Saturday, July 19, 2014

An International Tea Adventure With Four Mysterious Korean Teas

Yesterday I had quite the adventure, Ben and I had a day out gallivanting around town visiting our favorite stores. At our local gaming store he a new game that we have been lusting after (Dropzone Commander, hello Wargames, at long last!) and I needed to swing by my much loved International 888 Market to get more of my trusted Sea Dyke Brand Shui Hsien Oolong. While there I noticed a bunch of Korean instant (and one not instant) 'herb teas' for 6 for a dollar. I had one of those 'let's have a fun, cheap adventure' moments and got one of each. At the time, I had no idea what these were, well except the Corn Tea, which is a much loved treat of mine, I have used the interwebs to hopefully properly identify these teas. If by chance I have gotten them wrong, please feel free to comment a correction!

First up is (what I believe to be) Damtuh brand Sprouting Brown Rice Mugwort Tea, made from germinated brown rice, mugwort, wheat, black beans, barley, and job's tears. Snipping the little package open and giving it a good sniff (while not getting powder up my nose, win!) you can certainly tell this is a rice and grain based drink. It smells like sticky rice, regular rice, and cereal with a little bit of sweetness, kinda reminds me of Cream of Rice.

After I mix it with warm water and give it a thorough stirring...and then let it cool enough so I don't burn my tongue, it is time to taste this rice based tea. It is really quite tasty, if you are into drinking warm and slightly creamy tea that tastes like a mixture of nuts, green things, and sweet cream of rice. Conveniently I am, but as Ben was kind enough to tell me, this one might be a very acquired taste. Especially since you have to stir it constantly or it more or less forms cream of rice at the bottom of your cup.

Next on our adventure is Damtuh's Han Tea which is a blend of Jujubes, pine nuts, ginger,almonds, and  concentrated Ssang Hwa Tea powder. This one smells a lot like nuts, brown sugar, dates, and dried fruit. It is super sweet, almost syrupy, and adding water to it makes it even sweeter.

This tea is an odd one, it starts out really sweet, like brown sugar oatmeal with dates and nuttiness, but it has a distinctly herbal bitterness at the finish that makes it a bit unpleasant. Also the nuts and bits floating around in the tea kept causing me issues, sadly I ended up dumping this one down the drain.

Every adventurer has a few hiccups in their journey, and now that mine is (hopefully) over, on to the next tea! This one is Damizle 10 Cereal Mix Powder Tea Drink for which I could find no real list of ingredients, just a promise that it has ten different cereals in it, fun! You know what, it smells like breakfast, like a mix of various Chex cereals, some barley, a little bit of oatmeal...it is a smorgasbord of grain.

This tea is delicious! I have such a weakness for teas that taste like cereal and grain that it is no surprise that I would love this, really I love everything about it. From its grainy almost pudding like texture to its variety of cereal tastes and sweetness. I could drink this for breakfast everyday if I wasn't going on a Gluten Free diet soon!

Last, but certainly not least, is good old Dong Shu Corn Tea! It is a nice tea made from roasted corn, the smell is like a mix of popcorn, sweetcorn, roasted coffee, and touch of burnt. It is another one of those smells that makes me feel like I am tucked under blankets on a cold day.

Oh dear, it seems I have been doing this wrong...one of those big ol' bags is enough to brew a pot of tea and not a cup. I guess I like this stuff strong! The taste is exactly like the smell, roasted corn, sweet corn, a touch of toast, and a bit of earthy graininess to it. There is also a similarity to roasted coffee, just without any of the coffee elements, it is probably the only roasted tea I have seen any real similarity to coffee other than a few Hojicha here and there. What can I say other than, have fun, visit your local Asian Market and find some new and quirky tea to try, who knows, maybe you will love it!
Also, new game! 

5 comments:

  1. All those teas sound like a real taste adventure.
    YAY for new game!!!!! WARGAMES!!!!!

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  2. Sounds like some interesting and diverse infusions are occurring!

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  3. Sounds like some interesting infusions occurring!

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  4. Wow...those are some of the weirdest sounding blends I've ever heard of.

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  5. Tisanes are very popular in Korea. I don't have a place locally to find them, but will do a little adventuring on the web. Thanks for the reviews.

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