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Recent Tasting Notes
Cupped the loose version of this tea at work two days ago – Japanese black tea are interesting, and I’ve yet to have one that I was REALLY into, but this was the first where I thought that it was definitely nice enough that someone could be really into it.
Just, not me.
The main reason it wasn’t for me was because I found it steeped up rather savory, with a lot of natural black pepper notes and that’s a flavour that I tend to really dislike in my black teas. In addition to a lot of black pepper notes, I found it had a strong citrus peel pithyness – so the two combined reminded me a lot of rather pithy/peppery yuzu. Really interesting, and complex – but not a profile I resonated with.
This is my mood booster of choice. The moment I open the bag, my mouth waters in anticipation. At this point, it really is Pavlovian. The first steep is my favorite, which isn’t always the case with other gyokuro. The green of the liquor is soft and elegant. Tastes of pine and fresh greens (you know, the artisanal stuff Keller prolly has grown at The French Laundry) with a floral finish that lingers. The theanine-caffeine combo is almost instantaneous in effect. I am invariably blissed out after. The spent leaves make an excellent tea leaf salad.
Flavors: Cucumber, Gardenias, Pine, Seaweed, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet
I brewed this tea as I normally do with senchas, 160 for 45", 15" in a kyusu. The body was full. The tea tasted sweet and vegetal. There was also something about it that reminded my of sipping on sake. I highly recommend this tea but don’t hold onto it. It degrades fast.
This tea was so mind blowing good when it was fresh. It has gone from being that good to being barely mediocre. Not surprising since I purchased this in Sept 2015. Still leaving my high rating though. I know this tea is outstanding when fresh. I only have a teaspoon left so not a lot of it went to waste. Looking forward to ordering some of this in the spring.
I bought quite a bit of this tea without having tried it before – only going by the reviews here and what I like. I was not disappointed. This tea is amazing!
When I opened the bag it smelled so fresh and of seaweed. It’s a beautiful dark green. Looking like a gyokuro.
I just brewed it in a mug with a stainless steel infuser. I like those stainless steel infusers for tiny leaf leaf. It was a beautiful bright green. Looked almost like a matcha. Taste was sweet, seaweed, grassy & a bit nutty. Loved it!
Flavors: Cut Grass, Nutty, Seaweed, Sweet
This tea is from an old Steepster tea box that I’m just getting to since I have 175 degree water and not enough for a pot so I just made this since it’s single serving.
It smells really really green, like really great green tea! Grassy and beany and a little bit of asparagus which I don’t like so much because I actually hate asparagus. There’s a bitter aftertaste that I wasn’t expecting since the smell is so sweet.
Drank it a little cooler than I expected since I remembered after making it that I can’t drink green (or oolong) tea on an empty stomach without getting nauseous and headachey so I quick found some leftover tofu soup in the work fridge that I left on Friday and ate a bunch of tofu cubes. Not my preferred food for 9am but it works.
Anyway, this is a nice green tea but not really to my taste from the asparagus-ness.
Flavors: Asparagus, Beany, Grass
Additional notes: I just wanted to say I’ve had this before but just finished a sample from StarFevre (thank you!), and since it was from a generous lovely tea package, needed to write a note! Though ancient and the most delicate of greens, the flavor is still AMAZING. I love the nuclear green on a winter day. Very surprising it’s still great and very enjoyable.
2021 Sipdowns: 12 (This + one sample of David’s Checkmate)
This is from my free Steepster box a while back (a year!) The samples are nicely sealed, so I don’t think this one has aged too badly. I love a nice green tea occasionally. This looks like it had a lot more than a teaspoon of these thin grassy leaves. The flavor is fairly strong (again probably because of the more than a teaspoon)… very nutty, savory, salty, buttery, seaweed, creamed corn. I like how much flavor a green tea can have though. Looking at the mug (both steeps), it looks like it’s full of matcha. I’m not sure if the blend actually is full of matcha or the leaves are so small, but now that I think about it, the tea tastes exactly like matcha anyway. I’m glad I took so long deciding on which tea to have! Any more of a temp or steep time (and leaves… the infuser was almost 1/3 full!) and this one would have been a bit on the bitter side. Since the wait was 40 minutes, it kind of had to be a tea like this one anyway.
Steep #1 // 40 min after boiling // 1 1/2-2 min steep
Steep #2 // 30 min a.b. // 2 min
Backlog from yesterday.
You win, Uji Shincha. From the previous two tasting notes I learned how much you HATE resteeping so I didn’t even try this time. I went straight for a western style brew and you were MUCH happier this way. Still the notes of pine and ocean breeze/salt air, with a bit of astringence that was creeping along the edges of the sip. It was ALMOST, but not quite bitter, and skirted that line well, though next time I might even stop steeping a little earlier.
I will drink you happily because I do love this flavor, but I know there’s got to be a better value for my money out there somewhere…
Okay, so I tried the Obukucha and it was good and then it reminded me about how I have this Uji shincha that’s not getting any younger, just languishing away in my cupboard. And then I remembered the pine-y ocean breeze smell and thought, I bet that would go really well with some leftover chicken pad thai.
And here we are.
Steep 1: Yummm… this is an excellent steep, just like last time- piney salt air, very light green, almost colorless liquor. THIS I like. The hints of brine and umami aren’t as strong as the obukucha but these are still the basic characteristics I love in a green. I drank this quickly and it did pair well with the pad thai. And the leaves in my gaiwan smell just like buttered spinach. Seriously I could put soy sauce on that and eat it.
Steep two: I was extra mindful of not wanting to steep this too long since this is where it all went wrong last time. So, I went 45 seconds again (rather than 1 minute like the second steep last time) – and the SAME THING happened :(. I guess I could go a SHORTER steep for the second go around – maybe 20 seconds to start off with? Because this is undrinkable and bitter as is.
Back to the drawing board, but the first steep is so promising that I can’t count it out just yet…
Flavors: Ocean Breeze, Pine
I was so impatient for this tea to get here! Ever since I was informed what japanese region produces the mineral/seaweed profile I have been wanting to really try it out for myself. So I ordered this from TeaWing.
The dry leaf is very small and dark green, like pine needles. There were lots of broken bits, too. The scent was really pretty standard japanese sencha/green, so no surprises there. It came in a vaccuum sealed pouch and the recommended steeping was at 170-175 degrees for 45 seconds for the initial infusion, with 1 g. tea for each oz. of water. I steeped it in my gaiwan (so 4 g. leaf was used).
1st steep: 45 seconds. This does give me the ocean breeze taste I remember from Obukucha, though its missing the saltiness. It is actually rather sweet, and brothy. I drank this down really fast, but was kind of disappointed in the lack of saltiness – there was almost a sense of drinking miso broth with the Obukucha that I would have loved to experience again. Maybe I still will?
After steeping, the leaves, which were small and dark green, expanded and turned bright green. There is a definite note of nori/seaweed in the wet leaf, which is leaving me very excited to move on to the next steep…
2nd steep: 1 minute
And I ROYALLY botched it! I couldn’t drink this infusion – it was TOO bitter and astringent to go down. Note to self: 1 minute is way too long! I hate that I had to learn this the hard way, but down the drain it goes.
3rd steep: 45 seconds.
Got a little gunshy after the spectacular failure that was the last steep so I shortened the steep time back to 45 seconds. The infusion is still a bright green, and little bits of leaves keep making their way from my gaiwan to my cup. This steep is still bitter but drinkable, at least. Spinachy seaweed is all I’m tasting, with that underlying bitterness. It’s not bad, and I’m going through it pretty fast just so I can get to the next iteration of this tea…
4th steep: 45 seconds.
Bitterness and watery tea. I have well and truly botched this. :(
Well, on the bright side, I still have a little less than 100g. to play with and I know what NOT to do next time. The first steep of this certainly did have potential and I will withhold the rating for now, seeing as I broke the tea.
I know I’ll be trying it again soon though!
What a lovely tea, so fresh and vital! The smells were so vibrant and intense while it was steeping.
I’m not sure what a marine note is, so I couldn’t say if it was there or not. I got piney, spinachey, grassy, full-bodied mouthfuls. The astringency is a nice punctuation.
This is not a shy tea.
Flavors: Grass, Pine, Spinach, Vegetal
This has to be one of my favorite senchas. Just had it for the first time within the last two weeks but have been drinking it everyday. It is quite amazing. Well worth the money. Personally found that 175 degrees is the perfect temperature.
Sometimes i get nauseous from drinking green tea, especially the jasmine varieties, and this green tea not only did not make me sick to my stomach, but was so so so delicious. I am planning on buying a lot more!
Flavors: Butter, Freshly Cut Grass, Grass