53 Tasting Notes
REVIEW: ARACHA TOKUSEN GREEN TEA
I bought this tea at an import market here in Vegas. It comes loose leaf and vacuum packed into a foil-lined, 7 oz package.
It’s called simply Green Tea because it’s a blend of Fukamushi cha, kukicha and kona cha. The aroma is nice. I brewed it for only a minute or so and enjoyed the flavor.
The flavor was pleasant- nothing special, though. The body was relatively smooth.
I’ve enjoyed other greens more, but as I sipped I was thinking this would be fine as an everyday tea.
Then I got to the final few sips and suddenly it became extremely astringent, like the most extreme brut wine. Yikes! I seriously couldn’t drink anymore- it was a totally different experience in the space of 10 minutes or so.
So…since it was nice until the last bit, I won’t give up on it. I’ll fiddle with temperature, amount of tea and brew time, and – maybe drink it quickly! At $16.99 I’m not throwing it out.
This pu’erh does not have the musty, fishy aroma that I’ve been accustomed to withloose leaf pu’erhs. Not that that’s a bad thing since I’m not really a fan of pu’erh. The liquid, after a 3 to 5 minute brew, is extremely dark, like a dark coffee. The straight pu’erh, without additives, has a bit of a spicy undertone. The aroma is slightly perfumed and earthy. The flavor- well it’s full bodied, but it’s hard to describe the flavor as it seems unique. I added a little Splenda to see if that would make the flavor stand out. It did make it seem little more earthy/musty, but not in a bad way. This is probably a good way to ease into the world of pu’erh teas.
I had a bad experience with the Broccoli and Cilantro tisane so I tried very hard to approach this one- Tomato Mint- with a cleared palette and open mind.
The aroma is interesting and didn’t pummel my nose like the aforementioned. I could definitely detect the mint aroma beneath the tomato-ishness. Tomatoes have a mild aroma, so Numi did a good job controlling the stronger mint.
The flavor? Vegetable-broth with a slight tang on the tongue. Its not horrible, and I don’t feel inclined to put ramen noodles in it (although you totally could).
You know what this is good for? Fasting. It makes me feel almost like I’ve had a meal. You get 5 calories and 25% of your RDA of calcium. There, I’ve found its niche in my life.
The teabag has a very strong aroma of dried soup mix or cubed bouillon – or… seasoning salt.
The liquor is reminiscent of consommé of some sort. I smell tomato, spinach, maybe celery? It’s like hot V8 and I’m afraid to try it.
Wow. It’s the liquid left after you’ve boiled broccoli. I don’t taste cilantro.
I don’t know what to say. Sell it as a broth to be used as a noodle soup base but I just can’t drink it straight as tea. Somewhere, I imagine Numi board members laughing and saying, “I told you, people will drink anything!”
I’m trying to be a good girl with the budget so I decided to save money on tea. I bought this at a Korean grocery store in Vegas. The first brew was about 1.5 min, which produced a thick and somewhat bitter brew. I tossed it and resteeped for less than a minute and it wasn’t much better. Tossed that. The water was about 160 when I brewed a third time just for kicks. I could better detect the familiar, fresh marine aroma I love but the tea was weak, considering the water temperature and number of brewings. Still, it was cloudy and very green.
I started over with a fresh “perfect teaspoon” and 180F water. Brewed for about a minute. Smells nice but still too bitter for my taste. I know I’ll get used to it, though. Right now, it’s like Ripple to an alcoholic- you know, when almost anything will do.
My first impression of these long blades, after their distinctive appearance, came from the aroma: strong and… citrusy? A dried out bouquet? This is the first loose leaf to remind me of Lipton tea bags. That might not be a compliment.
The flavor is nondistinctive. Not bad but nothing special. It’s smooth, though, which I like. This is a good backup tea for when I run out of the good stuff. I wouldn’t buy it again, but I won’t throw it out.
I’m sitting in my dining room with my bread dough rising and a couple of hours to relax, trying the first of two Upton senchas. I must say something about the packaging: while Harney & Sons is my favorite, I really like these personalized round labels from Upton that can be placed on your own tea tin.
I heated the water to under boiling and have brewed my first mug for almost two minutes. The dry leaves have a hay-like aroma, but the wet leaves have that lovely vegetal scent with a little added essence that, for some reason, makes me think of salt and the ocean. The liquor is not at all green, but a goldenrod hue.
The flavor? Well… This mug is rather bitter. I’m not sure if my brewing technique is the problem but the bitterness is strong and unpleasant. Lets try a second steeping… No… In trying to lessen the bitterness with a lower temperature, the flavor is weak. Steeping it longer brings out the bitterness.
I’m going to have to give myself some time to learn how to brew this or to let the flavor grow on me. It’s a bit harsh, with none of the sweet finish I’m told should be there. Maybe this tea will pair well with my grain teas (a la genmaicha).
By the way, I hated to do it but I added the tiniest bit of stevia to cut the harshness, and it helped. Oh, I’m soooo disappointed! What am I doing wrong? Is it supposed to taste like this?
How long did you steep it for? I usually get Sencha from Den’s and it seems to be best with a really short steep, about 30 seconds.
I love sencha and steep it starting around 30 seconds and moving up from there. Nothing had worked yet for this, but some soba helped make up for my disappointment. :-/
Try adding more leaves but keeping the temp low? I steeped it for 3 minutes at 170F, used a heaping teaspoon of tea…turned out well.
I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to tell my five Tea From Taiwan samples apart, but this one woke the part of my brain that likes that roasted flavor from fired teas. This tea has a bright, floral aroma alongside a buttery toastiness. When the toasted aroma hit me I immediately (albeit briefly) thought of popcorn maybe its the butteriness! I’m making my second mug now.
Mmm- is the second steeping of oolong always better than the first? So far they have been for me. I spent about a minute just enjoying the aroma. This might be my favorite after Tie Guan Yin!
I don’t own any fancy tea making equipment and had a hard time finding instructions that made sense for my simple mug and infuser. I decided upon 3 gm of the rolled oolong “pearls” and about 8 oz of water, and steeped for almost 2 minutes.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this tea. It’s such a light, pale green and the aroma is so subtle that I figured I hadn’t steeped enough leaves or hadn’t steeped it long enough but no- this is awesome! The tea is buttery and smooth, with a medium body. I can detect the light firing.
I brewed a second cup for a bit over 2 minutes and this time a distinct floral aroma developed. These leaves are quite large and have half-filled my infuser now. The flavor is still mellow but definitely more complex with the addition of the floral notes. A very satisfying oolong.
What a fun tea- so different from my previous experiences. The longest leaves were as long as my index finger and impressive upon first sight. I brewed about 8 leaves in about 10 oz of water at 170F or so and found the flavor to be light with a subtle baked and vegetal undertone, and quite enjoyable, although a little weak for my taste. I added four more leaves and brewed the next round at 180F. This created a more assertive brew, although still mild compared to other teas in my cupboard. Whenever I come across a light tea that forces some concentration it becomes a meditation tea for me and reminds me to take the time I need to be mindful and aware.
I read that leaves from the true Taiping Houkui cultivar have a red vein down the middle of the main leaf, and a vibrant color when wet. I cannot say that these leaves possessed those qualities. I don’t know if that means Harney has a lower-quality houkui, but I do know I’m gonna buy some from hojo.com, since they are the ones making the statements. This will give me a little compare-and-contrast opportunity.