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Kataoka Yuzu Sencha

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Coffee isn’t brewed by steep­ing whole cof­fee beans, but sen­cha is made by steep­ing tea leaves, so I under­stand the con­veni­ence of freeze-dried instant cof­fee but not instant teas. For a hot tea, the con­veni­ence of a tea bag is about the same as a sachet of instant tea, and so not worth the del­ic­acy of fla­vour sac­ri­ficed. Their one advant­age, though, is that cold water can dis­solve instant tea, so a thirst for iced tea is easi­er to quench. And so, this is Kataoka Yuzu Sencha.

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The instant tea powder is speckled with yel­low gran­ules of yuzu rind that remain undis­solved either by hot (150 ml) or cold water (130 ml + 2 ice cubes). The smell and taste of this tea has a dis­tinct roas­ted note to it that reminds one of the deli­cious roas­ted smells encountered in Japan when vis­it­ing a tea shop with a roast­ing machine for houjicha out front. The first sip is sweet — like a sweetened tea — and slightly acid­ic with a pleas­ant bit­ter under­tone that devel­ops into the fla­vour of yuzu — the sweet­ness like a man­dar­in, the sour­ness like a lem­on, and the bit­ter­ness like a grapefruit, all in one. There are no veget­al notes that recall a sen­cha; rather, the roas­ted houjicha notes carry the yuzu. I’m more inclined to describe the tea as a yuzu houjicha. The tea leaves a faint sweet after­taste, much like a lem­on tea, but without notes of tea.

This tea lacks the del­ic­acy and depth of fla­vour com­pared to the looseleaf Lupicia Yuzu Green Tea, but it’s an enjoy­able instant tea both hot and cold.

This box of Kataoka Yuzu Sencha con­tained 5 sachets. The tea ori­gin­ated in Japan and was pur­chased in Osaka, Japan in 2014.