rediscovering a brand, Rishi Tea
Back at the onset of my tea exploration and life long journey, I began with teas encased in bags from quality companies. As my palate and preference expanded I was introduced to loose leaf tea. Much of these orthodox offerings were not readily available in local grocery stores, things have gotten better as more consumers become educated to the benefits of the leaf.
One of the brands that offered loose leaf was Rishi Tea. I knew that I would find good offerings from this supplier. As time passed Rishi continued to hold my interest and support with the individual powdered packets of Matcha and Sencha that I purchased regularly for travel and emergency tea situations.
As the industry grew and changed more and more companies began offering new and exciting options, Rishi fell back into my “I know you are there, I know your product glad you are still with us category”.
Recently, by invitation, I have been reintroduced to the brand and privy to their current focus and sampling of amazing wonderful offerings.
“ There are few things more pleasurable than sharing great cups of tea with friends”
The first gathering we explored a wide range of tea green, oolong and black.
We were taken through the many tea regions via a PowerPoint presentation and shown video clips and photos of the people, places where the tea is grown. We were also provided an overview of the culture and conditions.
Many cups were drunk and many questions asked.
I was delighted and even more so as my take away bag contained the Sejak that I enjoyed so.
Comfortable with my new understanding of the company vision, I proceeded to check the Rishi website to discover what I had missed and was excited to see the many offerings.
Along with the tea, I appreciate the detailed information provided about each tea along with brewing instructions.
The most recent gathering, hosted by Keiko, Director Luxury & Brand Management, was held at the International Culinary Center, NY.
The library space made for a very focused and intimate gathering.
The days events began at La Colombe, NoHo, where tea specialist extraodinaire Alexis, Teaspoons & Petals, premiered their new Matcha Gyokuro. I was unable to attend this gathering and will soon have to make my way downtown to order a cup.
When I arrived at ICC, most attendees were already on their second of of eleven samplings. Yes, a very aggressive tasting and all teas brewed to perfection by Keiko.
We explored several green teas arranged in “Flights”. Our first two offerings from Shimizu, Shizuoka Prefecture, a Sincha Machiko and a Matcha Okumidori. The Sincha deliciously floral the Matcha fresh and clean.
The second, was titled “Saemidoro Flight” presented us with a Handpicked Sincha, Gyokuro, Kirishima (both from the same family farm) and a Matcha Saemidori that held an under note of Buckwheat.
The Yabukita Flight offered four samplings comprised of Sincha Kobayashi, Sincha Yabukita, Gyokuro Okabe Clear Fragrance, and Gyrokuro Deep Aoi (both Gyrokuro from the same farm.) The Sincha Kobayashi presented my palate with notes of anise and tarragon, lovely. The Sincha Deep Aoi gave nutty, early notes.
We were all pleasantly surprised to waft the aroma in our empty cups after the Gyokuro samplings. The cups gave off the sweet smell of cotton candy.
Last up was the “Kyoto Flight” that offered Gyokuro Kyoto, a classic Gyokuro and Matcha Hekisui.
I would be remiss not to mention the accompanying sweets that adorned our table and provided satisfying pairings to our flight of teas, both Macarons and Mochi (Green Tea & Red Bean) were served.
Totally tea drunk after our last cupping I was given two Sincha’s to compare when I returned home.
I brought them with me on a recent trip and conducted the comparisons. The Sincha Machiko maintained the lovely flowery, sweet sakura fragrance and notes and the Nishi Hand Picked Sincha, rich in umami with savory notes.
What a wonderful event, with wonderful friends, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Thank you Keiko, all of my dear friends who attended and ICC for allowing and tolerating our gleeful “tea drunk” state.
The best part I can continue to enjoy the pleasure of the brew by ordering more online and creating a “Flight” of my own in the future.
Thanks for reading.
For more reading about this event see: