Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kokeicha from Dragonwater

Scent in package: light “alfalpha green” scent
Brewed in: unbleached filter bag
Steeped: 1 min. 30s @ steaming
Cup: Café mug

Imagine you have a small ball of dark green dough in your hands. Now imagine pressing that dough through a piece of wire mesh, and having tiny square strings dangling down. If you cut those strings into small pieces, you have something that very closely resembles this tea, made from extruded matcha paste. Intrigued by the whole idea, I ordered a sample to try.

When I opened the package to smell, I was surprised. Somehow, I expected it to smell grassier, like matcha. But it smelled more like a wild field instead, and the scent is fairly light. The directions say to brew it for 1 minute, but that just didn’t seem long enough to me, so I left it for 30 seconds longer. The brew is a very light golden yellow, much as one would expect of a light oolong, or light green tea.

The brew has a very nice fragrance, green and “nutty” at the same time. The taste…well…the taste is superb, like a darker, more rounded Kukicha (one of my favorite Japanese greens). It’s very sweet, and very thick in the mouth, with warm, nutty notes encased in a very creamy, buttery shell (not the *taste* of butter, just that creamy smooth mouth feel). Like crisp-steamed buttered asparagus. I enjoyed it very much, and it seemed to pick me up a bit on this long afternoon at my desk. The aftertaste is like what you get after eating homemade ice cream - buttery and sweet on your gums...very good.

I don’t know about you, but my first inclination with extruded dough shapes is to squish them (I can’t help it!). So I had to see if these little tea-paste bits would smush, and they did, quite easily in the filter bag, creating a paste (that I assume is the original starting point for the mix). I have no idea if it would brew another satisfying cup in that form, but I don’t see why not, and I do intend to try it sometime.

In any case, I most heartily suggest that anyone who likes sweet green or darker white teas run out and buy some kokeicha to try. It’s most satisfying, rich, creamy, and simply delightful to drink. You won’t regret this purchase – I’ll be buying a full package soon.

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