Monday, October 24, 2005

Tea Review 36 - Battle of the Senchas

Upton Tea Imports

Sencha Premier
Adagio Teas

I was coming to the end of a few samples of sencha not long ago so I thought I might as well line them up for a side by side taste test.

Upton's entry is their Kabusencha variety. I think it's actually called Spring Harvest Kabusencha - the only Kabusencha listed at their Web site - but since I threw out the package I can't be sure. Anyway, it's one of a number of senchas they offer from countries of origin that include Japan, China and Vietnam. Adagio's Sencha Premier is the pricier of their sencha offerings - the other one is called Sencha Encore. Premier is a first flush from the Shizuoka region of Japan.

Both teas have a very strong and satisfying aroma before brewing and dark green leaves that are thin and flat. The Adagio brewed up to a nice golden color and was clear in the cup. The Upton was noticeably greener and just a bit cloudy.

As for taste, Adagio had more of a grassy flavor, while the Upton had just a hint of brininess or fishiness - not actually as bad as it sounds. Actually, seaweed might be a better point of reference. The Upton also tasted greener than the Adagio, if that makes any sense.

I'd recommend both and neither one any more than the other. They were surprisingly different - perhaps not like apples vs. oranges but more like different varieties of apple.

Sencha Premier is available in four sizes from a sampler ($5) to one pound ($62). Kabusencha comes in a 12 gram sampler ($5) and a 100 gram caddy ($28).

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