Provided to me in my Steepster Select (http://member.ly/steepster-select) package, which I luckily won for March! Thank you Steepster Select!
So when I opened this package I was surprised because it looks like Yerba Mate! Not that I have a lot of experience with Yerba Mate but that is what it reminded me of. Now from what I know of Yerba Mate it has a lot of caffeine, whereas Sweet Roast Green is low in caffeine so the look of the leaf is where the similarities end as this tea does not taste like Yerba Mate either.
The dry leaf smell is indistinct. I really did not get much of any aroma from it. Steeped however the aroma is robust, grassy, earthy. It tastes exactly as it smells with just the tinniest bit of sweet with a heavy mouthfeel. The color is a golden amber. There is a slight green bean flavor to as well, and there is absolutely no astringency or bitterness.
One teaspoon of Sweet Roast Green to six ounces of water, steeped at a boiling temp for 2 minutes are the recommended instructions. I made no modifications and have before me a perfect cup of a rare and unusual tea. Yes I do realize that it is a green tea, and yes I did say boiling! This is a no fail green tea.
Now I will note, this tea is not going to be for everybody. I could potentially see this as a love it or hate it tea but I do believe everyone should give it a try. Hawaii is an up and coming tea producer of artisan quality teas. The hopes are to replace the struggling sugar industry as per the information provided with my Steepster Select package. I am all for supporting local business and industry and doing something good to help others. I do enjoy this tea very much but could see it being too musky for some, too smoky perhaps. It does have an unusual smell and I can only describe it as being something from a party perhaps in the 60’s or 70’s, now if you know what I am talking about it also has a bit of the same taste. My husband disagrees with me however but everyone’s palate is a different.
The second steep (yes you can re-steep this tea! Yay!) yields a much sweeter aroma, more of a caramel essence peeks through, yet for being named Sweet Roast I get far more of the roast flavor than the sweet. I would not say this is a sweet tea at all. On this second steep there is also a light floral aroma poking through. Much lighter now, the mouthfeel is crisper, cleaner. The same flavor elements are there just toned down. There is a slight nudge toward a genmaicha tasting tea both in the first and second steep although not quite the same there is a resemblance. I feel safe in saying those who love a genmaicha, like myself, would enjoy this tea. It is lacking some of the buttery notes of a genmaicha, and of course the toasted rice, therefore nothing for me to pick out and eat (bummer) but the base flavors do nod to genmaicha.
I did steep this a third time, although I made two cups at a time and by the time I got to the third steep I was getting to my morning tea limit, plus this is a low caffeine tea, probably a mistake to make it first thing after getting up. Could not help myself though I had to try it! The third steep still had nice flavor complexity, but was getting noticeably thinner. Regardless, still toasty, still roasty, but now lacking some of the more pungent flavors from before. Had I not had four cups already I could enjoy this tea on steep three very much. Wow, I just noticed I am already more than half way through cup one of steep three, so there you go. Still good on the third steep but there is no way I am going for four, not today anyway.
Sweet Roast Green Tea (Dark) sells on the Mauna Kea Tea site (http://www.maunakeatea.com/home) for 10.00 per 30 grams or just over an ounce. You can also get a sample size bag for 4.00 which is 10 grams.