Thursday, March 13, 2008

Teabag - Yame Sencha

Tea: Yame Sencha
Vendor: Bassaro
Source: Yame, Japan

This is probably one of the most inventive forms of a teabag that I have seen to date. It's almost dificult to call this a teabag. It arrived individually wrapped and looking rather normal, at least until I opened the bag. The teabag is rectangular with two die cut paper/cardstock rectangles attached one on each side.

The first thing you do when setting this teabag up is tear open the top, which is a perforated seal so the paper material of the teabag tears nicely. Then you pop out each of the sides which form paper hooks with which to hang on the opposite sides of the cup, as seen above. The remaining stock folds nicely to form a square brewing vessel area in the middle of the cup for the tea.

You then brew the tea by pouring your water into the middle of the suspended teabag. This acts much in the same way that using a strainer to brew tea would. The teabag is held at an appropriate level to allow for the tea to further brew after all the water is poured in. Unfortunately there is no easy way to promote water flow in the same way that dipping and pulling a traditional teabag in a cup would. I tried pulling this teabag up, but it doesn't work quite as well as a traditional teabag. Also the use of paper for the teabag material made it more difficult for water to flow. The material used by most other teabags now would provide better water flow.

The tea itself was rather good. The first infusion had a very sweet and smooth flavor to it, a bit reminiscent of a gyokuro, but still retaining sencha qualities. The aftertaste was a bit reminiscent of the Ariake Yutakamidori I had earlier. There was no bitterness or astringency and it had a light grassy taste to it. There were finishing hints of a seaweed flavor.

The second infusion had a stronger sense of seaweed to it and just enough of a sense of astringency to provide a clean feeling when finished. The flavor had hints of being vegetal as well.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: While the form of this new teabag was quite inventive, i'm dubious as to the effectiveness it would have in replacing current teabags. Most of the time I use a teabag i'm warming my water in a microwave or something of the sort so it is not convenient to pour water over the top of the teabag. The tea itself was quite good, surprisingly so for a teabag. I found that brewing the tea has a better result than a traditional teabag, but only if you can pour water over it.

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