[Summer 2019 harvest]
It’s always fun to drink teas without knowing much what to expect, but these experiences seem to get rarer as we move along our tea journey, at least unless we specifically design them to be such. Today was the first time I tried a Japanese black tea and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. It turned out to be a bit like an autumn flush Darjeeling with extra umami notes. The most striking feature was the long, pungent and abrasive aftertaste, but the flavour notes were quite interesting too.
Dry leaves smelled of stonefruit pits and burnt meadow/hay, while the wet leaf aroma was more on the side of sweet wood, butter, peach, and anchovies. In the empty cup, I could also detect lavender and aged red wine.
The first infusion was very sharp and astringent with a light body, but a bold spicy, tart and bitter taste. Subsequent steeps didn’t really have any of that bitterness, but had more sourness (rice vinegar), umami (soy sauce), sweetness (caramel), woody and malty notes. The texture also became very smooth quickly, while still retaining a lot of that astringency. The body was medium to light and the mouthfeel fairly bubbly.
Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Burnt, Butter, Caramel, Drying, Hay, Lavender, Malt, Oak, Peach, Red Wine, Rice, Sour, Soy Sauce, Spices, Spicy, Stonefruit, Sweet, Tart, Umami, Vinegar, Wood