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Recent Tasting Notes
[2016 harvest, third pluck]
This is a sample from the TTB, thanks Skysamurai for including it. I have never considered ordering Korean teas, since they are so expensive. Therefore, I am very happy I could have tried this one.
It is labelled as a red tea (which is why I categorized it as a black tea), although the 2018 harvest seems to be marketed as a yellow tea on the website. I am not sure if the processing changed, but this one is definitely more similar to hongcha than huangcha, as far as I can tell. It brews dark orange liquor and the leaves are almost fully oxidized, there is just a touch of green hue left to them.
The smell is very interesting. It’s a mix of marine, floral and woody (kind of like barrel aged) aromas – quite a unique combination to be honest. Taste is very nice – mineral, sweet and delicate. I get notes of dried fruit, almond, wet rocks and seaweed. The bitterness is somewhat reminiscent of Wuyi oolongs, but here it’s much more in the background, hidden beneath the strong sweetness. In the aftertaste, I get a very prominent chocolate/cocoa bean note followed by slight maltiness. It’s interesting that these typical hong cha notes only emerge now. The body is good too, albeit not too memorable.
Overall, this is a very nice and unique tea, still retaining some complexity and pungency even 2 years after harvest and despite non-ideal storing conditions.
Flavors: Almond, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Malt, Mineral, Oak, Seaweed, Sweet, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood
Disappointing – has much less flavor than other genmaicha I’ve tried. Strangely, it seems to be lacking both in the flavor of the green tea AND the roasted rice. The instructions make quite a weak brew, but I’ve also tried higher ratio of tea to water and different temperatures than what’s recommended, and that’s only made a slight improvement. The best application I’ve tried is actually cold-brewed iced tea, but even that’s only OK.
I can’t say there’s a smell to accompany the match because well sniffing it can result in matcha up the nose. So the sniffing would have to take place after the water was added/whisked. I have to say I liked this one. It was a little bitter and probably should have added some frothed almond milk for a latte but next time.
Though I paired it with the white chocolate matcha that was sent with the tea samples. Which really brought out the flavor of the matcha. Which is saying something as white chocolate is so not my jam. But wow SO good. I’m tempted to try baking it in some muffins later as I think it would be pretty rocking.