Let’s Go Bananas Again! Recent Tastings of Banana Teas

Check out my first Let’s Go Bananas tea posting.

It’s no secret I love the flavor of bananas. I like the taste in pastries, candy, breakfast, the fruit itself, and of course, the taste of bananas in tea! Here is another round of tasty banana inspired teas I’ve tried lately

Banana Split from The Necessiteas

Leaf type: red rooibos

This red rooibos blend has all three essential components of a banana split, with pieces of strawberries, bananas, and carob bean (“chocolate”).  The strong red rooibos compliments the sweet and tart fruit pieces in the blend. The chocolate is an undertone, taking a backseat to the driving banana and strawberry flavor combination. The blend benefits from sweetener and milk to make it feel more like a dessert and bring out more of the bananas.

 

Perles de Antilles Rooibos Blend from Camellia Sinensis distributed by Amoda Tea

Leaf type: green rooibos

This tropical green rooibos blend has pieces of dried banana, pineapple, and coconut. All three fruits are prominent, and no one ingredient takes the lead. Banana and coconut are the sweet components, bringing creaminess and body to the blend. The pineapple adds a much-needed pop of tartness to balance the blend. This tea is the most refreshing as an iced tea, and drinking it iced helps support its summertime tropical vibe.

 

Banana Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha from 52Teas

Leaf type: green

52Teas has a whole host of delicious flavored genmaicha teas. Being the sucker for banana that I am, this was one of my favorites. The sweet cream of the marshmallow pairs well with the banana, almost like a banana cream pie. The toasty flavors of the puffed rice help this blend from being too sweet, and if keeping with the pie analogy, the rice makes up the crust-like component of the blend. All the warm, roasted flavors of puffed rice and gentle green taste of genmaicha with creamy marshmallow fluff and banana.

 

I know there are still banana teas out there that I haven’t tried, so I’ll need to fill up my mug and go bananas for banana tea all over again!

Matcha Black Soybean Rice Tea / Lupicia. . . . . .

Well this is unique.

Genmaicha with black beans.

I’ve seen some interesting versions of genmaicha but this is the first I really want to cook with. Too bad it’s only a tea bag.

The aroma as you open the bag is both ‘ricey’ and nutty. Be careful of the steeping times with this one. The suggested high-end is 1 minute.

Luckily if you do go over a minute, as I did, it won’t be ruined with bitterness and astringent absurdness. The liquid color is a cloudy yellowish-green and has a very mellow flavor.

The soybeans/ black beans help the tea develop some unique, almost nutty characteristics. The grassy flavors are mostly undertones but they work so well with the rice.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Lupicia
Description:

MATCHA BLACK SOYBEAN RICE TEAis a blend of genmaicha (rice tea) with Matcha and high-quality black beans. Enjoy the harmony of sweet roasted black beans and mellow matcha. “Mame” is Japanese for “beans” but it also means “healthy.” This tea was created with a wish for everyone’s health.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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!