67
drank Kukicha by Rishi Tea
865 tasting notes

This was my 1st order from Rishi and only my 2nd tea that I know of that was Rishi. I’ve had their matcha prepared at a cafe once. But I could have well tried a sample of something at my local tea shop (they have 7 per day) that was indeed Rishi.

While I absolutely loved Rishi’s daily sales they had last month, I wasn’t going to cave because I have neither the money or the storage space. Til I saw this one. The tea itself didn’t really grab me, it’s the recipe for sole they have on the info page that suckered me in. I’m also also determined to learn to be able to define exactly what umami is, specifically in teas so I want to try every umami tea I can get my hands on. When it comes to trying a recipe for the 1st time I’m very anal about making it verbatum, yes even down to the brand of tea.

As I said before, I have very little experience w/ Rishi’s products and even less experience w/ dealing w/ their company directly but my 1st experience wasn’t a very positive one. I learned a very important lesson: when trying a new company, especially if your purchase will be a small one, investigate shipping. My purchase consisted of just this 50g (1oz is ~28g) pouch of tea which I got for only $3.75 (regularly priced $10) which costed $8 to ship an entire 90 miles. What’s worse, it was supposed to take 4 days to get here (quite long in my book), but ended up taking 9! I can order something from Adagio all the way in NJ, only pay $3.75 for shipping, and get it in a week.

Not only was this my 1st experience ordering from Rishi, it was also my first Kukicha. I opened the pouch and was quite surprised to see 2 different kinds of leaves- tiny, dark green grass clipping like leaves and longer, yellowish green blades. And the smell… Now I’m normally very good about not letting the smell of the raw leaves affect my perspective (I am a huge fan of Adagio’s white cucumber after all lol), but this is… how do I even discribe this? Putrid. That’s it. It smells like wet, moldy hay. Yuck. Oh well. I’ll give it a shot.

The steeping instructions suggest 1TB in 8oz of water heated to 185 degrees for 3-4min. Except for the amount of leaf (which seems like a lot), this seems awfully suspicious of the general steeping times for all greens, including Japanese, that most companies suggest so I went to Den’s Tea’s website to see what they suggest because I know their steeping parameters are unique to each type of tea. Yep. I was right. Den’s suggests 1tsp of leaf steeped in 6oz of water heated to 180 degrees for only 45 sec. Well, I’ll try Rishi’s steeping parameters 1st then try Den’s and compare them.

The discription of this says the liquor is emerald, but that isn’t true. It’s more “the person that used the bathroom before me didn’t flush and I can tell they have a urinary tract infection.” Thank God the aroma is virtually nothing like the raw leaves. There is an extremely faint hay like taste but that is easily covered by the bitter sweet (but definitely more sweet) flavor that they said I should expect. I’m also not getting the creamy mouth feel they discribe.

Conclusions: Surprisingly good tea even using their steeping parameters, but I wish they’d have more unique steeping parameters. I can’t wait to make the sole recipe. I’ll try different brands to compare both flavor and price, but if I decide that this is indeed the Kukicha for me, I’ll be buying it my local tea shop for $5.75/oz (and for every $100 spent I get $5 off). I also have 2 pu erh recommendations that are Rishi. I’m absolutely terrified of pu erh and I don’t want to waste money on something I don’t like so I’ll be buying those locally as well. My tea shop has an awesome return policy. The shipping is just absolutely not worth it, even if the products are.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaEqualsBliss

They have some interesting stuff

Cofftea

2nd infusion, 4 min. Definitely not the “That person needs an antibiotic” liquor of the 1st infusion although it is more cloudy and opaque. Like a dark chicken stock? And the flavor… holy sweeTEAness! While there is definitely a light savory note in the the background. This infusion is not bittersweet at all. Just sweet.

Cofftea

3rd infusion, 5 min. Liquor is very much like infusion 2. Flavor is solid, crisp, clean, and sweet. While not creamy in taste at all, I think I might be starting to get the “creamy” mouthfeel that they discribe. Although I’d call it clean and smooth. The word creamy to me implies a thick texture, and that definitely doesn’t apply here.

Cofftea

4th infusion, 6 min. Hmmm… Interesting. Very white tea-esk both in liquor and taste. I like it!

Wiseman Tea Co.

I enjoyed reading your detailed review of Kucicha. Towards the end you mentioned that you’re terrified of Pu-erh I’m curious to hear why? I watched a documentary stating that in China Pu-erh bricks are valued in excess of a million dollars. I wonder if Pu-erh will ever gain popularity in the U.S. market.

Cofftea

The one I tried was absolutely vile, but I’m gonna be brave and try a chocolate pu erh tomorrow. Really only because it’s chocolate lol. Especially since there’s also rooibos in it, and I’m not a fan of that either.

Wiseman Tea Co.

I admire your courage! Initially, I was a bit put off by the smell. In fact a customer of mine described it as poo erh once, real original right? But I began to appreciate Pu-Erh because of the complexity, and body of the brew. Thick and malty it has the consistency of a cup of coffee. I look forward to hearing your review of a flavored pu-erh, I cannot imagine what that is like.

Phil Hovatter

I’ve had a serious approach / avoidance conflict brewing inside of me regarding pu erh. I still haven’t tried it (being a noob, I still have many things that don’t give me pause that I want to try), but I created a baby steps custom blend on Adagio. It’s 50% peach oolong, 20% cinnamon, and 30% of the dreaded pu erh dante. I haven’t tried it yet (I have to get the coin together to actually buy it), but I designed it to be a gentle introduction to the world of pu erh. If any robust sole would like to be my guinea pig and report on your experience, I would be greatly appreciative. You’ll find it in Adagio’s blends section under the catchy name of (wait for it…) Peach Pu Erh.

Cofftea

If you like chocolate, give Numi’s Chocolate pu erh a shot!=D

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Comments

TeaEqualsBliss

They have some interesting stuff

Cofftea

2nd infusion, 4 min. Definitely not the “That person needs an antibiotic” liquor of the 1st infusion although it is more cloudy and opaque. Like a dark chicken stock? And the flavor… holy sweeTEAness! While there is definitely a light savory note in the the background. This infusion is not bittersweet at all. Just sweet.

Cofftea

3rd infusion, 5 min. Liquor is very much like infusion 2. Flavor is solid, crisp, clean, and sweet. While not creamy in taste at all, I think I might be starting to get the “creamy” mouthfeel that they discribe. Although I’d call it clean and smooth. The word creamy to me implies a thick texture, and that definitely doesn’t apply here.

Cofftea

4th infusion, 6 min. Hmmm… Interesting. Very white tea-esk both in liquor and taste. I like it!

Wiseman Tea Co.

I enjoyed reading your detailed review of Kucicha. Towards the end you mentioned that you’re terrified of Pu-erh I’m curious to hear why? I watched a documentary stating that in China Pu-erh bricks are valued in excess of a million dollars. I wonder if Pu-erh will ever gain popularity in the U.S. market.

Cofftea

The one I tried was absolutely vile, but I’m gonna be brave and try a chocolate pu erh tomorrow. Really only because it’s chocolate lol. Especially since there’s also rooibos in it, and I’m not a fan of that either.

Wiseman Tea Co.

I admire your courage! Initially, I was a bit put off by the smell. In fact a customer of mine described it as poo erh once, real original right? But I began to appreciate Pu-Erh because of the complexity, and body of the brew. Thick and malty it has the consistency of a cup of coffee. I look forward to hearing your review of a flavored pu-erh, I cannot imagine what that is like.

Phil Hovatter

I’ve had a serious approach / avoidance conflict brewing inside of me regarding pu erh. I still haven’t tried it (being a noob, I still have many things that don’t give me pause that I want to try), but I created a baby steps custom blend on Adagio. It’s 50% peach oolong, 20% cinnamon, and 30% of the dreaded pu erh dante. I haven’t tried it yet (I have to get the coin together to actually buy it), but I designed it to be a gentle introduction to the world of pu erh. If any robust sole would like to be my guinea pig and report on your experience, I would be greatly appreciative. You’ll find it in Adagio’s blends section under the catchy name of (wait for it…) Peach Pu Erh.

Cofftea

If you like chocolate, give Numi’s Chocolate pu erh a shot!=D

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Are you a company or tea blender on sites like Adagio that would you like your tea reviewed? If so, please e-mail me @ [email protected].

What I most enjoy from obtaining samples from companies to review is that it helps me to better learn to drink and review teas from a more objective perspective, meaning more of the “This tea is…” point of view rather than the “I like/don’t like” this tea. I feel objectivism in tea reviews is EXTREMELY important because no two tea drinkers tastes are exactly the same. I’ve also been extremely surprised by several teas. I love recieving a sample I think I will be only writing an objective review on, only to completely fall in love with it upon tasting it.

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Tea tastes:
I will ALWAYS pick loose leaf over tea bags. I only drink bagged tea if that’s my only choice or I find a flavor that I can’t find a loose leaf version for. When I do drink bagged; however, I always weigh my bag and am constantly curious as to the weight/flavor ratio- sometimes I am quite surprised by the flavor punch of light bags.

I have a preference for organic and fair trade teas (preferably both), but would never pass up an amzing tea just because it isn’t organic and/or fair trade.

I love savory teas.

I’m currently searching for a chai flavored soy powder or a soy based chai mix (either already mixed or a recipe).

I hardly EVER sweeten my teas. I feel that sweeteners (unless flavored like tea honeys, brown sugar, ice cream topping syrups, flavored coffee syrups, etc) do not add anything to the flavor profile of tea- in fact, I’ve found that they dumb down the flavors.

I NEVER serve my tea over regular iced cubes- I always make tea cubes.

I LOVE cooking w/ tea and making smoothTEAS.

I LOVE tea blending.

I rarely drink herbal teas unless they are mixed with true teas. My favorite herbals to mix with true teas are: spearmint, peppermint, lemongrass, rose hips, and gingeroot.

I can’t stand anything w/ fennel or anise. Hot black teas (except orange pekoe bagged tea that you get when you go out to eat and chai teas) tend to upset my stomach.

I drink matcha daily and love flavoring it. I’m also in a constant search of preflavored matchas.

I’m constantly searching for information on how to prepare tea authentically according to its country of origin.

My Tasting Notes Ratings (edited 8/8/10)
1: I can’t even stand the raw leaf enough to make this (I’ve never owned a tea w/ this rating, but I’ve smelled some before buying resulting in me NOT buying them that were that bad)

2: I steeped this tea but couldn’t stand the aroma enough to get it past my nose

3: I immediately gagged at the 1st sip and spit it out.

4: I manageed to get the 1st sip down, but I tossed the rest.

5: I drank the 1st cup but I can’t bring myself to resteep

6: Made it thru the entire set of infusions but I can’t bring myself to tinker w/ the parameters and won’t be making it again.

7-10: Does not taste anything like the ingredients or name suggests (i.e. Adagio’s Sour apple)

11-25: I can taste some of the ingredients, but the flavor is severely lacking

25-49: Teas that I would not consider bad in their flavor profile, but certainly below average

50: Average.

51-69: Teas above averge, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling them “good”.

70-75: Very good, but still room for improvement

76-85: Above average flavor profile

86-90: REALLY good flavors

91-99: Almost PERFECTLY achieves the goal of the ingredients and name of the tea.

100: Abosolutely perfect teas!

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