha.
Bought this while strolling through the hood on my way to my favorite lunch place for dan dan noodles. Bright green leaf in bag with no obvious aromas. Brewed to instructions in smallest gaiwan, the aroma is really intense with cooked spinach. Not that over boiled nasty spinach smell but the gentle parboiled fresh smell as you squeeze out the juices. The liquor is a bit cloudy, thick and not as vibrant as i would have expected, more of a muted yellow. The flavor is dead on spinach and asparagus at first with a hint of seaweed. As you continue to sip, a noticeable bitter approaches but not enough to scare you off. After about 2 minutes the aftertaste yields from bitter to sweet. The one thing I observed in my reaction was I didn’t feel like I had drank a tea. Knowing my way around a kitchen and being one of those who wastes nothing I have been known to drink my spinach water if I wasn’t using it it in a recipe, and that’s how I regarded this tasting. I would have given it a better rating but I am new to Japanese greens and will need to revisit after I try a few more samples. Also the bitterness was noticeable and I don’t know if it is supposed to be part of the experience or just an expression of this tea alone.
Flavors: Asparagus, Seaweed, Spinach
This is my 2nd pack of tsukikage, and I use a higher temperature this time. The powder is quite dense so must use a matcha sieve or strainer to remove any tiny clumps. Good for both koicha and usucha. Colour is a nice green and smooth texture, taste is quite sharp with some sweetness, and a long after taste.
Ippodo tea indicates that Sencha should be steeped for 60 seconds at 176 F (80 C). Suggested ration of tea to water is 2 Tbsp (yes, Tbsp!) to 7 ounces (210ml) of water. To cool water to the proper temperature, Ippodo suggests transferring the water once by first pouring into a cup and then the tea pot. A second and third pot can also be brewed at 176 F (80 C) water with no steeping time.
I had a WONDERFUL cup of cold-brewed Hosen at the Ippodo shop in Kyoto. I think that this was the first time I understood the meaning of “umami” – it was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. Any Japanese green tea can be cold-brewed by steeping 2 Tbsp in 7 ounces of chilled water for 15 minutes. A second and third pot can be prepared by brewing the second pot for 7 minutes and the third for 3 minutes.
Ippodo tea indicates that Gyokuro should be steeped for 90 seconds at 140 F (60 F). Suggested ration of tea to water is 2 Tbsp (yes, Tbsp!) to 3 ounces (80ml) of water. To cool water to the proper temperature, Ippodo suggests transferring the water three times by first pouring into a cup, transferring that to a second, then third cup, then the tea pot.
My favourite matcha so far – I’ve had 2 bought in London, 1 from Edinburgh and 5 from Tokyo. For me, this one is the smoothest and creamiest taste and doesn’t go bitter when making with water or milk. Actually use 1/2 tsp for 1 person.
Flavors: Creamy, Green, Smooth
This review might be a bit unfair as I received the tea from my cousin, and I’m not /certain/ how old it is or how well stored it had been. That said, it did appear to be stored in a tightly sealed container.
Ippodo is not kidding around about the umami flavor. It dominates over the vegetal tones and I couldn’t detect a hint of bitterness. There was an odd sharpness to the aroma that I’m not certain I enjoy. Still, this is an intriguing tea, and I recommend investigating it for yourself.
You know how sometimes you’re about to run out of something and you save just an teensy tiny bit so that it’s never really gone? That’s the only purpose this tin is serving right now, to keep my happily delusional about the fact that I drank all this up long ago. It was thick and delicious. It was bitter too, but there was more than enough flavor to compensate. The vibrant green and the smooth texture were also memorable enough to keep that tin in my closet until I can justify another purchase.
so i had some of this tea today, and i still think its an awesome tea!
i was thinking while drinking this tea:
boy, it sure is raining p’s and q’s! someone in the world must not be minding their own business. oh! that’s you reading my review! ha ha ha ha just kidding. i’m glad you are reading my reviews :D
little Glass pitcher method (grandpa style):
when i smell the leaves dry, they smell nice! roasted, toasty and crisp
when i smell the leaves wet, its the same as above but also has a aged smell to it (in a good way)
when i smell the brewed tea, it smells same as above but also has a coffee/espresso taste to it! :D
When i taste the brewed tea, it tastes like all of the above! :D
WHAT A WONDERFUL TEA!! :D Hojicha is my new #1 favorite Japanese tea!many thanks to my wonderful friend Paola for this wonderful tea!
Flavors: Coffee, Espresso, Roasted, Toasty