Kuradashi Tea (Uogashi Meicha)

We have some Japanese friends who kindly gifted us with some Japanese tea. I didn’t know what type of tea it was until I took a careful look at the kanji and looked it up in a Japanese tea guide booklet, which came in my Yunomi order of genmaicha. Kuradashicha – green tea that’s been stored? I think this is the correct tea, but as I don’t know Japanese, it’s just an educated guess. This is a kuradashi tea from Uogashi Meicha, a company which owns tea places in Tokyo. Our tea was given to us a while ago, so it’s a few years old already, but man. This tea is delicious.

kuradashi-closeup

Amount: 15 cc (cubic cm? there was a small spoon for 15 cc provided, so I used that amount)
Temperature: 190 degrees
Water: 8 oz

Not doing a steep-by-steep tasting this time, just jotting down some thoughts. Maybe I’ll do a rigorous steep-by-steep test, but I’ve been drinking this tea over the last few days so I feel like I have a decent handle on what it’s like.

I have more green tea “experience” than anything other type of tea (that is: not much), and am familiar with fairly bland, bitter green tea from tea bags and matcha, which I’ve used fairly often for baking (will share a recipe for matcha mochi cake, which is very yummy). I had genmaicha before and liked it, but it was so long ago that I can’t recall anything about the taste.

This kuradashi tea is not at all like any of those tastes, and it’s absolutely wonderful. A full-bodied flavor, quite fragrant with a grassy, woody aroma; it feels very grounded as a flavor, which lingers in your mouth after the tea goes down. It’s not sweet and light like matcha. It’s so tasty, and it hasn’t gotten astringent yet, even after several cups.

I’ve always associated Japanese green tea with the matcha flavor, so I was surprised to taste something quite different from this tea. It speaks again to how many different varieties of tea there are within the broad categories of tea.

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