Aoyanagi Green

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Product page:Aoyanagi Green

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Reviewer pic47 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
(170 reviews) on

The 200g package is heavy, sealed plastic. It's not resealable, so have another airtight container to put it into after opening.

The dry tea is bright green and broken into medium-small pieces. The initial aroma is strong and grassy.

The directions say to use 3g of tea per 100ml, boiling water, and to steep for 30 seconds. I instead used 5g in a 16oz mug, 180°F water, and steeped for 3 minutes, which is how I brew other green tea.

Brewing, the tea smells a lot like green tea in tea bags from US grocery stores and an initial taste backs this up. I'm actually surprised at how similar this is to brands like Bigelow or Lipton and I now strongly suspect that this grade of tea is a prominent part of many generic "green tea" blends.

The flavor is mild with only light bitterness and astringency. When hot, the tea is almost flavorless, but the flavor intensifies as it cools. It's very grassy. There are notes of slightly bitter garden vegetables (raw parsnip), but these are more noticeable in the finish as the slight bitterness seems to cling to the tongue. The flavor is better than the cheapest US green teas like Lipton, but only just.

Overall, the tea's not bad, but definitely disappointing. I paid $6.99 at an Asian grocery store. The website says that the Japanese retail price is ¥300, which is about a third of that. It's cheap tea and tastes like it, so I definitely wouldn't bother to pay the higher price as an import.

UPDATE: Just for completeness, I tried this tea according to the package directions, which is 3g of tea per 120ml of boiling water for 30 seconds. That came to 12g for my 16oz. mug, which is just over twice the tea that I normally use (5g).

It's tastier than I expected. I'ts still a bit dull, but there's more of the bright bitterness on the tongue that I associate with Japanese green tea along with some sweetness that I couldn't detect before. There's also a bit of the unpleasant bitterness and weediness that I associate with cheap tea bags. I'm not sure if that's tea quality, water that's too hot for green tea, or both.

The tea's definitely better this way and it far outshines the grocery store tea bags to which I was comparing it before. I bumped the rating (from 38) to reflect this since, to be fair, Ujinotsuyu did tell me to make it like this. Of course, it's also twice as expensive this way for the same amount of beverage and is now a serious underperformer in that regard.

I'm tempted to try this with grocery store tea bags to see how it affects the flavor.
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