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Recent Tasting Notes
This sample came to me from Christina.
The brew time was 1.5 min but I increased to 5 min (like the Harney & Sons one). This buckwheat tea is a lighter colour than the Harney & Son’s tea. Brewed , it’s a tasty buckwheat wheat tea. A lighter roast and not quite as nutty and roasty as the Harney & Sons.
Thanks Christina for sending this sample. I’m really enjoying comparing some of the buckwheat teas.
This is the best lavender tea I’ve had! Really wonderful. The lavender pairs so well with the sencha, giving it this rich, brothy vegetal undertone that is still quite light and pairs so well with the gentle lavender floral notes that leave a minty tingle on your tongue. There are slight citrus notes as well and a bit of honey sweetness. I got a sample of this from a friend, and decided to drink it on a night I was feeling really restless and in need of some calming of the nerves. This really helped. I will definitely be getting more of this tea someday.
Flavors: Flowers, Grass, Lemon Zest
After my first two pots of tea today, I went out to Ribfest.
And let me tell you, I frickin’ goddamn LOVE Ribfest. Despite the humidity, the bandshell with local podunk artists doing bad karaoke, and the overpriced food, I love Ribfest. I gorged on pulled pork and corn on the cob, and then we made sure to buy lots of meat to take home.
Then I had pulled pork and ribs and chicken for dinner. Today was a protein-heavy day, people.
Thus, when it came time to figure out how to top off this decidedly unhealthy mix, I figured that having something savoury and at least vaguely healthy would do me good, so sobacha it was.
I ended up pouring the remainder of my packet of soba into the infuser, which was quite a bit. Probably a few tablespoons. But since I realized I really want to restock a certain sobacha from Yunomi.us instead, I don’t mind.
So I sipped this while watching John Carpenter’s “They Live”. A perfectly trashy end to a day full of perfectly trashy (but fun!) food.
No installment of Sunday Tea and Books tonight, folks! I’m way too tuckered out after the conference, and with my sore throat, I’m looking for comfort teas tonight rather than new experiences.
When it comes to comfort, I think there are few things that compare to a tea that tastes like warm breakfast. Speaking of which – I steeped this guy twice and saved the puffed-up grains for tomorrow morning.
I made this tonight for myself and a friend. I didn’t realize before then how truly absorbent the buckwheat grains are – they really puffed up in the infuser! I’ll probably take the grains and eat them once I finish drinking off the second steep, which I’m currently working on.
The smell of this is like sesame and peanuts. Pretty tasty and roasty, but I still think of the Yamane-en Hokkaido Dattan sobacha I bought a sample of from Yunomi.us – I’m really considering ordering more of that soon.
I bought this hot on the heels of trying my very first sobacha from Yunomi.us a few days ago. The smell of this, when it’s brewed up is lovely. Have you ever had those sesame snap things? Where it’s just like this solid wafer of sesame seeds glued together with a bit of sugar or honey? This tea smells almost exactly like that.
However, the taste is much nuttier and grainer, and not as sweet as the sobacha from Yamane-en. Since the package of this is huge I’ll definitely finish it off, but I think I’ll try sticking to a sweeter variety after this.
I was traveling today, and picked up a bottle of this at the airport. It’s pretty nice. The Jasmine is very sweet and candy-like. I’ve said this about another jasmine tea before, but the smell is very much like the candy shell of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. I probably would not pick this up again, as the jasmine flavoring is a little too sweet for me…
I LOVE this green tea. The steeping instructions say to only leave it in the water for 30 seconds, I say “screw that. I’ll steep as long as I want.” I usually go for 2-3 minutes, and I don’t get any hint of bitterness. I do like my green tea strong; strong and bitter, however, is not pleasant.
The tea definitely has a matcha-taste, despite much of it appearing to stay in the plastic packet the tea bag comes in. Sometimes I dump the dust into my cup, other times I don’t. Depends on how I feel that day! Speaking of the plastic packet…I love that each bag is packaged in plastic that is fully-sealed. I actually got this box of tea at Costco about 4 years ago. Still as fresh today as it was when I first opened the box. Expiry, schmexpiry. Best before dates translate to “more interesting after dates” to me. :) Except milk. Yuck expired milk.
Verdict: would definitely buy this again; in fact, will be going to Costco to pick up another box this weekend.
Picked this up at the Asian grocery store today. I wasn’t expecting much out of it, but the description was promising and I wanted to at least try. So far I’ve never tried an oolong I really hated. This was also a convenient thing to reach for while I waited for the water to heat up for a different cup.
This exceeded all my expectations. It’s smooth, with some floral and honey notes and a strong peachy flavor throughout. A really solid oolong! Sadly this particular store doesn’t sell any oolong loose-leaf, but I did find some decent-looking Japanese greens and some interesting herbals.
Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey, Peach
Another DELICIOUS bottled green tea I bought at Fresh Market! This one is not as crazy strong as the Sencha Shot but has the same bright green yet sweet and nutty sencha flavor. Totally great! I will buy it again, I’m sure, for convenience reasons, though I try to avoid bottled beverages when possible.
Saw this today at the Fresh Market on sale 2 for $2, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. This is actually pretty dang good, folks! Very good for bottled green tea. It is VERY strong, grassy, and a little nutty. Tastes just like I brewed up some strong sencha and chilled it myself. Color me impressed!
If you are on the go and love unsweetened green tea, give it a try!
Today I have dental work done, and everyone knows that having dental work means I need to drink lots of tea, right? Actually I do not think they are at all related, but I wanted a nice Japanese Green to relax me before my inevitably unenjoyable experience. Something refreshing and evocative of spring, something from a store that is far, far away in Pennsylvania. Something like:
Wegman’s Ureshino Tomo Ryokucha. Sadly they do not have an order online function (if they did I would never have to bother my friends to mail me my favorites when I drink them all) but through research and rumors I believe their distributor is Ito En so in a way this is a review of both a Wegman’s tea and Ito En’s. Ureshino (meaning it is from Ureshino, Saga Prefecture, Japan) Tomo Ryokucha (or Guricha, curly tea) is a pan-fired tea with absolutely lovely leaves. The aroma is is very refreshing, a blend of vegetal and sweet mixing notes of spinach with scuppernongs. After these initial notes fade you are left with a gentle citrus aroma that just kind of tickles the nose. This tea is certainly sweeter than most Japanese greens, which I find very intriguing.
When I introduce the leaves to their new watery friend I am greeted with the aroma of freshly roasted chestnuts, how surprising! After the initial chestnutty surprise I was able to detect the sweet smell of fresh hay or, if you are into that kind of thing, the smell of woodruff. The liquid itself smells much more vegetal mixing nicely with tones of chestnut and fresh grass.
Ah, I wish I had any skill at writing Haiku, because truly this tea deserves poetry (in its traditional native form of course) but I don’t so I must make do with flowery speech. Sometimes a tea is mild and it is boring, a real let down, sometimes a tea’s mildness is so wonderfully perfect that you wonder why you would ever want anything stronger. This tea fits into the perfectly mild category (or the Haiku comment would be just sad) with the main note being roasted chestnuts leaving a very sweet aftertaste. After the initial chestnut sweetness the taste of mown hay and a tiny taste of spinach. I wanted a tea that tasted like spring time and refreshed me, and this one certainly works.
The first time I even had Soba tea, I had been in Japan for only a few days so far, and was sitting in a small parlor at a government center in Japan, and was served this as I waited. It tasted like cheerios in a cup, and is so delicious. It took me a long time to find out the english translation – buckwheat tea.
I highly recommend trying it – you may find it at a Japanese or Korean grocer.
Each teabag is designed for 1 pot of tea; 200cc of water for 2 small cups of tea. Let it cool a bit after poring/removing tea bag. Served hot or chilled with no sweetner or milk.
This isn’t bad if you are picking up a bottled tea. Now, I drank most of it with a meal of sticky rice and honeyed tempura chicken, so I didn’t get any of the green tea out of it. Even when I drank the last 1/4 there wasn’t any green tea flavor in it.
But the jasmine is a lovely aftertaste. It is a lot of jasmine, but I like knowing that it is there in an aftertaste. Really nice and refreshing. Pleasantly sweet as well.