I love genmaicha. It’s one of my favorite kinds of tea – it may even be my favorite. Cheap bagged genmaicha from the grocery store, fancy loose genmaicha mixed with matcha – I love it all. I have peasant tastes, what can I say?
I also like teas with lots of roastiness, so this blend seemed right up my alley. It certainly delivers on the roasted front, but I find it’s strong on the hojicha and weak on the rice. Plus there’s something about the flavor of hojicha that I find slightly off. I’m not sure how to describe it, and I can’t think of anything it compares to. It’s not the roasty quality per se, but I think it must be some kind of consequence of the roasting process. I’ve noticed it here and in Den’s hojicha, so I don’t think it’s staleness or anything like that. It’s not an awful flavor, but I could do without it.
I definitely prefer classic genmaicha – I love the contrast between roasted rice and vegetal green teas, and the hojicha’s weak on the vegetal notes and strong on the unidentifiable weird notes. This isn’t bad, though, and I am enjoying my cup.