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Recent Tasting Notes
This backlogged tasting note is long overdue considering I’ve had this for a year now. I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t really like straight matcha but love it in food and drink. I bought this specifically for making matcha lattes. It’s O-Cha’s lowest priced matcha and strikes a happy medium between the expensive ceremonial grade and culinary grade stuff.
The matcha powder I received had a date stamped that was almost 3 years old which irked me with a little. Harvest date is important for green tea and a tea that old has lost some of its freshness. Nevertheless, at $10.68 for 30g I wasn’t going to complain. I use 3-4 scoops with about 4 oz of 165 F water and whisk everything up in my chawan. The matcha froths nicely producing a brilliant green color. Tasting it straight, it’s vegetal and somewhat chalky. However with a splash of milk it transforms into a delicious matcha latte that still has an assertive green tea flavor.
By itself, there’s nothing remarkable about this tea but it suits my need for a green tea that can hold up well to milk and a little sweetener. I portioned it out and refrigerated it which helped preserve its freshness and flavor.
First time doing this, so pardon my messiness. If you have tips or advice for me, please message me them.
Side note: I didn’t rinse this tea.
Dry Leaf: Dark green leaves mixed with pale/golden green stems and leaves. Pink flakes resembling dried petals.
Wet Leaf: The dark green leaves darkened and became extremely flexible. The pink flakes has lost a lot of the pink coloring and puffed up a bit. The stems look paler.
Liquid: Pale golden greeny, cloudy
Dry Leaf: Grassy, slight floral, cherries
Wet Leaf: Wet Grass, slight bitterness, floral undertones
Steep #1: Brewed for a minute.
Light grassiness, asparagus after taste with delicate floral notes, smooth liquid, faint cherry tartness, light-neutral astringency. Over all the flavors are rather light which makes it refreshing. There’s no overpowering notes.
Steep #2: Brewed for 30 seconds.
No changes in the color of the leaves or liquid as well as the smell. The flavors are ever so slightly toned down but still noticeable. Seems more floral this time. The astringency is still the same as the first steeping. The smoothness of the liquid seems a bit more watered down. More cherry notes are coming out in the after taste.
Steep #3: Brewed for 2 minutes.
No changes in the color of the leaves or liquid as well as the smell. Like with the second steeping, the flavors seem even more tone downed. There’s a slight tarty floral with cherries taste to it. The astringency is still as strong as the first steeping. The grassy notes have moved to to the after taste now. Making it seem to dry my mouth more. The liquid seems to gain some the smoothness back as it thickened up a bit.
I have steeped this tea more than three times in the past but it get so watered down after the third one that it’s not worth it, in my opinion.
Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Drying, Grass, Green, Tart, Tea
Saw this tea discussed on Tea Chat when the 2016 batch was first released in limited quantities. Wanting to experience it myself I purchased 100 g and brew the tea in my Mini Shudei Tokoname teapot, 140ml.
I have limited experience with Sencha but can say this Yutaka Midori is everything the reviewers here describe. An exceptional tea.
Excellent quality price ratio. Overall a very nice tea. Bright green powder, with a fresh smooth smell. Prepared it as usucha (2,5-3 g), 60 ml, 75-85 C. Always got a creamy cup, with dense body and smooth taste. In general did not notice any astringency, or it was not disagreeable. However I missed some of the umami and sweetness of higher grade matchas.
Pretty good, but I wish it were a tad greener tasting. It’s got a strong toasty flavor and murky liquor. Less spectacular than the same tea from Yuuki-Cha. Matcha washes away after the first steep and then it tastes like a regular genmaicha. Not my favorite genmaicha but it does the job and is better than the bagged stuff.
Flavors: Toasted Rice
I’m down to my last serving of this tea and still am not sure how I feel about it. This tea gives me fits because it’s so finnicky. More often than not I miss the optimal steep window. But occasionally when I hit the target, the tea is amazing. Intensely grassy with a zesty vegetal flavor and a fresh ocean breeze aroma. There’s some umami, mineral notes, and even occasional hints of floral. It hits almost every flavor note I like.
However resteeps are less spectacular. Harsh sulphur-like bitterness mixed with a cooked broccoli aftertaste. Brewing in a clay teapot helps remove some of the bitterness and rounds out the taste.
Flavors: Grass, Green, Moss, Ocean Breeze
My first O-Cha order in a long time. O-Cha used to be my go-to online tea shop back in the day when I started drinking tea. As other tea stores sprang up, I eventually moved on. Still I have an affinity towards them and wanted to see how they stack up against Yunomi and Yuuki-Cha, my current favorite stores for Japanese tea.
When I opened the bag, I was surprised at the amount of broken and crushed leaves which resembled matcha more than sencha. It also meant more sediment in the cup than usual. The tea leaves in a warm gaiwan were fragrant with a deep, enticing aroma of fresh cut grass and spinach.
First steep was for 1 minute at 165 F. Pale green liquor. The flavor was buttery, slightly vegetal, and grassy. Pretty standard sencha taste.
Second steep was 30s at around 170 F. Grassy with a bit of astringency.
3rd and 4th steeps were 1:15 and 1:45 respectively using 175 F water. Flavor mostly faded, harsh bitterness.
I found this to be a very average tasting green tea. There’s some grassiness to it and that’s about it. It doesn’t have the depth and character of high grade senchas. It also doesn’t resteep well. The second infusion was ok, and the ones that followed were pretty terrible.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass
Opening the bag you’ll encounter very intense but at the same time pleasing grassy aroma of the leaves which happen to be light green in colour. Here and there you’ll notice stems which are lighter in colour and give this tea more natural look while you inspect it. Tea itself is mildly sweet and has a pleasing flavor. Using recommended brewing parameters, I encountered decent but not overwhelming astringent punch. Umami “runs away” quickly but it’s there. It’s light (green) in colour as well as in taste (almost like asamushi) but it has decent roundness. I prefered brewing it at the slightly higher tempereatures and for shorter periods of time to extract the most out of it and I was not dissapointed. Very nice organic green tea with floral aroma and subtle but “sincere” flavor. I like drinking it especially after my workouts- combining already elevated levels of endorphins with theanine and catehins from green tea is the way to go.
Flavors: Almond, Earth, Floral, Grass
I am reviewing the 2016 version of this tea which I still would say is fairly fresh like the rest of my Shincha. I would say this one is my favorite is has a really nice balanced flavor, vegetal and grassy with a mouthwatering sweet finish. Along with some mellow umami flavors and a tad of astringency.
Out of all of the ones I tried I found this to be my favorite and most memorable tea, one that I will for sure be buying more of in the future.
Flavors: Fruity, Grass, Seaweed, Umami, Vegetal
I am reviewing the 2016 Sencha Kaoru, I’ve had it around for a while but it still really fresh. Has a really nice sweet and grassy aroma and the leaves are quite small and broken up, which I find is normal for Fukamushi. Although I would say this one seems to be more steamed than the Yutaka Midori.It brews up a nice dark green color with some cloudiness, it has a wonderful grassy flavor along with quite a bit of umami. The flavor increased quite a lot on the second steep, to the point where the steep time had to be quite fast.
Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Umami
Dry leaf – GRASSY, VEGETAL, SWEET: dewy grass, cooked sweetcorn, pine nuts. In preheated vessel: vegetal aromas intensify – corn, sundried tomatoes; dried dill and parsley, hint of tangy tropical fruit.
Smell – GRASSY, VEGETAL: warm wet grass, tomato vine, corn, wilted spinach
Taste – GRASSY, VEGETAL, SWEET, MARINE: Arrival is new grass, sweetcorn. Develops into vegetal sweetness, cooked spinach, with notes of sweet butter and cooked pears. Finish is salty and marine, with the expected savory umami finish. Aftertaste has tart freshness of green apple and fresh mint.
Great tea. It’s like a little pouch of springtime. What I appreciate the most about it is its three distinct flavor profiles: thick, sweet grassy flavor that finishes in a mouth-coating marine brininess, which eventually transforms into a fresh and pleasant tartness.
In summation – the leaves look like green snuff, the brew achieves a glow-in-the-dark Ecto-Cooler green, and it tastes delicious. What’s not to love?
Dry leaf: SWEET and VEGETAL (sweetcorn, sweet tomato vine, sun-dried tomatoes, stone fruit, melon)
Smell: VEGETAL, GRASSY, SWEET (sweetcorn, edamame, sweet grass, cooked spinach, hints of peach and baking spices)
Taste: VEGETAL, GRASSY, FRUITY, and much MORE! (edamame, corn, spinach, tomato vine, nori, mulched grass, honeysuckle, fresh peach and apricot, cantaloupe and honeydew melon, hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, cherry wood, minerality, brine, vanilla extract, mint leaf, canned pineapple juice). Thick in mouth – flavors are long-lasting and develop considerably from arrival to finish to aftertaste.
This is the perfect tea with which to lie in ambush at work. As someone dunks a green tea bag into their mug, bust some of this stuff out and let its aromas and beautiful green leaves work their magic. Then, casually remark, “Oh – I like green tea too!” At this point, watch their dismay as they behold your radiant green tea wafting of melon and springtime as they take their mug of boiled sawdust back to their desk.
I’ve been out of school for the past couple weeks, hanging around Boston and now Santa Monica. Since it finally feels like summer, time to move into summer teas!
So this is the first shincha I’ve ever had, and I’m loving it! The color is this brilliant nuclear green, with little flecks of tender leaf. I’ve had little to no success brewing this in a gaiwan—instead,the best method I’ve found is 2g of leaf in 8 oz water, and 1 minute steeps.
Flavor wise, this tea tastes like eating buttered grass, it’s so smooth and sweet. Different sort of grassy than white tea, which tastes like tender grassroots. This is more like full grown, vegetal grass. Delicious!
Also, the other day I tried eating the steeped leaves with a little soy sauce, as per o-cha’s directions. It was surprisingly good! Sort of like spinach with sauce. I just got a few weird looks from my family…they don’t know what they’re missing.
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Flavors: Broccoli, Umami
This was a really mild-mannered and enjoyable gyokuro, really sweet and less umami-rich (savory) than the others I have tried, though I must admit at this point my experience with gyokuro is limited to this one and a sampler I tried of four different ones from Kurihara Family estate.
So, while the flavor this time didn’t have quite the intense umami that really impressed me from my former gyokuro experience, it also didn’t have strong bitterness at the end of the sip like the teas I tried from Kurihara Family. It’s kind of a trade-off. Do I prefer a gyokuro with a really rich umami flavor that packs a bit of a bitter punch at the end? Or one that is sweet and mild with just an average amount of umami flavor, that needs more leaf to have a rich flavor?
It’s hard to say, but it could in fact be the case that the Tsurujirushi represents a high enough quality gyokuro that I could simply use an even higher leaf to water ratio to bring out more of the rich umami flavor… Certainly the lack of much bitterness points in that direction, though I’m already using quite a bit of leaf with 3g per each 20ml of water and a 2 minute infusion at ~50C.
The second infusion of this tea actually had the best flavor and the most richness and depth. I shared this with a group of friends recently who were all enjoying gyokuro prepared the traditional way for the first time, and I was surprised that everyone enjoyed it. I think with the highly concentrated, tepid, tiny serving that you drink when serving gyokuro in this manner, it can be a bit of a strange experience for some tea drinkers. I know it was for me the first time I had it. The flavor was so intense and unlike anything else I’ve ever tasted. Pure umami kick to the tastebuds.
Overall, I would say the Tsurujirushi was a very clean-tasting and sweet gyokuro. Really easy to drink even in the highly concentrated way for beginners.
I think I would enjoy trying a wider variety of gyokuro before purchasing this one again, but to be honest gyokuro is not a favorite tea of mine and I’m simply fascinated by the method of preparing and drinking it, so in that regard, it’s a bit of a novelty to me. For something as diligently labored over and as highly priced as gyokuro, I think you have to really be into it to justify purchasing it more than once in a blue moon.
Despite this gyokuro does seem to be a pretty high quality, the only reason I’m not rating it more highly in my scoring is because I feel you have to really use a lot of it to bring out the flavor… and it’s expensive compared to other types of tea, so it’s quite a commitment.
Flavors: Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Another green tea redeemed! I had all but given up on this tea due to it’s flat astringent taste. Usually I brewed it between 165-170 F, which is within the standard temperature range for green tea. Yesterday I used slightly cooler water, about 160 F and brewed the tea 1 minute. It tasted like a completely different tea – buttery, smooth, and sweet. Second and third steeps for 25 and 45 seconds respectively, though were fairly non-descript .
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Sweet