“This smells like a fish tank!”
That’s what my boyfriend exclaimed after he opened up the little Gladware takgoti sent me containing Ryokucha. I laughed at the time, but I couldn’t shake the idea that it kind of DOES smell like a fish tank.
Anyway, Ryokucha, Samovar’s version of the popular genmaimatcha blend. It’s neon-green from the matcha, filled with powdery-ness, with little bits of puffed rice and sencha. Certainly one of the more bizarre teas that I’ve come across, but I’m pretty much up for anything. If I lean in a bit closer, I can pick up traces of nuttiness and a buttery note. I got some of the matcha on my fingertips while trying to clean my teaspoon, and those were definitely highlights of the scent.
Anyway, steeping this up was a memorable experience! It looks like an explosion at the fields surrounding a nuclear waste facility. Cloudy neon-green murkiness, random leaves, bits of rice floating at the top. The entire thing is really bizarre.
The pour is pretty weird too. Now I have radioactive liquid in my cup, and there’s all the sediment left behind. The wet leaves smell a lot like puffed rice cereal. Very toasty and delicious smelling. I was tempted to eat the rice out of the pot, but I didn’t think that was such a good idea.
The tea itself smells really, really good. Very roasty-toasty buttery notes. Mmm.
So how does it taste? Very, very complex, for starters. I guess the best way to describe it is if your morning cereal got invaded by marine life and grass. I should probably explain that a bit further. There’s the toasty component of the puffed rice, which adds a delicious nutty note. There are hints of a milkiness that come across a lot in the aftertaste and sweet taste that lingers on the palate after every sip. The forefront of the flavor is an almost oceanic taste, with a slightly grassy component. Maybe like kelp. But in a good way.
As it’s cooled, the milky taste becomes more prominent, overtaking the puffed rice taste. This tea is thick and silky. It definitely has a mouthfeel, and it’s almost making me feel full. I haven’t felt that way about a tea before – it is like a meal. And for the sweetness in the aftertaste, you can almost certainly pick out very savory components as well. I could see this making an excellent foundation for soup, as they prepare it at Samovar.
The very bottom of the cup is a tiny bit astringent, but the rest was silky smooth. I usually drink my tea with a spoon at the beginning, that way I can sip it when it’s very hot. I used that spoon to continually stir it, so I don’t have any dregs at the bottom. And yay, you can finally see the bottom of the cup! Cause this stuff is MURKY. SWAMP MURKY. SWAMP THING IS IN MY TEA.
I think I’m already starting to feel the effects of the caffeine, even though I haven’t finished the entire cup yet. This one is kind of more than a tea. It’s more of an experience. A foodie experience. A radioactive foodie experience.
Yeah, I think the caffeine is definitely kicking in. I’m hyper-concentrated, but at the same time, prone to just random tangents of nothingness.
Okay, I think it’s time to end the review now, before I start jumping around and breaking out in song and dance.
And this was such a rational review before, too!