I finished the last of this tea this morning, so my journey through Tealyra’s Japanese black teas has reached its conclusion. Each tea was different. They all had different strengths and weaknesses in my eyes. The Wakoucha was smooth and approachable, but also a little too timid and simplistic. The Makurazaki displayed a lovely fruity, syrupy character, but also had a habit of turning astringent quickly and was a little over-the-top. This one had a nicely balanced set of aromas and flavors, yet had a habit of developing a biting astringency on the back end. I liked all three on one level or another, but to be honest, none of them were the type of black tea I would want to drink regularly.
I prepared this tea Western style. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 205 F water for 3 minutes. As with the others, I did not attempt additional infusions. I found that with this tea I had to not only measure the amount of leaf used very precisely, but also time the infusion very precisely. If I failed to do either of these things, it would turn woody and unpleasantly astringent.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted mellow aromas of malt, toast, wood, and plums. After infusion, the dark amber tea liquor emitted aromas of malt, toast, pine, cedar, and plums. In the mouth, I picked up a mix of toast, cream, malt, pine, cedar, cocoa, caramel, and plum notes. The tea gradually became drier and somewhat more astringent as it moved from the entry to the swallow.
Compared to the other two Japanese black teas from Tealyra that I have consumed recently, this tea was more balanced than the Makurazaki and both more aromatic and more flavorful than the Wakoucha. Still, it lacked the sweetness that I found so appealing about the Makurazaki, and like the Makurazaki, it turned astringent fairly quickly. Much like that tea, I found this one to be highly enjoyable overall, yet I did not see it being the type of tea I would want to consume regularly. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try it, but for me, this would grade out as a solid B and nothing more. It was a type of tea that I found easy to appreciate, but difficult to love.
Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Cedar, Cocoa, Cream, Malt, Pine, Plum, Toast