Thes du JaponEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
April 2021 harvest.
Rich, heady florals and thick sweetness with a balanced astringency once I dialed in on this leaf’s character. It can be very finnicky, bitter and unbalanced, especially so when following TDJ’s parameters.
What transformed this tea for me was using 4g:400mL brewed in a glass vessel with water 160F or lower for a minute or two. It reminds me of oolong with its floral intensity, creamy-milky and fruity notes (like Froot Loops cereal), sugarcane-like sweetness and extended retronasal action of the aftertaste. It is equally a green tea, though, with pronounced but well integrated astringent vegetal-whitebean-grass taste. Mild, minty cooling.
It took a minute, but I’m now rather happy with this sencha and hope that others can be, too.
Oh, there’s some ghee here, too. Not your typical buttery note. GHEE. It’s sticky in my olfactories. But that note also seems unnatural, though inoffensive — if not strangely palatable — like a flavored milk oolong. I like it.
Addendum: Recommended for those who fancy a big floral bouquet and can find some pleasure in experimentation. The fruity nuances this tea has to offer are a treat. They will materialize with some coaxing and linger with the affection of a crazed lover. Intense tea. Mellow is not a quality that has ever come to mind. While I’m unlikely to seek out this sencha again, I do appreciate the exercise in patience that allowed me to finally get to know this tea.
Also, while the tea is still fresh a year after harvest, I can see it devolving quickly into pure parfum. I will work to drink this down before other green teas in my cupboard that are known practitioners of longevity.
Flavors: Beans, Brisk, Butter, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green Wood, Lavender, Lily, Lime, Macadamia, Milk, Mint, Peach, Perfume, Pineapple, Plumeria, Raspberry, Rich, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal
May 2021 harvest, grown without pesticides
Following TDJ’s parameters, I wasn’t impressed by the level of barklike bitterness; however, the flavor itself was pretty good and the aroma spectacular. I remember the second infusion smelling like blood oranges. I’m wondering how TDJ picked up a descriptor of ‘coconut dumplings’.
Steeped 3g:300mL for several minutes, again the aroma is pronounced, with a mixture of lychee, apple, blackberry, cream, cinnamon and almond, a touch of malt. The body of the tea consists of dominant qualities that are dark and tannic-drying, reminding me of rosewood, with a dark and dry leaf litter vibe. The aroma does flow very well through the taste and lingers like a thick vapor. Camphory, cypressy freshness abounds soon after the swallow, spreading from the chest to the throat, eventually taking over the mouth with minty freshness; not overbearing, just very natural and a marker for me of a high-quality tea. A candied orange peel aftertaste blooms slowly and grows with the sense of calm that this tea induces.
That aftertaste morphs into a tree-sappy returning sweetness with notes of something more like mandarin-apricot. I also notice a rasp on the tongue which reinforces the notion of cinnamon I caught in the aroma.
This is a tricky leaf, as I’m finding out with my exploration of Japanese teas, but it has an elegant heaviness and depth if approached in an appreciative manner. In other words, it’s a tea to respect, to sit with, not one to brew and drink in a rush.
Flavors: Allspice, Almond, Apricot, Bark, Blackberry, Blood Orange, Camphor, Chili, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Bittersweet, Dry Leaves, Drying, Floral, Forest Floor, Lychee, Malt, Mandarin, Orange Zest, Osmanthus, Spicy, Tannin, Vanilla, Woody
Thanks, Derk, for all the generous Japanese tea samples! This is also my first Japanese oolong, and I was drawn to the ones featured on the Thés du Japon site because they were described as resembling Taiwanese gaoshan, even down to the cultivars used. I had no idea how to steep this, not having a 60 ml vessel, so I filled my 85 ml teapot most of the way and hoped it was okay. TDJ also only gives directions for the first steep. I used my 3 g of leaf in boiling water and steeped it for 30, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of apricot, tart fruit (I haven’t had quince, but that seems accurate), grain, lemon, lilies and other flowers, and sugarcane. The lily, honeysuckle, orchid, and maybe even lilac florals do remind me of a Baozhong, as does the grass, butter, and silky texture. There’s definitely an element of grain that I haven’t found in Baozhong, and the tart quince/apricot/peach comes in on the aftertaste. (That peachy aftertaste might be the best part of this steep!) Spice is quite prominent in steep two, along with flowers, grass, minerals, grain, sap, and tart fruit. I see how Derk is getting mango in steep three, though there’s also some astringency, grass, spinach, lily, apricot, lemon, and minerals. The tea is starting to get a bit rough around the edges. Coconut appears in the fourth steep, though the spinach and grass are getting stronger and the fruit/florals are backing off. There’s still some creamy mango sweetness as it cools. The coconut, mango, and apricot continue in the next few steeps, but this oolong is getting very grassy, vegetal, and bitter.
This oolong evolved throughout my gongfu session and was a bit temperamental, though that could have been due to user error. While it did have some similarities to Baozhong, it took a wildly different direction in later steeps. (Also, keep those coconut teas coming!) Thanks to Derk for letting me try this tea!
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Coconut, Cream, Floral, Grain, Grass, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Lilac, Lily, Mango, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Quince, Sap, Silky, Spices, Spinach, Sugarcane, Tart, Vegetal
A lingering specimen from Mastress Alita’s Monthly Sipdown Challenge, March 2022 – A floral tea
The dry and warm leaves of this Japanese oolong smell like a bowl of Captain Crunch Berries cereal. I’d love to see confirmation of that.
Beyond that cutesy, drool-worthy leaf aroma, this tea is green, pretentious and stubborn, often unfeelingly brash, with some quiet depth beyond the florals. I could never fully open up this tea no matter the preparation; it stayed rigid and zipped up kinda like a certain someone sometimes haha. Because of this, I could never sink into the experience.
If I had had an idea that I didn’t possess the skill to get this tea where I think it needed to be, I wouldn’t have purchased it. Sorry Leafhopper, this one was a gamble. Maybe you’ll have the touch begged for to explore its emotionally unavailable diva-like character.
Either myself or this tea needs therapy.
Thank you Derk! Here’s my input-I’m going to have a hard time going into this tea blind since I’ve read your note and the description from the website, so here it goes.
I brew this in my gong fu 2 go, and intuitively make it. I did about 25-30 seconds in the first brew with about two thirds of the bag. I immediately noticed a geranium-lilac aroma coming from the cup, and drinking it up, chestnut or even butternut squash coats the palette. There’s some brown sugar sweetness here and there, and some woodsiness. It’s not as woody as other Japanese Teas I’ve had. Instead, it’s more floral and smooth bordering on some oolong qualities. How the florals flatten on my tongue, and then rise into my sinuses remind me of quality Baozhong flower notes, and even has the same kind of gold floral malt some of them have. The savory qualities make it lean more black, but the mouthfeel does interesting things, starting low, creamy, then cooling up into a sweetness with piquant bitter hints. Middle steeps were more floral, more rosy, but lilac, squash, brown sugar, and light wood hit my brain the most. Later steeps, 4 and 5, were sweeter/lighter towards squash and sugar, maybe cinnamon, and the last brew was sweet, light, and the most woodsy.
I’m not too sure about some of the fruitier notes described, but I can see them because the teas naturally sweet and has the kind of acidic bite strawberries might have. Camphor is something I immediately get to approximate the sweet wood cooling oil quality of the tea. I’m leaning towards petrichor in terms of mood and feel. Cinnamon is a little bit more psychological. I see it more in the later steeps than in the earlier ones, though I’m not sure if I’d peg that as a note comparing it to cinnamon in teas and Rou Guis.
I really like this one, and enjoyed it more than the Tsushima black a little bit because this one was more easy going. I still have one Japanese black to try out along with others, but I enjoyed this one. More experienced drinkers would be better with this one than newbs because it might just taste like a savory floral tea to them. I hope my input was decent derk!
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butternut Squash, Camphor, Floral, Geranium, Lilac, Oily, Petrichor, Rosewood, Squash, Sweet
What did I do to deserve derk? Nothing, that’s what. As I thought about that, I was reminded of a little story I read a long time ago in a sermon trying to explain the concept of the grace of God.
A businessman from up north is traveling through the Southern US. He stops at a diner and orders breakfast – bacon, eggs, and toast. A waitress brings his plate and he points at a white mass and asks, “What is this?”
“That’s grits,” she replies.
“But I didn’t order grits,” he responds.
Patiently she tells him, “You don’t order grits. They just come.”
And that is how grits are like the grace of God and derk. Derk, you are better than grits, and I like grits a lot.
On to the tea! Wow, skinny skinny sharp and pointy deep dark green. Water hits the leaves and deep golden color develops quickly. Before I ever take a sip from the cup, I know this tea is thick. I mean, THICC. Brothy and very like seasoned broth from a well-seasoned and long stewed chicken. Umami to the tenth power.
So much flavor. My tongue is tingling with the briskness which builds and I just drink more and more. The most remarkable part is that I finished the first cup and did a bit of cleaning and the flavor was still lingering. The rising sweetness we so often hear about (usually I thought with Chinese green tea) is relentless. I keep getting a burble of this very sweet flavor.
The second steep is just as flavorful, perhaps a tad more brisk but still the rising sweetness that follows lingers for a long, long time. It just doesn’t quit. More steeps to come, but honestly I think I will be tasting this for literally hours today because I am STILL tasting the last of the second steep even though it has been a while since I sipped.
I am not nearly as eloquent as derk, nor am I as good at detecting flavors, but this is great tea and I am very happy I had this opportunity to try it.
Thank you, derk!
I went for it first because it was the Baozhong like one. Brewing it up, it struck me as being closer to a first flush darjeeling than a Taiwanese oolong. It had a thick body, beautiful leaves like a Baozhong, and some florals that remind me of Jin Xuan and Baozhong, especially in texture, but the profile was heavier with umami for me. I kept on getting the same kind of notes that I get in Gyurkos and First Flushes, like a little bit of apricot and strawberry hints, but lots of greener ones like soy, edamame, cream, fresh grass, gardenia, and drying astringency. I had hard time getting past the 5th cup gong fu. I liked it, but it was a little bit astringent and almost too green for me.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Gardenias, Green, Green Beans, Snow Peas, Soybean, Strawberry, Thick, Umami, Vegetal
Thank you Derk for all the teas!
I started with the oolong, but started with this one blind. I picked it out because I’m somewhat familiar with Tsushima due to video game popculture, and made the choice for this reason.
Parameters-30, 20, 40, 50, and 60. I need to do a disclaimer first: I tend to find Japanese blacks very sweet, but very grassy or woodsy with a complex dryness. Sometimes I like it, and other times I don’t. Going into this one, the first steep was sweet and aromatic, making me think of anything colored brown and hot pink, though the liquid was a bright light red. I personally thought of cherry blossom, roses and fall leaves, cherries, almond, and lots of wood. The second steep had a little bit more fruit in the form of satsuma orange with a cooling acidic rise into a tannic finish. The last few steeps were generally almondy, woody, and floral again with the cherry blossom.
Interestingly enough, the description for this one said Lychee. I can kinda see that, but it wasn’t fructose-y enough for my palette to go in the direction. I know cherry blossoms is the most basic white person response, but it did remind me of salted cherry blossoms in tea.
I don’t think I’m going to rate it, but I will say it was a fun tasting experience. I don’t love it since it’s a little bit too tannic for me, but I really like the kind of profile it had. More of a tea nerds kind of tea though rather than a newbie tea.
Flavors: Almond, Bitter, Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Cherry Wood, Citrus, Dry Grass, Dry Leaves, Drying, Floral, Rose, Sweet, Tannin, Tea, Wood
April 27, 2021 harvest.
Difficult to describe… Complex and rich fruit and spice flavors that dance off the palate, aroma lingers in the throat. Deep but not thick turbinado sugar type of sweetness that is lightened and balanced playfuly by the tannins, mild astringency and bitterness of a malty black tea. Strong citrus and floral presences are difficult to isolate because they’re so well integrated, peaking in and out of the mid- to high ranges. It’s not like perfume at all to me.
First steep takes boiling water and long steep beautifully; second steep takes some attention to time to mitigate the tingling bark-like medicinal bitters which can make a third infusion worthwhile if you’re into that kind of feeling-taste.
This tea, when prepared with TDJ’s parameters, is a medium-bodied tea with rich aromatics and flavor. It presents characteristics of Wuyi zhengshan xiaozhong, Taiwanese and Nepali black teas.
Flavors: Allspice, Almond, Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Bark, Bitter, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chamomile, Chili, Chrysanthemum, Cinnamon, Citrus Fruits, Citrusy, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Malt, Peach, Peony, Rose, Rosewood, Spicy, Sweet, Tannin, Woody
Another interesting sencha and so different from any I’ve had :) April 26/27, 2021 harvest.
The dark green needles smell very sweet and fruity like raspberries but not raspberries, you know, some other obscure regional berry that never makes it way into a market! There’s also undertones white grapes and melon, more deep red watermelon leaning than anything, even candy-like, without that cucumbery smell they can sometimes have. The dry leaf smelled so good that the leaf that I spilled got picked up by my finger and went straight into my mouth to crunch on.
Warming the leaf brings another awesome aroma of raspberry danishes with a mellow undertone of cooked greens. Bahahaha!
Aroma is of raspberry, cherry blossom and wheatgrass with a small amount of dark bitterness.
Tea itself is thick with alkaline umami and some peaty bitterness. The raspberry/berry aromatics evaporate off palate and low into the sinuses. Here, it tastes/smells more like a berry flavored vitamin than the fruit. A moist, natural sweetness comes about in the back of the mouth in the ensuing minutes. The 3 or 4 subsequent steeps lighten evenly across all characteristics. I forgot about a final pot last night and poured it cold this morning after it sat for 12 hours. The tea was sweet and very tasty with practically no bitterness remaining and the berry character presented fully.
I don’t know. I’ve had this tea several times now and can’t help but think I’m describing it too simply. Dewy-thick-alkaline-umami-peaty-bitter-fruity-sweet. All that hyphenation tells me it’s round. I don’t find any distinct vegetal, grassy or seaweed tastes in this tea, only in the leaf and liquor aromas and a bit of a grass vibe as it steeps out.
Flavors: Alkaline, Beans, Berry, Bitter, Bittersweet, Butter, Candy, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Pastries, Peat, Popcorn, Raspberry, Round, Sakura, Savory, Smooth, Spinach, Sugar, Sweet, Sweet Corn, Thick, Watermelon, Wheatgrass, White Grapes
I enjoyed what I had of this tea very quickly. May 20, 2021 harvest.
The dry leaf when I first opened the bag smelled quite floral, spicy and woody like a Nepali black tea. By the time I brewed the last serving, its scent became earthier and deeper like a dark tobacco. When warmed, the leaf displays a strong camphor-wintergreen note atop malted barley and an undertone of hard peaches and their flowers.
My first and last pot of this tea followed TDJ’s parameters. The cups in between were brewed at work in a mug basket strainer. I enjoyed both ways of preparation.
The aroma has a light caramel sweetness mixed with malty orange. There is a camphor freshness to this tea that fits well with the flavors and light earthiness, producing a mixed evergreen-deciduous forest character.
Brewed for 5 minutes in a teapot, I notice the malty, tangy orange character accented by tobacco, sweet potato and wood as soon as I sip, immediately followed by a tingly woody-pithy-peaty bitterness, then the light freshness of camphor and mineral character. When I notice my mouth watering, I also perceive a floral aftertaste. The second steep is very creamy-orange with a fructose sweetness, and the sweet potato and woody tastes that were accents in the first infusion become more prominent.
When had in a mug, the tea is sweet and refreshing while still maintaining fresh forest character. The leaf’s lower oxidation is pronounced in this manner.
My conclusion is succinct — I really enjoyed this tea and it was very easy to drink :) It’s not a heavy black tea by any means.
Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Caramel, Chili, Chocolate, Cream, Creamy, Drying, Earth, Floral, Forest Floor, Fruit Tree Flowers, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peat, Rose, Rosewood, Spicy, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet, Warm Grass, Tangy, Tobacco, Wintergreen, Wood, Woody
May 8, 2021 harvest. Initial tasting from a few nights ago.
The dry leaf smells just like the 3 descriptors TDJ lists — sweet red beans, herbs, butter.
The taste is much the same, moderately buttery and beany with some bitterness and a bright grass-pineapple astringency that considerably lightens what could be an umami bomb.
Dinner was a rice bowl with kimchi, fried egg and seaweed. This sencha served as a solid palate cleanser for such a piquant meal, while still having enough flavor to stand on its own. A little too much caffeine to be having a few hours before bed, though :P To me, this is a utilitarian tea and performs well over 3 steeps.
I’ll probably go more in depth sometime since I have 100g to play with.
Flavors: Astringent, Beans, Beany, Bitter, Butter, Fruity, Grass, Grassy, Herbs, Oily, Pineapple, Umami
Grounding, stimulating yet calming, refreshing. It’s like an overlay of three California environments — the Montara Mountain trailhead eucalyptus grove saturated with early evening fog; a sunny Oro Blanco grapefruit grove in southern California; the cool coastline with scattered tangles of sea vegetation.
If you like eucalyptus, flowers, grapefruit peel and a strong aftertaste, please give this a try. I never would have expected such a profile from sencha.
April 28, 2021 harvest
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Beans, Bitter, Bittersweet, Citrus Zest, Cream, Eucalyptus, Floral, Flowers, Grapefruit, Grass, Grassy, Marine, Melon, Ocean Breeze, Orange Blossom, Peach, Peppermint, Sage, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thick
Final freebie from the order, thank you :)
October 22, 2021 harvest
I feel surrounded by flowers — lily, lilac, sweet pea, freesia, gardenia, honeysuckle. A very complex, aromatic tea with persistent retronasal action. I did brew this with boiling water as suggested, at least initially, and then dialed it down after the second infusion. The liquor is — I finally get what TDJ refers to as fluid. There’s a bit of weight to it in the mouth but it’s not necessarily thick or oily. It moves around. A little alkaline-umami with a floral bitterness, some drying astringency. In the gripping aftertaste is a fruity, morphing mix of strawberry glaze, sugary peach and vanilla-cream mixed with the heady floral bouquet. Got maybe 7 infusions with long-ish steeping times, last steep produce a pure floral perfume taste-aroma.
The leaf is beautiful. I haven’t seen leaf edges rimmed with oxidation in a while. I like it. And wish I had more to play. I never expected a tea with this strong of a floral bouquet to come out of Japan. Well done!
This is even more baozhong-like than the other oolong I tried — from Sashima, Kanaya-midori cultivar. The cultivar of this one is teased at in the description. It’s probably Qing Xin. Could be Four Seasons, could be Jin Xuan shrug
Flavors: Alkaline, Astringent, Baby Powder, Bitter, Cream, Drying, Escarole, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Gardenias, Grain, Honeysuckle, Jam, Lilac, Lily, Peach, Perfume, Strawberry, Sugar, Umami, Vanilla
And another freebie, thank you!
May 4th, 2021 harvest.
I can’t recall ever having a Japanese oolong before.
Thés du Japon likens this tea to a baozhong oolong. I have to agree, though it is much less florally intense than the Taiwanese teas I’ve had of this style.
The dry leaf smells toasty-biscuity with sweet-sour baked fruits, like an apricot-quince compote if I were to imagine one. The aroma of the tea is floral-sugarcane sweet with a creamy lily note.
First cup is smooth and silky, fruity-tangy with a unique sweetness and a spicy catch in the throat; drying with a persistent fruity mango-coconut? aftertaste. As I sip the second cup, I realize the overall taste is not well-defined but is round and rather ethereal, much like a Taiwanese Dayuling I had several years ago. Maybe with that silky mouthfeel it’s like coconut water? With the second steep, I notice a tiny bit of bitterness, however it’s not off-putting. Here is where I am arrested immediately by the intoxicating aroma coming off the wet leaf, the tea itself and also the bottom the cup. Macerated peaches with sugar and lemon sticks sweetly to everything! This carries into the third steep where the tea becomes slatey-mineral, reminding me in a way of how activated charcoal feels. I know that sounds strange but that’s where my mind went. From the fourth infusion on, the tea seems to regain a sense of self beyond the mineral character. The sweet, fruity aroma and aftertaste both carry even into the seventh infusion, where I call it quits.
I’m having a difficult time describing this tea and wish I had more to play around with! Despite this difficulty, it’s a treat of a tea with its aroma, silky mouthfeel and aftertaste. And it handles boiling water with grace, which is always a plus.
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Coconut, Creamy, Drying, Fruity, Grain, Lemon, Lily, Mango, Mineral, Peach, Quince, Round, Silky, Smooth, Stewed Fruits, Sugar, Sugarcane, Sweet, Tangy, Toast
Another freebie provided by Thés du Japon, thank you :)
July 5th, 2021 harvest
Dry leaf in the bag has a soft floral sweetness along with a tangy blackberry-raspberry note. Once in hand, it smells very berry-malt with lighter notes of orange and cream, an overlay of freshly washed hair – you know the smell? Warming the leaf is the preview of what is to come — tangy, fresh and clean vibe with tangerine, malt and rosewood.
The citrusy-sweet-tangy aroma is prominent with creamy peach-orange. In the mouth, the taste is very intense but with minimal tannins. A magnificent floral bouquet blooms with tangerine blossom and roses, lingering in the throat and nose. Mixed with that is candied tangerine peel, malt and rosewood, while a mild sweet vanilla-cream taste caresses and softens the bright citrus. Salivation is effusive, and the tangerine blossom and roses persist.
In my last note for a different black tea from TDJ, I said I’d go with my usual steeping parameters for black tea, but for some reason I went with package directions. Very happy with the result. First steep of 5min, second of 8min, now sipping on the third at 15min and it is like drinking candied tangerine peel with a little bit of creaminess on the sip and a very citrusy-fruity tangy aftertaste and sour feeling that becomes buttery once the tea is cold. MMM.
I hope you like this one, Leafhopper!
Flavors: Blackberry, Butter, Candy, Citrus Zest, Citrusy, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Orange Blossom, Peach, Pleasantly Sour, Raspberry, Rose, Rosewood, Tangerine, Tangy, Tannin, Vanilla
June 14th, 2021 harvest
This was a sample provided by Thés du Japon in my joint buy with Leafhopper. I prepared it according to TDJ’s parameters, which differ from my usual 3g:300mL:3min for many black teas. TDJ recommends half of my typical water volume, so I opted to use a 200mL Taiwanese black clay teapot and eyeball the water level instead of my usual Western-style mason jar brewing. I have 2 different black clay teapots that hadn’t seen much use until I recently got into Japanese teas. They seem to work very well for these teas and I’m happy they’re getting the attention they deserve!
A powerful Japanese black tea, full of lively tannins but with no heaviness that upsets my body. The woody-floral-spicy aroma carries through into the mouth and presents strongly in retro-olfaction but does not linger for more than a few minutes. I think this is due to the tannic and drying, rather than coating, nature of the tea. The full flavor is malty-rosewoody with lesser dark-fruitiness and soft, warm cinnamon; an apple nuance. A fruity and light, buttery finish presents along with the return of the aroma. I accidentally steeped the second infusion for 15 minutes. It came out rather bitter, reminding me of violet candies, while still presenting some weakened characteristics of the first infusion.
The tea calls to mind the profile of What-Cha’s Taiwan Wild ‘Shan Cha’, the main difference between the two residing in the mouthfeel — this one has plenty of structure provided by the tannins, while the Wild ‘Shan Cha’ exhibits the smooth character of many Taiwanese blacks. This is a lovely black tea that I think would appeal to plenty of people , especially those who like to add a touch of milk, but it is not necessarily something I would seek out. For being grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers, I’m impressed with the result!
Flavors: Apple, Black Currant, Blackberry, Brisk, Butter, Chili, Cinnamon, Drying, Floral, Geranium, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Rosewood, Spicy, Tannic, Vanilla, Violet, Woody
April 22th, 2021 harvest
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
April 28th, 2021 harvest, grown without pesticides
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