This has to be one of the most unique teas I’ve tried. Goishicha is a fermented tea made of whole bancha leaves layered. Do a search for the Japanese Tea Sommelier blog and you’ll find a great page offering much information and pictures of the process.

As I mentioned in my latest gyokuro tasting note, I am unaccustomed to brewing Japanese teas. The package directions from What-Cha say 1 square per cup, 203F for 4-5 minutes. I thought I’d try this out in my black clay teapot that does well with Japanese greens. One square, roughly 110mL, 205F. I did give a rinse, and when steeping the first pot, poured off the tea in increments to get a feel for the level of pungency I found acceptable. Steeped many times.

Dry leaf scent, brewed aroma and taste are all very similar. Pungent, sour, and medicinal with notes of soy sauce and dried fermented lemon peel, like one would find in middle eastern cuisine, a leathery and mushroom midtone and a hint of fermented mulberry. Finishes with a very light licorice root type of sweetness and an almost imperceptible florality, some camphor. A few light burps. I find it to be simultaneously gently warming and cooling, perhaps multi-functional — a brew that could be had when out in the cold or when you have a cold; it also seems like it would go well with a rich dinner of stewed meat and greens with bread or rice, or as an after-dinner digestive. Has the inner strength to be boiled.

While this is a fermented tea, it is nothing like aged or shou pu’er or other heicha. I could recommend this for adventurous palates. It’s something I’d like to keep around but it is not a tea that I would have often.

Thank you much, White Antlers, for sharing. I will soon compare this to a less aged goishicha from Yunomi.

Flavors: Berry, Camphor, Flowers, Leather, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Licorice Root, Medicinal, Mushrooms, Salt, Sour, Soy Sauce

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Eventual tea farmer. If you are a tea grower, want to grow your own plants or are simply curious, please follow me so we can chat.

I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Teabags have their place. Some of my favorite teas have a profound effect on mind and body rather than having a specific flavor profile. Terpene fiend.

Favorite teas generally come from China (all provinces), Taiwan, India (Nilgiri and Manipur). Frequently enjoyed though less sipped are teas from Georgia, Japan, Nepal and Darjeeling. While I’m not actively on the hunt, a goal of mine is to try tea from every country that makes it available to the North American market. This is to gain a vague understanding of how Camellia sinensis performs in different climates. I realize that borders are arbitrary and some countries are huge with many climates and tea-growing regions.

I’m convinced European countries make the best herbal teas.

Personal Rating Scale:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s pu’er, I likely think it needs more age.

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California, USA

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