As with last month’s review of the Yunomi Tea Discoveries Club (You can check out part 1 of that review here), I’ll be doing the review of this month’s package in two parts. This first article will feature the review of two teas and the second article, published tomorrow at the same time, will feature three teas.
This month, we received five teas featuring Hojicha Roasted Green teas as well as Japanese-made Oolong teas. Exciting! I haven’t tried a lot of Japanese Oolong teas – most of my Oolong experiences have been with Taiwanese Oolongs and to a slightly lesser extent, Chinese Oolongs. Japanese Oolong teas aren’t as common a tea to find – another reason that this Tea Discoveries Club from Yunomi is a GREAT deal!
The teas featured in this month’s package are: three Hojicha teas (Hojicha Roasted Green Tea, Autumn Hojicha Roasted Green Tea and Superior Hojicha Roasted Green Tea) and two Japanese Oolong teas (Oolong Tea and Black Oolong Tea). I’m so excited to try these! I love Hojicha and I love Oolong and am especially excited to try something rare like Japanese Oolong!
Also included in this month’s package is a pamphlet that offers steeping and tasting notes as well as some other interesting information including tea-related Japanese phrases and terms and the cutest little origami Crane!
So let’s jump right in and get started with the Hojicha Roasted Green Tea from NaturaliTea.
This Hojicha delivers all the flavors that you’d expect from a Hojicha. It’s got that wonderfully cozy, roasty-toasty flavor. It’s lightly sweet and nutty. It’s a very autumnal type of flavor – it evokes thoughts of autumn for me. I think of the cooler weather, the crispness in the air and the smell of smoke from the neighborhood chimneys. It’s the kind of flavor that you want to curl up to.
I like that this particular Hojicha is light. It doesn’t have a heavy flavor to it. It’s the kind of drink that you want after you’ve had a heavy meal. It’s soothing and gentle.
Dry, this tea looks a lot like a black tea. It reminds me of a black tea with its dark, slender leaves. If I were given the dry leaves ‘blindly’ (without knowing that it was an Oolong) I would not have guessed it was an Oolong by the appearance of the dry leaf.
The tea brews up dark too. The only real “Oolong-like” indication I started to recognize is after the rinse and first infusion, I noticed how much the leaves had expanded and it was very “Oolong-esque.” (Oolong teas tend to expand quite a bit during the brewing process!)
Now the flavor … this does taste like an Oolong. It reminds me a lot of a darker Oolong, like perhaps a Formosa Oolong or a Oriental Beauty Oolong. It has that deep, fruity flavor and the really lovely, full texture of an Oolong. It’s sweet and really quite pleasant.
It has an almost ‘wine-like’ quality to it too, much more so than teas that I often call ‘wine-like.’ I can really taste a fermented grape flavor here. The tea has a very rich, full and satisfying flavor. This is truly a unique Oolong tea – one that should be experienced to be understood fully. (In other words – try this tea as soon as you can!)
My first cup (infusions 1 and 2) was probably the most intensely flavored cup of the three that I enjoyed. I found that with my second cup, the flavors were beginning to mellow slightly. The tea was still very strongly flavored and I still got a very distinct fermented grape-like flavor to the cup. But the flavors in the cups that would follow were a little less focused. (Still quite enjoyable though – it’s well worth the effort to keep on steeping!)
With the third cup, I started to notice that the fruit notes were becoming sweeter. It wasn’t as ‘fermented’ a taste as I noticed in the first two cups. Floral notes began to emerge as did a sweet note that evoked thoughts of honey. A really lovely cup!
I can’t wait to explore the other three teas! Read about them in tomorrow’s article!