267 Tasting Notes
This is just about my worst tea nightmare- hibiscus? berries? Oh lordy. But it was a gift, and before I bring it to the university and unload it upon my department I thought I should at least try a cup. Not feeling optimistic when I see the deep wine colored brew.
Ok, bracing myself.
Yep, tastes like warm kool-aid. Like jell-o mix before it cools. All teas of this sort just taste exactly the same to me. I even blame them for the bad impression I had of herbal teas for years (thanks, Celestial Seasonings berry tea).
Not gonna number-rank this, because I saw my distaste for it coming. If it hadn’t been drilled into my head from a young age not to waste things, I’d probably pour this down the drain.
The tea in my cup is actually a much brighter orange than that of the picture. It’s almost pumpkin colored, and I only steeped this 3 minutes (recommended is 2-3 minutes)
This tea is definitely definitely herbal- distinctly lacking in sweetness. I actually find it tastes very strongly of ginseng, and not at all like jasmine or rooibos. I suppose I can taste the lavender and chamomile too, but no orange either. I’d like this a whole lot more if the citrus and jasmine were more prominent, or the jasmine for that matter.
As it stands, it really does taste like chinese medicinal tea, like something I might have received in the past from an acupuncturist. It’s not too different from when I turn to Traditional Medicinals’ or Yogi Teas’ blends.
As for the effect, I haven’t tried this while really tense yet so I’m not sure if it would relax me per se. Drinking it right now, I do feel pretty mellow.. maybe even a bit drowsy. But I think I was in that state beforehand as well.
So I got this here in Japan as something different to drink when I wanted no caffeine at night. It’s hard being a caffeine-free girl in Japan, and I’ve essentially given up. I can either drink way overpriced coffee, or I can drink caffeinated coffee. I can drink delicious but caffeine filled teas, or miss out on savoring beverages that make me swoon. But I try to do what I can.
So, this tea is one I chronically oversteep. It recommends a 3-5 minute steeping time at full boil, and I tend to just leave the tea bag in my cup, letting the brew become a bit bitter. It doesn’t bother me, but I could avoid bitterness by removing it promptly.
As for vigor, I had no idea this was supposed to give me vigor until right now- I didn’t know the word Hatsuratsu. But I don’t think it’s done much on that account.
As far as taste, this is a very Japanese herbal tea, meaning it isn’t gunked up with all of the sweetners and ornaments we like in our herb teas. (No, they save that for desserts over here.) Instead, it tastes like herb. Like a kind of generic green grass, but definitely not grassy in the way green tea is. This is like the tea equivalent of chewing a leaf of romaine lettuce. It’s actually rather pleasant(ly neutral).
I thought safflower was always sweet in teas, so I am surprised.
This is plain rooibos tea in a bag. Yep. That’s it. I don’t think I’d ever buy this one in the U.S., but I find myself craving rooibos while in Japan, as a departure from green tea (which is amazing, but I can’t drink it after 5pm or I don’t sleep). Muji has a 10 tea bag for 294yen pack, which isn’t bad for Japan rooibos pricing.
You know, considering most flavored rooibos just tastes like rooibos to me anyway, this is just fine. Rooibos even tastes healthy to me. I can actually use these tea bags to make an entire cold pitcher too. Numnumnum.
So I’m living in Japan for a year for research, and this is the first tea I review in a while? Well, truth be told I’ve been awfully stressed, and as my U.S. stockpile of herbal teas is on its way across the ocean to me veryyy slowly, I’ve had to make do with things like chamomile. U.S. Liz is not a big chamomile fan.
However, Japan Liz is a big Muji (Full name = Mujirushi Ryouhin) fan. I love that store, and as I live almost across the street from one, I visit fairly often.
This tea brews into a gorgeous golden cup. No matter how I manipulate the brewing times, I just don’t taste the orange though. It’s much better if I treat this as a straight chamomile. I can see the orange pieces in the tea bags, but they just don’t stand out. At least chamomile actually works to relax me. If I can get myself to a better tea shop soon I probably won’t bother to re-purchase this bad-boy.
So, I’m living in Japan these days and therefore my drinking this is probably doubly odd. But after my millionth cup of green tea, I found myself craving some earl grey. And, I reasoned to myself, there was no real reason to hold out to find a shop that sold it here. The original point of earl grey was to flavor black tea that wasn’t so fresh, in order to make it drinkable. So I allowed myself to pick up some tea at the grocery store. For variety, I decided to try Lady Grey rather than the standard earl grey.
So this has less of a bergamot bite to it, is less peppery than good earl grey. It’s slightly sweet from the safflower leaves in it, and mild. I actually quite like it, and I’m sure in a blind taste test I’d be fooled by this and prove that my preference for higher end earl grey /lady greys is unnecessary.
Considering how much this cost me in Tokyo (I got the loose tea, so yes it does come in loose tea), it was the convenience of nabbing it at the grocery store alone that kept me from holding out. It’s not cheap here.
On this cool grey July day (yes, cool!) in Tokyo, I am enjoying this with my windows open, before I do yoga. It’s a great afternoon cup of tea, and makes me feel snuggly.
p.s. my canister is prettier in the one in the picture. Yay for Japan.
OMG, I’m so jealous!!!!! You’re in Japan???!!! Will you spend all your time in Tokyo or are you visiting other places as well? Do you speak Japanese? AHHHH!!!! Tell me EVERYTHING!!!
I will (and have) visited other places, but I’ll be living in Tokyo the entire year. I do speak Japanese. 日本語も話しますか。Yeah, I adore Japan and I could totally see staying here if my advisor wouldn’t miss me/ I wouldn’t starve from lack of money if I didn’t return to the U.S. in June.
I really like this combination. I was just reading today about the weight loss benefits of oolong (helps to burn calories faster, according to the poster in a local shop, by increasing energy expenditure (EE)). I suppose this is why I typically was served oolong tea while practicing t’ai chi back in the day. But I digress.
I don’t tend to be that into the taste of ginseng, but it goes quite well with oolong actually. The result really, really reminds me of Tulsi (holy basil) tea, if you’ve ever had that. It’s herbal and a bit grassy, tasting predominantly of hay, or fresh straw. If this sounds off-putting, give it a shot, because I am enjoying this and finding it refreshing even on another abysmally hot Texas day. Woo, ginseng power!
I love silver needles and love jasmine, and this is just the cup of mellow I’ve been needing lately. The jasmine scenting is really well done, and doesn’t dominate the cup excessively; despite how muted white tea can be, I can still tell it’s here beneath the jasmine. The result is delicious; definitely a different caliber than the bagged jasmine tea I’ve been downing at local restaurants lately. This is the kind of jasmine tea I can see myself sipping in a shady tea shop, seated at a low tea table, relaxing as the cicadas hum outside. It’s really refreshing, as a good white tea ought to be, and the jasmine reminds me of a sultry hot summer day. I love this kind of tea in the warmer months; it makes a good iced tea too.