More tea for people who don't drink real tea!* But hey, there's nothing wrong with that. Some of us will never be coffee connoisseurs or tea snobs, which is fine! I know I will personally never go organic tea leaf-picking (I'm sure this is a thing somewhere) and brew the loose leaf precisely at 105 degrees C for exactly 3 minutes. So thank you TJ's for gifting us with a moderately exotic tea for those of us who love
hoarding trying tea!
Legitimate Japanese green tea is quite delicious y'all. It's light, earthy, and good for digestion. This [probably] limited edition includes four varieties of green tea and runs $5.49 for a box of 32 bags. Not too shabby. Pretty sure the Asian grocery store has this, but the fact that it is "Trader Joe's" appeals to my deep-rooted brand loyalty. And the packaging. The packaging always gets me.
"Sencha is the most popular green tea in Japan. our selection has been carefully crafted to deliver the balance of delicate green tea with the subtle flavors of selected botanicals. Lightly steamed, this classic Japanese green tea is grown in an ideal climate in fertile volcanic soil rom the Kyushu Island of Souther Japan. Enjoy a crisp Sencha green cup in the morning and indulge with a burst of flavor in the afternoon."
Subtle flavors, eh? Let's see about that...
From left to right: Sencha Green, Ginger Lemon, Rose Jasmine, and Mint Sencha. Looks like a bookshelf, kind of.
The instructions recommend steeping the tea for 2 minutes - any longer than that, the tea loses its delicate flavor and becomes bitter. And the nice thing is that with four varieties, there's a tea for everyone! I'm starting to sound like a bad commercial. Hmm.
Sencha Green: This was my favorite one! Earthy but delicate. I don't think I've ever had really legitimately authentic Sencha (i.e. whole loose leaf), but this was closest to the green tea I had in Japan. This is probably also the one my mother would most likely drink and say that it can pass for the real thing. Maybe.
Ginger Lemon: It was a good thought and it doesn't taste bad or anything, but the ginger and lemon completely hides the delicate sencha flavor. It tastes like the ginger lemon concoction I cook up when a cold strikes except with a hint of bitterness from the green tea. Perhaps just the ginger with the sencha would work, but the lemon added too much brightness. Less is more. My least favorite of the bunch but will be useful when I catch my next cold.
Rose Jasmine: My second favorite. The aroma is so fragrant, rose-y, and comforting. It smells like the rose green tea drinks I like from the bubble tea shops. Unfortunately, you can't really taste the rose (which is a shame because rose green tea is so good!), but it's still a really good jasmine green tea. In fact, I'd say this is a better version of the regular TJ's jasmine green tea.
Mint Sencha: Like the ginger lemon, the mint overpowers the sencha but it still tastes pretty good. Dare a say a better mint tea than the mint melange? Debatable but I think the sencha paired better with the mint than the ginger lemon. You can detect the underlying earthy green tea, but it definitely tastes more like a mint tea than a green tea.
So out of four varieties, there's one that might appeal to hardcore green tea drinkers and three for everyone else who doesn't drink "real tea."*
*Real tea = loose leaf. Real tea drinkers carry thermoses with tea leaf diffusers.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Sencha Green Tea Selection. One authentic-ish Japanese green tea, one nice jasmine green, and two flavor-smashed green-ish teas. *insert my mother's sort-of-but-not-impressed-face* 6.5 out of 10.