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E. Alex Gerster

Tea Reviewer

Member since Jul. 18th, 2011. Reviewed 66 teas.

Reviews of Teas & Herbal Teas from Japan

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Picture of Organic Fukamushi Sencha

Organic Fukamushi Sencha from Den's Tea

Style: Sencha – Region: Shizuoka, Japan

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Feb. 11th, 2014

I have been drinking more organic teas lately, as they are becoming more available. This deep steamed Fukamushi Sencha from Den's Tea has been a great find with excellent flavor and aroma. It is a bit pricy but worthwhile as the steaming releases nuances that brew up very quickly for several steeps.

Overall light v...

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Picture of Houjicha Roasted Green Tea

Houjicha Roasted Green Tea from Wegmans

Style: Hojicha – Region: Japan

73 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Nov. 2nd, 2013

Thanks again Alex Z. For the sample of this hojicha! It was a really nice switch from some of the darker/deeper roasted teas of this variety that I had tried recently.

Very good quality tea as can be seen in the dry leaves, and tasted right from the start. The flavors of sweet grass and grain enhance the lightly roa...

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Picture of Houjicha - Smokey

Houjicha - Smokey from Obubu Tea

Style: Hojicha – Region: Kyoto, Japan

80 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Oct. 4th, 2013

Having sampled a number of roasts of Obubu Hojicha, I can definitely say this is my favorite. Sweet, smooth and very soothing. An earthy cup where the smokey flavor does not overwhelm the tea's natural flavor.

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Picture of Sencha Overture

Sencha Overture from Adagio Teas

Style: Sencha – Region: Japan

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 17th, 2013

In short steeps, I find this sencha much better than if you you steep for the full 2 minutes recommended on the package. Nice aroma and flavor with grassy notes, and prominent brothy (umami) qualities that make it rich yet refreshing. The second and third steeps off the leaves always seem better to me. Affordable quali...

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Picture of Hojicha

Hojicha from Adagio Teas

Style: Hojicha – Region: Japan

73 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 17th, 2013

Toasty, nutty, earthy and light roasted flavor. I enjoy this warm brewed most of the year, and iced in the summer. Adagio teas have consistently good quality that are great for everyday sipping. This Hojicha is particularly good with food, and is very refreshing when served cool.

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Picture of Kyobancha

Kyobancha from Obubu Tea

Style: Kyobancha – Region: Kyoto, Japan

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 9th, 2013

Roasting the bancha leaves produces a tea that combines the best of hojicha and bancha together in one brew. The light grassy flavors are enhanced by the light smokiness, and the astringency is cut to a minimum. The sample I had of this was used up quickly as I tried brewing it both hot and cold the same day, and both ...

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Picture of Bancha Suruga

Bancha Suruga from Den's Tea

Style: Bancha – Region: Shizuoka, Japan

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Aug. 9th, 2013

This is truly an "upgraded" Bancha, picked just after first flush from the larger, thicker base of the leaves. More astringent than sencha, but well balanced in flavor and aroma. I love the grassy flavor and feel it leaves in your mouth.

Den's Bancha Suruga is wonderfully refreshing when brewed as per their instruct...

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Picture of Toasted Sweet Rice (Genmai / Brown Rice)

Toasted Sweet Rice (Genmai / Brown Rice) from Obubu Tea

Style: Herbal Tea – Region: Japan

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Sep. 10th, 2011

Genmaicha is one of those teas that is really comforting, and always goes well with food. But some of the versions available in the US are really of poor quality. By offering you the roasted brown rice in this way you can adjust proportions and use it with what ever tea you prefer. I had some samples of sencha that wer...

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Picture of Sencha of the Summer Sun

Sencha of the Summer Sun from Obubu Tea

Style: Sencha – Region: Kyoto, Japan

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Aug. 21st, 2011

A very nice sencha that brews up well in 4 infusions, keeping a bright green color and lightly savory flavor. Bright, lightly buttery, and yes a small amount of bitterness in the first brew. But a good kind of bitterness like fresh mustard greens or spinach. Shipped direct from Japan, this tea is actually quite reasona...

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Picture of Genmaicha Extra Green

Genmaicha Extra Green from Den's Tea

Style: Genmaicha – Region: Shizuoka, Japan

87 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Aug. 18th, 2011

I am a big fan of Genmaicha and was really happy when Den's included this loose sample in with the rest of my latest order. (They do offer this in tea bags as well) I never had matcha mixed with Genmaicha before, and was a bit skeptical, but was happily surprised from the moment I opened the pouch. The sweet aroma of m...

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Picture of Fukamushi-Sencha Special

Fukamushi-Sencha Special from Den's Tea

Style: Sencha – Region: Shizuoka, Japan

90 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Aug. 18th, 2011

At the moment, this is probably my favorite everyday loose tea. Fukamushi Senchas are deep steamed when they are processed, making them exceptionally quick to brew, and letting them release their rich vegetal flavor in two to four steepings. Many can be a bit finicky to brew, but not this one from Den's.

The first ...

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Picture of Yanagi Bancha

Yanagi Bancha from Obubu Tea

Style: Bancha – Region: Kyoto, Japan

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Aug. 12th, 2011

This tea was a very pleasant surprise, being extremely refreshing and full of nice green tea flavor. This is a true 'aracha' or farmer's tea, made from leaves and twigs of the same tea bushes used to make Obubu's excellent sencha teas. It has a mild sweetness and an aroma that is very much of green vegetal quality. Not...

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Picture of Genmai Cha

Genmai Cha from Adagio Teas

Style: Genmaicha – Region: Japan

73 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Jul. 18th, 2011

Over the past year I have had some really mediocre genmaicha's, so I was pleasantly surprised when I recently tried Adagio Teas version of this Japanese classic. The initial sweet and nutty aroma of the dry tea transforms to a roasted rice and popcorn aroma as the tea steeps.

The translucent infusion has a nice lig...

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