Comparing “Fine” Iced Teas ~ Rishi

I am of course well aware that putting the word “fine” in front of “iced tea” is easily laughable.  The difficulty i’ve faced the past few years with having tea as a hobby is, almost no one is really interested in sharing it with me.  My past roommates have told me they prefer iced tea… >.> Yeah, suffice it to say I wasn’t thrilled to learn that. The problem with Americans I fear is that we’re just too damned American to appreciate tea, but i digress.

Thus, I’ve prepared this blog for iced tea lovers.  It’s actually incredibly difficult to blog about iced tea, since, as you might imagine, there is no quality that is accepted as being “fine”.

However, as it happens i was driving home from Novi today when I realized I had two examples of iced tea at the ready and nothing better to do than record an audio taste test. I’ve attached the relevant audio segment if anyone’s interested, but to summarize the results…

“Anata no Oolongcha” (by Sangaria, a product you generally won’t find outside of Japan)

A blend of 3 oolong teas (Tekkanon, Shikishu, Suisen) – It definitely smells like brewed tea, but it’s not necessarily distinct from any other Oolong tea.  The taste is refreshing and crisp, reminiscent of a thin houjicha. The palette reminds me of the kind of tea that’s perfect to go with a meal enjoyed at a fancy restaurant.

Comparatively, I have an iced Rishi Ginger Pu-erh left over from the day before, having sat in my car all night and most of today. It’s pitch black, smells like ginger and a little like pu-erh. Tastes very gritty and bitter. In my book, a medium-fine pu-erh easily trumps any Oolong when brewed, but a Rishi Ginger Pu-erh, even of the stale, iced variety, leaves a really interesting aftertaste that’s much harsher and richer than the oolongcha. The Ginger Pu-erh’s irrepressible texture is reminiscent of being in the forest on a picnic, which is exactly what I’ve always thought a pu-erh should be. It’s kind of sad that this day-old “left-in-the-car” in a compostable cup tea should out preform an exclusive temperature controlled Japanese delicacy ($2.39 for 500ml), but there you have it.

1 Comment

  1. Perhaps it is a bit sad, but on the other hand it is much more cost-effective if a cheaper tea is out-performing a more expensive one.

    Iced tea is becoming a bit of a juggernaut in the tea world, but it’s also vastly different from traditional tea, and unfortunately they tend to appeal to different people.

    I think the easiest way into America’s non-iced tea culture would be through afternoon tea, which is at least all the rage here and I imagine it is over there. However, it remains British and the teas served are going to be different from what you’ll experience in Asia.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s