Den's Tea

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Sipdown

I thought I didn’t love Japanese green teas but I am changing my mind. This is unbelievably fresh and the color of leaves is stunningly vibrant. It is a green so bright it shouts of life and early spring and rich, new leaf flavor.

Even though I am using a very fine infuser basket (Stump teapot) there is a fine green powder on the bottom of the teapot that it almost makes the tea look milky/savory…like a miso soup instead of a clear green tea at the bottom. First cups are clearer but you can still see the delicate particulates.

Though this is a sipdown, Superanna brought me some lovely green teas from her recent trip to Japan, so I won’t panic about this one being all gone. Yet.

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The first time I tried this, I was not wowed by it. It seemed a little harsh. The other tea I ordered at the same time but don’t remember the name of, I liked better as did Superanna who was trying it with me, so I gave it to her since my whole reason for ordering these was to let her try different Japanese teas before she goes to Japan.

Today one of my students gave me a kurinuki cup that she made herself as a Christmas gift, so of course I wanted to use the cup with an authentic Japanese green tea! I prepared the tea very carefully this time with low temp water (around 155F) and a short steep, and it was so good.

The cup was really neat to drink from. The shape is irregular by nature and we had to get to know each other. The cup and I found the best spot to sip from which also suited my hand position holding the cup perfectly.

I will enjoy the remainder of this tea infinitely more with the cup as its companion!

Kelmishka

What a lovely gift!

ashmanra

I will try to post a link to a pic if I remember my flicker password! Lol

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drank Hojicha Powder by Den's Tea
3202 tasting notes

I just wanted to tell y’all about something delicious cuz that’s what friends do.

I started my hojicha journey with 3 Leaf Tea hojicha powder, plain and flavored ones. They were good and I did quite a few lattes with them. Then I tried this one from Den’s but derk sent me an awesome hojicha that is not a powder. You steep the leaves and it is awesome and we have been drinking that in the evenings when we have Asian food. So this powder has been a bit neglected.

Now I love ice cream and tea together and found out I adore ice cream with a small pot of lapsang, but the caffeine was keeping me up so I switched to hojicha. It was awesome. But I started thinking about how hojicha would probably make an awesome ice cream syrup.

I tried it today and I love it! I mixed a tiny bit of hot water with sugar and stirred and stirred. Then I added hojicha powder and stirred and made a huge mess because it was basically acting totally hydrophobic. It went everywhere. I finally held it over the sink while I stirred until it was a smooth mixture of syrup consistency. It looked for all the world like chocolate fudge sauce at that point.

I poured it over some homemade vanilla ice cream and it was EXQUISITE. If you have any hojicha powder sitting around neglected, I highly recommend this as an occasional treat. (Disclaimer – I felt like I had to say occasional for health reasons. I want all of y’all to live a really long time.)

Dustin

Ooooooooo! Sounds good!

gmathis

Your kitchen accidents turn out amazingly. My kitchen accidents just clog the sink.

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drank Hojicha Powder by Den's Tea
3202 tasting notes

November Sipdown Challenge – National Candy Day

I don’t have a candy flavored tea although I could have stretched my imagination to include some of my fruity or dessert inspired ones. Instead I went with having a cold hojicha latte and two tiny pieces of leftover Halloween candy outside since we are having such a warm, sunny day.

I have had this before but didn’t make a note and I wish I had, because I am a bit stuffy from allergies today and my sense of taste is a little dulled.

Overall, the texture was fine, not gritty. I added about two teaspoons of sugar and then half the milk, frothed and mixed with an aerolatte and then topped off with more milk. I used to underestimate how frothy it gets and make a mess on the counter so this way works better for me. It was almost like drinking a glass of chocolate milk, but for me chocolate milk would have competed with the candy and would not have tasted as good.

This is not even close to a sipdown, as there is a lot in the pouch. I would definitely buy it again. I like it as well as the ones from 3 Leaf Tea so far.

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100
drank Sakura Ryokucha by Den's Tea
676 tasting notes

There were no cherry blossoms this spring around Chicago thanks to the colder than usual temperatures. So I had to content myself with the crabapples and this sakura sencha.

Upon opening the bag, I was greeted by a sweet scent of sakura mochi. I steeped according to package instructions: 1m @ 180F then 15s with boiling water. The tea had a sublime, captivating cherry blossom flavor. Not the medicinal or artificial cherry flavoring you sometimes find in tea, but an elegant and slightly salty flavor if salt pickled sakura. The subtle flavoring mingles perfectly with the grassy green base which appears to be kukicha. Ice brewing accentuates the floral sweetness.

This is about as perfect a cherry flavored tea as sakura tea gets in my opinion. Very similar to another favorite: Sakura Sencha with Sugared Sakura Leaves.

Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Salt

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100

I absolutely love this tea. It’s the first gyokuro I’ve ever tried and I’m not lying when I say when I took my first sip – sparks flew. I never knew tea could taste like this! Almost like a soup broth! It was fascinating! Japanese greens have very quickly become my favourite type of tea and I’ve been experimenting with them for the last few weeks. This one is definitely a winner in my book.

Flavors: Mushrooms, Seaweed, Spinach, Umami

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 30 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
Cameron B.

Gyokuro is definitely a whole different animal, even from other Japanese greens! I love it too, but it’s not something I drink often. It’s one of the few teas that actually gives me a buzz!

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drank Organic Houjicha by Den's Tea
3202 tasting notes

I loved this.

My eldest daughter, Superanna, is planning a trip to Japan and loves matcha but had not tried other Japanese teas. I placed an order of Den’s special teas for her to try, thought about it some more, ordered some MORE teas for her to try, and bought the adorable CAST drinking glass for myself for my flash chill greens and whites this summer. (I thought about it some more and ordered her some gyokuro today and an extra glass for Ashman.)

Since I had placed two orders I got two free samples and both were of this tea, marked that it should be enjoyed in May 2023. I kept one sample and gave the other to her.

So yesterday afternoon I was in dire need of a snack and I had made cookies for Ashman, so I decided to have a couple of oatmeal white chocolate chip cookies and this tea. What a great combo. This tea was so rich and nutty. The instructions said to pour the entire pouch of leaves for one eight ounce serving and it was a LOT of leaf. But I did what they said. It was so good, and the rich, bold flavor was excellent with the sweet cookie.

I have just talked myself into having hojicha and cookies again this afternoon…wish you guys could join me.

beerandbeancurd

Aw, sounds perfect. I just learned about the ice-melting technique to brew gyokuro — haven’t done it yet myself, but others’ reactions are resoundingly positive if y’all are looking for some inspiration!

ashmanra

I did try the ice method last year with a green (I do t remember what it was now) and it took FOREVER for the ice to melt! Ha ha! But I thought I would pass the suggestion on to my daughter!

gmathis

I want to try the ice melt thing!

beerandbeancurd

Me too — perfect summer plan!

Marshall Weber

Sounds great! Still need to get around to trying Hojicha at some point.

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drank Hashiri Shincha by Den's Tea
3202 tasting notes

Tried this tonight with Superanna. This was so fresh and grassy, vibrant tasting, with salty seaweed aroma and lovely smooth seaweed flavor. One person tasted it and said it smelled like cooked eggs, but I mostly think of brothy and the briny aspect of seaweed.

The resteep is nice and full of flavor as well. Both steeps had a rich, broth-like appearance as well. You can almost feel the antioxidants coursing through your veins…

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93

Den’s is killing it with their sencha selection. This is yet another excellent tea from the sampler.

It’s a grassy-sweet-umami bomb in my mouth. And I mean that in the best possible way. Light-medium body with bright green color and fresh taste. It has pretty much everything I seek in deep steamed sencha except it doesn’t resteep well.

Flavors: Moss, Sweet, Warm Grass, Umami

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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90

This is the loose leaf version of Den’s bagged genmaicha. Smells quite similar but differs in appearance. Unlike the bagged version which is practically powder, this one is full leaf and includes popped rice along with toasted rice.

When steeped, it’s vibrant green and cloudy thanks to the dusting of matcha. The toasted rice flavor is more prominent here than the bagged tea which is sweeter and more matcha forward. Both are delicious but head to head, I actually prefer the bagged one when it comes to flavor. Go figure.

Flavors: Grass, Seaweed, Toasted Rice

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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95

Prepared this as an iced matcha latte using tepid water, a little sweetener, and oat milk. Used the entire 1.5g packet for a 10oz latte. Whisked everything together using a handheld milk frother before adding ice.

The matcha powder was bright green and aromatic. One thing I like about Den’s is all of their green teas smell and taste very fresh even the ones that are a bit older. The latte was foamy, rich, and totally delicious. Nicely satisfied my matcha craving.

It may seem like a waste to adulterate ceremonial grade matcha with sugar and creamer but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Much like coffee, matcha is one of those drinks I need to be creamy and a little sweet.

Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

Cameron B.

I, too, am a matcha heathen ha ha. :P

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85
drank Yuzu Kukicha by Den's Tea
316 tasting notes

Omggg. Something I probably wouldn’t have purchased on my own but absolutely LOVED from the TTB. I am a total sucker for pretty much all citrus, so it’s a pleasure to experience a new-to-me flavor (yuzu). It’s sweet and creamy, yet also just a bit pithy and zesty? With a lovely gentle grassy kukicha base. I really should’ve taken better notes while sipping this tea yesterday, but it was a ridiculously hectic work + school day. :( Regardless, I’ll be keeping at least some of this from the TTB.

Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Creamy, Grapefruit, Grassy, Sweet, Tangy, Yuzu

Skysamurai

Japanese Yuzu is such a unique citrus.

LuckyMe

Wish I’d seen your review when I placed my Den’s order the other week. A yuzu flavored kukicha sounds delicious.

Cameron B.

I remember loving this one when I tried it many years ago. I think it might be seasonal?

ETA: I checked and it does seem to be a winter exclusive.

Kelmishka

I looked it up too — going to have to set a reminder for myself for next year!

Cameron B.

Lupicia also has a nice yuzu green tea that’s a winter release!

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83
drank Green Kukicha by Den's Tea
676 tasting notes

Smells incredible but has a very basic flavor. It has a smooth, toasty genmaicha-like taste and less grassiness than sencha. Lacks the complexity of better Japanese greens but also the murkiness or astringency they can sometimes have. A very approachable and straightforward tea. Flavorless when resteeped so it’s a one and done kind of tea.

Flavors: Garden Peas, Toasted

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
gmathis

Good reminder for me to find and use my last bit of kukicha. I always associate it with spring for some reason.

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80
drank Grape Sencha by Den's Tea
316 tasting notes

A fun one from the TTB. It smells like grape Jolly Ranchers! Grape is a divisive flavor… I know avowed grape lovers and avowed grape haters. I’m in the middle, leaning toward “love it.”

Anyway, the bag recommends steeping this for 30 seconds with boiling water, which… seems odd? Regardless, I tried it, and it was fine. But then I tried again this morning with cooler water (175˚F) for a slightly longer steep (around a minute), and, whoa, yum! Sweet, smooth, buttery, grape candy deliciousness, with just a hint of bitterness toward the end (but in a good way). I appreciate that the artificial grape flavor is pretty muted; it mostly comes through in the scent.

Enjoying this one quite a lot on this rainy morning.

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Candy, Grapes, Smooth, Sweet

gmathis

I’m on the love-it list, but there aren’t many really good grape-ity ones out there! Glad you found one.

Cameron B.

Love Japanese grape flavoring in particular!

ashmanra

gmathis: Grape-ity Lupicia Jingle Bells is on its way to you! Hope you love it as much as I do!

gmathis

You take such good care of me!

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92
drank Sencha Shin-ryoku by Den's Tea
676 tasting notes

Another lovely sencha from the Den’s sampler. This was an asamushi with a fair amount of broken leaf. Fresh, pistachio cream aroma. Light green liquor. Once steeped, it has a warm grassy flavor with vegetal and umami undertones. Resteep was even better. Deeper green taste and lasting oceanic sweetness.

Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Ocean Breeze, Pistachio, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Marshall Weber

That pistachio aroma sounds heavenly!

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92
drank Bancha Suruga by Den's Tea
676 tasting notes

This was a sample included by Den’s from their tea of the month club. It’s the first green tea I’ve ever had that actually tastes best with boiling water. It’s fairly insipid when steeped using normal green tea water temperature but with boiling water its bright, grassy, and fresh without a hint of bitterness. Go figure. The downside is boiling water zaps most of its goodness so it doesn’t have much to offer on resteep. The best it can do is 2 infusions.

Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Nori

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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91

Last teabag from the Den’s sampler. Once again I ripped open the teabag to inspect the contents. I immediately understood why they used a teabag when I saw how powdery the tea was. But looks can be deceiving. Despite the homely appearance, it tasted better than more expensive hojichas.

The tea has a sweet, milky chocolatey aroma and when brewed, is smooth and delicious with just the right amount of roast. A tad light, could have used a little more leaf. The mellow flavor is perfect for leisurely sipping away in the evening.

Flavors: Milk Chocolate, Roasty, Smooth

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

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Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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64
drank Sencha Fuka-midori by Den's Tea
44 tasting notes

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Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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75
drank Sencha Shin-ryoku by Den's Tea
44 tasting notes

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Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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80
drank Gyokuro Kin by Den's Tea
44 tasting notes

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Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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85
drank Gyokuro Suimei by Den's Tea
44 tasting notes

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Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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80
drank Sencha Zuiko by Den's Tea
44 tasting notes

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Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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85
drank Bancha Suruga by Den's Tea
11 tasting notes

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Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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