Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Genmaicha

Tea: Genmai cha
Vendor: Sugimoto USA
Price: $12.50 / 80g.
Source: Shizuoka, Japan
Vendor Description: Genmai cha radiates inviting taste perfection that delights and warms your senses. Developed about 70 years ago, Genmai cha is quite famous for its unique roasted flavor. Its distinctive smooth and mild flavor come from a harmonious blend of young tea leaves, roasted brown rice, and powdered tea leaves called Matcha.

Enjoy this gourmet green tea with a balanced flavor of green tea leaves and brown rice. Our Genmai cha flavor is never dominated by the roasted rice. The subtle touch of Matcha (the ground tea leaves traditionally used for formal tea ceremonies)bestows a natural sweetness, as well as a satisfying sheer green color to your brewed tea. We use only the finest Matcha grown by an artisanal tea company with a 70-year history.

About this tea: Hearing about this tea was the what caused me to first take a look at Sa for teas. This particular tea won 1st place at the world tea expo for the best blended/flavored green tea.

Leaf: This tea had a higher non-leaf:leaf ratio than many genmaicha teas that I have had in the past. There was quite a bit of rice, and the leaf had a coating of matcha mixed in with it. At first glance the tea did not seem like it would be anything particularly different from any other genmaicha teas.

1st Infusion: The tea had a very murky green color, primarily due to the matcha component. The shade of green was a very vibrant and brilliant color, not dark and murky like some matcha coated teas are. The flavor was very fresh and crisp. The rice popped into mind with a sweet flavor like senbei (Japanese rice crackers). There was a light sense of astringency, to tail off on the mild and smooth flavor of this tea.

2nd Infusion: Having washed off the majority of the matcha powder, the tea took on a lighter and clearer color. It was still mostly green in color. The infusion did not taste quite as sweet and flavorful as the first infusion, the matcha component having been removed in the first infusion. There was a light bitterness to the flavor to leave it acting more like a sencha.

Rating: 10/10

Conclusion: So far this has been the best genmaicha that I have had to date. The flavor was very well defined and really brought out the sweetness of the toasted rice. It did not simply show that facet of the flavor, but still balanced with the flavor of the tea and the richness of the matcha. I can see why this tea won first place at the world tea expo for it's category.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Interesting to see the massive differences between the two genmaichas.