Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Den’s Tea
Houji-Genmaicha consists of the two harmonious yet slightly contrasting taste components. It is a good alternative to sweetened coffee. It offers a comfortable toasty aroma both from roasted leaf and brown rice. The Genmai (roasted brown rice) sweetens the roasted Bancha leaves.
Learn more about this tea here.
Sometimes, it’s hard to get what you want in this world. Sometimes, I want genmaicha at 10 o’clock at night, but I also want a good roasty, toasty, houjicha. Thank goodness for Den’s Tea. They truly have thought of everything. Now I can have my tea and drink it too.
I used my 12oz tokoname kyusu for this one. Probably overleafing it, I intitally used my typical green tea temperature at 175, but at 3 minutes, the flavor was a bit muted. I punched up the temperature to about 190, taking care to not scorch the leaves by leaving the lid uncovered. Three minutes later – I was in tea bliss. The usual clover honey sweetness and toasted barley notes of the houjicha blended so well with the rice, I couldn’t tell where it ends and I begin. There was a touch of cinnamon spice warmth to round out the cup. I should have known that a little hotter water could coax out the houji from the cha.
This tea is really the best or both worlds. It’s got the fresh-toasted rice flavor from the genmai, and it’s got the roasty flavor of houjicha. To be honest, the bancha used is not the best houjicha base I have ever tasted, but paired with the toasted rice, it makes for an amazing pairing to almost any meal, and as a great bedtime sipper.
Now on to Part 2 of my ‘review’ of the Midwest Tea Fest! Oh, what goodness lies ahead!
What kind of tea person would I be if I did not take home a massive haul of tea back with me? I packed very light for the trip, but brought a giant suitcase to hold it all in. When it was all packed tightly away, I just made the cut off size for a checked bag. 49.5lbs of nothing but tea, teaware, and toothpaste!
I know how it looks, there is a lot more teaware than there is tea. I waited too long to snag anything, and a lot of the teas being sold were essentially all gone. But! I fell in love with more teaware than I think is healthy for just one person. It was pretty crowded around all of the booths the majority of the time, it was a madhouse! Just watching the folks at the Queen’s Pantry feverishly weigh and pack all the teas that were flying off the ‘shelves’ was almost nauseating. I overheard the people at Shang Tea how they only prepared for 300 people, and there was easily twice as much in attendance.
The few teas you see are mostly samples, the Rishi and Harney were in my goodie bag, and I got samples of Pomegranate white and gunpowder mint from Single Origin. I did purchase Single Origin Tea’s Jun Chiyabari, the last one on their table. There is a small round tin of Bingley’s 10yrs Oven Roasted Aged oolong, and I did pick up some of Shang’s Aged White. (Not at the actual festival though, I took the short walk to Crowne Plaza to their brick and mortar store to pick some up, they were not selling them at the fest.)
I ended up doing something I never do, and that is indulge in any whim I had along the way. I bought three pieces from Pi Ceramics, a sweet goblet cup, a cha hai (sharing pitcher) for gongfu, and a short and stout kuysu! They are great looking pieces and have a good home here with me. I bought another sharing pitcher from Bingley’s, as well as a small glass teapot. The two small white cups are from Shang Tea, as well as the white infused mug, and the Tea Seed Oil. (Fun Fact: Tea Seed Oil has a smoke point of 455F. You could healthily fry with it!)
The two books you see are the darlings of my collection from the fest. The first is Nichole’s own book, Tea Log: Chronicle your journey of Tea which a very useful tool I know I will be filling up very quickly. And the hardcover 30th edition of Tea Lover’s Treasury by James Norwood Pratt was signed by the legend himself. I was overjoyed by the welcoming attitude he and his wife Valerie had towards everyone they talked to.