Soba Cha Deep Roast ~ Steepster & Tea Cataloging

I didn’t do a full tea-purge this weekend, but I kind of feel like i did. Ever since I moved out of my apartment at the end of 2013, I’ve lacked a decent organizational method for locating a specific tea among all 20 of the Tupperware containers in my cupboard. I had hoped to eventually put together some kind of decent organization at my Grandmother’s place–the IKEA 25 cubbie bookcase worked well for housing and separating the various types and vendors. Unfortunately I don’t have the room where I am now to bring that bookcase with me (and honestly it’s very Stonehenge-like–I have no idea how I’d be able to remove it anyway). Basically when I moved into my parents’ place I knew it’d be temporary and I needed to consolidate all my tea junk into a single chest of drawers (for which the drawer bottoms have been continuously falling out from overweight). Ever since then it’s been very difficult if I want to dig out a specific tea to review: I’d need to go through nearly every container searching it out. Additionally, being out of sight often put this or that tea out of mind and I was wasting money with teas that would just never have a chance of being reviewed (or worse, never found their way into Tupperware). Finally, although the turnover on teas per season is extremely high, there was always the chance I’d end up buying a tea I already had. Originally I did have a Google doc list i tried to maintain on what to buy where for tea shopping trips, it’s fallen horrendously out of date.

On Saturday i finally went through container-by-container and sorted/organized/cataloged exactly what I have and where it is, to make it actually possible to retrieve something on my way out the door to work in the morning. This somewhat jargon-encoded spreadsheet represents what I came up with. By design, you’re not supposed to actually be able to read it, but note the enormous legend (on the far right column) necessary in order to read my own notes. So yes, I’ve finally fully cataloged my tea… ^^;; Since I spent so much money on my Library School education, it’s nice to be able to put some of those skills to work in other aspects of my life.

Kind of unweildly, nee?
Kind of unweildly, nee?

During this sorting process I came across a few things I’d always meant to review and had never gotten around to. Foremost among them was Soba Cha Deep Roast. Possibly the most Japanese tisane I’ve had to date, Soba Cha Deep Roast is a buckwheat tea produced like a genmaicha with baked brown rice. It’s aroma is preternatural–Basically it smells exactly like Zarusoba (and it’s driving me mad with hunger). If you’ve never had that, imagine a really crusty toasted whole grain pasta (piled high on a black and red lacquered tray or bamboo mat). I suppose you could also say it smells like cardboard, but that’s less enticing i think.

Additionally, Soba Cha tastes a great deal like Zarusoba, though obviously minus the soy sauce. A rich, muddy pasta, its full-bodied burnt flavor is similar to a Pu-erh, except blended the Japanese way without aging or fermenting. I’m seriously craving authentic Japanese noodles now, and it’s killing me that my pocketbook is flatly denying me until this weekend. The texture of Soba Cha Deep Roast is actually quite thick for a tea, and probably the thickest tisane I’ve had that didn’t have additives (apart from the brown rice). In point of fact, this tea called for 12oz of water, and i almost never brew with more than 8–it would no doubt be too strong brewed with any less water. Swishing the tea back and forth in my mouth yields a goodly amount of terrific pasta-grit. Hailing from Nagano (not exactly a tea-producing region), it’s definitely a one of a kind. In short, Soba Cha Deep Roast is one of the most enjoyable tisanes I’ve ever had.

However, I’ve marked Soba Cha down on availability. As with so many things on Steepster‘s site, a great many teas are explored, while almost nothing is actually in stock for purchase.

  1. Aroma – 98
  2. Taste – 93
  3. Texture – 95
  4. Spunk – 96
  5. Price – 80
  6. Availability – 40
  7. Appearance – 88

Mean score – 84%

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