I was going through my tea stash and realized that I’d accidentally created “aged” sencha. I bought this in 2014 or 2015 in one of my first loose-leaf orders, probably brewed it incorrectly, and promptly pushed it to the back of my tea cupboard. Since this review isn’t really fair and is more of an experiment in what not to do with delicate Japanese greens, I haven’t rated this tea.
In an effort to get rid of my sample, I steeped 5 g of leaf in my 120 ml Bankoyaki kyusu; I used 158F water for steeps of 20, 10, and 30 seconds, then upped the temperature to 175F for 45 seconds, one minute, and three minutes.
This sencha has a large number of longer needles alongside the regular small pieces. In the pot, it smells surprisingly fresh and buttery. The first steep is buttery, mellow, and somewhat floral, with little astringency or umami. However, the butteriness has an odd, kind of stale quality, which doesn’t bode well for future steeps.
The second steep is more smooth, brothy, and astringent, and though the off note is still there, it’s less noticeable. This isn’t bad. However, the third steep, at 30 seconds, increases both the astringency and the off flavours. It does have a nice, grassy aftertaste that kind of redeems it.
The fourth steep at 175F eliminates the butteriness altogether and turns into astringent asparagus soup. The profile changes again in the fifth steep, taking on the floral, buttery qualities of earlier ones. This marks the end of the session, as the sixth steep diminishes in flavour.
For a tea that was at least three years old, this sencha performed well. Perhaps due to my unusual brewing parameters, the flavour changed dramatically from steep to steep, generally improving as the session progressed. I’d call this experiment a success!
Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Butter, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Umami