Yunomi’s Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha

Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$25.00USD for 50g

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Yunomi has provided me with Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

By now, I’m sure you know I’m a sucker for good packaging. Yunomi doesn’t disappoint. Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha came to me in a sealed white foil bag that is resealable to keep the tea fresh. The label on the front is quite informative, with information regarding how much tea to use, water temperature, what to do if steeping for multiple people, ingredients, where the tea was grown (and when!), and storage information.

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When I opened the packet, I was immediately drawn into the tea because of the strong vegetal smell. It reminded me a bit of grass, as well as having salty aroma to remind me also of seaweed. The leaves are a bright and dark green and very flat. Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha consists of certified organic green tea that was harvested in April 2016 in Kirishima, Kagoshima. Storage instructions for this sencha is to have it in airtight storage, in a cool, dry area away from sunlight.

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Preparation

Yunomi recommends the first steep in 50°C (122°F) water for 2-3 minutes. For subsequent steeps, the recommendation is to use 70-80°C (158-176°F) water for 30-60 seconds. My initial steep of Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha was for 2 minutes in 50°C water.

First Taste

Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha steeps to a very pale light greeny yellow, as to be expected with a green tea. When steeped for the two minutes, I found the sencha to be very smooth – there’s no bitterness or astringency. Green tea is so easily burnt when steeped in water that is too hot or for too long, I’m glad that Yunomi’s steeping instructions were right on the button for a good cup of tea. There’s a good balance of natural sweetness and saltiness in this tea, a nice mixture that results in a good cup of tea. Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha has a lovely buttery quality to the flavour of this tea, which balances out the sweet and salty well and holds its own in this tea. I generally find sencha to have a natural saltiness to the tea, but a good one is never off-putting.

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A Second Cup?

Yunomi suggests that this tea can be resteeped up to three times, which meant that I had to push it for a fourth. I followed their steeping instructions with the resteep temperatures and times (I used the ‘green tea’ feature on my Breville IQ Kettle, which is 175°F). The flavour of this tea remains consistently the same in terms of taste and intensity for the first three resteeps, the fourth resteep (first one beyond the recommended number of steeps) was a bit lacking in flavour. Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha resteeps well and holds up to the recommended number of steeps by Yunomi.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Nanadan Asamushi Okumidori Sencha. It’s a quality sencha and resteeps amazingly well. I found that the flavours are good in this traditional Japanese green tea, and the sweet-salty flavour balances out well with the buttery quality of the overall flavour profile. Because of the salty nature of this tea, its quite savoury and I think it would pair well with a meal over dessert.

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Grand Tea’s Organic GABA Black Tea

Organic GABA Black Tea by Grand Tea
Black Tea / Straight
$42.50HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Organic GABA Black Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

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I have never had GABA tea before. For those not in the know, GABA is short for gamma-Aminobutyric acid (γ-Aminobutyric acid), which is a neutrotransmitter. GABA teas were developed in the 1990s in Japan, where a new type of tea was developed with GABA in the tea leaves and then a method of fermenting tea leaves was developed in an oxygen-free environment to keep the GABA in the tea leaves. I don’t know all the details about this (I did read a little bit about it on the Organic GABA Black Tea page and on Wikipedia).

When I opened up the sample of Organic GABA Black Tea, the first thing I noticed is that there was a lot of tea in there. The tea leaves are huge and wiry with light twists. There are some deep plum notes that I smelled at first, with some subtle notes of grass and hay. Organic GABA Black Tea is a straight black tea.

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Preparation

Grand Tea did not have any preparation recommends for Organic GABA Black Tea. I steeped mine in 100°C (212°F) water for an initial steep of 4 minutes.

First Taste

Organic GABA Black Tea steeps to a beautiful golden orange colour. There are some berry notes when I smelled the tea as I waiting for it to cool. There’s also a bit of a grassy fragrance to this tea. On first sip, I could taste the grassy notes, a fruity taste that reminded me of currants, and light floral sweetness. The tea itself is very smooth, there’s a pleasant mouth coating feel to this tea. I find it to be very ‘light’ feeling for a black tea (especially compared to all those breakfast teas I’ve reviewed lately). It’s quite refreshing to sip. The floral sweet notes are just enough, I don’t think a sweetener is needed. It’s bitter-free and that’s always nice in a black tea.

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A Second Cup?

I found the second steep of Organic GABA Black Tea to be a bit crisper in flavour. It has a bit more of a bite at the end of each sip. There are heavier grassy flavours, a little less floral, and just the hint of plums. The third steep had the least amount of flavour overall, the grassy notes are low and the tea has a bit of a malty note to it. I found the third steep to be the least enjoyable, and would say that Organic GABA Black Tea is excellent for up to two steeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Grand Tea’s Organic GABA Black Tea. I love trying new things, and I’m not sure if I felt calmer after drinking Organic GABA Black Tea or not because the act of drinking tea generally just makes me calmer and happier. I found the flavours to be an interesting mix and was tasty for the first two steeps. The leaves are amazing, I was so impressed with how much they opened up. I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t hold up for a third steep, but the first two steeps were delicious and so varied for being from the same tea, it was fun to taste the differences between steeps.

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TeaHaus’s South Korea Seogwang Sencha

South Korea Seogwang Sencha by TeaHaus
Green Tea / Straight
$14.40USD for 50g

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TeaHaus has provided me with South Korea Seogwang Sencha for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

When I was in contact with TeaHaus about sampling their teas, they asked me what I wanted to try and I went with my usual “send me whatever’s popular” because, like all good things, what is popular tends to be really good. So they did, and this is the first of several TeaHaus reviews.

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South Korea Seogwang Sencha came to me in a sample bag and the first thing I could smell when I opened up the bag was mint. There was also notes of vanilla, light nuttiness, and berries to go along with the mint, but the mint was the first thing I noticed because it’s just a strong aroma. Seogwang Sencha is labelled as a “premium green classic” by TeaHaus and it’s a straight tea.

Preparation

TeaHaus recommends steeping South Korea Seogwang Sencha in 80°C (176°F) water for minutes and suggests that it can be steeped a second time.

First Taste

While I was waiting for Seogwang Sencha to steep, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the colour that it was steeping to. This South Korean sencha steeps to what I can only describe as a light dandelion yellow. There’s a slight salty aroma to the tea and I can’t wait to dive in. After waiting for it to cool just slightly, I’m happy to say that Seogwang Sencha has a very nice smooth mouthfeel to this tea, there’s no bitterness nor astringency to note. The minty notes that I initially inhaled from the dry leaf are more well-balanced in the steeped tea with the vanilla. The nutty flavours come into their own once the tea has been steeped, and the salty aroma adds to the overall umami of the tea. And those berry flavours I smelled in the dry leaf? It’s not as obvious in the steeped tea, but it’s there with the vanilla notes and it makes it tasty. Overall, I found that the tea wasn’t very naturally sweet, but the complexity in the flavour of this green tea makes sipping it worthwhile.

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A Second Cup?

TeaHaus did suggest that South Korea Seogwang Sencha could be resteeped so I did have to try at least once (or twice). The first resteep was done for 2 ½ minutes and I found that the taste of the tea was very similar to the initial steep. The second resteep was done for 3 minutes and I found that the flavours were starting to wane, but were still tasty. The berry and vanilla flavours were quite diminished for the second resteep, so if that was your favourite part of this tea, I would recommend sticking to just the first resteep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved TeaHaus’s South Korea Seogwang Sencha. I just loved how complex the flavour profile of this green tea was because there’s just so many little nuances in this tea that you really have to sit down and sip to appreciate. I must admit that I was confused at the minty notes that were all in-my-face at the beginning, but that’s part of what made this tea quite refreshing. Because of the salty notes in this tea, I think it’d go great with savoury foods over sweets if you’re looking for a food pairing. Something with substance with perhaps a bit of salt (like smoked salmon) would go great.

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Tea Experience: Cha Le Tea

Cha Le Tea
Vancouver, British Columbia
$3.50-4.75 for drinks

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Cha Le Tea is a relatively new tea cafe and tea shop in Vancouver, BC that opened this year. It’s located in the Yaletown area of Vancouver and is walking distance the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canadaline stop, if you’re looking to get there via public transit. Parking is a bit of a pain on Hamilton Street (metered parking), but it is available if you luck into a spot.

Their space is charming, and the all-glass wall looking in lends itself to a lot of natural light. For this tea blogger, and other foodies, it’s dream for taking photos. I went on a Thursday around noon with my friend as we wanted to meet up for lunch. When we got there, there was one other table that was occupied by a trio of men in business suits.

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Read More …

Oollo Tea’s Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong

Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong by Oollo Tea
Oolong Tea / Straight
$12.00 for 25g

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This is my 150th tea review on One More Steep! Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong is also called Pear Mountain High Mountain Oolong on Oollo Tea’s website.

First Impressions

I bought Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong from Oollo Tea’s booth at the 2016 Vancouver Tea Festival based off of the recommendation from one of the lovely ladies there. I just love the classy look of the white and silver packaging, it’s just very nice to look at. Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong is described as have “peony and lily” notes, while having a “refreshing long aftertaste”. This tea is grown at 2000m elevation in Cuiruan, located on Pear Mountain.

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The dry leaf of Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong has a very light floral aroma to it, the tightly rolled pearls of tea are beautiful to look at.  This specific type of oolong is called qingxing oolong (or green heart oolong).

Preparation

Oollo Tea recommends steeping this oolong tea for 2-5 minutes in 95°C (203°F) water. My initial steep was for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong steeps to a pale yellow for the initial. The tea itself has a great floral aroma to it that wafts up to you when you pour it into a tea cup. On first sip, I found that there was a light sweetness to that mingles well with the floral flavours. The taste of the tea does linger for a while in the mouth after it’s gone. It’s a very smooth tea, there’s zero bitterness, no astringency, and has a great mouthfeel to it because the tea just coats the entire mouth with the beautiful floral flavours.

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A Second Cup?

I always resteep my oolongs, and Oollo Tea suggests that the tea can be steeped up to 5 times so I had to give it a go. The first resteep, I noted that the liquor of the tea was a more golden, darker yellow than the first steep. There was a mix of floral with some nutty notes to it. There’s still the light sweetness, and the long lingering aftertaste. I continued to resteep Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong until I reached seven resteeps (eight steeps total with the same leaves). I found that the flavour profile of the tea reached a nice balance of floral and nutty by steep three, and the intensity was fairly well retained until the sixth overall steep. The seventh and eighth steep were lacking in flavour intensity, but the flavours were still there. For each sequential steep, I add an extra 30 seconds to the steeping time.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Oollo Tea’s Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong. The flavour profile is complex, and I love how the tea tastes and changes with increasing steeps. This tea holds up well with an amazing number of resteeps, and I could have continued past the eighth steep since the flavour was still there, albeit not as strong. I think this tea could easily be paired with a savoury meal with the nutty flavours or with sweets, since it has those floral notes. It’s a delicious tea and I would definitely recommend resteeping this one throughout the day to experience all the changes with each steep.

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