Saturday, October 17, 2015

Yunomi: NaturaliTea #11 Autumn Bancha Green Tea, A Tea Review

It is a bit brisk today! I learned this when I woke up this afternoon to both of the cats burrowed into me seeking warmth. Tao got very cross when I decided to leave the blanket pile, even going so far as to dig her claws into me (gently, well, gently for Tao, she is such a beast) when I moved. Espeon just made sad noises in her sleep, which was really quite pitiful. After extracting myself from the bed, tucking in the cats, I finally gave into the evils and opened the heater vent. Looks like autumn is well under way!



Since it is autumn, why not go for a thematically appropriate tea? From Yunomi and NaturaliTea, #11 Autumn Bancha Green Tea, this tea is grown in Shizouka and is harvested in early October, meaning that yes, this is 2014's harvest since it is just now harvest time. The aroma of these MASSIVE leaves (seriously, the tea frog is very happy to sit on this pile of leaves) is quite sharp, like sniffing a pile of fresh oak leaves, cut grass, a touch of nuttiness, these leaves smell like nature, like being outside, enjoying all the various leaves and grass smells nature can offer. I know people say stop and smell the roses, but don't forget the leaves, stems, pollen, and all the other parts of the plant, sniffing them is awesome too!

Into my green gaiwan that pretends to be a houhin the jumbo leaves go for a nice hot bath. Bancha does best steeping at hotter temperatures, the more delicate Sencha would burn...pretty sure Gyokuro would just explode. The aroma of the soggy leaves is grassy and leafy, yeah the leaves smell like leaves, specifically oak leaves and fresh tea leaves, freshly plucked right off the plant. There is also a bit of fresh spinach and just a touch of sesame seeds. The liquid is bright and green, I smell colors! Seriously though, the aroma is very fresh and green, like gently steamed spinach and grass, oak leaves, and crushed vegetation. It smells like nature, I keep saying that, but it is very much so a distinct smell of growing things.

Tasting this tea is like tasting a pile of leaves, and I am totally ok with that! It is not really vegetal (there is a tiny hint of spinach) it is straight up vegetation. Bright notes of cut grass and sweetgrass, sharp notes of oak leaves and tea leaves, the green notes of gently crushed vegetation similar to the smell of leaves as you walk through undergrowth. It is very green and very fresh tasting, for all that this is an autumn harvested tea, it tastes like the full growth of summer. I got a couple more steeps off of this tea (but totally derped and forgot to take pictures, sorry about that) and the taste stayed pretty much the same, with an increase in strength at the second steep and the third steep had a toasty note which added a fun bit of depth.
A photo posted by Amanda Wilson (@soggyenderman) on

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