Kyoto Obubu Tea FarmsEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Had this one a while ago at work and jotted down a few sparse notes. It’s quite similar in appearance and taste to the other Obubu teas I’ve sampled. Long, unbroken dark green leaves that share many flavor characteristics with Chinese greens. Aromas of autumn leaves and boy choy. Very light in color and taste. Flavor is mostly green bean and sautéed veggies. Doesn’t have much of the grass and umami typically found in Japanese greens.
Thanks for the sample Cameron. I’m just about done with all of the Obubu senchas and looking forward to trying the houjicha samples next.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Green Beans, Vegetables
#tiffanys2021sipdown Tea #175 overall / Tea #46 for April
An Ode To Tea, W is for Wakoucha by Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms (black tea) (gifted by Cameron aka @tea.n.pugs) 13/23
Thursday 4/29 — WOW-color me impressed. Cameron sent me a lovely package with lots of different teas. I vowed to try everything even the ones that might not normally be my wheelhouse. I will say this again and again, but black tea is not my favorite. I brewed up the whole sample packet (5g? 10g?) in small plastic pitcher (maybe 32 oz of water?) cold brew and I adored it. It was so light, but not like light like on flavor but like airy? I don’t know. I’m terribly bad at describing things but this was so delicious. I wish I would have experimented with this more. Looking forward to trying other teas from this company and putting them on my wish list of companies to try in future.
#tiffanydrinkstea #tiffanys2021 #tiffanysfaves #tiffanyinthe614 #tiffanysteasipdown #sipdownchallenge
Sipdown! (56 | 260)
Finishing off the set of sample packets from a tea club shipment from last year. Also my first time trying this tea!
The leaves of this tea are quite small and broken, and steep up to a bright but cloudy green-yellow liquor. It has a strong, intense vegetal flavor that reminds me of fukamushi sencha, along with a pleasant nuttiness. No bitterness or astringency to speak of.
I had this a few hours ago and didn’t really take notes, so I’ll have to write a better tasting note next time, ha ha…
Flavors: Grain, Smooth, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal
Grabbed a little sample from the tea box. I’ve enjoyed flavored hojicha in the past, and I think one plain one, but that must have been a lighter roast. To me, dark roast sort of just tastes burnt? Like vegetables that have been left on the grill too long. Really charred. If it had some other flavors in there, maybe I could enjoy it, but plain, it doesn’t work for me.
2021 sipdown no. 78
Almost done these teas from Cameron!
This one is a delightful genmaicha. I always enjoy genmaicha, but certainly don’t drink enough of it to comment any more than that I enjoy it. I actually added a touch of marshmallow root just because.
I’ll resteep for a second steep as well.
Ooh, so excited! I adore sakura sencha, but this is the first time I’ve seen one from Obubu, and they were kind enough to include it in the March subscription box! \o/
I was surprised that the instructions recommend only 120ml of water for the 5g packet. But I suppose maybe it makes sense given there’s less actual tea than usual here, because of the added sakura blossoms and leaves. So I got to use a cute baby teapot!
This is so lovely. The base tea here is their Sencha of the Spring Sun, which is an unshaded spring-harvest sencha. It has some lovely vegetal spinach and umami notes, with a bit of fresh green grass on the side. There is virtually no bitterness, but a touch of astringency on the tail end with this fairly long steep time. It’s an excellent choice to pair with the sakura, as its flavor is mellow enough not to be overpowering. I love the taste of sakura, but I feel like I always have a hard time describing it in other words. There’s definitely some cherry, though it’s more subtle than you would expect from the name “cherry blossom”. It has a wonderful savoriness to it that really sets it apart from other flowers, and the floral presence is soft and light.
Not sure how this compares to my beloved Chasandai sakura sencha, I’d probably need to sip them side-by-side. It’s definitely different, because the Chasandai version has sugared leaves in it, which adds an extra sweetness. Although looking at the Yunomi website, it looks like it might be discontinued now…? T.T
Flavors: Astringent, Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Sakura, Savory, Seaweed, Smooth, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal
2021 sipdown no. 67
Thanks to Cameron for another great sample!
This one is toasty, toasty just like a hojicha is meant to be. I actually love it even more as it cools because a sweetness comes through and makes it even more delightful. I always enjoy hojicha, but never consider keeping it in my cupboard, and maybe that’s something I should re-think.
The term is slowly coming to an end and I have assignments galore, but I enjoyed my last cup as we binged WandaVision today because a break was in order.
Sipdown! (9 | 213)
Okay, this is so delicious!
Sweet, slightly vegetal with notes of alfalfa hay and a really yummy grainy flavor. I’m not sure what grains precisely, maybe something like flax and steel cut oats? There’s a bit of kabocha squash with a lovely richness to it. The umami came out a touch more in the second steep, with a lovely crisp nori note at the end of the sip.
Flavors: Alfalfa, Grain, Hay, Kabocha, Oats, Seaweed, Smooth, Squash, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Sipdown! (64 | 194)
I took one of my recently acquired kyusu out for a spin with this lovely tea this afternoon.
I followed the parameters from Obubu’s video – first steep at 140°F for 90 seconds, and then a second steep at 175°F for 30 seconds.
The first steep had a lovely thick and rich kabocha or acorn squash-like flavor to it, along with intensely vegetal steamed spinach notes and a soft undercurrent of umami. There was also a bit of fresher grass and green hay bringing up the rear. Very little bitterness. The second steep was much hotter and shorter, so I tasted more of the grass and hay flavors, and there was a stronger pleasantly bitter note at the end of the sip, along with a touch of astringency.
Overall, very rich and satisfying with a lovely intensity. I felt very energetic after the session!
P.S. – Someone rated this a 4, seriously?!
Flavors: Creamy, Freshly Cut Grass, Hay, Kabocha, Seaweed, Smooth, Spinach, Squash, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Vegetal
Sipdown! (59 | 189)
Finishing off the last of my subscription packets of this tea, but I still have an unopened full-size package!
This is really lovely, and it’s nice to have a milder, unshaded sencha after having fukamushi and kabuse varieties the last two times.
The beginning of the sip is all brothy simmered vegetables, more bok choy than the usual spinach. My favorite takeout wonton soup has loads of bok choy in it, and this is reminding me of that in a lovely way. There’s also a fresh grassy note and some umami, though in this sencha it’s closer to a whisper than a scream, perhaps like a light ocean breeze instead of seaweed. Some nice nutty notes that remind me of Chinese green teas as well. And then at the end of the sip, there’s this clear and poignant pine flavor that I really didn’t expect. Pine and perhaps basil as well? What an interesting finish for a more subdued sencha!
The description lists a lot of floral notes, which I don’t get much of at all. I guess I’m not doing it right, ha ha! But I like the notes I tasted better! ;)
Flavors: Basil, Bok Choy, Creamy, Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Nuts, Ocean Air, Pine, Smooth, Umami, Vegetable Broth, Zucchini
Another unique tea from Cameron’s Obubu Tea Farm’s collection. I’ve always been curious to try tencha, the precursor to matcha, but it’s not an easy tea to find.
The familiar smell of matcha, those deep vegetal and umami notes, greet you upon opening the pouch. The leaf looks like a typical sencha although it has more broken leaves and small particle than other Obubu teas. The steeped tea tastes indeed like matcha. Soft peat moss earthiness, umami, and assertive notes of broccoli and spinach. It tastes like a thin matcha but without the intensity and chalkiness. As someone who finds straight matcha too aggressive, I appreciated the lighter, more delicate flavor of this tencha.
Thanks Cameron for once again expanding my experience!
Flavors: Broccoli, Earth, Grass, Spinach, Umami
Sipdown! (3 | 207)
I’m getting low on Obubu hojicha! Luckily I have some other ones that I need to sip through… (always, ha ha!)
I’m surprised that the roast isn’t overpowering here, given it’s the dark version. It has a nice burnt sugar, caramel sort of undertone with layers of roasted barley, wood, and autumn leaf. There’s a bit of smokiness and charcoal as well. I would like a little more nuttiness, but maybe that’s just a consequence of the darker roast.
Very tasty! But I tend to prefer lighter roasts, and especially kuki-hojicha!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Smooth, Wood
So after accidentally failing to make the last hojicha into a milk tea (lol), I steeped this one up instead. I figured the darker roast would give a stronger toasty flavor and stand up better to the milk anyway.
But wow, it’s really roasty! Delicious though, the milk really smooths out the rougher edges nicely. I added brown sugar syrup to this one, as I thought it would go nicely with the darker roast, and I think it was a good choice.
I’ve never had a hojicha latte, but this is fairly similar and I really like it! I really need to mix up my 3 Leaf Banana Hojicha powder one of these days…
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grain, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Toasted, Wood
Sipdown! (17 | 147)
I figured this would be interesting to try as a milk tea! I only had one packet left after sending out a couple on swaps, so I thought it would be a nice way to finish it off.
The beginning of the sip is actually dead-on for kabocha! Which I was not expecting at all, given that’s not a note I found in the tea by itself. But it’s very squashy, yet sweet and creamy, almost like a creamy kabocha soup. The middle and end transitions more to sweet honeyed brioche, which makes more sense as I often find wakocha bready.
Anyway, surprising and yummy! Next time I’d try this one with honey syrup instead of regular.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Butternut Squash, Honey, Pumpkin
So apparently I didn’t write a note for this when I drank it last month. Today I’m finishing it off as a milk tea, but I want to write a note for it prepared traditionally, so here we go. Luckily I did do an Instagram post, so I have those notes.
Wakocha always reminds me of white tea in some ways, and Taiwanese black tea in others.
This one has a lovely smooth taste and light body, with notes of honeyed hay and oats with freshly baked bread. There’s an underlying sweet molasses richness that I really love, and hints of syrupy dried fruit like figs or dates. The hay and straw notes have a bit of mineral mustiness to them that I find quite refreshing.
Yum! I should really drink wakocha more often…
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Dates, Dried Fruit, Fig, Grain, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Molasses, Musty, Oats, Smooth, Straw, Sweet
Sipdown! (13 | 143)
So… I haven’t had much gyokuro. For some reason, I’m very intimidated by it, even though I drink sencha all the time. I guess it’s because it’s supposed to be this precious thing, and I’m afraid of messing it up? I ’unno…
But today I said YES, let’s steep it up! This was a single sealed 5g packet leftover from an Obubu sampler I had. I used a 120-ish ml shiboridashi for this tea, and 140°F water.
Wow, it’s really a punch in the mouth! Such an intense vegetal and umami flavor, but without any bitterness at all. Very thick with a lovely honeyed sweetness, and also some sweet fruity notes. The first thing I thought of was maybe cooked pear? But I see that the description mentions melon, which I also agree with. There are also sweet and creamy veggies, like edamame and fresh garden peas, and a strong note of steamed spinach. Perhaps a hint of floral at the end?
This was just so yummy. Very thick, brothy and satisfying, yet also sweet and fruity. I have a few more gyokuro samples from Obubu, so I’ll have to give those a try soon!
Flavors: Broth, Cantaloupe, Creamy, Floral, Garden Peas, Honey, Honeydew, Melon, Pear, Peas, Smooth, Soybean, Spinach, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Vegetal
Backlog. Another share from Cameron.
This was an exquisite tea. Soft and creamy with mellow grassy notes and a taste that’s reminiscent of mountain mist and tender spring vegetables. It develops a rich, hearty body over successive steeps while remaining well-balanced and smooth. Notes of soy milk and cream along the way before ending bright and fruity. It’s also got staying power as I was able to push it for 4 good steeps.
Flavors: Soybean, Umami, Vegetables
I’ve been craving sakura lately, and found this sampler from a very long ago Yunomi order. These are actual sakura flowers, preserved in salt and ume (plum) vinegar.
I first tried making some rice by adding one flower into my rice water while it simmered with the rice. The finished rice definitely tasted of the preserving agents, having a pleasant salty and tangy plum flavor, with a more subtle hint of cherry in the background.
Then I decided to try making a matcha latte with it. The directions on the tea suggested rinsing the flower to remove the salt, then steeping it again, and adding back in any of the “salt water” to taste. I prepared it pretty much as suggested, with a 2 minute steep for the initial rinse and a 5 minute steep for the second. The rinse steep was, indeed, extremely salty/umami in flavor, but I could taste that distinct soft floral cherry flavor in the brew… possibly a little more tangy fruit than expected, as I think the ume was bringing that out in the cherry. It did make me think of a soup broth, so I can see why that worked well for my rice. The second infusion had more of a sweet, floral aroma, and the cherry blossom looked like a little jellyfish floating around in the water! Lacking the salt and vinegar, the tea had a very soft and mild sweet and floral taste, like extremely watered down wild flower honey.
The matcha latte wasn’t quite the indulgent experience I was hoping for; I have a hard time with matcha tasting too bitter if I use water, and I thought the sakura tea would help with that. It didn’t really. Still tasted like strong seaweed to me. Added milk and some honey and that calmed the matcha flavor down to something tolerable, but it was overpowering any sakura that might be present. It presented more as an aftertaste, after the grassy/spinachy/seaweedy flavors subsided.
There are a few more flowers left in my pouch, so I’ll continue to experiment with different uses!
Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Plum, Salty, Tangy, Umami
I was excited to try this tea as I haven’t had kukicha in ages. This sample was once again courtesy of Cameron who has been broadening my Japanese tea horizons.
Just looking at the leaves, I could tell this was different from the twiggy kukichas I’ve had before. In fact, it looked more like a standard Sencha with its mostly forestry green leaf and absence of any thick twigs and stems.
The leaves themselves have a very light grassy aroma but upon heating, emit a strong aroma of steamed asparagus. Sure enough, the asparagus came through in the first steep along with umami and edamame. The second infusion is kabusecha like and heavier on the grass. More specifically dry grass on a hot summer day. Last infusion was earthy with a light brothyness and notes of edamame and chestnut.
This was a really interesting tea that evolves over steeps. It’s decidedly more vegetal than Sencha and adds a unique spin on familiar flavor profile. This is a high grade kukicha that holds its own against any Japanese green.
Flavors: Asparagus, Chestnut, Dry Grass, Earth, Soybean, Straw, Umami
This was an exquisite Sencha with a very gyokuro-esque character. It’s probably the most umami laden sencha I’ve ever had. Clean and crisp with a velvety rich umami flavor, steamed spinach, and what tastes like morning mist on prairie grass. This is also the first green in a long while that left me a feeling bit light headed and on the verge of being tea drunk. Powerful stuff.
The quality of this tea is evident not only from how immaculate the leaves are but the number of infusions it gives. I got 5 excellent steeps from it while most Sencha can only give 2 or 3. Thanks Cameron!
Flavors: Spinach, Umami
This was a rather odd tea. It had a slight fenugreek like smell that reminded me of a green oolong starting to go stale. The smell persisted from the dry to the wet leaf and down to the flavor of the steeped tea. It didn’t have any of the usual grassiness or umami, just a strong underlying note of cruciferous vegetables.
Looking at the other reviews on here, I suspect there was something off as others seem to have had a completely different impression of this tea.
Another session at work. I was juggling a bunch of things so wasn’t able to contemplate while sipping. The leaves were more broken than the other Obubu teas I’ve sampled and looked more like a standard sencha. Slightly cloudy, yellow-tinged liquor with a smooth flavor and a vegetal undertone of raw broccoli. No astringency as expected with this style. I still prefer Ureshino tamaryokucha though as it has a tad brighter, fresher flavor.
Thanks for sharing Cameron!
Flavors: Marine, Vegetal
This tea reminds me of hojicha…wait, are these the same teas? It’s really delicious and roasty toasty.
Reading up on it here: https://lilikutea.com/blogs/column/is-hojicha-different-to-bancha
Thanks to Cameron for this delicious tea!