TEA REVIEW: Yunomi’s Azuma Tea Garden Tencha Green Teas

Yunomi Azuma Tea Garden Green Tea Three Spoons

When I was looking around Yunomi’s website, I saw that they were offering a flight of three tencha from the same tea garden, but different cultivars. I was very excited to give it a try since I thought that it would be a very interesting thing to compare!

I have always heard that the cultivar greatly affects how the tea tastes. However, I’ve never had the opportunity to try for myself. Cultivated varieties are defined as “characteristics and propagated by cuttings to create a field of the same plant DNA.”

All three teas are tenchas, which are used to make matcha. The leaves were picked in spring 2016 from Azuma Tea Garden in the mountains of Wazuka, Kyoto, Japan. “The Azuma Tea Garden is a family-operated, fourth generation farm specializing in Tencha tea leaf cultivation and processing.”

The cultivating and processing is outlined as:

  • Shaded about 4 weeks before harvest
  • Harvest Season: Spring
  • Steamed and dried without rolling
  • Refined to remove stems & dust

Let’s go try some different tencha cultivars!

 

Tencha Okumidori

Yunomi Azuma Tea Garden Tencha Yabukita Green Tea Dishes

Description: “The okumidori cultivar is known for having a strong taste and aroma.”

Review: I wasn’t familiar with any of the cultivars, so, I started by alphabetical order. The dry leaves had an earthy and warm aroma with some subtle grassiness. The tea had a nice mix of yellow-green stems and leaves. After steeping, the aroma made me think of grass and moss. The leaves became mushy, almost slimy.

I didn’t notice a strong aroma from the pale yellow-green liquor. However, I was pretty surprised when I sipped the tea for the first time. I was expecting something very grassy, but it tasted actually very sweet. It reminded me of corn water, but the tail notes were umami and grassy. I found that the liquor was thin, and that it left the mouth feeling dry. I would recommend this if you want a sweeter tasting tea (3/5 rating).

  • Type: Green tea
  • Origins: Japan
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Green tea
  • Company: Yunomi

 

Tencha Samidori

Yunomi Azuma Tea Garden Tencha Samidori Green Tea Dishes

Description: “Samidori, a tencha specific cultivar, with a bright color and rich umami flavor perfect for matcha.”

Review: I loved how dark emerald green this tea was. It was processed so well, that even a year later, it looked like it was freshly picked. The dry leaf had a light roasted and grassy note, which continued after steeping, but the aroma developed and became savoury and reminded me a bit of a forest. Of all three teas, this kept its shape and colour the best after steeping.

While not as strong as a hojicha for example, this tea had a lovely roasted aroma and taste.  There were some lingering grassy notes as well. The liquor was a light tan colour and had a thin mouth feel. If roasted teas are more your thing, then this might be a nice one (4/5 rating).

  • Type: Green tea
  • Origins: Japan
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Green tea
  • Company: Yunomi

 

Tencha Yabukita

Yunomi Azuma Tea Garden Tencha Okumidori Green Tea Dishes

Description: “The rich flavor of the leaves makes it popular for sencha, but it provides a weaker umami taste and is not usually used for matcha as a result.”

Review: I found it hard to smell the aroma of this one since it was very faint. The only thing I could guess was ‘earthy’. I noticed of all the three teas, this had more stems than the other two. The leaves were very brittle.

There was a nice seaweed aroma after steeping, and I the leaves were slightly mushy and became a darker green. I found the flavour for this one hard to pin down, it seemed to fluctuate between a mix of sweet corn to more grassy and seaweed notes. This one left my mouth (and a bit of my throat) feeling dry. I enjoyed how delicate this was (3/5 rating).

  • Type: Green tea
  • Origins: Japan
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Green tea
  • Company: Yunomi

 

Final Thoughts

I loved looking at the dry leaves and how delicate they are. I was very careful when handling the leaves because I was afraid I would crush them.

I have to admit, I’ve read and heard that the cultivar can play a large role in how the tea tastes. However, until now, I’ve never actually had the chance to do a comparison. I really was surprised at how different the teas tasted. I would recommend this set to anyone who wants to taste the differences for themselves.

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