For a long time, I have known about buckwheat tea but have never given it a shot. After enjoying some nice bibim naengmyeon at the best Korean restaurant near me, I went to the Korean market nearby and chanced upon a container of buckwheat made for brewing. At seven dollars for a decent sized container, I figured, “Why not?”
When I returned home, the brewing instructions surprised me: boil two teaspoons of buckwheat in two liters of water for ten minutes. As a tea drinker, I’m much more used to larger quantities of tea for the amount of water, and steeping for two to seven minutes at very most after boiling the water. The closest tea I can compare to buckwheat tea in terms of preparation is Ajiri black tea from Kenya. (Yes, Kenya makes a lot of tea. You’ve drunk some if you’ve ever had Golden Peak tea from the supermarket, and it’s in a lot of cheap iced teas. I refer to cheap iced teas, but Kenya can produce very high quality tea, e.g. Kenya’s Milima Estate teas.) With Ajiri black tea, one also boils the tea in the water–but only for two minutes. If you think that your local tap water is too hard for making potable tea, you’d be surprised with what this potent black tea can do!
But, let me get back to the buckwheat tea. I was surprised by how flavorful it is: notes of almond, corn, and butter. In flavor, it’s similar to Lung Ching or Dragon Well green tea; yet, it is more nutty and and lacks the vegetal notes of this green tea. One need not sweeten buckwheat tea, though honey goes quite well with the drink. It may also be enjoyed hot or cold.
I hope that my dear readers get the opportunity to try this tea out and see why it’s so popular in Japan, China, and Korea!