Review: ThepuriTea Chinese Sencha

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Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The steam aroma reminded me - for some odd reason - of buttered pecans or caramelized apples, albeit subtle. "
Geoff’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Lynn gave it 8.5/10, Jamie gave it 6/10
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The term "sencha" literally means "decocted tea" in Japanese. It is also a staple in Japanese culture. Most of the tea consumed in Japan is a form of sencha or another. It differs in its processing to Chinese green teas, which goes through a pan-fired (or roasting) process. Some equate this to Japanese green tea being of a higher quality due to the extensive shading and steaming.

Well, here's the funny thing, up until recently, I didn't care for Japanese green tea. For the most part, I still don't go for normal sencha. Granted, there are sub-categories - like tamaryokucha - that I've come to adore, but sencha as a whole always had the palate of mulch. I didn't come to appreciate sencha until I had a sencha-styled green tea...from China. I know how sacrilegious that sounds.

ThepuriTea echoes my thoughts exactly with the motto: "Who needs Japanese sencha?" Their bio for their Chinese Sencha also reflects that - while Japanese sencha still has its merits - the processing can be done elsewhere, and to equal (or greater) results. Just look at Shiraz wine as a metaphoric example.

The dry batch for this had an unusual aroma, that of grass and raisins. Can't say "raisin" ever comes up in my taster notes often. As for appearance, the leaves were long-cut, faded green and flat. There wasn't as much symmetry to them as there is with their Japanese cousins, and the color was lighter.

The vendor recommended a steep of one-to-three minutes at a water temp of 180F. The water heat seemed a bit high, I lowered it by 10 degrees and a steep for two minutes; 1 tsp in 8oz-worth.

Upon introduction to hot water, the leaves colored very quickly, taking on a pale green similar to the dry leaves. The steam aroma reminded me - for some odd reason - of buttered pecans or caramelized apples, albeit subtle. The taste was a crisp, clean, only slightly vegetal flavor experience with berry, butter, and sweet grass. So far, this hasn't broken the winning streak for Chinese-produced sencha. I still remain a devoted fan.

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