|Author||Sarah Longo (United States)|
Since today was a laid back Sunday, I decided to do a side by side taste testing of different brands of Genmaicha- HIBIKI-AN'S and another's brand that I do not think was harvested in Uji. I admit I was feeling a bit bored with the Tea types I was drinking and since the weather has gotten cooler, especially at night and the mornings due to Autumn (my favorite Season!) and today was even cooler due to cloudiness and rain, I thought I would enjoy something like Genmaicha based on it's description and other Tea Enjoyers' reviews of a roasted and warming aroma and taste. I also admit that I had not tried this type of Tea before, although I had these unopened packettes in my posession. I'm not sure what I was waiting for...I think I was worried to open the sealed packs and then not enjoying it enough to drink it quickly before my Tea went bad...silly scared me.
Anyway, since I had not drank it before I decided to go with the lower water temperature to avoid any bitterness. I opened both packs and they smelled pretty much the same way, which was a pleasant green scent but with a gentle, kinda sweet roasted aspect that did not overpower in any way. This Tea is not as strong of a "roasted" aspect as Houjicha, if you are worried or thinking/wondering about that, as I was, since I did want it to be a "warm" and "roasted" Tea experience but I still wanted something "lighter" and "greener" than Houjicha (which I do enjoy but was not in the mood for today, plus I wanted to try something new and different after getting excited reading reviews.) I felt HIBIKI-AN'S maybe smelled a bit better, not really stronger, but more "invigorating," I think. Both Teas appeared to have the same amount of Tea vs Rice ratio and both Teas appeared to be about the same quality before adding water. I used the 2 Whispering Water pale blue yunomi I'm happy to have purchased from this site, scooped the same amount of Tea into each followed by the water. I felt this way was allowing this type of blend plenty of room to fully expand and the taste and aroma would not be affected by anything, just Tea and water, no metal or plastic strainers during steeping. I taste tested them after almost 1 minute, then sipped both yunomi again about 30seconds later and immediately realized the differences and that HIBIKI-AN'S was basically already the winner. First off, HIBIKI-AN's steeping was finished in a little under 2min making a very flavorful brew that smelled and tasted great without ANY bitterness! The other tasted very watery and not flavorful at all and even though I felt like I should steep it longer I stopped both Teas by straining them into 2 glasses to make everything even and fair. After drinking both Genmaicha Teas I decided HIBIKI-AN won out by far due to it's very tasty flavorful blend of both the Tea leave's green taste that makes your mouth water and the gently roasted rice that is almost sweet. The other brand was not bitter but was basically a watered down, bland version of Genmaicha. I then inspected the rice to see for myself about the soggy results that other reviewers have had with some brands which they say ruins another steeping in different ways. I felt that HIBIKI-AN'S rice was NOT soft or soggy and still quite firm but the other's WAS soft and soggy.
I decided to do a second steeping of both to test their results since both brands stated they were good for multiple infusions. After pouring water over the blends I watched as I waited. I noticed that HIBIKI-AN'S blend looked "alive" as the leaves had opened up and unfurled almost like rehydrated blossoms awakened by the steepings and appeared plump, fresh, healthy, and green with a few leaves floating on the surface but the other blend was looking quite "dead" since those leaves were still just completely sunken, lieing at the bottom of the yunomi looking old and flat. I noticed that HIBIKI-AN'S 2nd steeping was lighter in color/more yellow than the 1st steeping and the other brand had a more green color to it still which surprised me since I already knew it was inferior by all of my other judgements. I had once again used a lower water temperature, maybe slightly hotter than the 1st steeping and once again tasted after 1minut and tasted again at nearly 2minutes and my results were the same: HIBIKI-AN has an immensly flavorful Genmaicha while my other brand could hardly take the 2nd steeping resulting in a seriously watered down brew without any flavor compared to HIBIKI-AN. I'm now a real fan of HIBIKI-AN's Genmaicha and can recommend it to anyone! There really is a difference! I feel they deliver a great value at the price point, too, so you really CAN enjoy it everyday! Another awesome Tea created with wonderful care that Truly stands out by HIBIKI-AN! Thank you, again :)
5 of 5 Stars!
|Date||October 01, 2012|