A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby britt » Nov 13th, '10, 21:26

Yesterday I received my first order from Hojo Tea. it was a Tokoname rough clay mogake kyusu. I was very happy with it's looks AND functionality; these two qualities aren't always found together in the same kyusu. Unfortunately, I was almost out of sencha but I did have enough to try out the kyusu.

This afternoon I received my second Hojo order which was the tea I ordered shortly after I purchased the kyusu. I didn't expect it to arrive so soon. I had ordered a modestly priced sencha in my initial order along with a 100 gram can and 30 gram bag of Jasmine Pearl. The Jasmine was a gift for my neighbors so I ordered the 30 gram bag so I could try this tea before I gave them the unopened 100 gram can.

The sencha I ordered was G23J Kawane Zairai Sencha, 200 grams 3,300 yen. Hojo's better senchas cost the same per order in yen but are only 100 grams, so this one is about half the price. It is a light steamed sencha, a type which I have only recently become familiar with but am starting to prefer. As soon as I opened the bag I knew this was something special. I don't recall ever opening a bag of sencha in November that smelled so fresh. Earlier today I brewed three infusions of some excellent light steamed sencha from one of my favorite vendors, so I had something to compare Hojo's sencha with. Hojo's was less money than the other so I didn't think it was really a fair test. However, you've heard of David and Goliath? As good as the other is, Hojo's Zairi easily slammed it's more expensive competition into the ground. This comment isn't intended to insult the first, but to point out that even when you think you've found one of the best, an unknown competitor shows up and beats it. I give extremely high marks to both Hojo and this tea. Highly recommended if you like light steamed sencha, even if your budget allows the purchase of a more expensive one. I am truly impressed by this tea!

Although I'm no fan of Jasmine scented tea, I will comment on the Jasmine I purchased from Hojo; S01C Jasmine Pearl 30 grams 1,100 yen and S01C Jasmine Pearl 100 grams 3,000 yen. This tea is exactly as described on the Hojo website. It looks like other Jasmine pearls but when brewed is very clear and light in color without the brown so common with the others. The taste and aroma are also very light, crisp, and refreshing. The brewed leaves are very uniform in color, shape, and size and are not broken. This tea does not use extract but rolls the green tea pearls with Jasmine flowers multiple times until the desired scent is achieved. A few pearls, not even enough to cover the gaiwan's bottom, easily yielded five infusions from the 3 ounce gaiwan. Since I never cared much for Jasmine I can't say I'll rush to replace this when it's gone, but I will say this much; if I were to purchase Jasmine for myself in the future, this is the one I would go for. As a gift for friends who do like Jasmine, I would also purchase this one for them without hesitation.
User avatar
britt
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Jun 7th, '0

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby auhckw » Nov 13th, '10, 21:56

Nice review. Makes me feel like going to visit them after gym today which is also in the same mall as their shop.

I think their new phoenix oolong should have arrived too, saw they just put up some info of that in their blog and japanese website yesterday
User avatar
auhckw
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: May 24th, '
Location: Malaysia

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby iannon » Nov 13th, '10, 21:58

man I would love to see and feel some of those pots in hand/in person
User avatar
iannon
 
Posts: 1631
Joined: Dec 30th, '
Location: The foot of the great Smoky Mountains

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby Chip » Nov 13th, '10, 22:13

Thanks Britt for sharing. It is funny, I look at his pots all the time, and have only glanced at his teas a few times.
User avatar
Chip
Mod/Admin
 
Posts: 22176
Joined: Apr 22nd, '
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby britt » Nov 13th, '10, 22:40

Chip wrote:Thanks Britt for sharing. It is funny, I look at his pots all the time, and have only glanced at his teas a few times.


I was doing the same, but once I placed the kyusu order and we passed a few e-mails, I decided to place a tea order as well. Needless to say, I was quite impressed by both the tea and teaware. Had it not been for all the positive comments about the Hojo Shigarakis, I may have forgotten about this vendor as I had never purchased anything from them before.

I may try some of their Chinese greens next!
User avatar
britt
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Jun 7th, '0

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby britt » Nov 13th, '10, 22:42

auhckw wrote:Nice review. Makes me feel like going to visit them after gym today which is also in the same mall as their shop.

I think their new phoenix oolong should have arrived too, saw they just put up some info of that in their blog and japanese website yesterday

I forgot that they also have a shop in Malaysia. I would be interested in what you think of them if you do go there. They seem to be very meticulous about everything. I expected the kyusu to be well packed, but not to the extent that it was. They did a really great packing job. I was even more surprised that the tea was packaged just as carefully!
User avatar
britt
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Jun 7th, '0

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby britt » Nov 13th, '10, 22:48

iannon wrote:man I would love to see and feel some of those pots in hand/in person


I actually noticed as I've been using the kyusu off and on for the last two days that it really does feel great when using it. Not just the balance, but the rough clay used to make this feels quite a bit different than the usual Tokoname clay. It seems quite a bit softer.

The Gisui kyusu I purchased has a very small handmade bulb filter with very small holes. My first thought was "I guess I can count this as out of the question for brewing fukamashi." I was wrong. I brewed some and had no problems with clogging at all. This very much surprised me, but the shape of the pot and the placement of the filter seems to have been very well thought out.
User avatar
britt
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Jun 7th, '0

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby Tead Off » Nov 13th, '10, 23:26

britt wrote:
auhckw wrote:Nice review. Makes me feel like going to visit them after gym today which is also in the same mall as their shop.

I think their new phoenix oolong should have arrived too, saw they just put up some info of that in their blog and japanese website yesterday

I forgot that they also have a shop in Malaysia. I would be interested in what you think of them if you do go there. They seem to be very meticulous about everything. I expected the kyusu to be well packed, but not to the extent that it was. They did a really great packing job. I was even more surprised that the tea was packaged just as carefully!


The shop is a good opportunity to see the many lovely things that Hojo features on his website. You can also sit and drink tea. The shop people are very polite and helpful. Hojo trains them well. Unfortunately, the shop prices are considerably higher than the website, so much so, that I didn't buy anything and couldn't figure out why in the world there would be such a discrepancy. Their explanation made no sense to me at all. Expect very high end pricing in the shop as if you were in the heart of Tokyo.
User avatar
Tead Off
Vendor Member
 
Posts: 3484
Joined: Apr 1st, '0
Location: Bangkok

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby britt » Nov 14th, '10, 00:05

Just an update to my earlier review/comments. I very rarely infuse sencha more than three times. However, I tried a fourth on the Kawane Zairai and it was still very flavorful. Considering the lower price of this sencha, I think this makes it an exceptional value.

Next I opened the sample of Hon Yama Hebizuka Sencha and tried that one. This is also a light steamed sencha and is more than twice the price of the Kawane Zairai. I was also very impressed with this one. It tasted quite different from the Zairai but I like both of them. This one is especially smooth and mellow, although I don't necessarily prefer it over the Zairai, which is surprising considering the price difference. These may be the two best senchas I've ever tried. More time with them will determine that, but this is my impression so far. I have found them both very easy to brew. I plan on trying the gyokuro and Li Shan samples tomorrow.
User avatar
britt
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Jun 7th, '0

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby auhckw » Nov 14th, '10, 04:05

Ok i just went to visit their outlet today (thanks to this thread).

I browsed through their usual teawares that they show on their website, but they now have some 20 to 30 years old yixing zhuni which they acquired from a private collector. These were non display items but only shown to regulars. They said the performance of the clay is good. They even have 2 yixing zhuni which is by artist but is newly made. I didnt think about them cause I just bought 3 zhuni last week, but I nearly bought one of their Sado cause been wanting one for collection, too bad the one i like is used and brand new is not available in outlet but available in their office.

They have brought in 6 dan cong phoenix oolong. I tasted 3 of em. As usual Hojo taste and selection is good. I then tasted their 2 sencha and asahina gyokuro. I still prefer their gyokuro over sencha.

So what I buy today? 2 of their chinese green tea. Yun Feng and Taiping Houkui. Took back a Lu Mei sample.

Yes, outlet price is more expensive but you get serviced, free sampling till drunk and get to choose the exact teaware you like rather than seeing from picture and buy :)
User avatar
auhckw
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: May 24th, '
Location: Malaysia

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby David R. » Nov 14th, '10, 14:48

Got the jasmine pearls as a sample gift in my latest order. I didn't expect anything of it, but was really impressed. I'll definitively order more next time.

Hon Yama Hebizuka Sencha was my n°1 spring tea last year. I will try the Kawane Zairai next time.

Thanks for the news and feedback ! :)
User avatar
David R.
 
Posts: 1112
Joined: Oct 6th, '0
Location: France

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby britt » Nov 14th, '10, 18:19

auhckw wrote:Ok i just went to visit their outlet today (thanks to this thread).

So what I buy today? 2 of their chinese green tea. Yun Feng and Taiping Houkui. Took back a Lu Mei sample.


I'm also considering purchasing my Chinese greens from Hojo, especially the Taiping Houkai. Have you actually tried it yet?
User avatar
britt
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Jun 7th, '0

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby britt » Nov 14th, '10, 18:26

David R. wrote:Got the jasmine pearls as a sample gift in my latest order. I didn't expect anything of it, but was really impressed. I'll definitively order more next time.

Hon Yama Hebizuka Sencha was my n°1 spring tea last year. I will try the Kawane Zairai next time.

Thanks for the news and feedback ! :)


Thanks for your comments on the teas, especially the Jasmine Pearls. I thought I was losing my mind when I opened it, brewed 5 infusions, replaced the leaves and brewed 5 more. It sounds like you were as impressed by this tea as I was. I honestly never cared for Jasmine at all before I tried this one.
User avatar
britt
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Jun 7th, '0

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby auhckw » Nov 14th, '10, 19:41

britt wrote:
auhckw wrote:Ok i just went to visit their outlet today (thanks to this thread).

So what I buy today? 2 of their chinese green tea. Yun Feng and Taiping Houkui. Took back a Lu Mei sample.


I'm also considering purchasing my Chinese greens from Hojo, especially the Taiping Houkai. Have you actually tried it yet?


Nope, I didn't try the Taiping Houkui yet. Bought it last minute without trying :)

But if you have not tried their Yun Feng, you should.
http://hojotea.com/item_e/g08e.htm
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=14288

Few weeks ago, I brought it to another teashop and treat them and they say it has a little longjing kind of taste.
User avatar
auhckw
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: May 24th, '
Location: Malaysia

Re: A Great Everyday Sencha From Hojo

Postby David R. » Nov 14th, '10, 20:10

To tell the truth, this sample stayed quite a while in my drawer. I got it out when friends visited, to get rid of it more than anything else. I ended up selfishly regretting not to have kept it for myself, as my friends didn't care much for it, while I was really enjoying myself. I did a lot of brews with the sample, which I put in a 15cl gaiwan. Something like 12 brews easily, increasing temp and time slowly.

I was planning to turn some into Christmas gifts. I really have to try more things in Hojo's tea selection. I stuck to teaware (3 sado clay pots) and Hon Yama Hebizuka Sencha before. I begin to think it was a mistake.
User avatar
David R.
 
Posts: 1112
Joined: Oct 6th, '0
Location: France

Next

Instant Messenger

Permissions
You cannot post new topics
You cannot reply to topics
You cannot edit your posts
You cannot delete your posts
You cannot post attachments
Navigation