This was the last of Den’s $3 sampler. I first sampled this tea as a very new tea drinker, and enjoyed it then.

Now as I return with far more tea experience, I love it even more. It smells much like Genmaicha and tastes somewhat like a roastier Genmaicha. The flavor is warming, toasty, and also just a little savory, just a hint of seaweed that to me makes it all the more interesting and delightful. It also resteeped well, full of flavor for 3 steeps despite being underleafed (rather than the recommended 2g or heaping tsp per 4oz, I had only a scant tsp remaining, and on top of that poured in more than 4oz water). I’m on #4, and this cup is lighter though still lovely.

I have barely explored Japanese teas — in many ways, they seem like their own world. Sure, Genmaicha is an easy bridge tea, and I’ve experienced some Senchas and a Kukichas with delightfully fresh, sweet, grassy flavors, yet haven’t fully embraced the astringency that seems such a key part of the experience of many (most?) Japanese greens.

But this tea is quite accessible. It is not all that different from a roasted oolong, like Harney’s Formosa Oolong, the tea that reminds me of what was served in the Chinese restaurant my family frequented when I was a kid. I was not a tea drinker then, but I’d drink cup after cup of that tea. It needed no adjustment period. Because of the hint of salt in this cup, this tea may be slightly less universally appealing, but I think it’s still very accessible.

No astringency. Easy to brew. Nothing intimidating. A unique combination of the hearty, roasty dominating flavor along with the tease of savory seaweed. This is the first Japanese tea that’s completely hooked me. I’m ready for more.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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