Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas


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Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby NOESIS » Feb 2nd, '13, 21:13

I've been drinking Ippodo teas on a daily basis for the past few years (and on a semi regular basis for much longer). For quite a long time, I'd only order their top-shelf senchas, gyos, and matchas, but last summer, I began adding a few of their more budget friendly senchas to my shopping cart. I've now had a chance to try at least a few hundred grams of the following teas: Matsu-no-Midori (650 yen), Unro (800 yen), Nichi-getsu (1000 yen), and Shoike-no-o (1200 yen). My conclusion; they are all very solid teas, and in no way inferior to their more pricey selections. In fact, on a daily basis, I actually prefer them to Kaboku, Kumpu, or Hosen (which I now reserve for a few special sessions per week - like I do with gyo and matcha). To varying degrees, all of them have that Uji grassy flavor, slight bitterness/astringency, and enough umami lurking below the surface. Of course, the flavors can be custom tweaked by playing with brewing parameters.

My personal favorites for daily sencha are Unro and Shoike-no-o. Unro is on the clean/crisp side, but well balanced. A very "easy drinker". The Shoike-no-o has more richness/umami, but again, is very balanced.

I'm curious to find out what TCers have to say about these senchas, or Ippodo's more modestly priced gyos (which I haven't tried) and matchas (which I have, and enjoyed).
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby AdamMY » Feb 2nd, '13, 22:07

I have for at least the last two years been claiming that Nichi Getsu is a hidden gem. Granted I have not tried all of their budget friendly options, but I got some Nichi Getsu on my first order from them, and it has been included in every order since.

I agree even their budget friendly offerings are quite solid. Though I did have a bad experience with their very budget friendly Gyokuro which I can not remember the name of now.
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby NOESIS » Feb 2nd, '13, 22:23

AdamMY wrote:I have for at least the last two years been claiming that Nichi Getsu is a hidden gem. Granted I have not tried all of their budget friendly options, but I got some Nichi Getsu on my first order from them, and it has been included in every order since.

I agree even their budget friendly offerings are quite solid. Though I did have a bad experience with their very budget friendly Gyokuro which I can not remember the name of now.


Adam,

NIchi-getsu might be the "sweetest" of the budget teas, but not oddly so. Great stuff!

I've been tempted to try the gyo Kakurei @ 2500Y/100g. At that price, I'd even consider drinking it on a fairly regular basis. :shock:

A buddy of mine that spends part of the year in Tokyo, drinks the gyo Hekiun often. He says its a fave with the staff at Ippodo's Tokyo store. Again, a casual drinking tea (which seems odd for gyo, but hey).
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Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby Stentor » Feb 3rd, '13, 06:09

Thank you for starting this topic. Somehow, I never got around to placing an order with Ippodo. There was always so much sencha I wanted to try from other vendors. However, I have decided that this year I will finally order some tea there. I just need some classic Uji sencha from time to time. This post is very helpful. I hope others will chime in with their experiences.
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby NOESIS » Feb 4th, '13, 13:40

Stentor wrote:Thank you for starting this topic. Somehow, I never got around to placing an order with Ippodo. There was always so much sencha I wanted to try from other vendors. However, I have decided that this year I will finally order some tea there. I just need some classic Uji sencha from time to time. This post is very helpful. I hope others will chime in with their experiences.


You're quite welcome. I have a feeling that most TCers probably go for the top-shelf stuff (Kaboku, Kumpu and Hosen). Certainly nothing wrong with that. When you do finally place an order, I'd suggest at least one of "premium" offerings (Kaboku is my personal fave), but also give one of the lower priced senchas a go as well. If you are looking for the classic Uji asamushi flavor profile, regardless of price, you really can't go wrong with this vendor. :wink:

edit: If you are a fan of hojicha, make sure to try Ippodo's versions (regular or kuki style). They are by far the best I've ever had. Super aromatic and deeply flavorful.
Last edited by NOESIS on Feb 4th, '13, 20:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby Poohblah » Feb 4th, '13, 14:47

I would place an order from Ippodo... but every time I fill up my shopping cart, I say, "well, I better put one more thing in there to make the high shipping cost worthwhile" and then I end up with 600g of tea in my cart and I say, "I can't afford that! Forget it!" :roll: :lol:

I'm really looking forward to placing an order from them though, when I decide that I can afford the $20+ shipping costs.
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby Alex » Feb 5th, '13, 05:05

Yeah shipping cost always puts me off. That and economy from Japan is always the fastest option to the UK
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby chingwa » Feb 5th, '13, 14:10

I've ordered from Ippodo a number of times, though I've never been blown away by their selections. I have concentrated on their higher- end sencha and gyokuro, and while definitely good, I often didn't think it worth the tea-price + shipping-price.

I've also visited their store in Kyoto and really enjoyed it, however once I get the tea home, I just don't have that "WOW" factor. I understand they formulate their blends to be be consistent in a more traditional style for kyoto tea.

Perhaps it's just a case of modern techniques being more suited to a certain flavor profile that I've grown used to?

More and more I'm leaning back to asamushi sencha as my main preference... so perhaps I'll give them another shot soon. :)
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby Chip » Feb 5th, '13, 17:15

... yes, I am past due in ordering again from Ippodo. It seems like many others, for me the shipping aspect throws things off during the ordering process.

Ippodo definitly marches to the beat of a different drum than most vendors most of us are regularly exposed to. Call it "traditional," or call it old fashioned ...

For this reason as well, I like to order from them as I like a different perspective ... so to speak.

But each order I have placed includes careful calculations of weights, making sure to get the most bang for my shipping buck!
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby AdamMY » Feb 5th, '13, 20:26

chingwa wrote:I've ordered from Ippodo a number of times, though I've never been blown away by their selections. I have concentrated on their higher- end sencha and gyokuro, and while definitely good, I often didn't think it worth the tea-price + shipping-price.


This relates to my thoughts on Ippodo as well. I like to say view it as, with Ippodo, there is no overt wow factor, the wow comes when you really sit down and analyze the tea, because especially with the higher end offerings the tea is not a sit down and take note, it is like a basically perfect painting hanging on the wall. You can walk past the painting and go, "oh yeah, thats a good painting, or hmm nice painting" without giving it to much thought, and in that case it seems like just any other painting. But when you really sit down and look at that painting for an extended length of time you realize how near perfect it really is. I would almost say the biggest flaw in Ippodo's high end teas, is that they are too subtly beautiful.

I think this is why this thread really needs to exist, because with the more modestly priced senchas you are still getting things near perfect, though with a few more rough edges, but they are at a wonderfully affordable price.
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby sherubtse » Feb 5th, '13, 21:17

Chip wrote:Ippodo definitely marches to the beat of a different drum than most vendors most of us are regularly exposed to. Call it "traditional," or call it old fashioned ...


How so, Chip? :?: :mrgreen:

Thanks.

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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby Chip » Feb 5th, '13, 22:21

sherubtse wrote:
Chip wrote:Ippodo definitely marches to the beat of a different drum than most vendors most of us are regularly exposed to. Call it "traditional," or call it old fashioned ...


How so, Chip? :?: :mrgreen:

Thanks.

Best wishes
sherubtse

Well, for one thing, they do not carry any of that new fangled Fukamushi-cha. :mrgreen: All asamushi.

Many of their sencha have a more "soft" overall profile than most other vendors we have access to, IMHO. They make up for this by using a lot of leaf.

Plus, they have been around as long as just about anybody, except Tsuen who also sell a lot of more traditional sencha (through O-Cha).
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby Chip » Feb 5th, '13, 22:23

AdamMY wrote:
chingwa wrote:I've ordered from Ippodo a number of times, though I've never been blown away by their selections. I have concentrated on their higher- end sencha and gyokuro, and while definitely good, I often didn't think it worth the tea-price + shipping-price.


This relates to my thoughts on Ippodo as well. I like to say view it as, with Ippodo, there is no overt wow factor, the wow comes when you really sit down and analyze the tea, because especially with the higher end offerings the tea is not a sit down and take note, it is like a basically perfect painting hanging on the wall. You can walk past the painting and go, "oh yeah, thats a good painting, or hmm nice painting" without giving it to much thought, and in that case it seems like just any other painting. But when you really sit down and look at that painting for an extended length of time you realize how near perfect it really is. I would almost say the biggest flaw in Ippodo's high end teas, is that they are too subtly beautiful.

I think this is why this thread really needs to exist, because with the more modestly priced senchas you are still getting things near perfect, though with a few more rough edges, but they are at a wonderfully affordable price.

... the solution is to use a higher ratio for their selections (not sure how I can paint this into your analogy :) ). I can only speak about their sencha, never had their Gyokuro.
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby NOESIS » Feb 5th, '13, 22:28

AdamMY wrote:
chingwa wrote:I've ordered from Ippodo a number of times, though I've never been blown away by their selections. I have concentrated on their higher- end sencha and gyokuro, and while definitely good, I often didn't think it worth the tea-price + shipping-price.


This relates to my thoughts on Ippodo as well. I like to say view it as, with Ippodo, there is no overt wow factor, the wow comes when you really sit down and analyze the tea, because especially with the higher end offerings the tea is not a sit down and take note, it is like a basically perfect painting hanging on the wall. You can walk past the painting and go, "oh yeah, thats a good painting, or hmm nice painting" without giving it to much thought, and in that case it seems like just any other painting. But when you really sit down and look at that painting for an extended length of time you realize how near perfect it really is. I would almost say the biggest flaw in Ippodo's high end teas, is that they are too subtly beautiful.

I think this is why this thread really needs to exist, because with the more modestly priced senchas you are still getting things near perfect, though with a few more rough edges, but they are at a wonderfully affordable price.


Very well put.
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Re: Ippodo's more modestly priced senchas

Postby NOESIS » Feb 5th, '13, 22:30

Chip wrote:
AdamMY wrote:
chingwa wrote:I've ordered from Ippodo a number of times, though I've never been blown away by their selections. I have concentrated on their higher- end sencha and gyokuro, and while definitely good, I often didn't think it worth the tea-price + shipping-price.


This relates to my thoughts on Ippodo as well. I like to say view it as, with Ippodo, there is no overt wow factor, the wow comes when you really sit down and analyze the tea, because especially with the higher end offerings the tea is not a sit down and take note, it is like a basically perfect painting hanging on the wall. You can walk past the painting and go, "oh yeah, thats a good painting, or hmm nice painting" without giving it to much thought, and in that case it seems like just any other painting. But when you really sit down and look at that painting for an extended length of time you realize how near perfect it really is. I would almost say the biggest flaw in Ippodo's high end teas, is that they are too subtly beautiful.

I think this is why this thread really needs to exist, because with the more modestly priced senchas you are still getting things near perfect, though with a few more rough edges, but they are at a wonderfully affordable price.

... the solution is to use a higher ratio for their selections (not sure how I can paint this into your analogy :) ). I can only speak about their sencha, never had their Gyokuro.


Yep, I'd definitely agree with using a higher leaf-to-water ratio. My standard is 5g to 60-70 ml water (70-80C, depending on the grade of tea).
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