Genmaicha - What makes a good one?
I tried genmaicha at a Japanese restaurant a few weeks back and loved it. From there I went to a Japanese market (PAT Oriental) and found some genmaicha (Tokuyo)at a great price and loved it. Since then I’ve had it MANY times in spite of all the other teas in my cupboard. My question is : what makes a good genmaicha? I’ve checked out some of the reviews here for genmaicha from other companies. I’m wondering if the one I have is a good quality compared to some of the others. Are they all pretty similar or are there big differences with each brand?
I’ve had some good ones and some that are not as good. I think it depends on the quality of the leaf and toasted rice. I’ve found that those with more whole leaves taste better than those with what I’d call “tea dust.” Also, those with larger, less burnt rice seem to taste better to me as well.
You’re right, both the tea leaves and rice are important.
I think a balance of 50% by volume of them is optimal.
Regarding rice, the best one (but most expensive) is mochi rice. It has a good flavor, but it actually looks smaller. There are different levels of roasting, but I think it depends on your taste.
During my tea exploration a few years ago I ended up buying Genmaicha from a few cheap sources and I ended up severely disliking it. I thought the burnt and dusty rice and green tea flavours were meant to resonate that of a cross between a lapsang souchong and severely burnt bread. But as it turns out with Genmaicha you usually get what you pay for. I joined the Yunomi tea club and one month they had a “make your own Genmaicha” kit which had three sachets of teas and instructions on the blending and proportions. I was apprehensive towards trying it but I am so very glad that I did, it was the best Genmaicha I have ever tried and more than that it has reached the space of one of my favourite teas ever tried thus far. So I think the quality is absolutely key to a good Genmaicha blend but also the ratio of the blend. I found different brands to change quite a lot in terms of both quality and taste, but to be honest if you have found one that you really like then wont really matter so much about the quality. You could always order from elsewhere and see the similarities.
For my Genmaicha I added an extra toasted quality by including some Houjicha (which was the suggestion from the club). I enjoyed blending that Genmaicha so much that I ended up buying 550g worth and blending them together myself for personal use. :)
Thanks everyone for the comments. I did try Genmaicha many years ago in a tea bag form and hated it. I guess I’ll have to try some samples from other companies to see if I like it more or less than the one I am enjoying now. Any suggestions for Canadian companies would be appreciated. You know, just talking about it has made me remember how aromatic it smells….gotta brew me up cup right now.
there’s always verdant’s laoshan black chocolate genmaicha for a twist on an old concept heh. (not that it’s a canadian company or anything but um..yeah lol)
Sloane Tea Company offers a pretty large tin of Genmaicha (100g, I think?) for about $20. Granted, this is the only genmaicha I’ve ever bought, but I do think it’s pretty good. Very brothy.
Another vote for Yunomi! I did the same “build your own genmaicha” as KittyLovesTea did and it was amazing. The rice in it was very nice and the quality was great. Much better than anything I got from Asian markets. http://oolongowl.com/blend-genmaicha-yunomi-september-tea-samplers-club-2013/
Yunomi does ship from Japan, but the shipping fees were very affordable. I’d check them out.
Den’s is also good http://www.denstea.com/ but their shipping to canada is $10 ($7 for bigger orders and free past $85)