Name: Genmaicha Japanese Green Tea
Brand: English Tea Store
Type: Green tea
Form: Loose leaf
Review: Genmaicha has long been my “go-to” tea for initiating green-tea newbies. It combines sencha with roasted rice, producing a unique flavor: The rice mellows out the sencha, while the tea itself produces a pretty, light green liquor and a slightly spinach-y flavor. I’ve heard some people call genmaicha “popcorn tea” because some of its roasted rice has “popped” to look like tiny popcorn kernels. This makes the tea fun to look at, and the flavor of roasted rice mellows out the grassy notes that often characterize Japanese greens, making this tea palatable to folks who would otherwise shy away from green tea.
The English Tea Store’s version of genmaicha is clean tasting, not too vegetal, but also a good balance between rice and tea: Some genmaichas are not so well-proportioned, and contain too much rice, producing a soupy cup of tea. This tea is a bit more refined, and I very much enjoy drinking it first thing in the morning before I have my breakfast. It also works well as a mid-day snack, as it also has a decidedly savory, “brothy” quality: If you are at the office and think that you are getting hungry around 3pm, have a cup of this before you head for the vending machine. You might save yourself some money and a couple hundred calories!
Preparation Suggestions: I prefer to brew this tea for about two minutes in water heated to 180F (82.2 C). Japanese greens can get very astringent if brewed in too-hot water or for too long, so experiment with the temperature and infusion length to get this tea to the strength that you prefer.
Serving Suggestions: Genmaicha is great on its own, but it also goes well with food. I like it paired with sushi/sashimi and other Japanese foods. Works well with Korean dishes too!
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