Popular Teas from Yuuki-chaSee All 93 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Aroma captivating, taste sublime, and mouthfeel so sensuous, all summoning superlatives as I find myself wanting to hold the rich creamy liquor in my mouth and enjoy every precious drop. The haunting mouthfeel is a gentle tingle and warm caress. Qi is both bright and lively and deeply tranquil. From the first sip this tea is the embodiment of vertical and horizonal sensations fused across time and space evoking the beauty and natural stasis of Lake Imuta.
Saemidori (さえみどり) (Registered as #40 in 1990) is a 1969 cross between Yabukita (やぶきた) and Asatsuyu (あさつゆ) cultivars. Sae-Midori means “clear-green”
The tea will evolve and is ever changing but it is worth starting with the 80c temperature Tyas specifies, which accentuates the watery component, to summon notions of serene fresh waters before experimenting.
Find a rapport with is tea and the reward is a gorgeous sencha, existential and pure. Overdo it and the Umami may, depending on your preferences, prevail over the other complexities.
Dense dew drops summoned,
Yabukita and Asatsuyu fuse,
2022 Organic Ichibancha Gokujō 極上 Sencha by Yoshiyuli Harima and Yukihiro Harima of Harimaen Seicha Co. @harimaenseicha, Ujitawara, Kyoto, Japan as curated by #Yuuki-Cha in Japan and #spaziomusa in Europe. www.harimaen.co.jp
Hachiju-Hachiya from Harimaen is a lightly steamed Sencha blend of Yabukita (やぶきた – 藪北) and Komakage (駒影) from a self-sustaining JAS certified organic 6ha tea farm, free from pesticides and organically fertilized. A superb or Gokujō Sencha with a distinctive lingering aftertaste, soft but with a richness of subtle elements both sweet and vegetal. A strong build-up of the glutamate, inosinate and guanylate complex showcases as buttermilk/creamy but mostly as a protein-inducing triggering of salivation. It is very distinguishing and enjoyable.
Camellia sinensis ‘Koma-kage’ 駒影 こまかげ is a Hirano No. 55 cultivar published in 1954 and developed at the Koyto Prefecture Tea Research centre from seeds from the Manpuku Temple (万福寺). [ICR-24010]
Didn’t love this one as much as previous Kamairichas I’ve had. This one tasted like a middle of the road Laoshan green tea. It’s heavy on the grain and bean flavors. Notes of soymilk, chestnut, lima bean, and corn silk. While not a bad tea by any means, I miss the fruitiness and fresh flavor of better Kamairichas.
Flavors: Beany, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Grain, Lima Beans, Soybean
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge – November Tea #8-A Japanese tea
I didn’t want such a great green tea sample to get any older! I inadvertently let the water cool for almost an hour and the flavor was actually really tasty that way. It’s amazing that it’s savory yet sweet. A unique green tea I appreciate being able to try! I’m only 40 sipdowns away from my goal for the year of 150! If I try for about one a day, it’s entirely doable.
2022 sipdowns: 110
Thank you very much for this sample, Kawaii433! I thought this would work for the “oceanic tasting” sipdown challenge, and no, NO it does not. It is sweet creamed corn all the way. Nothing oceanic about it. These dark grass clipping leaves mostly resemble a lighter flavored, less nutty Laoshan green. But I do love a creamed corn green tea so I am a fan of this one. The second steep has a bit of dry quality to the mouthfeel, maybe a bit of smokiness but still more of the creamed corn. It’s a very light brew, which is always so unexpected from such a dark grassy leaf. But I like it.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 35 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 30 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
A murky golden-brown liquor with a green tint gives a bitter-savory-sweet experience. An appetite-stimulating and very sweet warmed leaf aroma of scallops, spinach soufflé, and butter cookies with a hint of cinnamon leads into a cup with a sweet and vegetal soybean aroma.
The taste is much different than the smell of the warmed leaf, with a mixed note of fish broth and bittersweet escarole. The bitterness separates almost immediately from the sweetness and is spread by the coating tea throughout the mouth, lingering. It gives way slowly to a short tropical fruit (jackfruit?) note that also appears in the bottom of the cup along with golden syrup. When the aftertaste subsides, the mouth is left with a pleasant aftertaste of lemon juice.
The overall taste turns more to wheatgrass with the third steep.
Flavors: Bitter, Bittersweet, Cinnamon, Cookie, Escarole, Fish Broth, Lemon, Pleasantly Sour, Savory, Seafood, Soybean, Spinach, Thick, Tropical Fruit, Umami, Wheatgrass
Hello Steepster! Hope you all have been well. It’s been a minute since I’ve posted. Life has been a bit hectic lately and on top of everything, I’ve started a new course for work which has been consuming most of my free time. I’ve barely had time to even browse Steepster let alone log anything since I feel guilty whenever I’m doing anything online besides studying. Anyway, tea drinking is still going strong and with my backlog starting to grow, I decided to sneak in a few notes.
This is another sencha from my Yuuki-Cha haul this summer. It’s a fragrant, light steamed sencha that presents a broad spectrum of flavors. Depending on the way it’s brewed, it can offer the typical spinachy, vegetal green tea flavor or it can become gyokuro-like with rich umami and oceanic elements. Smooth, medium bodied, and clean tasting with notes of grass/kelp and cannelloni beans.
Flavors: Grass, Seaweed, Spinach, Umami
Another budget Yuuki-Cha tea. This time it’s gyokuro which is normally considered a premium tea. However, this unique variant is processed like bancha consisting of leaves and stems. I’m not a huge fan of gyokuro as I find it too umami heavy for my taste but went for it here as it looked super interesting and the price was good too.
The smell out of the bag is a mixture of umami, nori seaweed, and flowers in a grassy meadow. I’m still working out the brew times and temperatures, but I generally start between 135 – 150 F and gradually increase the temperature 5-10 degrees per infusion for a total of 4 steeps. The first steep produces a fatty, umami laden cup with a texture reminiscent of animal fat. Trust me, it tastes better than my description. It has a slight edge that tiptoes around bitterness without ever becoming bitter. Pale green liquor that smells like brussel sprouts and earth.
Second infusion brings out a subtle earthiness, wheatgrass, and cabbage. Third infusion is 160-165 F and has a more familiar sencha-like flavor. Light wheatgrass, matcha-like creaminess, and straw. Fourth and final steep is mellow and rather washed out.
Overall, an enjoyable Gyokuro with a rich flavor and complexity beyond just umami. It doesn’t resteep as well as pricier teas but acceptable given the style and price point.
Instagram photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTiC14orvVd/
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Lettuce, Straw, Umami
I liked this a lot better after tweaking my brewing. Increasing the leaf quantity and lowering temperature was key. Vibrant green color and flavor. Full bodied with notes of freshly cut grass, cashew, and cream. Upping my rating as I enjoyed it far more this time around.
Flavors: Cashew, Creamy, Freshly Cut Grass
Did a big Yuuki-Cha order last month and this is one of their budget senchas that I picked up. For the price point, it’s not a bad tea. Grassy, medium bodied, with a gentle astringency. Nice fresh flavor and color. It has a familiar Japanese green tea flavor but lacks the complexity of better sencha. A solid tea for the office.
Flavors: Astringent, Freshly Cut Grass, Umami
This is an organic sencha genmaicha from Kyoto. The rice is brown rice from Nara Prefecture and the sencha is first harvest aka shincha versus bancha. For the most part, it is a good genmaicha and has nice toasty brown rice notes. I found it to be very temperature sensitive though.
I made it with 160Fwater in a banko kyusu. At 185F it was far too brisk for me. Astringent, extremely drying on my tongue, bitter. So I dropped the temperature down to 170F and then finally 160F. At this temperature, I got the familiar mellow aroma, umami, and a much better balance of sweet and bitter taste, less bitterness and was savory, had vegetal notes of greens, like grass, spinach. I re-steeped it 3 times. I also found making it in spring water was best. 170F was good too though.
It is a good price for organic first harvest sencha genmaicha. Recommended.
Flavors: Grass, Rice, Savory, Spinach, Toasted Rice, Umami, Vegetal
Upgraded to this from the grocery store Maeda-En hojicha I used to drink. There was nothing wrong with it, in fact it’s one of the best commercial green teas out there, but I wondered if I could do better and Yuuki-Cha’s description of this tea was enticing: specially aged, first flush harvest picked from a high grade kuradashi leaves.
The dry leaves give off a funky, almost putrid smell. I got some really intense dark flavors the first couple of times I steeped it. Dark amber hued liquor with lots of woodsy and caramelized notes. Coffee, butterscotch, and leather were the dominant flavor and aroma characteristics. These were accented by notes of maple, barley, roasted nuts, sandalwood, and toffee. It’s definitely more complex than your typical hojicha. The flavor has now started to mellow a bit after resting a couple of weeks. It smoother and the earthiness has tamed down.
I especially enjoyed it as a cold brew which is how I’ve been steeping it lately. The cold brew is even smoother, crisp, and refreshing. You can taste more of the tea’s subtleties. Tobacco, black cardamom, oak, and clove were some of the more interesting flavor notes I got from cold steeping.
While I can appreciate how meticulously this tea was produced and enjoyed its complexity, I still prefer the simpler taste of classic hojicha. This to me is more of a connoisseur’s tea. It may appeal to fans of roasted oolongs or rare aged teas, but for me the taste doesn’t quite live up to its lofty pedigree.
Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Earth, Oak, Roasted Barley, Spices, Tobacco, Wood
Since this tea isn’t great for matcha lattes, I decided to see how it would fare in cooking. I made a small batch of green tea brownies using this and they turned out quite good. Assertive yet subtly sweet green tea flavor. This green tea powder lacks the bitterness of real matcha which makes it suitable for baking. You don’t need as much sugar to balance out the bitterness.
Recipe for anyone interested: https://www.hmart.com/recipe/post/nye-green-tea-brownies/
Ever since I got into matcha lattes, my matcha consumption has went up dramatically. This also led to increased spending and because good Uji matcha isn’t cheap, I started looking for frugal alternatives a step above culinary grade. That’s how I discovered this powdered kamairicha at Yuuki-Cha.
Kamairicha, for the uninitiated, is Japanese tea that is processed like Chinese green tea, where the leaves are pan fired instead of steamed. The resultant tea is a Japanese-Chinese hybrid of sorts – fruity, nutty, and sometimes floral – and absolutely delicious. I’ve tried and enjoyed a number of different kamairichas and was intrigued to find it in powdered form .
Appearance wise, it has a paler green color than regular matcha powder. While the prepared tea does have an attractive emerald green color, it doesn’t froth as nicely and lacks the creamy mouthfeel of good matcha. There’s a noticeable chalkiness in the aftertaste. Taste wise, the grassiness and vegetal notes are a lot tamer which might appeal to people that don’t care for the aggressive taste of matcha. Holds up quite well to hotter water temperatures without becoming astringent.
For me, the real test was how it held up to milk and sugar. Unfortunately, it was quite underwhelming as the mild flavor gets further muted when prepared as a latte. It tastes like a pale shadow of a real matcha latte with the barest hint of greenness and lots of chalkiness. So it’s rather disappointing in this regard. I’ll have to experiment further with this tea, but for now I’m going back to my Organic Yame matcha for lattes. It’s more expensive then this one, but it’s the most affordable of the traditional matcha powders.
The third shincha of 2020.
I don’t think I’ve ever gone through a Japanese tea as quickly as this one. Usually it takes me a while to get through a bag of sencha but I’ve already polished off half the 100g pouch in only a month. Have to pace myself now so I don’t go through my stash too quickly because that’s how good this tea is.
This is a tamaryokucha, which is processed differently from regular sencha resulting in less astringency and a smoother flavor. It’s more forgiving to oversteeping and water temperature.
The tea itself has a subtle and unassuming appearance. Small broken leaves that have a mild grassy aroma. The brewed tea is a buttery sweet fruity explosion with nice umami and floral overtones. Smooth, crisp, and full bodied. Upping the leaf quantity intensifies the umami. Second steep is a denser cup, vibrant lime green with grassy chlorophyll flavors. The third and final steep is lighter but delightfully fruity and sweet. There was little to no bitterness and no sulfuric edge that Japanese greens can sometimes leave behind even when I really push the steep.
This was a marvelous tea exhibiting the best characteristics of sencha without any of the off-putting ones. It’s less finicky to brew and has more sweetness than other Japanese greens I’ve tried which I like . Easily the best shincha this year and the best Japanese green I’ve had recently.
Flavors: Citrus, Corn Husk, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Sweet, Umami
Currently a part of my tea rotation at work. This is one of those every day teas that’s good for easy sipping but not quite good enough to devote time to contemplate.
The style of this tea is called Kyomushi which Yuuki-Cha describes as strong steamed sencha. On the spectrum of Japanese green tea, it’s somewhere between a fukamashi (deep steamed) and chumushi (medium steamed) tea. This is also an aracha: unrefined and processed entirely by the grower himself.
Tasting the tea, it indeed straddles the line between medium and deep steamed sencha. On one hand, it’s not as murky green as fukamushi but does have some of the richness and chlorophyll taste. At the same time, it preserves some of the more subtle mineral, vegetative, and citrusy notes of lighter sencha. Minimal bitterness and doesn’t hit you over the head with umami. Good for 3 steeps.
Flavors: Grass, Lime, Moss, Spinach, Vegetal
The second shincha of 2020. Working out the brewing times and temperature for this tea was a rollercoaster of sorts. I don’t know if it’s just me or whether Japanese greens are really that finicky but I went through 50g – half the pouch – before I finally got it dialed in.
This tea shows different faces depending on how its brewed. At low temperatures, it’s umami rich and earthy, reminiscent of shaded greens. Japanese green tea connoisseurs tend to favor fairly high leaf-to-water ratios (0.8-0.9g per 1oz) but this can taste swampy and brings out a lot of bitterness. I got the best results by underleafing and brewing western style, just a teaspoon and a half of leaves in a 185ml teapot. The brewed tea is smooth, grassy, and almost fruity with a bit of sweetness and a robust mouthfeel. I can taste a bit of those citrus peel and grapefruit notes too. Good for 3 steeps.
A solid sencha and between this and my other shincha, Kirishima Asatsuyu Sencha, this was the better of the two.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Earth, Grapefruit, Grass, Spinach, Umami
This is an okay genmaicha. There’s more toasted rice in here than tea. Just a basic genmaicha taste, quite drinkable but not particularly memorable. Tastes good by itself, as a cold brew, and makes a good base for blending with other teas.
Flavors: Rice, Toasty
The cheapest matcha at Yuuki-Cha. I bought this one specifically for lattes as I don’t care much for straight matcha. Opening the pouch revealed a slightly yellow tinged fine green powder with a creamy spinach aroma. A few whisks of the chasen is all it took to whip up an incredible froth. Much frothier than any matcha I’ve ever tried. Adding milk turned the matcha bubbles into a velvety microfoam like a skilled barista would produce.
Even though it later got doctored with milk and sugar, I did the obligatory tasting of the straight tea. It had a bright, rich forest green color. Smooth and creamy with a thick mouthfeel. Notes of sautéed asparagus and a little spice. Sweeter and less earthy than matcha can sometimes be. And more importantly, it made an excellent matcha latte.
Flavors: Grass, Smooth, Vegetal
Whoa, a Japanese oolong – it’s a first one of a kind for me. I had two sessions worth of it, and the first one was kind of ruined because I oversteeped it by a lot. This tea, unlike traditional oolongs, requires short brews and relatively low temperatures. Treat it like a sencha (with potentially higher temps up to 80-85 degrees) and you should be fine – that means be especially careful about the second and third brews.
In terms of its profile (and, to a lesser extent, appearance), the tea reminds me of Himalayan oolongs. At first it is fruity, sweet, and woody with a strong minerality and mild tartness and a vegetal finish. Subsequent infusions further see the onset of some biting bitterness and notes of coffee and bread. The aftertaste is a bit more floral and cooling, so I’d say overall there is quite a lot packed into one session.
Aromas are quite pronounced too, dry leaves smell of roasted hazelnuts, croissant and stonefruits, while the wet leaf aroma is more floral with an apple note. Based on the aroma alone, I would actually place the tea somewhere in the vicinity of both dan cong oolongs (such as mi lan xiang) and lighter roasted rock oolongs.
The body is medium (unless you overbrew it, but then the astringency will kill any sort of mouthfeel) and the texture quite bubbly. I find that the liquor gets quite heavy as it cools down. The energy from the tea is both relaxing and sedating – somewhat distinct from your average sencha.
All in all, this is a remarkably aromatic and fairly complex tea – it makes me curious about the space of possibilities of tea production in Japan.
Flavors: Apple, Biting, Bitter, Bread, Char, Coffee, Floral, Fruity, Hazelnut, Mineral, Oak, Pastries, Roasted, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood
I can’t warm up to this particular gyokuro and will probably cold-brew the rest of my pouch. The aromas are weak, the body is lighter than usual, and even though the taste is pungent I find the profile off. I am not quite sure why but it seems like it is somewhat unbalanced and disintegrated.
As for the particular notes, there are hints of cabbage and spearmint in the aroma emerging from the leaves and milk & custard in the empty cup scent. Fairly unusual range of aromas for a gyokuro, but they are so weak that they cannot take the center stage.
As expected first two infusions have a strong umami with a brothy / salty profile, which, unfortunately is not very well integrated with the green, vegetal aspects of the tea. Flavours of corn, spaghetti squash, butter, grass, asparagus, okra, green beans are among the ones I detected.
Flavors: Asparagus, Broth, Corn Husk, Custard, Grass, Green Beans, Marine, Milk, Pumpkin, Salty, Spearmint, Umami, Vegetables, Vegetal
This karigane is nice, although fairly basic and doesn’t stand out all that much.
Dry leaves are in fact very fragrant with a brothy, nutty and a touch grassy smell. There are notes of sake, some flowers but also cookies. Later on, the wet leaf aroma also reminds of bok choy, celery and likewise some bone broth and alcohol again.
Taste is sweet as expected; the nutty, umami, grassy and bitter notes are a bit less pronounced. I could also detect some flavours like those of chicken broth, milk, raisins and fennel.
Flavors: Alcohol, Bitter, Bok Choy, Broth, Celery, Chicken Soup, Cookie, Fennel, Flowers, Grass, Milk, Nutty, Raisins, Sweet, Umami
If memory serves me right, this is the first Kamairicha I’ve had in any significant amount. Its character is an interesting mix of Japanese and Chinese style (think Laoshan) green teas.
The first time I drank the tea, I followed a recommendation I found online for the parameters, but I found it to be a bit overbrewed. Today I started slightly lighter and it yielded better results. Namely, the parameters I used were: 45s, 72°C / 15s, 82°C / 30s, 80°C / 45s, 85°C / 75s, 85°C / 2min, 90°C / …
One of the nice things about fresh green teas is the range of aromas they display, which is definitely the case here. Dry leaves smell of corn, toasted rice and grass at first and then in a preheated gaiwan I notice more of a bready scent with notes of thistles and sugarcane as well. On the other hand, during the session, the wet leaf aroma has a strong chicken broth character with a lot of vegetal notes such as celery, broccoli, squash and green beans. Empty cup aroma is then more on the milky and floral side of the spectrum.
The taste is quite savoury with a nice bitterness and biting astringency that can last a while. First infusion is more buttery and citrusy than later ones that become more grassy and sweet. There are flavours such as those of fiddlehead fern, yeast, spinach, green apple and others appearing throughout the session. The body is medium to full and the mouthfeel cooling and on the oily side. It takes a while until the sweetness properly takes over the aftertaste, but it does so eventually.
Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Bitter, Broccoli, Broth, Butter, Celery, Chicken Soup, Citrusy, Grass, Green, Green Apple, Green Beans, Kettle Corn, Plants, Pumpkin, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Umami, Vegetal, Yeast
Among the Japanese teas that I got this year is this sencha – the most expensive among the crowd in Yuuki-cha’s line-up. There are a lot of things to like about it, but the most memorable aspect is probably the texture of the first infusion, which is the softest I’ve ever experienced in any tea. I don’t think I ever described the mouthfeel of some tea as fluffy, but it kind of fits here.
Anyway, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The fragrance is generally not a crucial part of sencha appreciation, but it definitely plays its role. Here, we have a fairly standard range of aromas, but more complex than average. Dry leaves smell of toasted bread and sweet grass initially and of green peas, twigs and bread dough in a preheated pot. During the session I picked up further notes of freshly cut grass and egg whites, as well as a distinct candy-like scent in the empty cha hai – maybe the most unusual part of the bouquet.
As I mentioned already, the first infusion has a super soft and smooth texture, at the same time being buttery thick. The profile is a mix of bitter and umami flavours, the most prominent among them are broth, sugar snap peas, moss, and decaying wood.
Second steep is a bit more balanced in its flavour profile, but also less interesting. There are notes of chicken broth, sweet grass, and rapini. The aftertaste is cooling, mineral and very sweet with notes of rock sugar and white pepper. I also quickly notice the cha qi, which is very invigorating as I would hope from a high-end sencha.
Third infusion is very refreshing with a touch of bitterness and sourness – quite a bit like lemon zest actually. More vegetal flavours also appear at this stage. The next steep is then more on the sweet and fruity side with a hint of cloves.
I wouldn’t be necessarily say that it’s the best sencha I’ve had, but it’s up there and I am certainly glad to have ordered it.
Flavors: Bitter, Bread, Broccoli, Broth, Butter, Candy, Chicken Soup, Cloves, Decayed Wood, Freshly Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Lemon Zest, Mineral, Moss, Peas, Peppercorn, Smooth, Sugar, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Umami, Vegetal, Yeast