Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Yunomi: Seikoen Tea Factory: Echigo Bocha, Roasted Stem Tea, A Tea Review

I should probably offer up an apology to my Instagram followers, the last few days you all have been inundated with my newest obsession...altering Magic cards. I love painting miniatures but have been getting increasingly frustrated with their cost, running out of places to put them, accidentally breaking them (I sat on my Malifaux Izamu's Naginata after it had fallen off the shelf, not cool) and oh god dusting them, I wanted something to paint between miniatures and altering magic cards just seemed perfect. I was really nervous about it and delayed a while, my mom and grandmother are the canvas painters...I always looked at a canvas and could not figure out depth. Oddly learning to paint by using miniatures really gave me skills to paint a 2D surface and not have it be flat. So yeah, sorry about the flood of zombies and general Black Mana nonsense...it is far from over!!

Today I am going to look at another unusual tea from Yunomi, their Seikoen Tea Factory: Echigo Bocha, Roasted Stem Tea, a roasted Kukicha blended with toasted rice to make an extra toasty Genmaicha, that in of itself is not what makes it unusual (though the difficulty of finding a Hojicha style Genmaicha is one I have bemoaned many times.) What makes this tea unique is how it is stored, aged in a Yukimuro or 'snow room' which is, you guessed it, a room stuffed full of last season's snow and kept at a balmy just below zero. You can find a bunch of high-end Japanese products advertised as being aged in a Yukimuro, it is thought that the snow (rather than just using a freezer) gives a smoother and sweeter taste and richer aroma while removing any unpleasant aromas from storage. A thing born of necessity in cold Niigata in a time before electricity has been turned into an art. My thoughts when opening the package and sniffing the leaves: Oooooh yum! Gentle smoky sticks blend with toasted rice give a slightly burnt toast, roasted nuts, and autumn leaves, it is very soothing and a decent bit savory.

Brewing the leaves makes my tea area smell like burnt popcorn and toast, with undertones of rice crackers and nuttiness. It smells like food and honestly, the smell of it steeping is making me salivate. The liquid free of the stems is just straight up rice cakes and popcorn, it has me really hungry, I legit have used Hojicha and Genmaicha as a food substitute when I have been too sick to eat, they were staples when I was recovering from gallbladder exodus and tonsil removal surgeries. It is liquid comfort.

The taste is really quite good, the roasted stems bring in notes of gentle smoke and grain, while the toasted rice brings in notes of popcorn and rice cakes. It starts savory then fades into gentle sweetness, and if you are like me and wander away from a cup and come back after it has cooled a bit you will find the taste is even sweeter. I really like there is no wrong way to brew this tea...want it super strong in the roast department, then steep it forever...want it really light and sweet, then give it short steeps, no matter what you do to it you end up with a tasty tea. Did the storage in the Yukimuro make a difference? I honestly can't say, I would love to get ahold of this tea not stored in the snow room to do a comparison, but I will say that it is a delicous roasted tea that delivers a strong and nuanced taste and if you are a fan of roasted teas get some...I know I plan on getting more!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.

No comments:

Post a Comment