January 30, 2009

Hibiki-an Sencha Superior

Just got my order from Hibiki-an today. Six 100 gm bags of the Sencha Superior and two 100 gm bags of Houjicha. They arrived in their usual paper bag, I don't know why but they always ship their tea,s in just a paper bag. Fine by me. I cant overstate the quality customer service Ive always experienced ordering from them for the past couple of years. The tea,s are always fresh (Hibiki-an is a tea farm in Uji) they grow, package and sell their own tea,s. Shipping is free with a minimum order of $35.00. The Sencha Superior is an excellent everyday tea. 200 gm,s price is $28.00, that's almost a 1/4 lb. of fresh tea for a fraction of the cost of most other vendors. The tea brews a golden green cup of veggie goodness. The Sencha Superior is presented as an everyday, affordable, high quality Sencha. Ive never had another Sencha in this price range that is this good. The aroma of good Sencha always reminds me of popcorn. But maybe that,s just me.
I follow Hibiki-an,s brewing advice, for 200 ml. of 175 degree water you need about 8 gm,s of tea. That's about 1&1/2 to 2 Tab. And brewing time for the first infusion I go for 1&1/2 minutes, the second pot I just pour the water in and right back out again.
As the tea,s are packed in nitrogen flushed bags they can be stored in the fridge to prolong the shelf life (un-opened bags) when ready to use take the bag out of the fridge but don't open it right away because the inside of the bag will form condensation. Let it come to room temp. and then open it. I use a large Tupperware container to store all the un-opened bags in the fridge. That way if anything were to spill in the fridge they wont get wet.
Hibiki-an offers a wide range of traditional Japanese tea,s at all price points. The Sencha Superior is my favorite for a satisfying Sencha at a good price.


  1. Bret,

    Oh man, I'd forgotten how much I love receiving packages from Hibiki-an. The outer green bag loaded up with customs forms, the beautifully coloured bag sealed inside. The gorgeous paper used to wrap their teas. Everything about it is just as appealing in the cup as it is to the eyes. I never tried their Houjicha, but I did buy 200gm of the Sencha Superior and 100g of the Sencha Super Premium. Good stuff. I've found that Rishi has some very nice air-tight tins that are great for storing them long term once the bags have been opened. A year later, I've still got some of the Super Premium and it smells just about as fresh as it did when I first bought it. By chance, have you tried Den's Houjicha? If so, how does it stack up against Hibiki-an? I'm about out and in need of another dent in my pocketbook.


  2. I know what you mean. It had been a long time since my last order from them also. I have two of the hammered copper storage tins that Rishi sells expressly for my Japanese tea,s. No, Ive never had Den,s Houjicha. But like I said they are all sorta the same w/ minor differences. I do like Rishi,s though. I think it,s about $38.00 lb. A lb. of Houjicha is a lot of tea, it,s so dry and bulky it would probably fill a shopping bag. Like I said though, I honestly think Hibiki-an offers the best value in Japanese tea,s. Thanks for reading Jamus.

  3. Very lovely photos. Thanks. Quite timely too as TeaChat has had some lively discussion about Hibiki-an's superior, premium, and pinnacle products.

    It seems to me someone said that Hibiki-an minimizes their packaging in order to be more green. It is still lovely, however, just as you guys say.

    I really enjoyed their Farmers' Shincha last year ... very good value and it may have been my favorite of perhaps 10 shincha that I tried.

  4. Thanks Salsero, Yeah, I bought some of the Farmers Sencha also and I remember how lip smacking good it was. I don't always have to have the best tea on the planet to be happy. The Sencha Superior is the perfect balance of good yet affordable. Ive been buying from them for a couple of years and they have always shipped in a bag, surprisingly there has never been any damage to any of the contents.

  5. P.S. I just logged on to tea chat and had to put in my two cents worth. I gotta stick up for Hibiki-an. It,s true that they have kind of a flavor profile to their teas. They are in Uji and their teas flavor reflects that. If people are after that deep, deep green Sencha then maybe Kagoshima teas would be more to their liking. It,s been a long time since the last time logging on to tea chat, too many "experts" to make reading it very interesting.

  6. Well said. It's not the experts that make TeaChat good, it's the diversity of opinion among knowledgeable people. Real experts -- like experienced industry professionals -- don't frequent TeaChat.

  7. hey Bret
    would you specify about the flavor profile of Hibiki's teas?
    ...i had some weird brand Uji matcha that had a slight fishy aroma to it so i'm wondering if thats it or something else ... hopefully :)

    also, that Kagoshima sencha sounds interesting, where should i look for it?

    thank you

  8. Silver Needles, Matcha or for that matter any tea should not smell fishy. Hibikis teas are great. The Sencha Superior is the one I usually buy. Vegetal yet clean. Not too grassy or steamed so heavily that it brews up a cup of swamp water. Buy some, you,ll like it.