I suspect it has something to do with the tea leaves that come in teabags instead of loose like how they are sold normally in bulky packets of 100g or more. And maybe also because the leaves in the teabags are more broken than in those big bags.
Whatever it was, I decided to steep the tea sans teabag this time.
Broken tea leaves filled the teapot, as I prepared boiling water on the stove. Once boiled, I poured the water directly into the teapot. A recommendation was to boil the leaves together with the water, but I don’t have an appropriate tea kettle for the purpose.
I let the tea steeped for five minutes, instead of three like the first time.
The result is a liquor a slightly darker shade of yellow, and the aroma of pickles was strong.
Lo and behold! The sour taste was definitely more pronounced than before. It was lightly refreshing, with no hint of astringency.
The second steeping was almost as pronounced in sourness, while the third steeping became more mellow. Not diluted, but just low-key or delicate taste that disappeared fast.
The pickled aroma remained distinct in the used tea leaves.
Looks like the best way to brew Awabancha is without the teabag and steeping it a little longer at five minutes. It is closest taste to what I had at Wadanoya, which is my only benchmark for Awabancha. I wished I had more experience with Awabancha in Tokushima itself, but I guess that is something saved for another time.
Meanwhile, I am down to three teabags of Awabancha.