I’m really not a huge drinker of Japanese greens. I think. I’m just drinking through a lot of it lately because when I’m not looking for the caffeine-rush of huge mugs of strong western-brewed black tea, it comes down to the fancy oolongs, chinese greens, and whites, which I brew in my gaiwan, and Japanese greens. And I just don’t feel like breaking out the fancy gongfu setup lately, so Japanese greens it is. But I think they’re really starting to grow on me, the more I drink them.
I love to nibble on rice crackers when I’m drinking this stuff; the ones I pick up from the Asian grocery that I can’t read any of the text on. But they’re crunchy, savory with a bit of sweetness, glazed in soy sauce (or something flavored like it), and sprinkled in black sesame seeds. The pairing is just addicting.
But anyway, the tea. It’s a very fine tea, the kind of tea that, after the first steeping, falls away from the inside of your kyusu in one green glop. I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. Okay, it’s not pretty, but it smells wonderful.
At the first sip, I was honestly a bit shocked at the strength of the flavor compared to the lightness of the color. I am finding myself more and more drawn to that grassy, vegetable flavor in Japanese greens, and this has plenty of it.
In my (limited) experience, the second steeping of teas like this holds more flavor than the first. I got all excited as I poured water for the second pot into my kyusu and watched that green blob dissolve into a thick, green soup. The resulting tea was wonderfully cloudy, and held just a bit of astringency with even more of that rich vegetable-soup flavor. No, at that point it was a little less vegetable-y and more…meaty, almost. Wonders never cease; I’ll never understand how a leaf and a bone broth can taste so similar.
My taste in Japanese greens isn’t terribly refined, I’m afraid. Still feeling under the weather and lacking in a sense of smell, this is something else I’ll have to try again later and see how it compares.