The tea bag has a poor reputation. If you subscribe to this notion, the Ippodo Tea Bag Set of Hojicha, Sencha, and Gyokuro will change your mind. I traveled to see family last month and I didn't need to bring a kyusu (if only I had one). I enjoyed cups and cups of tea all from tea bags.
One of the reasons for the ill will toward tea bags is the quality of the leaf in the bags. You won't find itty bitty bits of leaves, fannings, and dust in Ippodo's tea bags. I dissected a bag of each tea and the leaves in each are recognizable as hojicha, sencha, and gyokuro. Each bag is filled with "[m]echa - the youngest shoots and buds from the tea plant."
Conventional tea bags are often constructed of filter paper which can impart an unpleasant flavor to the tea liquor. The material used by Ippodo does not affect the taste of the tea and its porosity maximizes the flavors that the drinker tastes. Another feature of the Ippodo tea bag is that it is not overstuffed. The leaves in each bag have room to expand.
I prepared each tea according to the great illustrated instructions I've come to expect from Ippodo. Hojicha in 150 mL of boiled water for 60 sec. Sencha and gyokuro in 150 mL of hot water (I used 175-degree F) for 90 sec. I resteeped my bags a second time. Each tea tasted as it should. Gyokuro was smooth with lots of umami. The aroma of the dry leaves is intoxicating. Sencha has a more astringent liquor but the tea is well balanced. And hojicha is smooth and sweetly roasted. The hojicha is perfect for now!
A 30-count Ippodo Tea Bag Set was provided by Ippodo Tea Company. Top image courtesy of YC Media.