Kabusecha Green Tea from Momo Cha Fine Teas

KabusechaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Tea

Where to Buy: Momo Cha Fine Teas

Tea Description:

Kabusecha, the little sister of Gyokuro, is grown half covered for the last week before harvest which intensifies its sweet components and eliminates any bitterness.  ‘Kabusecha‘ literally means ‘covered tea’ and the leaves do resemble Gyokuro’s emerald green. The taste points in the same direction as well so it makes a great everyday tea for Gyokuro lovers. Its numerous health benefits are only one of the reasons to enjoy it.

Brewing guidelines for Kabusecha

amount of tea / water temperature / brewing time

Use 1 teaspoon per cup (100-150 ml)

  • 1st brew:   70°C / 1 min
  • 2nd brew:  70°C / 15 sec
  • 3rd brew:   80°C / 1 min

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Kabusecha Green Tea from Momo Cha Fine Teas is today’s tea you see here!  Upon opening the bag of tea I found there to be very dark green, tightly pressed and flat, green tea leaves.  It smelled incredibly fresh…much like sweet grass and unidentifiable herbs that are on the sweeter and slightly minty side.  Once I added water I saw the leaves morph before my eyes!  The flavor of the Kabusecha Green Tea from Momo Cha Fine Teas after it was infused was just as impressive – if not MORE impressive – than the dry leaf experience.  On the tongue – this tea is wonderfully clean, crisp, fresh, and sturdy.  It’s a delicious green tea offering from Momo Cha.  Kabusecha Green Tea from Momo Cha Fine Teas is one to cherish and share with friends!

 

Yamane-en: Sugabou, Gyokuro Karigane Houjicha Green Tea from Yunomi

Yamane-enKariganeHoujichaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Yunomi

Tea Description:

Stems of high grade tea is called karigane 雁音. By roasting these stems in an iron pot, it becomes Karigane Houjicha. This particular product uses gyokuro tea stems from Uji, Kyoto.

This karigane houjicha is roasted in an iron pot over strong heat. Only the surface of the stems are roasted, retaining the flavor of the tea itself, because the inner part of the stem is not roasted. Both the strong aroma and taste of tea can be enjoyed.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I first read the name on the package of tea, I was overwhelmed by the name alone. What did any of that mean? The only word I understood was gyokuro and houjicha. I am always into trying a houjicha green tea from Yunomi.

By doing a little deciphering and careful read through the insightful description was I able to discern with little effort what all it meant. Karigane is a form of kukicha, which is stick tea, basically. But the thing about Karigane is that it is a cut above your average run of the mill kukicha because it is made from high grade teas, such as gyokuro. leave it to the Japanese to make the most out of everything they are given! After a good and strong roasting in an iron pot, the core of the tea is still intact, and the delicate nuanced sticks blending together with the roasted flavor I know and love.

The dry leaves (or should I say sticks?) looks quite unlike any other houjicha that I have ever seen. The leaves are a light straw gold. The roasted and slightly smoky aroma reached my nose and I was hooked. Steeping the leaves in my favorite kyusu revealed a comforting toasted cup of roasty goodness. There were some nice coffee notes hidden there somewhere, and it complimented everything in a way that was unsurprisingly lovely.

I have had plenty of houjicha in my time, everything from yama moto yama teabags and flavored kit kats to freshly fired bancha from a cousin on their latest trip and this really is the best I’ve ever had. I sense that this could be that it is from karigane, and I don’t think I’ve had karigane in roasted form in the past. The aftertaste this leaves is amazing. A mix of refreshing roasted sweetness with a slight smoke note at the end. As it cooled, it became sweeter.

I took this tea in a thermos for my most recent hike, and it was the perfect end note to a nice, quiet hike. I was lucky enough to miss the snowstorm during the hike, and sitting in the car and warming up to a big steaming mug of this tea really just hit the spot.

Gyokuro Green Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

Gyokuro_GreenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Tea Description:

Gyokuro is matured under full shade for three weeks and has an aroma of orange blossoms.  With savory and earthy tones this tea also has the memories of nori with a faint whisper of french beans and cucumbers.  Gyokuro is an exceptional tea that demands a unique brewing method to reach its full potential.  Using a lower water temperature is key.  Use water between 120 F and 140 F when brewing.  Use 1 to 2 grams of tea per ounce of water and let the tea steep for 5 minutes for the first steeping.  Subsequent steepings require only a minute or two.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Co-Op Membership here.

Taster’s Review:

What a pleasant surprise it was to find Gyokuro in my Simple Loose Leaf Co-Op box this month!  This premium green tea is not one that you’d expect to find in a subscription box, you know what I mean?

To brew this tea, I actually followed the advice in the above description.  (I know, weird, right?)  I steeped this in my Kati Tumbler, using 1 bamboo scoop of tea (which I’m not sure if that’s the recommended amount, I don’t weigh my tea.  I just don’t.  I’m not into all that gadgetry when it comes to tea.  Tea should be simple.)  I heated the water to 140°F and poured 12 ounces of the heated water into the tumbler and I let that steep for 5 minutes.  I was surprised at how light in color the brewed tea was!  It was a beautiful, pale chartreuse.  My second infusion I steeped for only 2 minutes.

What a lovely Gyokuro!  It’s delightfully sweet.  The vegetable notes are profound.  I taste a lovely buttery note with notes of green bean and asparagus.  It’s very crisp and light and invigorating to sip.  A very smooth tasting tea, the buttery notes give it a creamy texture but it’s not really heavy the way some buttery teas can be.  This has a lighter texture overall versus other ‘buttery’ teas I’ve tasted.

There is very little astringency to this, and most of that is noticeable at the very tail.  It’s quite smooth from start to finish, and then just at the tip of the tail, I pick up on a slightly dry, slightly tangy astringency.  No bitterness despite being steeped for 5 minutes!

My second cup might even be sweeter than the first.  I think I am enjoying the second infusion even more than the first – the flavor is about the same strength as the first (even though I only steeped it for 2 minutes) but the flavors are a little less focused on the vegetal notes and a little more focused on the sweeter flavors.  The butter notes are still there, but they’re a little softer and not quite as creamy as the first cup was.

A really, really lovely Gyokuro.

Snowflake Gyokuro Green Tea from 52Teas

Please take a moment to visit my Kickstarter Campaign to Take Over 52Teas!  Please help me achieve my goal and make this dream of mine a reality!

Snowflake-GyokuroTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

For our first Fifth Monday blend since we changed our subscription plans, we’ve created a delicately flavored Gyokuro. Gyokuro (or “jade dew”) is one of the highest quality Japanese green teas available. It is grown in the shade for approximately three weeks before harvesting, resulting in a richer, sweeter cup that is unparalleled in flavor. We have given this sacred tea a healthy dose of organic marshmallow root, a little peppermint and spearmint and organic marshmallow, peppermint and spearmint flavors and named our happy creation “Snowflake Gyokuro”. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

On Steepster, the tasters of this tea are comparing it to Graveyard Mist and I get that comparison.  The base tea was different – this is a Japanese Gyokuro and  the Graveyard Mist was made with a blend of Chinese Sencha and Yun Wu, but this one is less buttery, I think.

The buttery notes of the Chinese green teas gave the Graveyard Mist a creamier sort of flavor that melded quite nicely with the fluffy marshmallow flavors.

Here, the Gyokuro tastes fresher and cleaner, which melds better with the minty notes of the spearmint and peppermint.  So this tastes and feels cleaner and crisper.

And the natural sweetness of the Gyokuro plays with the minty notes in a different way, offering a really pleasant sweetness to go along with that crisp, exhilarating flavor.  The sweetness of the Gyokuro also brings out the marshmallow in a different way than the Graveyard Mist did.  The marshmallow here tastes sweet but not quite as creamy.  It’s still creamy – just not quite as creamy as I remember the Graveyard Mist tasting.

By the way, one of the first reblends that we’re going to be creating when we take over 52Teas will be the Graveyard Mist!

The best part about this tea?  The second and third infusions!  Yeah!  The flavors really come alive for the second infusion – so much so that I finished the cup in record time.  The third cup is almost as lovely as the second – the minty notes are soft and fluffy from the marshmallow.  The Gyokuro is sweet and melds beautifully with the flavors.

Anyway – this is a really lovely tea.  I know that some will think that Gyokuro should not be flavored.  I don’t know that I’d have the guts to do it myself.  It would have to be on day when I’m feeling extra courageous.

But I applaud Frank for having the guts to do it because I really quite enjoyed this.  Did I enjoy it as much as I would have enjoyed a straight up cup of Gyokuro?  I don’t know.  I don’t know that this tea was actually improved by being flavored, but I don’t think that it destroyed the Gyokuro, either.  I enjoyed it flavored and I’d happily drink it again.  Just as I’d happily drink a straight up Gyokuro again.  Both are remarkable in their own way … so, I say, why not?

Organic Kukicha Green Tea from Aiya

KukichaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Aiya

Tea Description:

Nothing is wasted as the stems are thoroughly removed from organically grown Gyokuro and Sencha. Not only will you enjoy the sweet aroma and crisp flavor with refreshing aftertaste, you will also be drinking the most environmentally friendly tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Having previously tried and reviewed Aiya’s conventionally grown Kukicha – and loving that – I was pretty sure I’d like this Organic Kukicha Green Tea from Aiya as well.   I have enough confidence in this company to know that whatever I try from them, I’m probably going to like.  All the teas I’ve tried from them thus far have been stellar.

And this is a REALLY good Kukicha.  It might very well be the best Kukicha that I’ve tried to date.  It has a really fresh, lush taste to it.  It tastes to me like it was just picked!  Not that I’ve had experience with “just picked” tea, so when I say this, I mean to say that the flavor tastes extraordinarily fresh.

The aroma of the dry leaf reminds me of the first grass cutting in spring.  After a long, cold winter, the new buds of grass offer such a fresh, sweet fragrance, and after that first mowing … the air is so exhilarating!  That’s what I experienced when I opened my package of this tea.  The bouquet does taper after brewing, but I can still smell some of that fresh, grassy scent.

I love the flavor of this.  It tastes so vibrant and yet it casts a calming effect over me as I sip it.  It is a very relaxing tea to drink.  It tastes light, sweet, and grassy, and it has a slightly astringent tail.  Similarly to the previously reviewed Kukicha from Aiya, I find this to be more savory than sweet.

However, unlike the previously reviewed Kukicha, I notice fewer nutty tones here and more floral and even some fruity tones to this.  The fruit and flower notes are somewhat distant and do not intrude upon the sweet yet savory grassy tones, instead, they peek through the grass and hint at their flavors, teasing the palate.

It is very refreshing as it washes over the palate.  I can feel my palate feeling renewed as I sip this.  It’s an excellent kukicha – and I love that its organic!