Saturday, November 17, 2012
Oi Ocha Ryokucha (Ito En)
Recently a mysterious envelope arrived in my postbox, covered with stamps from Japan. I opened it to find a single bag of tea, a small origami crane, and a receipt from Ebay. Turns out a few weeks ago, I had imbibed a bit too heavily and ordered a single tea bag all the way from Japan (mercifully, this only cost a total of 30 cents, including shipping). The crane seems to have included almost as a sign of pity from the sender over my life choices. None the less, let's give it a go!
This is a bag of Japanese ryokucha - basically your standard "Japanese green tea". Ito En is a massive Japanese tea company - I've had their unsweetened iced teas before and quite enjoyed them, especially since it's just cold tea instead of sugar water - but I haven't tried any of their loose or bagged teas before. The tea bag has a bright aroma of cut grass and green apples.
The tea isn't bright green like some Japanese green tea, it's a greenish yellow. The aroma is a toasted grass with a slightly floral hint. The flavour is intensely grassy, first with a big fresh crunch of freshly mown grass followed by a dried prairie grass aftertaste with just a tiny, savoury, umami note. It tastes like lying in a field on a summer's day, and yes, it would be quite good for a hangover.
Oi Ocha Ryokucha at Ito En