Tea of Inquiry from Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange. . . .

Fun facts about genmaicha tea:

– It’s tea cut with rice, including popped rice (“popcorn tea”).

– It’s consumed all over the world.

– It used to be associated with the lower class, because they couldn’t afford straight tea.

– It might be an appetite suppressant. People with less money would drink it when they couldn’t afford food.

– It’s DELICIOUS.

If you’re like “I want to get on board with green tea, but I can’t even begin to deal with all that GREEN flavor,” give this a try. It’s a workaround. It tastes like toast/popcorn/rice. It has a robust, grainy/nutty kind of flavor. The “green”ness is cut down significantly.

Plus, I mean, you’re getting down with the proletariat. You’re supporting the REGULAR FOLK on PRINCIPLE.

I don’t have a lot of experience drinking this new favorite type of tea. If you’re a connoisseur, I can’t tell you whether Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange’s “Tea of Inquiry” is a stellar example of the genre. But I think it’s delicious. I recommend trying it or another gemaicha today! It might be for you.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange
Description

A special Japanese blend of fine green tea and toasted rice.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Movie Night from Pluck Teas. . . .

A little while back, Pluck Teas was kind enough to send me a selection of their teas to try. They were very generous and allowed me to pick what interested me and as someone who has a low key obsession with genmaichas, this Movie NIght tea was at the top of my list. It was only after it arrived that I realized I actually tried this tea once before at a brunch restaurant in Toronto, which is weird given I don’t usually order teas at restaurants because I don’t trust them to make it properly. Nevertheless, I recall liking it well enough so I am excited to revisit the tea now.

When I got to prepping the tea, I noticed the recommended steeping parameters seemed a bit much for a green tea. The package calls for a 3 minute steep in 194 F water. I went by this method as I would hope the company knows best on how their product should be prepared but for my own comfort I brewed a second cup using my more typical steeping method for green teas of 2 minutes in 175F water.

Since it was done steeping first, I started drinking the the cup using my steeping parameters first. The flavor is quite light but with a bit of a toasty top note from the rice. It is more of a popcorn flavor as opposed to a roasted rice kernel given the airy lightness. The vegetal note from the base, which is barely noticeable initially, slowly builds. It is smooth and lingers under the tongue long after you finish drinking. It is a nice tea prepped this way but definitely light on flavor.

As I neared the end of the first mug, I moved on to the tea brewed per Pluck’s recommendations. The color of the steeped tea is noticeably darker and more bold than the mug steeped for less time, which makes sense because more infusion would occur when more heat and time is added. There is distinctly more flavor as well. I guess Pluck knew what they were talking about because my worries of a burnt tea given the higher temperature and longer steep time were unwarranted. The green tea base is clearly a high grade tea since it handles the heat perfectly and contributes a beautiful grassy/vegetal flavor. The popped kernel here is also more noticeable than in the cup I had before and rather than shyly hoovering atop the tea and giving off a light and airy popcorn vibe, it confidently contributes a burst of roasty flavor that seamlessly flows from the base tea.

Genmaichas are such simple teas, being made of green tea and toasted rice (usually) and yet each variation can be so different based on the quality of ingredients. I have no question that Pluck Teas used some high quality stuff in this blend. More than that, the tea can be so drastically different based on how it is prepared and when prepared properly, this is a winner.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Pluck Teas
Description

Popped and toasted rice kernels, blended with premium high grown sencha tea. Toasty, malty, umami, with a slightly sweet finish. Pairs well with Asian dishes and is a classic with sushi. Enjoy hot, or over ice.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Strawberry Genmaicha from Socra Tea Detroit. . . .

I am a sucker for all flavored genmaichas.  I don’t come across them very often, but when I do, I just can’t say no.  I eagerly and greedily devour these blends whenever I can.

Strawberry Genmaicha  from Socra Tea Detroit is no exception.  Start off with a gorgeous bed of green tea with toasted rice and huge and I mean HUGE pieces of strawberries.  And these are freeze dried strawberries to boot.  So they are simply gorgeous. The blend itself is stunning while you look at it in your tea pot, brewing with water freshly prepped right around 195F.  The recommendation is to allow the tea to steep for 2-3 minutes and that is exactly what I did.

This tea delivers on all accounts.  Fruity, vegetal, with a side of tart and that familiar roasted toasted goodness only genmaichas can delilver.  Unlike a lot of flavored teas, the strawberry flavor is not lost in this blend.  I can’t say the strawberry flavor is the star but its standing proud for sure.  What I am really loving is this wonderful marriage between the tart semi sweet strawberries and the  toasted green tea flavor that genmaichas are known to yield.

A beautifully well balanced flavored genmaicha that will appease all of your senses.  I found myself lost in the moment while drinking the tea, just enjoying the tastes and experience of the tea.  That’s a sign of a gorgeous tea blend.

Well done Socra Tea Detroit. . well done. . .


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Socra Tea Detroit 
Description

Here, the characteristic Japanese genmaicha is supported wonderfully  by a smooth green tea. The added strawberry pieces perfect the creation.

Ingredients: green tea, peeled rice, flavoring, freeze- dried strawberry pieces.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

D’s Teas– Pancake Breakfast, Marshmallow Treat, Graveyard Mist from 52Teas . . . ..

If you missed the announcement in my previous post, our beloved and super-talented tea-blending friends at 52 Teas have recently launched a permanent line (yes friends, you heard me correctly) of teas! D’s Teas features all of the ultimate fan favorites from 52 Teas over the years: Pancake Breakfast black tea, Marshmallow Treat genmaicha, and Graveyard Mist green tea. If you’re curious about the history behind these beloved blends, check out my previous post. If you’re ready to hear the low-down on their delightful sip-ability, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s chat about each one individually:

Pancake Breakfast: is where we start. A robust black tea with calendula petals offering a lovely, maple-syrup-y variance in color, this tea smells like straight-up starchy, delicious pancakes. When my samples of these three arrived, this was the one that I could smell through the package. THIS was the one that my dark-and-malty-tea-loving fiance was ready to tear into at a moment’s notice. It brews up beautifully strong, almost like an English Breakfast, with syrupy maple notes perfectly balanced alongside the starchy, bread-y flavors of cooked breakfast cake. There’s something magical about 52 Teas’ flavors: a maple tea is never just a one-note maple tea. Sure, you can add maple to a black tea and call it a day, but this blend harnesses all the nuance of a true pancake (sweet, bready, starchy, slightly savory, fully syrupy, a little buttery) and packs it all into one cuppa. This one, I’m happy to say, makes an incredible tea latte, sweetened with a hint of– you guessed it– maple syrup.

Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha: As a fairly new fan of genmaichas– roasty, toasty, popped-rice greens– I was eager to dive into this one. How would the flavors vary from the few standards genmaichas I’ve begun to dip my toes into? First things first– this one boasts the addition of marshmallow root, my favorite creamy-herbal addition to tea, kicking the flavors to next-level sweet n’ creamy. Still harnessing the traditional toasty-green that I’ve come to love from genmaichas, this one uses a matcha-infused genmaicha (as Anne explained in our interview) that gives this green the perfect vegetal kick to round out the sweetness of the marshmallow-y notes. I drank this one straight, but I’d love to see what a touch of foam on top does for that already-present creamy factor. Yet again, D’s Teas knocks it out of the park!

Graveyard Mist: Oh, this tea. This delicious, magical tea. I’d been lucky enough to give this one a try before, when Sororitea Sister Nichole aka CuppaGeek- shared a sampling from her precious stash. I’d heard Nichole rave about this one– minty, creamy, green, fresh– so frequently that she practically had me salivating. This tea truly lives up to the sense of place set by its slightly spooky name– picture a foggy, chilly morning, mist rolling in across a centuries-old stone graveyard– yup. If that mist had a flavor, it’d be green tea-meets-marshmallow-with-some-spearmint-for-fun, yah? Yeah. This tea is crisp and bright, with a pillow-y vanilla mouthfeel that is unmatched by any green I’ve ever had. It’s minty, sure, but it’s a more delicate, fresh, and vanilla-y mint than say, a traditional peppermint. Think those green star mint candies as opposed to the red. But better. This one is as spectacular on ice as it is hot, and defies all logic to be perfectly appropriate morning or night, any season, in any mood. It’s one of those tea, you guys– simply magical.

It’s clear why these three are the teas that Anne and her team chose to bring back permanently. 52 Teas devotees and newbies alike can now stock up on some of the blends that make this brand such a crowd favorite! And if these three are any indication, I’d recommend you stock up on as much as you can find. Even permanently-stocked, these are bound to be snapped up quickly.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Green
Where to Buy:  52Teas
Description

Every once in a while, we craft a very special tea – well, we think all our teas are pretty special! But sometimes, one is so special that it’s beloved by our customers and requested for reblends on a regular basis.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cotton Candy Genmaicha from 52Teas. . . .

I am a sucker for 52 Teas flavored genmaichas. Their Marshmallow Treat stole my heart long ago and I have yet to turn back. Not to mention, some flavors just call to me when I am ordering teas. Things that scream “sweet” and “dessert” almost always catch my attention and Cotton Candy is at the top of that list. That is why the minute I opened the email advertising this Cotton Candy Genmaicha tea, I started building a cart. I was quick but not quick enough because the large packs of this tea were gone before I even opened the site.

Looking at the tea, I can see the immediate appeal. Besides the mouthwatering name, this tea is lovely, with its amaranth petals and adorable purple heart-shaped sprinkles atop the typical genmaicha base loaded with popped rice. Before even trying the tea, I am won over. Thank goodness too because I might have stocked up without even giving this a taste.

Alright…the moment of truth…how does this lovely tea taste? Well, like genmaicha. A little vegetal from the green tea base and the matcha and a lot roasty from the popped rice. How does the cotton candy play into this than? This is sweeter than the typical genmaicha, and I suppose that makes sense because at the end of the day cotton candy is just sugar. It is not overly sweet though which is both good and bad. Good because it means one can drink this more often without feeling like they are developing cavities. And bad because when you think cotton candy you think over-the-top sugar and I am just not getting that here.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  52Teas
Description

This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!