November 11, 2012
Oh Rare Tea Republic, you have given me so many gifts…that I had to pay for…but, well, you get the point.
Anyways, yeah, here we go again. Genmaicha (Japanese green tea with toasted rice added) is, most probably, the most popular Japanese green tea in North America, for a few reasons:
1) Easily accessible flavour
3) Easy to brew
5) Served at basically every sushi restaurant
6) So cheap
Originally a “people’s tea” drunk by the poor, genmaicha is now drunk by pretty much everybody. But enough of my Borax, pointdexter, let’s see how this genmaicha stacks up.
Stacks up to WHAT, though? What makes a genmaicha good? I like to think of genmaicha as the chicken soup of the tea world: savoury, comforting, goes down easy, even the colour of the brewed tea is similar to chicken soup (as the picture below will show). Sweetness is a plus, a roasted character a must.
So, RTR’s genmaicha fulfills many of the requirements for being a good representative of the genre: it goes down easy, it’s not very bitter, it’s quite sweet and it’s fairly comforting, though the low recommended brewing temperature means that it doesn’t quite hit the “warm soup on a cold day” spot very hard until the the second and third infusions, when brewing temperature ceases to really matter.
On it’s own, though, this genmaicha is nothing really special. I’ve had better (and worse). I think you should probably just get genmaicha from somewhere else and buy some of RTR’s more interesting teas instead of bothering with this one. I’m not really sure why they even carry this tea at all, honestly. It’s not “rare” or even an especially interesting example of genmaicha. I think their store space could be better served by carrying something more “exotic” from Japan, something us Westerners never see.
As it is, we are drowning in genmaicha. This one is okay. Worth buying? Eh.