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Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: Persimmon Tree Tea’s Genmaicha Tea

© 2011 A.C. Cargill photos and text – All rights reserved.
No copying, posting on other sites, or other uses allowed without written permission of the copyright holder.

The Subject:  Genmaicha
Company:Persimmon Tree Tea. [More info]

Flavored Tea Rating:

About the new rating designation.

Flavorings work with tea?  Yes
Tea can be tasted?Yes
Flavor blend balanced?Yes

Water temperature:175° F
Steeping time:1-3 mins.
Tea type:Green
Additions:Toasted rice
Dry leaves:  Long leaf pieces, brown rice

1st Infusion:  
Steeping time —  1 mins.
Aroma, plain —  Planty, toasted ricey
Taste, plain —Mild, planty, ricey, hint of smooth feel
Color, plain —Pale yellow
2nd Infusion:
Steeping time —  1½ mins.
Aroma, plain —Planty, ricey, mild, no smoothness
Taste, plain —x
Color, plain —Pale yellow
3rd Infusion:
Steeping time —  2 mins.
Aroma, plain —Ricey
Taste, plain —Planty, ricey, mild, not smooth
Color, plain —Pale yellow

There are different stories about how Genmaicha, that is, Japanese green tea mixed with toasted rice kernels, originated. One story says that the servant of a Samurai accidentally dropped some rice into his master’s cup of tea, was immediately beheaded, but was then honored by the Samurai after he discovered how good the tea tasted this way. Another story is simpler, less gory, and a bit easier to believe: a tea vendor added the toasted rice to an inferior green tea to make it more appealing to his customers.

If we go by the second story, then this version of Genmaicha, made with a very nice Sencha, shows that the tea has been morphed. Like “high tea” which was the evening tea time (also known as “dinner”) served at the high kitchen table and is now a fancy and high-priced tea time. Tea vendors have begun using higher-quality teas as the base for their Genmaicha, not always successfully.

This version shows the Sencha, both before and after steeping:

Steeping instructions on the back of the tea tin are pretty basic, just going by the basic tea type. Don’t forget that, if you live at higher elevations, you may need to adjust times and temps. Also, you may find that you need to vary things to get the taste you want. The main thing to remember with any tea is that vendor instructions are guidelines, something to get you started. After several times of steeping a tea, you will find what method is right for you.

Doesn’t this tea look lovely? And it tastes as good as it looks. We just wish it had a smoother feel, but we suspect the lack is due to the Sencha. Going back to using a cheaper green tea might actually be better.

Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, the rating of the tea and any opinions concerning it are always strictly objective.

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