When I recently learned that Mei Leaf would be selling their first ever Japanese black tea, I knew I had to have it. I made a recent order with some leftover birthday cash and this Kaori Black was one of the teas that I purchased. I watched the Youtube video where Don drinks it, but I didn’t remember any of the specific tasting notes. I have had Mei Leaf teas enough to know where to look on the box to get their brewing parameters but not see the tasting notes that they also put on the label.
I like to try and see what tastes I can pick up before reading anyone else’s notes so that I am not influenced. I used the Mei Leaf brewing parameters of 4 grams per 100 ml with 205F water and infusions of 25 seconds plus 5 seconds.
On the warmed dry leaves, I got a slight note of spicy/peppery and fruit but not much else.
On the first infusion I was hit with a bite of astringency. Underneath that I was getting the spicy/peppery note and not much else. The texture was thin but the finish was long. Not a super pleasant first infusion if I’m being honest. Maybe it was brewed too long for my taste? But look at the color of that liquor!
The second infusion was much better. The astringency was gone. I was getting the spicy peppery note along with a fruity note that I have found in all the other Japanese black teas I have had. The texture was still a little thin but this infusion was pleasant.
The third infusion however, was where this tea really started to shine. I got more of a fruity flavor with some sweetness coming through. It was still spicy/peppery but there was more depth to it and the texture was thicker. I also picked up a new flavor… it was creamy. Okay Kaori Black tell me your secrets.
The fourth infusion was very smooth. Still had that spicy/peppery thing going on, but the creaminess was more pronounced. I noticed it was like a flavored cream. I couldn’t quite pin it down, but it’s a flavored cream that I have had before. I am really intrigued now. Let’s go on the number 5 to see if this tea has anything else to reveal.
The fifth infusion unfortunately did not yield any more secrets. It was quite similar to the fourth but a bit thinner as this was the last infusion of the session.
At this point I am dying to know what the Mei Leaf tasting notes are. Geranium, lemon meringue pie, flapjacks (pancakes for us Yanks), and what’s this now….
Cream. Cheese. Frosting. Mind blown. It’s Cream freaking cheese frosting. This is just crazy to me that a tea can taste like cream cheese. I’ve never had a tea taste like that before, obviously. I can see the lemon meringue as well as I was getting fruit and I was calling it peppery but tangy could work too. I honestly don’t know what geranium tastes like and I can’t say I got any taste of pancakes. But it was a wild ride indeed!
The price on this is $11.46 for 35 grams. 4 grams per session is 8 sessions per box, which is $1.43 per session. 5 infusions per session and it comes to $.29 per cup. That’s a really good price for such a unique black tea. I am very happy with that.
There are still several kinds of Japanese tea that I haven’t tried yet and I may never try all of them. Japan is known for their green teas, but there is so much more than just green tea to discover. I’ve had a Japanese white tea, 4 kinds of black tea, 4 kinds of gyokuro, 5 different matchas, a tencha, and several senchas in the last two months. I will take a break from Japanese tea for now but will continue to drink them and post on them occasionally. I’ve learned a lot but mostly learned that there is a whole lot more to learn, just as there is in all kinds of tea.
Here’s a bonus picture of my tea drinking space also known as the dining room table. I just want to show how glamorous the life of a tea blogger can be 🙂 Cheers!