This younger version of black tea from Takarabako Tea Farm, Takarabako Organic Shimane aged black tea 2016 seems more willing to mature than the one from the year before, and offers a wonderful mellow taste.
Even though this tea might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I like it a lot. Firstly, it’s important to say that Japan is quite spare on black teas, and they mostly share similar characteristics. There are some amazing new teas that became available recently, like smoked Japanese black teas or these aged blacks. It looks like Japan could be on something very great with these attempts to create unusual black in the country of greens.
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Tea Leaves of Takarabako Organic Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016
I love the look of these leaves a lot. Although they are tiny and broken, there is something very attractive in the mix of dark brown and reddish leaves and orange brown stalks. They are full of life and color. Scent is very interesting, deep and sweet, a bit smokey and malty, but sweet ripe fruit malty, multidimensional malty, not the usual deep and monochrome malty. Price is 18 USD for 60 grams and 7 USD for 20 grams. This tea is also available as a part of a sample pack from Takarabako Tea Farm. This tea is made from yabukita cultivar and comes from organic production.
Brewing: 5 grams, 2,2,3 min, 90 degrees Celsius, 150 ml
The scent gets very intense in the heated teapot, a mix of malt, ripe fruits, plums with a light smokey veil. However, the tea itself is not extremely strong. It’s very well balanced, and on the lighter side. This one is smoother and sweeter than 2015 version and without any tangy notes. There is no bitterness at all. It changes a bit through steeps, and I think every following steep is even better from the one before. The third offers the true character of this tea.
It feels as if the water and Takarabako Organic Shimane aged black tea 2016 are leading a battle and water is losing. It feels as if the water is not strong enough to hold the tea. This is a true example how important a good water choice is and how you should prepare some teas with a lot of care. Tap water worked quite well for this one. All in all, I really like this tea. It’s a good afternoon or after-meal tea. It’s warming, unique, has a very interesting good flavour and goes great with tea time desserts. Takarabako is on a good way of developing some great unique teas and I can’t wait to see more. It will be interesting to see this one next year, and see how different it is from the Takarabako Organic Shimane aged black tea from 2015.