This was my 1st order from Rishi and only my 2nd tea that I know of that was Rishi. I’ve had their matcha prepared at a cafe once. But I could have well tried a sample of something at my local tea shop (they have 7 per day) that was indeed Rishi.
While I absolutely loved Rishi’s daily sales they had last month, I wasn’t going to cave because I have neither the money or the storage space. Til I saw this one. The tea itself didn’t really grab me, it’s the recipe for sole they have on the info page that suckered me in. I’m also also determined to learn to be able to define exactly what umami is, specifically in teas so I want to try every umami tea I can get my hands on. When it comes to trying a recipe for the 1st time I’m very anal about making it verbatum, yes even down to the brand of tea.
As I said before, I have very little experience w/ Rishi’s products and even less experience w/ dealing w/ their company directly but my 1st experience wasn’t a very positive one. I learned a very important lesson: when trying a new company, especially if your purchase will be a small one, investigate shipping. My purchase consisted of just this 50g (1oz is ~28g) pouch of tea which I got for only $3.75 (regularly priced $10) which costed $8 to ship an entire 90 miles. What’s worse, it was supposed to take 4 days to get here (quite long in my book), but ended up taking 9! I can order something from Adagio all the way in NJ, only pay $3.75 for shipping, and get it in a week.
Not only was this my 1st experience ordering from Rishi, it was also my first Kukicha. I opened the pouch and was quite surprised to see 2 different kinds of leaves- tiny, dark green grass clipping like leaves and longer, yellowish green blades. And the smell… Now I’m normally very good about not letting the smell of the raw leaves affect my perspective (I am a huge fan of Adagio’s white cucumber after all lol), but this is… how do I even discribe this? Putrid. That’s it. It smells like wet, moldy hay. Yuck. Oh well. I’ll give it a shot.
The steeping instructions suggest 1TB in 8oz of water heated to 185 degrees for 3-4min. Except for the amount of leaf (which seems like a lot), this seems awfully suspicious of the general steeping times for all greens, including Japanese, that most companies suggest so I went to Den’s Tea’s website to see what they suggest because I know their steeping parameters are unique to each type of tea. Yep. I was right. Den’s suggests 1tsp of leaf steeped in 6oz of water heated to 180 degrees for only 45 sec. Well, I’ll try Rishi’s steeping parameters 1st then try Den’s and compare them.
The discription of this says the liquor is emerald, but that isn’t true. It’s more “the person that used the bathroom before me didn’t flush and I can tell they have a urinary tract infection.” Thank God the aroma is virtually nothing like the raw leaves. There is an extremely faint hay like taste but that is easily covered by the bitter sweet (but definitely more sweet) flavor that they said I should expect. I’m also not getting the creamy mouth feel they discribe.
Conclusions: Surprisingly good tea even using their steeping parameters, but I wish they’d have more unique steeping parameters. I can’t wait to make the sole recipe. I’ll try different brands to compare both flavor and price, but if I decide that this is indeed the Kukicha for me, I’ll be buying it my local tea shop for $5.75/oz (and for every $100 spent I get $5 off). I also have 2 pu erh recommendations that are Rishi. I’m absolutely terrified of pu erh and I don’t want to waste money on something I don’t like so I’ll be buying those locally as well. My tea shop has an awesome return policy. The shipping is just absolutely not worth it, even if the products are.