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Recent Tasting Notes
This is not the most complex or unique sencha, it’s just very solid. It has clear liquor, a well balanced astringency and bitterness as well as a good range of flavours. The body is medium and the mouthfeel on the oily side I’d say.
I didn’t find the aroma to be particularly strong, but I did detect notes of green vegetables, banana, baked bread in the dry leaf scent. First infusion is very mineral and yeasty with a light sweetness and an intriguing spiciness. There are marine notes as well as a bone broth flavour. Subsequent steeps highlight more of vegetable and fruity flavours, such as broccoli and peach. The aftertaste has a sugary sweetness throughout, but not that much going on beyond that.
Flavors: Baked Bread, banana, Broccoli, Broth, Drying, Fruity, Marine, Mineral, Peach, Pleasantly Sour, Spicy, Sugar, Sweet, Umami, Vegetables, Yeast
I continue my little personal exploration of Japanese black teas. This is the aged tea (2016 harvest) from the northern coast of Japan, from Matsue – which is not far from Hiroshima. As is common for Japanese blacks, this tea is quite chopped up into small pieces.
The dry leaf has a strong umami smell of vegetable broth, with the secondary notes of seaweed and soy sauce. The tea, which I prepared in the Western style, is pale of color. The dominant notes are of the same boiled vegetables: cabbage, carrots. Also present are seaweed, tartness, and the unavoidable tongue-puckering Assamica maltiness.
The vegetable taste lingers quite a bit and coats your mouth. Unfortunately, the Assamica tartness readily lingers as well, and since the tea is so finely chopped-up it is really easy to overbrew it.
Overall, the taste is not by any means complex, but somewhat unusual and pleasant – especially if you are into soups and boiled vegetables. It would be interesting to see how this tea would come out if the leaves were preserved intact. I honestly do not understand that insatiable desire of Japanese tea makers to pulverize any cha that comes their way.
Flavors: Carrot, Malt, Seaweed, Soy sauce, Tart, Vegetable Broth
This sencha seems to be more about the flavour than anything else really. Having said that, the empty cup aroma is quite distinctive – and reminiscent of Taiwanese high mountain oolongs. The taste is balanced, but also a bit muted. It is a mix of bitter, sour, brothy, salty, and sweet flavours, with a fruity aftertaste that leaves a constrictive, cooling sensation. The mouthfeel is oily I’d say. Overall, it is different from other senchas I’ve had, probably mostly due to its processing, but not really better.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Green Apple, Salty, Sour, Sweet, Umami
Another tea from 2019 shincha sampler. This one is nicely balanced, but doesn’t break any new grounds I’d say. Smelling the leaves reminds me of freshly cut grass, chestnut, and chicken meat with a faint floral component. First infusion has a very good bitterness complementing the umami, chestnut sweetness and a sort of nutty earthiness (quite different from the crisp nutty taste you tend to get in Chinese greens). It is also a bit tart and has a citrus fragrance. The liquor has a medium to full body and the mouthfeel lies somewhere between milky and creamy. Later infusions are also pleasant, but ultimately less interesting. They are more grassy and tangy, with a distinctive throat warming sensation.
Flavors: Bitter, Chestnut, Citrus, Freshly Cut Grass, Meat, Nutty, Tangy, Tart, Umami
I would not rate, as I have no idea what I am doing. See for reference:
Exactly me. My first matcha. And I have it for long. Two years. All the time air-sealed.
Anyway, I tried to prepare it best as I can. It is old one (probably) so… okay – still tasty though. Grassy, vegetal, full of umami.
Nice surprise for me. It is drinkable. But probably not so good as new one. But when I do not know where I had put it. Before that I did not had a bowl. Before I did not had a matcha whisk.
Note: I have no idea how hot the water was – 70°C maybe? I guess so. I have no idea about how many powder I have used. Maybe 2 grams, or maybe 3?
Flavors: Cut grass, Umami, Vegetal
This one of the better teas I got from Yunomi. The leaves are beautiful with a deep green colour and have an aroma of pine, green apple and green beans, complemented by yeast in a preheated pot. Wet leaves, on the other hand smell of freshly cut grass and cream.
The taste is well balanced and crisp with nutty bitterness, almost fruit-like sweetness and a light citrusy finish. First infusion is more similar to a gyokuro with strong umami, bready notes, and sweet aftertaste. Later infusions are more grassy with more bitterness as well.
Mouthfeel is very thick and unusually creamy for a sencha. It is active and warming in the throat, very nice overall.
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Creamy, Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Green Apple, Green Beans, Pine, Straw, Sweet, Umami, Yeast
This is quite a bitter green tea that is hard to brew right. I like it more as a cold brew, but even there, it doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It does have some interesting characteristics, like a mild buttery/nutty taste and aftertaste, a spicy finish and cooling throatfeel, but overall just isn’t very appealing to me.
Flavors: Apple, Bitter, Butter, Drying, Nutty, Sour, Sweet
Quick tasting note:
I had it in the afternoon and now writing it after watching Cirque de Soleil show on TV. Love it!
As for “tea”, I took two teaspoons for 300 ml glass mug. Hot water.
Other family members thought it’s weak, unflavourful.
But my senses are saying something else. I liked light roasted notes, bit nutty, bit coffee bitterness (I had dark coffee just once, otherwise I drink cappuccino or latté, if I do).
It was interesting and I will try cold brew too.
PS: tomorrow I am leaving for week long holiday. No, or very limited internet connection. Taking my DF teas with me to drink while other will have afternoon coffee. I won’t make tasting notes for sure. I will be okay, I will come up with some very nice tea!
Lately I’ve had intense cravings for Japanese green tea and finished my stash in record time. With still a month to go until shincha season, I bought a 20g pouch of this as a stopgap. Yunomi teas in my experience aren’t that impressive but they are one of the few Japanese vendors who offer samplers which I appreciate since I didn’t want to be stuck with a 100g bag of last year’s tea.
For this tea, I used 2.5g in a 150ml kyusu starting with 140-145 F water and steeped for 1 minute. Leaves had the signature scent of warm grass and nori seaweed. In the warmed kyusu, I got new aromas of spinach and stir fried kale and swiss chard. The first steep is light and mellow with the taste of freshly cut grass, umami, and a little sweetness as it cools. A little reminiscent of kabusecha though not as earthy. Second infusion is with hotter water, anywhere from 165 F to boiling, and has a thick deep color and texture. Strong vegetal taste like broccoli with a bit of chalkiness. It’s like drinking a thin matcha. Third steep is flatter with a generic green tea flavor.
Though not a particularly exciting tea, it’s still quite serviceable and decent for a year old sencha. Doesn’t resteep well so it’s kind of a “one and done” tea.
Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Umami
A first gyokuro, courtesy of the benevolent Togo, thank you <3 I think this may also be the first tea I’ve had from our second swap. Is kabusecha a gyokuro? If so, this is my second.
It is a rough morning in the house of derk. I’ve had to close my door and put on a record to keep the negativity of Housemate #2 at bay. Somewhere along this timeline I acquired a Ravi Shankar album and this is the first performance on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjjOXIoCLPI
I’m still in the midst of this session but feel the need to write. After reading through the reviews of this tea (this is why Steepster is so helpful!), I prepared the entire 7g of dark green, shiny leaves in a 60mL gaiwan since I do not own any Japanese teaware. First boiled the water, then let it cool by passing it between a few vessels, warming the leaves during that process. The warmed leaf emitted a thick cloud of pine, sugar cookie and beef along with a fruity quality.
I did not keep track of steeping times beyond the initial 2 minutes and let the force guide me. The gyokuro soaked up so much water in the first brew that I barely got maybe 25mL of tea. Due to the liquor’s thickness, though, it seems like an appropriate amount to sip. Bitter with a moderate umami, like dandelion greens simmered with lamb or beef bones. Umami aftertaste with lingering bitterness and what I perceived as a whisper of smoke.
The tea maintained this character for at least 3 more steeps.
With the fourth steep a bright sweetness presented at the top back of the mouth. I sipped some of the leftover water that had cooled and that intensified the sweetness. I think this is something I will do in between these small cups. Later, that sweetness seemed to migrate down into my throat and into my chest. I’m on the 7th infusion now and the thickness has faded while the bitterness and beefy umami are still present, now with a lighter but still dark vegetal tone like kale and asparagus. All I’ve had to eat this morning is half a roll smeared with a bit of brie style cheese I picked up from a cheesemaker on my way home from work the other day. My stomach is not queasy at all. I’m pretty relaxed. Gyokuro is interesting. I think I enjoy it more than sencha.
Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Cookie, Dandelion, Kale, Meat, Pine, Smoke, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Vegetal
Let me start by saying I’m not sure this is the right listing for this. I know it’s Yunomi and I know it’s Genmaicha. That’s all I know. Anyway, I guess I never reviewed this, even though I’ve been drinking it for a month and a half now.
I really can’t give distinct brewing parameters on this one because I brewed it with 5g for 1.5 minutes in 16 oz of water, and it was way too weak, so I stuffed about another two scoops of tea in and brewed it for another 45 seconds and it was much better.
Taste is… wonderful. I’ve been drinking this for awhile now so I can’t give you my first thoughts on it but my ongoing thoughs are that it is a nice balance between green tea vegetal and brown rice toasty. Just the perfect combination. It tastes like a green tea rice cake, If I would have to label the flavor. There is definite seaweed flavor to this, but that fine with me because I love seaweed. I would make seaweed salads if I knew where to get it! I’m also getting, as I said, that roasted flavor that tastes a bit like toasted bread. That’s pretty much the extent of this tea – seaweed and toast. It sounds like it would be disgusting but I adore it. For me, this is a great tea. I will recommend it however, knowing that many others might not go for it like I do. And that’s fine. To each their own.
But I love it. :)
Flavors: Brown Toast, Roasted, Seaweed, Vegetal
Don’t have much to add as there are already very good descriptions of this tea.
It is almost like eating a sugar cookie with buttercream-cherry icing — heavy on the butter, light on the floral cherry — while sitting on bed of fresh and fragrant sweet grass.
A second steep brings out more of the spinach vegetal flavor of the sencha and the cherry blossom becomes even more subtle but it’s still a delightful sip.
Thank you Mastress Alita.
Thank you, Derk :D
Was getting close to midnight and decided for a low caffeine option. Still working hard at getting some tea off my shelf so I can buy more without having that overwhelming feeling of having too much on my shelf. Good luck, right? hehe
The golden sticks (stems) after the first infusion smelled like roasted nori, sweet tobacco. The cloudy, dark amber liquor produced infusions that had a toasty sweet flavor, along with roasted rice, umami, roasted malt and nuts, and smokey notes.
The site suggested 5 grams, 60s, 194°F, 200 ml. I went with a little more concentrated preparation of 5g, 100ml, beginning at 194°F (and later ramping up the temperature), 7 steeps, no rinse, 15s, 20s, 35s, 45s, 55s, 65s, 90s. The first couple of quick infusions introduced the roasted rice, fresh sweetness, bright notes, and at the end, I used close to boiling water for the longer infusions, the result was darker notes of roasted nuts, caramel-like, a different type of sweetness, more intense sweetness. Throughout all the infusions, the bitterness was at a perfect level of enjoyment. Mellow, smooth, calming, satisfying.
Note: Still a lot of flavor, I’ll probably keep drinking this throughout the night. It’s really good :D. Also, I’m biased… I grew up on Japanese tea so take that into consideration. ^^
Flavors: Caramel, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Tobacco, Umami
Thank you Cameron B. I love this!
Busy day and I put this in my sipper and it’s so good! On the second infusion now. The Sencha is top notch, the subtle and delicate flavors of fruit, cherry, butter, and the sweetness are spot on. Love it. Really good reviews on this “Je ne sais quoi” type of tea so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll definitely get some for my shelf.
Flavors: Butter, Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Creamy, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 37
It’s been a while since I’ve had a Japanese green tea, even though they happen to be some of my favorites. I’m not sure why that is, really… But today, we rectify!
I have a 20g packet of this from my Yunomi subscription. Full disclosure – it’s a few months past the “best by” date… But it was completely sealed, so I’m giving it a go anyway. I followed the steeping parameters on the packet for the first 3 steeps, and then went with a further 4th steep because it still had such good flavor.
My leaf was a bit broken, so I was worried about this being bitter. But it definitely was not!
This is a very tasty, well-balanced sencha. It has a nice combination of both sweet and savory vegetal notes, along with a refreshing light citrus note. The most amazing thing about this one, though, is the tasty sakura note. It actually tastes like a very lightly sakura-scented sencha, even though there is no scenting here. I love sakura sencha, so I found this quite delightful!
The vegetal notes were a nice combination of sweet and creamy pea and edamame, along with more savory spinach and a touch of umami seaweed. The savory side was a bit stronger in the second infusion, and there was also a hint of very pleasant bitterness. The fourth (extra) steep was light and sweet, a lovely way to finish the session.
Yummy in my tummy… I’ll have to steep my favorite sakura sencha this way one of these days.
5g – 200ml – 175°F – 60/10/30/60s
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Creamy, Peas, Sakura, Seaweed, Smooth, Soybean, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
It’s been a long time since I tried a new gyokuro, so I was really excited to open this one as soon as it arrived in mail. I used about 5g for this session and the amount of water was ranging from 70ml to 100ml.
Leaves in the preheated kyusu have a pungent smell of beef and brownies that is a little sweet and cooling too. Once they had been submerged in water, aromas like chicken broth and cedar come to the fore. On the other hand, smelling the empty cup is like sticking your nose into a bag with a mixture of gummy bears and nuts.
Overall, I found this gyokuro to have a remarkably balanced, yet evolving taste. It is very delicate and juicy.
For the first infusion, I use 50°C water for about 90s. It yields a super soft, coating and lubricating mouthfeel. The taste is brothy and crisp. Umami is in moderation. Flavours of pine and kale are the ones I can isolate.
Second infusion is a flash one with temperature close to 60°C. The liquor is full bodied, buttery and extremely thick with a slightly minty mouthfeel. Taste is very different from the previous one. It is nutty and grassy with a hint of butter. The protracted aftertaste evolves from savoury to sweet. It leaves a tingling and a bit drying sensation in the mouth and throat. One new flavour that I notice is cauliflower, but there are many vegetal ones too.
Steep number three is done with 70°C water for less than 20s. Again, the taste changed a lot. This time, it is more fruity and sour. I get notes like dried lime (limoo amani), leek and asparagus.
The last two infusions have again increased temperature to 75°C and 85°C respectively. The times also go up to 60s and 180s. These are finally displaying some bitterness. Steep #4 is distinctively medicinal with a hint of thistles. The last one is not bad at all, but doesn’t really bring anyhting new to the table.
All in all, I greatly enjoyed this gyokuro and can recommend it without hesitation.
Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Broth, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Chicken Soup, Freshly Cut Grass, Fruity, Kale, Leeks, Lime, Meat, Medicinal, Nuts, Nutty, Pastries, Pine, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Thick, Umami, Vegetal
Discovery TTB #19
I’m generally not a big fan of Japanese green teas, but there was a large bag of this one in the box so I decided to give it a shot. The leaves brewed up to the brightest lime green tea I’ve ever seen! The flavor was unique: quite savory and a bit salty, reminding me of seaweed or perhaps a seafood broth. Not something I’d personally care to drink again, but it was a unique experience and I’m glad to have “discovered” it in this box!
Flavors: Fish Broth, Salty, Seaweed
Home – 7:00 PM
The Great Cupboard Excavation
Untasted teas remaining: 9
Wow, getting really close on trying all of these older teas. I’ve been slacking a bit because of my Bird & Blend order… Plus I’ve been drinking two advent calendar teas every day and recording the notes to be posted in December.
Hmm… I’m not sure I really get melon from this one. To me, it’s more of a combination of light bubblegum and banana flavors. The base tea is definitely a later harvest sencha or bancha, and has a grassy and somewhat dried leaf flavor. Ooh, now I am getting some melon near the end of the sip, and it’s lovely and creamy as well.
An interesting combination of flavors! There is a little bit of bitterness after the 2-minute steep recommended by the label. I see the directions on the website call for a slightly shorter steep, so perhaps they revised them after I bought this.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Banana, Bitter, Candy, Cream, Grass, Honeydew, Roasted, Sweet
Home – 6:30 PM
The Great Cupboard Excavation
Untasted teas remaining: 10
I’m trying to taste at least one older cupboard tea per day, even though all I want to do is dive headlong into my pile of Bird & Blend sample packets…
This one is a pleasant enough Japanese sencha. It has a strong vegetal presence – mostly blanched spinach with a touch of asparagus. There is also a lovely umami note, and a bit of seaweed but also some grassy sweetness. Only the tiniest hint of pleasant bitterness near the end of the sip, and a light apricot astringency in the aftertaste.
It’s perhaps not the most nuanced Japanese green tea, but it does have the classic sencha flavors and I’m finding it quite enjoyable this evening.
Flavors: Apricot, Asparagus, Astringent, Bitter, Grass, Seaweed, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
This tea was a new experience for me and I can’t wrap my thoughts around it. Very complex and different from the Obubu Dark Roast Houjicha I bought from What-Cha. I can say I really enjoyed this following Togo’s parameters in his latest review of this tea. I also simmered the leaves for 10 minutes to produce a mug of smooth, roasty and pleasantly bitter tea this morning. Want more, that’s all I really know. Thank you, Togo.
After reading Togo’s and Mastress Alita’s reviews, I went for a cold brew instead of hot. Ten grams of whole barley grains to a liter overnight in the fridge. The result was a very fragrant and refreshing cold drink! It had a light, coating texture and tasted on the sip like roasted grains (heh) and that turned into coffee and burnt sugar on the swallow. Lingering, pleasant aftertaste. I can see why this is so popular in the summer in Japan. Not as obviously coffee-tasting as the Lupicia Apricot Barley Tea I tried recently. I’ll have to make a stop at Yunomi for a big bag of this when I’m more comfortable with my cupboard size.
Thanks for the generous sample, Togo :)
Home – 2:00 PM
The Great Cupboard Excavation
Untasted teas remaining: 18
I wanted a nice palate-cleansing Japanese green tea after having a couple of very flavored black teas that I didn’t enjoy. Plus Japanese green tea is one of my favorites, so I’m always happy to relax with a cup of it.
This one is a blend of sencha and tea flowers. The flowers are really lovely, they’re whole and sort of bud-like, and they open nicely when steeped. To me, the dry leaf looks like it also contains some kukicha. But that’s not mentioned in the tea description, so who knows. The sencha leaves are somewhat large and flat, rather than being dark and needle-like.
The steeped tea is light and almost golden in color. It’s quite sweet and light and clean-tasting, which to me would make sense if there is indeed kukicha mixed in. There are mild vegetal and grass notes, with a bit of spinach and perhaps a ligher, sweeter vegetable like peas. There is just a little hint of umami as well.
I’m surprised that it’s not very floral at all, although I’m not sure what tea flowers would taste like. I can detect just a tiny bit of floral at the end, but it’s certainly not similar to jasmine as the description implies. If anything, I would say it’s closer to a sakura flavor. But still very light, I’m not sure I would know there were added flowers just going by the flavor.
Overall, it’s a very light Japanese green tea. I see now that the suggested water temperature is 194°F, so I’ll have to try that next time to see if it brings out more of a floral flavor.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Peas, Sakura, Spinach, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
This also makes a tasty cold brew. I used 1 sachet in 500mL for 8 hours but that could probably be decreased a few hours. The resulting tea was thicker and tasted grassier, less tart and a little more bitter which gave the tea more depth. That sweet Payday candy bar smell/taste weaved its way through all of that. Very refreshing.