Ahhh… Japan! How do I miss thee? Let me count the ways. In no particular order: 1. My lovely, wonderful, generous, funny, crazy, inspiring, loving friends. 2. Flowers, even in December and January. 3. Mos Burger. 4. Constellations of green fireflies by the river. 5. Hanami parties. 6. Dragonflies over the rice paddies. 7. Vending machines. 8. Cheap and delicious udon/soba/ramen. 9. Sake. 10. Karaoke. 11. Shinkansen. 12. Mist in the mountains. 13. Orange Torii tunnels. 14. Umeboshi onigiri, and all the fantastic, healthy, and not so healthy foods at 7-11 and Lawson. 15. Barbecues. 16. Fireworks. 17. Festivals. 18. Bamboo. 19. Tatami. 20. Miyajima. 21. Oshibori. 22. Little green frogs singing me to sleep. 23. Tea… millions and millions of bottles of clean, unsweetened tea… every flavour… everywhere you go, and free in many restaurants… oolong, mugicha, ocha, kocha, milk tea, hojicha, kocha… wow! Endless tea!
Well, these are just a few of my favourite things. I’m sure I could go on for days. Today, I’m getting my “Japan fix” with this ‘organic japanese sencha‘ from DAVIDs TEA‘s 24 days of tea. The leaves are small and fine pieces, with a dark green colour. I inhale deeply, but don’t find the buttery shortbread aroma that I often find in sencha. It smells more acidic and mineral, like stones. Good thing I smelled it first… I think it could turn bitter easily, so I’m going to watch the steep time carefully.
I steep for 45 seconds at 80 degrees, in my push-button steeper (it has a fine mesh, and the tea doesn’t sit in water between cups). The tea is a bright yellow-green, and smells grassy. Ohhh… it’s very good! I got the PERFECT steep! I love it when that happens! The tea is clean, fresh, and tastes exactly like Japanese green tea should taste! It’s slightly grassy… a little green grass, and a little hay, with notes of buttery shortbread, and a somewhat citrus-y finish. The aftertaste is fresh, crisp, and slightly citrus, and it lasts long after I swallow. There is no bitterness at all, but I think a longer steep, or hotter water would have made it so. This was just perfect. I wonder if I can do it again for the second cup.
The second cup is just as good as the first, but I only steeped it for 30 seconds. It steeps quickly. The flavour is every bit as intense. It has lost nothing. I steep a third cup, again for 30 seconds. I think the green is even more intense! The flavour is a bit more grassy, but still not bitter at all. I’m still getting a fresh citrus note (grapefruit?) in the finish. Even after 3 steepings, this tea is still going strong. I’m sure I could get even more out of it, but I think 3 cups is enough to start my day!
Overall, I’m surprised, and impressed with DAVIDs TEA on this one. I didn’t have high hopes, but it’s taking me straight to Japan… misty mountains, singing frogs, and hovering dragonflies… and tea.