What is Kuromame?(Black Soybean ”Tea”)

Back in December of 2022 I made my own Japanese tea advent calendar that included both caffeinated traditional options and caffeine free tisanes, as I’ve been aiming to explore the world of Japanese tisanes and thought there was no better way to do that than including them in my advent calendar. One of those tisanes I included was A black soybean ”tea” (Kuromame) from Morita Beans that I purchased via Yunomi.

When I posted content featuring this tea on my social media platforms, I received a myriad of questions from people who had never heard of this tisane before and were intrigued about what it had to offer, so I though why not answer all of those questions at once in the form of a blog post and share all of the information I have learnt about this tea since trying it for the first time.

Japan is where black soy bean tea is thought to have originated and it has been consumed there for centuries as a form of health tonic thought to aid disease prevention, hormone regulation and anti aging among a myriad of other things. While it is also consumed by many in both China and Korea, it it most popular in Japan which is down to it’s delicious taste, it’s versatility, the health benefits and also the fact that it is caffeine free and can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

Seen as black soybeans fall into the legume family, they are naturally high in fibre so you should definitely consider eating the soybeans after you are done steeping them, you can either eat them on their own or add them into other dishes.

What contributes to it’s flavour & aroma? and how is it processed?

Loose leaf tea is heavily affected in so many different ways by it’s terroir and the region it is grown in. Black soy beans, despite not being a product of the tea plant, are impacted in exactly the same way. The taste and aroma will vary depending on a multitude of different factors, including the region they are grown in, the quality and characteristics of the soil, the weather in the region, the aromas that surround the plants, the quality of the beans and a myriad of other things.

The black soybeans featured in this post are from Morita Beans located in Tokachi district, Hokkaido prefecture and they have been farming for about 100 years. After the beans are harvested, they are assessed to ensure quality and then they are medium-deep roasted which gives them a strong aroma with delicious nutty (hazelnut), earthy, roasted caramel notes, that will make your mouth water the moment you open the packet.   

When it comes down to taste this tea is not incredibly complex but what it does bring to the table is a flavoursome savoury roasted note with slight hint of brown sugar, caramelised hazelnuts and an earthiness that balances everything out. As with anything, the longer you steep it the stronger the flavour will be. The great things about these beans is that they stand up very well to longer steeps without getting bitter in any way.

I like to steep mine with filtered water, freshly boiled to 100C. I have experimented with different steeping times and temps but I find they are best when prepared that way. If preparing cold, rather than steeping it hot and putting it over ice, I prefer to cold brew it in the fridge using freshly filtered cold water. I usually let it steep overnight as I have found that it provides the best results overall. I find that it tends to be a little more sweet when cold brewed, which I of course love. But it really is fantastic prepared both ways and luckily, because it is completely caffeine free, it can be enjoyed at any time and by anybody.

Should you want to try this black soybean ”tea” for yourself, you can find it over on the Yunomi website. Don’t forget to use my code INFKKYU to get 1000yen off of a purchase of 5000yen or more.

Until next time, Happy Steeping – Kimberley

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