Hey there Teacups!! I’m back today with another Let’s Talk Tea post and this time around I’m going to be reviewing Adagio’s – Shincha Genmaicha from their Masters Collection. In 2019 the team at Adagio Master very kindly sent me a selection of teas to try from their 2019 harvest and due to my health getting worse in 2019 I didn’t get chance to review them before the year ended so you’re all going to see many more reviews of their 2019 harvest teas as the next few weeks pass. They are also going to be sending me some teas from their 2020 harvest to review so you’re probably likely to see them feature on my blog a lot throughout 2020.
When going through the first lot of teas they sent I cam across this Genmaicha and I knew it had to be the first one of the bunch that I tried. As I’m sure you all know by now I love Genmaicha so I’m also so excited to get to try new Genmaicha blends as each one definitely has something different to offer. Genmaicha is actually one of my favourite (non flavoured) ways to drink green tea and I go through bags of it that I have in the house quiet quickly so when going into this tasting session is was important to me that this Genmaicha not only tasted fantastic but had unique qualities and was well balanced.
Here’s what Adagio have to say about this tea over on their Masters website: ”Our 2019 Genmaicha is a lovely early spring version, with fine roasted and puffed rice perfectly in balance with the sweet, tender young leaves. The nuttiness of the rice accentuates the soft umami notes of the tea with hints of crispness in the finish. Unlike the affordable luxury it has become today, historically, tea was a pricey commodity. The Japanese peasants found it difficult to afford much tea and would mix it with roasted rice, which was abundant and cheap. Thus, they were able to squeeze more cups from the same amount of leaves. A recipe born of poverty, Genmaicha has acquired an uptown chic and is now a favourite of urban dwellers in Japan and the West.”
Tea Tasting Notes
For this tasting session I steeped this western style and did 3 re-steeps with it (which I haven’t been able to do for a while), in total I tried this two ways on its own and then with a little honey added in. I myself could have had this without adding any sweetener into it but I know some of you will want to know how it takes honey so I thought I would try it out and give you all the low down. So for my first steep with this I followed the steeping instructions that Adagio gave on their website for this tea and steeped this for 2 minutes in 70(DC) (170 F) water, the resulting cup with a light bright green with a tinge of yellow. The aroma from this cup was very similar to the dry leaves a mixture of sweet/savoury and a light vegetal note, the stand out being the toasted rice.
The sweet vegetal note that the green tea provides pairs perfectly the savoury toasted rice that also gives a nice nutty note as well. This is definitely a tea that leans much more to the savoury end of the scale. Though the tea provide a vegetal sweetness it’s umami notes are also quite prevalent which paired with the savoury notes of the rice overwhelms that natural sweetness a little bit. After this first steep with these leaves I went on to do two more adding thirty seconds for each steep for the most part the flavours profile was similar to the first steep aside from the sweetness slowly getting a little more subtle.
Adagio say these leaves are good for 7 steeps which I would have loved to try out this time around but I simply wasn’t feeling well enough to do so. However I will make sure I do a Gaiwan session with this tea in the future and see just how many great steeps I can get through within a day. Like I said at the start of my tasting notes I enjoyed this tea for what it was on it’s own because it’s incredibly well balanced and has a nice smooth medium bodied mouthfeel. However I know that some of you will be interested in how this tea tastes sweetener so I added half a teaspoon into my cup… and the result was nice and the honey did strengthen the natural sweetness in this tea it did seem to be too much for the subtler notes of this blend and threw it all off balance a little bit. Going forward when I do drink this I definitely won’t be adding any honey because it’s fantastic on it’s own.
I can see myself repurchasing this if it ever comes to the UK Adagio website because it is one of the best Genmaichas I have tried so far and it would be a nice breath of fresh air between all the sweeter blends I have in my collection. I’m really hoping I’m going to get the chance to try their 2020 harvest because I would love to be able to compare the two side by side. If you are a fan of genmaicha and you are looking for a new one to try I recommend trying this one out and if you’re looking to try your very first Genmaicha this would be a fantastic place to start your journey.
Overall Teacup Rating: 5/5
If you want to find out more about Adagio’s Masters Teas and purchase some of this blend for yourself you can do both here (in the US). As always if you have any questions at all either stick them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter/Instagram @teaisawishblog and I’ll do my best to answer them all as soon as I can.
Speak to you all again soon. Happy Steeping – Kimberley