I was recently watching a live Instagram video of Jeff at Unytea.store and the subject of white tea came up. So I looked at their offerings and noticed the Benifuki white was a Japanese white tea. I had never heard of Japanese white tea before, so I had to try it. I wanted to order some Benifuki black as well, but it was out of stock. But it must have been my lucky day, because when my order arrived, it contained a sample of Benifuki black! I just had to drink these two together to see what kind of differences and similarities they had. Benifuki is a cultivar of tea in Japan that is traditionally used to make black tea, or Wakocha. I have only had one other Wakocha before, and it was a smoked tea, so I was pretty excited to try this one too.
The description of Benifuki white from the Unytea website says: This years production was made solely for UNYtea and i could be more proud to present this stunning white tea made from a very old cultivar.The Benifuki cultivar was originally developed for Japanese black tea production known as “wakocha.” Benifuki Black is known as a “medicinal tea” that is excellent for the sinuses. Though I have yet to test this medicinal effect, I am intrigued nonetheless. I can see some flavor note similarities between the white and black versions of this tea, but i think the white takes the cake.
I used 4 grams of each tea. 190F water for the white and 200F water for the black. 25 seconds + 5 for white, and 15 seconds + 5 for black.
I’ll start with the white. The first infusion was thick and syrupy like other white teas I have had, with a melon like sweetness and dry grass taste to it. It was very soothing and thick. The second infusion was less sweet but still had some fruity notes. Kind of like a melon rind. It reminded of being in the grocery store while they are cutting up cantaloupes to sell in slices. I noticed it was very calming to drink this tea.
On the third infusion I picked up a slight floral note, which I haven’t really had from white tea before, so that was surprising, but also very good. The fourth was similar to the third. But on the fifth, I got a slight bit of cherry tart flavor. I really enjoyed this tea and will be cold brewing the spent leaves tonight.
Now for the black. The tastes on this one didn’t change throughout the session. There was a fruity sweetness to it and some spice. I don’t pick up spice in tea very much, so this was interesting and exciting. It was like pepper but more than just pepper. I honestly don’t eat a lot of spices so I can’t tell you which ones, but I can say that I liked it. This tea was also energizing to drink. It was exciting and it made me want to get up and do things, whereas the white made me want to relax.
Overall, both of these teas were excellent and I would recommend getting them both if you get a chance. I really like the idea of Wakocha and I have enjoyed the two that I have tried to far.
Jeff, the owner of Unytea is very active on IG and very responsive and helpful if you have any questions. Shipping was cheap and fast. I am impressed and will order from them again in the future.
Now for the price. Starting with the white. This is currently listed at 25 grams for $11.50. I did 5 infusions, but you can probably do more. Let’s use 5 here though. They recommend 5 grams per 100 ml, so lets say that’s an even 5 sessions per bag. That’s $2.30 per session. 5 infusions per session comes to $.46 per cup. That is a bit on the expensive side but again you could get more than 5 infusions. I believe this is the only place you can get a Benifuki white, so $.46 a cup for something that rare is really not a bad price at all. It’s still cheaper than any other drink you can buy.
The black is listed at $6.00 for 25 grams. At 4 grams per session that is 6 sessions per bag. That comes to $1.00 per session even. At 6 infusions per session that is $.17 per cup and that is an absolute deal! It’s currently sold out but keep an eye out for more of it. I will be doing the same.
You can order the white tea here.
Happy Steeping my friends. Cheers.