I got home tonight after a cold cold cold, freezing cold day, to find that the Tea Fairy had paid me a visit and left a package at my door! Lovely! I love surprises like this! Especially on cold cold days like this one! Hot tea= much needed!
This package comes straight from Yunomi in Odawara, Japan. I open up my brown paper envelope to find a little pouch of tea, a beautiful postcard showing a very Zen-like teapot and cup in a Japanese tea-room with a garden view (memories of my Japanese pottery class, and numerous special Japanese tea cermonies), and a pretty purple origami tsuru (memories of just about everything Japan… the kids in my classes, the housewives who treated me as a daughter, countless trips to Hiroshima and the Peace Park, rows of colourful origami paper for sale in the stationery shops, and a thousand tiny cellophane cranes in a shoebox, as a gift). This package really brought a smile to my face! Yunomi… you really know how to package tea!
This tea is called Job’s tears, or Hatomugi, also known as Chinese Pearl Barley, but not exactly the same as barley (although that makes good tea too!) Yunomi‘s tea is ground, and in teabags which smell sooooooooo invitingly fresh and toasty. I brew one in a mug for about 6 minutes. It’s a lovely honey-brown colour, and it has a warm toasted rice/toasted hay/ toasted barley aroma that reminds me of a Japanese summer festival on a hillside, a thousand brightly coloured yukata, a box-full of yakisoba, a bottle of mugi-cha, and hanabi (fireworks) filling the night sky like bright, sparkly rain. Mmmmm… warm… roasted… earthy… smoky… hatomugi! It takes me there!
The flavour is just heavenly… roasted, toasted, nutty, like puffed rice cereal, but with a natural sweetness. It leaves a warm, sweet taste in the mouth, like slightly burnt hay. Exactly the kind of warmth I needed on this cold cold day!
Yunomi, お茶はどうもありがとうございました. Oishikatta desu.