Pumpkin Spice Latte Genmaicha from 52Teas

Genmaicha was a type of tea that I came to later in my tea-drinking life.  I didn’t yet understand the toasty magic of having puffed rice brewed alongside a nutty green tea.  Since then I’ve been on the genmaicha train and I don’t plan to leave. 52Teas has a great variety of genmaicha teas, like banana marshmallow or rice pudding.  This time I’m trying Pumpkin Spice Latte Genmaicha from 52Teas.

In addition to the expected green tea and puffed rice, this blend contains pumpkin pieces, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  The peppery allspice and herbal nutmeg make this tea smell specifically like autumn and not just your everyday chai spices.

Brewed, this blend is exceptionally well-balanced.  There are the sweet flavors of a pumpkin spice latte, and a little warmth and depth from the spices, but they don’t drown out the toasty comfort of the original genmaicha.

As much as I love pumpkin spice everything, this might be one of my favorite takes on the flavor.  The brew is creamy without being cloying, spicy without feeling generic, and the genmaicha base makes me feel so cozy and easygoing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be ordering those PSL coffee lattes when they come back on the menu, but I’ll also be rooting for 52Teas to reblend this genmaicha beauty just in time for pumpkin season.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: 52Teas

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Easter Egg Nests from Bluebird Tea Co.

I had to try Easter Egg Nests blend from Bluebird Tea Company as soon as I heard about it:  marshmallows, puffed rice, cacao shells? It’s the dessert tea of my dreams! This blend is based on an Easter dessert of rice krispie treats with chocolate, shaped like bird’s nests with a few mini chocolate eggs or marshmallow peeps for good measure.

Springtime and puffed rice or marshmallow teas are all the rage.  There are lots of sweet and festive peeps-inspired teas available this time of year.  This blend from Bluebird Tea Co. is a slight rarity, in that it is a puffed rice tea with a half black tea half green tea base instead of the full green tea base more traditionally found in genmai cha.

This tea tastes like equal parts marshmallowy rice krispie treat and sweet and creamy milk chocolate. The natural nuttiness of the cacao shells is a perfect match for the toasty puffed rice, and I’m glad for the bolder black tea to provide a solid base for all these delightful dessert flavors. I love this tea just as it is, without sugar or milk; it has a tasty balance of starchy rice with smooth vanilla that isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, like salted caramels.

However, I’ve seen some amazing pictures of this tea as a latte, complete with whipped cream and Easter candy and that might just have to be my next dessert concoction!  Happy Spring!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black tea and Green tea
Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.
Description:

The best Easter treats to make as kids: crispy, gooey, chocolatey, goodness! Whether you decorate with chocolate eggs or fluffy chicks we’re all fond of a home-made Easter Egg Crispy Nest (or two!). That’s why our limited edition Easter tea blend is packed with crispy toasted rice, chocolate pieces and (vegan) marshmallows!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Harmony Tea from Mellow Monk. . . . . .

Genmai cha is a special type of green tea with toasted rice.  Some of the rice kernels have popped in the toasting process, looking like little puffed, white popcorn pieces.  I’ve sometimes seen genmai chai billed as the “movie night” tea for its inclusion of these popcorn-like rice pieces. No matter what you name it, genmai cha is a unique and delicious tea experience.

It was a long time in my tea journey before I put genmai cha tea into my usual rotation.  Beyond the puffed rice in the dry leaf, the next most striking impression about the tea is that it is savory.  If you aren’t expecting a savory experience, the brew can be a little unsettling at first.  If you know this tea won’t be fruity or floral going into it, you’ll be much better off.  Tasting Harmony Tea genmai cha from Mellow Monk was no exception.

Brewed, the Harmony Blend smells like warm bread or sticky rice.  With these meal-like flavors, the warm tea might seem almost more like broth than tea.  Over my years of drinking genmai cha, I find this warm brew and its toasty, starchy flavors to be supremely comforting, like sitting in the kitchen when the oven is on and bread is baking.

Despite all this toastiness, it is good not to forget that genmai cha is a green tea, so brew it with slightly cooler water to avoid burning the green tea leaves.  Though the toasted rice is the prominent scent and taste of the tea, there is a role for the green tea to play in the flavor profile.

Green tea on its own can sometimes have savory incarnations, but it is usually a vegetable-inspired savoriness, like buttery bok choy or dark and nutty kale.  The green tea in Mellow Monk’s Harmony Blend is much sweeter, and not too vegetal.  It reminds me of a smooth green tea matcha, green and grassy but still sweet like nutty wheat bread.

It is a rainy, gray day today, and a warming cup of toasty Harmony Tea was just what I needed to turn my mood around.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk
Description:

Harmoney Tea™ is a genmaicha — green tea mixed with roasted brown rice. The rice imparts a nutty, toasty flavor that makes genmaicha one of the most popular types of green tea in America. Unlike some tea growers, this artisan roasts his own rice, which he buys from local farmers. (During roasting, some of the rice grains pop like popcorn. This popped rice is also included in the mixture to enhance the flavor.)

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

My Favorite After-School Special: Marshmallow Krispy Treat from The Necessiteas

The Marshmallow Krispy Treat, the staple of after school snacking or easy, no-bake sweet treats.  And now, we can taste this simple dessert in tea form.  This blend uses a black tea base sweetened up with mini marshmallows and puffed rice cereal pieces.  The dry leaf smells sweet and buttery like the crispy breakfast cereal.

When brewed, the blend tastes more caramel than marshmallow.  This tea is best with a bit of milk to pump of the mini marshmallow sweetness, otherwise the black tea base takes over the other flavors.  This is a tasty blend, but it doesn’t quite match its name or ingredient list.  I think this blend might have been better-suited for a genmai chai blend with lighter grassy teas and toasted rice built in.

However, I understand that green teas aren’t for everyone.  If you’re a black tea lover this will be a unique dessert flavor with enough bold black tea tannins to suit your preferences.  Or if you’re skeptical of a tea with puffed rice, rest assured that this tea tastes much more like creme brulee or caramel drizzle than rice cereal.

Next time, I’ll have to top off my mug with some added marshmallows of my own!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The NecessiTeas
Description:

Why not take the awesomeness of Marshmallow Krispy Treats and transform them into a tea? Well that’s exactly what we’ve done! The outcome is an incredibly tasty blend filled with ooey- gooey goodness!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Carve off a Slice of Frosted Carrot Cake from A Quarter to Tea. . . . . .

In my experience I’ve found that people either love or hate carrot cake.  As for me, with my enormous sweet tooth, I’ll enjoy a slice of carrot cake any day, but that’s not always the case for others. What? Carrots? Cake?  Who’s sneaking vegetables into my dessert? I can understand the dichotomy.

Whether you love carrot cake or not, it’s hard to resist trying a tea flavor as bold and unusual as Frosted Carrot Cake from A Quarter to Tea.  From the beginning, these tea leaves have a lot going on.  This is a genmai cha-based blend, so sencha green tea and gold puffs of toasted rice are available in abundance.  Beside the rice there are actual carrot pieces in the blend, as well as raisins, and dried pineapple.  Ginger and cinnamon balance out this ingredients list and bring their usual baked-good-charms to the flavor palette.

The most impressive part of this blend is the vanilla frosting element, which actually tastes a bit tart and tangy like real cream cheese.  This isn’t just plain-old vanilla flavoring, the specific carrot-cake cream cheese frosting is alive and well in this cup of tea.

This is a green tea, so mind your temperatures and steeps times, no matter how delicious the cake aspects smell, take out the teabag after a few minutes to avoid any bitter undertones.  The frosting notes get more prominent as the tea cools.

Believe it or not, this tea does taste like carrot cake, even without sugar or milk, the fruits and veggies in the tea leaves bring enough natural starchiness and sweetness to make this blend feel full and decadent.

If you love carrot cake, you’ll love this tea.  If carrot cake isn’t your style, give this brew a chance in the name of good fun, you might be surprised by how tasty carrot cake and tea can be.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea
Description:

A cup of well-spiced carrot cake accented with raisins and pineapple for sweetness and a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!