I think it’s very cute that each of the different types of kukicha in this sampler has a different little bird on it.
It smells like. roasted sticks! With maybe a hint of sweetness. But mostly roasted. Actually, it smells a tad burned. Like if I smelled this when I pulled something out of the oven, I would be a little concerned.
When you add the water, it definitely looks like mud. Kukicha is already a weird tea to explain to your family. Roasted kukicha, even more so. Luckily, no one is home to judge me.
When I went to smell the wet leaves, something in there was…. I dunno, it had a cooling sensation, like maybe something mentholy? I sniffed it a few more times, trying to figure out what it was. I inhaled deeply. And then I sneezed. A lot. So much, my ears were ringing!
I hope I am not somehow allergic to something in this stick-tea. That would be a shame. Well, if I have an allergic reaction and die, I hope whoever finds me thinks to read the screen I am sitting in front of and realizes what the culprit is.
I really need to figure out words to differentiate between different roasted flavors besides Roasted. I guess it’s kind of a roasted grain flavor, like mugicha, but more chlorinated. That’s not the right word either. But I’m unable to pinpoint exactly what I am thinking of. There’s just a hint of effervescent freshness I get every so often, I think I am associating it with something in Tiger Balm or some kind of cleaning product. It’s not unpleasantly chemical or anything, I just wish I could identify it.
It’s dry, in a wood-y type of way, which for some reason is more tolerable with stick-teas. It feels more like a flavor that belongs.
In the third steeping that I left longer than intended, I was pleasantly surprised by a mouthful of …cocoa and cinnamon, almost, rich and dark. I think I really am just very shy of oversteeping and probably not letting these teas reach their potential. Another reason that I should have ordered two of these samplers, hah.
The astringency becomes more pronounced and less pleasant as it cools; this tea seems to be at its best (and most comforting) when it’s piping hot.
Four or five steepings in and my favorite part is the raisin-sweet aftertaste on the roof of my mouth. And… it is comforting. I don’t know what it is about these roasted teas that sometimes just deactivate my racing brain. I guess all teas do that to some extent, but there’s something extra in roasted teas.
This is also making me want to make gimbap for dinner. Sometimes green teas stimulate my appetite and sometimes they suppress it, I really don’t know why, or which. But I think in this case, the comfort of this tea is nudging me towards comfort food, so I think I will go start some rice.