Zen no Ocha

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Recent Tasting Notes


I found this tea on Amazon while searching for some reasonably priced organic sencha to use for my favorite everyday meal, ochazuke, which is a Japanese seafood, veggie, and rice bowl with green tea dumped over it as a broth. It can have quite a variety of toppings to your liking, and is often garnished with soy sauce, wasabi, or other Japanese condiments. It’s comfort food, plain and simple, and incredibly healthy and low-calorie if you stick with the basics.

The reason I tried this tea is that it was available on Amazon Prime, which would save me from having to pay shipping and end up paying medium grade prices for an everyday tea. It’s also certified organic, and I am all about that. Anyway, for this review I am brewing this in a tokoname kyusu. The scent of the dry leaves in the preheated pot is really comforting: umami, sweet, vegetal, with hints of pistachio and oats. The first infusion of the tea is just what I’ve come to expect from standard Japanese sencha. It has a mild umami sweetness, flavors reminding of seaweed and green vegetables, a bit of a nutty undertone, and a refreshing mild bitterness in the finish. I certainly can’t say I’ve sampled an extensive variety of Japanese sencha, but from the ones I have tried, I would call this good quality everyday sencha. I’ve had plenty of low-end, affordable senchas that had too much bitterness, or just lacked any richness. A lot of the supermarket brands you can find in Asian grocery stores are that way. This is a cut above those, but also not a premium tea.

You can get at least 3 nice infusions out of this tea. This tea is actually better on its second infusion than its first, and I recall that nearly every time I’ve drank it. The second infusion gets a lot more rich and sweet, with less bitterness.

So if you want a nice everyday drinker with fresh green qualities and a nice balance of softness and bitterness, I recommend this tea. For me, it’s wonderful poured over ochazuke, and I frequently enjoy it on its own too.

My brewing parameters were one wooden teascoop of leaves (probably 1-2 teaspoons) for about 6 ounces of water. First infusion was at 158F/70C for 1 minute. Second infusion at 167F/75C for 30 seconds. Third at 176F/80C for 45 seconds. I find this to be a rather gentle and delicious way to brew most Japanese sencha. If you can only pick one temperature, then I’d say go for the middle one.

This tea is a great value. If you need an everyday sencha for casual drinking or culinary use, I would recommend it.

Flavors: Bitter, Nutty, Oats, Seaweed, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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