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.