There are a ton of subscription boxes out there. Kokoro Care Packages caught my attention because two female entrepreneurs co-founded it. Their mission is to share the flavors of authentic Japanese food. I also love that they work closely with regional farmers and producers to support and share their stories.
Their “Ryu” care package focuses on Japanese green and specialty teas, so I just had to give it a try. Kokoro Care Packages included 8 different teas in the box, along with a guide to the teas and a little recipe booklet. The guide to the teas was short but sweet, with just the right amount of background information.
Let’s get into the tea! I don’t usually review herbal teas or tea bags, but I made an exception in this case because it’s a really cool concept. For this review’s purpose, I cut open all of the tea bags to show the contents.
Mountain Sencha Green Tea
Mountain Green Sencha hails from Kunitomo Farm in Kochi Prefecture. The booklet only gave a brief overview of how it was processed. Based on the leaves’ appearance, I believe it is Tamaryokucha. It brewed up a yellowish-green color. The taste was buttery and smooth with a lot of natural sweetness. There was hardly any astringency.
Houjicha (Roasted Sencha Green Tea)
Azuma Chaen produced this tea in Kyoto. The leaves were pretty typical in appearance for this type of tea. It brewed up a deep amber color. The taste was sweet and woody with a slightly smoky finish. This has always been one of my go-to comfort teas, and I often found myself reaching for this bag when coming in from a chilly commute.
Genmaicha (Brown Rice Tea) with Matcha
Azuma Chaen also made this tea in Kyoto. There was a fairly high ratio of rice to leaves. The matcha dusting looked fairly light but was visible in the cloudiness of the bright green liquor. In the cup, it was sweet and nutty with a pleasant toastiness from the rice. Subtle vegetal notes added a crispness, but there was minimal astringency.
The Otoyo-cho Goisicha Cooperation produced this tea in Kochi Prefecture. I was a bit disappointed to see this came in a teabag. That being said, I was happy to see an oddball being included by Kokoro Care Packages. Goishicha leaves are super unique because they are fermented with lactic acid bacteria. This tea brewed up a light amber liquor. The tea was earthy, sweet, and surprisingly mild. There was just a hint of funky tang in the aftertaste that reminded me of greek yogurt.
Atelier Aiakane produced this tea in Nagasaki. It is a blend of indigo stems and leaves and butterfly pea flowers. The latter is something I’ve seen all over Instagram but have never actually tried. It brewed up very, very blue. The taste was a bit bland for my preferences. It was slightly sweet with subtle floral notes. A touch of lemon juice turned the deep blue into a pretty purple color.
Ichikara Farms produced this tea in Niigata. Sobacha is another tisane in this collection that is new to me although I’ve heard a lot about it. It is made from roasted buckwheat seeds. The liquor was pale gold and the taste was toasty and sweet, almost like a mild hojicha. I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, which quickly became a bedtime favorite.
Ishigakijima Healthy Bank in Okinawa made this tea. Kokoro Care Packages explained that this is believed to be a contributing factor to Okinawans’ long and healthy lives. It brewed up a brassy gold color. The taste was mild with floral notes and hints of clove. I wasn’t a huge fan (but then the same goes for most herbals), but surprisingly, my husband loved it!
Black Soy Bean
A-Net Farm produced this tea in Hokkaido. It brewed up a very dark brown liquor. The taste was earthy, nutty, and sweet. There was a kind of funkiness in the finish that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I do not normally enjoy black bean desserts so it makes sense that I wouldn’t get into a tea made from them.
Overall I was really impressed by the thoughtful way that this collection was put together. Kokoro Care Package’s mission to highlight the farmers and Japanese culture came through loud and clear. Herbal teas aren’t my thing, but there were still some pleasant surprises here. This box is the perfect gift for Japanese tea lovers, especially if they are just getting started.
Thank you to Kokoro Care Packages for giving me the opportunity to review this box! It was so much fun to explore so many new-to-me teas. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the diversity of Japanese teas.
Have you tried any of these teas before? Who would you like to share a Kokoro Care Package with? Tell me in the comments below!