Saturday, September 29, 2012
Black Bitter Buckwheat Tea (Huantai)
Buckwheat tea seems to be really popular all throughout China - I used to drink a lot of it when I worked there since you generally don't need to strain it - it'll sink to the bottom of your cup automatically, and that's easier than a full tea setup in an office! Buckwheat tea is common in grocery stores all through China, though I haven't found it outside of China - hence having to crumple this bag into my luggage!
The tea comes individually packaged into mug-sized quantities. Instead of whole groats, like other buckwheat teas I've had, the buckwheat here has been pressed into small pellets, looking not unlike fish food. The smell is the same sunny cereal aroma though.
The pellets, like whole groats, don't dissolve and so sink to the bottom of the mug. The liquor is a tawny gold with the wheaty aroma of buckwheat.
The taste is a bit sweet and starchy - think soba noodles (which are made from buckwheat), but lighter in flavour. It's carb-y but sweeter than other buckwheat teas. There's a slightly honeyed aftertaste. Both the "black" and "bitter" names are misleading, as this tea is quite light and sweet!
Black Bitter Buckwheat Tea at Huantai (in Chinese)