Well, that was supremely unfun. I woke up pretty excited today, ready to hit up some sencha, serious-style.
I was all prepared to do 1 tsp/8 oz., but then I went onto Steepster’s description of this tea, and read 1 tbsp/9-12 oz. And that’s where everything fell apart.
Let’s start with the leaves first. Can I just wax poetic on how absolutely gorgeous these leaves are? Crumbly and a beautiful, beautiful deep green. Gorgeous! They feel so wonderfully silky and shiny. They’re truly a thing of beauty. The smell is somewhat similar to cut grass with a slight butter note. I was really excited to try this.
So I measured out 1 tbsp, dumped in 9 1/2 oz. of water, and waited a minute for this to steep. The water immediately became this murky, swampy concoction, not unlike Ryokucha from Samovar. And the pour took forever, because the leaves were so thick and mush-like.
My first warning sign was the color of the tea. I’ve read that sencha is a pretty yellow-lime-green color. Mine was deep, dark olive. Darker than Ryokucha. I seriously couldn’t even see the bottom. The smell coming off of it was promising, though! Leafy and buttery with notes of grass and brine. So I hesitantly took my first sip…
…and nearly spat it out in the sink. Oh my. That had to be the most bitter thing I’ve ever tasted in my LIFE. And ridiculously strong, too. It tasted like wheatgrass x1000. Like I just swallowed a mouthful of the most bitter, ridiculous grass I’d ever tasted. Seriously, that bad.
Panicking a bit, I began to dump leftover warm kettle water into my cup, hoping it’d dilute.
It helped, but barely. The flavors were so strong and dominant and disgusting that I needed to dump it all in the sink.
In a bit of a panic, I contacted takgoti (who sent me this probably wonderful tea, had I brewed it correctly!), who gave me some reassurance and suggested that I modify stuff a bit.
So I dumped out most of the leaf, until I was left with something closer to a teaspoon, used 8 oz. of water, and steeped it again. This cup smelled around the same as the first, and the taste…
Well, it’s still a bit bitter than what it’s supposed to taste like (the ratio is probably not perfect), but I’m getting a LOT more flavor that I’m supposed to. Now there’s more of a grassy-green taste, chased by a bit of brine, and followed by some assertive bitterness. Following that bitterness is a wonderful sweetness that envelops my mouth. It’s not a nectar sweet. It is a sweet that I can only say would probably be the way that grass would taste if it was edible.
I know that I royally messed this one up. And it makes me really sad, because I know that sencha is very popular, and I trust that takgoti has given me a most excellent sample.
I don’t really know if sencha will ever be one of my favorites. Right now, I can’t really get the memory of the intense bitterness out of my memory, and it’s sort of coloring the much better cup I’m having right now.
Not giving this one a rating for now! Hopefully when I steep it correctly I’ll have a much better time!