Review of "Ara Cha" Premium Japanese Green Tea

8 of 105 of 54 of 582 of 100
ExcellentExcellentGood Value

I purchased this at a Cantonese grocery store in Edison, NJ.

I really liked this. It is a high-end Japanese tea, but is unsorted, meaning that it also contains larger pieces of leaf and stem, something that is often missing from the higher-quality teas. As such I find it has a bolder flavor and more complex aroma.

For brewing a single cup, I found I preferred one teaspoon of leaf or slightly less per cup, and brewing 1 minute, using water in the 160-180°F temperature range. Resteeps well and you can easily get 2 cups, possibly more from one set of leaves, even using that little leaf.

Flavor is fairly bold: there is a strong savory flavor, and a moderate, but pleasant bitterness. Little sourness. Cup is moderately astringent, and the combination of the savory flavor and moderate astringency makes this full-bodied and thick. Aroma is strongly seaweedy and vegetal, a little toasty, with hints of grain. I love how this tea smells.

This also makes an exceptional iced tea. To make it iced, I like to use 3 teaspoons of leaf and steep for about 12 minutes to make about 4 cups worth. This makes a pretty strong iced tea; you could use less if you want something milder.

I liked this tea overall. I found it slightly more forgiving on brewing than other high-end teas, stronger, and more aromatically complex. I'm not sure if everyone would like this though, it's definitely more suited to people who like bold flavors and vegetal aromas.

My only complaint is that this is a bit on the pricey side, especially if you buy the smaller (100g) size. It's good, but at this price it is competing with some of the better artisan teas out there. I have found a number of teas that I like equally wth this (although not exactly the same, just different teas that I enjoy about the same amount) that are a good bit cheaper. That said, the price is moderated by the fact that the leaf stretches very far, and if you buy the 200g size online the price seems more reasonable than what I paid for it in the retail grocery.

Bottom line, this is good stuff, and if you like strong-tasting Japanese green teas, I recommend it!

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