Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Megami Sencha Itoen

Today, I'm trying Megami Sencha from Itoen.

I believe it is a deep-steamed fukamushi because in the site's description, they say, "You'll immediately note the jade green intensity that comes from extra steaming." Well, the first steep(176°f - 1m) isn't so intense in color:

A light lime-green. The taste, however, is bold, lucious, and delicious. Flavor mostly of spinach, asparagus (name your vegetable), slightly grassy, carries a wonderful lip-smacking tartness, and definitely some lime.

Now, it's been a long time since I've had a deeply steamed sencha, fukamushi style. With this in mind, Megami is hitting the spot perfectly. One factor that may be influencing my opinion is that I'm using a small gongfu cup(right) instead of the usual(left):

The next steeps are the same lime-green color, but cloudier.

What is really appealing to me from this tea is the tart lime flavor. It's my favorite flavor in a sencha (right next to grass), and is typically found in abundance in karigane (gyokuro stem) tea. I always feel lucky when I get a stem-less tea with this flavor.

The bottom line is, I love this tea. It's full of flavor, slightly creamy, quite vegetal, and well-balanced with a tart lime flavor. My first impression of Itoen was that they're too commercial to have great sencha, but hey, I was wrong. However, their packaging was a simple padded envelope, which didn't protect the tea as much as one would hope. Luckily, 2/3 of the teas I ordered were deep-steamed, and already broken up. Deep-steamed senchas taste best when broken up, but the breaking of the leaf is just an effect of the deep-steaming.

At $16.50/3oz, Megami Sencha is a tea worth your time and money. I have two other Itoen senchas I'm looking forward to trying: Chiran Kanayamidori, and Makinohara. If they turn out as well, then I'll give Itoen the seal of approval.


Anonymous said...

I also thought the same thing as far as my initial impression of Ito En. But I've purchased from them a couple of times recently and was pleased w/ my purchase. The Gifu Yakubita was what I ordered and was very surprised at how good it was. Very rich, full bodied with a pungent aroma. Having said that though I'll probably still stick w/ Hibiki-an though because the teas are very fresh and very affordable. (depending on which one you choose)I've done the Rishi thing, Ippodo, Ocha, Dens you name it and I always go back to Hibiki because of the quality, price and free shipping.

Wes Crosswhite said...

I haven't opened the Gifu Yabukita, but now you have me looking forward to it.

Hibiki-an... I've tried posting my review on their web site a few times... But guess what. They don't post any reviews under 4 stars. Really lame of them, but it's their choice. Everything I've had from them is mediocre to not so good.