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Recent Tasting Notes
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
The tea has a rather smokey aroma and this also reflects in the taste. The bitterness of the tea leaves and the bitter scent of the smoked aroma collaborate nicely to imbue the tea with a strong refreshing, thirst quenching and revitalising character. A hint of acidity can also be derived, but isn’t at all overpowering. The overall aroma of the tea quickly fades and doesn’t linger in the mouth. It’s liquor is dark brown with a dark red distinction. Visually, it appears somewhat close to the liquor of a black tea.
Overall, it is a fairly easy tea to enjoy and easy to brew. It is a great thirst quencher and allows itself to be infused in large quantities at a time, making it a great tea to drink throughout the day. As the amount of caffeine contained is also neither to low, Kyo-Bancha can be consumed at basically any time of the day and by any person ranging from very young to old.
Flavors: Bitter, Smoke
Tancho-no-mukashi is an aromatic Matcha with great color and texture. Easy to sift and easy to foam up. This Matcha is according to Ippodo suitable for both Usucha and Koicha.
Prepared as Usucha it has a more one dimensional taste which nonetheless results in a harmonious overall taste.
Prepared as Koicha the taste had slightly vegetal bitter notes which lingered for a long time on the palate. With the first sip I could taste some sweet notes that then were easily covered up by the bitter notes. It is definitely not a Matcha which I prefer prepared as Koicha. But for its price Tancho-no-mukashi is making a good everyday Matcha.
Read the full review with photos:
Flavors: Bitter, Smooth, Sweet
The color of the dried Matcha powder is a vivid dark green.
This Matcha is suitable for Usucha and Koicha.
Prepared as Usucha it foamed up really nicely with a very bright green foam.
Sipping this Matcha resulted in an overwhelming sharpness in the beginning that turned in a sweet and aromatic body and ended with a light umami aftertaste. Maybe I should mention that I’m very sensitive to sharpness. The texture was very smooth.
Prepared as Koicha this Matcha wasn´t my liking at all, too much sharpness.
Read the full review with photos:
Flavors: Seaweed, Spicy, Sweet