Review: Sugimoto USA Sen Cha

Black Tea, Green Tea, Japanese Tea, Sencha Tea, Sugimoto USA Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"After the allotted time, the liquor brewed to a bright, foggy green. Force of friggin' Dagobah green."
Geoff’s Teaview: 6.9/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 7.1/10
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sugimotasenchaThe name for this vendor sounded familiar to me, but I couldn't quite place where. One of my favorite shopping excursions is to a place called Uwajimaya; a grocery store specializing in primarily Japanese products. Their tea aisle - yes, it has its own aisle - sometimes occupies an hour of my time on an average visit. Sugimoto Seicha - the Japanese parent company to Sugimoto USA - I think, is among the many imports in said aisle. Hard to say, though, and I'm too lazy to venture out of the house to find out.

Sugimoto USA's website displays a wide variety of available products under three principle categories; Sen Cha, Hoji Cha, and Genmai Cha. On the sencha's tea profile, they mention that a deep steaming process, called "Fukamushi", was used to preserve its vibrant characteristics. I was overjoyed to hear that. Pan-fried sencha, to me, tastes like...well...pan-fried leaves. Not particularly appetizing. Steamed sencha takes on added characteristics along with the preservation. Sure, there are grassy notes and a roasted sensation to the tongue, but there are also wonderfully tangy, berry notes as well. I hoped this "Sen Cha" possessed the same. The berry-ish fragrance of the dark green leaves alone made me think so.

Brewing instructions on the Sugimoto USA site were incredibly intricate. They expounded on the importance of water quality, stressing that "hard water" would dampen the flavor. For water temp, they mentioned a better flavor was had at 145F. Usually, I was told 165F was a good median. Steep times weren't pinpointed at all, rather a rough estimate based on personal preference was vaguely described. I went with 2 tsp in 155F water for two minutes. I'd never brewed green tea at a white tea temp, but it was worth a shot.

After the allotted time, the liquor brewed to a bright, foggy green. Force of friggin' Dagobah green. I've run into that before with green tea and matcha mixed, but not with "just" the steeped whole leaves. The aroma was all shades of roasty, and it had me a tad worried. That same quality translated to the taste as well, along with some initial bitterness on first tongue-touch. Grassiness was also in full display. It was in no way unpleasant, but more reminiscent of Chinese Dragonwell; all smoky, jungle-like.

The second infusion, while equally as deep-colored as the other, took on a tannic, mulch-like flavor. Of course, that could've been because I steeped it at double the time. Probably should've ended the steep at three minutes. In addition, I'd recommend taking them up on their suggested heating instructions. All said, it was a good green tea, not my favorite, but worth a cup and a half.

— To purchase Sugimoto USA Sen Cha, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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2 Responses to “Review: Sugimoto USA Sen Cha”

  1. Teacup Says:

    I’ve been drinking this tea since 2 years ago and love it! I cannot believe someone score this tea 1 out of 10.

  2. Geoff Says:

    Yeah, I was a little surprised by that one. I still think it’s decent.

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