Monday, February 25, 2008

Ariake Yutakamidori

Tea: Ariake Yutakamidori
Vendor: Lupicia USA
Price: $4.50 /50g
Location: Kagoshima, Japan
Vendor Description: An early-summer-picked tea with a lengthy steaming process from Ariake-cho, Oosumi Peninsula, Kagoshima Pref. Its sweet taste similar to sweet potatoes makes it an alluring tea and easy to drink.

I was very skeptical when it came time to try out this tea. I figured the description that it had a taste reminiscent of sweet potatoes was well, a stretch of the imagination to say the least. Amusingly I was actually quite off.

Upon the first infusion of this tea, it seemed quite pale and weak. That was my first impression at least, but as I noticed the full flavor of the tea more, the sweet potato flavor really did prove true to it's name. Toward the later portion of the taste there is a very distinct and very strong sweetness that is best described as sweet potatoes. The tea finishes on a sweet note with almost no astringency and having had almost replaced any sense of bitterness with the sweetness of the sweet potato flavor.

Amused by this tea, I decided to do a second infusion for review. The second infusion had a considerably different taste. It had a strong bitterness to it and a much higher sense of astringency, and almost no sweet potato flavor to it at all, a complete switch of the first infusion.

Rating: 9/10

Conclusion: While i'm not sure if sweet potato is the best flavor for my tea, considering this is not a flavored tea it was quite remarkable. This tea is almost like a grab bag, you don't know what you're going to taste from one infusion to the next. I liked it a lot though, the sweetness of the first and then the strong bold flavors of the second. I will definitely be buying this one again.


Salsero said...

Weird stuff. Is it considered a sencha? Sweet potato tea. Does anyone else carry it?

Thanks for expanding my horizons by telling us about it. Not so sure I would want to actually make the commitment of purchasing some.

Eric said...

I'm not really sure if it is considered a sencha or not. It probably is, but i'm not sure what the defining line of being a sencha is. I would imagine that it is somewhere between guri and traditional sencha in being a sencha.