Thes du JaponEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Dry leaf has a rich, deep green, bittersweet aroma of oshitahsi, fir, green apple and sweet scallops or seafood broth.
This gyokuro has needed some willingness to adapt on my end since I am not acquainted with brewing this style of green tea. A longer initial brew produced a tea that was too intense for my preferences. Being more delicate with timing, I was able to balance the power within these leaves.
The resulting tea has a moderate alkaline quality that when combined with the sweet and mellow umami, very much gives the impression of raw shellfish. The tea hits the tastebuds very rounded. The difficulty in this tea is to describe the way it moves. Maybe I shouldn’t bother describing it and just sit with it.
Haha, that only happens sometimes. It feels like a silky ball of flavor upfront that squishes down low and coats the tongue. Maybe the feel of silken tofu combined with with the feel of carrageenan. Sweet, velvety seafood with a side of oshitashi, a hint of banana. Subsequent infusions bring a more forward wheatgrass taste and bitterness that does not move across the tongue but only appears in the back. The coating quality of the tea is evident in the way the aftertaste slowly develops. It starts mild then becomes very prominently fruity, calling to mind the depth of a buttery nectarine jam.
Read personal ramblings below if you care:
Somebody in my Mandarin class has on occasion made a point of asking what I’m drinking. Tuesday, when I last had this tea, he sent me a private message wanting to know what kind of tea was in my tiny cup. He enjoys green tea but knows little about it, so he wants me to teach him. He said he can’t find anywhere locally to buy high quality, unflavored green teas or teapots, and he’s right. I believe there is a market here for such, since most companies sell flavored teas. I would love to open a Chinese-style tea house similar to Imperial Tea Court in San Francisco that would serve the tea-loving residents of Sonoma County who don’t want to make the drive down to the touristy area of the city to relax over a pot. Where do I get the capital for such an endeavor? Tea farming requires less upfront costs as its more of an organic process. Oh, I just realized I should speak with the owner of the Chinese imports store downtown!
Flavors: Alkaline, Banana, Bittersweet, Broccoli, Butter, Fir, Green Apple, Jam, Nectarine, Oily, Seafood, Shellfish, Silky, Spinach, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Wheatgrass
Second time this has happened in the middle of typing a glowing review of this tea — backspaced myself out of the pop-up window and lost it all.
In my frustration, I feel like I need some closure so I’m posting a little bit for now:
What a gorgeous Japanese black tea! It blows away all past encounters with Japanese blacks, all of which deeply offended my stomach. This leaf is so clean and pure.
I’ll come back with a full review later after typing it up in another platform :P
Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Cinnamon, Floral, Geranium, Ginger, Mineral, Orange, Orange Zest, Pine, Rose, Spicy, Squash, Tangy, Vanilla, Wood
April 18/25 2021 harvest
With only a few servings left of the 50g bag, it’s time to attempt some kind of description of this sencha. My multiple notes literally got scattered all over the place and I can only find this one now.
Dry leaf has a lush, deep green aroma. Very fruity, strawberry-pineapple-sakura-pine, sometimes mandarin orange-Asian pear attached to that hyphenation.
Wet leaf smells very meaty, can’t get the idea of Vienna sausages out of my head. I guess that’s the umami revealing itself, much moreso in the wet leaf than in the taste. Dark green wet grass, subdued flowers.
The tea is such a moving mix of flavors and sensations. I find it difficult to sit with the tea but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy drinking it. Active tea means activity. Rich, persimmonsweet flavor. Rather smooth, fruity with a bitter-bright vegetal taste, piney backdrop. Fairly light rounded umami that is not a distinct note or aftertaste. Floral-fruity-bitter-brightgrassy finish. Fruity aftertaste later turns piney-fruity.
There is some bitterness-astringency in the throat that quickly brings about returning sweetness. Cool inhalations, a light chill lines the inner perimeter of my lips. Feels like my body is breathing. Bottom of the cup smells like sakura. Only in later steeps do I notice the cinnamon and vanilla described by Thés du Japon, mostly in the aroma.
I also really like this western brewed. Probably around 1g:100mL, 2-3 min?, 2-3 steeps. It’s so refreshing. Good astringency mixed with gentle cooked white bean and seaweed overtone, butter. Not fruity as prepared in my small clay teapot but I feel like I get hints of it all here and there. Returning sweetness.
Flavors: Astringent, Beans, Bittersweet, Butter, Cinnamon, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Grassy, Green, Mandarin, Meat, Pear, Persimmon, Pine, Pineapple, Round, Sakura, Seaweed, Strawberry, Sweet, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wheatgrass
A winter harvest bancha tea, heavily roasted. The leaves are large, broken, rustic in appearance with some leaves blackened, burnt even, while others remain olive green. Same goes for the stems which are included in higher proportion than any other Japanese tea I’ve had excluding kukicha.
The easiest way to describe the type of smokiness and other qualities of the tea is to make a comparison. If you could bottle the essence of charred summer squash or chayote and corn husk with stray blackened kernels all with their steaming, gentle nutty-vegetal sweetness, this tea would be it. The liquor is silky smooth and carries the smoke quality with a deft touch across the palate. The char aroma is strong but for me it does not overwhelm at all. I find it comforting, like bringing a part of summer with me into depths of fall.
A refined tea this is not, however I want to say that whoever grew and processed this tea absolutely knows what they are doing. It brews consistently every time with boiling water. It is a functional tea made by a skilled craftsman.
For the price, I can’t think of a cheaper, more reliable tea to drink as I hopefully transition out of a time frame that’s left me questioning my sanity. This tea is gently grounding and refreshing. I am very to grateful to have it at my table.
Flavors: Burnt, Corn Husk, Grilled Food, Nutty, Silky, Smoke, Smooth, Squash Blossom, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal, Zucchini
It’s been a few weeks since I finished this free sample (thank you to Thés du Japon). I suppose this tea didn’t capture my attention as much as the sample of a sencha also from Hon.yama, Umegashima, that made it into the parcel – https://steepster.com/teas/thes-du-japon/98173-sencha-from-hon-dot-yama-umegashima-tomochi-yabukita-cultivar
I recall this evoking a sensation of the image of vibrant green oxalis growing in damp evergreen forest understory. Sweet, muddled in structure and taste, drying. Heavy in the stomach with a bit of turning, meaning food was needed beforehand.
Is it worth buying a bag to pay more attention to? Maybe if I want to explore Zairai, or indigenous, teas but not at this time. For my tastes, this tea needs to be experimented with.
Instead of being steamed like modern sencha, kama-iri cha is pan-fried.
Very robust taste and feeling in the mouth balanced by a dewy cardamom-like sweetness with a touch of astringency. Cooling evergreen forest and fresh medicinal bittersweet herbs layered over a thin, shifting matrix of roasted chestnut and boiled spinach, almost like the forward medicinal character passes through a sheer curtain weaved of pan-fired and vegetal tastes, picking up bits of those flavors as the tea moves through the mouth. There is also a brightness to the tea that I want to liken to citrus but it is not that. Bitterness persists in the back of the mouth; it is not necessarily penetrating, but it is certainly there, giving greater conviction to medicinal notions. The aftertaste shifts from this nature into something floral and vaguely fruity, reminiscent of sakura blossoms. Clean minerality is in the background and becomes evident after the swallow, when the mouth begins to water.
Despite having drank this tea maybe 5 times now, I still find the character elusive. I always feel like I’m on the edge of understanding, which keeps me coming back for more :) It feels like a mountain person, a pine forest hermit strengthened but somewhat burled by nature and who remains under cloak while gathering herbs for a concoction to be simmered over a small fire, in a clearing illuminated by the sun.
It was about dang time to stir up my taste buds and perceptions by exploring Japanese teas, which never really jived with me before. I had been in a tea appreciation slump for a while (several months? half a year?) and these teas from Thés du Japon are doing wonders for me right now.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Cardamom, Chestnut, Cream, Evergreen, Ginger, Herbs, Lemon, Medicinal, Mineral, Peach, Pineapple, Sakura, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thick
This tea deserves an abstract impressionistic painting to be made of itself.
I feel like I do not have adequate words, but I will try my best below.
At first notice, the tea is floral forward and upward. The light color of the liquor cloaks a vegetal quality that is round, robust, grounding, deep; neither meek nor overbearing but something that reminds me of a forgotten mossy forest path, providing a springy base to soften one’s step across earth, wood and wet rock. A mild fruity and buttery back-end is revealed on the upper palate once some bitterness in the tonsils and back of the throat subsides, while a simultaneously dewy-sweet and cooling aftertaste presents. The retronasal perfume carries throughout the session. At times, there is a playful brush of astringency in the full body; in other moments the astringency is more prominent, as a light squeeze on the arm would feel. A joy for me as a lover of structure, and most importantly, the way the tea feels in my body.
The generosity of Thés du Japon is much appreciated.
I feel like I’ve stumbled into this moment.
Sencha of the past – no more. This is it. Dive in and learn to swim. A very different experience from drinking Chinese greens. The lexicon I have been using does not apply. Theanine is not the only influence in this perception.
A decent sencha but not as amazing as Saemidori Kagoshima green teas I’ve had from O-Cha and Yuuki-Cha in the past. It’s also different from the others in that it appears to be more asamushi like with lots of long needle shaped leaves even though its advertised as a deep steamed sencha. First steep is light and vegetal with a splash of umami. Second infusion is grassier with a touch of astringency. Notes of spinach, cashew, and turnips. The last steep is similar with a generic green flavor.
Not packaged oxygen-free like other Japanese vendors which likely contributed to the less than optimal taste.
Flavors: Grass, Spinach, Umami, Vegetal
Received a sample of this tea with my Thes du Japon order. This is a good sencha, albeit atypical for a fukamushi. It’s not super grassy like deep steamed sencha tends to be but instead leans more towards gyokuro with its pale yellowish-green liquor and savory, umami flavor.
Dry leaf smells of raspberries and a freshly mowed lawn. Wet leaf smells of spinach. The first infusion is gyokuro-like with a rich umami flavor and light, earthy grassiness. Faint hints of blackberries and pine nuts as it cools. A deeper green flavor and color emerge in the second steep. More grass, umami, and steamed spinach notes with white pepper in the finish. The tea begins mellowing by the third steep yet still has a bright green flavor and a bit of sweetness.
Flavors: Berries, Grass, Nuts, Pepper, Spinach, Umami
This sencha has quickly become one of my favorites. The dry leaves have a strong, sweet scent. It makes me look forward to opening the package each time I prepare this tea. The tea itself is sweet and refreshing with a pleasant grassy flavor. I highly recommend this tea!
The dry leaf is composed of small slivers of leaf that are a deep, dark shade of green with incredible vibrancy. There are spots where a light, neon green comes shining through. There is a very beany scent to the dry leaf with hints of oceanic smells, such as sea salt and seaweed.
After brewing for 90 seconds at 50 degrees celsius, the liquor is a pretty, springy shade of light green. The taste of this first infusion is heavily vegetal with just the slightest hint of that sweetness gyokuros are known for.
After flash brewing at the same temperature for the second infusion, the liquor changes to a deep, murky green. This is when the deliciousness really shines through. There is an overwhelming sweet sea of flavor. Strong initial umami gives way to a sweet tartness as the liquid travels to the throat. This leaves a juicy mouthfeel with an aroma of peaches and green apples. The effect of this tea on the mind and body is strong. It’s like getting a brain massage that energizes you with every sip, sinking you deeper and deeper into it’s fresh flavor. This stays consistent for the remainder of infusions.
Flavors: Green Apple, Peach, Umami, Vegetables
Harvest: May 2015 1st spring harvest
Water Temp: 70C
Brewing Time: 60s
Brewed tea leaves look bright green, smell of grass and vegetables.
Taste is sweet and slight savoury-taste-veggies, astringent but refreshing
Note: tea leaves will expand from 2nd brew, better to use houhin bigger than 60ml
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Sweet, Vegetables
Best brewing conditions: 80 C / 1 min; 80 C / 30 sec; 85 C/ 1.30 min.
Leaves with roasted aroma,smell of vegetables and sea.
First infusion similar smell than the tea leaves. Complex, well defined but smooth flavour with touch of umami, vegetables, … Initially a slight astringency that evolves towards a sweetish complex flavours, that leaves an agreeable aftertaste.
The second infusion shows similar characteristics than the first, but smoother.
The infusions are yellow-dark Orange, transparent and dense.
The tea is not very delicate to steep and consistently gives delicious cups day after day.
Flavors: Astringent, Roasted, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Quantity of leaves: 5,5 g. Water: 70 C. Steeping time: 1 min, 10 sec. Steeped in a kyusu.
Infusion of golden colour, opaque and dense that smells to flowers like the leaves in the teapot. Rich and sweet flavour with a light aftertaste.
The first stepping was consistently easy to prepare.
10g / 180ml Banko-yaki kyusu, water from kunzan tetsubin.
1m/5s/5s @ 80C
10s/15s/15s @ 85C
Nice sensha, however first infusion had a little to much astringancy. will do 45s next time.
Was nice to use my tetsubin warmer with a teacandle in it. The light it casts is beutiful in an otherwise dark room!
7g / 180ml Banko-yaki kyusu
1: 1m @ 80C
2&3: 5s @ 83C
This i my first sencha brewed at higher temperatures. Kaori means fragrance and the tea is well named. The scent when i opened the bag reminded me of liqurice! Powerful!
The liquid was very pale yellow and clear.
The taste has a VERY well balanced astringancy. It balances the sweetnes perfectly, vegal and vanilla? It does however lack the more full flavour and sweetness of other senchas ivé tried. Different but still very nice!
I found this tea somewhat thin compared to some of Thes du Japon’s Kamairicha offerings this season. The well rounded autumnal roasted chestnut flavor is weaker than usual, and replaced with a somewhat unpleasant (to me) peatiness. The body is thinner than normal and an unfamiliar bitterness is present. This contrasts with the approaching-perfection “Kamairi cha from Takachiho” from the same company. It could be due to my preparation choice of lower temperature.