4 Tasting Notes
I received a generous foil pouch from Den’s in their Green Tea Sampler, and have been able to steep it three different times. Admittedly, I am not a fan of cherry-flavored items, but the sakura in this tea was not artificial or overpowering. You can smell it in both the aroma and taste it as a subtle tartness that balances well with the grassy sencha. The first steep was prepared in 45 seconds, and the second at the recommended 15 seconds to avoid bitterness. A relaxing, but uplifting cuppa for spring mornings! Too bad Den’s is sold out of this variety for the year…
I didn’t think genmaicha tea would be as enjoyable as my refreshing sencha or energizing and umami-filled matcha, but a Den’s Tea sampler arrived quickly at my doorstep to defeat such notions. Immediately after ripping open the silver pouch, saturated green matcha powder and the scent of toasted rice greeted me. In terms of steeping, for fear of bringing out too much matcha bitterness, I allowed boiling water to cool for about 3 minutes before steeping for exactly 30 seconds. A muddy, but bright green cup was produced that both smelled and tasted wonderful. As you bring the cup towards you, the scent of seaweed and toasted rice wafts up. There was a slight, lingering bitterness that followed the smooth, vegetal beginning. As the tea drew nearer to the bottom of my cup, the seaweed flavor became more present. Definitely a treat for the senses and worthy of a try, especially if rice-based snacks elicit nostalgic memories for you (ahh…bin bin rice crackers).
This bagged tea is comparatively pricey, but for my needs, it fits the bill well. Whole leaf tea in sizeable bag for workplace convenience? Check. Noticeable but non-cloying jasmine flavor blended with smooth green tea? Check. Ability to be resteeped multiple times for more cost-effectiveness? Check. I’ve also discovered that due to the large amount of tea in the bag, my first steep needs to be shorten, lest it brings out bitterness.
The smell of the tea after the first steep is intoxicating and divine, with a creamy, sweet, and buttery scent that just makes you want to inhale the liquid through your nostrils (painful as that may be). Initial sips were delicious and filled with vanilla and a light citrus note, but as I reached the bottom of my cup, the tea began to turn more watery and bitter. My feelings about this tea are similar to the Buddha’s Blend—smells better than it tastes. Based on reviews, it seems like I may enjoy DavidTea’s vanilla orchid oolong more, so that’s been added to my shopping list.
EDIT: I was able to resteep this oolong in my Teavana perfect tea maker three times, and it still retained a light, vanilla flavor. The subsequent steepings were done at lower temperatures (around 180-190F) with longer times (5-8 minutes), and it did make the tea taste more mellow and even from start to finish.