O5 Rare Tea + Kombucha Bar’s Japan Flight | Tea Review

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Tea received at a discount for review

O5 Tea Japan Flight spoons

While visiting Vancouver, BC, Canada, one tea shop I went to was O5 Tea + Kombucha Bar. I left with some samples and two flights (sets) of teas – one from Japan and another from China. This will be a two-part series with today’s post focusing on the Japanese set!

Before I visited Vancouver, I had asked around what tea shops I should visit, and O5 Tea was always on the list. Therefore, I made it a point to drop by. I only planned on being there for a short while, but I ended up spending a few hours.

The shop had a great vibe and energy and the staff and owner were lovely and friendly. They answered all my questions and were very accommodating! I would recommend visiting O5 Tea to anyone who visits Vancouver. I am really glad I visited, and I can’t wait to go back!

With a quick snapshot of the shop itself, let’s go!

 

O5 Rare Tea + Kombucha Bar: Hojicha Reserve

O5 Tea Hojicha Reserve dry leaf

Description: “Roast Rice | Caramel”

Review: Hojicha has a special place in my heart because it was one of the first Japanese teas I ever tried. However, when I was looking at the tea, I realized this one specifically came from Wazuka, which is where I spent my time as an intern at Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms! How awesome when things come full circle!

The dry leaves were a mix of flat-leaf pieces and stems. The colour was a dark rich chocolate brown and with a warm roasted aroma. It reminded me of grain or bread. After steeping, the leaves almost became a black colour. The second the hot water hit the leaves, there was a strong whiff of a warm roasted aroma which wasn’t overwhelming or charcoal smelling, as some roasted teas can be. The liquor was a reddish-amber colour with the same toasted aroma.

O5 Tea Hojicha Reserve wet leaf

At first taste, the liquor was sweet and toasted, but it left a nice earthy flavour that lingered in the mouth. After letting it cool, I found the toasted flavours were more evident. I was able to steep this 4 times before the tea leaves started losing their flavour. The liquor became a dark brown during the latter infusions and the earthy sweetness declined, leaving behind mostly only the roasted notes (3.5/5 rating).

 

O5 Rare Tea + Kombucha Bar: Chiran Shincha

O5 Tea Chiran Sincha dry leaf

Description: “Sweet Grass | Citrus Finish | Umami”

Review: I was also excited for this tea because it was listed as a ‘shincha’ which means that it was harvested in the springtime and the first harvest of the year. The leaves were a mostly dark olive green colour with straight leaves and a fair bit of fanning. The dry leaves had a nice deep grassy aroma.

O5Tea_Chiran_Sincha_wet_dish

The wet leaves had more of a sweetweed smell and the liquor was a pale yellow with pieces of fanning clouding it. The liquor started off very light, but the umami flavour quickly blossomed in the mouth. There was a very mild drying sensation that lingered. The following two steeps followed in a similar manner with the tradeoff of less umami grassiness in the place of more astringency and bitterness. The flavour started to taper off after the 3rd infusion (3.5/5 rating).

 

O5 Rare Tea + Kombucha Bar: Yame Gyokuro

O5Tea Yame Gyokuro dry leaf

Description: “Citrus Peel | Peach | Ocean-Mineral”

Review: Since gyokuro is a shaded tea, the dry leaves had a deep green-blue colour that was much darker than the sincha. There was also much less fanning and the aroma was mossier and more seaweed-like. A fresh cut grass aroma came through during and after steeping, and the liquor was a hint of pale yellow.

The first infusion had very strong umami flavour, with some mild grassiness as the aftertaste. As the infusions continued, the liquor took on a more yellow-lime colour. However, after two infusions, there was barely any flavour. Since the recommendations suggested 90 seconds, I felt that the first infusion released a lot of the flavours.

O5Tea Yame Gyokuro wet leaf

If I were to re-steep this, I would steep it for slightly shorter and try to pull more infusions from it. Out of all the infusions, I enjoyed the first one the most. That being said, I have had this set for a while so the leaves may have lost some flavour over time (3.5/5 rating).

 

Final Thoughts

O5 Tea Japan Flight tin box

I really enjoy the packaging and the teas of this flight! Each tea came in a resealable bag and also had information about how to brew the tea and about the tea farmers that grew the tea. All these teas were inside a nice sturdy tin box.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable set of tea for me and each one made me nostalgic and miss Japan! I think flight or sets like this is great for someone who wants to sample some teas, especially to learn about different types. I felt that this was a good reflection of Japanese teas and I would recommend it!

Which Japanese tea do you like the best?

Edit: Nicole from Tea for me Please, sweetly added me to her Aug 5th to Aug 11 Friday roundup! Check out all the other neat post from the week ranging from tea shops to visit in NYC and other tea reviews!

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