134 Tasting Notes


Another very nice tea from Obubu Tea Plantations in Kyoto. I have been drinking this today using the parameters specified by Obubu, and it makes for a very pleasant set of infusions of a very bright and lightly buttery character. Nice vegetal taste with only a slight touch of bitterness in the first steep. It doesn’t take much imagination to taste the “early summer sun shining brightly.”

A really nice healthy green taste; It goes well with food, but I am enjoying it all on it’s own!

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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This morning I finished up the last of my sample of Mt. Yiwu Sheng Pu’er, and I am truly sorry to see it go. It is one of the top three Sheng Pu’er teas that I have ever tasted, and shares this honor with the two other Sheng Pu’er teas I received in my Verdant Tea sampler. So nice that a company uses it’s sampler to put their best foot forward and tries to gain you as a customer.

Through multiple infusions, this tea takes you on a journey that is both quiet and adventurous. It is a walk through a rain filled forest, with stops along the way for a taste of spicyness, a later nibble at pear or apple, and a sniff of moss, mushrooms and distant campfire. Sorry if my description is a bit too imaginative, and should perhaps be more prosaic, but this Pu’er (along with the Verdant Teas ‘06 Artisan Revival and ’03 Mt Banxhang) gets me excited about Chinese Pu’er like no others.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec
David Duckler

This makes my day- Thank you for the vivid description, which I will keep in mind next time I brew up the Yiwu, and for the compliments on our sheng pu’ers. We go through adventurous tasting sessions of hundreds of teas to find the very small number of pu’ers that we end up offering. I learned much of what I know from tea master Wang Yanxin, who works with the small farmers and keeps thousands of kinds of tea in stock. I would describe a taste I was looking for, and she would pull out the brick from stack upon stack of pu’ers. She is always spot on, and am delighted to keep working with her, and send her enough money through orders for her to double the size of her shop and take serious trips to Xishuangbanna for me.

We found one new sheng pu’er that should make its way to America in the next month. I am excited for you to try it. Best Wishes,


I also really like this description of yours. It captures the things I remember about this tea for which I can never find the words. The last two reviews on this one make me really want to pull this tea out and try it again soon.


and through a cup of tea…lovely company blooms…looking at these words weaves a beautiful character that should read ‘fellowship’

E Alexander Gerster

Getting nice “warm fuzzies” from online tea buds… ‘fellowship’ sounds good to me! From different corners of the USA, we bond through teas from far away. Makes all the distractions of daily life melt away. :)

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The aroma of the dry leaves and stems is very pleasant, with a grassy vegetal quality that is reminiscent of fresh cut hay and autumn breezes. The stems in my sample were quite prominent, and sturdier than those in the Yanagi Bancha sample I had tried previously, but the leaves were very fine, and a beautiful dark green.

Using my kyusu I did three extractions of this sample, all using approximately 3.5 ounces of water:
1st steep: 45 seconds at 180 F
2nd steep: a quick steep of only about 10 seconds at 180 F
3rd steep: 30 seconds at 180 F

The wet leaves have an amazing aroma, unlike any sencha I have tried before. An almost peppery quality like mustard greens, but this does not come through in the tea. All three infusions were of similar quality in being a bright yellow green, clear, refreshing and well balanced. There are some nice grassy undertones and a softness that is similar to many spring time pickings.

This would make a nice accompaniment to almost any meal, but is very pleasant to drink all alone. Another very nice tea from Obubu. :)

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec

I’m drinking the Obubu Kabuse sencha this morning myself…lovely, creamy, buttery, sweet and vegetal….

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I received my sampler from Obubu Tea and what a beautiful sampler it is. The packaging is artistically done, and all text is in Japanese, so if you may have to do a bit of detective work matching the inscriptions to translations provided on the guide provided. It is filled with different versions of Sencha, Genmaicha, and several different roasts of Houjicha. All great temptations, but I chose to start by brewing up this Bancha and am very happy I did!

Time to load up the sample into my kyusu, and take a few deep breaths of the lovely aroma of the dry leaves and stems. A bit like alfalfa hay, and a real sweetness that is hard to explain, but nice to experience.

1st steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F
2nd steep: 15 seconds at about 190 degrees F
3rd steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F

Now this is real aracha (http://www.obubutea.com/tea-info/aracha/), in the best way possible. It is nicely refreshing in being both mildly sweet and mildly savory. I found myself chewing on a couple of the twigs/stems just to verify this is where that fascinating sweet flavor is coming from. This may not have the refined complexities of the higher grade teas, but for me it is a really pleasant connection to the tea plantation, and I look forward to the other samples to follow!

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

I’m intrigued! I have such little experience with Japanese teas, and I’ve been on the look-out for good vendors. I haven’t heard of Obubu until now, so I think some of their tea may be in my future.

E Alexander Gerster

My favorite Japanese tea vendors at the moment are Den’s Tea and Obubu — but I know there are other really good ones out there. I found Obubu because of their involvement with the International Tea Farms Alliance (http://www.teafarms.org/about/) that empowers worldwide tea artisans by connecting them to tea loving consumers… You have to keep us updated on your new experiences with Japanese teas. They can take you on a really amazing journey! :)


You may also want to try Hibiki-an. I bought tea from them a couple times and it was the freshest Japanese tea I’ve ever drank.They have varying degrees of leaf, from House Sencha to Sencha Super Premium, etc. Free Shipping over $36, last time I checked. A very honest, fair company with great quality teas!

E Alexander Gerster

Great suggestion Scott! I have heard lots of good things about Hibiki-an, and they have some great teaware that I have been lusting over. :)


Yeah, thats for sure. I ony wish I’d bought one of their Tokoname teapots, the Meteor Stream. Anyway, in 2008 it was $79, now it’s $93. I’m still consideing it, esp if I order tea from there as well. What do I mean IF I order tea from there?!


Also I believe their tea is of higher quality, so it has increased in $$ as well (of course). It is still a bargain. Have you noticed International shipping costs from Japan?!

Years ago, I tried Genmaicha and couldn’t drink it. My tastes in tea and preparation have changed since then. So I’d like to try the Genmaicha Matcha-iri from Hibiki-an too. Going to drink some tea :)………….


This tasting note really makes me want to buy a sampler from Obubu! Thanks for sharing!

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Interesting combination of herbs in this infusion. I shared it with my mother who is a big fan of Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Tea, and enjoyed it as a nice afternoon break. We both felt a slight tingling on the tongue, which seems to be a property of the sage in the mix. It has a beautiful aroma and color, and a sweet herbaceous flavor. I was surprised at the beauty the dry cornflowers brings to the dry product, and we both agreed it would go great with some real shortbread cookies… Thanks Tea Forte for this nice sample, and I definitely give this one a thumbs up.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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I had a tough week, so last night I opened up my pouch of Den’s Gyokuro Kin, placed a good rounded teaspoon of leaves into my Sincha Kyusu and started to relax just smelling the aroma of this beautiful tea.

When Den’s says that “Gyokuro Kin is a cup of affordable luxury,” they are being modest as this is one really fantastic Gyokuro. There truly is a great harmony of natural sweetness and slight bitterness, supplemented by a mellow umami flavor and very light astringency.

1st cup: Water @ 160F; Steep 90 sec
2nd cup: Water @ 180F; Steep 30 sec
I couldn’t resist a 3rd steep, which was nice but gets a bit too astringent for me, and looses the mellowness. Truly a wonderful way to end the week!

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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What a beautiful Spring Oolong! I loaded up my gaiwan and brewed just as David suggested, yielding a nice succession of cups almost exactly as described. Wonderful aromas, wonderful flavor and a really pleasant morning sipping on this tea.

Since I grow orchids, I didn’t get this as the most prominent scent. Instead I get the sweet honeysuckle, with a background of orange blossom and jasmine. The first two steeps give a slightly green flavor followed by buttery creaminess in the later brews and some even have a faint aroma of pine or fir trees behind the floral bouquet.

An outstanding tea, plain and simple. ;)

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Organic Chai by Tazo
134 tasting notes

I was pleasantly surprised by the nice medium body brew that I got out of this Tazo teabag. It was a little out of my usual taste preferences, but made for a nice refreshing cup of tea. Then again, there really is very little tea flavor that you can taste through the spices. This blend seems to have been created to be a good middle of the road chai, able to please the most people by being neither too spicy, or too weak, but having a nice bit of zip. Nice to taste a hint of Peppercorn, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, and Star Anise. I am really pleased that I gave this one a try.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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I have been drinking tea for most of my life, and enjoy learning about Tea Culture from all around the world. I learned early about Russian and British traditions first, since my parents came from Europe, followed by the teas and culture of Ceylon/Sri Lanka and India. Since I have been a practicing Buddhist for the better part of 25 years, I have strong ties to Asia, and have slowly been learning about the teas from each part of the world I encounter. It is a wonderful and interesting journey.


Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

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