Aoi is an asamushi with some special qualities. Being on the more expensive side of sencha, this tea has a lot to live up to. However, it is an experience every fan of Japanese green tea should try at least once.

Background on Aoi

Aoi is a light steamed asamushi sencha from Uji. Sold by the Tsuen teashop in Japan, it is considered to be their second best sencha. It is also distributed world wide by O-Cha.com.

The leaves are dark green, with tinges of blue. This may be where the tea gets its name, as Aoi means blue in Japanese.

The scent is light. There isn’t much of a grassy aroma to Aoi, but there are some subtle sweet tones.

aoi asamushi sencha tea leaves

 

Brewing

Aoi can be tricky to brew. I had to try multiple times to get it right. However, with a little patients and perseverance, I discovered brewing with a little extra leaf and temperature gives a pleasant taste.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner]


Leaf: 1 1/2tbsp/125ml
Temp: 77C(170F)
Time: 0:55 sec

The brewing instructions from the vendor suggest using a cooler temperature. Going down this route, I couldn’t get the flavour I was looking for. Increasing the temperature to 77C brought out more of the flavour, and less bitterness.

To further enhance the experience, I used a generous amount of leaf, with a shorter brew time.

Only brewing for 55 seconds seemed like an odd move for an asamushi, but I found it necessary to avoid making the flavour too strong.


asamushi sencha brewing in open kyusu teapot
japanese green tea poured into cup

 

Thoughts & Observations

The blue of the cup throws the colour off, but Aoi is actually a light green with a hint of yellow. The taste is interestingly complex. There aren’t really any grassy notes to this tea. More dominantly, the flavour consists of vegetable tones. Somehow, Aoi is a combination of being light, bold, and refreshing.

asamushi sencha aoi from uji japan

Later Infusions

As pictured, the second infusion of Aoi is somewhat cloudy. (This also gives a more accurate representation of its colour.) I brewed the second infusion for 30 seconds with a slightly increased temperature.

Later infusions should be brewed for a short amount of time to prevent excess bitterness and astringency. For the third infusion, I find 45 seconds enjoyable, and 1:20 for the fourth.

second infusion japanese green tea

Final Thoughts on Aoi

With a unique, refreshing flavour, Aoi is something everyone should try. As it’s a higher priced sencha, some more cost effective asamushi would probably give you more bang for your buck. Nonetheless, Aoi is a considerably enjoyable tea.

Watch the Review on Aoi

Griff is the co-founder of The Art of Japanese Green Tea website and video series.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Ryan

    I’m going to have to try this sencha. And considering it’s the second best tea from Tsuen, it kinda lets you in on the mind’s of the people who run this shop: What is a great tasting asaumshi according to their noggins? They are, after all, experts and artists of Japanese tea.

    Finally… I can’t help but wonder if Aoi has some unusual powers to improve your spirits when you’re feeling a bit blue.

    1. Griff

      Yeah, exactly. It’s really interesting to see what is considered to be a great sencha by authority, and then see what I think of it.

      >> I can’t help but wonder if Aoi has some unusual powers to improve your spirits when you’re feeling a bit blue.

      You would go there, wouldn’t you? 😛

  2. Wumbo

    I think the lidless kyuusu you used may have been one of the causes of your trouble with the original lower temperature and leaf amount, especially since it was resolved by using a shorter brew time. If you brewed this outside, that would also result in a loss of temperature. Above a certain threshold, many teas become bitter as you well know. Below a certain threshold, they will fail to infuse much flavour. That is the difficulty of such teas.

    When I get this year’s Aoi, I’ll have to see how I do with it.

    1. Griff

      Excellent observations, Wumbo. 😀

      Heat loss is an interesting diagnosis of my difficulty finding good brewing parameters. I had brewed Aoi in a few different kyusu, but next time I order it, I’m going to take your thoughts into consideration and be sure to brew with a lidded teapot, indoors. 🙂

      I really look forward to hearing your thoughts/brewing techniques on Aoi. I hope you can post them here or on the forum. 🙂

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