280 Tasting Notes


I am so glad I got this tea!

I’ve never had this cultivar before, so it was fun to notice the similarities and differences to others. I asked Florent (one of the owners) which of two Kabusechas to recommend, and he said this one. This isn’t technically a true Kabusecha, but the lines are very blurred (the leaves were shaded 1 week prior to picking).

As the description states, the tea is machine harvested, so the leaves are small. However, there are very little tiny bits of leaf like you would find in a fukamushi; instead, they are very consistent, dark, twisted leaves. When brewed, they open up very nicely as well.

Amazingly (for a Japanese green), the liquor is very consistent in color from steep to steep. Typically, I expect the first to be clearer, and the second to be quite dark and full of little bits of leaf. Instead, this tea is a very pleasing, bright, yellowish-green, every single time.

I’m going to have to keep cupping this to get a good description/idea of all the various aromas present, but it is definitely like fresh green beans, flowers, and has a sweet, delicious, noticeable aftertaste.

Once I had tasted the first sip, I was so thankful to know I’d have it around for a while!

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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This tea is delicious, as so many others have noted.

So far, while I really like 52teas, the three teas I’ve tried from them haven’t been as flavorful as I expected. Each time I opened a bag, the incredible aroma set big expectations for me, but the flavor of the liquor wasn’t as strong as I hoped (and had read about here on Steepster). This tea, however, broke that trend!

It was full of juicy, mouth-watering pineapple. I’ll have to see if I notice the coconut and slight rum that the description says…

However, I bet those flavors were present, too. I was just too busy enjoying this cup of tea to think about it!

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A friend of mine has a wife who works at Peet’s Coffee & Tea. And she gets a free tin of coffee or tea every week or two! And yes, I was the lucky beneficiary this time!

I am very glad to have another Yunnan black around…so far, while my black tea experience is limited, I haven’t found another kind of black tea I like better. And of course, the more golden tips, the better. If you like black tea, do yourself a favor and try one from Yunnan.

My first experience with Dian Hong was from Life in Teacup (Golden Buds) then Rishi (Golden Needle). As far as this kind of tea goes, I think I’ve been ruined by those. As smooth, floral, and enjoyable as Peet’s version is, it just doesn’t compare to the others.
It isn’t as rich, spiced, or as sweet, and has a slight edge of astringency that the others did not.

Having said that, this is an excellent every-day tea and I’ll enjoy it every time. And who can complain about getting free tea?! :-)


That’s a great benefit … might actually be worth working at Peet’s just for that! …. err… so long as I’m not expected to drink coffee.


I know, right? And it sounds like to me she’s swimming in free tea, so if you don’t work at Peet’s just start going to one and make friends with someone who does!

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Recently got a sample of this tea, and one of my favorite parts was that the dry leaf has a very nice roasted vanilla aroma to it.

As for the actual tea, I slightly detected marshmallow, but not really the smokiness. (Many seem to have detected it the other way around!).

I wouldn’t actually go for this to have a ‘Toasted Marshmallow’ tea, but instead a really smooth, enjoyable black tea. The Oolong definitely comes through and adds a well-rounded, nice aftertaste.
It didn’t put up well to a resteep, however (though… I may not have brewed it long enough).

I’m glad to have been able to try this, it was very enjoyable!

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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Found this tea from a local cafe!
Interestingly, while I’ve enjoyed flavored sencha, I haven’t enjoyed flavored houjicha as much in the past (I’ve had vanilla houjicha before, maybe others, but that’s the only one I can remember).

This begins with that familiar roasted aroma, but ends very sweet. The presence of the white chocolate seems to add some real sugar to this (though, probably not a lot). I think their description is somewhat accurate— especially in the aftertaste, the aroma and flavor are like toasted marshmallows. Pretty good.

That being said, I still think I prefer regular houjicha to this. But, Art of Tea has created a unique and enjoyable blend that, I’d guess, many would really enjoy.


My teeth hurt just reading this :P Not quite sure how I feel about using a hojicha base for this tea, but it’s always neat to see our favorite teas stateside.


Btw, I posted pictures up of one of the green teas (as you asked) on TC (go to “What Green are you drinking?” around pg 60).


I saw! What astounding leaves, man! Definitely going to try out some of those micro-oxidized teas in the future — I love me some green oolongs.

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Out of curiosity, this was the only tea I requested as a sample in my recent order (Thes du Japon generously throwing in 3 more!). This tea was a real surprise!

I have enjoyed Chinese green teas before, but for the most part, I prefer the effect steaming has on green teas, as opposed to pan-frying (typical Chinese method to prevent further oxidation). But, I had to try this tea, because it is so unique for a Japanese green, and must be more similar to the original teas that came over to Japan from China.

The opened (sample) pack smelled like chocolate, maybe like chocolate raspberries, and slightly earthy. The dry leaves were very similar in shape to Mellow Monk’s ‘Top Leaf’ or Den’s Tea’s ‘Guricha’ … but once they had been steeped several times, they opened up to be huge. You would never have guessed.

I was expecting the tea to be interesting, but not so delicious! The aroma is probably one of the best parts, faintly like stir-fryed snap peas, but as the description says, exactly like smell of roasting chestnuts. I knew that is a nice smell and all, but I never expected it to be so irresistible!

Finally, the flavor wasn’t (as I had been predicting) completely unlike regular sencha. No, this is definitely still a (unique) sencha. I was expecting a very Chinese-like, pan-fried, green tea. Instead, I got a nice union of the two – warming and tasty chestnuts, followed by a faint, but deliciously sweet bitterness.

I might have rated this higher, but it didn’t keep such a strong flavor or aroma for more than 2 infusions. The 3rd and 4th were still good, but didn’t have the same punch. However, I am definitely interested in trying more!

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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This tea is similar to Thes du Japon’s “Sayama-kaori” micro-fermented (or oxidized) sencha. However, while that tea is very much like a green oolong (losing most of its sencha characteristics), this tea is a nice balance.

As seems to be the norm with Thes du Japon, at least the teas they carry produced by Mr. Hiruma, the leaves of this one are a mix of sizes, with a good percentage being very long, beautiful needles (1" – 1.5").

I’ve brewed it for the recommended lengths of time (40s, 50s), but have found I enjoy it on the longer end (50s or 1 minute).

At first, it is refreshing, slightly astringent and earthy, its sencha-like qualities coming through. Unique and fun though, is that oolong qualities follow – a pleasant, flowery aroma.

The best part though is at the end — it leaves an intense and deliciously sweet (and flowery) aftertaste… and remains for a good while (I noticed it still present at least 10-15 minutes later).

I’m glad I chose this one, it is excellent.

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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So now to the first of the teas I actually bought from Thes du Japon, rather than one sent as a free sample…

Before I say anything else, I’m definitely going to have to drink more of this to really get a good idea. But, the first several cups have impressed me.

For a fukamushi—the leaves (like the other micro-oxidized sencha produced by Hiruma san I recently reviewed), were surprising. While the leaves were broken up, I’d say nearly half of them were still long, fine needles. Some as long as 1.5"!!

Brewed, the leaves looked very dark, as if they had been shaded for a little while. Perhaps this is not the case, but they did remind me of the color of brewed gyokuro.

What I also did not expect (since it was not in the tea description), was that this tea is also very slightly oxidized. This shows on the brewed leaves (and buds), as some have brown edges, or (for the buds) completely brown.

The result was a very unique fukamushi. Instead of the neon green, strong, forceful liquor, which could be considered a soup, you get a soft (not weak!), fruity, and subtle cup.
Normally, I read the words ‘soft’ and/or ‘subtle’ to mean, ‘weak’ or ‘too complicated for my palate’. But, now I think I understand what people mean when they use these words.

This tea is also similar to a green oolong/sencha cross… except instead of flowery oolong like the other Hiruma sencha, this has all the fruit-like flavors. I think my favorite time was when it came out tasting very similar to cherries, or actually, like marzipan. You may hate marzipan, but for me it was amazing. If you hate marzipan though, don’t fear, I don’t think that would be a way many would describe it.

I look forward to (God willing) many more good cups of this, and to get a better idea of what it is like. So far it is certainly not what I expected, but in a delicious way.

155 °F / 68 °C 0 min, 45 sec

Everything from Thes du Japon sounds utterly exquisite, and like nothing we’ve tasted before. I am so sad that I didn’t go halfsies on this order!


Don’t worry – they just came out with a $6 shipping method! (Or, did I say that already?) You can choose up to 5 teas, and while it isn’t insured and takes probably 7-8 days instead of 2-3, it’s good enough I’m very likely to order from them again some time.

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Thanks to Jerry Ma for the free sample!
This tea is excellent!!
This is only Grade ‘A’, but it was better (imho) than the ‘AAA’ Da Hong Pao sample…
It was deliciously fruity – strong honey and cinnamon, along with some kind of tropical fruit (not tart-, nor berry-, nor plum-, fruit like).

The cinnamon flavor was clearly present at first, but it always ended with a really good honey-like flavor, and a nice returning sweetness. I haven’t had much Wuyi Oolong before, but this was very good.

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I’ve never logged this tea! It was one of the very first green teas that I ever had.
I recently bought some, because I had only had a sample of it very early on. I’ve had a cold recently, so that may have affected my opinion some . . .
However, this is a great, everyday tea. I kept thinking I wished it was slightly more roasted tasting, than umami or sweet tasting (it is none of those in a strong degree, but leans slightly more toward umami or sweet).

But anyway, it is well balanced and though not my favorite from Den’s Tea, I’d enjoy a cup of it anytime.

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Tea: Japanese greens
Dessert: Creme Brulee
Books: Heaven – Randy Alcorn
Anything by J.R.R. Tolkien
Movie: Field of Dreams
Person: Jesus Christ

But who am I to give you recommendations?
You’ll have to see for yourself!

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