Review: Tavalon Genmai Matcha

Genmaicha Tea, Green Tea, Matcha Tea, Rice Tea, Tavalon Add comments
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"An intriguing tea that produces wildly different results with each cupping. The toasted rice and matcha powder play well together for a variety of spectral tastes."
Dan’s Teaview: 6.5/10
Other Teaviews: Lynn gave it 4.5/10, Laura gave it 8/10, Vanessa gave it 7/10, Geoff gave it 6.7/10
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tavalongenmaimatchaAn interesting juxtaposition exists with this Genmai Matcha (more correctly monikered Matcha-iri genmaicha). Genmaicha (or "brown rice tea") originated as "the People's tea", since rice was very inexpensive and could be used essentially as a filler in combination with the more expensive green tea leaves. As such, poor folk could afford to drink this cheaper tea. Then you have Matcha, which is a very labor-intensive and generally expensive type of tea due to the process of grinding the leaves into a fine powder. So we have here some of the cheap stuff mixed with some of the top shelf stuff. Intriguing.

I have not encountered a pure Genmaicha previously, but I am sure it would appeal to me. A toasted rice flavor mixed in with green tea is a winning combination. My personal favorite experience with Matcha is via the Matcha Green Tea Blast at Jamba Juice. I am a sucker for them, and became addicted back in my days in California. I crave them still. Bringing these two worlds together in one cup seems to be a recipe for success.

The dried mix is overwhelmed with the Matcha. A fine powder coats everything in the mix -- the brown toasted rice pellets appear completely pale green. The tea leaves vary in size and in rolled tightness. A few stems are evident.

The cup produced is an opaque, murky, yellowish-green hue, reminiscent of a dirty lake. The aroma is very pleasant and comforting, much like walking into a warm house from sub-zero outdoor temperatures, with a pot of yum on the stove. A bit sweet and earthy on the nose.

My first cupping of this tea evoked one specific comparison more than any other: a cup of chicken soup broth. But with green tea flavor. Mind you, this sounds potentially dreadful in print, but to the palette, it was quite a fabulous treat. This could do wonders for dieters, as it seemed to satisfy any pangs of hunger I had, and was extremely savory. Days later I prepared my second cupping. This result was much more subdued in flavor - almost a bit watered down. The toasted rice flavor seemed much more at the forefront than previously, and I did not have much of the chicken soup flavor I recalled. The last few sips seemed a bit bitter, although there seemed to be no bitterness to the first cup at all (nor the first 3/4 of the second cup). I had actually preferred the first cup immensely, and was strongly looking forward to a similar experience with the second cup, and was quite let down when it produced an almost completely different taste -- although to be fair to the second cup, it was quite nice, just not what I was anticipating. I was very curious, and waited several hours before my third cupping. This cup was somewhere in the middle of the first two cups (more like the first than the second). However, this third cup had a much nuttier and slightly more bitter taste with an astringency and gritty texture that was not present in earlier cups (somewhat like a brazil nut, all around). Yet at the same time, this cup was also more buttery. The former effects increased as the cup cooled.

It's clearly evident that this tea will produce wildly different results. As with any tea, you can get many extremes in taste just from steeping times and temperatures. But with this mix, one cup could yield an extremely strong rice flavor, while the next could be 180-degrees in the matcha direction. A good shake of the blend and a stirring with your teaspoon should yield a favorable mixture to ensure balance of flavors and ingredients. Despite the fact that I was careful to do so with each cup, the results still varied greatly. I suspect the water temperature may have varied more than I thought it did (most likely lowest with the first cup). In spite this, each cup was thoroughly enjoyable with its own unique properties. If anything, this tea provides a good deal of mystery and intrigue with each cupping.

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Teaviews Member: Dan Dan
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