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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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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Yunomi’s Premium Shimane Sencha 2016

Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$8.50USD for 20g

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Yunomi has provided me with Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 is a beautiful dark green, the dry leaf has small flat pieces. There’s a slight vegetal smell to this sencha that reminds me a lot of edamame and spinach smell to it. The sample package came with plenty of tea leaves, probably enough for 4-5 servings (in a 20g packet).

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As per the Yunomi website, this is a “premium unshaded first flush sencha” that comes from the Takarabako Tea Farm. First flush means that it’s the earliest harvested leaves from the tea plant, harvested in the early spring. These leaves are often lighter in colour and more delicate, and often need cooler water to be steeped in and for a shorter duration.

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Preparation

Yunomi recommends steeping Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 in 70°C (158°F) for 1 minute. I use my Breville IQ Kettle all the time when making tea, and it doesn’t have a 158°F setting (lowest is 175°F). What I did was heat water to the lowest setting, and once that was reached I allowed the water to cool in the kettle (with the top open) for about 5 minutes.

First Taste

After the quick 1 minute steep, I poured a cup of Premium Shimane Sencha 2016. The tea itself has a very light yellow-green colour, and the aroma that comes up from the tea is very much like the dry leaf – the tea still has an edamame and spinach aroma to it, with a slight salty smell to it. It tastes the way that it smells, with a nice vegetal taste to it. The saltiness adds to the umami flavour of the tea. There’s a slight astringency at the end of each sip, despite only having steeped it for exactly a minute. I think it could stand to be steeped for even a shorter length of time.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 four times (a total of five times), and started the first resteep at 60 seconds (and then increased the steep times by 30 seconds per subsequent steep). I found for the first two resteeps, the sencha had a strong vegetal aroma, with a heavier salty flavour. The third and fourth resteeps were a bit milder, the umami flavour was overall more muted, with less astringency of all the steeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Premium Shimane Sencha 2016. This green tea has remarkably tasty with a good umami flavour profile. I found it resteeped well, despite the slight astringency (although it isn’t overwhelming). This sencha resteeps well, and maintains its flavour. I would recommend being very light on the steeping time, especially if you’re a bit sensitive to astringent teas.

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Yunomi’s Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage

Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage by Yunomi
Black Tea / Straight
$7.00USD for 20g

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Yunomi has provided me with Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Remember when I shared my thoughts on Yunomi’s Shimane Aged Black Tea 2015 Vintage? Today’s review is the 2016 Vintage. A year younger and hopefully also tasty? The dry leaf of this one is small pieces, there were a few broken pieces of twigs here and there. No giant leaves to unfurl like in a good oolong, but this black tea has a beautiful smell to it. When I inhaled the aroma from the dry leaf, I got the fragrances of plums and blackberries.

Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage is a straight organic black tea from the Takarabako Tea Farm.

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Preparation

Yunomi recommends steeping Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage in 90°C (194°F) for 3 to 5 minutes. I did my initial steep for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage steeps to a beautiful golden orange. The aroma that comes from this tea is quite fruity, I can smell plums and a mixture of berries. The taste of aged black tea also has plums and berries, and a light astringency to the tea. Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage is smooth with a light floral taste that mingles well with the plums and berries.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage a total of five times. The first resteep was sweeter than the rest, and the flavours became more plum over berry as the steeps continued. As per usual, I added 30 seconds to each subsequent length of steeping time.

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My Overall Impression

I loved Yunomi’s Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage. The development of the flavour profile of this black tea was a delight for the senses. The mix of plums and berries is delicious, and the light astringency isn’t bad. I think it comes off ‘lighter’ as other black teas, and I wouldn’t say this one would replace any standard breakfast tea, but the flavour is really nice and it does an excellent job resteeping over and over again.

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Yunomi’s Shimane Benifuuki Sencha

Shimane Benifuuki Sencha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$10.00USD for 20g

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Yunomi has provided me with Shimane Benifuuki Sencha for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

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Shimane Benifuuki Sencha came to me in a non-resealable packet with the necessary information on the printed label. The dry leaf consists of flat, thin, small tea leaves that are mostly dark green in colour. The dry leaf smells like a mix of grass and hay, with a bit of salty seaweed aroma from the tea. Shimane Benifuuki Sencha is an organic straight green tea.

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Preparation

Yunomi recommends steeping Shimane Benifuuki Sencha in 70°C (158°F) water for 1 minute. I followed the recommended steeping temperature and time.

First Taste

This beautiful green tea steeps to a bright light greeny yellow. There’s a slight grassy aroma that comes from the tea itself, which is a bit welcoming. When I took my first sip, I was pleasantly surprised by the complex flavour of the tea. There’s some salty notes that are mixed with grassy and vegetal flavours. The saltiness adds to the complexity, as umami flavour often does. I found that the saltiness reminded me a lot of seaweed. There’s just a hint of astringency at the tail end of each sip, but it doesn’t distract too much from the experience of drinking Shimane Benifuuki Sencha.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Shimane Benifuuki Sencha twice. I found that the flavour held up well for both resteeps and I could have probably done a third or maybe even a fourth resteep. I found that the first resteep had the most vibrant flavour – the level of saltiness was highest, and so was the vegetal flavours I found in the initial steep.

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My Overall Impression

I liked Yunomi’s Shimane Benifuuki Sencha. I found that the flavour was a delight on the tongue, and that I really enjoyed the resteep better than the initial steep. There was just something more brighter and stronger with the second steep than with the first. I wasn’t a big fan of the slight astringency I found at the end of each sip, and I do wonder if it’s possible that I should have steeped it even shorter than the recommended steeping time.

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