I didn’t have many options for U in my cupboard for Ode to Tea, but I did have this, and it is a very old tea that needs sipped down anyway! This tea is from Chasandai Tea Factory and was purchased through Yunomi… back in 2018, and is well past its best by date. It was still sealed, but I really should do better, especially with green teas…
While I get a mood now and again for a warm cuppa green tea, I actually prefer it cold brewed, and find that typically works best for me with these neglected, old leaf greens anyway; the instructions said one teabag was for 500ml and my mason jars are 1000ml, so I just dropped two teabags in a jar, left it overnight, and removed them in the morning.
This tea… confuses me. It has this somewhat roasted sort of taste to me, but it is bancha, not a roasted green tea, so I don’t know where it is coming from! Sort of an earthy/minerally, roasted nuts flavor that I often get from oolongs, reminding me a bit of walnuts. I have never had shiso (perilla leaf) so I have no idea if that is what I’m tasting here. Everything I read about perilla says it should taste minty or citrusy, and I’m not tasting either of those flavors… though at least one site says “basil” and “petrichor” and I do see those associations to what I’m tasting. It is kind of reminding me of a softer/mellower tulsi, with a stronger minerality that I can definitely get a petrichor/wet rocks vibe from. There is also a light grassiness underneath, but it does sort of have that “stale” taste to it, more of a dry grass flavor, which is the fault of my neglect, not the tea. I’m not tasting the ume (plum) at all though?! Maybe, if I squint, it kinda peeks out in the aftertaste, but it isn’t as strong as I’d prefer.
For a tea well past its prime, it has that refreshing/thirst-quenching quality I enjoy from cold brewed greens, and I don’t dislike the earthy/mineral/nutty flavor. I wouldn’t say its a favorite either, and am uncertain if that would be different if this were fresher.
Edit: So, after working through two liters worth of cold brew of this, my opinion has changed and I’m dropping the rating. I’m getting this saltiness coming out that is kind of killing the “refreshing/thirst-quenching” quality I go for in cold brewed green teas. None of the ingredients say they are salt preserved, but it is definitely noticable. I think I’ll use the remaining teabags to make rice, which is what I tend to do with “salty” teas since I don’t mind that note in food, but don’t care for it much in a sipped cuppa.
Flavors: Basil, Dry Grass, Earth, Mineral, Nutty, Petrichor, Plums, Roasted Nuts, Salty, Walnut, Wet Rocks