Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms’ Pine Needle Wakoucha | Tea Review

by Tea in Spoons

I have a fond spot for Japanese black teas, however, they are uncommon. So, when I saw Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms had a Japanese black tea that was rolled like a sencha, I had to try it!

Description: “Medium in body it has a lightly savory tas[t]e with some subtle astringency and underlying notes of molasses. […] In the production it has been rolled just like Sencha, that results in unique needled-shaped tea leaves.”

Instructions: 5 grams | 300 ml | 90°C | 90 seconds 

Review: Having only tried a handful of Japanese black teas or wakoucha, I am always on the hunt to taste more. Therefore, it was a nice surprise when I had to look no further than the tea farm I interned at, Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms! Black teas are uncommon in Japan, so, a black tea processed like a sencha is even more so.

The black tea had charcoal coloured leaves which were comprised of twisted, fragmented, and needle-esque leaves. It had a warm sweet, fruity, cocoa, baked goods, and woodsy smell. After steeped for 90 seconds, the leaves were dark black/brown broken tea leaves with a strong smoke and earthy smell.

The liquor was a clear dark reddish amber brown colour with a  woodsy, sweet, charcoal and earthy smell. The taste fluctuated between being smoky, woodsy to some sweeter fruity or berries notes at the end of the sip with some faint astringency at the back of the throat. When the liquor was cooled, a molasse and baked goods flavour emerged followed by smoky, earthy, mineral notes, and some lingering sweetness. The dryness was also slightly stronger at the end of the sip.

Overall, this had a nice range of flavours and I enjoyed the baked goods/molasses and sweet fruity/berry sweetness. I paired this with a chocolate orange mousse cake for an afternoon snack and it brought out the chocolate notes of the tea and made the cake taste decadent! This would be a nice tea for someone who likes a sweeter black or wants to see how processing methods can affect a tea (3.5/5 rating)!

  • Type: Black tea
  • Origin: Japan, Wakuza
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Black tea
  • Company: Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms

The question of the post: Have you had Japanese black tea before?

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Tea in Spoons is where I share my love of teas through tea reviews, tea travel, tea tips, information, and more. New tea adventure every Thursday!