When I was a small child, my mother used to give us that puffed rice cereal for breakfast. I loved it – so toasty and caramelly tasting. So, I have been preprogrammed from early childhood to become instantly addicted to this tea. After trying it for the first time today, I can report that all of that childhood conditioning worked, and I will never again be without genmai cha on my tea shelf.
There is an instant rush of toasty rice smell as the hot water hits the leaves. The color is golden green and the smell is rich. With the first steep, the flavor reminds me of brown rice sushi – warm grain with a hint of saltiness and seaweed flavor, with perhaps just a dash of toasted sesame oil. As the brew cooled on the first steep, I noticed a very pronounced bitterness and astringency, that nearly disappeared with the second steep. It may be I need to use a shorter steep or less leaf, but this is definitely so good that it is well worth experimenting to find the perfect brew.