Happy National Virtual Vacation Day! Since I’ve always longed to go to Japan (I have studied the language and culture since I was around 12ish?) I pulled this Japanese Sencha sampler out to have today!

I had two samples of this tea from different tea festivals, one from the 2018 San Francisco International Tea Festival, and another from 2019 Tea Fest PDX in Portland, Oregon. Though the packaging says “Kagayaki” on it, the info provided claims this is actually different than their “Kagayaki No. 10 Sencha.” I believe the employee I spoke to at the festivals indicated it was a special/proprietary blend they were taste-testing and not currently on the market.

I used both teabags in 500ml of 175F water, steeped for 2 minutes, and then dumped into my work thermos (which, despite furious scrubbing with soap and water last night, still had some “Easter Egg Nests” aroma on it, which probably isn’t coming off until I zap it in Mandala Tea Soak. Meh. So this may be a chocolately sencha, but there was simply no time to do the Mandala Tea Soak before work…)

Brewed at 8:30 am, it is now 10:30 am and I’m finally getting to sit down at my desk and drink it! I remember loving this sencha when I sampled it at the booth, and the aroma I’m getting from the steeped tea is definitely on the side of sencha that sits with me — I enjoy the sweeter, buttery-vegetable types, rather than the really marine/seaweedy types, and this smells like pure butter-soaked veggies.

Nice flavor, smooth with no astringency. There is a sweet grassiness, a vegetal taste giving me garden pea, green beans, and spinach, a smooth butteriness, and a slight umami seaweed note mixed with earthy minerals left in the aftertaste. I still really love this sencha!

Despite Tsuru no Maru’s website saying that their “Kagayaki” tea would be available fall of 2019, there is still nothing on their website regarding ordering… a shame.

Flavors: Butter, Garden Peas, Grass, Green Beans, Mineral, Seaweed, Smooth, Spinach, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud genderqueer asexual (she/they) and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Bergamot (in moderation)

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Hemp/CBD teas
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.


My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/xjt9ptx3 . I am open to tea trades (within the United States only!) at this time. Note that I will not trade teas that I currently have in a quantity less than 50g (samplers, 1oz packages, etc.) or any teas that are currently still sealed/unopened in my cupboard.

Contact Info:

Feel free to send me a Steepster PM, or alternatively, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.


Idaho, United States



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