Konacha Green Tea from Aiya

konachaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Aiya

Tea Description:

Konacha, literally “powder tea,” should not be confused with Matcha, “powdered tea.” While Matcha is specially grown and harvested, then slowly ground into a fine jade powder, Konacha is made from the tea dust that results when processing other teas. The grade of Konacha depends solely on the tea it originated from. While Aiya’s Konacha comes from processing Gyokuro, other Konacha can be made from Sencha leaves. Aiya’s Konacha is specifically selected, unique variety that can withstand boiling water without sacrificing taste or color. Konacha is a very simple sweet, lightly grassy starter tea with a little astringency. Konacha is known in Japan as the tea primarily served in sushi restaurants.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t think I’ve ever tried a Konacha tea before.  So this Konacha Green Tea from Aiya is a first for me!  I love it when I’m presented with opportunities to try teas that are new to me, however, I was a little unsure of what I was about to try since the above description does state that Konacha is tea dust … and my experience with tea dust evokes thoughts of that stuff that comes in the yellow, white and red box from the grocery store, even though that stuff is black tea and this is a green tea.

The dry leaf is very finely chopped (not surprising as the above description does state that this is tea dust).  It brews up a light yet bright green-ish color with a vegetative aroma.

I’m happy to state that this does NOT taste anything like the bad stuff that is available in the grocery store.  This is actually quite enjoyable!  It tastes a bit like Gyokuro, it has that same sweet, brothy character that I expect from a high quality Gyokuro.  There are differences of course.  There are some savory bitter tones to this tea that hit the palate toward mid-sip, and those notes are much more pronounced with this Konacha than what I would expect from a Gyokuro.

This tea is lightly sweet with notes of grass and kelp.  There are hints of fruit notes that hit the palate toward the finish.  At the finish, I notice a faint astringency.  It’s a very enjoyable cuppa, with a soft, brothy texture, it has both comforting and refreshing qualities to it.

As I said before, there are some similarities to a Gyokuro here … with Gyokuro being the understandably superior tea.  But this is still really quite nice, and this is much more reasonably priced than Gyokuro!  That’s a big plus!  This is the ideal tea for those Gyokuro aficionados out there that would like to drink Gyokuro every day but find that their budgets prohibit such a thing.  This is an excellent “everyday” type of tea.

Kukicha Green Tea from Aiya

KukichaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Aiya

Tea Description:

Kukicha literally means “stem tea” and is made from different varieties of tea stems. Aiya’s Kukicha is a blend of stems from Gyokuro and Sencha. Most of Kukicha available in the market is made by stems from 100% Sencha, however, Aiya’s Kukicha is adding more than 50% of Gyokuro stems for more natural sweetness and rich aroma.

Taster’s Review:

I fell in love with this Kukicha Green Tea from Aiya as I was pouring the liquid into my teacup … the aroma brought to mind freshly steamed spinach.  Perhaps I was just hungry, but something about that scent just made me smile (not to mention salivate!)

The flavor is not quite as vegetative as the fragrance suggests.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m loving it any less … because I really am enjoying this cuppa.  It has a sweet, nutty flavor that is comforting yet refreshing.  The taste is also vegetative, and I’m finding the vegetal notes to be more savory than sweet … offering a pleasing contrast to the sweet notes from the nutty taste.  As I sip this, I am reflecting over some other Kukicha experiences I’ve had, and I’m realizing that this is indeed a sweeter Kukicha than the others that I’ve tried.

The texture is light and smooth, although as I continue to sip, I notice more of a brothy texture develop as the tea washes over my palate.  The texture develops on the tongue in a very enjoyable and satisfying way.

I enjoyed this hot, but I noticed it was equally as tasty as the tea cooled, making this a nice change-up from the typical iced tea choice.  This Kukicha is one of the better ones I’ve tried – of course, that comes as no surprise to me, as Aiya always manages to deliver top notch Japanese teas!

Deep Steam Sencha Green Tea from Aiya

deep_steam_senchaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Aiya

Tea Description:

This special green tea goes through a longer steaming process, allowing the natural flavors and colors to imbue the tea leaves. And although the steaming process decreases the tea’s aroma, it also cuts the astringency creating a richer and more full-bodied flavor compared to regular Sencha. The difference in the process leads to a unique blend of a cultural favorite.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaf aroma of this Deep Steam Sencha Green Tea from Aiya is interesting … it’s different from other Japanese Sencha teas that I’ve experienced.  Usually, I experience a strong grassy note from Japanese Senchas, but here, I notice more of a roasted seaweed kind of scent, reminiscent of the roasted seaweed snacks that are gaining in popularity.  Me … I’m not a huge fan of the seaweed snacks, although I seem to be part of a minority on that one.  Oh well.

But, even though I don’t particularly enjoy seaweed snacks, I didn’t let the aroma of this Deep Steam Sencha deter me for two reasons:  1) it isn’t the aroma that I dislike about seaweed snacks; and 2) I trust Aiya.  They’ve not let me down before, and I trust that I’ll really enjoy this Sencha based on past experiences with them.

The brewed tea maintains that toasty scent … it isn’t that warm, roasty-toasty scent that you might experience with a genmaicha, it’s more like the aroma that I’d notice if I were to roast fresh asparagus.  It has that fresh vegetative note with warm, toasted nut tones.

The flavor is much like that too … it is less vegetative than the typical Sencha … the steam process has mellowed that strong vegetative tone.  Oh, I still taste a grassy note here, but, it’s lighter.  There is a fair amount of astringency to this. Warm, freshly roasted nut flavors.  There is a hint of savoriness to this too, almost like someone added a few flakes of Kosher salt to the brewed tea (I didn’t, I promise!) Not salty, exactly, but it does have a certain broth-y quality with a whisper of brine to it.

I find this tea to be very energizing.  It would make a great alternative to the usual morning tea, it’s very refreshing, crisp, and yet invigorating.  I like this unique Japanese Sencha … different from the usual cup of Sencha.  Different, but just as enjoyable!

Premium Sencha from Aiya

Premium Sencha from Aiya
Premium Sencha from Aiya

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Aiya 

Tea Description:

Premium Sencha is one of the most prized Sencha teas available in the Japanese tea market. Enjoy the depth of authentic Japanese green tea flavor. The emerald green tea leaves are tightly rolled into long strips to retain their freshness and taste.

Preparation:

Bring the water to a boil and allow it to cool to 80°C/176°F. Steep 1 heaping teaspoon (3g) of Premium Sencha for 1.5 minutes in 1 cup (240ml/8 oz) of hot water. With this tea, one can pour more hot water over the tea leaves and enjoy another cup.

Ingredients:

Japanese Green Tea – Premium Sencha

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The best way that I can describe Premium Sencha from Aiya is fresh delicious perfection. I have sat here with this cup so immersed in it, just allowing myself to become a part of it, and it is just the freshest sensational cup of tea ever. There is a nutty sweetness with just a slight astringency that gives it almost a citrus like zest. The left over flavor on the palate is lingering, nutty, and  a little tart. Yes, you will find a grassy flavor in the tea, but it is not grassy like other green teas I have experienced, this tea is more like a seaweed with a slight saltiness, a vegetal flavor that is really special. The aroma is equally pleasing. I can only describe the aroma as something you would experience in a prairie meadow on a breezy, warm, summer’s day.

When I received my tin from Aiya I was really surprised to find that under the lid was a secondary sealed pull back lid. I was so excited and impressed I made my daughter and husband come look. Upon pulling off the sealed lid by the ring (like an older style soda can) and hearing the freshness seal open, with an airy sound, the aroma of the dry leaf was mesmerizing! The lead is dark green and almost shimmery silver looking. No wonder this is the freshest tasting sencha I have ever experienced!

Now I love green tea, although I must have my morning black tea, but during the day, as I am working, or running errands, I must have my green tea. Green tea energizes me in such a positive manner. It does not over excite me, or make me nervous, nor does it relax me so much like a white or yellow tea which I reserve for early evenings. Green tea makes me feel like I can conquer everything on my “to do” list. It just feels healthy to drink, and of course, it is, but green tea like this, from Aiya, well, it really makes me feel as if I am drinking something special, because I am. If you have not tried a tea from Aiya please do yourself a favor and get yourself some right away! You won’t be disappointed in their teas.

Also be sure you check out their blog here. They have so many great articles and keep you apprised of their latest harvests, with a lot of wonderful photos, not to mention recipes and other wonderful things, such as how to make Matcha ice cream!

As I am finishing up my review of this tea I decided to go read my SororiTea Sister’s review (apologies for not having read it yet) and I have found that she too discovered the same qualities in this tea that I did from the citrus flavor, to the freshness, and even the awe and surprise of pulling back “the ring”! This made me smile because when you have a tea so spot on, so delicious, it is not confusing or too complicated to describe, it is just darn good!

Premium Sencha Green Tea from Aiya

Sencha

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Aiya

Tea Description:

Premium Sencha is one of the most prized Sencha teas available in Japan.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This Premium Sencha Green Tea from Aiya is easily the freshest Japanese Sencha tea I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting!  The freshness is due to the fact that Aiya’s teas are packaged in sealed tins.  Not just a closed tin, not even just an airtight tin … but sealed … like a tin can.  You know, the kind where you pull the ring and peel back the lid.   Aiya takes the freshness of their products very seriously!

And while I might have been skeptical before popping the ring and peeling back the seal … after smelling the tea inside the tin and more importantly, after tasting it … I’m a believer!  This stuff is fresh!  The aroma smells like a combination of freshly cut grass and kelp.  Not just “freshly cut grass” but the scent of the air as I mow the lawn.  As in JUST cut grass.  That is to say, it smells very fresh.

While it smells like a cross between grass and kelp, it doesn’t taste so much like these two things.  There are grassy notes, yes, and perhaps even the faintest kelp-y note, the overall flavor is much more like steamed green veggies.   A distinct “green” taste.

It is sweet, and there is a savory quality to it too, and I’m finding this contrast to be very satisfying.  It has a brothy kind of taste and texture, and it makes for a soothing beverage.   As I continue to sip, I start to notice an astringency to the tea, it is more of a “tangy” sort of astringency rather than a drying astringency … there is almost a citrus-y quality that goes along with it.

I’m loving the complexity to this tea … each sip brings with it a new discovery.  It’s a wonderful journey in a teacup – and I expected no less from Aiya.  I’ve always been so impressed with the quality and the flavor of their teas, and they are a company I feel good about recommending to all my readers!