Masters Teas’s Shincha Genmaicha

Shincha Genmaicha by Masters Teas
Green Tea / Straight
$19.00USD for 1.5oz

Masters Teas has provided me with Shincha Genmaicha for the purposes of writing an honest review.

First Impressions

Shincha Genmaicha came to me in a sealed, resealable pouch with a matte label on the front that has a bit of information about this tea. Between the label and the product page, I learned that Shincha Genmaicha comes from Shizuoka, Japan and the farmer’s name is Katahira. This Japanese green tea was harvested in April 2019 and is considered an ‘early spring’ harvest.

Shincha Genmaicha consists of Japanese green tea and puffed rice. The leaves are very flat, thin and dark green. For the most part, the rice is brown and has a light, delicate toasted aroma to it, with a few pieces in the mix that reminds me of popcorn because of the way the rice puffed up. There’s a mix of sweet and salty aroma coming from the dry leaf, along with the ‘popcorn’ smell. I find the aroma of Shincha Genmaicha to be really inviting.

Preparation

Masters Teas recommends steeping Shincha Genmaicha at 180°F (82°C) for 2 to 3 minutes. My initial steep was for 2 minutes with 175°F (79°C) water.

First Taste

A 120 second steep of Shincha Genmaica results in a very pale yellow-green tea. The aroma of the tea is very similar to the dry leaf – a mix of salty and sweet. I found that the flavour of Shincha Genmaicha is a mix between a nice sweet vegetal quality, the puffed rice flavour, and light savoury aspect to the tea that is mostly lingering in the background. The umami notes in the tea are pleasant and make it a nice savoury tea to sip.

A Second Cup?

Masters Teas suggests that the leaves can be used for up to seven infusions – so naturally I did seven resteeps (eight steeps total) and added an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the steeped leaves became very bright green, and the tea itself became a brighter yellow-green as well. The flavour profile remained fairly similar to the initial steep – I found that it was a bit less sweet as the steeps went on and became more savoury with stronger umami flavours.

My Overall Impression

I loved Masters Teas’s Shincha Genmaicha. I found that this Japanese green tea really resteeped well, holding strong for a total of eight steeps of the same leaves. I really enjoyed the flavour of this tea – it was pleasant to drink and have the flavour profile very slowly shift as I went through all the steeps. I would definitely recommend taking your time with this tea so that you can enjoy the change in the balance of the flavours as you steep it repeatedly.

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Oteas’s Organic Darjeeling

Organic Darjeeling by Oteas
Black Tea / Straight
$6.95 for 30g (12 sachets)

Oteas has provided me with Organic Darjeeling for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Oteas’s Organic Darjeeling came in what is now a very familiar cardstock box. Inside was the tea bags inside of a plastic bag for all that freshness. The tea sachets are biodegradable, which is always a feature I like to point out because being environmentally friendly is a good thing.

Darjeeling has an interesting aroma – I find it to be a mix of earthy and nutty notes that is inviting. There’s a nice mix of shade of browns with hints of green in the tea leaves, along with some reddish browns. It’s amazing how many different colours can be found in a single tea.

Preparation

Oteas recommends steeping Organic Darjeeling in 100°C (212°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep of this black tea was for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Organic Darjeeling steeps to a golden reddish orange. The aroma of the tea is a lighter earthy fragrance compared to the dry leaf. There’s some roasted nutty notes in the flavour of the tea, and I found it to be mildly astringent when the tea’s been steeped for four minutes. It made for a pleasant cup of tea. If you’re not fond of astringency in your tea, I would add a bit of cream or milk to help temper the tea. As a black tea, it would take sweetener well also.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Organic Darjeeling twice, adding an additional 30 seconds for each steep. Look at how much those leaves opened up! I found that the flavour stayed pretty consistent throughout, with the astringency lessening with each steep – which made it increasingly pleasant.

My Overall Impression

I loved Oteas’s Organic Darjeeling. I love the flavour of Organic Darjeeling has and how it’s reflected in the aroma of the dry leaf. Bonus points for the astringency not being too strong and lessening with each steep – a quality that is easily fixed if you’re not a fan of the astringency. But I enjoyed the roasted nutty flavours throughout, it makes for a nice savoury cup of tea that’s a nice option for afternoon tea.

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DavidsTea’s Zomba Pearls

Zomba Pearls by DavidsTea
White Tea / Straight
$19.98 for 50g

First Impressions

I’m a sucker for rolled teas because I always find them that much more impressive than other teas – I think it has a lot to do with the fact that there’s a lot more care and consideration put into the teas during the processing of the leaves. Zomba Pearls is one of those teas that didn’t hesitate to impress me. I ordered Zomba Pearls online from the DavidsTea website (the tea, at the time of writing, is part of their current sale!). Zomba Pearls comes in a sealed, resealable foil pouch that has a seafoam green label that has the information regarding the tea on one side.

Zomba Pearls comes in large, almost oval-shaped pearls – no round pearls here! The dry leaf has a light vegetal and grassy notes to it. The leaf detail is lovely, and the pearls are tightly wound together. I noticed that there was a beautiful variation in the colour of the leaves that I could see, raging from green to brown to almost black.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Zomba Pearls in hot water for 4 to 7 minutes, according to the product label. As per the product page, that would be 90°C (195°F) for 3 to 5 minutes – a bit inconsistent. I opted to use the white tea temperature setting on my Breville IQ Kettle (85°C/185°F) for 4 minutes, and I used 4 pearls in a 600ml teapot.

First Taste

Zomba Pearls steeps to a light golden yellow colour. There’s a warm vegetal aroma from the cup. I found that Zomba Pearls has a light sweetness to it, there’s a buttery/creamy quality to both the texture and flavour of the tea. I didn’t find the flavour to be too grassy, despite smelling that it the dry leaf. Zomba Pearls has a pleasant, smooth mouthfeel to it and the lack of bitterness or astringency makes for a pleasant cup of tea.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Zomba Pearls a total of seven times (eight steeps total with the same leaves). I opted to keep using the white tea temperature setting on my variable temperature kettle, and I added an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the flavours deepened for the first three resteeps from the initial steep and got a bit more floral with each steep, and then the tea began to slowly lose flavour after that. There was still a considerable amount of creamy flavour by the last steep, so I do think that I could have just continued.

My Overall Impression

I loved DavidsTea’s Zomba Pearls. I was just really impressed with this tea from my first impression of the dry leaf, to the flavour of the first cup, and all those many cups after that. While this tea may be on the pricier side (and you can get it on sale right now!), I found that there’s that much more value in the leaves that you can find with the additional steepings of the same leaves to just get all of that flavour out of there. I only used 4 pearls and got eight steeps out of those pearls, so it steeps pretty darn well and tastes good too!

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