Unzenen (雲仙園)

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Recent Tasting Notes


As I have been able to acquire some decent tea making equipment during the last month, I have also had the opportunity to make “better” tea, knowing the exact water temperature and not using bad tap water.

One usually says that water is the tea’s blood, and I think this is especially true for sencha and gyokuro teas. The tea today, torooricha, is one of the teas I have been experimenting various brewing methods on a lot since September. The tea is a stronger sencha and is supposed to have a more concentrated and rich taste than a normal sencha would. Testing a lot of different recommendations from different Japanese people and shops, the result was, well – various.

Making the tea now with better water and knowing what temperature the water had, made the result incredibly different. This time I also had in mind the wonderful saying Rob Yaple quoted in one of his tasting notes:

“The first cup is strong like love, the second bitter as life, and the third sweet like death.”

And indeed they were. The first cup had a rich a strong flavor that remained for quite a while in my mouth after drinking it.

The second cup was bitter, but not so bitter as I feared. It might be that since the tea is made to strong and rich in taste, the second bitterness was then a bit overshadowed by this taste. And surprisingly enough, apart from the vegetal taste the presence of citrus was also very dominant. A most pleasant and delicious surprise indeed, but it made me really worried about whether or not the last cup would be sweet at all.

However, the third cup actually held a good amount of sweetness in it! Not on the level of gyokuro of course, but enough so that its presence could in no way be ignored. A wonderful end to a series of different tastes.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

I’ve never heard of this! What does ‘torooricha’ mean, and how do they process it differently to make it so strong?


That is a really good question. I unfortunately heard just a tiny bit from the store clerk.

After doing some researching and consulting with a Japanese friend of mine, however, we have come to this conclusion: The tea’s name means ‘viscous tea’ and is produced from shincha grade fukamushi sencha, but made in a way so that it will be a bit more starchy in the cup.

That is probably why the bitterness was not so strong after the second steeping, I think.


That makes sense that some kind of fukamushi shincha would be quite strong. It is so interesting to learn about teas only found in Japan!

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Ever since I got a 200g bag with Matcha iri Genmaicha from an old Japanese couple I was visiting back in 2009, I have been longing for more of this kind of tea. This time I went to buy a more expensive version to see if it differed from the usual one got last time. And it certainly did.

The amount of matcha being used in this genmaicha is both of better quality and larger amount than the previous one. This covers more of the usually very strong taste of roasted rice and adds a more deep and strong flavour to the tea, which I think creates a most wonderful taste. Now only I wonder if I ever could enjoy the normal genmaicha as much as I did before – and how long the new tea will last before I have to buy it again.

It is to be noted, however, that since the powdered matcha will dissolve in water the tea will lose much of its flavour after the first steep.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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