Alright, this will be my last review of the day. I wanted to switch things up a little bit with this one and dig a little further into my backlog. This was one of my sipdowns from mid-summer of 2020. It’s interesting to me that not only did I seem to like this tea way less than previous reviewers, but I seemed to perceive its aroma and flavor very differently as well.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I measured out 3 grams of loose leaf and stem material and then steeped it for 5 minutes in approximately 8 fluid ounces of 194 F water. I did not rinse the leaf and stem material prior to steeping nor did I attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to steeping, the dry leaf and stem mix emitted aromas of straw, hay, earth, raisin, and prune that were underscored by a subtle pine scent. After infusion, I picked up new aromas of cinnamon, grass, roasted almond, ginger, baked bread, honey, cream, and malt. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of straw, hay, grass, roasted almond, malt, cinnamon, cream, earth, baked bread, pine, orange zest, and plum that were accompanied by hints of raisin, prune, honey, ginger, pear, red apple, cocoa, roasted peanut, and smoke. The liquor turned increasingly astringent in the mouth with moderate bitterness. On each swallow, an oak presence jumped out, while impressions of fruit, malt, pine, hay, straw, grass, earth, and baked bread remained.
Compared to the other What-Cha Benifuuki black tea that I tried last year, this was a better offering overall. It was gentler, smoother, and more pleasant with better integration and balance of its aroma and flavor components. That being said, it was still a bit harsh and displayed a very strong, overbearing energy that contributed to lasting jitteriness for me. This did not strike me as being a bad tea, but I also would not place it among my favorite Japanese black teas. Overall, I guess it was pretty good. I wish I could say it was better.
Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Bread, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Dried Fruit, Earth, Ginger, Grass, Hay, Honey, Malt, Oak, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Raisins, Red Apple, Smoke, Straw