I’ve only had a couple of different varieties genmai cha, and this one is good in my opinion. After several brewings, I find it is very important to keep the amount of leaves at a tablespoon or less per pot, or else the flavor becomes heavy in the vegetal direction quite quickly. I’ve been using water that is a little cooler than I typically use for green teas, and if I am careful to use a scant tablespoon of leaves brewed at 1 minute, I get a satisfying result.
The leaves look like a (typical?) Japanese green tea, deep forest-green in long pieces, some broken, some stems, speckled throughout with walnut-brown grains of toasted rice, with an occasional piece puffed-up reminiscent of popcorn. The leaves have a satin-like shine when held in the light.
The tea, ideally brewed, has a buttery beginning with moments of fresh-cut grass and tannins and ends with a hearty nuttiness from the toasted rice. The aftertaste is a little pithy and tends toward sour and bitter, somewhat like the aftertaste of grapefruit. Leaf aroma is nutty and citrus-like, and the brew has a vegetal and buttery aroma.
I think this tea would be best suited to lunch and midday use; I think it would go well as an accompaniment to “fresh” and “light” flavors, such as salads with vinegar- or citrus-based dressings, or with yeasty breads or sandwiches on breads that tend toward yeasty or nutty versus malty. I’m not sure I would like this tea paired with sweets or strong, hearty, savory flavors—with the possible exception of very dark or unsweetened chocolate in small amounts. (I think there are some common-points in the aftertaste that might work, but I haven’t tried it yet.)