This tea, despite being the cheapest tea in my Yunomi order (I think anyways) was quite tasty. The main area where I noticed a difference was longevity. With all the other teas in this box so far, I’ve been able to get at least three really tasty steeps, whereas this one was basically just the first steep. Yes, I drank the next couple after it, but they paled in comparison.
So, that representative first steep: I used 5g with 175F water for 1m as recommended on the package. The brewed leaves smelled grassy and sweet with a touch of astringency. Basically like a sencha but not quite as nutty I think. The flavor was good, but unexpected. I got grassy sweetness with the unmistakable aftertaste of caraway seeds (the little seeds in rye bread). It was weird. I don’t know if it was a trick of the mind and flavor association, but the tea started tasting a little bready about halfway through the cup. This first steep had not detectable astringency. In my second session, I did a longer first steep at 90s. I felt this ruined the tea lol. Failed experiment. With that longer first steep I got a decent bit of astringency and didn’t get the cool caraway flavor.
In both sessions, my subsequent steeps were much flatter in flavor with a pretty prominent bitterness. The second steep did still boast a slightly sweet grassy aftertaste, but it was unremarkable.
I almost wrote that this was a lower tier of tea than the rest of what I’ve been drinking, but corrected myself, remembering that this is a “raw” tea. Having looked that up, it seems to mean unsorted, so there’s still all kinds of stuff like stems and parts of the leaf not usually used in sencha still in there. It’s interesting to be able to drink something at this stage of production. And while it was good, I think that a direct comparison with a finished and/or blended sencha makes it obvious why production usually goes further than the aracha stage.
Flavors: Bread, Grass