Interesting. I did a comparison between this and the Japanese Sencha by David, as I bought 10g of each to sample. Both teas were steeped as recommended by the David’s Tea Thermometer – 74C for 2mins 30seconds. I made them at exactly the same time in identical mugs, water from the same pot and all that jazz. Only thing is I forgot to give either of them a rinse!
The Ashikubo’s liquor was a shade darker, slightly murkier. It is very vegetal, kind of bitter, with slight nutty notes, and a lot of astringency (which I hate). I’ve tried it before and felt meh about it.
The Japanese Sencha’s liquor was lighter in color and clearer. Lighter in flavour too but not in a bad way at all – light vegetal base, very slight sweet floral notes (compared to Ashikubo), very smooth with no astringency. Really pleasant to drink. I’m not a green tea person because every one I’ve tried so far is too astringent (besides genmaicha) and I really don’t dig that, but this changes things.
Anyway, final result is – I don’t like the Ashikubo. I wouldn’t freely decide to sit down with a cup of it. If you dislike astringency, like me, this isn’t for you! Go with the Japanese Sencha. Funny how I like the cheaper one….
Edit: Retrying this tea for the millionth time, trying to get it to work and…. its just not happening. Ever. I’ve just been consistently decreasing steep times and temperature and it just doesn’t want to work for me. I even rinsed it then sat it in some cold water for 10 seconds and all I got was bitter, bitter, bitter. I’ve steeped it at 58C for 25 seconds, for chrissakes! And its still bitter! I can taste some butteryness in the background but then the bitterness just coats my mouth and destroys everything. Undrinkable. Is it my water or something? This definitely isn’t a bad batch, I hope, as this is the second time I’ve bought a sample, at a different store many months after the first attempt. Does my water hate green teas? Why?? WHY?