Though it is a little after 1:00 am here, I’m still up (side note: food poisoning sucks), so I figured I would go through my backlog and select at least one long overdue review to post. This one comes to you all from either late summer or early fall of 2020. I had been looking forward to trying this tea for ages by the time I actually took the opportunity to try it, but it ended up disappointing me.
I prepared this tea the way I prepare most sencha. I started off by measuring out 3 grams of loose tea leaves and then steeping them in approximately 8 fluid ounces of 158 F water for 1 minute. This initial steep was followed by four others. The second steep was conducted with 163 F water and lasted 30 seconds. The third steep lasted 45 seconds and was conducted with 168 F water. The fourth steep lasted 1 minute 30 seconds and made use of 173 F water. The fifth and final steep lasted 3 minutes and was conducted with 178 F water.
Prior to the first steep, I sniffed the dry tea leaves and found aromas of grass, hay, asparagus, chestnut, and toasted rice. After the first steep, I found new aromas of lemon rind, grapefruit pith, kale, spinach, and seaweed. The tea liquor offered mild notes of grass, hay, lemon rind, kale, grapefruit pith, and spinach that were balanced by hints of collard greens, butter, cream, seaweed, sweet corn, sour plum, and sour apricot. The second steep introduced aromas of collard greens, turnip greens, and parsley. Stronger and more immediate collard green, butter, and cream notes appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of parsley and turnip greens. I also detected hints of toasted rice, kumquat, chestnut, and orange zest. The third steep brought forth aromas of lemon zest and kumquat as well as a suddenly amplified grapefruit pith scent. The tea liquor began to turn more strongly vegetal in the mouth. Asparagus notes finally made themselves known, and more of a seaweed presence started to emerge. Very strong notes of collard greens, parsley, grass, kale, and turnip greens were present in addition to interesting hints of sour cherry and pear that were most noticeable after each swallow. The fourth go-round with this tea yielded grassier, more vegetal scents on the nose. The tea liquor offered pronounced sea salt and mineral notes backed by grassy, vegetal hints and some lingering citrus and sour fruit presences. Bizarrely, I just barely picked up on a surprise menthol presence that disappeared as quickly as I found it. The final steep didn’t offer much of anything on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor remained very salty and generally mineral-heavy, but with an increased butteriness. The sour fruit notes were suddenly amplified, but tended to fade fast after they made themselves known. Very slight grassy, vegetal hints remained. By this point, the tea liquor was becoming increasingly astringent, so I cut things off at this point.
First things first, I loved the gorgeous purple tea liquor this tea produced. I promised myself that I wouldn’t be suckered in by this tea’s gimmick, but I was. I was so excited to see a cup full of purple liquid that I took multiple pictures of it with my phone’s camera and sent them all to my best friend. In the middle of the night. On a weekday. Why? Because I’m a chump. That’s why. And I live a very boring, lonely, unfulfilling, unhealthy life. That was true last year when I was drinking this tea, and sadly, it’s still kind of true now. Anyway, getting back on track here, the actual drinking experience offered by this tea was kind of a rollercoaster. It was just up and down. While this tea was unique and did have a lot to offer, it didn’t consistently put it all together in a way that satisfied me. Though I am giving this tea a low score and generally would not recommend it over more traditional styles of sencha, I still don’t think it should be wholly avoided. If anything, it’s definitely worth a try just for the novelty factor it offers.
Flavors: Apricot, Asparagus, Astringent, Butter, Cherry, Chestnut, Citrus, Cream, Grapefruit, Grass, Hay, Kale, Lemon, Menthol, Parsley, Pear, Plum, Salt, Seaweed, Spinach, Toasted Rice, Vegetal