Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Handmade Tea
Hempmaicha is a Handmade Tea variation on the popular Genmaicha-style tea. Hempmaicha begins with a smooth Chinese green tea base. The blend then introduces roasted hemp seeds for a nutty, sweet flavor. Lastly for Genmaicha authenticity natural popcorn (no oil, no butter, and no salt) is added to the blend. Originally blended for the month of June. ’14.
Learn more about this blend here.
Learn more about Handmade Tea’s blend of the month subscription here.
I have been a fan of Handmade Teas for quite some time. So every once in a while I check out their website to see what they’ve been up to. The last time I went to the website, I noticed that Hempmaicha was their June 2014 blend, and I decided that I just HAD to try that!
I have been a big fan of hemp for many years now. In my college years, I was a very vocal advocate for the legalization of hemp because I feel that it would be very useful. Hemp fibers can be used to make fabric that is soft, breathable and durable, paper that requires no bleaching and is therefore better for the environment and the seeds are very nutritious. Some of the first automobiles were built to run on fuel made of hemp.
So when I saw that this blend from Handmade Tea was created Genmaicha style, but instead of using toasted and popped rice kernels, roasted hemp seeds and popcorn was added to the blend. Interesting and very cool, indeed!
I’ve tried several of Handmade Tea’s blends in the past, but this was the first time that I tried their “mini” size. The full size of Handmade Tea’s blends included a large tin of the blend, plus three small (sample size) tins of the components in the blend.
For example, with the Balché blend that I reviewed previously, I received a 3-ounce tin of the blended tea and three smaller tins with the individual components: a tin of Yunnan Black Tea base, a tin of Guajillo Peppers, and a tin of Cacao Nibs and Cinnamon blended together. (Click here for part one of that review, and click here for part two.)
But for this purchase, I decided to try their mini size and see what that was like. The mini size is a mylar-lined, kraft stand-up pouch that holds 1.5 ounces of the blend. You also get the nifty little envelope that’s been wax sealed and includes information about your blend. This size is really ideal for me, because as much as I do love the full size and all the tasting components of the blend, I’m a “taster” and 3 ounces is more tea than I need. I would love to see the “mini” incorporate a small sampling of each of the components as well (like the full-size does), maybe in smaller pouches, because I do like that feature, but for a taster like me, the 1.5 ounces of tea is much more agreeable to me and my overflowing pantry of tea.
So the first thing that stands out about this blend for me – other than the name and the “hemp” factor – is that the tea used is a Chinese green tea rather than a Japanese green tea. Genmaicha is a Japanese tea, so I was a little surprised that this was crafted using a Chinese green. But that’s OK, this tea is more about the hemp, I think – at least for me it is – than it is the type of green tea used for the blend.
The blend looks exactly like the photo above because, well, I took that photo. Yeah, I’m no photographer. But it did manage to capture the green tea, the popped kernels of popcorn and if you look closely, you can see the toasted hemp seeds too. I was happy to see that there were quite a few hemp seeds in this. The blend has a very strong nutty aroma. It smells sweet, nutty and warm.
And it is really good. It’s a bit nuttier in flavor than a typical Japanese Genmaicha. It is sweet and toasty in flavor. It’s perfect for this afternoon, because we’re just now starting to experience some autumnal type weather. It’s not unbearably hot outside although it is still quite warm as I type this, but it’s not so uncomfortably hot and humid. And with the slightly cooler temperature, I find myself wanting that warm and cozy sort of experience from a tea and this tea delivers that.
The green tea base is sweet and lightly grassy. It has a slightly creamy element to it – not quite ‘buttery’ but maybe a little bit – and this melds nicely with the nutty hemp notes. The hemp adds a sweet nuttiness to the cup, and it tastes roasty-toasty which I like. I don’t know how much of the popcorn I’m actually tasting here.
It’s really tasty. It’s sweet with a certain savory element, warm, and toasty. I am really glad I decided to grab this blend while it was still available. As I write this, there are still “nine” of this tea in stock (I’m not sure how many of the 1.5 ounce mini packs are available versus the 3 ounce full-size packs.) So if the idea of a re-imagined, re-interpreted version of the classic Genmaicha using a Chinese tea base and hemp seeds instead of rice appeals to you – you should try this! I think that it’s close enough to the original idea of Genmaicha that those who love Genmaicha would also enjoy this, and those that are looking for something just a little different would also like it!
It gets a peace sign of approval from me!