Hime – Genmai Cha

This hardly merits a review. Genmaicha is a lower grade bancha mixed with toasted brown rice kernels. The point of the toasted rice is to mask the inferior flavors of the tea.

I have drunk a lot of this tea. I really like the toasted rice flavor, and that’s the appeal. It’s like drinking a rice cracker.

This review is based on the last batch of tea from the pack. Many of the leaves were tiny and broken, as were the rice bits, turning it into dust. This review isn’t

I brewed using a pint glass, a strainer, and water boiled in a kettle. Because this is Japanese green tea, I turn off the heat when the boiling starts, and swirl the water. This keeps the temperature a bit below boiling.

The first steep was around 45 seconds, and the resulting tea was greenish brown, cloudy, and thick. The taste was bitter, with an undertone of rice crackers – as expected. Like all Japanese green teas, it’s “vegetal”, meaning you can taste the cholorphyll, and it also tastes a bit like asparagus. The rice and tea’s umami complement each other, but are overwhelmed by bitterness.

The second steep was around 30 seconds, and the resulting tea was also bitter, with pronounced tannins that overpowered the rice cracker flavor. The tannins must have come out from the first steep, with the hot water drawing them out as I rested and drank the first cup. The color was tan with a green cast.

These steeps are bitter because I’m brewing leaf fragments and dust. Normally, the tea is a bit milder and tastes toasted.

Typically, I will have a third steep because I’m cheap. This last steep is usually thin and week, and reminiscent more of water than tea. These bancha dregs, however, did not get weaker. They just kept releasing tannins and bitterness. There was a pronounced flavor of rubber bands. The flavor of the rice was pretty much gone.

The aftertaste, however, was nice!

What lessons are to be learned here?

To enjoy the final bit of tea dust, do so as with espresso. It’s strong and bitter, and lacks dimension because the bitterness overwhelms. The aftertaste, however, can be okay.

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