Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Shincha Kumpu - Day 2

About: This is the second session with Den's Shincha Kumpu.

Leaf Mass: 6g.

1st Infustion Parameters: 170F, 60s

1st Infusion: The liquor had a bright almost neon green color to it. The aroma is rich and thick, but a very distinctive green tea aroma. It is a very relaxing smell, I very much was enjoying this aroma more than most other teas. The flavor had a very smooth thickness to it, and a rich full bodied flavor. I could really feel the thick sweetness of this tea in the back of my mouth. It was very smooth and relaxing, and there was a light growing sense of astringency from the first sip to the end of the cup.

2nd Infusion Parameters: 160 F, 60s

2nd Infusion: The tea had a bright yellow color with a light sense of cloudiness now. There was a higher medium sense of astringency from the start of the tea. The flavor was very smooth, but the tea grew to a stronger sense of astringency.

3rd Infusion Parameters: 180F, 45s

3rd Infusion: This infusion had a medium sense of astringency, but a very full mouth feeling body to it. There was not much flavor behind this, but you could feel the tea, but not taste it.

4th Infusion Parameters: 170F, 2mins

4th Infusion: This infusion again had a medium sense of astringency. It was full bodied, but again there was not much flavor.

Conclusion: This session was very interesting, although I did not really enjoy the second infusion. I think that if I decreased the infusion time on the second infusion there would have been more flavor for the third and fourth infusions.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Schedule Change

I'm finding that as the weather is warming up around here I'm less inclined to drink tea as much. Because of this I'm going to be changing the posting schedule, it won't be daily for a while. I'm not sure what I'm going to change to or for how long, but I'll figure that out soon enough.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tea Mind

Here's another tea blog for you guys to read.

Tea Mind

The writter, chamekke is writing her blog primarily about Chanoyu, Japanese tea ceremony. It's worth a read.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shincha Kumpu - Day 1

Tea: Shincha Kumpu
Vendor: Den's Tea
Price: $19.75 / 2oz.
Source: Honyama, Shizuoka, Japan
Vendor Description: Shincha Kunpu is *an Eighty-Eighth (88th)* Night Shincha that is lightly steamed. It has a great woodsy aroma and a natural sweetness like very fresh green vegetables.

*Eighty-Eighth (88th) Night Shincha refers to Shincha picked on the 88th day after the first day of spring in the traditional Japanese calendar. It is around May 2nd. The Eighty-Eighth (88th) Night – “Hachijuhachiya” in Japanese - is a special day in Japanese agriculture since it is considered about the time all the plants and vegetation begin to sprout.
Also 88th Night Shincha has been celebrated since the old-times as a good fortune beverage among the Japanese. The legend has been handed down that the young energetic leaf of the tea plant will bring you eternal health and long life.

About This Tea: This is the first of the long awaited Shincha teas. For those who don't know what Shincha is, Shincha is basically the first of the first harvest of the year for Japanese teas. Shincha is processed differently then regular sencha which gives it a shorter shelf life, but an interesting flavor. Because of that shincha is primarily available from harvest into early summer. After that shincha starts to lose its fresh flavor and is not as good. Because of the special nature of shincha I am going to do multiple reviews of the same tea. I am going to be a bit more detailed in the particular details of them and experiment a bit each time to try to see what I can find in each shincha. So today is the first of a few days of Shincha Kumpu

Leaf Mass: 4.96g

Leaf: The leaf for this tea was rather surprising, the leaf had some very long single needles in it, longer than any other Japanese green tea that I have seen. They were all very neatly rolled, very uniform in diameter, just varying in length. The leaf had a very fruity aroma to it, which reminded me of the smell of cutting into a fresh nectarine or peach.

1st Infusion Parameters: 6 oz water, 165 F, 90s infusion

1st Infusion: The first infusion had a very light and clear color to it, the tea was a bright green, but pale. It had an almost radiant luminescent green color to it. The flavor of the tea was smooth with a light sweetness. It had a clean bitterness that wasn't so strong that it was heavily noticed, but enough to leave the mouth refreshed. The refreshing bitterness also left an appropriate light astringency. The flavor was very smooth and could be felt on the center of the tongue, it hinted at a light seaweed flavor.

2nd Infusion Parameters: 6 oz water, 175 F, 30s infusion

2nd Infusion: This infusion had a bolder green color to it, the color was stronger, but still light and had that radiant quality to it. It was slightly murky now, but not so much that it wasn't still readily transparent. The flavor felt now like it was more concentrated on the back of the tongue instead of the middle. The flavor felt as though it was a bit lighter, but still retained a very clean and crisp flavor. I didn't sense the same bitterness as I did with the first infusion, this resulted in a smoother more relaxed flavor.

3rd Infusion Parameters: 6 oz water, 185 F, 30s

3rd Infusion: Like the second infusion this one was slightly murky, but lighter in color. The shade of green took a turn for a more yellow hue, resulting in a more yellow green color than the pure green of the first two. The flavor was even lighter this time, but it felt brisker. There was definitely a stronger sense of astringency at this point due to the warmer water, but the flavor was still very clean and refreshing.

4th Infusion Parameters: 6 oz water, 185 F, 2 minutes

4th Infusion: The color of the tea changed to a very light green now. The flavor was very different. The flavor was very weak, but it had changed significantly from before. It was more akin to a normal sencha than the shincha that I had been tasting. It was weak to the point where it felt like slightly flavored water. The tea had pretty much given what it had.

Rating: To be determined after further experimentation

Conclusion: For my first of the 2008 shinchas this proved to be quite the experience. The tea seems like it has much to offer, and lots of nuances to experiment with. The flavor is light and tricky to coax out. At the same time the flavor is very enjoyable and relaxing. I look forward to trying this out more.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Imperial MeiZhan

Tea: Imperial MeiZhan 2006
Vendor: Seven Cups
Price: $ 19.31 / 50g
Source: Fujian Province, China
Vendor Description: This tea from the MeiZhan bush is famous for its unique fragrance similar to dried plums. It grows mostly on the foothills of the WuYI Mountains and is popular for its rich aroma but milder taste compared to other Rock oolong tea. Its dark amber tea color yields a roasted nut flavor with a smooth lingering aftertaste. This traditional rock oolong is perfect for tea drinker looking for an economical everyday tea.

Additional Vendor Information:
Location: Fujian Province
Tea Bush: MeiZhan
Tea Master: Liu Guo Ying
Harvest Time: April-May
Picking Standard: zhong kai mian (3 slightly open leaves)
Brewing vessel: glass cup, gaiwan, glass or porcelain pot, yixing pot
Brewing Guidelines: 1st infusion 1 ½ Tbs per 20 oz 212F for 1 min
Infusions: at least 6 times

Leaf: The leaf for this tea consists of very long and large leaves. Not that unusual for an oolong, but what was surprising was the lack of broken pieces or dust. The leaves were a very dark shade of brown, closer to a black.

1st Infusion: The tea was very light brown in color. It smelled a lot like a roasted hojicha. The tea had a very sweet flavor to it with a very light astringency. There was no bitterness to it.

2nd Infusion: This had a much lighter flavor and lighter color to it this time.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: This oolong was more like the oolong that I am used to. It was a light and sweet flavor. I didn't have much to experiment with but I imagine I could get a lot more out of this tea with more practice.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Teabag - Darjeeling

Tea: Darjeeling
Vendor: Tea Forte
Price: $24.00 / 20 teapyramids
Source: Darjeeling, India
Vendor Description: Our Estate Darjeeling brings the fresh crisp qualities of its origins in the Himalayan mountain foothills to every cup. An undercurrent of roasted nuts and soft floral notes permeate each sip. Contains caffeine.

Teabag: This is the first true pyramid style teabag that I have had the chance to review. It is very impressive in both construction and appearance. Ever since I first found out about Tea Forte, I wanted to try them out. Their teabags have a very refined presence to them. They are not just stuffed into a foil packet like some other teabags, these hold their form and have a small paper box wrapped around the pyramid. The leaf on the end of the string is very decorative and classy. If you ever wanted a teabag that would impress someone, or some guests, this is the one to have. They are almost more of a conversation piece than just a teabag.

1st Infusion: The infusion has a very sweet smelling Darjeeling aroma to it. The flavor was very light for a Darjeeling. It was generally pleasant, with a light sense of astringency to it. The Darjeeling flavor itself could stand to be more prominent and stronger.

After Infusing: Given the rather weak flavor of the first infusion I did not try to make a second infusion. I even tried steeping this one for about 3 minutes before tasting, but the flavor didn't seem to come out of the teabag. After the teabag was used though it became somewhat apparent as to the cause. The leaves swell more than the space in the pyramid allow for, applying pressure on the sides of the teabag and hindering the infusion. Also the mesh of the bag was a bit denser than most of the other teabags of similar material. This prevented the water from passing through the tea very well.

Rating: 3/10

Conclusion: The tea itself was not very impressive, and the teabag itself had most of the fame for this test, but the teabag was the culprit for this particular rating. The teabag as impressive as it looks hindered the tea from infusing well, producing a less than stellar cup of tea. I'm curious to see if this is a result of the Darjeeling itself or of the general design of the teabags.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monkey Picked

Tea: Monkey Picked - An Xi Oolong (2007 Harvest)
Vendor: Seven Cups
Price: $10.00 / 50g
Source: Fujian Province, China
Vendor Description: This very popular certified organic tea is both lightly oxidized and roasted to create a fresh floral aroma. The blending of local Anxi tea bushes creates a slightly sweet flavor that can be infused many times. It is a great choice for those looking for a mild taste with a pleasant fragrance. The name of this tea comes from a famous tale passed on in the oral tradition. It tells of tea bushes growing in the high mountains favored by the people but very dangerous to pick. The local farmers decided to trained monkeys to harvest the tea leaves. Of course, the monkeys were not careful pickers and would grab both new and old leaves. The result was a blend of leaves that created a tea with a special character and light flavor known today as Monkey Picked. We love the stories and myths that surrounded Chinese tea culture, and ensure you no monkeys are involved in processing this tea.

Additional Vendor Information:
Location: Fujian Province
Tea Bush: Tie Guan Yin, Huang Jin Gui and Ben Shan bush
Tea Master: Yan Li Zhong
Harvest Time: early April
Picking Standard: 1 bud 2 leaves
Brewing vessel: glass cup, gaiwan, glass or porcelain pot, yixing pot
Brewing Guidelines: 1st infusion ½ Tbs per 20 oz 212F for 1 min
Infusions: at least 7 times

About this tea: Contrary to it's name, Monkey Picked Oolong isn't actually picked by monkies. (as noted above in the vendor description). After trying out quite a few different Tie Guan Yin teas, I figured I was curious what this one tasted like.

Leaf: The leaf for this looked much like a normal TGY. The leaf shape and size reminded me a lot of the TGY from Lupicia, only this time with slightly smaller leaves. The comma shape was consistent and the color as well.

1st Infusion: This tea had a very light TGY aroma to it. The flavor was very different though. It had a very strong almost green tea flavor to it. The flavor also had hints of being a vegetal taste. It all left me with a slight sense of astringency and still trying to figure out what it was that I was tasting. I knew that this was another TGY, but it didn't fall in line with the rest of them.

2nd Infusion: This infusion was similar to the first, but had a medium sense of astringency when finished, and it also exhibited a very unusual bitterness spike during the middle of the flavor. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but it had a peak of bitterness much like a sencha does, but in a very different manner.

Rating: 4/10

Conclusion: I was very confused by this tea and don't really know what to make of it. The flavor was muddled and unclear, but it had a certain allure that I am still thinking about. If you are looking for a more typical TGY, try something else, but if you are a fan of TGY you might want to try this to see what you think.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Darjeeling Green

Tea: Darjeeling Green
Vendor: Tea Chai Te
Price: $5.00 / oz
Source: Makaibari Estate, Darjeeling, India
Vendor Description: From the Makaibari Estate, this tea has a golden color with a mild fragrant Darjeeling taste.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea looked a lot like a normal black Darjeeling. I don't think that I would be able to tell the difference between a normal Darjeeling and this if they were placed side by side. The size of the leaf was smaller than I normally see, this wasn't rated so I don't know what the grade for this leaf was.

1st Infusion: The liquor for this tea was a normal red color, which makes me wonder what about this tea makes it a "Green Darjeeling". This tea though has a very different flavor than a normal Darjeeling. It has a very smooth sweetness on the tongue, but it not very full bodied. The flavor sits primarily on the tongue, and leaves with a medium sense of astringency. The flavor doesn't really remind me of a green tea at all, just something different.

2nd Infusion: There is a small sharp bitterness on the tip of the tongue from this tea. This is followed by a sense of bitterness that is felt throughout the whole of the mouth. There isn't really much left of the flavor but a rather general black tea flavor and bitterness.

Rating: 2/10

Conclusion: I'm not sure what makes this tea "green" at all. It tasted like it was a mix of Darjeeling and a more mundane black tea. I would suggest sticking to a regular Darjeeling especially considering the somewhat high price of this tea.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Silver Needle

Tea: Silver Needle
Vendor: Tao of Tea
Price: $ 3.50 / oz
Source: Nan Yue Heng Shan, Hunnan Province, China
Vendor Description: Also known as 'Yin Zhen', Silver Needles is an organic, famous white tea with rich tea history.

Leaf: The leaf for this silver needle was at the same time familiar and different than most of the needles I have seen for a silver needle. The leaf is coated in the trademark white hairs which give it its name, but at the same time the leaves were much longer and thinner than most of the other silver needles I have seen. Another thing that caught my eye about this tea was the browning I noticed on the ends of the buds where they have been picked. I'm not sure how this compares to other silver needles, but for some reason on this tea it was more noticeable and prominent.

1st Infusion: This tea has a very strong and prominent silver needle aroma to it. Combined in the normal aroma was a hint at grassiness. The tea itself had a very prominent and light clean taste to it. It felt though as there were multiple parts to the flavor, each feeling like their own distinct flavor, but at the same time all representing different white tea flavors. The combination of flavors lasted for a long time for a silver needle. This tea was also very full bodied for a silver needle. There was a light sense of astringency on the back end.

2nd Infusion: The flavor was a bit lighter on this infusion. The taste had a very nice crispness to it, but it was still very full bodied. The flavor was sweeter in taste, but this was balanced by a light bitterness and a light astringency.

Rating: 8/10

Conclusion: This was a very unusual silver needle. The flavors felt complicated and convoluted, but was very good. It almost felt like a combination of different silver needle flavors in one. The price was very good, especially for a silver needle. I wouldn't consider this to be a standard tasting silver needle, but it was good nonetheless.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Tea: Maruse
Vendor: Tao of Tea
Price: $12.00 / 1 oz. tin
Source: Japan
Vendor Description:Japan produces almost exclusively green tea, the majority of which is sencha. However, the range and breadth of sencha grades and styles is enormous ranging from coarse, everyday green tea to exquisite masterpieces of the Japanese tea-making art. Our Maruse is a premium grade, first flush sencha produced with the utmost artisanal skill in early spring.

Leaf: Like the Midori, the Maruse was packaged in a small double lidded tin with the tea vacuum sealed in a mylar bag inside of the tin. The leaves themselves are finely polished and there are a few very long needles in the mix. The appearance was not very unusual for a sencha.

1st Infusion: This tea has a very sharp and strong aroma. It has a certain crisp feeling to the aroma. The flavor is very rich and smooth. The flavor hints at the rich thick flavor of a gyokuro. There is a medium bitterness and a light astringency which pair to create a very ideal clean feeling on the tongue. There are also hints of seaweed flavor to this tea.

2nd Infusion: The tea has the same thick flavor which reminds me of a gyokuro as the first infusion, but it has a higher astringency and a medium sense of bitterness now.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: Like the Midori this was also a very good sencha, between the two of them they cover a lot of the qualities found in a good sencha. The packaging is very good, but the price again detracts heavily from the rating. At that price the teas should hold up better for multiple infusions and even still they seem a bit pricey.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Tea: Midori
Vendor: Tao of Tea
Price: $14.00 / 1 oz tin.
Vendor Description: Japan produces almost exclusively green tea, the majority of which is sencha. However, the range and breadth of sencha grades and styles is enormous ranging from coarse, everyday green tea to exquisite masterpieces of the Japanese tea-making art. 1Go is a premium grade, first flush sencha produced with the utmost artisanal skill in early spring.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea was nicely vacuum packaged in a double lidded tin. Interestingly the vacuum package was labeled with a very interesting label. It had the following text on it:


I'm rather curious as to if this tea was simply packaged by Kaburagien or if The Tao of Tea is simply reselling Kaburagien's tea stateside. The leaf itself was rather standard for sencha. Mix of light to dark green colors, a bit of small dust and a moderately polished appearance. The leaves were nice and long, but not abnormally long.

1st Infusion: The tea had a very light and sweet aroma to it. This was paired nicely with a light and rich flavor. The flavor was very characteristic of a sencha. It was just the right bitterness with a certain grassiness. It left with a light astringency. The flavor was all around slightly sweet and enjoyable.

2nd Infusion: The flavor was very crisp and had an open ended flavor to it. Where other teas normally taper off, this infusion simply stopped the flavor as if it vanished. As to be somewhat expected there was a stronger medium sense of bitterness and astringency with this infusion.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: While the first infusion had a very good distinctive flavor, the second infusion was somewhat lacking of the quality of the first. The price was also a major detraction from this tea, it was something that I expected more for considering the price. Good tea, bad price.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

English Caramel

Tea: English Caramel - 5500
Vendor: Lupicia USA
Price: $5.00 /50g.
Vendor Description: Caramel's aromatic bittersweet flavor emphasizing the sweetness of tea, makes this a caramel tea for adult tastes. Even more delicious when adding sugar and milk .

Leaf: There was a very strong sweet caramel aroma coming from this tea. The leaf itself though looked like most leaf does with very a very uniform shape and size and black color characteristic of most flavored black teas.

1st Infusion: There was a very sweet aroma, although the aroma didn't match the sweet caramel aroma coming from the leaf before infusing. The flavor was sweet to match the aroma and the tea had a very light flavor. The tea was light bodied but it had a strong sense of sweetness. It was very light feeling for a black tea, but it was very filled with flavor. The majority of the flavor was the very strong sweetness component to it. There was a light sense of astringency on the back end.

2nd Infusion: Rather surprisingly this tea retained some of the sweetness for the second infusion. Normally with flavored teas I find that the sweetness or flavor is extracted in the first infusion. The sense of astringency did grow to a medium astringency though.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: For a flavored tea this was a very good one. I liked the sweetness and imagine that this tea would be very rich and sweet if paired with milk and sugar. Children would probably very much enjoy this tea.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ginger Oolong

Tea: Ginger Oolong - 8814
Vendor: Lupicia USA
Price: $5.50 / 50g.
Source: Fujian, China
Vendor Description: Oolong tea from Fujian Province, China is blended with plentiful amounts of dried ginger which has a body-warming effect. Pink pepper is added as an accent flavor. Add sugar to suit taste.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea was quite colorful. It had a mix of small pieces of ginger and small red berries mixed in with the oolong leaf. There is a very strong ginger aroma to the dry leaf as well.

1st Infusion: The tea had a surprisingly murky appearance to it on the first infusion. Like the dry leaf the tea also had a very strong ginger aroma, although the aroma was not quite like that of fresh ginger. It was more akin to a dried ginger aroma. The tea had a very sweet front end followed by a strong bitterness. The sweetness was characteristic of an oolong, while the bitterness felt very much like ginger. I can definitely taste the ginger in this tea. The tea had no astringency to it and no bitterness due to the tea, the only bitterness seemed to be contributed by the ginger. The flavor was actually quite light, to the point where the ginger was stronger than the flavor of the tea itself.

Rating: 3/10

Conclusion: This tea really felt like I was drinking a ginger infusion with a small hint of tea. The ginger was a bit too overpowering in my opinion. I would have enjoyed a bit more tea flavor to balance out the ginger. If you're looking to sup on a cup of ginger this tea would be perfect for you.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Orange Matcha

Today for something a bit different. A bit ago I was organizing my tea stash and found a container of matcha that I had opened but neglected to finish. Matcha has a tendency to lose some of its flavor quickly after being opened, so I figured this was a perfect subject on which to experiment, the result: Orange Matcha.

To start with I pulled out my matcha equipment, I chose one of my smaller chawans because I didn't want to make too much of anything when I was experimenting with this. The equipment I used was fairly standard; chasen (wisk), chawan(bowl), and chashaku (bamboo scoop). Along with this I had a small pitcher of cold orange juice.

To start with I placed 3 scoops of sifted matcha into the chawan. I then poured in a small amount of orange juice and proceeded to wisk the orange juice and matcha. I only used a small amount of the orange juice to help work the matcha. As I continued to wisk the matcha I added more and more orange juice. I have been experimenting with the ratios, but it varies incredibly by the orange juice you use. For instance a nice freshly squeezed orange juice is much sweeter than the orange juice from the grocery store in a jug. I tried using more and less with this variation, and found that the sweeter and bolder the orange juice the less matcha to use. For a weaker more dilute orange juice more matcha provided a good flavor. The two difference though produce very different beverages. It becomes a bowl of matcha with a hint of orange or a bowl of orange juice that is flavored with matcha. Both proved to be quite good, but it seemed odd to produce something in the middle.

This was more of an experiment with something unusual, but proved to be quite good. If you wish to try this I would suggest starting with about 3 scoops of matcha per 200 mL of orange juice. From there you should vary your proportions to your taste or whatever you may think is interesting. There is no right or wrong here, only interesting experimentation. I will continue to experiment with this and find something that I enjoy even more perhaps.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Royal Phoenix

Tea: Royal Phoenix (Fenghuang Dancong)
Vendor: Tao of Tea
Price: $3.00 / oz
Source: Guangdong Province, China
Vendor Description: In some areas of the Phoenix Mountains in Guangdong province, China, there are wild tea plants that remain a source for some of the best oolong teas in the world. Leaves from these old tea trees are prized for the flavor and full body. Making Royal Phoenix oolong invloves precise rolling and baking techniques to fully develop a toasty texture, fragrant aroma and taste similar to nectarines and peaches.

Leaf: The leaf for this particular tea was very nicely formed. The leaves were very large, yet undamaged. They were twisted into many different long forms, but unbroken and there was no dust in the bag. The leaves were dark in color, almost black, but also contained hues of green.

1st Infusion: The aroma was very unique. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, but it felt like it had some of the hints of a Tae Guan Yin to the aroma, and another aroma which was slightly smoky. There were hints of Tae Guan Yin in the flavor, but only small hints of it. The tea has a very bold flavor to it and a light astringency, but it is hard to really put more description to the flavor of this tea. I kept trying to find the words to describe the flavor down to the last sip.

2nd Infusion: This infusion had a sharp flavor and a small tang of bitterness at the end. The tang was fairly sharp, and the tea finished off quite normally after that.

Rating: 5/10

Conclusion: I haven't had that many oolongs, but I didn't really enjoy the flavor of this one that much. It was very unusual and I need to experiment with it more as it seems this is going to be a rather tricky oolong to deal with.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Tea: Kukicha
Vendor: Tao of Tea
Price: $2.75 / oz.
Source: Japan
Vendor Description: Kukicha is a light, gentle tea made from the branches of the tea ‘Camellia Sinensis’ plant.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea is actually all stems. It is uniformly cut smaller pieces of stems that have been roasted. It is very apparent when you see this tea that it is all stem and no leaf involved.

1st Infusion: As I expected of this tea there was a heavy roasted flavor to it. it was very woody in taste and had a sense of smokiness to it. All of this is somewhat expected of a kukicha like this, so none of this was a big surprise. There was a light sense of astringency to it. The roasted flavor was very specific in this tea though, the flavor was quite clear which is a bit rare for a kukicha.

2nd Infusion: The roasted flavor was heavier in this infusion. The taste was the same heavy smoky roasted taste as the first one only a bit stronger. The flavor felt richer although it was the normal kukucha flavor.

Rating: 5/10

Conclusion: This was a decent kukicha. I'm not a big fan of the tea personally, but I'm not that big of a fan of the roasted teas in general. If you like kukichas specifically you might want to look into this tea. If you are looking for a sample of what kukicha is this is also a decent call, otherwise you're probably better off elsewhere.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Green Kukicha

Tea: Green Kukicha
Vendor: Tao of Tea
Price: $ 2.50 / 0z.
Source: Japan
Vendor Description: Also known as Senkukicha. This tea is a non-roasted green version of Kukicha with a creamy sweet flavor similar to mangoes. Clear bright green brew. Low in caffeine.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea has a very interesting appearance as a mix of sencha leaves mixed with a heavy constituent of tea stems. The stems are very light colored in appearance and the leaves have a normal dark green color to contrast this.

1st Infusion: This tea has a very heavy and thick aroma to it. The flavor of the tea is very strong with a light astringency. It has a long lasting aftertaste and no sense of bitterness to it. It feels very full bodied for a green tea, but the flavor feels a bit muddled. Unlike many of the senchas I try the flavor for this one has a clouded feel to it, it is not easy to pick apart the component flavors to it, but rather has a more general broad flavor to it.

2nd Infusion: This has a thicker taste to it now. The light astringency has moved up to a medium astringency and the tea is exhibiting a woody flavor. The stems are coming more into play now.

Rating: 3/10

Conclusion: The flavor could express itself as being fresher and clearer rather than the muddled flavor it expressed. It also is rather expensive for a kukicha, especially in comparison to the sencha shinrikyu.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sencha Shinrikyu

Tea: Sencha Shinrikyu
Vendor: The Tao of Tea
Price: $3.25 / 0z.
Source: Japan
Vendor Description: Among the very best and affordable of the early season green teas. This April sencha is made from a fine leaf grade possessing a polished, deep green appearance and rich, intense aroma. Infusions of Sencha Shinrikyu have a sweet, green fragrance and a tantalizing ensemble of flavors. Shinrikyu is a connoisseur's sencha.

Leaf: The color of this leaf had a very normal dark green hue to it, with a few stems and other lighter colored elements. None of the leaves were particularly large, but it was a rather normal mix.

1st Infusion: The tea had a very strong aroma to it. The aroma was sweet smelling and it reminded me a bit of the chiran yutakamidori from Lupicia. The liquor had a bright green hue to it, clear and luminescent. The flavor ha a very sharp crisp taste to it. It was rich and tasted like a sencha should. It was paired with a light sense of astringency and a clean bitterness. This tea really brings forth the amount of bitterness and astringency needed to make a clean feeling after drinking. This is a very solid flavored sencha.

2nd Infusion: This infusion like most was darker and cloudier in color. It did though have almost a light shade of brown to it. Compared to the first infusion though there was a strong sense of bitterness, but this was paired with a strong green flavor. It finished off with a medium sense of astringency.

Rating: 9/10

Conclusion: The flavor for this tea is very good and very characteristic. The price isn't very expensive and acted as a general sencha should.