Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Shincha Genmaicha green tea review - MastersTeas.com

Sadly, this is the last of the teas I’m reviewing for MastersTeas.com. It’s been so fun to taste the different teas, especially since they’re such high quality and have such complex flavors.

Today I’m reviewing Shincha Genmaicha.

From the website:

Our 2020 Genmai Cha is a lovely early spring version, with fine roasted and puffed rice perfectly in balance with the sweet, tender young leaves. The nuttiness of the rice accentuates the soft umami notes of the tea with hints of crispness in the finish.

Unlike the affordable luxury it has become today, historically, tea was a pricey commodity. The Japanese peasants found it difficult to afford much tea and would mix it with roasted rice, which was abundant and cheap. Thus, they were able to squeeze more cups from the same amount of leaves. A recipe born of poverty, Genmai Cha has acquired an uptown chic and is now a favorite of urban dwellers in Japan and the West.

This tea contains a moderate level of caffeine
Steep at 170° for 2-3 minutes.

I steeped this as recommended, and not gongfu style, since I’d read that Japanese green tea is specifically crafted for the traditional longer steeping in order to acquire the umami flavor.

I brewed 4 grams of tea in 150 mL of 170°F/76°C water for 1.5 minutes, then each successive steep increased in 15 second increments.

I have to admit upfront that genmaicha is one of my favorite types of tea, although lately I’ve also been really enjoying high quality sencha. I really like the roasted rice flavor that comes through, and I will drink even cheap genmaicha very happily.

This genmaicha had a very nutty flavor, and there’s a huge difference between this and cheaper genmaicha. There’s a vibrant green flavor to the tea that I don’t usually taste even in higher quality genmaicha from other teashops. This tea has a flavor that is not as bitter as other genmaicha teas.

The umami is lighter and not as brothy as a sencha, with a fresher taste. (Not that I particularly know what exactly foodies mean by “umami,” but I’m going by what a Japanese cook said about it.)

The second steep was a tiny bit bitter, so the next time I made a pot, I reduced the increment to 5 seconds for the second steep, and that was perfect.

This is probably my favorite genmaicha right now!

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