Kokyu Sen-cha Green Tea (2020)

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Product page: Kokyu Sen-cha Green Tea (2020)

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Reviewer pic70 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
(45 reviews) on

I found a way to brew it better. 80ÂșC water, 110ml water per 2 tsp of tea, 20 seconds for the first cup, 20-25 seconds for the second cup... The tea is very, very grassy. It's more grassy than any other sencha I've ever had (or any green tea, for that matter). It's not buttery. It's more like brewing a nice, hot cup of lawn. That might not appeal to everyone. Personally, I have to be in the mood for something this grassy. The taste goes along with the scent of the dry tea. I think part of the factor in the improvement of the taste is that I let it sit (some teas seem to need to be opened and then left to sit before they brew better, for some reason). I think the other factor was in adding more tea (I believe my first try was with 1 tsp). Still, I'm not very fond of the intense grassiness. It's too overwhelming. I think I could knock it down to 1 1/2 tsp and it would probably be better, with all other directions for brewing staying the same. The feeling it imparts is very strong, in terms of caffeine. It's not relaxing. It made me a bit jittery. There's something about the aroma of the dry tea that I don't like, but I can't put my finger on it. It's not a spoiled note, but it's nagging. I don't know what it is.

While this doesn't factor into my rating of the tea itself, I wanted to note that I did e-mail Maeda-en for suggestions on brewing and they ignored me completely. This isn't new. While they are good with order-related customer service, their "service" when it comes to things like this is non-existent. Their tea directions (both on their website and on tea packages) are also painfully vague. -- And, I mean painfully vague. Imagine someone asking directions from Maine to Florida and getting the answer of: "go south." They put no thought into it at all and it's a shame because with the more expensive teas, it leads to a customer wasting tea trying to figure out the best brewing settings. It would also take such little effort to improve upon this, which is maddening. Give a tea master a pouch of that variety of tea, ask them what their recommended settings are, and then put on the site or the package: "tea master recommendations for brewing..." Not hard, not time-consuming, really helpful for customers. But, left entirely undone. This is one of the things I like to consider when buying a tea, so I'm leaving this note here. On contrast, a company like TeaVivre has recommended settings that are very detailed on their tea pages (for both Western and Eastern style brewing) and their customer service will work with you until you are satisfied with the tea. I've had finicky teas where I've e-mailed back and forth with TeaVivre customer service easily 10x. But, I got a good brew in the end. It's definitely something to consider when choosing where to purchase tea.

Previous Review:
I actually wasn't impressed with this one. These days, I've tended to favor fukamushi sencha over typical sencha. But, even with taking that into consideration, there was a marked lack of flavor and fullness in this tea. It was weak in scent, in taste, and in body. It didn't even have notes that were more particular to lighter teas (not that sencha is typically so light, in my experience). I will try making it in a few different ways to see if I can improve the experience. At this point in time, the kukicha tea I got in the same order from Maeda-en was actually significantly better. If you aren't familiar with Japanese teas, kukicha is made with stems and small pieces of leaves and is thus considered to be lower in quality than teas that feature larger leaf pieces or full leaves such as this sencha (it also was a fraction of the cost, $7.50 (150g) for kukicha vs. $21.50 (57g) for this sencha ). I'd say that it's strange, but honestly, this happens with tea sometimes. I've spent lots of money on tea that is basically garbage; I've spent almost nothing on tea that is delicious. Still, it's a shame when it happens, because it really feels like you're getting ripped off. I hope that I have better experiences when trying this in the future (I'll update if I do). As is, I wouldn't recommend this at all.
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