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82
drank Hattori tea farm Genmaicha by Yunomi
104 tasting notes

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.

Recommended.

Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 tsp 4 OZ / 120 ML

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73

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

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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82

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

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 120 ML

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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.

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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.

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76

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

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 145 ML

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76

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

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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63

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

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Ubacat

Sometimes you need to go really short on the second and third steeps. I’ve gone as short as 2 seconds sometimes. Maybe that might help with the astringency.

LuckyMe

Interesting, I never thought to flash steep Japanese tea but it makes sense. I’ve got another Yunomi sample of kabusecha that I might experiment with.

tanluwils

I agree Yunomi’s teas can be really pricy without a discount. I think O-Cha and Yuuki-Cha are more consistent in price and quality.

Ubacat

I only do the flash steeping after the leaves wake up on the first steeping. I find some of the Japanese teas are tooooo intense after the first steeping.

tanluwils – I went with Yuuki-Cha this spring instead of Yunomi (which I’ve used the last 3 years). I like all the sample sizes offered by Yunomi (Yukki-Cha doesn’t have that) but it was hard finding one I really like. I do have my favourites I order them though and they are consistent.

LuckyMe

Haha, I did the opposite – ordered my shincha from Yunomi this year instead of Yuuki-Cha as I usually do. Mainly to sample different teas. Yuuki-Cha is good but 100g can be too much tea to commit it. I wish more Japanese vendors offered sample sizes of tea.

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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

Preparation
5 g

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83

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

A delicious brew by Yunomi.life and Seikoen’s facilities. Definitely something to enjoy and check out. Check out my video review!

https://worldteapodcast.com/videos/2017/5/16/snow-aged-green-tea

Flavors: Green, Seaweed, Smooth, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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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

Preparation
5 g

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84

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BR8pZ9EgTUN/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel&hl=en

Flavors: Grass, Green, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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60

A pretty innocuous sencha. There was a taste about this that, initially, I really wasn’t a fan of, but I seem to have gotten used to it over time and it doesn’t really bother me. A nice tea!

Flavors: Grass, Green, Melon

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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74

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this tea, but I really really enjoyed it. Definitely one I will be purchasing again in greater volume.

The dry leaf appeared in a variety of sizes. The color, however, was a uniform deep deep green as should be expected from a fukamushi. The aroma of the dry leaf is hard to describe. I want to call it deeply green, but that is more visual the related to smell. Nevertheless, that is what comes to mind. It was sweetly vegetal with hints of hay, but overall I would choose to describe it as deeply green.

The first steep of 5g in 1cup of water at 160 degrees for 30 seconds was not initially impressive. The wet leaf was average. The aroma of the leaf was slightly better. The aroma was strongly reminiscent of kale, spinach, and other bitter greens. The liquor, however, started to stand out. It has the appearance of a beautiful lime green color with lots of suspended leaf, even through my fairly fine strainer. The aroma was bitter, reminiscent of kale and bitter greens again.

The taste, however, was very much redeeming. It was simply very well balanced. It has a very light bitterness balanced with a sweetness and an astringent aftertaste. It is all things combined into one sip. Overall highly enjoyable.

Ratings (from 0-10)

6 – Dry Leaf Appearance
8 – Dry Leaf Smell
6 – Wet Leaf Appearance
7 – Wet Leaf Smell
8 – Liquor Appearance
7 – Aroma
8 – Taste
7 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

= 73.5 = 74

Rating Multipliers

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Flavors: Bitter, Green, Hay, Kale

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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65

I was very excited to get this tea from Ian to try out. I’ve been eying it for a while due to it’s low cost and the fact that it is organic (a big plus for me). It seemed like a good everyday sencha. I have to say, I was not disappointed.

The dry leaf, although not super uniform, is a beautiful deep green. The aroma is fresh, grassy, and slightly sweet. After the water hits the leafs they turn into your typical wet tea leaf. A mixture of different shades of light and dark green. The aroma of the wet leaf is slightly sweeter than the dry. The liquor is a beautiful yellow, almost green. The yellow is much more prominent. The aroma of the liquor is light. Nothing too strong.

The taste is that of an average sencha. There is nothing that stands out, besides that it tastes good. It is grassy, sweet, and slightly astringent all at the same time. There are hints of umami, but nothing overwhelming like a gyokuro. Overall just a very good average sencha. Something I will certainly be adding to my everyday drink rotation due to the excellent price.

Ratings (from 0-10)

7 – Dry Leaf Appearance
7 – Dry Leaf Smell
7 – Wet Leaf Appearance
8 – Wet Leaf Smell
7 – Liquor Appearance
5 – Aroma
7 – Taste
10 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

= 65

Rating Multipliers

0.5 – Dry Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Dry Leaf Smell
0.5 – Wet Leaf Appearance
0.5 – Wet Leaf Smell
0.5 – Liquor Appearance
3.5 – Aroma
3.5 – Taste
0.5 – Value (Is this taste, aroma, and overall experience worth the cost.)

Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Umami

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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95

I love sakura flavored anything, so when Yunomi rolled out this new blend a couple of weeks ago I rushed to order a sample. I was especially excited that this was a naturally flavored tea, scented only with real cherry flowers. Salt pickled sakura blossoms notwithstanding, nearly every cherry blossom tea I’ve come across has added flavoring which I’m not a fan of. The only other one I’ve liked is Den’s Sakura Sencha.

Upon opening the pouch, I immediately felt transported to a field of blossoming cherry trees in springtime. The aroma of the tea is almost ethereal, fruity and elegantly floral. There’s nothing artificial about it at all, neither in aroma or flavor. The taste is exquisitely subtle, more sencha than sakura. You taste the fresh sencha first followed by a delightful cherry blossom flavor that gently dances across your palate. I recommend letting the tea cool a bit to really taste the sakura. The base sencha is buttery and light, and unlike Den’s blend, is not very grassy. Its mellow body lets the soft cherry flavor shine through.

The flavoring here is verrry light. For some it may be too weak but as someone who finds most flavored teas too overpowering, it was perfect for me. This is the first flavored tea – aside from jasmine – that I could drink straight without needing to underleaf or blend with a straight tea. I think this one will appeal most to those who drink straight green teas.

Compared to my other favorite, Den’s is a deeply grassy green tea with a stronger cherry flavoring that can taste a bit medicinal while this is a more low-key affair and is by far the most natural tasting sakura tea I’ve ever tried.

Flavors: Butter, Cherry Blossom

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 120 OZ / 3548 ML

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Very nice daily drinker of a sencha. It’s nothing too special, and it doesn’t wow me with depth of flavor or anything. Not too much of the sort of nuttiness that you sometimes get in senchas either. Just some green grassy/vegetal sweetness for the most part. Also no bitterness or astringency to contend with. Glad I picked some up as it easily satisfies a random green tea craving now and again.

Flavors: Grass, Green, Vegetal

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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90

Yum, this is my kind of sencha. Spinachy aroma, brisk with a nice grassy fresh taste. It picks up a tiny bit of astringency over successive cups which provides a nice contrast to the sweetness. I got 4 good steeps out of this tea, pretty good for a Japanese green tea. The only knock against it may be that it lacks the complexity of better senchas but that’s a fairly minor quibble.

Pleasantly surprised by how good the flavor was considering this is a nearly 2 year old sample.

Flavors: Grass, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 120 ML
Ubacat

There are so many senchas at Yunomi it’s hard to pick one. I’ve gone through a few samples from Yunomi over the years and so far Kurihara Imperial Sencha has been my favourite. I don’t think I’ve tried this one so I’ll have to add a sample on my next order.

LuckyMe

I know what you mean, there’s a dizzying array of teas on Yunomi and what makes it hard is the flavor difference between Japanese greens is smaller compared to Chinese teas. I usually just go for something I haven’t ordered before that has decent reviews and hope for the best lol

Ken

Wow so many teas on their site.

I do love a good sencha!

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I finally drank this today. (And finally caught up on my notes!!!) I wasn’t really sure how to approach it. Since it is made from roasted tencha—the leaves generally used to make matcha—does that mean one prepares it like matcha? I spent time contemplating and researching this in the past and didn’t get anywhere, which is part of why I’m only trying this now. Being lazy and short on time, I decided to just pour in the minimum amount of water recommended on the package and whisk to stir it up.

Did that. This tea looks like the ugliest matcha you can imagine. But it tastes just like houjicha. There is a bit of a sour note at the very front, and the rest is roasty with a lingering creamy finish. And unlike my usual go-to houjicha, which is a karigane type (which equals even less caffeine than usual), I definitely felt the caffeine in this. So I could see it serving as an alternative to matcha when I need a boost in the morning.

Flavors: Creamy, Roasted, Sour

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 g 4 OZ / 105 ML

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