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Monday, April 5, 2010

Review: Obubu’s Kabuse Sencha (Green Tea)

© 2010 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
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Part of

The Subject: Kabuse Sencha (Green Tea) from Obubu Tea.

This tea is pretty unusual for me and my humans. It steeps for only a half minute per infusion and can undergo several infusions before losing its feel, scent, and flavor.


Water temperature: 212° F
Steeping time: 30 seconds per infusion

Tea type: Japanese green
Scents, flavorings, etc.: N/A
Aroma, dry: Spinach/seaweed (kelp)
Aroma in the cup, plain: Spinach/seaweed (kelp)
Taste, plain: Spinach/seaweed (kelp)
Color, plain: Pale green to warm yellow/pale brown
Aroma in the cup, enhanced: N/A
Taste, enhanced: N/A

1st Infusion: Full feel in the mouth, a bit buttery, aroma & taste strong
2nd Infusion: Full feel in the mouth, slightly buttery, aroma & taste firm
3rd Infusion: A bit less full feel, hint of buttery, aroma & taste weaker
4th Infusion: Even less full feel, butteryness gone, aroma & taste a lot weaker
5th Infusion: Thin / watery taste – one infusion too many
6th Infusion: Thin / watery taste – another infusion too many

This is a Japanese green tea (“Sencha”) made from leaves of Camellia Sinensis (tea plants) that has been treated in a very special way. According to Obubu’s Website, the tea plants are covered just after new leaves begin to sprout in early May, reducing sunlight by as much as 85% and thus encouraging the plants to produce wide, tender, chlorophyll-rich tea leaves. They are harvested and processed 2 weeks later and shipped out by the end of the month. Since we received these samples about a month ago (Feb. 2010), these tea leaves were not quite fresh. They had also not been shipped in a container (such as a sturdy cardboard box) that would protect them from being crushed during shipment. We kept all of this in mind when trying the teas, and did our best to give Obubu every consideration.

Ever true to the principles of the Little Yellow Teapot, we did our research before trying the two tea samples they sent. The company’s Website says this tea can be steeped in several ways. Since the sample was only enough for one try, we selected the standard steeping method detailed on their site and followed it as closely as possible. The Little Yellow Teapot was tempted to hand over the tea test to his buddy, Little Japanese Teapot, but decided instead to do his best to emulate the kyusu (Japanese teapot), especially considering that Little Japanese Teapot was made of cast iron and might have oversteeped this delicate tea.

We did 6 infusions, since the Obubu site says this is very possible, but discovered that the last 2 or 3 were weak in feel, aroma, and taste. In fact, we dumped #5 and #6 down the drain after the photos were taken and we had enough of a taste to assess them. Still, 4 infusions of 6 oz. each from a tablespoon of tea leaves is very good. It’s not quite on a par with the Tie Guan Yin we tried recently, but it’s far better than that bagged green tea available in the store.

Another benefit is all of the catechins, theanines, vitamin C, and chlorophyll in this tea, making it quite healthful. Add to that the fact that you can eat the leaves after steeping. Their taste is a cross between spinach and seaweed (kelp) with about the same texture. I had them with lunch.

Hubby thinks this would be a great tea to have with seafood (cooked delicately, not breaded, fried, and greasy). We didn’t have a chance to try out this theory. If you do, be sure to let us know.

Definitely not one we would have on a regular basis. Perhaps it’s our Western tastebuds. Perhaps its just that we prefer Indian and Chinese teas. We still liked the tea and would probably have some once or twice a year. Our thanks to Obubu for the sample. It’s always great to experiment with new teas.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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