Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Organic Green Dragon

Tea: Organic Green Dragon
Vendor: Mighty Leaf
Price: $9.95 / 15 pouches
Source: China
Vendor Description: Organic Green Dragon, made from organic Dragonwell, the world's most renowned China green tea, envelops the whole palate with a slightly sweet, very refreshing liquor. A classic wok-fired green tea, it has a delicate chestnut like flavor, captivating aroma, and a lovely yellow-green color.

Teabag: This teabag has a very interesting leaf inside. The leaf has a relatively large size to it. Not quite as large as some oolongs and the like, but large for a green tea. The shape is reminiscent of a longjing, but not quite as uniform or flat as some of the longjing that I have seen.

1st Infusion Parameters: 5 oz, 185F, 3 minute infusion

1st Infusion: The leaf turned a much brighter green when infusing. The result was a yellow colored infusion with a light and sharp aroma. The tea was very nutty like a longjing although the flavor was quite light. Given the light nature of the flavor, the tea was surprisingly astringent. The flavor was very sharp and lightly bitter, but in a good sense of balance. The flavor overall was very interesting, but I wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

Rating: 8/10

Conclusion: After looking up that this tea is infact a longjing, this was the longjing that I have liked the best out of all that I have tried. I'm still not a big fan of the type of tea, but this one was rather good. I would enjoy trying this as a stronger tea though.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Organic Detox Infusion

Tea: Organic Detox Infusion
Vendor: Mighty Leaf
Price: $9.95 / 15 pouches
Vendor Description: A luscious, detoxifying herbal infusion highlighted by clean notes of mint and basil. A spa retreat in a cup.

Teabag: This is one of the normal satchel type teabags made by mighty leaf. Inside was an interesting mixture of things which I wasn't really sure about. According to the mighty leaf website it contains:

Organic peppermint, organic burdock root, organic dandelion root, organic spearmint, organic licorice root, organic red clover flowers, basil.

I could definitely smell the peppermint. The rest I wasn't really able to discern out.

1st Infusion Parameters: 1 teabag, 5 minute infusion, 185F, 5 oz.

1st Infusion: After the teabag got wet it was apparent that there were more ingredients to the blend than I had originally had thought. There was a brown powder that was settling on the bottom of the cup. There was certain almost savory smell to the tea while it was infusing. There is a very unusual taste to this tea. There is a very strong minty flavor that is very discernable on the back of my throat. There was a little bit of a peppery flavor on the front of the taste and it leaves me with a minty breath feel. There is something on the front end that I couldn't really figure out what the flavor was.

Rating: 2/10

Conclusion: This stuff was very strange. Even as I was drinking it and after I had finished the cup I didn't know what to think of it. It was very apparent that it wasn't tea, but I knew that before trying it. I don't know much about what detox entails or what you can/cannot have during it, but this tea isn't something that I would have in the place of a regular cup of tea. If I wasn't allowed to have tea though (which I have a feeling you aren't allowed to while detoxing) I could understand drinking this instead.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Tea: Lemongreen
Vendor: Tavalon
Price: $4.95 / .8 oz.
Vendor Description: A refreshing, low-caffeine blend of mellow green tea from China and zesty Thai lemongrass.

Leaf: This tea is an interesting mixture of lemongrass and large tea leaves. There is something in the mix as well that reminds me of a grass that somewhat reminds me of hay. There is a very distinct black tea like aroma mixed with a certain dustiness.

1st Infusion: The tea has a very straw brown color to it. It has a sweet aroma to it that reminds me of a mixture of lemongrass and fruity pebbles. The flavor is very smooth and long lasting. It ends with a light sense of astringency.

2nd Infusion: With this infusion the only thing that comes to mind is the taste of fruity pebbles. It is slightly more lemony and a smoother flavor.

Rating: 6/10

Conclusion: This is a very unusual tea. It's the first time that I've had a tea that reminds me of fruity pebbles. As a mixture there is nothing really wrong with it, but it doesn't remind me so much of a tea as fruity pebbles.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Technique: Ice Brewing

Continuing with my enjoyment of iced teas, I have been experimenting with a new method of brewing green teas. Ice brewing, aka Shinobi-cha is a method of brewing tea very slowly. This method involves simply placing ice and some good tea leaf in a pot together and waiting. As the ice slowly melts the tea leaf infuses at a very cold temperature. Periodically you may pour off the small amount of infused tea to produce a very potent and rich cup of tea. It creates a much more intense experience and is savored very slowly and appreciatively. This is very pleasant when enjoyed slowly throughout the day.

To brew in this method is very simple. All you need is a teapot, some very good leaf, and ice. You may either add the ice to the teapot and place the leaf on top of it, or the other way around. Pile as much ice as you can in the teapot since it will melt very slowly. Once you have them in the pot, just wait. When you feel like tasting some of this tea, just pour it out into a small cup, and enjoy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Tea: Kukicha (Organic)
Vendor: Lamyx
Price:$14.95 / 1.5 oz.
Vendor Description: These are the delicate stems of the tea leaves. A light, grassy brew of exceptional quality.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea was a very lightly colored, very pale green kukicha. It seemed very atypical for a green kukicha.

1st Infusion: There was a light murkiness to this tea, it was a light yellow color with shades of brown. It gave off a very light aroma. The flavor was not a very traditional kukicha flavor, it has hints of lemongrass and other unusual flavors for a kukicha. There was a slight tanginess to the flavor and no bitterness. It did however have a light sense of astringnecy. All in all the flavor was very mellow and very hard to pin down to specific flavors.

2nd Infusion: This infusion had the same odd nondescript flavor as the first infusion. Aside from that it seemed weaker and very unusual. It didn't seem much like other green kukichas that I have had before.

Rating: 1/10

Conclusion: At nearly 10 dollars an ouce this tea seems very expensive for a very odd flavor. Normally a kukicha is a much more cost consicous tea, considering it is made primarily of the stems of the tea rather than the more sought after leaf. There were an assortment of flavors going on in this tea, most of which I could not identify.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Himalayan Black

Tea: Himalayan Black
Vendor: Ineeka
Price: $10.49 / 14 infusers (from Amazon.com)
Vendor Description: A lively, brisk energizer reflecting the nuancs of nature and our commitement to preserve its offerings.

Striving For Perfection
Awaken with zest. The perfection in this creation is visible within the uniform gold brightness of the infused leaf. Presenting a freshness that exemplifies harmony with nature.

Teabag: This was another offering using the hanging basket open top style of infusers. Similar to the sencha offering from Bassaro.

1st Infusion: This tea was very traditionally black in color. There was nothing unusual or different about the color. The flavor was a very front loaded black tea flavor. It lacked any bitterness and had just a hint of astringency. Due to the front loading of the flavor the flavor was very short lived. It had a bit of a pepperiness to it though, it almost seemed like it had a certain spiciness on the back of the throat. The flavor was light, but full bodied.

2nd Infusion: This infusion had a very light black flavor to it. The flavor was weak and it was apparent that this teabag could only really hold up for one infusion.

Rating: 3/10

Conclusion: I wasn't very impressed by this teabag. The tea was unremarkable, and the teabag itself is probably the most interesting part about it. Considering that even with the creative teabag it didn't come up with a very strong showing it could stand to improve.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Marron Chocolat

Tea: Marron Chocolat - 5523
Vendor: Lupicia USA
Price: $6.50 / 50 g.
Vendor Description: The image of this tea is an unpeeled chestnut cooked in a liqueur. The sweetness of the chestnut and astringency of its skin bring out the high-quality cocoa flavor. Recommended for relaxing times

Leaf: The tea is a very noticeable blend. There is a very noticeable mix of CTC style pellets and orthodox leaf. The appearance of the tea reminds me a lot of the cookie tea.

1st Infusion: This tea is a very dark and rich color, it reminds me a lot of coffee. The aroma is very chocolaty. It has a very light black flavor paired with a light chocolate flavor. It is very full bodied with a light sense of astringency. The flavor is very smooth, but there is not much flavor aside from the traditional black tea and mild chocolate flavor.

2nd Infusion: This infusion has the same color to it, but a lighter flavor. There is a medium sense of astringency and a medium body. There is no more chocolate flavor remaining.

Rating: 4/10

Conclusion: The flavoring for this tea was rather weak, but the color and aroma were quite enjoyable. Perhaps with using more leaf it would have been more enjoyable.

Monday, September 22, 2008

NYC Breakfast

Tea: NYC Breakfast
Vendor: Tavalon
Price: $5.50 / 1.4 oz.
Vendor Description: A hearty blend of the world's best black teas from India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia created for the New Yorker palate.

Leaf: This is a very traditional looking black tea. The color is very uniform, with a very light smattering of gold/brown stripes among the leaves. It has an aroma much like a yunnan gold, which is a very deep musky aroma.

1st Infusion: The tea has a very rich brown color to it and a very deep and rich aroma. The flavor of ceylon teas yunnan gold spring to mind. It feels very smooth and light bodied for a black tea. The flavor is primarily focused in the early and mid sections of the flavor. There is a very light aftertaste and a barely noticeable bitterness. It is very smooth and relaxing with a very light sense of astringency which leaves a nice clean feeling.

2nd Infusion: This infusion had a much lighter and more floral aroma than the first. The color was a dark carmel color with a lighter nutterier flavor. There was a light sense of astringency that paired with a more traditional black flavor. This infusion felt much more full bodied than the first.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: This is a very interesting black tea blend. It is a bit varied in flavor, but well balanced and enjoyable. It is a bit expensive for a blend though, for the price there are lots quite enjoyable single source teas within this price range.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gyokuro Kin

Tea: Gyokuro Kin
Vendor: Den's Tea
Source: Asahina, Shizuoka, Japan
Price: $13.50/ 2 oz
Vendor Description: Kin offers the elegance and beauty of the famed Gyokuro teas. The harmony of slight astringency and natural sweetness turns to full-body in your mouth. Den’s Gyokuro Kin is a cup of affordable luxury.

Leaf: This leaf is very dark green in color with a slight flatness to it. There is a quite a large amount of dust to it, and a slightly matte and slightly glossy color. The leaf has a very thick and sweet aroma to it.

1st Infusion Brewing Parameters: 5g, 3 oz, 140F, 2 mins

1st Infusion: The color of this tea was a light almost luminescent green color. It had a very sweet and creamy gyokuro aroma. The flavor was thick and creamy as a gyokuro normally is, but lacked the grassiness and strength of flavor of some of the more distinguished gyokruos.

2nd Infusion: This infusion had a darker and murkier green color to it. There are hints of a grassier taste here, and it still has a thick gyokuro flavor. The flavor was sweet yet a bit weak.

3rd Infusion: This infusion was a bit lighter and had a yellow/green color. There is a light astringency and bitterness paired with the gyokruo flavor, and the flavor is still creamy.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: This is the lower of the two grades of gyokuro offered by Den's tea. Going into this I did not have much in terms of expectations from this tea. Shizuoka is not as famous for gyokuro as Yame or Uji. The flavor was a bit weaker than most gyokuro that I have tried. It also felt like the flavor should have lasted for more infusions.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sencha Zuiko - Round 2

Tea: Sencha Zuiko
Vendor: Den's Tea
Price: $19.50 / 2oz
Source: Honyama, Shizuoka, Japan
Vendor Description: Sencha Zuiko is a top-tier Sencha grown at a high elevation under the most meticulous and pampered conditions. Its shiny dark needle-shaped green tea leaves brew into a yellowish liquid that provides a strong, thick full-bodied cup with the subtle flavor of fresh green vegetables. Den’s Sencha Zuiko offers green tea drinkers a mind-blowing experience.

About this tea: I wasn't really satisfied with the first review of the Zuiko that I did. I felt like something was wrong with how Den's top tier sencha turned out. So I felt that this warranted another review, this time I dropped the temperature from the standard 180F to 140F. With very different results.

1st Infusion: The tea had a very light and sweet aroma to it. The color was a pale light murky yellow. The taste of this tea was very creamy. It was very rich and full bodied in flavor. If I didn't know otherwise I would think that I was drinking a gyokuro.

2nd Infusion: The aroma was light and had a certain zing to it. The color was more yellow in color this time. The flavor was very crisp and very distinctively a sencha this time. It was clean and had only a light sense of bitterness.

Rating: 9/10

Conclusion: This time around the Zuiko was much better. The first infusion felt like it could be a gyokuro if I didn't think this was a sencha. The second infusion was a very good example of a solid high end sencha. There wasn't anything terribly bold or distinctive about this tea though. The two infusions were drastically different in taste, but each was very good in their own right. I would have liked the sencha side to be more distinctive though.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sencha Zuiko

Tea: Sencha Zuiko
Vendor: Den's Tea
Price: $19.50 / 2oz
Source: Honyama, Shizuoka, Japan
Vendor Description: Sencha Zuiko is a top-tier Sencha grown at a high elevation under the most meticulous and pampered conditions. Its shiny dark needle-shaped green tea leaves brew into a yellowish liquid that provides a strong, thick full-bodied cup with the subtle flavor of fresh green vegetables. Den’s Sencha Zuiko offers green tea drinkers a mind-blowing experience.

Leaf: The leaf has a very deep and complex aroma to it. It is mostly uniform in color and a very dark green. The leaf has a glossy appearance and has very long needles to it.

1st Infusion: This infusion had a yellow color to it. The tea had a light and sweet aroma to it with a certain tinge to it. The flavor was light yet medium bodied. There was al ight sense of bitterness and a medium astringency. The flavor was unremarkable and light.

2nd Infusion: This infusion had a darker yellower color to it. The aroma was heavier, but still was not very noticeable. This infusion had a medium bitterness to it and a tang on the back of the mouth. There was quite a bit of astringency to it and yet it had a very thick flavor.

Rating: 3/10

Conclusion: I was rather disappointed by this tea considering it is the top tier of the Den's line. I have a feeling that it was overbrewed by standard sencha procedures though. The flavor felt like it was. The flavor was traditional, but not outstanding.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Iced Green Teabags

Tea: Iced Green Teabags
Vendor: Den's Tea
Price: $5.85 / 10 teabags
Source: Shizuoka, Japan
Vendor Description: Den’s Iced Green Tea is non-flavored tea with a natural and simple taste. It is a perfect summer companion for any type of food.

Teabag: These teabags are a bit different from the traditional teabags. They do not have the normal string attached to them, as they are intended to be inserted into a bottle of water and not removed. The bag itself is a small tetrahedral style mesh teabag. The leaf is very small in size and has a fair amount of a sencha like dust coating everything.

Brewing: To brew this tea I inserted one teabag into a cold bottle of water and left it in the refrigerator for an hour. I then poured the tea into a cup for tasting.

Infusion: This tea was very surprising. It had a thick rich flavor that reminded me of a Yutakamidori. The tea is very creamy, and yet the flavor isn't too strong. It is very bold and full bodied. The tea is rather murky and green, but not too opaque. The body of the tea does not feel like it matches the aftertaste though, the aftertaste of the tea feels empty.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: These are a very good option for tea on the go, or if you want some iced tea somewhere that it is not convenient to brew it one of the traditional ways. The price is not that bad. One of the unfortunate aspects of these though is that they are not individually packaged. You get one bag with 10 bags in it. The bag is resealable, but individually wrapped bags would be nicer for portability.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shizu no Kaoru

Tea: Shizu no Kaoru Shincha
Vendor: Zencha
Source: Japan

Leaf: The leaf consists of very small pieces, much like a fukamushi. It has a light sweet aroma. Some of the tea consists of very thin needles, although they are not necessarily the straightest of pieces.

1st Infusion: This tea has the characteristic shincha bright luminescent green color to it. The tea is murky, which is not surprising considering the appearance of the leaf. It has a light and sweet aroma, but the aroma hints at something else which I cannot really place. The flavor is very light and clear. It is light bodied and has no astringency. It feels smooth as it glides across the tongue and has a very clean feeling in the mouth. There are slight hints of grassiness to the flavor.

2nd Infusion: This infusion was a darker green and very murky. The aroma was much more traditional sencha. The flavor is very light and open feeling with a very light body to it. There is a light bitterness and a light astringency.

Rating: 10/10

Conclusion: This tea is very light and delicate. It is well balanced with a light sense of bitterness and astringency. It is a very good example of a very good shincha. I can't wait to see if the batch from next year is going to be as good as this one.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yakushima Yutakamidori

Tea: Yakushima Yutakamidori 2008 6412
Vendor: Lupicia USA
Price: $13.00 / 50g
Source: Yakushima Island, Kagoshima, Japan
Vendor Description: Grown on a world heritage site known for its 2000 year old cedar trees, you can taste the natural historic surroundings in this medium bodied Sencha.

Leaf: This tea consists of very small pieces primarily. The appearance reminds me of a fukamushi sencha. The leaf is an apparent mix of a light green and dark green colored leaf. It has a very light and fresh sweet scent to it.

1st Infusion: The tea has a light murky color and a very sweet yutakamidori flavor. The flavor is quite light though, and has a light sense of astringency. The flavor is primarily centered on the front end of the taste and doesn't have much on the back end.

2nd Infusion: This infusion is murkier and slightly yellow in color. The flavor is still light, but very noticeably sweet. It is light bodied with a light bitterness and a light astringency. The flavor as a whole is very delicate.

Rating: 9/10

Conclusion: This tea is a very nice light sencha. It is not light in the sense of being weak, but light as a delicate tea. The flavor is sweet and light and very enjoyable.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Tea: Genmaicha
Vendor: Tao of Tea
Price: $2.75 / oz.
Source: Japan
Vendor Description: A traditional Japanese favorite. Also known as 'Brown Rice Tea', Genmaicha is blend of Sencha 'steamed green tea' and two varietals of rice. One kind of rice develops a golden color and toasted flavor, whereas, the second varietal of rice used is known as 'Mochi-Gome' and 'pops' into white kernels. The fresh vegetal flavor of the green tea is carefully balanced with the toasted, nutty flavor of the rice. Green tea is known to contain high amounts of anti-oxidants that promote a healthy lifestyle. Low in caffeine.

Leaf: The leaf for this had lots of very flat leaf for a sencha. There wasn't as much rice in it as other genmaichas. The rice that was there had a much lighter hue to it than many other genmaichas that I have been having recently. There was a surprising amount of stem in the mix as well, and the tea as a whole smelled similar to a bancha, and not of the typical rice aroma.

1st Infusion: The tea has a lighty yellow green color. There is a light sense of the rice aroma coming from the tea as well, but there is a lack of a tea aroma coming from the tea. The tea tastes thick on the front end with a light amount of rice flavor on the back. The middle of the flavor has a surprising amount of bitterness and a flavor resembling that of bancha.

2nd Infusion: This infusion is lighter green in color. The roasted rice flavor is prominent on the front end, but aside from that there is not much flavor to be found at all.

Rating: 2/10

Conclusion: This genmaicha was not very interesting. It lacked substantial flavor for the tea and the rice flavoring, it only held up to one infusion anywhere near well, and it's price is too high for the level of quality of this tea. There are many other much better genmaichas out there.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Minute Matcha

Tea: Minute Matcha
Vendor: Lupicia USA

About this tea: Minute matcha isn't exactly a stellar matcha, but it has it's appeal in being in small packets. The matcha is packed into small tubes resembling sugar packets (the long kind, not the traditional American rectangular ones). So they are primarily a convenience item so you can add matcha to something on the go.

Powder: There are two notable characteristics about this matcha. The first is that it doesn't clump. There is an anticlumping agent added to it for this. Secondly it is very dark in color. This alludes to the quality of the matcha being less than top end.

Matcha: The tea had a very dark green color to it, and it was very difficult to get to foam up like regular matcha. The flavor tasted like an average matcha, nothing special and nothing terrible. There were hints of a nori(seaweed) flavor to the matcha. It also had a slight astringency which is rare for matcha. The texture was slightly more gritty than regular matcha.

Rating: 4/10

Conclusion: As pure matcha this tea is not terribly spectacular. The primary appeal of it is in it's convenience. It makes it easy to make a bottle of matcha flavored water on the go very easy. Just rip open a tube and pour it into a bottle of water. It has the same appeal as the instant iced tea / lemonade / crystal light packets. I carry a few of these around with me when I travel, it makes for a nice addition to a bottle of orange juice in the morning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tencha - Round 3

So having gone on the high end for temperature brewing Tencha, I decided to try brewing it on the cold side.

Brewing Parameters: 5 g leaf, 5 oz water, 37F water, 3 pulls per infusion 90 second separation.

1st Infusion, 1:30: This infusion has a very light and pale green color to it. The aroma is cool, rich, and calming. The flavor is very cool and creamy. It leaves a very clean feeling to the mouth. It has a bit of a smooth feeling coating the throat on the way down. The actual tea flavor is very light and barely noticeable. The creaminess of the flavor is definitely noticeable.

1st Infusion, 3:00: This time the color was light and pale green. The flavor is stronger than the first pull, but it is still very creamy and smooth. The taste is very crisp and cool. There is a light bit of tea flavored tanginess detectable in this infusion, but the main feeling I get from this is a very smooth, cool, and refreshing feeling.

1st Infusion, 4:30: This infusion started to develop a lightly opaque green color. It is strating to show it's gyokuro type flavor as a gyokuro umami creaminess is definitely showing through. The flavor feels like a regular infusion of a gyokuro.

2nd Infusion, 1:30: This infusion has a slightly hazy/milky appearance to it, the infusion is more of a pale yellow color this time. The taste is clear yet creamy at the same time. It feels thick, and has still a light tea flavor to it.

2nd Infusion, 3:00: The tea took on a pale yellow green color, and it feels very similar to the 1:30 pull from the second infusion.

2nd Infusion, 4:30: This infusion has more flavor to it, the flavor is thicker and creamier and has some tangs of flavor on the edges of the flavor. There isn't much in the regular center of the flavor though. The color is a lighter green color and has an aftertaste more akin to regular gyokuro.

3rd Infusion, 2:00: This infusion was light and almost a clear green color. The flavor was still creamy, but it feels as though it is hinting of letting up. There are definite tones of gyokuro grassiness. The tea is still very cool, crisp, and refreshing.

3rd Infusion, 4:00: This infusion was not quite as creamy, but it was still more refreshing and cleaner than chilled water alone. There is not much actual tea flavor to be found though.

3rd Infusion, 6:00: At this point the flavor is all but gone. It is right on the border of regular water with a light pale green color. There are traces of the sweet flavor still, but it reminds me of the flavor of just adding a bit of regular gyokuro to a glass of water.

All in all I would say that I a lot of flavor came out of one batch of leaf for a lot of different experiences.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tencha - Round 2

So to further my adventures with Tencha, I decided to try steeping it as a sencha (against my better judgment)

Brewing Parameters: 5g Leaf, 5oz water, 185F, 3 pulls 1 minute separation from each.

1st Infusion, 1 minute: This infusion had a light pale yellow color to it with a light murkiness. The aroma is the same very sweet enjoyable one that accompanied the previous attempts. The flavor has the same thickness as the colder steeped tencha. The flavor though had a sharper feel to it. This flavor was still paired with the rich and thick flavor, but also had a long lingering aftertaste to it. There was a definite grassiness to the flavor.

1st Infusion, 2 minute: This infusion was more yellow in color and had the same initial strengh of flavor, but not the same on the back end. The flavor was strong to the point of bordering on bitter in the mid section of the flavor. The hints of bitter linger on the tongue on the back. At the same time though there is still a strong gyokuro like flavor in the middle section of the flavor.

1st Infusion, 3 minute: This infusion had a much more definite yellow hue to it. The flavor is strong and more lingering. It had a sharp tangy bitterness to it, but this tang was more noticeable than anything else, It felt like the tang was masking everything else of the flavor.

After the first infusion I didn't think it was worth it to continue for a second. The flavor seemed far enough off of the typical flavor reservation that it seemed a bit odd to continue further.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Tea: Adagio
Vendor: Lupicia USA
Price: $8.00 / 50g
Vendor Description: Adagio is a flavored green rooibos tea with lemon grass and scented with grapefruit.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea has a very strong lemon scent to it. It's very obviously a mix of rooibos and also had a large seed and what appeared to be small pieces of dried fruit, the two of which I assume to be from the grapefruit flavoring.

1st Infusion: The tea gives off a strong clean lemon scent to it. It reminded me of lemon scented cleaner or soap. The flavor is very short lived and a very mid tongue flavor. It is very crisp and very lemony.

2nd Infusion: This is not the same flavor as the first. It has less of a rooibos flavor to it and yet the lemongrass flavor is showing through still. It is still crisp and short lived though. It felt like a very light flavor nonetheless though.

Rating: 4/10

Conclusion: The flavor of this tea is very short lived and brisk. I would have preferred if it had more depth to it. The grapefruit flavor was not very noticeable. In the end it felt a bit mundane and not remarkable. I find myself at a loss about what to say about it. The one sentence description from Lupicia does a fairly good job of describing it and what to expect.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Georgian Black

Tea: Georgian Old Gentleman
Vendor: Nothing But Tea
Price : £4.65 / 100g
Source: Georgia (Not the State)
Vendor Description: Our Old Gentleman tea is made by Iuri in the tiny village Nasakirali. His tea has all the freshness of a springtime meadow. Old Gentleman tea is very well twisted and even; it is blacker than our Old Lady tea made by Natela, though her's shows more golden tip. In the cup Iuri's Old Gentleman tea is slightly more robust and complex and is a darker brew, while Natela's is lighter and sweeter, as befits a lady.Note for animal lovers - Iuri has an unusual black and white dog with one brown eye and one blue eye! His tea is just as unusual!

About this tea: This tea is a rather rare sight. It's a tea from Georgia (not the US state) which is interesting to see a tea branded from a country that is not in the top 5 tea producing countries. Thanks to Mary R. at Teachat for providing the sample.

Leaf: The leaf consists of very large and loose leaves. They have a very classic black color and are very twisted and fluffy. Because of the large leaf size and very open nature of the leaf this is a very low density leaf. It has a very deep and heavy aroma to it. I noticed what looked like the small hairs similar to a silver needle on the leaf as well.

1st Infusion: The tea has a very light and sweet aroma and a rich brown color. It reminds me a bit of coffee in color. The flavor is very rich and full bodied with a very traditional black tea flavor to it. There is a light sense of astringency and no bitterness. Even to the end there was a sweet aroma to it.

2nd Infusion: This infusion was very similar to the first infusion, which was surprising given a lot of black teas seem to putter out a bit after the first infusion. There was a medium sense of astringency to it and no bitterness. The flavor was very smooth and enjoyable.

Rating: 6/10

Conclusion: This tea was very interesting in terms of the leaf and the shape, but the flavor was somewhat mundane. It reminded me a lot of the Pride of the Port tea by Peet's. I was glad to see that the tea did hold up to multiple infusions. If this tea were more readily available I would probably pick it up as a standard black tea.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Organic Sencha

Tea: 100% Organic Sencha
Vendor: Tao of Tea
Price: $2.25 / oz.
Vendor Description: A Japanese-style Sencha grown organically in China.

About this tea: It seemed unusual that a vendor would openly admit that a sencha they offered was not from Japan, but a Chinese imitation. Curiosity (and price) got the best of me and I tried out this tea.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea has a very light green color and the appearance reminded me a lot of bancha with it's flat leaves and noticeable veins and leaf size. Even based on just looking at this tea it didn't really appear to be a normal sencha.

1st Infusion: This tea had a very bancha like aroma to it. The flavor had a medium sense of bitterness and a very flat taste to it. The infusion was yellow in color and had no sense of astringency to it.

2nd Infusion: This tea had a very yellow color this time and a very coarse flavor to it.

Rating: 1/10

Conclusion: This tea wasn't very enjoyable. I had a strong feeling that this would be somewhat bad, so I wasn't shocked by this. This tea reminded me a lot of the Miyakawa Hatsuzumi Shincha that I had a while ago. Both were rather disappointing teas and not worth trying. If you're thinking of trying a sencha from Tao of Tea, get at least the shinrikyu.

Teabag - Sakura Sencha

Tea: Sakura Sencha
Vendor: Den's Tea / Uwajimaya
Vendor Description: While the Sakura (cherry blossom) is appreciated for its beauty in Japan, its leaf has a unique flavor that enhances the taste of some traditional dishes. Our blend of Sakura (Cherry) Sencha is a harmony of the two flavors where one does not overpower the other.

About this tea: This tea comes around in the months before the may shincha flush. This tea was offered on Den's Tea's website earlier this year, but was rather quickly sold out. I was at a Uwajimaya a bit ago and ran across some in the packaged teabag form. Since I missed out on the release earlier this year I felt like trying some out.

Teabag: Den's tea uses tetrahedral bags using a nylon like material similar to many other teabags. These teabags felt a bit smaller though than other teabags, and rightfully so. The teabags are labeled as being 2g. each where most teabags using tetrahedral packaging are in the 4-5g range.

1st Infusion: When the teabag was fully infused it looked as though the leaf was straining on the sides of the teabag meaning that the teabag was a bit too small for the amount of tea. This restricts the flow of the tea and proper expansion. The infusion had a light yellow green color and a light floral aroma. There were hints of cherry flavoring that was not like a ripe cherry or cherry cough syrup (The more common flaovrings that I have run across for cherry flavored items). There is a sweetness to the aroma that reminds me of cherry ice cream. The cherry flavor in the tea is very light just as the sencha flavor itself is. The flavor is crisp and has a light sense of astringency. All in all this is a well balanced tea between the cherry flavoring and the sweetness of the tea.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: While this tea has a nice flavor the flavor was too light in my opinon. A more robust cherry flavor and tea flavor would have been more enjoyable. The teabag itself was a bit too small in my opinion and should have been larger. Come next year if it is offered again though I intend to get some to try it out as the loose variety instead of the smaller teabags.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I recently got some Tencha, but did not really know how to brew it so I decided to experiment with it somewhat. Tencha for those who don't know is the unground tea leaves used for matcha. So in theory if you were to grind these leaves up you would make your own matcha.

The method I used for brewing my experiment consisted of 3 minute infusions with decanting at 1 minute intervals. This resulted in three different cups of tea for each infusion. This was repeated for a first and second infusion at 140F and a third infusion on the same batch at 185 F and one infusion on fresh leaf at 185 F. Eatch batch used 5g of Tencha leaf for a total of 5 oz of water

1st Infusion (Batch 1): 1 minute
The tea has a very sweet aroma from the dry leaf all the way through infusion and the first cup. The sweetness reminds me a little of a yutaka midori. The infusion has a light pale green color to it with lots of small flecks of tea leaf floating around in it. The flavor is incredibly thick umami flavor to it. It very much reminds me of a gyokuro. It feels as though the tea is actually much thicker than it actually is. There is a very strong and intense flavor at initial onset, which then tapers into a rich full bodied thick flavor. There is a very strong lingering aftertaste.

This infusion was thicker and stronger than the 1 minute infusion. There was a grassy flavor, but not as apparent and noticeable as the thick rich flavor. The infusion was darker green in color with the same small flecks present. The flavor was strong and tapered on the back to a strong aftertaste that lingers at the back of the tongue.

3 minute:
Again the flavor is best described in one word as thick. The middle flavor had a tinge of bitterness to it and there is a barely detectable hint of astringency here.

2nd Infusion (1st Batch): 1 minute
The flavor this time around was lighter, and the tea had a pale yellow-green color to it. There was not nearly as much of an umami flavor as the first time around. It almost felt like there was just a light residual thickness at this point.

2 minute: The flavor was thicker than the 2nd infusion, 1 minute cup, and had a bit more of a light and grassy flavor. The flavor was still very light.

3 minute: This cup had a light sense of astringency to it. The flavor was light and grassy. The infusion had a darker yellow green color than the 2nd Infusion 2 minute cup.

3rd Infusion (1st Batch) (185F): 1 minute
There was a light and crisp warm water taste to this infusion. There was a light flavor to the tea, but therew as not much left here.

2 minute: There were hints of a grassy flavor and a light tinge of astringency, but it had the same light flavor as the 1 minute infusion.

3 minute: There was a stronger flavor this time around, it was a light gyokuro like flavor, but it was apparent that by this point the tea had lost most of it's flavor.

1st Infusion (2nd Batch) (185F): 1 minute
This infusion had a pale light yellow color to it, the infusion was slightly murky and had a sweet aroma. It had the same thickness as the 140F infusion, but the flavor felt sharper. While sharp, it still had a very thick and rich flavor which tapered into a long lingering aftertaste. There was a light grassiness, but the flavor was much sharper than the 140F infusion.

2 minute:
This infusion was more yellow in color. It has that initial strength of flavor as the other infusions, but not the same flavor on the back end. There was a strong almost bitter flavor in the middle that lingers on the tongue. It still reminds me greatly of a gyokuro in flavor.

3 minute:
At this point the flavor was a definite yellow color infusion. It was back to a strong lingering flavor, but this time with a sharp tangy bitterness. The tang of the flavor masked most other flaovrs that were noticeable.

Conclusion so far: So far it looks like this tea acts just like a gyokruo does in flavor. Infuse with cooler water (140F), and go for a number of short steeps. I will probably try brewing this like it were a gyokuro next to verify that it will behave in a similar manner. This is definitely an interesting tea though.