Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yunomi.us and Yaname-en: Genmaicha Ingredients: Toasted Uruchi Rice and Tokachi Black Soybeans, A Tea Review

As you might have noticed, there was no blog yesterday. I was at a Passover Seder, replacing my usual tea for a bit of wine. Ben is half Jewish and very close friends of the family are Jewish, and they host a very awesome Seder every year. Of course they host other fantastic Jewish feasts, but Passover has always been a favorite, I am so glad they always think to include my Shiksa (which also means meal in Korean) self. Even going far enough to reward me a sweet five dollars (I feel rich!) for the Afikoman! I love exploring cultures that are different than mine, especially when they enjoy including 'outsiders' who want to learn!

Today's blog is going to be a bit of an adventure, since I am reviewing an ingredient! Specifically Genamicha Ingredients by Yunomi.us and Yaname-en Tea Shop, made from Toasted Uruchi Rice and Tokachi Black Soybeans. Toasted Uruchi rice (or Uruchi-Mai) is a short grain polished rice that is most commonly eaten in Japan, the soybeans are from the Tokachi region of Hokkaido. I decided to mix the ingredients with three different teas (for a start, I know I will come up with more blends) giving a nice demonstration of how the rice and soybeans perform under heat.

The first blend is using Sencha of the Summer Sun, by Obubu Tea. The aroma is exactly what you expect, a nice toasted rice aroma that blends really well with the sweet and grassy aroma of the sencha. The taste is like sticky rice and popcorn with a slight bean taste that fades into the grassy sweet and slight seaweed umami taste. I noticed that adding the Genmai to the Cha that it brings out more of the sweetness from the sencha. I call this blend a success. 

For the second experiment I did something I always wanted to try, Houji Genmaicha! The aroma is the wonderfully toasty roasty, blending the toasted and slightly smoky aroma of the Houjicha with the toasted rice makes the tea smell just like autumn. The taste is fantastic, I almost don't have words other than yummy, yummy, yummy. The smoky and roasted flavors of houjicha blend perfectly with the toasted rice sweetness, there is also a hint of the soybeans which adds an earthy quality. The taste, like the aroma, is very autumnal, bringing the idea of falling leaves, distant fires, and harvest. 

For the final experiment I went with Sakura Sencha. You might remember from my review of Sakura Blossom Tea that I mixed the Sakura blossoms with Genmaicha and Sencha and really liked both of them, so I deiced to mix my Sakura Sencha with Genmaicha. The result is very similar to the Sakura blended Genmaicha, slightly salty and nutty with roasted rice and a floral finish. Very much the taste of spring!

I enjoyed this little experiment with rice and tea, I can't wait to come up with some new concoctions using this tasty roasted rice. I liked the addition of the soybeans, it added an extra nutty and earthy quality to the tea, definitely a new favorite!




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