Last Updated: 10/13/2010 12:44 PM
Using what the label describes as a “full-bodied barley tea blend,” the Skin variety of Sokenbicha has the most complex flavor of the lineup. Using a blend of roasted pearl barley, toasted rice, pu’erh, green tea, roasted brown rice, green tea, and young barley leaves, the product has a subtle toasted flavor to it. The tea is present, but very mild on the palate, with a smooth finish that makes it easy to forget about the product’s lack of sweetener. The addition of cinnamon and ginger also aid the finish, with a slight note of spice hitting your tongue at the very end. All in all, it’s one of the better tasting unsweetened tea products that we’ve sampled in a long time. However, we don’t completely understand the Skin “function,” which is, according to the label, based upon the inclusion of cinnamon, ginger, and botanicals. Given how water-heavy this product is, it’s hard to believe that meaningful amounts of these ingredients are present. Plus, selling the product on its benefits to your skin rather than its flavor (which is a secondary part of the pitch) seems likely to exclude those consumers who are not looking to buy a beverage to help their skin (that’s a large percentage, we’d bet). Otherwise, we like the visual appearance of this product, with an attractively-shaped hot-fill bottle (which also allows it to have no preservatives) and a label that gives off the vibe that this is a high quality, premium tea, with Japanese roots (it was formulated in Tokyo, but appears to be made in the USA). Definitely the best of the line.