Sencha Sampler Pack
In my post featuring the Whittington’s Tea Emporium (WTE), I discussed how the company offers a platform for customers to buy specialty teas from various brands/shops on one website. Customers can buy regular-sized packs of tea, but WTE also offers its customers the option of purchasing sampler packs that have various themes, such as English breakfast, Earl Grey, Jasmine and Darjeeling. I tried the Sencha Sampler Pack, which included two green sencha teas from Postcard Teas and one from Tea Studio. The sampler pack is packaged in a tin box (see photo below), and it includes 10 grams of each tea and a one-page write up about each tea (i.e. where it comes from and how to brew it).
Conclusions about the sampler idea:
– I love the information sheets provided in the box. They are nice to read while sipping your tea
– As WTE adds more tea brands/shops to their line, I hope there is an option to pick the teas that are put into sampler packs. For example, if WTE carries five different sencha teas, you can pick three of those to customise your sampler pack
– While the box looks smart, my conservation/overly pragmatic side wonders if it is needed. With tea caddies, it is possible to refill them, but I’m not sure what to do with this box
– This is not WTE’s fault, but I wish tea brands/shops provided slightly larger sample packs. 10 grams, at times, is not enough to make a real conclusion about a tea. I’ve seen packs as small as five grams, which is definitely not enough. All the sencha teas in the sampler are 10 grams, but sample sizes do vary with WTE’s sampler packs (e.g. some of the American companies provide sample packs that are 23 grams)
– Overall, the sampler pack is an innovative idea that really offers consumers an opportunity to immerse themselves in a tea theme, like sencha or English breakfast teas, and think about what they like in those teas. It is a tea geek’s dream! Below are reviews of all the teas in the pack.
Tea: Green sencha tea (first-picking) from mr Ohashi’s estate in Yame, Japan
Link to Yame Green on WTE website
– The dry leaf varies between broken and full leaf tea, and it is not particularly aromatic
– The infused tea has a brilliant, light green colour, but it is not very aromatic
– The flavour is light, smooth and sweet. The second infusion brought out a licorice-like flavour.
Hijiri Sencha by Postcard Teas
Tea: Green sencha grown by the Obayashi family in Okumikawa, Japan
Link to Hijiri Sencha on the WTE website
– This tea has the most attractive-looking dry leaf of the three in the sampler pack – nice full leaves, with a dark green colour
– The dry leaf, however, is the least aromatic of the three teas in the sampler pack
– This tea needs more than 30 seconds to infusion (around 45 seconds) to bring out its full flavour and aroma. I was underwelmed with my first infusion of 30 seconds but a longer infusion made me rethink the tea
– It has a slight sweet flavour, but I would characterise this tea as a good, harmless sencha that I would expect to find in a nice sushi bar. I don’t think it has great depth of flavour and aroma, but I think it could appeal to the masses
Tea: Sencha tea from the Kakegawa region of Shizuoka, Japan
Link to Deep Steamed Sencha on WTE website
– The dry leaf is quite broken, and it doesn’t have the dark, rich green colour of the other two teas
– It is, however, the most aromatic dry leaf in the sampler pack
– The infused tea produces a beautiful dark liquor that is humming with aroma. It has the most grassy/vegetal flavour of the three. Lots of flavour, lots of aroma – yum.
Conclusions about teas in the Sencha Sampler Pack:
– Good flavour spread amongst the sencha teas in the pack – from sweet to ‘middle-of-the-road’ to vegetal
– I am most impressed with the Yame Green and the Deep Steamed Sencha because they are packed with flavour, although one is sweet and one vegetal