Review: ShiZen Tea Genmaicha Powder with Matcha

Genmaicha Tea, Green Tea, Matcha Tea, ShiZen Tea Add comments
Katie’s Teaview Snapshot
Not Great"The flavour is basically a heavy popped rice nuttiness backed by an acidic berry flavour."
Katie’s Teaview: 4.8/10
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shizengenmaichaThe powder of this blend is a dull green colour, not surprising because it's not a true matcha tea. What is surprising and disappointing is the fact that my first attempt to make this is a failure on an impressive scale. I put one bamboo scoop worth of powder into my chawan and add just enough room-temperature water to make the tea into a paste. But rather than becoming a paste, the tea sticks in a giant ball and stubbornly refuses to break down. Eventually, I pull out all the remaining chunks, which constitute most of the tea I added, pour in a bit of hot water. and whisk.

It doesn't whisk up particularly frothy, but the bubbles don't dissipate quickly, always a good sign. It's a terrible cup, though, almost completely devoid of flavour and gritty in texture, probably because there wasn't enough powder and what there was didn't break down particularly well.

For attempt number two, I sift the powder first then add hot water and whisk. This time it worked better; there was no clumping, but it still didn't whisk up particularly frothy. It's surprisingly mild, in a boring sort of way, so I try it all again from the top. Attempt number three, I do the same as the second one, only with two bamboo scoops of matcha to about three ounces of water, which is about twice as much as I normally use.

This time around, the cup froths up beautifully. There's no real sweetness, like a good matcha would have, but that isn't surprisingly since this isn't a true matcha. It doesn't have any bitterness, either, so that's a big plus. The flavour is basically a heavy popped rice nuttiness backed by an acidic berry flavour, and unfortunately there's a bit of astringency now that wasn't in the earlier attempts.

I realise that, based on the name and the affordable price, this is meant to be a powdered genmaicha with a little matcha thrown in for good measure. I don't expect it to be subtle and sweet and brilliant, but I definitely expected a bold flavour. But it could use a either hint of sweetness to balance the acidity or even just a bold backing for the harsher notes. It doesn't taste overly cheap - it froths up nicely, and I've certainly had harsher, more astringent matchas. There just isn't enough flavour to get excited about.

Every once in awhile I come across a tea that, no matter how hard I try, I can't get enough flavour out of it to really critique its taste. It's a frustrating experience, and one I've had with this blend. I hate to use the word bland to describe a tea because I always worry that if I'd prepared it a little differently it may have had a chance to shine, but I think it's time to give up on this and use the dreaded word. It's not bad; it's just nothing much.

— To purchase ShiZen Tea Genmaicha Powder with Matcha, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Katie Katie Reviewer
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