Monday, November 19, 2007

Kukicha from Rishi

Scent in package: fresh, fragrant, like wet grass after a spring rain.
Brewed in: unbleached filter bag
Steeped: 4 min. @ around 185 or so.
Cup: Café mug

I found this unopened package in my cupboard as I was going through tea this weekend, and decided that it would fit nicely into both my menu and my reviews this week. For me, this week is all about two things: words, and staying relaxed, and Kukicha both invigorates and relaxes me, becoming indispensable in reaching those two goals.

I liked Adagio’s Kukicha enough to buy a larger tin of it just to keep it on hand. I’ll often have a cup in the late afternoon or evening, because it’s not only relaxing, but for some reason, it gives me a little “push” to keep going when I’m running out of steam. Naturally, I had to try another company’s blend to see if it was all Kukicha or just that one.

So today, I find myself incredibly behind on my word count for NaNoWriMo. After my obligatorily caffeinated first cup, I decided to open up this tea and see if it would propel me on to write fast and vigorously while helping me to maintain a state of calm determination (rather than panicked frustration, which is my inclination at the moment).

The scent of the dry leaf/twig combo is clean, and very, very fresh, like wet grass, as mentioned above. I love that smell, and couldn’t wait to brew a cup. Brewed up, it was lighter than an Adagio brew, but the scent was just intoxicating, like brewed artichokes in butter (yum!).

The taste is phenomenal…rich and buttery with clear vegetal tones. I must admit, I was expecting the two vendors to have similar tasting teas, but Rishi’s is richer, with a very clear, thick texture and more clarity to the light yellow-green color of the brew itself. Asparagus is the underlying vegetal note, and for lack of a better word, it tastes almost “creamy”.

It’s wonderful, and even now, after only half a cup, I feel life returning to my fingers and clarity moving across my brain. This tea is inspirational, and while Adagio’s is much more affordable at $7 for 4oz. vs. Rishi’s $7 for 1oz. – it’s easy to justify the expense for a superior taste profile *for occasional sipping*.

I’ll probably stick to the Adagio for everyday drinking, simply because it is *so* much less expensive, and still a very good tea. But I’ll keep a small amount of this Rishi blend on hand for luxury…it’s worth every penny for an occasional treat.

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