603 Tasting Notes
A belated happy new year Steepsterites! Hope 2022 will be a great year for everyone. Still on semi-hiatus due to studies – can’t wait till March when I’m finished with it all – but do plan to post here and there.
I picked this up on a whim a couple of weeks ago when I was in Florida for a wedding. It was in the checkout aisle at Ross of all places. I had bought loose tea with me as I always do during my travels but not sencha. Although I seldom bother with teabags, Ito-En is a reputable Japanese tea brand and I drink their bottled tea all the time. The date of production stamped on the package showed it was only 6 months old, which is about as fresh as it gets with bagged tea.
Color of the tea is intense green and infuses rather quickly, which indicates a fukamushi. The flavor is also characteristic of a deep steamed sencha. At higher water temperature, it’s matcha like with raw wheatgrass and chlorophyll. Smooth and full bodied. Lower temperatures bring out spinachy, grassy notes with a mellow sweet taste. Doesn’t have all of the nuances of loose tea but still delivers with a rich flavor and freshness.
I’ve continued drinking this upon returning home. Despite having plenty of sencha in my cupboard, the convenience of teabags can’t be beat. Especially during busy times when I just need a quick cup and don’t have time to fuss with gaiwans and pitchers. Is this the best sencha ever? No, but it’s more than serviceable and head and shoulders above standard bagged tea. The only downside is it can’t be resteeped so this is a one and done kind of tea.
Flavors: Spinach, Vegetal, Wheatgrass
Until yesterday, this nifty little device had been a part of my office tea setup for more than 5 years. It’s basically an electric coil that you submerge in water to heat it up. You can boil a cup of water using it in about 5 minutes. It does the job but there are a couple of quirks to be aware of.
First, it works well as long as you’re boiling 8oz or less at a time. Any quantity larger than this and you’ll be waiting a long time. Also, you must leave it submerged before unplugging or you’ll burn the coil. As you can imagine, having to constantly plug and unplug the coil after every steep is annoying so I use it with a wall plug that has an on/off switch.
I ended up replacing this with a 0.5L mini kettle from Amazon. Although it worked well, it made my desk look like a meth lab and with me being so accident prone, I was constantly paranoid about knocking something over while the coil was plugged in. I will, however, continue using it for travel. It’s so much easier to haul in your suitcase than a kettle and all you need to boil water is a heat proof cup. For $8, I definitely got my money’s worth.
I wasn’t feeling the melon candy flavor of this tea when I first had it, but I’ve been really getting into it now. It could be that the flavoring has mellowed out after sitting around for a year. I’ve noticed this with all of my Lupicia teas. The flavoring is less intense since opening, which in some cases like this one is good but flavored green teas have gone off slightly. Bumping up the rating for this tea.
Flavors: Green Melons
Hello Steepster! Hope you all have been well. It’s been a minute since I’ve posted. Life has been a bit hectic lately and on top of everything, I’ve started a new course for work which has been consuming most of my free time. I’ve barely had time to even browse Steepster let alone log anything since I feel guilty whenever I’m doing anything online besides studying. Anyway, tea drinking is still going strong and with my backlog starting to grow, I decided to sneak in a few notes.
This is another sencha from my Yuuki-Cha haul this summer. It’s a fragrant, light steamed sencha that presents a broad spectrum of flavors. Depending on the way it’s brewed, it can offer the typical spinachy, vegetal green tea flavor or it can become gyokuro-like with rich umami and oceanic elements. Smooth, medium bodied, and clean tasting with notes of grass/kelp and cannelloni beans.
Flavors: Grass, Seaweed, Spinach, Umami
I liked this a lot better after tweaking my brewing. Increasing the leaf quantity and lowering temperature was key. Vibrant green color and flavor. Full bodied with notes of freshly cut grass, cashew, and cream. Upping my rating as I enjoyed it far more this time around.
Flavors: Cashew, Creamy, Freshly Cut Grass
Last tea from the Lupicia group order. I put this one off for a while because I didn’t care for their Melon Oolong and expected it to taste the same. Finally had it today and it wasn’t half bad.
You can tell its the same melon flavoring used in the oolong version but it goes quite nicely with the white tea base. Clean tasting and lighter than the oolong. Candy sweet with more of a cantaloupe flavor than Hi-Chew candy this time.
Flavors: Candy, Cantaloupe, Melon
This is one of the teas from last year’s Lupicia group buy that I just got around to recently. It reminds me a lot of a plum oolong I used to like back in the day.
Dry leaf smells like plum, pomegranate, and raspberry. When heated, it becomes more plummy with notes of overripe berries and a little sweet potato. The flavor closely matches the aroma. Nice, tart flavor of plum, pomegranate, and dark cherry. There’s supposed to be white peach and strawberry in this blend too but I didn’t detect it. Normally I’m leery of tart/sour teas (I’m looking at you, hibiscus) but here it’s executed very well and is not overpowering at all.
Tastes good both on its own and blended with a straight black tea.
Flavors: Cherry, Plum, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Tart
Currently a part of my tea rotation at work. This is one of those every day teas that’s good for easy sipping but not quite good enough to devote time to contemplate.
The style of this tea is called Kyomushi which Yuuki-Cha describes as strong steamed sencha. On the spectrum of Japanese green tea, it’s somewhere between a fukamashi (deep steamed) and chumushi (medium steamed) tea. This is also an aracha: unrefined and processed entirely by the grower himself.
Tasting the tea, it indeed straddles the line between medium and deep steamed sencha. On one hand, it’s not as murky green as fukamushi but does have some of the richness and chlorophyll taste. At the same time, it preserves some of the more subtle mineral, vegetative, and citrusy notes of lighter sencha. Minimal bitterness and doesn’t hit you over the head with umami. Good for 3 steeps.
Flavors: Grass, Lime, Moss, Spinach, Vegetal
Close to sipping down this one and so far, it has been the least impressive tea from my TTC order. Despite some wonderful aromatics, it has a very bland, generic light oolong taste. Faintly floral, watery body, and fades rather quickly. A little disappointing at how mediocre this is considering Long Feng Xia is usually a stellar high mountain oolong.
It took only one sample for this matcha to win me over. Officially, one of the best matchas I’ve ever had which is even more impressive considering how old the sample was.
The dry powder smelled fresh, sweet, and fragrant. It frothed easily and had a rich green color. Although I intended to make a latte with it, I first tasted the prepared matcha and was surprised by how delicious it was on its own. Smooth and creamy without any bitterness and the in-your-face umami of most matcha. It’s the only matcha I’ve ever been able to tolerate on its own. Was tempted to have the rest of it straight but decided to go ahead and have it as an iced latte. A little sweetener, a few ice cubes, and a splash of oat milk and it was outrageously good.
Definitely going to hit up Obubu for my next matcha order. Thanks for the sample Cameron B
Flavors: Evergreen, Smooth, Sweet