Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hime Brand: Genmai Cha, A Tea Review

This tea has a giant pile of nostalgia for me, it was the first ever Japanese green that I tried. It was many years ago, back when I was a Sophomore in High School and just started my obsession with Japanese culture (and by extension culinary art). In my usual tendencies I stopped by the local Asian Market with a set amount of money and just grabbed random things to take home to sample. The week before my mother got me a beautiful Tetsubin and I knew I needed tea to try it out, the rather large box of Hime Genmai Cha was what I decided to try. This was before I knew what I was doing so I brewed it like a black tea and safe to say it was not the way Green Tea was supposed to taste, but oddly I enjoyed it and drank it incorrectly for years. Eventually I learned how to make tea correctly and certainly enjoy the experience even more.
Popped rice!

Nostalgia aside, it is time to review this Genmai Cha by Hime Brand, I certainly recommend getting it from a local Asian Market (I have yet to find one that does not stock this tea) because usually you can get this fairly large box of tea for $2-5. The aroma is a wonderful pile of roasty, toasty goodness! Fairly mild vegetal green aroma wafting in underneath the rich, nutty, roasted rice aroma. Lingering underneath these delightful smells is the slight tinge of earthiness that I assume comes from the sorghum. I have to admit the aroma of the tea is nothing to jump up and down about, but it is certainly enjoyable.
Aww, soggy rice looks sad
Once you brew the tea you get an even stronger aroma of toasted rice, just like it is freshly toasting on a burner and filling the kitchen with its delightful aroma. Nuttiness mixed with popcorn, I do not advice brewing this tea when you are really hungry and have nothing to nibble on, because it smells much more like food than tea. The pale green liquid has the aroma of rice cakes and mild vegetal wisps.

The taste is very familiar, a tea I have had many, many cups of in my life. The toasted rice takes the center stage, not a sweet rice but a rich, nutty, toasted rice mixed with a popcorn taste. After the initial rice taste fades you get to experience the Bancha which is extremely mild, a touch of the umami and a touch of vegetal. Sadly I have had numerous Genmai Cha's that knock this one out of the water, it is far from a bad tea but it is very much so an average 'everyday lots of tea drinking' type tea. Even taking off the nostalgia goggles I still enjoy this tea and grab for it when I want a tea to just drink and not have to think about.

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