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Green March! I recently put in a big order with Yunomi, and I was just shy of qualifying for free shipping and didn’t know what I wanted, so what better way than to drop some mystery tea onto the order? What I ended up getting was a May 2017 harvest of Kabusecha Saeakari from Marushige Shimizu Tea Farm. I’ve never tried (and I’ll admit, even heard of) Kabusecha before. From the description it seems to be a bit of a fusion between sencha and gyokuro, but the preparation instructions are definitely more like that of gyokuro. And I’ve never tried gyokuro before, so I was expecting a little wobbliness in preparation making this for the first time.

I was mainly concerned getting the right temperature. I don’t own a food themometer, and the lowest setting on my temperature-control kettle is 160 degrees F. The recommended steeping temperature for this tea was 122-140 degrees F. And while I do own a small porcelain Japanese teapot, I don’t have a fancy gyokuro-style set with the water-holder dishes and whatnot. So, I winged it. I used the lowest setting on my kettle, poured that into my teacup, let it sit while I measured out 4 grams of leaf to put in the teapot, then moved the water to another teacup just before dumping it into the teapot, hoping by that point it would be in the proper temperature zone. While I’ll never know for certain, after my cup steeped for the recommended two minutes, the resulting steep certainly didn’t feel more than just a little above tepid to my tongue, so hopefully it was in the ballpark?

The first thing that struck me was how much of a salty aroma the tea had! The flavor was very strong; I didn’t find it unpleasant, but was not used to such a strong savory taste from my tea having never had it before, and I had to sip through the infusion very slowly. It did have a thick umami profile, with salty notes and vegetal seaweed flavors that reminded me of a seafood taste similar to shrimp. There was also a bit of grassiness and a sweet finish that comes with nice green tea. I didn’t get any astringency from the cup at all; it was very thick and smooth.

The second steep brought on more of a sencha flavor, with a more prominent grassy taste, but notable deeper, umami seaweed notes in the finish of the sip. By the third steep, the umami notes had waned from the cup, but it still had a pleasant vegetal flavor and made for a relaxing cup of green tea.

The first steep was certainly the most unique, but I think it’s going to take a bit of adapting to get my palate used to those strong umami notes. (I’ll get there; once upon a time, I used to not be able to drink bergomot, and now I have more earl grey blends in my cupboard than I care to count). So at the moment that second steep was my favorite, which brought out more of a blend of the new flavors and old, familar notes. I’ll have to continue to work with this tea… apparently the flavor can change a lot depending on temperature and steep times, and I’m especially curious to try it iced!

Flavors: Grass, Salty, Seaweed, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Bio

Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, RuPaul’s Drag Race, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud asexual and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Dessert/chocolate/vanilla/caramel/cream/toffee/maple
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Vegetal/grassy
-Floral/lavender/rose
-Spices/chais
-Fruity
-Tropical/pineapple/coconut
-Bergamot (in moderation)
-Roasted/nutty
-Tart/tangy/hibiscus/rosehip

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Grapefruit (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

Currently Sipping Down: Tealyra’s Lady Grey, Tealyra’s Lychee Peach, Adagio’s white teas, Tealyra’s Chocolate Mint Rooibos, Tealyra’s Lavender Lemon Potion

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.

New Teas Tried for 2020: 17
Sipdown Count for 2020: 21

Inventory:

My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D2J0sUMNItRsf0jBRBR6XDFUimm60f0o/view?usp=sharing . I am currently on a tea trading/ordering hiatus to get my collection under control! I cannot participate in any tea boxes, group orders, tea exchanges, or accept any tea gifts at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

The Steepster PM system has been broken for some time. If you need to get ahold of me, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.

Location

Idaho, United States

Website

https://teatimetuesdayreviews...

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