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Recent Tasting Notes
I was travelling yesterday so long by train..
It was railway rallye after all. 25 hours, 1026 km (do not count travel to start and from finish place).
We finished 5th from 13 teams. Good.
I bought this “tea” in vending machine, expecting for the rpice it would be something better than usual Lipton Ice tea.
Sweet drink with nothing like oolong taste. Just sweet water. Bleh. Poured to glass, it is rather like black tea. Dark brown, bit cloudy.
A review of The European Jasmine Tea by Suntory
Tea Name: The European Jasmine Tea
Tea Type/Varietal: green
Steeping Vessel/Amt. Leaf: soft drink
Liquor Color: golden amber—-light cinnamon
Leaf Characteristics: When I opened the tea bottle which had been in the refrigerator for many days there was not that pungent jasmine scent as I was very surprised since expecting of this.
I poured the tea in my cup and decided to have this with my evening meal. I took several sips of the tea whilst eating and noted the dryness of my palette and the fragrant aroma of the jasmine as I swallow the tea, which by the way is astringent as well. No sweetener at all. Tea is coldly unappealing.
I was thinking to throw the remainder of it away but then thought to microwave it for a minute or two and see how that fares up. I inadvertently put it for two minutes and walked away to wash my hands and when the microwave beeped, I opened the door, reaching for the cup which was piping hot and burned my fingers. I was so very mad at myself for being so dumb and not careful enough. I have had a horrible day so the burning was to awaken me to my on-going demise. I am numb with pain and yet the burned finger was to un-numb the numbness, instead I am feeling that it only added to my foolishness and stupidity. I let others use me and it is tiresome; but only I see this or I don’t see.
Anyhow, tea when warmed for two minutes livens the aroma of the Jasmine plant to that wow…pew! I was expecting when I first opened the bottle and the taste is still very astringent but not as drying as when the tea was iced tea. That coldness/dry mouth dissipates a bit more-so as tea is warmed.
Would I purchase this again? No
Did you find the tea’s color to your liking? Yes
What of the tea’s aroma? As an Iced tea, the aroma is that of a dry white wine, that parch dryness effect from the jasmine plant as apposed to a tart, crisp apple.
This is good tea but not for this reviewer; her days with Jasmine are getting worse and worse since burning my fingers; I am taking this as a way to stay away from Jasmine; all things jasmine. I pray I remember this and don’t buy anything else.
A review of The Oolong—Cha by Suntry Soft Drink
Product of Japan
Ingredients: Water, Oolong tea, vitamin C.
Color: Pure Brown leaf
I finally stopped and fixed myself a glass filled with ice of this tea and I must say it is a divinely nice tea. It is malty in flavor with a tart aftertaste of nectarine or a very newly, freshly picked peach, and not yet ripe. It is crisp and tart and I find I like this combination. I did not experience this in a hot cup of Oolong tea but with this cold iced tea.
It fits well when needing to quench a thirsty palate.
This is another good purchase from Miso Market, thanks.
I must admit bottle tea is my usual choice but the “black oolong” title sucked me into buying it to try. I thought it is a heavily oxidized oolong, but I “need” to try what this black oolong is.
3 days ago:
Open bottle, the smell is definitely heavily oxidized oolong, but with a hint of burnt sugar sweetness. Nutritional label (translated by importer presumably) doesn’t suggest added sugar, but past experience tells me to be skeptical on what these translated label say.
The first sip is definitely a heavily oxidized oolong. No weird burnt taste, which is good, but there is a left over acidic mouth feel that is very off-putting.
Again label told me it has Vitamin C added to the tea, perhaps that contribute to the sour aftertaste?
Being an chilled bottled tea I really wasn’t expecting much, but I really don’t understand why a product that has a natural dark colour, sitting in a bottle with most content covered by the label has to have Vitamin C added, which I bet contribute to the undesirable aftertaste! After all, plain tea shouldn’t need preservatives???
Today I drank it again. I in fact was pondering whether to give it to the plants. For the sake of finishing this experiment, I had another cup. Hm…the sour aftertaste was bothering me still…Nah…rest to the plants…
Wu long is certainly mentioned a lot when it comes to weight loss tea, but this black oolong is certainly not my cup to weight loss, even if I am serious about looking for a weight loss tea – there are many other much better oolong to make the “weight management” journey more enjoyable!
I used to drink this 3-4 times a week for several months when I first discovered it. It’s the kind of bottled tea you drink, and before you know it, you’ve finished a whole bottle! Some days I ended up buying two bottles just for lunch, because it disappeared so fast.
It can’t compare to tea at home, of course, but it’s allright to pick up when you’re away from home and thirsty. It’s definitely one of my favourite bottled green teas in Japan, and possible to buy at almost every street corner from a beverage vending machine.
Slightly bitter taste, but try it along with a quick meal of (Tonkatsu) Curry Rice, and it’ll be great!
About one week ago I said that there might be a limit to how good a tea can taste when bottled and iced. I take that back – at least to some degree. Perhaps a bit ironically, it would be The “European” Jasmine Tea who made me change my mind.
Being from Europe myself, I found it pretty interesting how a European jasmine tea would taste, considering that I have never heard about this in Europe nor knowing that apparently “all” Europeans have the same preferences when it comes to jasmine tea.
The taste was however quite the pleasant surprise! As Ewa earlier pointed out, this jasmine tea had a more subtle jasmine flavour, comparing it with the other jasmine teas I have been drinking here or at Asian restaurants back in Norway. The absence of strong jasmine flavour removed the usual bitterness and made the taste much more round and delicate, which in my book, is a very, very, good thing. Even the hot version did not make any strong bitterness.
This is definitely a tea I would like to enjoy while relaxing in a park during the last chilly part of this Autumn. At least as long as the colourful scenery lasts.
Iyemoncha seems to be quite popular in Japan, produced in a certain tea garden in the Kyoto prefecture (Unfortunately, I was unable to read the name of this garden), and possible to buy almost everywhere in its cold, bottled form.
I feel however that there is a limit to how good a tea can taste when bottled and iced this way. The taste is not what I would call bad, but has notable signs of “wasted” quality and did not really meet the expectations I had.
After trying the hot version and getting a somewhat better taste from it, I feel that the best way to drink this tea is to buy the leaves themselves and make it at home.
I picked this up in hopes of cheering myself up during the long search to rediscover chocolate milk tea. As an instrument of cheering up, you have to admit it is pretty rad. I mean, the name alone is already hilarious. When you add that to the extremely frou-frou looking bottle and the fact that what they describe it as is pretty much the exact opposite of what it tastes like…oh Japan, I love you and your insistence that you can just call things “European.”
Anyway, so the description of this said that it was supposed to be extremely fragrant because that is what (all) Europeans like. In actuality though, I found it to be much more subtle than the other (Japanese, one must assume) jasmines that I’ve tried while here. In fact, I quite like that aspect of it – I felt I got more actual “tea” taste out of it than I have the other ones which were basically just all about the jasmine. I think it wasn’t as sweet as the other ones as well, so I’m wondering if the base green tea was different (it was probably European).
I actually tried this before the premium blend, it’s Suntory’s base oolong tea, so I wasn’t really expecting much except for the whole “helping with my nausea” thing. I have to say I was quite pleasantly surprised by it.
Despite being straight oolong tea, it was also quite light in strength, I thought and similarly did not have much of that aggressively oolongy taste that you get with other brands. In fact, it was a little sweet, and quite nice. Probably my current favorite bottled oolong.
So I had a midterm for my intensive program this past week and I basically got really tired from reviewing for it and just did not feel like doing much of anything else. Part of my review assignments was the construction of sample grammar point sentences and I am probably weird but I just find it really difficult to pull sentences out of the aether with “use this grammar point” being the only guideline. It taxes my imagination, which is simply not that fertile, and makes me want to not do much of anything else. I DID jot down notes about the teas that I drank, so time for some backlogging!
Despite the fact that most of the time I try not to acknowledge it, I actually have kind of a delicate stomach, made worse by my ignoring it and putting whatever the hell I want in it. This week I think the change of environment finally caught up with me, so from wednesday-ish on, I basically constantly felt mildly nauseous – which probably also contributed to the whole “not feeling like doing anything” thing. Anyway, to try and combat this, I invoked the power of OOLONG. Oolong is (apparently) often used in teas to aid with indigestion! Indeed, most other drinks were contributing to my discomfort while oolong actually helped, so that was good!
This particular oolong, is blended with what one of my classmates assures me says sweet olive tea. Apparently to make it look pretty. The result, while not quite “gold” in color as the wrapper claims, is a very interesting smooth and kind of light oolong. By this I mean that the almost smoky kind of taste that is present in some oolongs is completely nonexistent. There is also no aftertaste to be had, which is why I have mentally labeled it “oolong light.” or possibly “lite.”
Thought that I’d go ahead and try the standard Iyemon Cha today since most of my experiences with the rest of them have been so good. In fact, from what I can tell from the website, after this is done, I just have the Hoji cha left to try before I am completely done with the Iyemon lineup. Progress people! There IS an end in sight.
I found this tea pretty smooth, if a little thin. It’s slightly bitter but only slightly and, while at least it is not all over the place with it’s green tea flavor like whatever yesterday’s tea was, it could still stand to be a bit more assertive about itself. It seems very much to fade into the background even as you drink it, which, of course, may be the point. Before you know it, it’s gone and you have to go out and buy some more! I’m wondering if I find that the mehness I have about it’s taste has anything to do with comparing it to the extremely assertive taste of the koime. It’s possible! But either way, the Matchairi Reicha still wins over both of them. Oh Matchairi Reicha…will I ever be able to drink you again?
I am really starting to think that I like the Iyemon lineup from suntory the best out all of the bottled teas. Perhaps it is their association with “an authentic tea company” (that is seriously in the company’s description of the tea) but these teas seem to just have so much more character than a lot of the other bottled teas. What’s more, the character they have is much more sophisticated than a lot of the stronger teas who seem to be relying on a philosophy of “RAR TASTE THE STRENGTH OF MY TEA”
Which, in a brilliant and smooth segue that I have just ruined by pointing it out, leads me to today’s tea, which is brewed deliberately strong because apparently that is how the Japanese did it in olden times. The difference from their other green teas is obvious just from the color, which is much darker than their other teas. From the color, you could be forgiven for assuming that it was an oolong tea, although it is not quite dark enough for a mugicha. The taste is similarly quite strong and, while I like it all right, I found it a bit too bitter. I also found myself missing the taste of the matcha that the other Iyemon teas have…still, I prefer it to the hojicha…
Yay, another day of avoiding coca-cola products! Why do I want to avoid coca-cola products? I guess I don’t really know, except for the sneaking suspicion that if anyone can find a way to sneak high fructose corn syrup into green/barley/whatever tea without telling anyone, it’s coca-cola.
Suntory has several of these “Iyemon” teas, so it’s a name that should pop up a good number of times in these reviews after this. I have to say I am quite taken with this one, though. The taste of the matcha is really noticeable and it gives the tea a nice smooth finish while still managing to be quite refreshing. It is definitely a tea with personality where, I think, a lot of these teas will end up being classified by me as “Yet Another Green Tea.”
This is only a limited edition run so probably once summer ends you won’t be able to get these anymore, which is pretty standard really. The same happens to a lot of the hot drinks after winter is over. The question is, whether it’s a limited run and will be back next year, OR whether this is IT, because if so, I should definitely drink more of it since it’s so tasty. There are still a lot of teas to go though, so I’ll try to control myself.
While probably more well-known for its beer, Suntory actually has a line of tea and coffee drinks that are available all over China and Japan. One of their newer products is something called Hei Wulong (Black Oolong). It comes in 350 ml bottles, and can be bought either cold or hot. Suntory advertises it as more concentrated compared to its standard wulong tea drink and pushes the “health aspect” of the drink, claiming it has at 245 mg of tea polyphenols, and that it helps to “flush out” excess oil from food.
Had some pretty oily fried rice for lunch today, and not being able to brew a proper cup of tea at work, I decided to give this a shot. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the tea.
Drinking a cold bottle of this left me feeling pretty refreshed. It did help deal with the oily fried rice that I had for lunch, and I imagine it would’ve been even more effective if I got a hot bottle of this instead of a cold one.
It has a slightly floral scent to start and ends with a strong finish that’s a bit earthy and just a touch bitter. Mildly astringent, the flavor definitely isn’t as layered as a freshly brewed cup of tea, but it’s still pretty good! It wouldn’t be fair to compare this straight up to a properly brewed cup of tea. But for a good balance between convenience and quality, it’s hard to beat this for a nice afternoon treat.
P.S. – The shop I went to earlier had 2 versions of the tea, one for the Japanese market, and another for the Chinese market (both by Suntory). I ended up going with the Chinese market version which cost a reasonable RMB 5.9 which comes out to about USD $0.90, as compared to the Japanese version which cost RMB 21 – about USD $3. It just felt weird paying more than 3 times the price, when the tea leaves for both versions probably came from China anyway! :P