The second sample that was provided courtesy of Nina’s Paris is called Nina’s Japon. This blend of black tea, Japanese green tea which appears to be a mix of sencha and lightly roasted houjicha, and toasted rice, is enhanced with caramel and vanilla flavoring. For more information on Nina’s Paris, visit their website here. Don’t forget to read my recent review of Nina’s Paris Tigre Blanc Oolong tea.
The sample pack is opened, and a sweet aroma of caramel and vanilla is filling the air. Let the journey begin.
The dry leaves, being a blend of black tea and two styles of green tea, vary in color from pale light green to greenish-brown to black. There are popped rice grains throughout the mixture. The leaves appear to be a blend of Japanese sencha, Japanese houjicha (roasted green tea, see notes in infused leaves section), and black tea that is difficult to determine the origin, but it may be Japanese also. All tea leaves are rolled, and small to medium sized fragments. The aroma has strong scents of vanilla and caramel, with a toasty scent from the popped rice grains.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute and thirty seconds.
The first infusion produced a bright, golden-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of vanilla, caramel, and toasted grains. The fragrance is very sweet and smooth. The body is light-medium, with a round feel. The first taste that I noticed is the toasted rice grains, which is quickly complimented by caramel and vanilla. There is a light astringency, and a caramel and vanilla aftertaste. The taste is like a liquid version of caramel popcorn. Each style of tea used in this blend can be felt in light undertones, from the grassy flavor of the sencha to the body and slight maltiness of the black tea. There are quite a few levels to the taste of this tea.
The second infusion produced a liquor that was surprisingly similar in color as the first infusion, having a golden-orange color. The aroma has retained the caramel and vanilla scents, with the toasted grain scent weakening some. The body remains light-medium, and the feel has flattened some. The astringency has weakened, and the caramel and vanilla tastes are dominant. Overall, I am surprised by how well this tea maintained flavor in the second infusion. The natural tea tastes can be still be felt under the tastes of the caramel and vanilla flavoring.
The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter, golden-yellow color. The fragrance continues to fill the room, with strong scents of vanilla and caramel. The body is lighter. Notes of vanilla and caramel are dominant in the taste, with very light undertones of toasted grains. The black tea flavor can be felt more than the green tea in this infusion. This third infusion certainly produced an acceptable flavor.
The infused leaves vary in color from the copper of the black tea to the fresh forest green of the sencha. As I look through these leaves, I am having a hard time finding any definite houjicha leaves, making me wonder if what I saw in the dry leaves were simply some unintentionally lightly oxidized green tea leaves. To add to the evidence of this possibility, I see some green tea leaves with slightly red edges (oxidation). Most of the leaves are small fragments, with a few medium sized fragments in the mix. The aroma has scents of vanilla, caramel, and toasted grains, with a slight maltiness from the black tea.
The blend of toasted grains, sweet flavoring, and the natural astringency of the tea gave Nina’s Japon a nice balance of tastes. The aroma was very fragrant, filling the room with a sweet, toasty scent. The liquor was smooth, and the first infusion had a nice round feel. Even if you prefer straight teas, it is difficult not to enjoy sipping on these masterfully flavored teas from Nina’s Paris. If you like flavored teas, definitely give Nina’s Paris a try. Cheers!