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Soba-Cha (Buckwheat Tea)

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Herbal Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by takgoti
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205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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10 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Too much food. I needed tea but felt too full to have anything with caffeine (it makes sense in my head - work with me). I had some of this thanks to takgoti and thought this sounded fun and...” Read full tasting note
    aug3zimm 911 tasting notes
  • “Last night, I was going to clean the tin that I was keeping this in and I discovered that I had some left. I'd been craving it all week and I thought it was gone. I wasn't too peeved, because I...” Read full tasting note
    takgoti 260 tasting notes
  • “I steeped the tea and sniffed it only to recoil with an "Oh no! It's kasha tea!" Kasha is a strong-smelling Eastern-European grain dish that my family makes. My father loves eating kasha mixed with...” Read full tasting note
    Carolyn 223 tasting notes
  • “I am _so excited_ that Auggy included some of this in the package of tea that she sent me. It sounded so weird and interesting that I've wanted to try it ever since it made the rounds a few months...” Read full tasting note
    sophistre 158 tasting notes

From Maeda-en

Maeda-en’s Soba-cha is made of roasted buckwheat berries, and has a delicious nutty, malty flavor. You can steep it in boiled hot water for 4 minutes (about 1 tbsp per cup), or you can eat it as-is! It’s great on top of salads or creamy soups, or in ochazuke.

About Maeda-en View company

Maeda-En has been in business for the last 25 years as an importer, manufacturer and wholesaler of green tea & green tea desserts. Our Japanese grown, fresh quality green teas are shipped directly from our production factory in Japan to the states and then world-wide.

10 Tasting Notes

911 tasting notes

Too much food. I needed tea but felt too full to have anything with caffeine (it makes sense in my head – work with me). I had some of this thanks to takgoti and thought this sounded fun and pretty interesting for tonight. I’ve never head buckwheat tea, so this should be an experience. Whee!

Brewing, it smells like puffed wheat cereal. Sugar Puffs or something but without the sugar. After pouring, the tea keeps the smell of a puffed wheat cereal but the buckwheat bits in the pot smell a bit liked burned popcorn.

This brews up insanely light colored. Pretty much like when you get hot water out of a pipe that hasn’t been used in a while – the water from the spout seems clear but when it pools in the sink it has a bit of a brown tint. That’s what this tea looks like. But the smell is strong so I don’t think the light color of the liquor indicates faint flavor.

Oh wow. This tastes sweet which is totally surprising because I can’t smell any sweetness, just puffed wheat. The sweetness that comes across in the taste makes it actually taste like Sugar Puffs… or maybe the milk after you eat the cereal (but without the creamy milk texture).

Made hubby try some because, ultimately, he is my guinea pig. He said it reminded him a bit of popcorn and that he liked it because it was unique. He gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

I’m with him in that I don’t think this is something that I could have every day because it is very unique and different. But, I think it would be something I’d like to have on hand all the time just in case. Because this would totally fill any cereal snacking desire I had. Frankly, I find this tea fascinating. Weird but wonderful. Sadly, Maeda-en is out of stock (I just checked).

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

So does it taste grain-liked or malted?


Definitely not malted, total grain. Full on puffed wheat cereal with maybe a little sprinkle of sugar or honey glaze.


Interesting, I’ve seen this (or teas like it) in the International Foods sections of various grocery stores but I wasn’t sure what it was like and was afraid of trying it without knowing (I’ve had some REALLY nasty surprises that way).


I think if you liked either puffed wheat cereal or genmai-cha you should give it a try. It tastes more puffed wheat (I know, how many times can I say that?) but the almost popcorn bit reminds me a some of genmai cha, but I just noticed that similarity when I poured water for a second steep.


I totally sent you this without trying it first myself. Yous guys are my penguins. [You know…how penguins push each other into the water to see if someone gets gobbled up by a seal/whatever first? I know, I watch too many nature shows.]

I think I might try it now. My stomach has stopped protesting quite as loudly and it sounds tasty.


I’ve had both (the genmai-cha most recently – mmm sushi) so it’s good to know I have something to compare the flavour to. :)

P.S. Never down a grass jelly drink – it’s like drinking liquid lettuce – blargh!


@takgoti: No seals in the water – you are good! I’m on my third steep now and made my mom tried it. She liked it!

@Jillian: Grass jelly drink???


People are sleeping in my house and therefore I cannot brew up a cup of tea that I desperately need. :( This sounds ridiculously interesting and delicious! I’m a fan of soba noodles. I’m really curious as to how this would taste.

Grass jelly drinks are disgusting! As is wheatgrass! BLECH.


@teaplz: That’s no fun! How dare they interfere with your tea addiction!

I’m a huge soba noodle fan too! Mmm, might need to have this next time I make soba!


@Takgoti, I’ve seen those leopard seals – they’d freak me out if I was in the water with them and I’m not a 20 lb penguin!

@Auggy, http://www.chinchin.com.tw/picture/cjdb.gif


@Jillian Ew? That reminds me of these.


NASTY. To both of you. Yuck!


Ahh! It’s the Grass Jelly drink’s evil, purple cousin!

Geoffrey Norman

Wow, I am beyond intrigued by this now. If only for the cereal comparison.


Be warned – it is seriously addictive!

Geoffrey Norman

Can it be found in specialty stores like their matcha?


No clue! Outside of Hawaii, I haven’t seen any of their products offered in stores.

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260 tasting notes

Last night, I was going to clean the tin that I was keeping this in and I discovered that I had some left. I’d been craving it all week and I thought it was gone. I wasn’t too peeved, because I ordered some more and it should be in soon, but I was ecstatic when I discovered that I had enough left for a cup.

I think I only have one of maeda-en’s herbal teas left to try from the sampler I got through Steepster Select, but so far this one is definitely my favorite. If teas had emotions, this one would be happy. It’s light and bubbly [as in friendly – the tea itself is not bubbly], but at the same time has an undertone of warmth to it. It’s like biting into a bright little amber gem. Not that that makes any sense.

To me, the flavor shouldn’t be tasty as it is – I think puffed wheat breakfast cereal with a sugar glaze and I think boring [but I like to do breakfast up big, so that may just be me]. There’s something about this that makes it crave-worthy, though. Even after I steeped this three times last night, I could still go for a cup. Or five.

I find it clear, sunny, refreshing, and comforting. In fact, I’m giving it a ratings bump. I really like it. Say hi, Soba-cha! [I really need to stop personifying my tea or I’m gonna start weirding myself out.]
flickr picture | http://bit.ly/82kHtE

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Pretty picture! Love the warmth of that. And I actually thought the infusion would be much darker than that, considering how dark the soba-cha is in the picture. INTERESTING.


can’t see the pic at the office…i’ll have to wait until i get home. i just like saying "soba-cha". it makes me smile.



@teaplz Thanks! Yeah, it surprised me a little too the first time I tried it, but I don’t know why. I mean, dark green leaves don’t produce dark green tea.

@LENA No worries! It’s nothing spectacular, it just made me happy so I took a picture. And HEE, you’re funny. But it is fun to say! Soba soba soba-cha.


Hmmm buckwheat…. interesting. Sounds like it tastes right :P



I roasted some buckwheat kernels and made tea a few weeks ago and I didn’t care for it. I’ve been meaning to try it again though. I think I might have roasted it a little to long. =/ There’s a Japanese restaurant in town called Isa and whenever I go there I get the iced soba cha and it’s wonderful. I really should try making it again.


@Micah Iced? I’ll need to try that when my skin doesn’t try to separate from my body and run back inside whenever I leave the house.


It sounds deeeeeelicious, must get me some of that.

Lena, your office sounds like a lockdown. That or it’s a conspiracy to prevent you from clicking on takgoti’s links. Hey, at least your able to browse steepster =D


@ Ricky – They think the life of a private investigator needs to be bland….or spent looking at Glocks, new concealment options, etc. Which I do as well. My favorites list is quite interesting.

Oh Cha!

This tea looks so interesting! I must try it!!

In appearance it reminds me of this mystery tea that my little old Chinese acupuncturist gave me when I had bronchitis. Strange as the substance was, it was delicious! (And effective!) I’ve been on a hunt to find it ever since.

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223 tasting notes

I steeped the tea and sniffed it only to recoil with an “Oh no! It’s kasha tea!” Kasha is a strong-smelling Eastern-European grain dish that my family makes. My father loves eating kasha mixed with eggs and fried onions and served with a side of pickled herring. (The kasha smells stronger than the onions or the herring.) My husband loves eating plain kasha. (I consider kasha to be a man-dish. One of those strong tasting things that only a man could like.) A few times a year I make kasha for my beloved and then pray for the smell to leave the kitchen soon. Once I made a cinnamon bread at the same time in the hopes that the cinnamon would defeat the kasha. No dice. Nothing defeats kasha. Nothing.

So, here I am sipping the kasha tea, I mean soba-cha. I’m surprised. It tastes good. The tea is roasty and sweet like cereal grains and it makes me feel good to drink it. But it still smells like kasha. I don’t know if I can get over that part. I’m going to share the rest of this tea with my kasha-loving beloved when I get home. Won’t he be surprised and pleased!

Much thanks to takgoti for sharing the experience!

Update: I’ve given my beloved a cup of Soba-Cha and he sniffed it and said, “It smells like kasha” then happily began sipping. He says it is wonderful and a very soothing tea. So I’m upping the rating to acknowledge his liking of the tea.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Leafbox Tea

Is it good to compare a tea to this Kasha???

So this is a hold-you-nose kind of tea…



The tea smells exactly like kasha and I think it actually is a version of kasha when I note that kasha’s other name is roasted buckwheat groats and this is a roasted buckwheat tea. However, it doesn’t really look like kasha. Kasha has grains about four times the size of the grains of this tea. (This tea’s grains look like they’re the size of aquarium gravel.)

A lot of people like kasha. I think it’s a stinky cereal. However, when my husband comes home and the house smells like kasha he gets more excited than when the house smells like bread. So it is clearly a pleasant smell to him and when I’ve made it for guests they’ve claimed to like the smell (or pretended to).

The problem with kasha is that it really isn’t possible to hold your nose. It has a very penetrating aroma that lasts. When I make kasha the house smells like kasha for a week. This tea isn’t quite so penetrating, but it is very strange to catch a whiff of it and think “kasha”.

Aren’t you in New York? If so, it is easy for you to get a bit of kasha. Just go to your nearest Jewish deli and ask for some kasha (they will almost certainly cook it with egg). Or drop by Nathan’s in Coney Island and get a kasha knish.


OK. I just asked one of my co-workers (male) to sniff my tea. He’s pretty white bread in his tastes so he’s a good test of a normal person. He says it smells delicious and makes his mouth water. This lends more support to my hypothesis that kasha is a guy thing.


It’s interesting…I’ve never had kasha, but I’ve had soba. I know that I like soba, but I wonder if the end-product of soba isn’t as aromatic as kasha? I can’t for the life of me recall what it smells like. That’s probably the answer to my question. This one is totally on my shopping list now, though!


I’ve never had kasha or soba-cha, but they both sound great! I’ll have to try it. Thanks.


@sophistre Soba does not smell like Kasha. Soba has a very neutral smell and a slightly nutty taste. If soba and kasha had a cage match, kasha would wipe the floor with the noodle-like soba.

@DragonWell You can have my share of the world-market for kasha. I’m glad it sounds good to you.

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158 tasting notes

I am so excited that Auggy included some of this in the package of tea that she sent me. It sounded so weird and interesting that I’ve wanted to try it ever since it made the rounds a few months ago. The hardest part of getting packages of new tea is caffeine management, or at least enough restraint to achieve something akin to it. A few steeps of Bohea and Golden Monkey were delicious, and I very much wanted to continue down the roster of black teas she sent me, but prudence requires that I consider uncaffeinated options instead. Soba-Cha to the rescue!

Confession: I screwed up my portions. I added my standard 2tsp. to the infuser of my 16oz cup, only to find (after two minutes of steeping) that the recommended amount was a tablespoon per cup! I didn’t add quite that much — just another two teaspoons — because I wanted to have enough left to make more later.

I was never a huge fan of puffed cereal as a kid (except for rice krispies, and even those were hit and miss with me). When I went off to school for highschool I grew rather (unfortunately) fond of corn pops (hello, early freshman fifteen!). I think that genmaicha has completed the revision of my prior wariness, and paved the way for my enjoyment of soba-cha.

And I do enjoy it! The nuttiness is delicious. There’s something just sweet enough about it that seems to recall honey-nut cheerios to me, which is a win. It’s not an incredibly complex flavor, but there’s more complexity than I might have expected, and what’s there is warm, roasty, and savory. The fact that this is not only a caffeine-free option for the evening, but also edible as-is so that it can be sprinkled onto other things — those are just extra wins in my book.

Every now and then I try a tea that I am certain I will get cravings for in the future, and I know that I need to buy it because it’s going to begin creating very specific itches that only it can scratch — like Ryokucha, or the Sticky Rice Tuo-Cha. This is one of those teas. My wallet, it groans with the strain of many upcoming tea orders.

Only vaguely related: I saw in one of Auggy’s tasting notes that she wanted to sing ‘Jimmy Crack Corn’ while drinking this. It kind of made me lol, but I have to agree. This is what I decided to queue up:


(Stuff like this is why I can’t set my itunes to shuffle. This, sandwiched between Burial’s dubstep and things like Arcade Fire, would make for a totally schizophrenic listening experience. The trials and tribulations of having a wide musical palate! These guys are pretty good though. This is the money-tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKTXJUYiAT4 )

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Yay! I didn’t know your stance on herbal-ish stuff (aside from rooibos) so I’m glad I went ahead and included this!

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1 tasting notes

i have not tried this specific bran but i think sobacha is excellent!

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68 tasting notes

This tea almost tastes like brown sugar to me. Well, brown sugar it it wasn’t sweet. I don’t know, it makes sense in my head.

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