603 Tasting Notes

91
drank Oi Ocha Green Tea Bags by Ito En
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

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML
Martin Bednář

Happy New Year!
Ito En, even in tea bag form, are pretty much decent as I have tried a few… actually I guess only Oi Ocha.

Cameron B.

Ooh I like their bottled teas too! Never tried the teabags though.

Cameron B.

And Happy New Year! \o/

LuckyMe

@Cameron B, their bottled teas are the best! I especially love Olden Oolong.

Evol Ving Ness

Happy new year! Good to see you.

Leafhopper

Happy New Year! I’ll have to look for Ito En tea, though I doubt my local grocery stores will carry it.

Evol Ving Ness

I don’t remember seeing it here though I am not often in the RTD tea, soft drink section.

LuckyMe

@Leafhopper I believe Costco carried it under their Kirkland brand.

ashmanra

Happy New Year!

Alreot

Happy New Year! This tea sounds nice I enjoy sencha as well, I’m going to have to give it a try

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93

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.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you for posting about the ins and outs of this. I’ve been wanting one for a long while.

Evol Ving Ness

Of course, here it costs $40.

LuckyMe

$40 is way overpriced for something this basic. Since you’re in Canada, I would check out Bed Bath and Beyond. I just did a quick Google search and found it for $14 on their Canadian website.

Evol Ving Ness

Good thinking. Thanks. I’ll get on that.

Courtney

I’ve never heard of such a device – neat! I’ve bookmarked this as I feel like getting one is a great idea (especially for travel)! Also, I take it that you have travelled with a kettle — we are forever travelling with appliances (notably our blender since being vegan requires a good blender), and yay for others also travelling with appliances!

LuckyMe

@Courtney yep, one less appliance to haul. And as a bonus, it hasn’t freaked out TSA (yet)

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87
drank Melon Oolong by Lupicia
603 tasting notes

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

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87

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

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 200 OZ / 5914 ML
ashmanra

Welcome back!

Evol Ving Ness

Welcome back! We’ve missed you.

what do you use to steep green teas? Would you recommend buying a kyusu? If so, porcelain or unglazed?

LuckyMe

Thanks, can never stay away from this site for too long :)

@Evol Ving Ness, I switch between a bunch of different brewing vessels but I prefer a shibo or easy gaiwan for most greens. It’s easier to clean than a kyusu IMO, When steeping grandpa style, I use a tea glass with a built-in filter (a little crescent shaped piece attached to the top of the glass with tiny holes).

I prefer glazed as you can brew any kind of tea in them but it all depends on what yoiu’re plan to steep and how.

Martin Bednář

LuckyMe: I know that feel. Indeed very busy times, but I can’t run away from Steepster. Good luck with everything you have to do and finish :)

Evol Ving Ness

Thank goodness and thank you.

Evol Ving Ness

It’s good to have you back. A couple of the teas which you posted about, which are not coming to mind at the mo, have become great favourites. Haha, funny that I can’t recall the names of the teas, but I can recall that they were introduced to me by you.

LuckyMe

@Evol Ving Ness that’s awesome. I’ve discovered so many amazing teas thanks to recommendations on this site so it’s great to be able to pay it forward :)

Evol Ving Ness

Yeah, we’re all a bunch of enablers. :)

Lexie Aleah

Glad to see you posting again!

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93

Sipdown.

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

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Hey, where’ve you been? We’ve missed you.

LuckyMe

@Evol Ving Ness thanks for asking. life has gotten a little busy recently but still here and drinking tea :). hope you’re doing well

tanluwils

I too like to treat the good senchas like expensive gyokuro for the first few steeps.

Evol Ving Ness

More or less ok here. Good to see you!

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84
drank Melon White Tea by Lupicia
603 tasting notes

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

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

I love their Melon Oolong, but it’s definitely not a natural sort of melon flavor he he.

LuckyMe

Melon was my least favorite Lupicia flavoring…tastes a little too artificial for me. Mango and Momo Peach oolongs though were fire.

CrowKettle

Melona bar melon! Just needs the right base :)

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88
drank Merci Mille Fois by Lupicia
603 tasting notes

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

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 OZ / 236 ML

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87

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

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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66

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.

Flavors: Floral

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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98

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

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML
Cameron B.

Ooh that’s exciting, I’ve never tried any of their matcha!

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Profile

Bio

My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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