Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Yunomi Tea Reviews Club - Roasted Tea Leaf Blend with Premium Rice

Wow, it's been a while!

We ran out of mineral filters (actually they put back the minerals in the water) for my reverse osmosis water filtering system and somehow every company around us simply stopped selling them. We finally found some after many months and will order them soon.

That's partly why I started reviewing water bottles, as I had to buy them, but they're so expensive in the long run I just couldn't cup tea on a regular basis with these.

Then, the incredible happened; for the first time in my life, I developed seasonal allergies. My doc said it's the climate changes and this year he has seen a record number of patients coming in with allergies they never had before. I will never belittle the symptoms of allergies again. It's not just the stuffy nose, it's like blocked sinuses all over your face.

Anyhow, I finally received my first sample of tea from the Yunomi Review Club and I'm pretty excited!

The steeping instructions were on the package itself, and since there were no preferences as to the type of vessel used, but knew roasted stems and rice would likely make an impression on a porous surface, I went conservative and chose a small glass teapot a friend of mine bought me last Christmas. It came with those delicious and cute flower tea balls. I'm thinking of making a review about them someday, but not any time soon (sorry!).

And so here were are,

Seikoen Tea Factory's Echigo Boucha Roasted Tea Leaf Stems Blended with Premium Rice

As you can see, the stems are beautiful with a general uniformity, and a fair amount of grilled rice. The rice itself is a nice golden orange colour and looks like it was slowly roasted at a lower temperature for maximum flavour!

The dry leaves have a very pleasant aroma of lightly roasted rice and a nutty sweetness emanating from the stems.

The steeping method used is as follow:
5 grams of tea, 200ml of water at 90°C and 60 seconds steeping time in a glass teapot.

To make sure I had 200ml, and because my family decided to intrude my space work, I used a clean Pyrex measuring cup which I reused as a container for the liquid right after steeping. I made sure the vessels were all at a warm temperature as to not interfere with the taste.

The wet leaves almost smell like roasted pumpkin flesh. It's not strong or pungent, but pleasant. I thought it was a blend of stems at first, but the blend does contain some leaves. Stems range from light to medium brown and bright green while the leaves are broken and mostly dark green. The rice looks like nice little pale orange pupae.

The liquor has an almost peachy, amber hue and is partially cloudy. Roasted coffee beans, roasted rice and sweet wood notes emanated from the hot liquid. There's a certain smoothness detectable in this rising aroma.

1st steeping (一煎目)

Taste is reminiscent of black soybean tea (which I very much like, click here for more info), there's a light astringency that builds up but isn't very intense. There's a sort of light sourness at first that smoothens up, reminding me of Barley tea (Very nice as iced tea in the summer! Click here for more information.). There is a general feeling that this tea is very filling. The liquor is liquid as opposed to oily, and of course nutty with a nice roasted feeling. Even though it seems like it would, I found little to no bitterness to it. The liquor is smooth in the mouth leaving you a little woeful once the cup is empty.

2nd steeping (二煎目)

Taste is sweeter and cereal-like (corn), there is less astringency, and a warmness that fills you up physically and spiritually (hey, that's how I felt!), it had a pleasant roasted nuttiness to it.

I really loved that tea. easily a 4.5/5 rating from me. I love nutty teas and this was fantastic. I've had a few hits or misses genmaicha teas, this one didn't miss.

My only thumb down is that the title is misleading. It's really mostly stems, not leaves.

But if you love genmaicha, or nuttiness (like long-oxidized Oolongs), you will want to try this one out!

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