Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tea Review: Awa bancha (Nīryokucha)

Advent Tea Calendar Day 9

Awa bancha
Type: Dark
Origin: Japan, Tokushima Prefecture, Naka
Product Description: Not provided.

Temperature: 208° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 5 minutes

The dry leaves have a tart and sweet aroma of pickles and pepper.

The light yellow infusion has a toasty and tart pickle-like aroma.  The taste is lightly tart and reminiscent of pickled vegetables (tsukemono) with a toasty undertone.

I have only tasted Awa bancha once before and didn't necessarily enjoy the experience, possibly due to the unusual aroma.  With that in mind, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this second tasting experience.  The flavor became lighter after the first infusion, though a second infusion steeped for 5 minutes produced flavorful results.  The finish is curiously clean and refreshing.  

I prepared this tea with a cupping set and again with the traditional method by bringing 1 liter of water to boil, adding 5 grams of tea, and simmering for 2 minutes.  This produced a darker liquor with a similar flavor to the western-style infusion.

This Awa bancha was a gift from Noli Ergas of Sugimoto America. Nīryokucha does not have a website.

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