Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: ESP Emporium
Here, we have two green teas, which were combined to an exceptional premium tea blend. The characteristic of Japanese Genmaicha is supported wonderfully by our smooth green tea. This creation is perfected by the added strawberry pieces and a finely balanced flavor composition.
Learn more about this tea here.
Since I’ve tried a few ‘unconventional’ Genmaicha blends lately I wanted to do something different with this one, which is why I cold brewed it. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever done that before with a Genmaicha blend; I can’t easily bring an example to mind.
I have to admit it was a little weird tasting a cold brewed Genmaicha; the green tea wasn’t anything exceptional nor was it disappointing but the strong, drawn out notes of roasted brown rice – which took on a near barley taste, were more intense than I would expect from Genmaicha. More like a good mugicha than anything else, to be honest.
The strawberry certainly is not the most vibrant strawberry flavour though. I wouldn’t even call it all that realistic to be honest; what it does taste like it strawberry candy. Some kind of cross between those fluffy strawberry marshmallow five cent candies you see in gas stations and a really nice strawberry gummy candy? I like the taste itself, but the pairing with the green tea/roasted notes doesn’t work for me.
So overall; I’d say there were definitely high and low points to this tea and if I revisit it I’ll definitely be trying an alternative prep method (perhaps something more traditional) than revisiting this one. It’s not worth a second taste.
Yunomi Tea Discoveries Club, Volume 17 (Part 2)
For this – part 2 of my review of Yunomi’s Tea Discoveries Club, Volume 17 – I will be reviewing the remaining three tisanes that I received in this month’s package.
The three teas that I’ll be examining a little closer in this article are Hatomugi Tea, Mulberry Leaf Tea and Roasted Barley Tea.
The first tea that I’ll be tasting is the Hatomugi Tea – or Job’s Tears Tea – from Kanazawa Daichi. This tisane was processed in tea bags and when I first opened the pouch, it smelled remarkably like Roasted Barley – that I had to do a double take and make sure I was opening the correct package!
Then I looked closer at the Yunomi website and learned that this is a type of barley. It’s organic and it’s roasted – hence the familiar aroma.
The flavor is very much like I expected after experiencing the fragrance – that is to say that this tastes like roasted barley tea. And it’s YUMMY! Roasty-toasty, nutty and sweet. There is a slight ‘grain’ taste, like … well, like barley. It reminds me of wheat, like Wheat-Hearts cereal.
The second tea that I’m going to review for this article is the Mulberry Leaf Tea from Kesennuma Kuwacha. I’ve actually reviewed this tisane previously, but I don’t mind revisiting it!
I believe I may have brewed this tisane differently this time than I did previously, because when I brewed it before, I think I might have been under the misconception that it was a blend of mulberry leaf and Japanese Sencha because if you look at these leaves – they look like Japanese Sencha leaves!
So, I’m guessing that I went with a lower temperature and a 1 -2 minute steep previously. This time, I’m more ‘in the know’ so I went ahead and increased the temperature to 185°F and the steep time for 3 1/2 minutes.
While the dry leaf looks very much like a Japanese Sencha, the brewed liquid does not! The color is darker, like a forest-y green. But the Japanese Sencha flavor that I expected was there. This tastes very much like a Japanese Sencha and would make an ideal substitute for someone who loves their Japanese green teas but needs to cut back a little on caffeine. It’s a little sweeter than a typical Japanese Sencha – this doesn’t have as much of the savory quality that I’d taste with a Japanese Sencha. This is more fruity and sweet, but it still is very similar to a Sencha to me. Very nice!
My final tea journey with Yunomi this month is with the tisane that I figured would be my favorite from this Tea Discoveries Club package: Roasted Barley tea, which like the Job’s Tears, is also produced by Kanazawa Daichi.
And I was right – this is my favorite. I enjoyed almost all of the tisanes from this month’s package, the only one that I wasn’t all that crazy about was the Japanese Mugwort tea that I reviewed in part one of this series.
But this … ahhh! This is my favorite. I could drink this every day.
This Roasted Barley Tea also came in a tea bag – and yeah, if I’m going to offer any kind of criticism about this tisane at all, it would be that it’s a bagged ‘tea.’ I’d certainly rather it not be bagged.
But other than that, this is so yummy. It’s deliciously roasty-toasty, nutty, sweet and so comforting. It is sweet enough that it could even serve as a dessert substitute. It has a very coffee-ish sort of flavor to it – but without the bitterness of the coffee. If someone were looking for an ideal substitution for coffee – this would be it. It tastes more like coffee to me than chicory (which is an herb often used as a coffee substitute).
So my journey with Yunomi’s Tea Discoveries this month ends on a very high note! A very high – and delicious! – note, indeed.
Yunomi Tea Discoveries Club, Volume 17 (Part 1)
I received my Yunomi Tea Discoveries Club package the other day and I was excited to get started! This month, the teas are focused on ’tisanes’ – herbal blends from various Japanese tea companies.
Since this is a tisanes package and not Camellia Sinensis, I won’t be featuring part two of this series tomorrow night. This is because I don’t usually drink more than 1 tisane per day, so I need time to consume these teas and write about them!
This month’s package included Yomogi herbal tea which is a Japanese Mugwort tea, Longevity herbal blend which is a blend of 18 Japanese herbs, Mulberry leaf tea which has been prepared Sencha style, Organic hatomugicha which is also called “Job’s Tears” and finally, Organic mugicha which is a barley tea. Of the five, the Mugicha is what I look forward to most, as I’m quite fond of barley tea.
Also in this month’s package was another cute origami Crane … I’m getting a little collection of these! The usual booklet which offers some information about each of the teas was not included but we received an email from Yunomi explaining that the booklet would arrive separately a little later.
The first tea that I’m going to try is the Longevity Herbal Blend from Nakazen. I was happy to see that this tea included Camellia Sinensis in the form of Oolong tea. Here is a list of the ingredients:
Barley tea, job’s tears, sicklepod seeds, cat’s whiskers (herb), dokudami (herb), oolong tea, tumeric, guava leaves, biwa (loquat) leaves, mikan (Japanese mandarin) peels, brown rice, pine leaves, ohbako, benibana, persimmon leaves, amachazuru, sarunokoshikake (fungi), cinnamon
The aroma of the dry leaf is very herb-y. It sort of reminds me of walking into one of those apothecary shops. The brewed tea has more of a ‘medicinal’ type of fragrance, still smelling very apothecary-ish but the herbal notes are medicinal smelling.
The taste is actually quite enjoyable. It has a roasted flavor to it. It’s toasty and warm. Very nice on a chilly night!
The roasted flavor I attribute to the barley in the tea. I also taste the brown rice, it lends a warm and nutty flavor to the cup. I taste the resinous notes of pine leaves and I taste the warm spiced notes of cinnamon. I taste hints of tumeric and I don’t know if I actually taste the Oolong, but I can feel it’s contribution – the texture of the tea has that wonderful, thick Oolong-ish mouthfeel.
The other herbs of this tea, I’m not sure what flavor profile to fit with which herb because they are herbs that I am – for the most part – quite unfamiliar with. I would like to say, though, that even though the aroma strongly suggests an herbaceous, medicinal flavor, I smell more of that herb-y medicine-y flavor than I taste. For the most part, what I taste is the barley’s contribution to this tea – I taste that warm, roasty-toasty flavor and that’s quite fine with me – I’m really enjoying this!
The second tisane that I’ll be sampling – and the last for this, part 1 of the Yunomi Discoveries Club, Volume 17 review – is the Japanese Mugwort Tea from Yomogi-Cha. The word “Mugwort” makes me think of Harry Potter and Nightmare before Christmas. It sounds like something that Professor Snape would put in a potion or something that Sally would put in Doctor Finklestein’s soup.
This particular herbal doesn’t appear to be available on Yunomi’s site at the moment.
The dry leaf looks a lot like a dried salad. The leaves are large and fluffy and there are some stems in there too. The steeping parameters suggest using 1 tablespoon to 2 cups of water. I brewed this in my Kati tumbler which holds 12 ounces (so 1 1/2 cups of water) so I figured, close enough. Because these leaves are so fluffy and large, I eyeballed what looked like a tablespoon of leaf and put that in the basket of my tumbler and poured in 12 ounces of water heated to 195°F and let it steep for 4 minutes. (The suggested parameters are 3 – 5 minutes.)
Having never tried Mugwort tea (at least, not to my recollection), I was not sure what to expect. The aroma of the brewed tea is very grassy/leafy, evoking thoughts of what it might smell like if I were to steep some fresh lawn clippings.
The taste is very much like what the aroma suggests. It’s an interesting combination of bitter and sweet. It’s very herbaceous but not so much in an herbal sort of way, it’s more a grassy sort of herbaceous. There is a light buttery note which is kind of nice. There is some sweetness. Overall, it’s not an unpleasant tasting drink, it’s just quite different from what I’m used to tasting and I’m not finding myself really enjoying it.
In other words, I don’t hate it but I don’t really like it either.
From what I understand, Japanese Mugwort tea is useful for detox and weight loss. I don’t know if that’s true or not because I’m just drinking one cup of the stuff and that’s hardly enough to gauge whether or not it will work in this capacity. I am noticing a warming sort of effect though.
Overall, it’s alright. If I were going to drink this on a regular basis, I think I’d want to add something to it, perhaps a thin slice of lemon or some mint – something to perk up the flavor a little bit so that I’m tasting less of that strong grassy sort of flavor. Not my favorite.
Rooibos Spice Tisane from Mint Tea
Leaf Type: Rooibos
Tea Purchased from Mint Tea
Product Available Online at Strand Tea
Rooibos Spice Caffeine Free Herbal Tea. Organic Red Rooibos blended with Natural Cacao Bits, Ginger Pieces, Cinnamon Bark, Chicory Root, Barley Malt, Cardamom Pods, and Black Peppercorns. What a great winter tea! Rich & flavorful, sure to be a favorite treat any time of year.
I bought this tisane when I visited the Mint Tea Shop in Vancouver, Washington some time ago. I knew that they obtained some of their teas from Strand Tea, including this one.
While some of the ingredients in this Rooibos Spice Tisane from Mint Tea appear to be chai-like, and the flavor of the tisane is somewhat chai-esque, there’s some other flavors going on here that I don’t usually find in a chai.
Like chicory and barley malt, for example. The chicory gives the drink a coffee-ish background note, a deep, roasted sort of flavor that accentuates the spices in a really interesting way. I also enjoy the way the chicory and the cacao work together. I also taste the malty tones from the barley malt, giving the cup a “grainy” flavor that adds an intriguing depth.
The spices are well-defined here. I taste the cinnamon throughout the sip, and there is a backdrop of pepper and ginger. The cardamom adds some exotic warmth to this beverage.
This is really tasty, winter-y kind of tisane, something that I can see myself drinking whenever I want something warm and soothing, but something that won’t stimulate me the way a caffeinated tea would.
Chocolate Delight Black Tea Blend from Just Add Honey
Leaf Type: Black & Green Tea
Where to Buy: Just Add Honey
warm, earthy, and decadent, this tea densely aromatic and flavorful black tea combined with cocoa beans, vanilla, barley, and yogurt bits produces a hearty and balanced cup that feels like an indulgence. best enjoyed with milk to enhance the notes of both the tea and cocoa.
Learn more about this tea here.
The first time I brewed this Chocolate Delight Black Tea Blend from Just Add Honey, I did so without reading the website description or the ingredient list, and I did not realize that this was yet another black tea blend from Just Add Honey that also included green tea (a genmaicha, it would appear!) so I brewed this as I would a usual black tea – using boiling water.
And prepared this way, it doesn’t taste bitter. It tastes rich and chocolate-y! It tastes YUMMY! That said, I don’t taste any real “green tea notes” here, or even anything that would indicate to me that there is genmaicha in this blend. I taste a rich black tea base with a strong chocolate essence. There is a distinct creaminess to this cup (courtesy of not only the chocolate but also the yogurt!) I do taste the barley and it definitely accents the chocolate, giving it a depth and an almost “malty” kind of richness.
Now that I’m more than halfway through the cup, I notice an earthy roasty-toasty-ness to the cup … which I guess can be attributed to the genmaicha (after all, it is a roasty-toasty kind of tea!) but that could also be attributed to the barley. I have to admit that I REALLY like this, just the way it is, even if I’m not tasting much of the green tea’s contribution to the cup. When it comes to chocolate, I mean, what can I say? Tasting the chocolate is of utmost importance, and because I can taste it here – and I’m really liking what I’m tasting! – I’m a happy chocoholic!
Given how good this is prepared using boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes, I was rather reluctant to brew a second pot using a more gentle method for the green tea. But I did … for no other reason than for the purposes of this review. And I have to admit that while I do taste more of the green tea, more of that sweet, vegetal flavor from the green tea … I do not like it better than I did the first pot of tea when I tasted more of a rich, earthy, deep chocolate flavor. This cup is lighter and less chocolate-y, and when it comes right down to it, for me, it’s all about the chocolate!
So, if you do decide to try this chocolate tea (and you should!) try brewing it both ways to see which way suits your fancy … and let me know what you think!