Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Yunomi: Ogose #08: Naturally Grown Wakoucha, Shizuoka Black Tea, A Tea Review

So, yesterday my phone went missing, which was very unsettling. It was, as I suspected, with Ben, and will be for a few days now. His phone died a miserable death (it was a piece of garbage anyway) and he needs one for work, so I said he could borrow mine until his new one arrives. I am only regretting this decision a little, mostly because my day feels like it hasn't started. When I develop a routine and it gets interrupted I tend to become very disoriented, so starting my day has been super hard.

Today I am looking at Yunomi's Ogose #08: Naturally Grown Wakoucha, Shizuoka Black Tea, and let it be said, I have a serious fascination with Wakoucha. This is more than my usual obsession for the darker teas, I just love teas that are not necessarily 'normal' for the region it is produced by. When most people think of Japanese teas they picture the vibrant greens, they produce a ton of other teas but the greens are iconic, so you know I go all 'gimme gimme' at the black teas! The leaves are delicate and slightly curly, with aroma notes of malt, lychee, yuzu, distant flowers and a bit of a brisk woodiness. It is not a very aromatic tea, it is light and sweet with a very crisp quality.

Into my shibo the leaves went, at this point I had far too much fun watching the floating stems. The aroma of the wet leaves is malty and woody, with notes of peanuts, toasted soy beans, a bit of honey, and distant crisp citrus. The liquid is sweet and malty, with light notes of honey and mochi, giving it a starchy quality. At the very end is a distant citrus quality like a fresh peel of yuzu.

Ah, that is a mild tea! It is very smooth while also being crisp, not at all bitter or brisk, the crispness coming through like biting into a citrus of some sort, it is more texture than taste. The flavor starts with a sweet lychee and smooth malty start, it then moves into a roasted soybean and mochi (specifically the mochi not the filled sweet) for a sweet yet starchy middle. The real surprise was at the finish where the tea picks up a coconut and sage leaf quality giving it an almost savory tinge. Sadly this tea only really had a single steep in it, the second was very mild and almost ghostly, so I thought to myself, why not cold steep the rest of my sample?

Cold steeping was a good idea! This really brings out the lychee sweetness and crisp citrus notes for one of the most refreshing cups of a chilled black tea I have had in ages. I was amazed at how sweet it was, really it was like someone took black tea and squeezed a bunch of lychees into it. The tea is enjoyable hot but I definitely recommend trying it cold steeped as well.

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

2 comments:

  1. I put a lot of effort into finding black teas in Japan and Korea last year, on a vacation to both countries, just to try something different from those places. Sadly both versions seemed so-so, since without tea being the focus--Disneyland and Seoul Land were instead--I could only buy what I happened to find. There isn't much to conclude from trying one very random sample. It's nice that this sounded much better.

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  2. This one had been the best of the several wakoucha I've had, Yunomi has a bunch that I still hope to try at some point. Balhyocha is still probably favorite tea, it's just so hard to find, and there is debate if it should count as a black, but it tastes like it belongs in that group more than any other.

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