Yunomi

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

Thank you Togo for the very genous bag of this tea! I had it for the first time last weekend and it made for a very relaxing and comforting late night mug. I steeped it up in the largest Western style mug that I own and that perfectly golden and caramelized toasted barley and almost peanut brittle-like flavour with its delicate roasted coffee undertones couldn’t have been more perfect for a chilly Autumn evening. I actually resteeped the leaf as well in my 30 oz mug I was drinking and, when it comes to resteeping Western teas, that’s something I almost never do – which to me is just a sign of how pleasant this truly was!

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83

Last weekend my sister was visiting, and the weather was so nice that we went and had tea in the park. This was the tea I brought along, which we steeped out in my shiboridashi until the hot water from the thermos was out. As my focus was my sister and not the tea, I didn’t take any session notes.

Very different weather today — rain! — but it also puts me in the mood for hojicha, so I steeped up a couple cups for my work thermos. 5g for 500ml 195F water, steeped 3 minutes western-style.

The dry leaf has a strong “freshly cut” cedar wood sort of aroma, with the vaguest hint of cinnamon. The steeped liquor is a lovely deep brown, somewhere between maple syrup and coffee in shade.

Has a lovely fresh woody flavor, trending to a sweet nutty taste at the end of the sip. Also a mild autumn leaf flavor. A nice roasty tea for a dreary day.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cedar, Cinnamon, Nutty, Roasted, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Do you use the same shiboridashi for several types of tea or only for hojicha?

Mastress Alita

All types, since it isn’t made of clay. (For fine, small leaf, like many green teas, I have to pour through a strainer).

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you. I am wondering just how much tea ware I need. An endless supply, apparently.

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drank Furyu: Bancha Goishicha by Yunomi
1104 tasting notes

Now for another goishicha, a specialty fermented Japanese tea. I will be comparing this to the 2015 goischicha I had recently.

I’m not sure how old this is but I do know it’s younger than 2015.

In the dry leaf, I get pungent notes of red wine, candied lemon peel, old wooden furniture, soy sauce and fermented lemon peel.

Once brewed, the tea is sour as expected. Lemon juice with a thin body and a drying taste-quality that’s similar to sucking on straw, wood and leather. Very mild note of fermented soybean and equally mild mushroom. There’s also a hint of lactobacillus, which I think is the main bacteria responsible for fermenting this type of tea. And there is something I want to call dandelion flowers but which is more in line with the smell of a meadow — goldenrod comes to mind. Seaweed undertone.

Maybe it’s factors related to processing or maybe it’s age/storage, but the 2015 goishicha had a moderate medicinal character that this is lacking. This feels more rough around the edges and like it could benefit from sitting undisturbed for at least several more years. I’m enjoying it well enough. Both are works in progress; the 2015 version, though, is a superior tea in comparison.

Next time I see a goishicha around, I will scoop up a large quantity to store, large enough that I won’t feel pressured to drink it for some time. It’s an intriguing style of tea that I hope will produce a very medicinal brew with time.

Flavors: Candy, Dandelion, Drying, Flowers, Leather, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Mushrooms, Red Wine, Seaweed, Sour, Soy Sauce, Soybean, Straw, Wood

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74

Sipdown 163-2021
Vegetal, bright, green. Really comforting and smooth, easy to drink.

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74

I was craving green tea (which is a rarity) so made a small Yunomi order. This was included as a sample. It’s tasty, but not something I need to purchase. I’ve terrible at picking out notes in green tea- but this is light and vegetal. Mild and easy to drink.

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84

Sampler September! There were only green teas left in my PDX fundraiser bag, and I was in the mood for black tea this morning. Found this sampler from a long ago Yunomi order.

I had a Benifuuki cultivar wakocha in the past and loved it. No idea what cultivar(s) this tea is, but my brewed cup has a deep color and a strong bready/grain-like aroma, with a bit of a raisin/muscatel edge. (Is that a cat hair floating on top? …I choose to ignore that…)

Prepared western, using my own preferences for black tea rather than Yunomi’s guidelines (Japanese brewing guidelines always use a much higher leaf-to-water ratio that makes everything taste bitter to me). So half the sample (2.5g) in 350ml 205F water. I may drop the temperature to their suggested on my final serving, just to see if that makes any difference.

Mmm… the flavor definitely reminds me of the Benifuki black I tried and loved before. Leads with a somewhat malty but strongly bready flavor, with just a hint of raisin and cinnamon in that bread. A strong fruity presense quickly takes over, which tastes of a syrupy cherry and orange citrus. There is a mild florality but mostly it is just floral sweetness… a dab of wildflower honey. Super smooth.

I will have to add more wakocha back into my life… I appear to be a fan!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Cinnamon, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Grain, Honey, Malt, Orange, Raisins, Smooth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
Shae

Can you even have cats without a random cat hair floating in your tea (or drifting slowly past your face)? If so, someone needs to share their secret.

I have had so many sipdowns this month thanks to Sampler September. Such a great prompt. It feels good to get all those little packages out of my cabinet.

Mastress Alita

I’m so used to finding cat hair in the most insane places that it doesn’t even phase me anymore, hahaha. Sometimes I’m certain I ingest just as much cat hair as the cat does…

AJRimmer

Ha yes, the air in my house is fully saturated with cat hair. My partner ends up in front of the mirror fishing cat hair out of his eyes every day, but I wear glasses and never have this problem, so I told him he should get some clear glasses just to keep the cat hairs out.

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83

Happy National Book Lovers Day! Today the prompt is to pair a tea with a favorite book or what you are currently reading.

Right now I’ve been (re-)reading the lengthy manga series Boku no Chikyuu o Mamotte ( Please Save My Earth ), which is one of my favorite series involving the complicated interconnected relationships between a set of people in modern-day Japan (err… it was the 80s/90s at the time of writing!) who discover they all share dreams of a past life they spent together as aliens studying the Earth in a moon base. Flowers and their symbolism play a large role in the story, so I wanted something floral, and preferably, also a Japanese tea.

Then I discovered that I have this (old) tea in my stash and have never tried it, and thought it would be a good fit… a sencha that is blended with the flowery blooms of the tea plant. The flowers are so interesting… extremely light, white, and fluffy, they somehow remind me of pieces of popcorn in the dry leaf. Once steeped, they pillow out and look quite pretty.

The scent of the brewed tea smells like warm butter and a sweet floral that smells closest to sakura to me, with a seaweed vegetal undertone. The tea has a very clean, green flavor: fresh grass, buttered greens, garden peas, and a more subtle umami seaweed note. Marine flavors aren’t a favorite in green tea and this one is extremely mild compared to other sencha I’ve had in that regard. The end of the sip is a sweet floral, but again, not overbearing… the closest I can describe the taste is a combination of honeysuckle with sakura.

It’s a very nice tea, and since I only managed to get around to it far later in the afternoon than I planned, I hope that Yunomi’s claim that this green tea isn’t as caffeinated as others holds true.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Garden Peas, Green, Honeysuckle, Sakura, Seaweed, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
ashmanra

The book sounds neat!

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95

Couldn’t resist a cup of this on this chilly evening. Absolutely delicious, and sadly only a couple cups remaining.

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95

This.is.so.good. It’s finally getting cooler out, and this was the perfect tea to stay nice and cozy this morning. The caramel flavor is perfect. Would absolutely purchase this again.

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95

So tasty. I’ll probably purchase more of this once I run out, which is pretty rare for me these days.

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95

Oh…oh my….This smells absolutely incredible. Like a freshly caramelized creme brûlée. It tastes just as good- rich, creamy caramel flavor combined with the natural caramelized notes of the hojicha make such a good cup. I’d imagine this would be delicious as an adffogato (which is generally where my mind goes with really good hojichas).

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Molasses

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This is definitely not for everyone, but I absolutely love it. The combination of earthy, salty, and tangy is a really comforting combination. The salinity of the konbu and the tartness of the ume is an addictive combination for me. Can’t wait to drink it during colder months.

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78

Sipdown 164-2021
Another really nice green tea from Yunomi. I don’t crave straight green teas often, but every once in a while, I’ll decide to order a few. Really glad I got to try this one- it’s floral and sweet, with a fresh grassy green note.

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78

I drank this a couple days ago and cannot remember a single thing about it. Need to revisit.

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76

While I have not had extensive exposure to Gyokuro, from the ones I’ve tried thus far I’ve found that I’m not that big of a fan of drinking them gong fu (though I do get highly buzzed drinking them that way!) because they just taste a bit too strongly of seaweed/marine notes for me… but I have really enjoyed them cold brewed, which seems to bring out a cleaner, sweeter taste. Since I’ve been exclusively cold brewing lately, I grabbed this 20g sample that I got from Yunomi back in 2018; they source it from Nishide Tea Factory in Kyoto.

With a straight green tea, my preference is 5g for a liter pitcher. Brewed this way, I’m getting a very refreshing brew, with a clean green taste that has a more subtle seaweed note, as well as fresh, sweet grass, peas, cucumber, and mineral water. I get a sweet melon sort of note left in my mouth in the aftertaste of the swallow.

Lovely cold brew, even for such old green tea.

Flavors: Cucumber, Grass, Melon, Mineral, Peas, Seaweed, Spring Water, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal, Wet Rocks

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 5 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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89

Based on Sara’s tasting note, I bought 100 grams of this stuff. I estimated the “2-3 grams per liter” down to 1 gram in 12 oz of water. The main flavor is sweetness, with saccharin, floral, and bitter notes towards the end of the sip. I would say it’s “very sweet,” but still falls short of discovering “too sweet,” which is something I have only heard of, and have never tasted. I shall try brewing it stronger next time. It would also be worth trying as a sweetener in a sweet tea, as Sara has done.

Oh. Oh. Amazing. I tried it with 5 grams of leaf in 12 ounces of water, and… my face is puckering up! Is it too much of the other flavors, or is this actually too sweet? I can drink it, but whoa. I think it is too sweet. Thank you, Yunomi, for this experience. It’s amazing.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

I couldn’t even drink 2g in 12 ounces of water without getting sick feeling from it. I can handle maybe a single leaf in a cup that small, but I kinda gave up on trying to do the small cups and now I just make it in 1L like their instructions say… 2g to 1L, AND brewed with a strong black tea like Yorkshire Gold. The cold brew sweetened black tea is quite nice.

Todd

Note: This stuff can be resteeped lots of times and keeps giving out sweetness. It’s crazy.

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70

I need a new nightly tisane, and was looking through my oldest herbals on my spreadsheet and came across this. I ordered this tea sampler from the Kunohe Village Revitalization Project through Yunomi a long time ago… I was expecting “sweet” based on the name, but didn’t know much about it. Apparently these dried Hydrangea leaves make a sweet tea that is known as “Buddha’s Tea” and drank on his birthday. (I’m quite a fan of Japanese culture but this was all new to me!)

The instructions on the packet are for a full liter, not a cup, so I kinda had to wing it, not knowing how much to brew. A tea blog said they use two leaves (1g) per 100ml so I went with that… but they were also doing gong fu preparation, and I’m more of a western brewer, so I’m still not sure if that’s going to be way too strong…

It steeps a marigold color and smells very floral, but not a flower I could place. There is a honey-like sweetness in the aroma, as well… I think the florality in the scent is driving in a wildflower honey vibe. There is also something about the aroma that smells herbaceous, like a wet straw sort of aroma.

WOAH! It tastes like I dissolved sugar in a cup! The mouthfeel is fuller and silkier than dropping sugar in hot water would be, but the taste! There is almost a toasty flavor, some hot hay, definitely a wildflower vibe, and then a thick, coating sweetness. The feel of it on the mouth sort of reminds me of licorice root, except it tastes more like sugar. So sugar with the coating mouthfeel and lingering aftertaste that licorice root provides? Something like that.

I really have no problem drinking this myself, but I definitely think this little oddity of a tisane would be way too sweet for most. Perhaps dropping the amount of leaf used or the steep time could produce a cup better attuned to one’s personal sweetness levels, though. I do think I brewed this too strong as I’m starting to get that heavy feeling in the stomach that one can get from eating too many sweets. I couldn’t finish the whole cup! (You know that feeling when you think you can eat the whole slice of cheesecake, then you hit that bite where you suddenly realize, “I cannot eat this whole slice of cheesecake”? Very much those feels!) I’ll definitely be playing around with the amount/steeping times.

I was quite curious to see how this would work blended with other things to add sweetness… So my next cup I decided to mix some leaves with plain hibiscus. Everyone (but me, apparently) thinks hibiscus is “too tart”, right? Unsurprisingly, this is the sweetest cup of hibiscus tea I’ve had! Hibiscus too sour for you? Try dropping a leaf or two of this stuff in it…

I also want to try making Southern Sweet Tea using this in lieu of the sugar!

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Hot Hay, Sugar, Sweet, Toasty

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 350 ML
AJRimmer

Sounds fun, I’d be interested to see tea blends sold using this as an ingredient.

Mastress Alita

I was thinking about that too. I put just two leaves of this to steep with plain hibiscus flowers, and it tasted spot-on for that really sweet cranberry juice sold in stores.

Todd

As someone who has never experienced “too sweet,” even after occasionally eating sugar cubes and doing shots of maple syrup, I had to buy this, lol. I wonder how strong I can make it… will start out light and try it gradually stronger.

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50

I didn’t have many options for U in my cupboard for Ode to Tea, but I did have this, and it is a very old tea that needs sipped down anyway! This tea is from Chasandai Tea Factory and was purchased through Yunomi… back in 2018, and is well past its best by date. It was still sealed, but I really should do better, especially with green teas…

While I get a mood now and again for a warm cuppa green tea, I actually prefer it cold brewed, and find that typically works best for me with these neglected, old leaf greens anyway; the instructions said one teabag was for 500ml and my mason jars are 1000ml, so I just dropped two teabags in a jar, left it overnight, and removed them in the morning.

This tea… confuses me. It has this somewhat roasted sort of taste to me, but it is bancha, not a roasted green tea, so I don’t know where it is coming from! Sort of an earthy/minerally, roasted nuts flavor that I often get from oolongs, reminding me a bit of walnuts. I have never had shiso (perilla leaf) so I have no idea if that is what I’m tasting here. Everything I read about perilla says it should taste minty or citrusy, and I’m not tasting either of those flavors… though at least one site says “basil” and “petrichor” and I do see those associations to what I’m tasting. It is kind of reminding me of a softer/mellower tulsi, with a stronger minerality that I can definitely get a petrichor/wet rocks vibe from. There is also a light grassiness underneath, but it does sort of have that “stale” taste to it, more of a dry grass flavor, which is the fault of my neglect, not the tea. I’m not tasting the ume (plum) at all though?! Maybe, if I squint, it kinda peeks out in the aftertaste, but it isn’t as strong as I’d prefer.

For a tea well past its prime, it has that refreshing/thirst-quenching quality I enjoy from cold brewed greens, and I don’t dislike the earthy/mineral/nutty flavor. I wouldn’t say its a favorite either, and am uncertain if that would be different if this were fresher.

Edit: So, after working through two liters worth of cold brew of this, my opinion has changed and I’m dropping the rating. I’m getting this saltiness coming out that is kind of killing the “refreshing/thirst-quenching” quality I go for in cold brewed green teas. None of the ingredients say they are salt preserved, but it is definitely noticable. I think I’ll use the remaining teabags to make rice, which is what I tend to do with “salty” teas since I don’t mind that note in food, but don’t care for it much in a sipped cuppa.

Flavors: Basil, Dry Grass, Earth, Mineral, Nutty, Petrichor, Plum, Roasted Nuts, Salty, Walnut, Wet Rocks

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 10 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
Cameron B.

Shiso is very basil-like IMO.

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85

An Ode to Tea, O Entry.

This tea comes from the Kurihara Tea Farm, but was acquired via Yunomi. I don’t have much experience with Japanese blacks, which is probably why I dropped a 20g sample of this into a very long-ago order. My tastes pretty much never agree with the steeping instructions provided with Japanese teas (which always have water-to-leaf ratios that just aren’t pleasant to me) so I disregarded them and brewed the way I usually make blacks (2.5g per 350ml) though I did drop the water temperature down from my typical 205F to their suggested 195F.

The steeped cup has a smooth, breakfast tea malty/baked bread aroma, with a strong fruity cherry note, and an underlying florality, like a wildflower honey. It’s nice! I’m surprised how fruity this black is! I definitely taste that warm baked bread and malt flavor, but very quickly a sharp floral/fruity taste dominates the cup, tasting mostly of cherries, orange peel, and more subtly, rose. There is a very aromatic feeling left on the tongue, which reminds me of the feeling I get when I drink scented French teas, and a mild drying after the sip. Remarkably smooth prepared this way. I sort of expected this is to be a pretty harsh black and expected I’d be using up the remainder of the packet making lattes, but this is perfect as-is.

Looking forward to sipping this down over the next few days!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Orange Zest, Rose, Smooth

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
Martin Bednář

Wow! That sounds like a wonderful Benifuuki black! Considering I had only two; this one sounds best.

Mastress Alita

I remember sampling one at a teashop in Portland, Oregon, and it was really astringent; I just think unless I’m making the tea, everyone else uses way more leaf than my personal preferences like causing the tea to taste really bitter to me.

Cameron B.

Hmm, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a wakoucha that I would describe as harsh. They’re usually rather light and bready with some hay notes, sometimes almost a bit Darjeeling-esque? The fruitiness here sounds lovely!

Mastress Alita

Ya, Darjeeling-esque is a very appropriate way to describe this!

Togo

I also often find Japanese oolongs and black to be quite harsh, probably because of the broken leaves. I usually try to do super short steeps and use lower temperature in the first few.

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#tiffanys2021sipdown Tea #97 overall / Tea #13 for March

Thursday 3/11 (WRITTEN 3/16/21) - I was about to start my note with “so” and then I realized I think I use the word “so” a lot. After I had planned for the first-time to do three festivals (Toronto, Seattle, and Chicago) one happened + had a blast plus 2nd time to that city/3rd time to country (Toronto), one I went to the location anyway since I had planned a week vacation visiting there for first time (Seattle), and one I went to location anyway since I planned a long weekend, but actual festival was online (Chicago). Anywhoo I got this a sample in my upgraded box for last fall Chicago Tea Festival turned International Virtual Tea Festival (IVTF). The last few years (since 2019?) I’ve been trying to get into more traditional/straight teas. This tea was so lovely, smelled very fresh and green. Sipping wise I had some hot with my @teathoughts v-day box gaiwan and then made the rest cold-brew in 32 oz glass jar. I don’t have better notes for the taste or anything like that, but hope as I get more experience sipping teas I’ll be better in the future.

#tiffanydrinkstea #tiffanys2021 #tiffanysfaves #tiffanyinthe614 #tiffanysteasipdown #sipdownchallenge

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80

Yunomi Kabusecha green tea

Saeakari

2.6g, 100ml Duanni rongtian (yes this is the same one I use for yancha but I didn’t want to bother with filtering out leaves in gaiwan and I haven’t used it in over a month so I will assume this was okay)

This is my first Japanese tea that’s not matcha. Dry leaves have an interesting smell. Extremely seafoody (i suppose the umami?), but also slight matcha-ness. when I first opened my sample, I didn’t expect how strong it would be and inhaled heavily and felt revolted. In the pot, it was fine, but also, lesson learned.

Slightly thick brew that’s a nice light greenish yellow.

140f for 1 min like yunomi suggests on the bag first steep (website says 2 min, but 1 min seems to be more common for Japanese greens in general). Light green color. Very strong seafood, then grass, and then vegetables.

176f for 20s second steep. Maybe a bit more since the spout on my pot got plugged and slowed a bit. Forgot to smell the wet leaves before but they don’t have much smell now, just slightly green and seafood. Astringency that hits, slight seafood, and then grassy vegetables. A bit more sweet on the aftertaste.

Last steep: 200f for 30s. Burnt matcha flavor like when I first started matcha making LOL. Aftertaste is light and grassy.

I tried to push it for one more steep, but nothing interesting to note there. I would say 3 steeps is about what it can handle.

A fun experiment! I can see why people drink Japanese greens on the daily. Pretty unoffensive and refreshing. For now, it’s priced a bit more than what I’m comfortable with given the number of “good” steepings, but if the bookstore decided to pay me more than 5% of what I paid for my textbooks, maybe I’d blow it on some Japanese greens to treat myself.

3/11 update:
Since I’ve heard so much about cold-brewing Japanese greens, I decided to give it a run myself. 5g tea, 500 mL Poland spring bottled water overnight in a Hario cold brew bottle. I saw a 1g:60mL recommended ratio for kabusecha but after trying my standard 1:100 ratio, I wouldn’t make it any stronger. Cold brewing enhanced grassy notes/aftertase (which become much more prominent), as well as umami notes. But it also feels like it’s pulling in way too many directions at once, which didn’t sit as well for my personal preference. I would be unlikely to cold-brew this again.

Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Green, Sweet, Umami, Vegetables

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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81

The black teas from Japan could be weird but the same weirdness can make them unique and appealing (to some people – as there is no worldwide clamoring for them unlike for blacks from China or India).

This tea is less unusual then many Japan blacks I have tried: a lot of malt, some saltiness and a hint of mint. There is also a presence of an alien kind of sweetness, reminiscent of artificial sweeteners. IMHO, the best use case for this tea is to work as a bracing breakfast drink for those who prefer to have salty and savory notes on the malty backbone rather than variations of sweetness.

P.S. The astringent malt REAAAALLY lingers after you long finished your cup.

Flavors: Malt, Medicinal, Mineral, Mint, Salty, Sweet

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75
drank Furyu: Bancha Goishicha by Yunomi
702 tasting notes

Thanks for this sample derk :) It’s the first goishicha I’ve ever tried!

The tea has a pungent aroma. When dry, I detected notes of peach, alcohol, wooden cabinet, and lemon zest. On the other hand, after the rinse the smell is more milky, sweet with notes of fermented fruits and pollen.

Taste itself is very mild and dominated by milky sweetness and lemon-like sourness with a base note of sandy earth. Mouthfeel is very smooth and silky, but not thick.

Flavors: Alcohol, Fruity, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Milk, Peach, Smooth, Sour, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
ashmanra

I had never heard of this type of tea so I looked at all the reviews. Neat!

derk

You’re welcome, Togo :)

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