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A review of Orange, Lemon, and Jasmine Tea by Kirin
I finally took the time to have this tea the other day after a long walk, or I was out doing errands. Anyhow, I came home and decided to have it. I took one tall glass and filled it with ice cubes and then poured the teas content from the bottle into my cup.
Tea did not need to be shaken or anything; no residue underneath, none at all. Color remains the same in bottle and in my glass; a clear yellowy/orange color. Tea’s aroma is very fruity and sweetly awakening the senses nicely.
I took one long sip of tea and find it to be like drinking tangerine juice or a drink make out of tangerine. I think the orange and jasmine combined nicely to producing this effect of sipping a tangerine drink when it is not.
I was quite taken a back with what I tasted. I had partial drink one afternoon and decided to finish with remainder the next day; and still taste of tangerine. Now one could say that my mind was set to tasting tangerine.
When I went to the giant asian supermarket in Calgary to get my Ten Ren bubble tea, I figured I might as well check and see what kind of bottled milk teas they had around. Alas, no Wahaha, but I did find this Japanese one that was intriguing. Earl grey, definitely want, lavender… maybe. I don’t always have the best success with lavender in teas.
However, this one is very light and pleasant. The flavoring is altogether pretty light, and this actually isn’t very sweet like the Chinese milk teas usually are, so maybe there’s something to this “healthy” business. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of this tea (maybe it’s because I was drinking it with a cranberry orange muffin), but it’s definitely growing on me. I don’t think I taste the bergamot as a distinct entity, but I think it’s contributing to the overall flavor, which itself is difficult to describe. Overall a pretty tasty tea; I might buy a bottle if I saw it again, but I won’t be distraught if I never do.
I was with a friend when I got this and her reaction to it was “that’s just normal tea!” and that is pretty much the feeling I get from it. It’s actually kind of nice, a little sweet, but otherwise unremarkable, not too strong, not too weak, a tea you almost won’t even notice drinking. I give it 4 out of 5 "eh"s.
I am not gonna lie, half of my reluctance to write these reviews this past week has been due to the fact that most of the time I have to add the tea before I write about it. This means finding a picture, and then translating whatever hilarious description the bottle has on it, which is kind of a pain. The only time it’s not a pain is in the case of the crazy blends that the Japanese seem to delight in creating, because it gives me some insight into what the hell I’ve been drinking.
This particular crazy blend, bought on a day when I was feeling a little better caught my attention because it was a morning blend. This means, apparently, that you add a bunch (8) of different kinds of grain to green tea. Also collagen. Well, collagen pretty much goes without saying really. I mean, collagen! The grains, what I can read of them are as follows: corn, roasted rice, roasted rice malt, two different kinds of barley, green tea, and “extraction from namacha” which is not really a grain but oh well. In other words, good times!
The color on this sucker is really dark, I would totally think it was an oolong or even a black tea before I thought it was a green tea. Similarly, the grains have pretty much overcome any of the original taste of the tea – especially the barley and roasted rice/rice malt/whatever. It kind of tastes like Kawa Inka, which is a caffeine-free instant coffee-like drink which tastes marginally sweeter than this stuff. Through the clever method of looking it up on Polish wikipedia and then switching to English, I have determined that this type of beverage is called “roasted grain beverage” which is why you should never let Leonardo da Quirm name anything.
Anyway, it tastes like a “roasted grain beverage” which, since the tea is supposed to be for mornings, and that type of beverage is a coffee substitute, isn’t particularly weird. It was interesting, but a bit too heavy for me that morning, would have have been better off with more oolong. And, well, the loss of the base tea flavor is kind of sad.
Milk teas are kind of an indulgence for me. It’s a little embarrassing to admit to drinking them at all, since they basically go against my entire tea philosophy, being pretty much the tea world equivalent of starbucks coffee-like drinks. In other words, with the amount of sweetener and milk dumped in, the percentage of actual tea in these is pretty low. Still, just like every so often I find myself really wanting some diet coke despite knowing that I am basically pickling my insides, sometimes I just want a nice sweet dessert type drink. This is especially true during the winter when you can get these nice and hot (oh, vending machines with hot drinks, you are so awesome) but sometimes it happens in the summer too. Or, as happened today, I might be in a bakery and the only tea that they have that I have yet to do a write up on is a milk tea. So I guess this time it was fate!
I can’t say that I’ve ever been really able to distinguish between different milk teas, they mostly just taste like very lightly tea flavored sweet milk and this one is no different. The whole zero calorie thing is pretty nice, since I think your standard royal milk tea has at an estimate a billion calories. I don’t think it really detracts from the taste, but I’m not exactly a source to be trusted for that sort of thing, since I’m not really able to distinguish the taste of coke and diet coke either. (I can do it with pepsi and diet pepsi though. because diet pepsi is gross) I mean, I’d probably be able to if I drank them side by side (although why would I do that?), but for me the difference isn’t so severe that I can tell when drinking them in isolation.
The biggest problem that I have with milk tea is that after finishing it I could generally do with a drink. That is, it’s thirst-quenching power is so low that it has circled around and actually causes thirst. Also, it’s got kind of a weird aftertaste – I vaguely recall that aftertaste being present in all milk teas, but a this is my first one during this particular visit, I can’t really be sure, perhaps it’s an effect of the artificial sweetener?
All in all, a nice enough tea latte, and definitely a good substitute if you want a cookie or something.
Another black tea that professes to be unsweetened, this time from Kirin. Thankfully, it does not explain that the tea’s deliciousness derives from tea fairies harvesting the final “golden drops” of tea from teapots in order to make the tea, which, to be fair, coca-cola didn’t EXACTLY say either (but they may as well have). It also didn’t proceed to list sweeteners in its ingredients so I had a good feeling!
The tea is, indeed, unsweetened, although it has a certain very faint sweetness about it that is faint enough to not make me suspicious. I don’t know if its the low temperature steep that did it, but there is an interesting air about this tea, a tiny hint of astringency that never quite comes to fruition. I quite like it, and it’s nice to finally find an iced black tea that isn’t sweetened instead of just pretending to not be sweetened. AND it was on sale, which, unfortunately in a combini means that it’s not been selling particularly well and they are trying to get rid of the last bit they have so they can replace it wish something else. Probably extremely sweet royal milk tea. Or Yet Another Green Tea.
It’s kind of weird to me that the Japanese would be so adamant about sweetening their black teas, when their desserts/cookies/that type of thing are often much less sweet than ones in the US. Ah well, cultural differences!