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.
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.