Monday, April 13, 2015

Tea review: Genmai cha

Genmai Cha

Reviewed by: Rebekkah
Type of tea

green, loose-leaf
Flavor aspects

Natural, bitter
Where I got it

Adagio Teas

How I brewed it

1.5 tsp in 16-oz mug, brewed for about 2 minutes with water from a coffee machine cooled for about 3 minutes 
Rebrewing notes

Flavor balance at the second brew changes--slightly less toasted rice, slightly more sencha. Haven't gone past two brews yet.

Genmai chas (or genmaichas) are an interesting tea. Do you like green tea from Japanese restaurants (where it's often served as part of the meal)? You might like this, then. It's more bitter than most green teas. But, in a way, that's part of the appeal. If grassy flavors are okay in your book, or a tea that tastes like toasted rice (think rice cake), or sencha tea, then this is a good tea for you. It's made with toasted rice, which is pretty cool, and you can definitely taste the rice, and the "toasted" part of the rice. The first time I had it I thought the tea was over-steeped, but once I realized it was the rice I was tasting, I started tasting it as rice-cake flavor rather than bitterness.

The rice is what adds that strong aftertaste. I like it, and a lot of tea drinkers enjoy the unique taste... but if "grassy" is a reason you dislike green tea, you'll probably hate this one. Then again, others have said that the toasted rice makes it taste less "grassy," so I guess it's how your tastebuds perceive it. That said, if you like sencha, sencha green tea is the base for this genmai cha. It's an interesting flavor, and generally makes a good tea for drinking with a meal, as it goes well with savory flavors.

As compared to some other genmaichas I've had, Adagio's is quite tasty, and not a bad price. That said, my genmaicha experience is actually fairly limited, mostly to what I've had a restaurants and what my friends have shared with me, so I can't give a great comparison to other brands of the tea in terms of quality and price, as I don't know where the other teas originated or for what price.


  1. I've noticed there's a big difference between Japanese and Chinese green teas. I personally prefer Chinese greens because they taste smoother. Japanese greens have a sharper taste that might be the grassy flavor you're talking about.

    1. You know, I've noticed this. I hear "grassy" as the main reason people say they don't like green tea, but I think part of that is just because most people in the States only think of Japanese green tea when they think of green tea, or have tried oversteeped green teas.