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81
drank Hojicha by Ito En
14 tasting notes

Good, classic hojicha. Looks as it should, smells as it should, tastes as it should.

Flavors: Roasted, Salt, Salty, Seaweed

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77
drank Karigane green tea by Ito En
14 tasting notes

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Flavors: Grass, Hay, Sweet

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77
drank Karigane green tea by Ito En
29 tasting notes

Standard Karigane, it does the job if you are looking for exactly that:
good twig quality, nice sweetness.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet

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drank Uji Kabuse by Ito En
1 tasting notes

Dry Aroma: Bright, green apples, green but not grassy, sweet and sour

Wet Leaves

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 30 sec 5 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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96
drank Oi Ocha Hoji-cha by Ito En
421 tasting notes

I picked up a bottle of this at Mitsuwa today instead of my usual Ito-En Golden Oolong and Green Tea. I’m surprised at how much I liked it because I usually don’t care for hojicha and roasted teas in general. This is a roasty tea for sure, but not aggressively so. It’s really smooth and gentle with a nutty flavor and a soft, faint oily finish. It’s very warming (even chilled) and comforting like genmaicha. The taste is similar to a roasted oolong and reminded me of Golden Oolong except this one is darker and doesn’t have the floral-cinnamon notes.

For a bottled tea, this was outstanding and probably the best hojicha I’ve ever had. Its miles above your standard grocery store bottled tea, although that’s generally true for most Ito-en teas. This would be a great summer drink and makes me want to branch out from my standard green teas to explore hojicha.

Flavors: Dark Wood, Nutty, Roasted, Smooth

derk

Those Oi Ocha teas were a game changer for me. I graduated from a gas station/grocery store brand called Tradewinds Unsweetened black (which back in the early 2000s was amazing; it’s now cheaply brewed and a shadow of its former self) to the line of Oi Ocha teas when I moved to California. And honestly, I think they’re what led me into higher quality loose-leaf.

LuckyMe

Yeah Oi Ocha are pretty much the only bottled teas I ever buy. TeasTea are also good and I think it’s by Ito En too.

Mastress Alita

I wish these were available where I live. Seriously, the bottled iced tea game out here in Idaho is aaaaaaaaaawful.

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74
drank Oi Ocha by Ito En
308 tasting notes

Okay, actually I have this in tea bag form. So prepared hot. I have no idea where I get it, but; looks fresh.

Opened the foil wrapping with my carpet cutter (well, collection, you know :D) and lots of dust went out. A matcha? Anyway, I wanted a green tea today and it is a green tea.
Heated the kettle, the cup, in the cup it goes… Forgot completely make notes about dry leaf! Here is it!
Dry aroma was very strong, I noticed lots of fresh peas, while my brother thought it is rather freshly mowed grass. Both of us are right I guess, then some vergetal notes, and at laste (but not least) buttery and umami.

Added water, about 76°C if my thermometer don´t lie. On bag is just “pour boiled water”. Hehe, 30 seconds steep? Nope here, as I probably used much bigger cup than they mean I used 90 seconds. And tea looks done. A cloudy, lime green liquor. Quite light.

Flavours, taste, whatever you call it. Vegetal, buttery, maybe bit nutty. But tasty green tea. It is 6 pm, and I am drinking probably quite strong green tea? Great, I won´t sleep I guess. So what?

If you get lucky to get it hot, I can recommend it fully! There are better green teas, not so buttery, but up to each one taste.

Flavors: Butter, Freshly Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Umami

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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75

Uh I mean it’s a good strong matcha drink shot in a can.

For an Ito-En, generic but solid company, they can’t mess up. nothing remarkable but it’s a solid matcha with no odd or artificial aftertastes. For those unaccustomed to making matcha you definitely can use this in drink mixes, probably easier. I also enjoy it with sparkling water if I had the time/resources in my cabinet.

But the main reason I feel most people get this is the same reason they get canned coffee. Easy to drink, easy to transport and you need that caffeine. I got these at work all the time back when I worked near a Japanese supermarket. Also a steady flow of energy with no crash, unlike coffee.

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80

It must be said – I am NOT A FAN of standard green teas. Having recently found out I was brewing them too hot (boiling water – URGH!), I have revisited a number of them. While this does reduce the bitterness, I was disappointed that they still taste like, well grass. Not that I have eaten grass, but they taste like it smells (or rather what cut grass smells like after it starts to dry out, something Aussies really know about because of the recent droughts). And because green tea has been advocated for good health, I REALLY wanted to like it…
Well, after much searching I may have found my go-to green tea.
The advantage is this one is designed to drink hot or cold! On that basis I bought two 20 infuser boxes on a twofer deal, so thank goodness I like it…
Admittedly I have only tried it cold so far, but the matcha/green tea combo means the grassy taste of the green tea comes through but doesn’t dominate. There’s that lovely earthy umami taste the matcha adds.
I added the teabag to my water bottle & left it in, as the taste wasn’t that strong even after 3 mins. I imaging if you leave it in indefinitely the typical green tea bitterness will start to dominate, so maybe about 5 mins max, or if you’re a fast water drinker, just finish the bottle!
I’ll have to try it hot next – they recommend the very short steeping time of 30 secs (time for 3-4 dunks) so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

NOTE – I dropped a bag in to cold infuse before heading to work (about 15 mins drive). Then got distracted by said work, so at least 20-30 mins before my first sip and yes, BITTER. So about 5-10 mins maximum seems to be the optimum time.

Flavors: Earth, Grass, Umami

Preparation
Iced 5 min, 0 sec 1 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
derk

This one is good brewed at room temp but it will take some trial and error to find the perfect timing and it is much less time than Chinese loose leaf green teas which I cold brew overnight. The 30s recommendation for this tea did nothing for me.

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The initial smell of this tea is sweet and inviting. The color is also nice and bright. I made it according to the package directions. I used a chashaku to scoop the tea, 3 ounces of water at ~ 170 degrees, and a chasen to whisk the tea.
The tea was bitter and grassy as I expected, but it was very underwhelming. The flavor was not quite as strong as I had hoped it would be from just smelling it. Next time I will try to use 2 ounces of water to see if that makes a difference.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 OZ / 88 ML

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Opened this up yesterday and followed a recipe from this company’s social media page.
The Matcha Basil Lemonade recipe was actually pretty easy to make and turned out great. The whole family loved it. It uses fresh lemon juice and honey to create the lemonade aspect of the drink. If anyone want’s the recipe I’d be happy to share it.

Preparation
1 tsp

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drank Genmaicha by Ito En
62 tasting notes

Get’s the job done. Definitely possible to oversteep.

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75

Each bag of this barley tea is pretty prolific and brews 1-2 liters of fine cold brew tea!! It’s refreshing and simple, tastes like bready barley. If you’re looking to replace literally all of the water you drink with something refreshing that you probably can’t get sick of, this is your jam. One day I’ll get around to brewing it hot.

P.S. I ran out of lemonade once and made a “barley pick” with this tea iced, some good vodka and a little zero-cal sweetener. Absolutely amazing and probably dangerous.

P.P.S. one order of this tea comes with approx. one hundred billion very large bags. This is an extremely cost effective iced tea.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Roasted Barley

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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95

This is probably one of my absolute favorites. When blended well, it’s sooooo smooth, and nothing needs to be added to it in order to make it the perfect cup. It just is. If you happen across this at the store, do yourself a favor and try it out.

Flavors: Green

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 45 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
2384 tasting notes

I need a pick me up. I have to keep going for at least another 90 minutes. I decided I need to drink up some of my older matcha but I think I will change my mind on that. Now that I have had Harney and Sons matcha, this one made me a little sad.

It isn’t terrible and isn’t the worst matcha I have ever had, but life is short and I don’t need to waste time drinking things I don’t love. This is now being relegated to matcha latte stash. This is my last bowl of this one straight. No guilt. No shame.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, ashmanra, for giving the rest of us this kind of permission too. :)

gmathis

Yep, it’s time to thin my collection, as soon as I have time to thin my collection. (Oy!)

ashmanra

My pleasure! :D

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drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
2384 tasting notes

A quick cup for a pick me up this afternoon. Two scoops, paste made with cold water, 160F water added and whisked, three chocolate squares consumed. And I made it! Trip to grocery, post office, bank, and….ahem….the liquor store, for vodka that I use to clean the chicken coop, preserve my homemade juju, and make vanilla extract. Yes, really. I don’t drink the stuff! It seems quite horrible to me, honestly.

This is a very drinkable matcha, though it doesn’t hold a candle to the now defunct KaiMatcha Premium. I miss you, KMP!

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drank Teas' Tea Matcha by Ito En
2384 tasting notes

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one, as I have had it quite a few times.

Yesterday I saw a video on Facebook of a tea master making Matcha. He used cold water to make the paste and it said you didn’t need to sift if you do this. I do always begin with a paste using sifted matcha, but always the same water I am making the matcha with – around 160F. I decided to give his method a try.

I consider it a success. At first I thought I was going to have some clumps but they dissolved well. I probably used a little more cold water than I should have. Next time I will make a thicker paste. I added two scoops of powder because I have a headache and a lot left to do today.

I really believe this is the thickest, loveliest froth I have ever seen for this matcha. As sticky and muggy as it is outside, I do not mourn the loss of a degree or two of temperature in the cha wan.

As for the matcha itself, it was a super economical buy and tastes good enough to drink as a daily drinker. It still doesn’t beat D25 or KaiMatcha Premium, which sadly seems to have gone out of business. But for the price and for a quick afternoon bowl of sustaining matcha, I’ll take it! Grassy, not sour, sweet and smooth enough to stand above culinary grade.

Fjellrev

Cool, I should try that method sometime too.

Terri HarpLady

Huh, I had no idea! I need to try that method as well. But first I need to get more matcha! I hoarded my KaiMatcha in the freezer forever, and it was a sad day when I finally finished off the final tin. My Cha wan is lonely, my little whisk is bored…

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50
drank Matcha Love Usucha by Ito En
306 tasting notes

I’m really surprised this has so few reviews, considering you can buy this at asian grocery stores and health food stores all across America.

Skip this section if you don’t like anecdotes in reviews!
I had the pleasure/honor/curse of reviewing about 70 different matchas in a blind taste test a couple years ago for a company that sells matcha. This was done to help the vendor evaluate their products and decide on new matchas to source. Among the blind samples were also samples from other companies and vendors. The idea was that rating and ranking these teas would help this vendor understand how their matcha compared in quality and value to those from other companies. The experience was really fun, and at the same time daunting, and the end result was I burned out on matcha so badly I didn’t drink it for a year!

Now the matcha spark has been relit in me because I saw a beautiful chawan in an Asian market that I just had to buy. I’ve been broke this past year due to a move to my first house and various other factors, so for me it’s been rare to order or review any new teas. I feel like a ghost here since I used to be so active. Anyway, this matcha love usucha cost me a whopping $6 because Sprouts Farmer’s Market had it on sale for $10 and was running a $4 coupon at the same time. What better opportunity to try it?

Actual review begins here!
This was actually one of the matchas included in a blind taste test I did a couple years ago, but it has been so long since I had matcha that when I bought a tin of this recently I decided to just try this one over again before reading my initial evaluation from that taste test, give it a fresh chance.

I do want to share my initial impression though here. My initial rating for this tea back then was only 40/100. My notes read “This tea doesn’t leave a very strong impression. The scent and color were inviting, but the flavor is lacking and finishes moderately bitter. I’m mostly getting a seaweed impression from the flavor, and it’s a bit creamy as well. The bitter finish is unfortunate and really subtracts from the subtle flavors, which in themselves aren’t that easy to discern.”

Now, trying this again a couple years later, are my impressions the same? Has the company changed their product in any way? Let’s give it a try. I’m preparing this the traditional (a.k.a. ceremonial) way with the matcha whisked in about 2.5 oz of water.

This time around, I’ll start by saying the color and aroma are nice. The powder is a nice jade green. It’s not a very vivid color, but it is at least green and not tending toward the dingy yellows and browns of terrible matchas. The scent is sweet, mild, and nutty. The taste is, let’s be honest, rather unremarkable and difficult to describe. In fact, I’m just going to stick with my original description because I think that was a pretty accurate one!

I will say, I have been using this matcha also in soy-milk iced matcha lattes as well as for matcha affogato, and I’ve found both applications to be pretty good. This is not a matcha I’d recommend for traditional use unless you are like me and are scraping the bottom of your savings, yet desperate for matcha. For the modern “froufrou” uses, this one is just fine. I have to say I recall this tasting better a few weeks ago when I opened the tin. I haven’t stored it in refrigeration so I think maybe the powder has just gone “off” a bit since then. I feel pretty neutral about this matcha, so I’ll up my initial review score to a nice even 50. I don’t really feel it is good or bad. It’s just (barely) matcha. Take it or leave it.

I think for the price of this matcha though, you can do better. The tin seems cheaper than others but I only recently realized that it’s also because it is smaller than most that are available Stateside. Most matcha tins I’ve seen hold an ounce, while this one holds just over 2/3 of an ounce. The catch reveals itself.

Flavors: Bitter, Nutty, Seaweed, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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100

Just trying this today after getting the sampler in the male. I drank a cup of the matcha that I order with this shipment, and now I’m drinking this. It was a lot easier to pack on the go. After expressing a bias toward Oi Ocha, I realized I had not tried enough of Teas’ Tea to assert such a preference. So I spent more money than I needed to for these samples and free shipping. xD My parents were not impressed. More teas? Yes. So, this is my second tea that I have opened. I couldn’t resist the enticement of the rose.

It is quite light, and the rose is fairly obvious. It’s nice that the tea is mild, because I really wanted the rose to be the focal point of the tea. It is very floral, and reminds me of perfume, but not in an overpowering way. It really is quite refreshing, but I do love rose. I feel that the lightness of the tea and the soft taste of the rose make for a balanced finish without any flavor competing with the other. Its not at all herbacious, at least to the extent that you’re reminded of grass. I could buy a case of this flavor.

Since I can’t find any faults in this, I’m giving it a very biased 100.

Flavors: Floral, Rose, Smooth

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80
drank Genmaicha by Ito En
8 tasting notes

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80

A delightful, comforting cup of matcha! It goes down smooth and has a savory taste to it that doesn’t overwhelm you. I like to drink it in the middle of the day to give me a gentle energy boost; it perks me up and doesn’t have the added caveat of a crash later that coffee might have. I usually don’t add anything in it or steep other herbs with it, but a little bit of vanilla creamer or milk is bound to be just as wonderful.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Green Tea by Ito En
356 tasting notes

Pretty sure this is the tea I was served last night when we went out for Thai. Nothing special, but it was drinkable for keeping warm in a chilly restaurant. Beany vegetal, pretty diluted, so it probably could have used less water, plus, they poured the water in the mug and brought me the teabag to put in myself.

Flavors: Beany, Vegetal

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85
drank Oi Ocha Dark by Ito En
855 tasting notes

This is the last of the Ito En bottled teas I purchased last week. As I sit here drinking it iced, it is my favorite of the bunch. I tend to prefer robust and vegetal green teas and this one definitely is that kind of tea.

On the nose, the golden amber liquor produces a strong, grassy vegetal scent with an undertone of grain. In the mouth, I picked up on clear notes of grass, hay, straw, and grain accompanied by a hint of honey on the finish. The sensation in the mouth is heavy and drying. This is definitely a filling tea. Compared to some other bottled teas that I have tried, the ascorbic acid presence is not terribly distracting.

This is a nice bottled tea. It strikes me as being a step up from the regular Oi Ocha. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good bottled tea with a bit of bite.

Flavors: Grain, Grass, Hay, Honey, Straw

Preparation
Iced

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80
drank Oi Ocha by Ito En
855 tasting notes

I’m kind of backlogging indirectly here. I am drinking a bottle of this tea as I type this review, but I have had this before. I used to drink this tea in college. I recall purchasing it when I wanted a green tea on the go. I think I always used to buy it at either CVS or Walgreen’s, but I could be wrong. I used to stock up on this and Arizona Blueberry White Tea so I could have some bottled teas to throw in the fridge and grab on the way to class.

Drinking this now, I can see why I used to buy it so frequently. It has a mildly vegetal nose. In the mouth, there is a nicely pronounced grassiness, as well as hints of hay, straw, and vegetables. The ascorbic acid presence is not particularly noticeable. I also get a slightly peachy, nectar-like sweetness on the back of the throat.

Overall, I think this is a nice bottled green tea. I am really enjoying it iced at the moment. I could see myself purchasing this one more often if it were more available in my immediate area.

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Nectar, Peach, Straw, Vegetal

Preparation
Iced

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19
drank Jasmine Green Tea by Ito En
855 tasting notes

I must be the outlier here. I’m still working my way through my recent Ito En acquisitions, but so far, this is the only one for which I really do not care. It’s a jasmine green tea that neither smells nor tastes like jasmine.

On the nose, I do not get much of an aroma. There is maybe a hint of floral character and a slight grassiness, but not much else. In the mouth, the taste up front is very grassy and vegetal. It kind of tastes like a combination of straw, hay, and grass. There is a slight fruitiness too that I can only describe as overripe cantaloupe. The floral character is faint, and to me, only barely identifiable as jasmine. Also, I must say that I find the ascorbic acid presence to be pretty noticeable. I have not gotten as much of it from the other Ito En teas I have tried to this point.

After being impressed with the golden oolong, I was more than willing to approach this bottled tea with an open mind. Unfortunately, it has really let me down hard. I have yet to find a bottled jasmine tea that I enjoy. I guess I’ll keep searching and pass on this one in the future.

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Hay, Straw

Preparation
Iced

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