Ito En

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91
drank Oi Ocha Green Tea Bags by Ito En
590 tasting notes

A belated happy new year Steepsterites! Hope 2022 will be a great year for everyone. Still on semi-hiatus due to studies – can’t wait till March when I’m finished with it all – but do plan to post here and there.

I picked this up on a whim a couple of weeks ago when I was in Florida for a wedding. It was in the checkout aisle at Ross of all places. I had bought loose tea with me as I always do during my travels but not sencha. Although I seldom bother with teabags, Ito-En is a reputable Japanese tea brand and I drink their bottled tea all the time. The date of production stamped on the package showed it was only 6 months old, which is about as fresh as it gets with bagged tea.

Color of the tea is intense green and infuses rather quickly, which indicates a fukamushi. The flavor is also characteristic of a deep steamed sencha. At higher water temperature, it’s matcha like with raw wheatgrass and chlorophyll. Smooth and full bodied. Lower temperatures bring out spinachy, grassy notes with a mellow sweet taste. Doesn’t have all of the nuances of loose tea but still delivers with a rich flavor and freshness.

I’ve continued drinking this upon returning home. Despite having plenty of sencha in my cupboard, the convenience of teabags can’t be beat. Especially during busy times when I just need a quick cup and don’t have time to fuss with gaiwans and pitchers. Is this the best sencha ever? No, but it’s more than serviceable and head and shoulders above standard bagged tea. The only downside is it can’t be resteeped so this is a one and done kind of tea.

Flavors: Spinach, Vegetal, Wheatgrass

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML
Martin Bednář

Happy New Year!
Ito En, even in tea bag form, are pretty much decent as I have tried a few… actually I guess only Oi Ocha.

Cameron B.

Ooh I like their bottled teas too! Never tried the teabags though.

Cameron B.

And Happy New Year! \o/

LuckyMe

@Cameron B, their bottled teas are the best! I especially love Olden Oolong.

Evol Ving Ness

Happy new year! Good to see you.

Leafhopper

Happy New Year! I’ll have to look for Ito En tea, though I doubt my local grocery stores will carry it.

Evol Ving Ness

I don’t remember seeing it here though I am not often in the RTD tea, soft drink section.

LuckyMe

@Leafhopper I believe Costco carried it under their Kirkland brand.

ashmanra

Happy New Year!

Alreot

Happy New Year! This tea sounds nice I enjoy sencha as well, I’m going to have to give it a try

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75

Got a bag of this and well, it’s not often I make 1 liter of tea so not sure why I bought it lol. I almost always gongfu cha it. Been drinking it cold brew and it’s pretty good. I think it’s overrated on Amazon but it is still decent barley tea. Good roasted flavor, roasted barley notes, that is. I think I prefer my barley even more roasted for a fuller flavor but it’s still a very convenient way to make it since they come in bags for 1 liter.

Flavors: Roasted, Roasted Barley, Toasty

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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76
drank Golden Oolong by Ito En
45 tasting notes

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17

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55
drank Matcha Green Tea Peppermint by Ito En
1699 tasting notes

From the matcha powder residue left behind in the pouch, I thought this might be a brightly colored tea. Well, that and the picture on the box. Instead, it’s a dark brew with no discernible flavor of matcha. Or green tea, for that matter. It tastes instead like a peppermint herbal, and a dull one at that. Maybe it’s because I’ve just had better peppermint teas recently, or maybe this isn’t one of the better quality tea bags out there. Either way, it’s really just a mediocre and lackluster cup. This was shared with me by a coworker who primarily drinks peppermint green teas. I only had the one bag of this so fortunately I don’t have to worry about drinking more of it.

Flavors: Peppermint

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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So I’ve been drinking a lot of this lately.

Turns out I love Matcha Lattes. Either that or I’ve been drinking so many that I’ve grown to love them. Either way, the single-serve packets weren’t enough anymore so I graduated to a canister.

Now, I’m going to admit, I have next to ZERO experience with Matcha. I’m very new at this stuff. So I’m going to relate how I make a Matcha Latte… and It is, in fact, all wrong.

1. Fill an empty water bottle with cold milk
2. Measure out 1 tsp of Matcha
3. Add Matcha to Bottle
4. Add 2 Splenda Packets.
5. Shake the bejeezus out of it.

It works well enough.

Anyway, with that preparation in mind, this stuff is pretty much the same as the single-serve packets. I honestly see no difference. I’ve also prepared this in water and it’s pretty strong when made in water. Huge green flavor. But without the milk to temper it, it’s pretty offputting (to me). So I almost always make it with milk.

Now, with milk. I have tried about every type of milk imaginable with this. Every time I have to almost throw my shoulder out shaking it before it dissolves. I don’t have this problem with Water (boom, instant swamp), but with milk, I swear for the first minute of shaking it looks like bubble tea the clumps of matcha are so prevalent. Taste as a latte though is really good. Great froth. Love the froth. Foamy goodness.

I haven’t tried this hot yet, so I can’t give my opinion on that yet. But I will say that between this and the matcha latte’s at Starbucks, this one is more smooth and mild.

Take it as it is. Like I said, I’m new to this realm of tea.

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68
drank Oi Ocha by Ito En
19 tasting notes

Has a stronger green tea flavor than a lot of similar beverages on the market. It isn’t sweet at all which may put some people off. Honestly I’d rather brew some loose leaf than buy a bottle of this, but if that wasn’t an option then this isn’t a bad second choice.

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(Copied and pasted because I realized I was in the wrong place)

Well, this is my second try with this, and while the consistency is better, I can’t say much for the flavor.

The first time I mixed this up, I tried to make a latte. I heated some milk and mixed in one packet. Unfortunately, it clumped and balled like mad and I ended up with a metric ton of green goo at the bottom of my mug, while the “latte” just tasted like milk.

So, today, I got a bottle of ice-cold water and tried to do it just like it said – one packet to one bottle. Then I shook the crap out of it. Well, it blended much better, but the taste isn’t the best. It is pretty bitter and blech, and while I have come to appreciate a strong grassy flavor, I found myself needing to add something to this to make it drinkable. I will say that one Splenda in the bottle made a world of difference as it tempered the bitterness but left the grass flavor. But at this point, I don’t know how much of the blech is my not being a pure matcha fan, how much is I don’t like cold matcha (my previous experiences were with hot matcha lattes) or how much is this brand is just bad. It’s frustrating because I really wanted to like this.

Oh well. More research is needed.

Flavors: Bitter, Grass

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drank Matcha Green Tea Jasmine by Ito En
1217 tasting notes

Another ugly ass matcha green tea from today. This one’s pretty dang brown in my cup. It’s thick and very grassy and mineral with the jasmine scenting reminding me of cheap jasmine green teabags. Weird thing: some sencha can be buttery. This one is. The butter flavor and thickness do not mix well with jasmine scenting.

I feel very calm after drinking this one, just like I would drinking any other Japanese green with high theanine and catechin content. That’s a major plus.

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Grass, Jasmine, Mineral, Thick

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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81
drank Hojicha by Ito En
18 tasting notes

Good, classic hojicha. Looks as it should, smells as it should, tastes as it should.

Flavors: Roasted, Salt, Salty, Seaweed

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77
drank Karigane green tea by Ito En
18 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Sweet

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77
drank Karigane green tea by Ito En
29 tasting notes

Standard Karigane, it does the job if you are looking for exactly that:
good twig quality, nice sweetness.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet

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drank Uji Kabuse by Ito En
1 tasting notes

Dry Aroma: Bright, green apples, green but not grassy, sweet and sour

Wet Leaves

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 30 sec 5 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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96
drank Oi Ocha Hoji-cha by Ito En
590 tasting notes

I picked up a bottle of this at Mitsuwa today instead of my usual Ito-En Golden Oolong and Green Tea. I’m surprised at how much I liked it because I usually don’t care for hojicha and roasted teas in general. This is a roasty tea for sure, but not aggressively so. It’s really smooth and gentle with a nutty flavor and a soft, faint oily finish. It’s very warming (even chilled) and comforting like genmaicha. The taste is similar to a roasted oolong and reminded me of Golden Oolong except this one is darker and doesn’t have the floral-cinnamon notes.

For a bottled tea, this was outstanding and probably the best hojicha I’ve ever had. Its miles above your standard grocery store bottled tea, although that’s generally true for most Ito-en teas. This would be a great summer drink and makes me want to branch out from my standard green teas to explore hojicha.

Flavors: Dark Wood, Nutty, Roasted, Smooth

derk

Those Oi Ocha teas were a game changer for me. I graduated from a gas station/grocery store brand called Tradewinds Unsweetened black (which back in the early 2000s was amazing; it’s now cheaply brewed and a shadow of its former self) to the line of Oi Ocha teas when I moved to California. And honestly, I think they’re what led me into higher quality loose-leaf.

LuckyMe

Yeah Oi Ocha are pretty much the only bottled teas I ever buy. TeasTea are also good and I think it’s by Ito En too.

Mastress Alita

I wish these were available where I live. Seriously, the bottled iced tea game out here in Idaho is aaaaaaaaaawful.

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74
drank Oi Ocha by Ito En
1269 tasting notes

Okay, actually I have this in tea bag form. So prepared hot. I have no idea where I get it, but; looks fresh.

Opened the foil wrapping with my carpet cutter (well, collection, you know :D) and lots of dust went out. A matcha? Anyway, I wanted a green tea today and it is a green tea.
Heated the kettle, the cup, in the cup it goes… Forgot completely make notes about dry leaf! Here is it!
Dry aroma was very strong, I noticed lots of fresh peas, while my brother thought it is rather freshly mowed grass. Both of us are right I guess, then some vergetal notes, and at laste (but not least) buttery and umami.

Added water, about 76°C if my thermometer don´t lie. On bag is just “pour boiled water”. Hehe, 30 seconds steep? Nope here, as I probably used much bigger cup than they mean I used 90 seconds. And tea looks done. A cloudy, lime green liquor. Quite light.

Flavours, taste, whatever you call it. Vegetal, buttery, maybe bit nutty. But tasty green tea. It is 6 pm, and I am drinking probably quite strong green tea? Great, I won´t sleep I guess. So what?

If you get lucky to get it hot, I can recommend it fully! There are better green teas, not so buttery, but up to each one taste.

Flavors: Butter, Freshly Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Umami

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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75

Uh I mean it’s a good strong matcha drink shot in a can.

For an Ito-En, generic but solid company, they can’t mess up. nothing remarkable but it’s a solid matcha with no odd or artificial aftertastes. For those unaccustomed to making matcha you definitely can use this in drink mixes, probably easier. I also enjoy it with sparkling water if I had the time/resources in my cabinet.

But the main reason I feel most people get this is the same reason they get canned coffee. Easy to drink, easy to transport and you need that caffeine. I got these at work all the time back when I worked near a Japanese supermarket. Also a steady flow of energy with no crash, unlike coffee.

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80

It must be said – I am NOT A FAN of standard green teas. Having recently found out I was brewing them too hot (boiling water – URGH!), I have revisited a number of them. While this does reduce the bitterness, I was disappointed that they still taste like, well grass. Not that I have eaten grass, but they taste like it smells (or rather what cut grass smells like after it starts to dry out, something Aussies really know about because of the recent droughts). And because green tea has been advocated for good health, I REALLY wanted to like it…
Well, after much searching I may have found my go-to green tea.
The advantage is this one is designed to drink hot or cold! On that basis I bought two 20 infuser boxes on a twofer deal, so thank goodness I like it…
Admittedly I have only tried it cold so far, but the matcha/green tea combo means the grassy taste of the green tea comes through but doesn’t dominate. There’s that lovely earthy umami taste the matcha adds.
I added the teabag to my water bottle & left it in, as the taste wasn’t that strong even after 3 mins. I imaging if you leave it in indefinitely the typical green tea bitterness will start to dominate, so maybe about 5 mins max, or if you’re a fast water drinker, just finish the bottle!
I’ll have to try it hot next – they recommend the very short steeping time of 30 secs (time for 3-4 dunks) so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

NOTE – I dropped a bag in to cold infuse before heading to work (about 15 mins drive). Then got distracted by said work, so at least 20-30 mins before my first sip and yes, BITTER. So about 5-10 mins maximum seems to be the optimum time.

Flavors: Earth, Grass, Umami

Preparation
Iced 5 min, 0 sec 1 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
derk

This one is good brewed at room temp but it will take some trial and error to find the perfect timing and it is much less time than Chinese loose leaf green teas which I cold brew overnight. The 30s recommendation for this tea did nothing for me.

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The initial smell of this tea is sweet and inviting. The color is also nice and bright. I made it according to the package directions. I used a chashaku to scoop the tea, 3 ounces of water at ~ 170 degrees, and a chasen to whisk the tea.
The tea was bitter and grassy as I expected, but it was very underwhelming. The flavor was not quite as strong as I had hoped it would be from just smelling it. Next time I will try to use 2 ounces of water to see if that makes a difference.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 OZ / 88 ML

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drank Genmaicha by Ito En
62 tasting notes

Get’s the job done. Definitely possible to oversteep.

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75

Each bag of this barley tea is pretty prolific and brews 1-2 liters of fine cold brew tea!! It’s refreshing and simple, tastes like bready barley. If you’re looking to replace literally all of the water you drink with something refreshing that you probably can’t get sick of, this is your jam. One day I’ll get around to brewing it hot.

P.S. I ran out of lemonade once and made a “barley pick” with this tea iced, some good vodka and a little zero-cal sweetener. Absolutely amazing and probably dangerous.

P.P.S. one order of this tea comes with approx. one hundred billion very large bags. This is an extremely cost effective iced tea.

Flavors: Bread, Roasted Barley

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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95

This is probably one of my absolute favorites. When blended well, it’s sooooo smooth, and nothing needs to be added to it in order to make it the perfect cup. It just is. If you happen across this at the store, do yourself a favor and try it out.

Flavors: Green

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 45 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
2714 tasting notes

I need a pick me up. I have to keep going for at least another 90 minutes. I decided I need to drink up some of my older matcha but I think I will change my mind on that. Now that I have had Harney and Sons matcha, this one made me a little sad.

It isn’t terrible and isn’t the worst matcha I have ever had, but life is short and I don’t need to waste time drinking things I don’t love. This is now being relegated to matcha latte stash. This is my last bowl of this one straight. No guilt. No shame.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, ashmanra, for giving the rest of us this kind of permission too. :)

gmathis

Yep, it’s time to thin my collection, as soon as I have time to thin my collection. (Oy!)

ashmanra

My pleasure! :D

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drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
2714 tasting notes

A quick cup for a pick me up this afternoon. Two scoops, paste made with cold water, 160F water added and whisked, three chocolate squares consumed. And I made it! Trip to grocery, post office, bank, and….ahem….the liquor store, for vodka that I use to clean the chicken coop, preserve my homemade juju, and make vanilla extract. Yes, really. I don’t drink the stuff! It seems quite horrible to me, honestly.

This is a very drinkable matcha, though it doesn’t hold a candle to the now defunct KaiMatcha Premium. I miss you, KMP!

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drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
2714 tasting notes

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one, as I have had it quite a few times.

Yesterday I saw a video on Facebook of a tea master making Matcha. He used cold water to make the paste and it said you didn’t need to sift if you do this. I do always begin with a paste using sifted matcha, but always the same water I am making the matcha with – around 160F. I decided to give his method a try.

I consider it a success. At first I thought I was going to have some clumps but they dissolved well. I probably used a little more cold water than I should have. Next time I will make a thicker paste. I added two scoops of powder because I have a headache and a lot left to do today.

I really believe this is the thickest, loveliest froth I have ever seen for this matcha. As sticky and muggy as it is outside, I do not mourn the loss of a degree or two of temperature in the cha wan.

As for the matcha itself, it was a super economical buy and tastes good enough to drink as a daily drinker. It still doesn’t beat D25 or KaiMatcha Premium, which sadly seems to have gone out of business. But for the price and for a quick afternoon bowl of sustaining matcha, I’ll take it! Grassy, not sour, sweet and smooth enough to stand above culinary grade.

Fjellrev

Cool, I should try that method sometime too.

Terri HarpLady

Huh, I had no idea! I need to try that method as well. But first I need to get more matcha! I hoarded my KaiMatcha in the freezer forever, and it was a sad day when I finally finished off the final tin. My Cha wan is lonely, my little whisk is bored…

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