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