Tea: Ureshino Tama Ryokucha

A Tamaryokucha (Guricha) from Wegmans

Picture of Ureshino Tama Ryokucha
Style:Tamaryokucha (Guricha)
Region:Saga, Japan
# Ratings:4 View All

Review of Ureshino Tama Ryokucha

8 of 105 of 53 of 580 of 100

A high-end Japanese green tea, which I found infuses fast and is tricky to steep more than once. The first cup is excellent, but I was a bit let down overall, especially with how tough this one is to brew multiple times.

This tea was so similar to Wegmans' Okumidori Sencha in color and smell (and was the same exact price) that when I opened the bins, I wondered if one of them had been mislabelled. But upon inspecting the leaf up close, it is easy to tell them apart: this tea has curvy leaves, whereas the sencha has straight leaves.

Dry leaf is intensely aromatic, with a toasty smell reminiscent of some Chinese green teas. Upon brewing though.

This tea is VERY strong; VERY easy to oversteep. Similar in overall character to Wegmans' Okumidori Sencha: the brewed cup is deceptively pale looking, but it is intensely aromatic and has a very rich, bold flavor. Flavor is mostly umami and somewhat sweet, with a slight sourness and a slight pleasant bitterness in the finish. Finish is also slightly, but only slightly astringent. I recommend using little leaf and a brief steeping, because I found it could easily becoming overpowering.

I think I preferred this tea to the Okuimidori Sencha. They are very similar, but I found this one had more toasty qualities. I also found it worked better with multiple steepings, but only slightly so.

It was hard to get multiple steeps out of this tea. The flavor seems to be extracted into the water very quickly, so unless you use a really short steeping time, it's not possible. I was only able to get two cups, and by using a very brief (max 1 minute, I recommend less) steeping for the first cup, followed by a much longer (3-5 minute) infusion for the second. Even doing this, the second cup was on the weak side. The leaves were pretty spent after this.

This would not be an everyday tea for me. It's pricey, and I also find it is so intense that I have to be in the right mood for it. I also find that when I spend this much on a tea, I want it to be good for multiple steeps--compare to some green teas I have tried recently from Yunnan province, in a similar price range, which produced cup after cup before the flavor gave out.

I also wish Wegmans had more mid-ranged offerings of Japanese green teas. Last time I was in their store, it jumped right from their bancha at $30 a pound to this at $80 a pound. I would appreciate something with a price point (and strength/flavor) somewhere in between these two teas, for everyday drinking.

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