So here we go with another Japanese black tea from Tealyra. I dug this one out of my stash a couple days ago in order to compare it to the Wakoucha. The two could not have been more different. The Wakoucha was thin, smooth, and delicately malt. This tea was sweet, fruity, honeyed, and syrupy with a more pronounced astringency.
I prepared this one Western style. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 205 F water for 3 minutes. I did not attempt any additional infusions. In two earlier sessions, I tried steeping this tea for 5 minutes, and while the longer infusion amplified the tea’s fruitier, more syrupy qualities to a ridiculous degree, it also brought out the tea’s natural astringency in a big way. I would recommend sticking with the 3 minute infusion if you’re only going to steep it once.
Prior to infusion, the mostly jet black, broken leaves produced noticeable aromas of ripe plums and honey underscored by hints of malt and spice. After infusion, the dark amber tea liquor emitted almost unbelievable aromas of honey, plums, toast, malt, and cinnamon. In the mouth, the tea produced a flourish of honey, cinnamon, plums, apricot, and cocoa before introducing milder notes of cream, toast, and malt. The finish was astringent and somewhat woody, though lingering impressions of cinnamon, honey, malt, and plums were easy to note.
This was a very aromatic and flavorful tea with an abundance of body and texture in the mouth. The astringency was a little off-putting at first, but I doubt it would be troubling for anyone accustomed to BOP grade black teas or any sort of traditional black tea blend. Though this may not qualify as the highest grade Japanese black tea in the world, it did make for an extremely pleasant drinking experience. I would say give this one a shot if you happen to be looking for a unique black tea with a lot of flavor.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Malt, Plums, Toast, Wood