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.


  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.

  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.