Yunomi’s Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha

Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$7.00USD for 10g

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Yunomi has provided me with Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Yunomi sent me this Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha from the Murakami Tea Garden, located in the Yoshiwara District, Shizuoka Prefecture. I was able to learn from the Yunomi website that the Murakami Tea Garden was established in the late 19th century, and they only produce 1300kg of tea each year as they only harvest the tea leaves from the spring first flush harvest.

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This sencha came to me in a beautiful golden paper covered foil packet that’s resealable. The sencha was steamed for 90 seconds after being harvested on May 4 2017. It’s kind of amazing that they can tell me exactly when it was harvested and for how long it was harvested. The smell from the dry leaf is very lightly salty, a bit of seaweed, a bit of ocean air. There’s a slight underlying sweetness to the aroma from the dry leaf that reminds me of flowers and peaches.

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Preparation

Yunomi has recommendations for the first three steeps. First steep at 60°C (140°F) for 1-2 minutes, second steep for 15 seconds for 80°C (176°F), and the third steep for 45 seconds at 80°C (176°F). I followed the instructions for the first three steeps of this Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha. Yunomi also includes that if you use a hotter temperature water, it’ll be more astringent; and a cooler temperature water, the tea will be sweeter.

First Taste

The initial steep of Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha steeped to a pale green-yellow. The aroma that wafts up from this sencha is one that reminds me of salty air by the ocean and there’s underlying honeyed sweetness to the tea. I sipped it and found it to be just a touch sweet and salty at the same time. The umami flavours are quite good, I found zero astringency and bitterness when I steeped it at such a low temperature compared to other green teas I’ve had in the past. There was a subtle flavour of floral sweetness in the tea that I find quite enjoyable.

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A Second Cup?

I followed the Yunomi steeping recommendations for the second and third steeps for this sencha. The green tea became sweeter and saltier with each steep. I found that I could steep the same leaves a fourth and fifth time, and found this Japanese green tea became a touch sweeter. The sixth steep was quite watery and unenjoyable. I would recommend a total of five steeps with this sencha.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha. From the dry leaf to the steeping process and the smell that comes up from the wet leaves, this sencha has a beautiful fragrance and flavour. I really enjoyed the contrasting sweet-and-salty flavours in this sencha and I’m quite happy to have tried it. I like that the tea can be resteeped a few times is a lovely quality to the sencha – especially as Yunomi included extensive steeping instructions for not only an initial steep for subsequent steeps as well.

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Fox Tea Club’s Aphrodite

Aphrodite by Fox Tea Club
Green Tea & White Tea / Flavoured
$9.95USD for 2oz

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Fox Tea Club has provided me with Aphrodite for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

I’m a fan of green tea, and I’m a fan of white tea – but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I opened up this packet of Aphrodite. Fox Tea Club’s green and white tea blend smells floral and full of lemon, which is a divine combination. The lemon zest smells fresh, which is energizing. I can’t really make out the smell of the white or green tea, because the lemon zest is just so strong.

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Aphrodite consists of calendula, green tea, jasmine, lemon, safflower, and white tea.

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Preparation

There were steeping instructions on the Fox Tea Club website for the Aphrodite tea. I steeped this at 80°C (175°F) for 1 minute. If you’re steeping a tea blend and you don’t have any steeping instructions, you should always opt to steep at the lowest optimal temperature and for the shortest steep time.

First Taste

Aphrodite steeps to a bright, beautiful yellow. It has a remarkably vibrant lemon aroma from the steeped tea, which is quite enjoyable. There’s a light floral fragrance to this tea, that’s overwhelmed by the lemon. The taste of Aphrodite has a subtle sweetness to it, that balances well between the floral and lemon. I think it tastes good, there’s no bitterness in the tea at the water temperature and length of steep time that I opted for.

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A Second Cup?

I resteep Aphrodite twice and I found that the first resteep was okay (and fairly close to the first steep), with the balanced flavours of floral with lemon. The second steep had very minimal lemon flavours in it, so I would say that Aphrodite is just good for one more steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Fox Tea Club’s Aphrodite. While this tea didn’t have me in an lovin’ mood, I really did enjoy the fresh brightness of the lemon zest with the sweet floral flavours. The white and green tea bases hold up the lemon and floral flavours well, and I enjoy the floral aromas and flavours. I’d definitely recommend giving this tea a try if you enjoy jasmine and lemon – just be sure not to add any milk or cream because it’ll curdle in a tea with lemon.

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Yunomi’s Echigo Boucha

Echigo Boucha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$8.00USD for 20g

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Yunomi has provided me with Echigo Boucha for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Yunomi was very kind to send me some Echigo Boucha, which is an interesting Japanese green tea blend that I haven’t experienced before. Echigo Boucha consists of toasted brown rice and roasted tea leaf stems that are aged in a building that’s kept at lower temperatures with snow. Say what? At first sniff when I opened up the resealable bag, I thought it smelled a lot like a genmaicha (which is roasted rice with green tea leaves), but Echigo Boucha has a much deeper aroma than genmaicha, with a light smokey quality to it to the aroma of the dry leaf that highlights the toasted rice smells.

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From Yunomi, I learned that toasted rice is genmai and the Japanese for the roasted tea leaf stems is kuki hojicha. One thing I love about exploring different teas is the exposure to different cultures and languages.

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Preparation

Yunomi recommends steeping Echigo Boucha in 90°C (194°F) water for 60 seconds (1 minute).

TEA TIP If you’re finding it difficult to keep track of time when you’re steeping your tea, you can always set a timer on your phone! I use my phone constantly to keep track of my tea so I don’t oversteep it. This is particularly handy if you’re doing a longer steep (5+ minutes) in case you’re easily distracted.

First Taste

Echigo Boucha steeps to a deeper colour that I’m used to from a green tea, it’s a golden colour that’s almost brown. I would describe the aroma from this tea as being a mix of nutty, rice cakes, and just a touch of smokiness. The flavour of this tea is initially a touch astringent, which gives way to a pleasant sweetness. There are some nutty qualities in the flavour profile of Echigo Boucha that plays nicely with the flavour of rice cakes. Surprisingly, the smokiness in the aroma of the tea isn’t that present in the flavour of the tea – for me this is a plus as I tend to not enjoy smoked teas as much so I was happy that it faded to the background.

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A Second Cup?

Yunomi suggests that Echigo Boucha can be resteeped three times, which of course meant that I had to push the envelope and resteep it four times. I added an additional 30 seconds per resteep, and found that the tea got sweeter as I resteeped it. The flavours of nuttiness and rice cakes became stronger in the first and second resteeps, while the astringency took a backseat as the tea became sweeter. I found that the third resteep was quite a bit weak, while the fourth was barely palatable. Yunomi knew what they were doing when they suggested three resteeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Echigo Boucha. It was a great experience to try this green tea made up of tea leaf stems! The toasted brown rice added to the flavours of nuttiness and rice cakes, which was quite pleasant. I really enjoyed how this tea resteeped and how the astringency faded into the background as the tea got sweeter. I think it’d be a great tea to be paired with a dessert, given the light sweetness of this green tea. If you like genmaicha, I think you might also like this toasted rice tea as well since it has many of the same qualities (and the smokiness doesn’t transfer over in the flavour).

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2017 Autumn Tea Round Up

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It’s been remarkably warm around here earlier this week, but I’m ready for autumn full on with the crisp leaves underfoot and it being the perfect weather for hot cups of tea and hand knits. Last year around this time, I shared of my favourite teas for the autumn and while I still love all of those, I thought I’d share five different teas that I’m heavily relying on this autumn as the weather gets cooler and I’m more in the mood for snuggling up under a quilt than going for a stroll along the water.

Out of DavidsTea’s Chai collection for the early autumn, I’m crushing on their S’mores Chai and love it at a latte over plain. A lot of stores have sold out of this one, so if you’re wanting to get your hands on some S’mores Chai, I’d recommend visiting your local shop earlier rather than later.

Grand Tea’s Premium Pearl Jasmine makes the list because I love jasmine green teas and this is one that I’ve found myself reaching for repeatedly the last few weeks. It makes such a great cup of tea and when I (accidentally!) leave it a bit too long, it’s still great cold.

For a more ‘normal’ Chai, I’ve been drinking Chai from The Virginia Tea Company and loving every moment of it. It makes for a nice cozy cup of tea with the lovely warming properties of cinnamon and ginger – delicious!

I caved and bought a tin of DavidsTea’s Cardamom French Toast lately and have been greatly enjoying it as a latte. When I take it to work, I’ve been steeping it at home and then adding milk later at work. It helps cool it down (since my travel mug keeps tea way too hot!) and I can instantly enjoy it.

For the days that I’ve actually been at home, I’ve been enjoying Oollo Tea’s Cuiruan High Mountain Oolong. A delight for my taste buds, for sure! It makes for a great at-home tea because of how many times I can manage to resteep this tea and still enjoy it. It’s been a joy to have when I’m at home and just to have throughout the day.

What has been some of your favourite teas to have so far this autumn? (And if you’re in the southern hemisphere, what are you having during your spring?) Share with me below in the comments!

Teavana’s Dragonwell

Dragonwell by Teavana
Green Tea / Straight
$15.00 for 2oz

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First Impressions

I snagged a large bag of Dragonwell when I went to a local Teavana storefront earlier this month (180g at 75% off) due to their Canada-wide store closing. This was the last bit of Dragonwell that the store had left and I was more than happy to take it off their hands. I’ve become a big fan of Dragonwell (also known as Dragon Well, Long Jing, Lung Ching) so I was happy to get a good amount of this green tea.

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Dragonwell is a straight green tea, with some decently sized pieces. Each piece of dry leaf is pressed and quite flat. The dry leaf has a very soft aroma to it, it’s very subtle and so easy to miss. It smells a lot of dry grass, a bit vegetal at times. The subtly of the aroma of Dragonwell makes it a very unassuming tea.

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Preparation

Teavana recommends steeping in 79°C (175°F) for 1 minute. I followed the steeping instructions for the initial steep of Dragonwell.

First Taste

Dragonwell steeps to be very pale after just a 60 second step. The tea itself is a very pale, clear yellow. It has a light aroma to it that reminds me of grass and vegetables. The taste of Dragonwell is just as it smells – grassy, vegetal. There’s a surprise honey taste at the end of each sip that is quite welcome. There was no astringency noted as I drank this tea, so 60 seconds was a good length of time for steeping.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Dragonwell four times for a total of five steeps, increasing the steeping times by about 30 seconds per steep. I found that the colour was deepest for the second and third steeps of these tea leaves. The aroma becomes stronger and the taste becomes more bold compared to the first steep. Steep four was beginning to get a little bit weaker while the fifth (last) steep was woefully boring. I would say that Dragonwell was good for three resteeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Teavana’s Dragonwell. The subtle changes in the flavour profile of this straight green tea are a delight for the senses, and I quite enjoyed drinking this over the course of a morning. It resteeps decently well, and I did manage to get it at a good price (hello, clearance prices), which makes it an even more attractive tea. I’ll be quite bummed out when I run out of this tea (although I suppose it will be a while before I finish up the entire bag). The best part of Dragonwell was the honey finish to each sip.

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