While I was waiting for the water to heat up to black tea temp this morning I thought I’d give this a try, since I’d seen a flurry of notes and comments about it recently.
Interesting. The dry mixture looked and smelled identical to the Den’s Genmaicha Extra Green. Seriously, I couldn’t find a difference, except perhaps that the Den’s leaves were a bit longer. I liked that one pretty well, so I expected to like this about as much.
The first departure was in the steeping instructions and in fairness, I really should do a side by side comparison of the Den’s using the same steeping parameters. That one called for 30 seconds/boiling, but I followed the instructions on the Samovar sample packet and used cooler water for a longer time with the Ryokucha. The liquor of the Ryokucha was reminiscent of the Den’s but not as atomic-green. More of a chartreuse.
The nose was toasty rice, as expected. But the defining characteristic for me is something Ricky mentioned and that I echo. The sweetness. There’s a green, juicy sweetness to this that dances with the rice flavor in a really interesting way. It’s almost like a very very light soy sauce. Or the aftertaste of edamame. In any case, I’m not sure it’s crack (I guess that’s what they all say the first time) but it’s worth getting to know. I do like it a bit better than the Den’s on this try, but I will go back when I get more of this and do a side by side to be sure it’s not just the Olympic effect (i.e., that the last to go tend to get the higher marks).