Product Review: Genmai Cha with Matcha Green Tea “Washi” Gift Set from Sugimoto America

giftsetProduct Information:

Where to Buy:  Sugimoto America

Product Description:

“Washi” Green Tea Gift – Genmai Cha features high-quality Japanese green tea packaged in a beautiful Japanese “Washi” canister. “Washi” is traditional Japanese rice paper printed with authentic Japanese patterns. Genmai Cha is a rich, aromatic blend of green tea, roasted brown rice, and matcha. Currently, it is one of Japan’s most popular teas.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

Not too long ago, I reviewed another Washi Green Tea Set from Sugimoto America, that beautiful blue Washi paper covered tin was filled with a delightful Sen Cha tea, and this gorgeous red Washi paper covered tin is filled with Genmai Cha with Matcha tea!

genmaichaThe dry leaf of this Genmai Cha with Matcha looks very much like other teas of this type that I’ve tried.  It looks like a Genmaicha:  green tea with roasted brown rice – some of which “pops” to look like tiny bits of popcorn.  But they’re not bits of popcorn, they’re pieces of popped rice!  Very cool.  Because this is a “with Matcha” variety of Genmai Cha, the tea has been dusted with a coat of bright, jade green powdered green tea (aka Matcha).

When the tea is steeped (180°F for 1 1/2 minutes are the parameters that I used) the liquid is a somewhat opaque, beautifully bright, pale green color.  The aroma is warm and toasty with a grassy tone.

Mmm!  This is a really good Genmai cha!  The overall flavor is that of roasty-toasty-nutty goodness.  It is sweet from the roasty-toasty nutty flavors as well as from the green tea notes.  It doesn’t taste overly “grassy” although there are some grass notes to this, I taste more of a lightly buttered, steamed lima bean flavor than that of “grass.”

I really enjoy Genmai cha because it is one of those “cozy” types of teas that I can enjoy later in the afternoon when I need something soothing and relaxing to sip.  This tea offers that with the uplifting boost that comes from the energizing Matcha.

redwashitinWhat impresses me most about this gift set is not the fabulous Washi paper covered tin – which is MOST impressive, indeed! – but the fact that the beautiful tin is filled with tea.  What a lovely gift something like this would make to any tea lover.  When you go to some of the expensive tea shops in the mall (you know which one I’m talking about, right?)  these types of tins are very costly, and the price of the tin does not include the tea!  With this gift, you not only get the beautiful tin but an excellent quality Japanese tea at a price that is probably about half what you’d spend in that expensive shop in the mall for the same type of product.  I’m really impressed with the value of this product!

Product Review: Sen Cha Green Tea “Washi” Gift Set from Sugimoto America

tin2Product Information:

Where to Buy:  Sugimoto America

Product Description:

“Washi” Green Tea Gifts – Sen Cha feature high-quality Japanese green tea packaged in a beautiful Japanese “Washi” canisters. “Washi” is traditional Japanese paper printed with authentic Japanese patterns. Sen Cha is a premium tea renowned for its balance of sweetness and astringency. For over three centuries Sen Cha has been Japan’s favorite green tea.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

washitinI have said before on this blog that I’m a sucker for beautiful packaging.  This Sen Cha Green Tea “Washi” Gift Set from Sugimoto America has to be the most beautiful presentation that I’ve ever seen.  The tin has been covered with beautiful blue washi paper (just as you see to the right), and yes … the paper pattern has been matched up precisely!  I was actually quite amazed by this, because you can see the true love, care and craftsmanship that was put into this gorgeous tin.


Tucked inside the tin is a 30 gram bag of Sen Cha Japanese green tea.  And this is the good stuff!  The flavor is sweet, slightly buttery and lightly grassy.  It isn’t overly vegetal, and I’m not detecting a strong bitter bite from this tea.  It’s sweet and really quite lovely to sip.

This Sen Cha has that fresh and uplifting flavor that I look for in a Japanese Sen Cha.  It’s a crisp and pure flavor that revitalizes from the inside out.  If I drink this after a long, busy day, I start to feel less weary and drained.  It’s the kind of tea that puts the spring back into your step.

It’s hard to say what excites me more about this product:  the tea or the tin?  The tin is absolutely stunning and the tea tastes wonderful and refreshing.  But what’s great about this product is that you don’t have to choose which is your favorite because you get both for a really great price.  It’s an outstanding value and would make a great gift for your favorite tea lover (even if that tea lover is you!  Hey, you deserve a gift too!)

Jacqueline’s Tea from Jacqueline’s Tea Room (available from iHeartTeas)

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:

This tea is part of the Sweet Set Sampler from iHeartTeas.

Learn more about Jacqueline’s Tea Room here.

Tea Description:

Black tea with Lavender flowers and honey bee pollen.

Taster’s Review:

There were a couple of teas in this sampler that prompted my purchase, but, I have to admit that this wasn’t one of them.  I think it was the English Garden that really struck my fancy, and it was the name of the tea, really, that made me want to try it.  I find it somewhat amusing and even a little disturbing that after all this time, and after all the teas I’ve tasted, that I am still swayed by something as cosmetic as the name of a tea.

As far as this tea goes,  I don’t think I even read the description of this one before I brewed it!  I don’t know, “Jacqueline’s Tea” just didn’t sound all that exciting to me.  I just happened to grab a black tea from my pile of samples that I need to try.  If I had taken the time to read the description, I probably would have been much more eager to try it.  Lavender and pollen?  AWESOME!

Normally, I associate pollen with the stuff that makes me feel icky in the spring and summer months.  But, when it’s used for culinary purposes, I really love pollen.  I was absolutely blown away by these Fennel Pollen Shortbread Cookies.  Pollen offers a sweetness like honey, but with more complexity.  Here, it has some lovely floral intonations, which enhance the flavor of the lavender quite nicely.

The black tea is mild and smooth.  On Steepster, I compared this tea to an impressionist painting.  If you stand up close to most impressionist art, it looks muddled, like a confused set of brush strokes.  But if you take a few steps back, the subject matter comes in to focus, and you see the brilliant beauty of the artwork.  This tea is like that.  The first couple of sips, the flavors seem kind of blurry.  I tasted the black tea and I tasted sweetness, but, my palate seemed a little confused by it all.  Then, after a couple of sips, the flavors come in to focus.  The black tea:  mellow and unassuming.  The lavender and the pollen:  sweet and floral, with the pollen notes highlighting the lavender in a way that I don’t think I’ve experienced lavender before.

This is not a tea that I’d recommend for the “gotta-get-moving” first thing in the morning cup of tea.  This is more like a tea you want to sip when you just want to sit back and contemplate.

If you’re a fan of lavender, this is a tea I recommend trying.  It is a different way to experience lavender, and it’s definitely worth experiencing!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Floppy Latte Designs Tea Time Digital Stamps


Tea Time Digital Stamps


Jessica Leigh Gill

Where to Buy:

Stitchy Bear Stamps

The stamps I used are available for purchase here and here

Artist’s Review:

I am creating an altered book for a friend, and for the first spread in the book, I used these two digital stamps from Floppy Latte Designs at Stitchy Bear Stamps. 

To create my spread (you can get a sneak peek of it below), I first created my collage/mixed media background using patterned paper, vintage text, gesso, Golden Acrylic Paints and Lumiere paints … and a whole lot of layers!  Then I let it dry overnight.

I printed the two images onto vellum paper, and then I colored in the images using colored pencils.  Then I tore around the edges of the images, and adhered them to my dried background.  I then chose a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and embellished with ribbon, fabric flowers, sequins and brads.

Not the best photo, sorry - but I assure you it looks much better in person.

It was a pretty simple collage, really, but I’m really happy with the way it turned out.  The photo doesn’t reveal how sparkly the collage really is (from the Lumiere paints).  I just hope that my friend that I’m sending this book to will enjoy the book as much as I am enjoying creating it… and how much I am enjoying using these digital stamps.  They add the perfect touch to my project, don’t you think?

PRODUCT REVIEW: Alice Patchwork from Tainted Sweets & MyGrafico

Designer:  Tainted Sweets

Where to Buy:  MyGrafico

Product Description:

Alice in Wonderland Patchwork!
Nine seperate 8×8 cute and colorful Alice in Wonderland squares!
Great for quilts, wall art, glass blocks and so much more!

Artist’s Review:

When I received this Alice Patchwork set created by Tainted Sweets, I was thrilled!  I love Alice in Wonderland, and this was such an adorable interpretation.

After giving it some thought, I knew just what I wanted to do!  I decided to make a greeting card set with them.  The graphics are large (8×8), so, I had to adjust the size on them.  I used the image of the Mad Hatter, The Dormouse, and the Teapot/Teacups for a set of three.

I printed the adjusted squares onto cardstock which I then cut out.  I ran my Krylon Gold Leafing pen around the edges of the square, and then I layered the square onto some coordinating scrapbook paper that I had on hand.  I used some foam mounting tape for the printed images to give the card a little dimension, and added a few rhinestones to each card for some sparkle.

These were a lot of fun to make, and I really like how they turned out.  I will be sending these out to some on-line Tea Friends, but, I think a full set (using all 9 images!) would make a great gift for someone special!

MyGrafico is a great website – loaded with tons of images.  Check them out for your next artsy project!