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Recent Tasting Notes
I know it’s only genmaicha but I really love this one. I had previously bought genmaicha dusted with matcha, but the matcha added extra caffeine that I didn’t need at night and made the liquor murky. This is a high quality genmaicha that’s just regular sencha mixed with puffed brown rice and these popcorn looking pieces. Taste is very smooth and clean. Liquor is a clear, yellowish-green color. Good balance of toasty and grass flavors. It gives several tasty infusions and can easily be blended with matcha or plain sencha for some oomph.
Flavors: Popcorn, Toasted Rice
This can be a hard hitting tea at first but as your steeps go on it really changes character and goes from a lot of astringency into floral and grassy tones. The aftertaste of ocean air is always around and it leaves your mouth feeling a bit dry.
Note: Lowering the temperature and/or a shorter steep time can fight off the astringency some if its not your thing. However it will always be around.
1st Steep: A large astringency hits me and leaves my mouth feeling dry and am left with the light aftertaste of ocean air.
2nd Steep: The 2nd steep brings out some grassy flavor and strengthens the taste of ocean air a lot which lingers long after the sip. The astringency is much toned down.
3rd Steep: The faint taste of flowers arrive and mix with the ocean air beautifully. This is where I feel the tea really comes alive. The astringency all but disappears, however your mouth will still feel a bit on the dry side.
4th Steep and Beyond: You’ll get floral and grassy notes as the flavor tapers off.
Overall I really enjoy this and recommend it for those who want something flavorful and with drastic changes over the steeps.
Flavors: Astringent, Drying, Flowers, Grass, Ocean Air
I’m only a beginner at this point about getting serious in the hobby. I found this to be among my favorites. I found I liked it brewed at 185F rather then the recommended 194F. This tones down the bitterness a lot and brings out a much more floral flavor particularly in the first steep. The 2nd and 3rd build on the spiciness more and gradually tapers off into more bitter territory after that.
Flavors: Floral, Nuts, Ocean Air, Spicy, Wood
Brewed this tea following package directions by steeping it like gyokuro style at low temperatures for the first steep and then like Sencha at higher temperature. First steeping tasted like kabusecha, earthy raw grass taste but mellower and without any umami. The next 3 steeps were citrusy with notes of wheat grass, kale, and yuzu.
This tea falls into the earthy category which I find hard to get into. It’s not terrible, but lacks the freshness and sweet grassy flavor of a good sencha.
Thanks to Yunomi for this sample. Up today we have ceremonial grad G1 matcha from Yunomi. According to the little sheet that came with it, the leaves come from Wazuka, Kyoto.
I started by prepping the matcha bowl but I did not heat it. I find I prefer to use slightly hotter water and then let it cool quickly in order to dissolve the powder without burning it. Pouring in a small amount of 175 water, I started to whisk quickly to get a good froth going. I was pleasantly surprised that it was easy to get a rich froth on the top of this tea.
After preparing the tea, I poured it into my tasting cup, and got a very thick dark green liqour with a light head of lighter green froth. The flavor is incredibly umami with strong grass, vegetal notes as well. Its also slightly sweet with only a very very tiny bit of bitterness on the end, in other words just right. I do adore a good balanced tea. I did prepare this tea a bit on a strong side since I wanted to get a full flavor profile, but matcha is very adjustable to taste.
Now one of the things I did to really put this tea through its paces, is let the last couple sips sit for a few minutes because sometimes that brings out the bitterness, and it didnt. It stayed rich, creamy and umami with that same hint of bitterness at the end.
Highly recommended if you enjoy dark green tea or matcha.
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Thanks to Yunomi for this sample. Looking at the leaves they are incredibly dark green and long and very fine. I get a bit of aroma of grass and green leaf vegetables from the dry leaf. Not at all unusual aroma’s for a deep steamed sencha. Heating the water to 175 I poured around the edge of the pot to not burn the leaf.
Brewing it up I get a very intense vegetal and grass aroma from the steeped liquor, it is also a medium green and slightly cloudy. Tasting it, I get umami, grass, green vegetables and a bit of butteryness. There is a slight bit of bitterness on the finish. I would recommend this tea for early afternoon as it seems to be rather energetic. The tea broth is very smooth, and refreshing which gets me curious how this would be iced.
This is the first time I’ve gotten to try an aged sencha, even though it only has about a year of age on it. Im actually curious what this would taste like if it was given more time. I have heard about aging sencha, but this is the first time Ive gotten to try it.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal
Thanks to Yunomi for this sample. Up today for tasting we have Hattori farm and this next part is a bit of a mouthful, Karigane Genmaicha Leaf Stem Brown Rice Tea. It’s a stem tea like kukicha it seems, with toasted rice. I started by bringing the kettle to 175 and getting the glass kyushu out.
Brewing it for 45 seconds as soon as I lifted the lid I got a very intense toasted rice and nutty aroma. The liquor is a pale olive green, probably due to the quite ample toasted rice in the tea and that stem tea is a paler color than leaf tea. Tasting it, I got brown toasted rice, nutty, vegetal and sweet grass flavors. Its very very smooth and easy to drink. This makes a perfect lunch or afternoon tea as its easily strong enough to hold up with food, and smooth enough to drink a nice mug of. It would also go well with a nice afternoon snack.
Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Vegetal
I have negligible experience with Japanese green tea, but after reading about the hype surrounding shincha for three years running, I decided to give it a try. Since I had no idea what I was doing, I bought Yunomi’s five-shincha sampler, plus a Bankoyaki mini kyusu for brewing, figuring that even if I’m not a shincha fan, it would come in handy for gyokuro.
This shincha gives off a grassy and marine aroma, without any other notes that I can pick up. The leaves range from long to fragmented and there’s some powder in the bag. I followed Yunomi’s instructions and steeped about three grams of tea at 158F for one minute, followed by three subsequent one-minute steeps at 176F.
Even at 158F, the astringency is quite noticeable, though not overpowering. Spinach, asparagus, and umami are also present and the tea is brothy and smooth. I’m glad I bought the smallest kyusu available because I suspect I wouldn’t want to drink such a strong tea in quantity.
Increasing the temperature made the tea taste like all the vegetables I assiduously avoided as a kid—kale, Brussels sprouts, and spinach again. The astringency and umami have gotten even more pronounced. This tea tastes healthy, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
The third steep has a bit less of a kick, but the same basic flavours. The fourth reverts to marine and grassy notes, though they’re much less distinct. This tea also seems to have a large amount of caffeine.
This shincha was a lot “greener” and more assertive than its Chinese counterparts. I might try it at a lower temperature to see if I can coax out some sweetness. It would also be much better as a morning pick-me-up than as an afternoon tea.
Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Freshly Cut Grass, Kale, Lettuce, Marine, Umami, Vegetal
This is a mellow green tea with a touch of yuzu citrus. The dry leaves smell like citrus kitchen cleaner. After brewing, they have a lemon pepper and herbs like smell. The taste is crisp and clean. The yuzu is well balanced and doesn’t dominate the tea but simply adds a nice lemony accent.
This tea really shines when cold steeped. The citron flavor becomes brighter and it’s very refreshing on a hot day.
Flavors: Citrus, Lemon
I’ve been trying to kick the coffee habit, and I’ve been looking for teas to replace it. I’ve had my fair share of “coffee flavored blacks”, but I prefer to keep my tea as pure as I can. With that said, someone suggested hojicha as an alternative. Hojicha is a little trickier to find in the US, but in Japan it’s pretty much the defacto tea served at meals. This hojicha is a little better than most. Nice and smooth. Some nutty and roasty notes but nothing too overpowering. This tea is actually really good cold too!
While hojicha is a green tea, it doesn’t taste anything like green tea. It doesn’t really taste like coffee either. I think this is a great gateway tea though, especially for those that think green tea is too vegetal. And it doesn’t really get a bitter which is a nice change of pace from most greens.
I learned about this tea a few months ago and I have become fascinated with it since I suffer from allergies a LOT, and I absolutely hate taking medicine for it. Normally I see it in powdered form but this was my first time seeing it in full leaf form. The tea is pretty normal tasting for a green tea, but it is quite expensive for what you get. I think I prefer the powder because I can control the amount and it’s easier to carry in my purse. I almost think it’s better to take the powder since you’d be ingesting the whole leaf, and isn’t that what you want to do if you want to fight allergies? Either way, this is a good alternative if you’re not a fan of powder or prefer loose leaf.
I can’t really comment on the allergy relief because it’s not really an instant thing. You have to take it several months ahead of time before hay fever season starts. I plan to do that next year to see if it helps. Apparently it’s a big thing in Japan.
Almost near the end of my sampler pouch and I’m kinda sorta beginning to like this tea. I start off with tepid water around 125 F for 2 minutes which produces a crisp, umami-sweet infusion. Then I up the temperature to 195 F for about 20s for the second steeping and maintain high temperatures for subsequent steeps. The flavor is a kale vegetal and it still has the earthy grassiness but it’s a little toned down.
This is pretty mellow and soothing tea. I don’t care for the earthiness but I like it for a change of pace from grassy senchas.
Flavors: Earth, Grass
Second Yunomi shincha of 2017.
I followed the packet instructions which say to steep at lower temperatures like gyokuro. The resultant tea is very umami-heavy and briny. It has that brothy quality I associate with matcha. I liked it better at around 175 F where the umami was toned down and flavor a little more balanced. The mouthfeel is light and there is no astringency even at higher than usual temperatures.
Being partially shaded, this tea has elements of both Sencha and gyokuro, though not necessarily the ones I seek out. It has the umami of gyokuro but without the sweetness. There’s grassiness but it’s too earthy.
While I usually love Japanese green teas, this one was really not up my alley. Both of my Yunomi shinchas this year were misses, but thankfully I only got samplers. I do appreciate the ability to buy sample sizes of teas at Yunomi rather than committing yourself to 100g packets that most Japanese vendors offer. That said, I hope I have better luck with the teas arriving from Yuuki-Cha this week.
Flavors: Broth, Grass, Umami
My first shincha of 2017. This tea promises a unique flavor that’s rich in orchid florals. The orchid flavor makes a brief appearance but is muddled with persistent bitterness which reminded me of sheng puerh.
I steeped 2g of leaf in a 120ml teapot.
Leaf appearance: dark, broken leaves that turn an unappealing yellow after steeping. barely any aroma.
First steep: 60s @ 160 F. Light bodied, pale yellowish liquor. it has some gyokuro umami and melon like fruitiness.
Second steep: 20s @ 170 F. A nice hint of sweet orchid clashing with the tea’s astringency.
Third steep: 85s @ 170 F. Sharply astringent
At $8 for 10g, this was the most expensive sencha I’ve ever tried and not worth it when a quality gyokuro can be had for half the price.
Flavors: Astringent, Orchid
2016 harvest. Been trying to sipdown as many of my greens as possible, but it is proving to be a challenge.
Been working my way through this kabusecha recently and have found it to be enjoyable. Sweet and umami with faint spinach and grassy notes. The liquor is a light yellow and the mouthfeel is very smooth. If I didn’t have so many other greens and shincha to get through I’d consider giving the 2017 harvest a try.
Flavors: Grass, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Umami
Steeped 5g tea in 8oz of 80°C/176°F water for 1 minute. (Received as a free sample)
The tea was very yellow/green bright and strong. Leaves were very powdery.
Nice light aroma. Great tasting tea which made my tongue react.
Tastes more powerful than it smells. Steeped 3 times over the day.
A delicious brew by Yunomi.life and Seikoen’s facilities. Definitely something to enjoy and check out. Check out my video review!
Flavors: Green, Seaweed, Smooth, Umami, Vegetal
Followed Yunomi’s guidelines on steeping this one. This sencha has a sweet, umami aroma and produces a nice, golden liquor. The flavor profile is a light-tasting blend of sweet, beany and umami. I would characterize it as being similar to a kabusecha in flavor profile, but much, much lighter in terms of the actual strength of the flavor. For those who do like the tastes shaded greens have, this would make a good daily drinker between sessions of the high end stuff! Thanks for the sample, Hoálatha!
Flavors: Beany, Sweet, Umami
The weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining, so i’ve been craving something a bit more “green”, and this tea fit the bill quite nicely. The leaves are short and thick with a heavy scent of umami that is quite lovely. I grabbed my kyusu and scooped some inside. The brew is brilliantly clear and light jade with a nice warming umami taste with a green grassy base. The brew is not overly complex, but it is enjoyable to drink, and it will do perfectly today.
Flavors: Grass, Green, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal