Originally published at The Nice Drinks In Life: http://thenicedrinksinlife.blogspot.com/2013/01/organic-tamayokucha.html
Purveyor: Two Leaves and a Bud
Preparation: One bag steeped in about eight ounces of boiling water for 3:00 (as recommended), sipped plain
Here is an interesting specimen: Chinese-grown leaves prepared in a traditional Japanese style. Tamayokucha (also known as tamaryokucha, which altered syllable one would think would alter the entire word) can be processed either via pan-firing or via steaming, and Two Leaves and a Bud made a good choice in the latter. Pan-firing brings out a more vegetal essence in the tea, and while this example certainly has some of those characteristics, it also, because of the steaming, was able to keep plenty of space for sweetness, tannins, and just plain roominess.
The color of the brewed tea is light yellow, rich, translucent, and full of character, not unlike a pigment that might be used in a stained glass window. The aroma is sweet – not honey-like, nor sugary, nor fruity, but sweet. There is also an undertone to the aroma, more of a texture than a scent, really, which gives it a sort of earthy feel, in the same way that one can feel the air in a woodland before and after a rain differently than one can feel it in other settings. (This is surely magnified many times over in pan-fired varieties.) Perhaps the best approximation – and it is only that – of this unique combination of sweetness and texture in the aroma is a steaming-hot mug of green tea ice cream.
This tamayokucha tastes delicate, light, flavorful, pure, with a touch of briskness (surprisingly), and nice tannins (which are at optimal levels). Sweetness is there but not overpowering. The fine-tuned combination of all of those factors yields a delicious brew that really tastes like green tea ought to taste; truly an excellent example of the category.
As per its dynamic character, this tea can serve equally well as a morning get-me-going potion, an object around which to unwind in the afternoon, or (for those unaffected by caffeine) something to make one cozy of an evening. Enjoy.