Friday, July 1, 2016

Ocha & Co: Organic Japanese Kabusecha Shade-Grown Green Tea, A Tea Review

Ah, the weekend of July 4th, also known as the weekend of perpetual fireworks. They started last night and have been consistently going off around my neighborhood since then, luckily the cats have lived here long enough that they no longer fear them or storms, so win. I love it, the air smells smoky and vaguely brimstone like and there are occasional very pretty flashes of light I can see through my window. Fireworks are one of those things that I absolutely love, and silly as it might sound, one of the few things that can make me weep over the beauty, not many things do that for me. Also happy Canada Day to my more northerly tea friends, and know that I perpetually envy your weather.

Today I am looking at Ocha & Co's Organic Japanese Kabusecha Shade-Grown Green Tea, one of my favorite forms of Sencha, it is shaded like Gyokuro, but for less time, making it a bit of a halfway point between the two. It is wonderfully refreshing like a Sencha but with that extra level of savory richness to make it similar to a Gyokuro. The aroma of the richly green leaves is savory and nutty, blending notes of bok choy, sesame seeds, toasted nori. grass, a bit of spinach and broccoli sauteed together in Kombu Dashi (that is a very specific thing it smells like, but that is what I got!) and a finish of gentle toasted soybeans.

Into my houhin the leaves go for a bath, the aroma is strong, intense notes of soybeans, cooked spinach, kombu, toasted nori, a bit of grass, and a subtle sauteed bok choy note.Not a lot of sweetness in the steeped leaves, mostly it is wonderfully savory. The liquid, which is a gorgeous bright green in my new tall snow yunomi, smells of toasted nori, sesame seeds, spinach and fresh kelp. There is a touch of grassiness which comes off as very summery to me, a contrast to the winter themed yunomi!

Like Gyokuro, Kabusecha is intensely smooth and thick, though it is not quite the almost syrupy thickness that a traditionally brewed Gyokuro has. It is what I love about Kabusecha, in so many ways it is similar enough to Gyokuro that I can get that fix I frequently crave but without paying the lofty price that Gyokuro has. The taste has a subtle nutty sweetness of soy beans and sesame seeds, a tiny touch of astringency (or shibumi if you are feeling fancy) in the form of cut grass, and a strong lingering spinach, bok choy, and nori umami that lasts well past the finished cup.

The second steep, while being a more vibrant green, manages to be a touch more subtle. This steep brings out the underlying sweetness, notes of sesame and toasted soybean very gently mix with spinach and nori. It is very refreshing, there is no astringency at all and the more green notes are played down this steep. A very enjoyable tea, especially on a lovely firework filled night like night!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

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