264 Tasting Notes
So I got this here in Japan as something different to drink when I wanted no caffeine at night. It’s hard being a caffeine-free girl in Japan, and I’ve essentially given up. I can either drink way overpriced coffee, or I can drink caffeinated coffee. I can drink delicious but caffeine filled teas, or miss out on savoring beverages that make me swoon. But I try to do what I can.
So, this tea is one I chronically oversteep. It recommends a 3-5 minute steeping time at full boil, and I tend to just leave the tea bag in my cup, letting the brew become a bit bitter. It doesn’t bother me, but I could avoid bitterness by removing it promptly.
As for vigor, I had no idea this was supposed to give me vigor until right now- I didn’t know the word Hatsuratsu. But I don’t think it’s done much on that account.
As far as taste, this is a very Japanese herbal tea, meaning it isn’t gunked up with all of the sweetners and ornaments we like in our herb teas. (No, they save that for desserts over here.) Instead, it tastes like herb. Like a kind of generic green grass, but definitely not grassy in the way green tea is. This is like the tea equivalent of chewing a leaf of romaine lettuce. It’s actually rather pleasant(ly neutral).
I thought safflower was always sweet in teas, so I am surprised.
This is plain rooibos tea in a bag. Yep. That’s it. I don’t think I’d ever buy this one in the U.S., but I find myself craving rooibos while in Japan, as a departure from green tea (which is amazing, but I can’t drink it after 5pm or I don’t sleep). Muji has a 10 tea bag for 294yen pack, which isn’t bad for Japan rooibos pricing.
You know, considering most flavored rooibos just tastes like rooibos to me anyway, this is just fine. Rooibos even tastes healthy to me. I can actually use these tea bags to make an entire cold pitcher too. Numnumnum.
So I’m living in Japan for a year for research, and this is the first tea I review in a while? Well, truth be told I’ve been awfully stressed, and as my U.S. stockpile of herbal teas is on its way across the ocean to me veryyy slowly, I’ve had to make do with things like chamomile. U.S. Liz is not a big chamomile fan.
However, Japan Liz is a big Muji (Full name = Mujirushi Ryouhin) fan. I love that store, and as I live almost across the street from one, I visit fairly often.
This tea brews into a gorgeous golden cup. No matter how I manipulate the brewing times, I just don’t taste the orange though. It’s much better if I treat this as a straight chamomile. I can see the orange pieces in the tea bags, but they just don’t stand out. At least chamomile actually works to relax me. If I can get myself to a better tea shop soon I probably won’t bother to re-purchase this bad-boy.
So, I’m living in Japan these days and therefore my drinking this is probably doubly odd. But after my millionth cup of green tea, I found myself craving some earl grey. And, I reasoned to myself, there was no real reason to hold out to find a shop that sold it here. The original point of earl grey was to flavor black tea that wasn’t so fresh, in order to make it drinkable. So I allowed myself to pick up some tea at the grocery store. For variety, I decided to try Lady Grey rather than the standard earl grey.
So this has less of a bergamot bite to it, is less peppery than good earl grey. It’s slightly sweet from the safflower leaves in it, and mild. I actually quite like it, and I’m sure in a blind taste test I’d be fooled by this and prove that my preference for higher end earl grey /lady greys is unnecessary.
Considering how much this cost me in Tokyo (I got the loose tea, so yes it does come in loose tea), it was the convenience of nabbing it at the grocery store alone that kept me from holding out. It’s not cheap here.
On this cool grey July day (yes, cool!) in Tokyo, I am enjoying this with my windows open, before I do yoga. It’s a great afternoon cup of tea, and makes me feel snuggly.
p.s. my canister is prettier in the one in the picture. Yay for Japan.
I really like this combination. I was just reading today about the weight loss benefits of oolong (helps to burn calories faster, according to the poster in a local shop, by increasing energy expenditure (EE)). I suppose this is why I typically was served oolong tea while practicing t’ai chi back in the day. But I digress.
I don’t tend to be that into the taste of ginseng, but it goes quite well with oolong actually. The result really, really reminds me of Tulsi (holy basil) tea, if you’ve ever had that. It’s herbal and a bit grassy, tasting predominantly of hay, or fresh straw. If this sounds off-putting, give it a shot, because I am enjoying this and finding it refreshing even on another abysmally hot Texas day. Woo, ginseng power!
I love silver needles and love jasmine, and this is just the cup of mellow I’ve been needing lately. The jasmine scenting is really well done, and doesn’t dominate the cup excessively; despite how muted white tea can be, I can still tell it’s here beneath the jasmine. The result is delicious; definitely a different caliber than the bagged jasmine tea I’ve been downing at local restaurants lately. This is the kind of jasmine tea I can see myself sipping in a shady tea shop, seated at a low tea table, relaxing as the cicadas hum outside. It’s really refreshing, as a good white tea ought to be, and the jasmine reminds me of a sultry hot summer day. I love this kind of tea in the warmer months; it makes a good iced tea too.
Don’t judge me, this is another free tea from my school’s health services, and tea help me, I like it. This means that I should probably seek out some peach tea that isn’t just sawdust. Mangosteen and peach are such similar tastes to me that it really doesn’t matter if there’s mangosteen in here. And quite frankly, I’m not kidding myself that I’m gaining any superfruit health benefits from this.
Lipton’s superfruit tea blends actually (almost all) look really tasty though. I can see buying a few of them and hiding them in the back of my cabinet where nobody will ever know. Except, I guess my husband would know. And he’d laugh.
This tastes better than the Republic of Tea bags have lately; those are too weak. Every so often one is super tasty and then they suck me in again… but I have this theory about bagged tea in general- the bag you try somewhere randomly, on a whim is delicious. So you buy a box. And then nothing that comes out of that box is ever as delicious as the teaser-bag you got. Since my Whole Foods often has random free tea bags out by the coffee, this happens to me a lot.
(But the employees like it when you return tea to the store because they get to divide up returned items like that. Or, that’s what a friend who works at WF told me.)
My university wellness center stocks this in their lounge area/waiting room. It’s a sweet kind of spicy and reminds me of essentially every lotion I’ve ever worn in the fall, and every candle I’ve ever gravitated towards in the fall. It’s a really sweet cinnamon chai- and I’m not a huge fan of sweet cinnamon. You could probably just steep cinnamon in a tea strainer and get a similar cuppa.
Still, free tea, right? Yeah, ho hum. It did help my throat feel a little less congested.
I’ve had this for as long as I’ve had the rooibos and black tea chais that came in this present from my mother, but been drinking it less because I didn’t think I wanted the stimulation of mate. Well, now that I have “donated” the black tea version to my department and am almost done the delicious rooibos chai I am turning my attention to this.
Aaaaaannnnd it’s pretty good, actually. I still don’t need the stimulation, but I enjoy the taste of this enough to drink it anyway. The cinnamon isn’t overblown in this version of their chai- and it actually does taste a bit like a chai I’ve had at an Indian restaurant near me. I’m digging the fennel and anise in this. And for those who don’t like mate, but DO like how it makes them zip, the mate is definitely taking a backseat to the spices here. I don’t know how common mate chais are, but this is a good one so worth giving this little startup tea company some business, I’m thinking.
Alas, drinking chai has failed to make it feel more like winter here in perpetually-hot Houston.