I can haz stealth tea!
As in I once mentioned not being very familiar with japanese greens apart from some sencha way back when and a few assorted and barely remembered samples. And genmaicha, of course, which is almost a category all to itself. This lead to a swap between EvaPeva and myself, only yours truly sent out a package and then forgot all about.
Imagine my surprise when I find a big yellow envelope in my letterbox this afternoon! This day started out with some pretty solid reluctance to go to work, finding out that work wasn’t actually so bad (following up Uber-Bad tuesday with a day in which everything just works.) and then coming home to this! Only downside is now I’m wondering if I’ve ripped EvaPeva off, because… pokes selection Wow. Let’s just say that I am most definitely about to be edumacated in japanese greens!
Anyway, after wibbling for a while about which one to try first (and writing the intro to this post), I decided on a sencha because that’s always the first one that comes to my mind when I think ‘japanese green’ and because there seems to have been an outbreak of people singing the praises of sencha lately. I was feeling a little inspired by that.
The leaves have a lovely colour. Such a deep, dark green, like pine needles. That’s one of my favourite colours, so that’s a few points in favour right there. They have a sweet, grassy smell too which is actually really nice. It’s funny, I’m sure I’ve used the word ‘grassy’ before, but it wasn’t until I smelled this one that I really feel like I figured out what I actually mean with that.
I don’t own a fancy-pants thermometer and usually when I need water of a lower temperature than boiling I just wait and let it cool off for a bit and wing it from there. I have a funny instinct that with this one I should wait just a wee bit longer than I usually do. Not sure why, it’s just an feeling, so I’m going with that and arming myself with patience here. (Maybe at this point I ought to actually go to Adagio’s site and look it up…). So here we are. Waiting. Patiently. Or something.
Okay, I’ve waited long enough!
It has that funny radioactive neon yellow-y green colour that makes me wonder if tea can actually glow in the dark (wouldn’t it we cool if it could?). I always thought that the smell of genmaicha must be largely due to the popped rice, because it had this toasted sort of smell. Not like popcorn, but something kind of along the lines. I’ve just discovered that that wasn’t really the rice at all. Not unless someone invented invisible rice. It’s a green sort of toasty though. I have a suspicion that I ought to be able to recognise this aroma as being similar to something else. Just can’t think what it could be. Asparagus maybe? Or something like that.
For such a relatively pale tea it sure does have a lot of flavour. A LOT lot! I’m thinking spinach here. And a little butter.
Second cup has a bit of a bite to it what with the way I have the leaves loose in the pot and all, but it’s still that same spinach-y flavour underneath. With a little butter. And a lot of bite. This is also where that toasty, slightly nutty, flavour comes out more. I don’t think I’ve been oversteeping my genmaicha, as I was barely even steeping it at all, but I’m definitely recognising the flavour from there.
…Sooo, if I drink a tea that smells like asparagus and tastes like spinach, does that mean I can get out of eating my greens?
Anyway, lesson the first in japanese green: Very nice! I could fall for this one. Next will be to see how this particular one holds up to other senchas. An adventure for another day.