The heat has broken- it's 73 degrees out, and it feels as fresh as Nova Scotia. I know it won't last, but my addiction to cold-brew ice tea will.
To keep the feeling light, today's selections are another green, and a greenish oolong. Both are also "flavored" teas, in a way, which I usually avoid. These ones, however, are subtle yet still delicious enough to make you succumb.
First up: genmaicha (pictured, on right). This is one of my favorite everyday drinking teas, no matter what season. It's a Japanese sencha that's mixed with roasted rice kernels (and sometimes even studded with adorable miniature bits of popped rice), giving it a nutty aroma and taste along with the natural astringency of the green tea. Iced, it offers a sweet, toasty and very full flavor, somewhat reminiscent of the refreshing punch of mugicha or bori cha (Japan and Korea's takes on barley tea, respectively).
Stepping up in the processing, a very light oolong is next, coconut pouchoung (pictured, on left). This tea was unknown to me until it arrived yesterday in a lovely package from a friend (see, blogging does pay off). Pouchoung tea hails from Taiwan, but in its delicacy and sweet fragrance, it's vastly different from the oolongs produced in nearby China.
This one is infused with the essence of young coconut, and just one sniff of the tea leaves themselves is enough to transport you to the swaying shade of a palm on a tropical island somewhere far, far away from Manhattan. As iced tea, the coconut aroma is stronger than any coconut taste, but it's refreshingly sweet and light for an oolong, and brews up a beautiful greenish-gold color. It just might be my favorite iced tea of TGITE 2008.
For all the teas so far, nine hours in the fridge seems to be the magic formula. Tomorrow, I'll test out more oolong and black varieties, and we'll see if that holds true for stronger teas.