You may like that English Breakfast at breakfast, some Earl Grey with the mid-morning snack (or in place of it), a nice pot of Mim Estate Darjeeling tea with lunch, some Ti Kuan Yin for that afternoon tea break, and a bit of Adam’s Peak Ceylon white tea for your pre-dinner (or even post-dinner) cuppa. Me, too. But there are times when a cuppa genmaicha is just right.
Now, over the past five years of writing about tea, I have gone from drinking almost nothing but Earl Grey to drinking dozens of different styles and types of teas, preferably without extras added in (such as oil of bergamot). Genmaicha remains one of the few exceptions (the other main one is a good masala chai that’s not too heavy on the cinnamon, and a nice green tea with pomegranate is also good, but I digress). These days, my morning tea is still in the black category – the range is from Keemun, Kenyan, high-grown Ceylon, Assam, Nilgiri, and even Houjicha (not technically a black tea, but the flavor and other qualities are similar). But the daily line-up runs the gamut and is often a tea sample leftover.
So when is the time right for that genmaicha?
- When my palate needs to rest a bit from more stimulating teas – genmaicha has a smooth mildness (when steeped in water heated to only 160°F for no longer than 2 minutes – otherwise, you’ll get some bitterness).
- When having some of those so-called “sushi rolls” from the deli section of the grocery store (no raw fish – just bits of fake crabmeat, avocado, dried kelp, rice, wasabi, and ginger root).
- When the day has been annoying or hectic or harried or full of interruptions and a bit of quiet “me time” is in desperate need.
Do yourself a favor here. I know that teabags are this big convenience, but steep this tea loose in a small pot (holding no more that 16 ounces of water) and use a fairly large mesh strainer. The liquid will be a bit cloudy, but that’s just toasted rice and green tea leaf goodness in your cup. Also, use a smaller cup than usual (typical size in the U.S. is about 8-10 ounces). I find that my sipper cups are best. They hold about 2-3 ounces each. And take your time sipping the tea, starting with it being hot from the pot to being cooled during the time it takes you to sip slowly and savor each drop. This might not make the tea taste better, but it will sure make you feel better.
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