I’ve done very few Trader Joe’s tea reviews over the years. I don’t know why, because I drink a lot of tea. Probably 3 or 4 big steaming mugs every morning. I mostly drink Earl Grey and a green tea and mint blend from Tazo. I did drink Trader Joe’s Earl Grey for many years but IMHO it’s not very good compared to other teas. Maybe my palate got more refined. I don’t know. I still like to look out for interesting new teas from Trader Joe’s when I’m in there. I especially like green tea and more to the point, Japanese green tea. I buy most of it from my local Asian grocery store where they have a tea selection that is about 50 feet long.
When you have a really good Sencha Japanese green tea, it’s an ethereal experience. The tea is bright green and slightly cloudy. It smells like freshly mowed grass, seaweed and crushed herbs and is very drinkable and low in caffeine. I have to imagine tea like this is very healthy for you. Sencha tea is kind of a catchall phrase for the first picking of the new season. Tea farms pick leave throughout the year and the first picking is supposed to be the best, highest quality. Generally, Sencha tea is steamed after picking for a few seconds to lock in the green color and flavors which prevents oxidation and preserves the tea. It’s then rolled into tiny bits and dried. Loose Sencha is not cut up again, but bagged Sencha is probably cut into tiny bits to make it go further. You should steep Sencha at temperatures below boiling to release the best flavors without cooking the tea leaves too much.
When I saw this, I gladly picked up a box and put it out for my breakfast the next morning. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I will just assume this is a lower grade of tea than other Sencha teas I have had. The color tended more towards brown and less vibrant green and clear not cloudy as it should be. High quality Sencha should not too bitter and this one wasn’t but it didn’t have that super fresh green tea flavor I was hoping for. At least they aren’t using plastic tea bags like the Costco green tea. I hate those things. I put my tea bags in my compost pile and years later they are still not composted. I probably wouldn’t buy this again. It’s OK, but life too short to drink mediocre green tea!