67 Tasting Notes

drank Uji Sencha Jubuzan by Hojo Tea
67 tasting notes

Brewed in a Nosaka red clay hohin with oxidation firing from Hojo.

Very impressed with this tea. I drank it after a session of Hojo’s Tsukigase Zairai
Sencha, and I prefer this better. If I can make an analogy, Uji Sencha Jubuzan is to Tsukigase Zairai Sencha as Jinxuan oolong (milk cultivar) is to Qingxin oolong, if that makes sense.

The dried leaves have a savory rich aroma similar to matcha. I used various teacups including a silver cup. I find teas out of a silver teacup are a touch thinner, but this tea remained thick and full bodied no matter what teacup I used.

After the first sip I got a wave of drunkeness and head-spin, and was glad I was sitting down. I guess I wasn’t prepared for that. I centered myself and continued.

The aftertaste continued to build. It was on the lower register. A rich, creamy, thick, savory, semi-sweet aftertaste just sat there on the center rear of my tongue. It gradually coated my tongue in an creamy manner, but not cloying. A touch of dryness prompts me to take another sip. This is decadent. I need to drink this next to Hojo’s Hon Yama Hebizuka. I wasn’t expecting this to be so good. I really enjoyed this tea, its on the dessert side of teas, decadent, semi-sweet, thick, rich, and filling.

The aftertaste seemed to fade away after a short time, but the creamy mouth coating and sensation on my tongue remained and increased as the session continued. At some point there is a blended confusion of mouthfeel and flavor/aftertaste, and its hard to tell where either one starts or ends. When I take a new sip, the flavor peaks, but then fades back and blends with the oily mouth feel, reminding you of what you just drank. Much different than the sheng puerh aftertaste I am accustomed to. Perhaps that’s why I mixed things up with sencha tonight :)

This tea is relaxing and makes me want to lay down, head qi, warming qi, drunken qi, never experienced this from sencha before. Not getting caffeine jitters either. This is good tea.


Late to comment, but nice review! I haven’t had many of Akira’s teas aside from the Kasuga sencha and wanted to try the Jubuzan for some time. I ordered some before I read this review, so now I’m really looking forward to trying it.

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I really don’t know where to start with this review, and this tea has me perplexed. It was my favorite of the 2016 offerings but nonetheless, I cannot describe it very well. I just enjoyed it a lot.

Aroma of leaves was green, fresh hay, a tinge of lime zest, and the freshness you experience from fresh cut pine or cedar or even mint. There has to be some phenol or natural alcohol in this tea giving that effect.

Gongfu brewing, gaiwan, flavor matched the name “whisper”, there was an ethereal quality about this tea, a softness, like a whisper. Imagine the feeling sitting in a quiet room, in the late afternoon, gazing out the window, as the heaviness of the sunlight fills the room and warms the air. You start to see the little particles of dust floating around in the sun beams. Its that complete stillness hugging you as you simply sit and just “be”. Literally, not waxing poetic, the name is totally befitting for this tea.

Again, why I like this tea I cannot articulate. Not much in the way of flavors, but there is a full body, velvety, thickness to it that is all pleasantness. It was relaxing, not sedating, and it made me comfortably dose off and fall into a gentle sleep at my desk, but I was not tired or feeling sedated.

This is a GREAT evening tea, its not intense, flavors are muted, its nice. The flavor is akin to smoke, not ash, but a gentle puff of smoke.

After about 10 steepings I started to push it and got more greeness and flavor, started becoming a bit drying in the mouth, but still pleasant. There is a gentle cleanness in this tea.

I didn’t even realize how much I enjoyed it until the next day and I wanted to drink it again. I approached this tea searching for specific qualities but this tea caught me by surprise. It didn’t have anything I was looking for, but I enjoyed everything it offered me and ordered a cake.

Not often I repeat the same tea two days in a row. Each other tea over the next few days just didn’t compare, there was something ethereal missing in those other teas that Whispering Sunshine has. I don’t know what it is though. It just kept calling me.


Great review. Its so nice when you connect with a tea like that, when it transcends just being a mere ‘hot drink with caffeine’


I know right! you have a bunch of samples in front of you and don’t really pay attention to them, approaching them with objective skepticism, and then this wonderful surprise happens. I ordered a cake the next day :)

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Free sample with my last order, thank you CLT. I used it to test the effects of one of my jian shu teapots compared with a gaiwan, and honestly, prefered it out of a gaiwan.

The teapot stole some of the sharper higher notes, and in this case the higher notes made this tea better. This tea is very clean, no off-flavors and no fermentation. I don’t remember any smokiness or bitterness as others have reported. Perhaps those notes are already transformed and this tea has moved on?

Classic sweet date flavor, mildly complex, and the aftertaste wasn’t too long, but there was a little. I preferred this much more than the 2008 Bulang shu which I bought a brick of, don’t get me wrong the 2008 is good but I like this 2014 vintage better. The brick still has more fermentation whereas this 2014 version has none.

This tea agreed with me and was easy on the stomach.

I don’t remember any chi from the first day I drank this. But the following day I mixed the tea from both gaiwan and teapot and grandpa brewed it and experienced a strong wave of energy and goosebumps, power, and strength. It was invigorating.

Decent longevity, it outlasted me and carried over to a second day. If there’s any left, I’ll be adding a brick to my next order.

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I approached this as an herbal tea, not puerh.

The shu puerh is in there, but it takes a back seat. It provides mostly body and structure, mouthfeel, and a deep smoothness to this tea.

Earthy flavors of shu are not noticeable, but when I really look I can find a hint of them, and they balance the otherwise sharp peppermint.

Vanilla is hard to find but think its just rounding out the overall experience, adding complexity.

I enjoyed this quite a bit. A ‘touch’ of sweetener may enhance this, maybe next time I brew this I’ll add a dab of honey.

Steeping time needs to be pushed, I think this is best brewed western style with multi-minute steepings. Gongfu brewing didn’t give me much flavor except mint. You really need the extra steeping time to draw out the puerh and vanilla.

I think this is peppermint but its very well balanced.

This tea leaves a fresh feeling in my mouth (guessing from the mint).

A fun treat, this would be nice to cozy up with as the cold weather approaches.

Flavors: Earth, Peppermint, Vanilla, Wood

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This tea is very very good, and very high quality. Hands down the best jasmine pearl I’ve ever had.

My history with jasmine pearls is a bumpy road, I’ve tried many always wanting to like this style of tea. But most jasmine pearls get too strong and bitter, drying/astringent, or they’re too weak and faded, and most don’t have much jasmine taste or aromas after the first or second steeping. And not to sound like Goldie Locks, but Hojo’s jasmine pearls are “just right”.

I cooled the water slightly from a boil by passing it through an Akitsu Mumyoi teapot I got from Hojo, using the teapot as a samashi (cooling pitcher). I poured the slightly cooled water into a tall glass, with just enough jasmine pearls to cover the bottom of the glass.

This tea lasted over 5 steepings before beginning to fade (that’s 5 full glasses of tea).

Super long, pleasant, and strong aftertaste of sweet jasmine with a touch of honey. No bitterness, no sour, this is a wonderful tea to have after breakfast. The flavor just goes on and on and on…this lasts longer than a lot of puerh I’ve been sampling recently. I’m very impressed with this tea.

Believe it or not there’s quite a lot of huigan in this tea too. A pleasant cooling effect in the mouth and throat.

Not my usual indulgence, but wanting to mix it up today, and this is something I see myself returning to more often in the future. This is good!

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Sweet

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brewed in gaiwan

smells rich, smooth and smokey, but not sweet.

After just the first tiny sip, a wave went through my body, not enough to get goosebumps, but a wave of expansive gentle energy from my very center moving outward to the edges of my skin.

The flavor is a bit of ash, malt, straw, apricot, not too complex, but smooth and balanced. No bitterness.

After 2-3 cups my tongue got a very gentle dancing tingling in the middle of it.

After about 4-5 brews I started feeling the tea drunk coming over me.

Huigans and aftertaste, etc were all pretty weak. The only thing I noticed was the tea drunkeness. Not sure if I really enjoyed it though. I would have to say right now, this is not my cup of tea. It will make you drunk, but I don’t like being drunk. If I want to get drunk I’ll drink beer.

Its expensive for sure.

I can’t authenticate it, but it sets a benchmark so anything of lower quality is most definitely not LBZ. Worth a sample at least.

Flavors: Apricot, Ash, Malt, Straw

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First session was mostly broken leaves from the sample bag, and super bitter. But it had redeeming qualities so I made a note to revisit.

Second session a week later, I brewed 4 steeps and mixed them together. A final, and admittedly lazy, attempt to see if this tea had anything worth while. And yes it does!

Super thick body, mouth coating, well balanced, complex flavors of vanilla, wood, earth, leather. The bitter is there, but its like the bitterness of a grapefruit or orange peel (minus the citrus).

Filling chaqi, gives my body a full and strong feeling. Super cooling huigans. This is a good tea.

Not for the beginner puerh drinker.

I’m really glad I didn’t skim over this tea with all the samples I’m working through. Adding a cake to my next order.

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really pleasant aroma of dry leaves like tart fresh apricots and green apples.

After two rinses, aroma changed to rich fried sugary treats, like funnel cake.

Flavor was similar to the tart fresh apricots, green apple, a bit of sugar and honey in there, a wild taste I couldn’t put my finger on that is like sour twang but not really sour, and a malty undertone. Tiny bit of astringency on the finish. not bitter at all. nice longevity, lasted about 15 steeps before it faded. Didn’t get huigan, kuwei, or chi.

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Free sample, I really enjoyed this tea. Its clean and tasty, very pleasant aroma.

Its just barely leaning over the line towards the sweeter side of shu, so its pleasant but not sugary or sweet.

Medium-thick body, aftertaste lingers just enough between sips you don’t lose the flow. There’s something about the way it smells that’s really comforting, kind of woody, like fresh cut green wood.

This is something I would drink frequently, its very smooth, easy on the stomach, comforting without being sedating. Its complex enough to not get boring through the length of a session, but I can’t identify any unique flavors to describe it…but have to agree with the vendors description “full bodied tea is earthy and has a little woody note that also has a thick rich and smooth finish”. That sums it up!

I would have to say this is what I look for in a shu. This is a perfect daily drinker shu.

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brewed this after the much enjoyed session with the 2007 Repave. Yet the 2007 Yexiangwang Naka…I did not want to finish steeping this out. I came back to it the next day. It has longevity, it made me drunk-ish (stopped before getting too woozy). I just did not enjoy this tea in any way shape or form.

It was harsh on my stomach, and didn’t settle either. Felt like a mild case of indigestion just before acid reflux set in.

Bitterness, smokey, totally smoky, it needs more aging, maybe another 5-10 years? However long I think the smoke needs to mellow a bit longer.

Cooling huigan kicks in about steep 5-6. the first 3-4 steeps it tasted like smokey Lipton tea, with a bit of extra complexity, or perhaps smokey puerh laced/blended with a bit of lipton black tea. That distinct Lipton black tea flavor, its in this tea, that’s the only way to describe it. The description says its blended, and the dry leaves look like some heicha is in there, maybe…? Does appear to have some darker leaves in it.

steeps 5+ it started to open up but never got too complex. Its not super smokey now, but the smoke flavor is prominent and dominant and not much else shines through flavor wise.

Feeling – its medium bodied, oily mouthfeel, lingers on the tongue, cooling huigan, and head chi. This tea if brewed strongly could make you tea drunk.

I’m on the fence if I want to buy a cake to age. If I bought a cake I’d push it to the back of the stack and forget about it for another 10 years, its not something I see myself reaching for any time soon.

Its not bad, fun to sample, but not something I’d be reaching for. Final thoughts the next day when finishing this…not worth a cake. It gets you drunk, but the other effects are too harsh on me personally. Too much indecision. Love/hate…

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I like all teas but mostly drink sheng and Taiwan oolong.

My tea notes are just thoughts that come to mind as I drink, so I jot them down. There’s no format to them, just what I want to remember from the experience.

Oh, and why isn’t there a “bacon” flavor option on steepster?


Fairfax, VA

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