Saturday, January 19, 2008

Genmai cha

Tea: Genmai Cha
Vendor: Adagio
Location: Japan
Cost: $8.00 / 5 oz.
Vendor Description:Green tea from Japan that is the 'snap, crackle, pop' of teas. Genmai Cha is an exotic Japanese recipe that combines popped rice and popcorn with tender and delicate green tea leaves. First used by peasants as a cost-saving measure, our 'Genmai Cha Pop' tea is now equally popular with modern urbanites. Both groups enjoy a refreshing cup that's both sweet and nutty.

First off let me say that I am somewhat biased against genmai cha. I've never been a big fan of it, primarily because of the roots of it. Genmai was originally a way to make lower grade tea more palatable by adding the popped rice and popcorn to it. This mellows the flavor, thus hiding the flavor of the actual tea. My primary reasoning against it is that it does not pair well with foods and I started to dislike it more and more when I was served this in restaurants when I would order food.

In reference to this specific genmai though, I was actually a bit surprised. The flavor of the popped rice in this one was much stronger than most other genmai that I have had, where the popped rice has a stale flavor and you can taste that. The freshness of the popped rice reminded me a lot of senbei (japanese rice crackers). This freshness while very overpowering is a very welcome flavor to this tea, as the one food that pairs almost perfectly with tea is senbei.

The tea has a very high level of astringency to it, more than I normally desire. I rarely let the level of astringency affect my enjoyment of the tea unless it is to an extreme. While this tea isn't quite to this level it is high and pushes the limit of how I like that.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: While I am not a big fan of genmai, this is a particularly good and fresh genmai. Fans of this type of tea would do well by picking some of this up. It's relatively inexpensive nature makes this a good daily tea.

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