Today I have dental work done, and everyone knows that having dental work means I need to drink lots of tea, right? Actually I do not think they are at all related, but I wanted a nice Japanese Green to relax me before my inevitably unenjoyable experience. Something refreshing and evocative of spring, something from a store that is far, far away in Pennsylvania. Something like:
Wegman’s Ureshino Tomo Ryokucha. Sadly they do not have an order online function (if they did I would never have to bother my friends to mail me my favorites when I drink them all) but through research and rumors I believe their distributor is Ito En so in a way this is a review of both a Wegman’s tea and Ito En’s. Ureshino (meaning it is from Ureshino, Saga Prefecture, Japan) Tomo Ryokucha (or Guricha, curly tea) is a pan-fired tea with absolutely lovely leaves. The aroma is is very refreshing, a blend of vegetal and sweet mixing notes of spinach with scuppernongs. After these initial notes fade you are left with a gentle citrus aroma that just kind of tickles the nose. This tea is certainly sweeter than most Japanese greens, which I find very intriguing.
When I introduce the leaves to their new watery friend I am greeted with the aroma of freshly roasted chestnuts, how surprising! After the initial chestnutty surprise I was able to detect the sweet smell of fresh hay or, if you are into that kind of thing, the smell of woodruff. The liquid itself smells much more vegetal mixing nicely with tones of chestnut and fresh grass.
Ah, I wish I had any skill at writing Haiku, because truly this tea deserves poetry (in its traditional native form of course) but I don’t so I must make do with flowery speech. Sometimes a tea is mild and it is boring, a real let down, sometimes a tea’s mildness is so wonderfully perfect that you wonder why you would ever want anything stronger. This tea fits into the perfectly mild category (or the Haiku comment would be just sad) with the main note being roasted chestnuts leaving a very sweet aftertaste. After the initial chestnut sweetness the taste of mown hay and a tiny taste of spinach. I wanted a tea that tasted like spring time and refreshed me, and this one certainly works.