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Recent Tasting Notes
For review, brewed around 150F for a little under two minutes for the first steep. Pours a medium cloudy green, plenty of sediment from my pot with a clay filter (recommend using a mesh filter for this one). The smell is sweet, comforting, and slightly brothy. The texture is thick, almost creamy. The taste has that sweet-savory balance of cooked shiitake, but with a more green/grassy flavor. There’s a touch of bright, tangy sourness on the palate and a light astringency on the tongue. The overall effect is quite comforting. The second steep is thinner and slightly more bitter.
Flavors: Broth, Grass, Mushrooms
My first experience with Japanese oolongs, and I’m impressed. Leaves are a rich dark green, rolled into irregular shapes. For this testing I brewed at 200F in a kyusu clay pot. The liquor was a dark gold with a touch of green, slightly cloudy. The taste is a rich but restrained floral flavor (the seller says it’s gardenia, specifically—I don’t know my flowers well enough to confirm). The light roasting gives it a smooth palate with light sweetness and not much bitterness. The texture is light and refreshing, but with a touch of buttery avocado richness.
By the time I got around to reviewing this, the tea was about 6 months old and had lost some of its initial vibrancy, but still quite good. I did three steeps. The third was noticeably lighter in color and, while it still had some nice tingly effervescence on the tongue, has lost much of its flavor. So I’d stick with 2-3 steepings on this (unless perhaps you’re trying very short steeps).
Overall a lovely discovery at a reasonable price that will proves Japanese oolongs have a place on my tea shelf next to the Taiwanese and Chinese.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green
The refrigerator can have interesting effects on tea. So after my less than wonderful experience with this tea earlier, I tried a small batch I had refrigerated about a month ago. And wouldn’t you know it, this time it tasted like a totally different tea. The harsh bitterness that made it unpalatable before? Gone. The chill from the fridge seems to have transformed the tea, smoothing out its rough edges and giving it a nice, mellow flavor.
Now I can’t guarantee refrigeration will help all teas. My own experiences with it have been mixed. I recently had to chuck sencha which had turned foul sitting in the fridge and finer dragon wells haven’t fared too well. But other senchas, kamairicha, and some Chinese green teas like bilochun have in fact benefited from cold storage. This is very much a YMMV thing, but it can’t hurt to try it on lackluster teas.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Vegetal
I had a rough time with this tea. For starters, it was very finicky. Brewed as sencha, it’s bitter with an unpleasant vegetal aftertaste. The flavor improved slightly when I doubled the leaf quantity and steeped in the manner of gyokuro (i.e., lower temperature, slightly longer steep). About 140F/90s worked for me.
The first steep is umami rich and has an assertive vegetal character. There’ some astringency at the end which is pleasant enough. The second steep I brewed like sencha for 1m at 160F and got a more sencha like flavor, grassy and less umami. However, there was a sulfur like bitterness as it went down. Not very enjoyable The third steep was flat and bitter.
Overall, this gyokuro is decidedly less sweet and more umami focused, which is fine but the harsh, persistent bitterness just doesn’t do it for me.
Flavors: Bitter, Broccoli, Grass, Umami
My first black tea from Japan; I was excited.
Smaller leaves, sized like Darjeeling, which can lead to strong infusions if not careful. Indeed, I played around with the temperature a bit and settled on, i’m guessing, 85-90C with short infusions.
First steeps near 100C were powerful, mouth-filling malt and spice. Later steeps with cooler water brought out much more lifted notes of lemon oil and roses, along with roasted coriander seed and marzipan, all backed by plenty of earthiness.
The marzipan aroma becomes more prominent in later steepings.
There’s a lingering bitterness playing in the background – this was at all temperatures that I used.
Perhaps a little clumsy at times, but certainly worth trying.
Between friends and I, 40g of this was drank in only two days… only two days, one type of tea, 40g… yeah.
This stuff has the complex yunomi that a Japanese green tea has, BUT it also has that creamy aspect that a Jin Xuan has while carrying some of that green oolong taste with the texture.
This is some seriously good stuff. Requires a bit a concentration to realize there is more than a texture, but an actual taste as well. I used a gaiwan, I used a teapot, I used a kyusu. Each time it was lovely
This may be my absolute favorite black tea.
It reminds me of a Darjeeling, but deeper in flavor. It is rich, has heaps of chaqi, flavors of plum and hints of astringency. There is a subtle deep floral element that is intoxicating.
Flavors: Flowers, Plums
I found best results using 4g of tea for 150mL water at 160F for first two steeps, then 165 for the last two, with steep times of 1m, 30s, 45s, 90s. First two steeps were the best, with a noticeable drop off for the third. Flavors are mostly of the sweet vegetal variety, like peas, with some toasted grass notes as well. Every once in a while I taste something that might be described as fruity, but not consistently. Final steeps are a little more just wet-grassy.
Flavors: Grass, Peas, Sweet, Toasted, Vegetal
Sip down and officially one of my favorite green teas. This is the best balance of seaweed greens with fruity pear and apple tones. I’m going into a phase where I have to budget tea spending soon. This might show up on the list for daily drinker-but my real aim is the best milk oolong I can keep. After I get my last two expensive orders. Soon…
Given that your review is on here, and the description from the website fits what I taste, thank you Lucky me for this tea.
I was actually surprised how similar this tea was to the Eco-Cha oolongs. It was definitely vegetal and near a snap pea in its fresh greenness, but unlike most green tea, it had a really strong fruity taste that I’d call apple like. Very crisp, very fresh, very yielding in steeps, and very good. I could also see myself getting this for a daily green drinker. My mom actually loved it too because it was floral enough to remind her of jasmine. That could be her approximating the taste, but there was at least a floral stem or floral grassy quality.
If I didn’t have so much tea already, I’d get some of this tea to have on my own. I’ve gotten to the point where I know what I’ll stick with: green oolongs, yunnan blacks, creamy whites, good Earl Greys, and fruity green teas.
Flavors: Apple, Fruity, Grass, Green, Green Beans, Sweet, Vegetal
I really needed this tea today. Thankfully, I received this in a recent swap with CWarren…
With that said, I’ve always liked Genmaicha. There’s that rice crackers wrapped in seaweed flavor—which was a treat often shared by my Japanese friend who’d bring them over to the States when she visited—therefore, drinking this is nostalgic (https://www.snackinn.com/jfc-nori-maki-arare-rice-crackers-seaweed?gclid=CjwKEAjwgbG5BRDp3oW3qdPiuCwSJAAQmoSD4Zq_Zdr9PyeSqnjngkzJpVQ8N4bPcCF66E7eadd49BoCA5_w_wcB). I enjoy the heaviness of the rice in this, where the sweet rice/nutty flavors jump out; however, the base really is alive in this blend, too. I guess this is the type of tea where I’d opt for this versus eating heavy salted foods.
When I worked at Teavana a while ago, I’d grab Genmaicha before I’d head into the food court. Unfortunately, after drinking Genmaicha, that I felt was “okay,” I grew tired of drinking it. Now this, I could drink often. Perhaps it’s the Matcha that gives it the robust greenness to the tea, or perhaps it’s the large quantity of rice added; whatever it may be, I like it. I could make this a daily drinker, and will consider buying more in the future.
PS. I had a total of 5 steeps with this. I felt that it could’ve gone 6-ish, but I don’t like pushing green tea any further than that. That’s when I have a tendency in burning the leaf.
I’m still playing around with steeping times and dry leaf amount for hojichas. This one I made ‘western’ style.
This one is quite stemmy: looks to be about 60-40 stem to leaf ratio.
pleasant roasted aromas of seaweed, nuts and grains. the seaweed and grainy aspect standing out more than the nuttiness.
very smooth medium bodied and more roasted grain when tasting
I blew through my green tea stash faster than expected this winter and picked up this tea to hold me over until the spring greens arrived. I’ve never had a pan-fired Japanese green before and was intrigued when I heard about this rare tea.
The dark curled leaf resemble a bi luo chun more than sencha, understandable as this is processed similar to Chinese tea. Wet leaf though is broken and a deep verdant green, like a typical Japanese green. The first steep is mostly nutty, like toasted grains. There’s a bit of grassiness to it as well. Second steep brings out more of the grassiness and a vegetal body as the nuttiness softens. The liquor is bright green like sencha. I would characterize the flavor as a hybrid of steamed and pan fired tea. Third steep is smooth and vegetal. Unlike steamed tea, this has no astringency even at higher temps and longer steeps. It works well grandpa steeped too.
Cold steeped though is where this tea really impresses me. It brings out the best balance of flavors – sweet vegetal with a hint of floral and umami. While I still prefer a good sencha to this, I appreciate its fresh clean flavor. At $12 and some change for 100g, it’s a pretty exceptional value and a great daily drinker.
Flavors: Grain, Toasty, Vegetal
If I had to describe this tea in one word, it would be broccoli. That’s literally what it tastes and smells like. It’s very strange, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever encountered a tea with such a strong vegetal flavor before. I’ve experimented with temperature and strength, but no matter what it always ends up tasting like a cup of boiled broccoli. What makes it all the more unusual is this is Yuuki-Cha’s highest grade of matcha yet tastes very different than their other less expensive matchas which are actually pretty good.
Despite the flavor, all is not lost because this still works in matcha lattes. It has a vibrant green color and whisks up thick and frothy. There’s none of the bitterness that you find in low quality matcha either. It’s just not something I can drink straight.
Flavors: Broccoli, Vegetal
I am really enjoying this green tea this morning. It’s not like a Sencha but does have some notes the deep greens sencha’s have. It reminds me a bit of my Rizhao green (when it was fresh- my Rizhao is getting old now). It even looks like Rizhao green with the dry tea. It’s a dark green curly leaf. There’s a sweet nutty and green pea flavour that Chinese greens have along with the grassy, green flavour from the Japanese teas. Also picking up a bit of fruitiness. Just like so many Japanese teas, it is so fresh. Just love how fresh it tastes.
The price is excellent on this tea too. I only paid $12.32 US for 100g. That’s amazing. I got a Japanese tea tin too and it’s so beautiful. Only paid $4.40 US for that. Overall, with the shipping which was reasonable too I only paid $22.00. I placed my order at the end of February and it arrived from Japan yesterday. How good is that? I am very impressed. I know the exchange rate to Cdn is crappy right now but overall very happy with my first order from this company. I will definitely order again in the future.
Here’s my picture of the tin and tea:
I was telling Hubby how proud I am of myself for only ordering one tea. He just rolled his eyes but I know everyone on Steepster understands. How often have I gone to place an order for one or two teas and it blooms into 10 or more? Too often! Yes, I know my cupboard is full but this one tea is a real treat.
Flavors: Grass, Green, Nutty, Peas
Thanks for this one, LuckyMe! I’m drinking this at 8 PM and hoping I won’t regret it—I usually don’t drink 1st steeps this late. LuckyMe’s review on this was spot on. It’s like a roasty (slightly burnt) buttery popcorn. It makes me want to hit up a movie.
I should note that this is my first genmaicha and was excited to try it. It exceded my expectations. Great tea!
I’ve never been a fan of genmaicha but then this tea came along and changed everything. This is a warm and toasty tea with a smooth buttery body that reminds me of popcorn. The liqueur is a beautiful emerald green thanks to the matcha. It’s not burnt or bitter tasting, a problem I’ve had with genmaicha in the past. Changing the way I steep is part of the reason why I’ve come to enjoy it more now.
Most directions tell you to brew genmaicha at hotter temperature than usual for green tea, around 185 F. Personally, I find genmaicha bitter if steeped higher than 175. The best results with this tea came when I steeped it unlidded at 170 for 1 minute. This results in a pleasant nuttiness without the harsh roasted taste and no astringency. I feel the matcha helps take the edge off the roast and gives it a fuller body.
This is a comforting tea to drink for those cold winter days and makes a fabulous iced tea in the summer.
Flavors: Popcorn, Toasty
I thought I would carry on my habit lately of drinking some greens – so i’m trying this gift from Haveteawilltravel in the oolong group buy. Thanks!
OK. Lots of broken twigs! grandpa-style minefield – unless you like twigs going up your nose :D I followed others recommendations of just under 80c. I did also hear you can hit it with boiling and get a really wonderful chocolate hit but as this was a sampler I didnt want to mess it up.
Taste-wise, its nice savoury – nuts, chocolate with just a hint of fruity aroma. At one point it reminded me of food, and I couldn’t work out what it was. Then I realised toasted rice, and so probably something related from the leaf or toasting method in Genmaicha had made me think of toasted rice in this.
Before this sencha & genmaicha were my only japanese teas ive tried. I enjoyed this, albeit being maybe a tad not to my tastes. Its certainly piqued my interest to try some more japanese greens at some point.
And thanks to LiquidProust for doing his organising of these group buys.
Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Nuts, Toasted Rice
UPDATE – tried this today with almost double the quantity of leaf I normally use and lower water temperature. Got 4 great infusions out of it with no astringency. The first infusion straight up tasted like gyokuro, full of rich umami flavor. I steeped it at 155 F for 45s. The second steeping was a quick one, 30s at about 165 F. Much fuller, matcha like strong vegetal flavor. There is the slightest hint of bitterness as it goes down, but not unpleasantly so. The third steeping, 45s @ same temperature, was like regular sencha. Grassy and sweet. The tea went flat on the 4th steeping. It had a light, brothy character. Still good, but not as memorable as the earlier infusions.
Upping my rating as this tea continues to impress me and is a regular in my green tea rotation.
Flavors: Grass, Seaweed, Umami
This year I’ve really expanded my tea horizons and dove head first into the world of oolongs and fine Chinese greens. It’s been an exciting journey but sadly in the process I’ve neglected my first tea love, Japanese green tea.
Seeking to rectify the situation, I recently ordered a few samples from Yunomi. The teas I got were decent but nothing to write home about. So I went back to Yuuki-cha, one of my favorite pre-Steepster tea companies. Unfortunately most of the teas I was interested in were sold out so I rolled the dice on this mid-range sencha.
I’m glad I took a chance on this one because this is one delicious tea. It brews up emerald green with a crisp and vibrant green flavor. The wet leaf aroma is reminiscent of fresh cut, damp grass. Unlike the Yunomi teas which tended towards a savory umami flavor, this one has a bright, grassy sweetness to it that coats the mouth a little.
Overall a quality tea experience that’s revived my interest in Japanese green teas!
Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Sweet
Rich, savory, sweet, and comforting. This tea has wonderful body and sweet aftertaste. I’ve put the cup down for 5 minutes yet I can still feel the complex flavors and velvety texture cover my tongue. I’m picking up notes of roasted brussel sprouts, sugar cane, nori, tannin, minerals, edamame, and a hint of menthol that creates a cooling effect.
The dried leaves have a rich sweet fragrance that is only amplified when wet. The leaves are nicely shaped (not overly processed) and have a deep green color. The tea soup is an opaque, vibrant light green. Its rich, velvety mouth-feel is almost luxurious. It’s also quite infuse-able, putting forth delicious flavors until the 5th steep, which is still tasty and refreshing.
Tip: Try Akira Hojo’s green tea brewing method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adxPErjUHvA. I know it might seem somewhat cumbersome, but just try it as an experiment. You’ll get way more out of your green teas with this method. For this tea, however, since it’s organic, I’ve combined the initial rinse with my first steep and it was delicious.
Thank you Liquid Proust for this sample!
Absolutely delicious. I had just enough tea to cold brew this and I’m glad I did. Its smooth and has a light malt flavor. Refreshing on a hot day, but the aftertaste is very satisfying, reminiscent of drinking hot tea.
Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Malt, Rice, Sweet
Oolongs being my favorite tea, I was very curious when I found out there are a few Japanese oolong teas :)
I actually bought the last of Yuuki Cha’s supply of this tea for my group order and it was the only one they even had left.
This is a treat though. I can’t even compare it to other oolongs, it just is its own thing. The aroma was not that strong but the taste was pure. Nice difference in taste between different brews :)