Yuzu Kukicha

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Black Pepper, Citrus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Ocean Breeze, Popcorn, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Vegetables
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Sample comes from VariaTEA!

I’m basically doing the whole sample from VariaTEA in one go, as a larger Western-sized teapot of it. I was really skeptical of this one, as the smell of the dry leaf is somewhat off putting (peppery citrus and sour grass) and the steeping recommendations are strange. Plus, I’ve not had great luck with yuzu teas as of late…

I decided to follow the weird AF steeping recommendations on the package though: if I’m only making this once then I might as well do it the way they want me to, right? So I measured out my tea leaf, boiled my water to 185F and steeped the tea… for one minute. To be totally fair, it is flavourful even after only a minute of steeping. Now, is it a flavour that I’m on board with? That’s a great question.

It’s weird, to put it simply. I’m not gagging in disgust of anything, though. The green tea itself is actually really roasty tasting – giving me strong roasted brown rice/Genmaicha type vibes, as well as this sort of “popcorn” kind of taste? A tiny touch vegetal/ocean-y in that way that Japanese green tea often is. If this was the only flavour in the cup, I think I’d actually quite enjoy this type of profile. However, it’s not the only thing going on here and that’s where shit gets kind of weird?

So, there’s yuzu in this tea and it’s actually a really strong yuzu flavor. Very distinctly citrusy, with a sort of lemon/grapefruit kind of vibe to it. It’s also really peppery though, and I think what I’m settling on as I sip away at this pot is that as much as I like the lemon/grapefruit kind of notes of yuzu I just don’t really like yuzu ‘as a whole’ because I loathe how strong that black pepper sort of taste is, and how it cuts into the citrus notes. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to my palate.

Even ignoring how much I’m not feeling the peppery notes though, there’s something that feels very inharmonious to me about this heavier roasty elements of this tea alongside that bright citrus note. Doesn’t mesh well, and there’s not a flavour note really tethering the two together. So even though the roast is good and the citrus is good, they’re not quite good together? Or at least that’s where I’m landing on this one, I think.

So yeah – not a bad tea, though some bad qualities. Just kind of a weird and not really for me type of tea? I’m sure some people would love it, though.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Citrus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Ocean Breeze, Popcorn, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Vegetables

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