Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Shizuoka Koucha

Koucha. Black tea. Japanese black tea.

Grown in Shizuoka, this tea is no longer the stuff of legend or late night gossip; the mythical kirin has been found.

The leaves aren't much to look at; it is a broken leaf variety, a 60/40 blend of yabukita and fujimidori.

I used 3 g./8 oz for 3.5 minutes, and it is a surprisingly good cup of tea. My initial impressions when I got this tea last month weren't that great; I purchased it purely out of curiosity. But tonight I am impressed after revisiting it.

The aroma of the dry leaf is woodsy, with a hint of something that could be described as barbecue, a subtle smokey-sweetness. The brewed tea has a thin mouth feel, like a less astringent Darjeeling--it is not astringent at all but rather smooth. It tastes fruity, but...thick; I think stone fruit is an apt description, plum. It is very sweet, keemun sweet; there is a sugary essence in the finish, and as it cools, I do taste a hint of pecan. This turned out to be more complex than other varieties of black tea.

There is an interesting bit about black tea in Japan here.

Update: I just finished another batch of this tea, and I think I know why I enjoyed it so much more than the first time I had it. If I take the time to taste the tea, pay attention to the nuances, I like it quite a bit. On the other hand, if I just gulp it down, I'm less impressed with it. This could apply to many teas, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

Hello Alex, I though you might be interested in my blog article about a tea tasting I enjoyed in Bristol - I gave your blog a mention.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I love Shizuoka Black! Glad to see someone else enjoying it.