After sitting patiently in its little sample bag for several weeks, Adagio’s Genmai Cha is finally up at bat. This one has roasted rice and popped corn kernels visibly hanging out amongst the tea leaves — loitering, one might say — and smells fascinatingly nutty fresh out of the bag.
Steeping for two minutes yields an earthy green liquid with a full-bodied roasted rice flavor. There’s an unusual maltiness in the background of this tea, and I like what it says to me. It says to me: “No no, I am not zee beer, and you do not drink zee beer, but voila, have some maltiness anyway, and you will like eet, ah yes.” Apparently, my Japanese tea has a terrible French accent. (Lupin III?)
I can see why Genmai Cha is not for the faint of heart — or rather, not for the faint of green. It is not a flavor for everyone, nor for every day. It’s too strong for that, methinks, and it seems to lack the mellow-inducing property of most greens. It is different, but I like that. Perhaps I am too positive in the land of tea, but to be perfectly honest, I rarely encounter a tea which I do not like.
P.S. According to Adagio’s company story for Genmai Cha, “Japanese peasants found it difficult to afford much tea, and would mix it with roasted rice, which was abundant and cheap. Thus, they were able to squeeze more cups from the same amount of leaves. A recipe born of poverty, Genmai Cha has acquired an uptown chic and is now a favorite of urban dwellers in Japan and the West.” Oddly enough, the muddy swills endured by European medieval peasantry have yet to lure modern consumers in this way.
Snap, crackle, poppin’:
like lip gloss, but in tea. Who
let the malt hops out?
“What’s that you drink, oh
peasant fair?” asked the market
exec. “I smell cash!”