Tag Archives: Genmaicha

A Decision Making Moment

We all have those moments in our lives with our significant others where decisions must be made wholly together. They are typically the bigger decisions: should we buy a house, should we sell our house, should we start a family, should you or I pursue the new employment opportunity, should you or I go back to school, should we add to our existing family, should we do two or more of the above simultaneously, etc.

For us (and maybe it’s for me more than for him), sitting down and discussing the issues over tea can get us out of our usual discussion routine where one will drop comments on the other out of the blue, with no context or warning. And then off he or I will go – chasing Edie or starting a load of laundry. These drive-by thought grenades are not intentionally unsettling. They just tend to happen in the course of busy lives.

Today, we sat down over a gift from Obubu Tea, to ponder, to discuss. And while the tea itself became the majority of the conversation, it did what was intended. It put us on the same page, and that is exactly where we needed to be.

It was rather fun dissecting the two Senchas: The first, Sencha of the Earth, the other, Sencha of the Spring Sun. Even inhaling the fragrance of the dry leaves gave a clear understanding of how very different Senchas can be.

Sencha of the Earth produced a dark yellow liquid with a fragrance reminding me of wet leaves in a New England forest. The first sip for me brought the earthy greenness I had always associated with green teas. Gene referred to it as the slightest bit of fishiness, and I had to agree. That was the element I could never quite put my finger on. Having journeyed through many green teas now, however, this doesn’t deter me any longer. I have a new appreciation for greens. What we found most interesting about this one was wherever this tea hit your palate first is where the aftertaste would remain.

Sencha of the Spring Sun produced a light copper liquid with a fragrance more reminiscent of wet grass, rather than wet leaves. This first sip was brighter and more substantial than the other. Gene was reminded more of a black tea than a green tea, which is perhaps why we slightly preferred this one. Or maybe it had more to do with the fact that this chilly weather made the thought of Spring Sun more appealing. What we found interesting about this brew was that even after steeping, this Sencha seemed to continue to deepen and develop.

One variation we look forward to trying with these Senchas is adding Obubu’s roasted brown rice in order to produce a Genmaicha. In this world of artisan products, what better way to provide a one-of-a-kind experience than giving you the roasted brown rice to blend to your individual taste? Brilliant!

The result of this moment? We’ve agreed on the initial path we would like to pursue. We have a plan. Where it will take us is a complete mystery to us today, but at least we’re not allowing ourselves to hang in limbo.

One decision down! How many more to go? Who knows. Life, as they say, is a journey – not a destination. And as today is also the first Sunday in Advent, we are reminded that life is also about new beginnings. Each day, each month, each year is a new beginning. It’s not a bad thing, but it is a good reminder to take a Moment and be thoughtful about how we want to approach these new and renewing beginnings.

An International Tea Moment is having a holiday drawing! Learn the details here.

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A Green Tea Wrap Party Moment

With elections completed (thank heavens), and tea partiers having made their statement – whatever it is (frankly I haven’t paid attention) – I thought I’d wind down my own Green Tea Party movement with a fond remembrance of all I’ve learned and experienced.

For those of you who wonder who won, well, Green Tea did.

I began my Green Tea Party with the objective of exploring green teas and trying to develop any kind of appreciation for them at all. What I discovered was an incredibly vast spectrum of flavors, colors, and intensities that surprised and delighted.  I have been won over.  Here’s a walk down memory lane:

I started with my Green Tea Exploration Moment. Part of my motivation was the feeling that my family had been sick too much for too long. Began my journey with Wen Shan Bao Zhong from Naivetea and Genmaicha from American Tea Room.

Next  was A Long Jing (Dragonwell) Moment. David from American Tea Room recommended I begin with Chinese green teas to ease my way into the greens. Along the way I discovered fun legends involving dragons and village wells. (Thus the name…)

Ceylon Vithanakanda, FOPA House Green Moment happened next. A visit to Bill Waddington’s TeaSource in Minnesota provided a fascinating insight into another person’s tea obsession, with the bonus of acquiring some exquisite teas.

An Empress Jasmine Moment was next, with my introduction to a green tea blend from Lindsay’s Teas. My love for Chinese green teas was growing. I was beginning to see what all the buzz was about!

A Summer Morning Moment led me to explore a “greener” Chinese green tea from Two Leaves and a Bud, called Tamayokucha. The deeper you dive into this world of tea, the more fascinating facts you uncover, such as this particular style of tea is covered for the last few weeks before harvest to bring out a specific flavor!

My first tentative steps into Japanese greens was facilitated by MyTeaShelf in A Refreshing Sencha Moment. This introduction transformed my view of Japanese teas from scary Samurai to engaging Geisha.

In An Ashland, Oregon Tea Moment, I got to do what I most enjoy – share my tea discoveries with some of my favorite people. One of these teas was Immortal Green, a Japanese sencha with peach and passion fruit from American Tea Room.

Feeling braver, I decided to go right for the unadulterated stuff in A Who Sencha Moment. DAVIDsTEA provided some lovely Organic Japanese Sencha, and my newfound love of green tea took strong root.

In A Letting Go Moment, American Tea Room’s Marrakesh (a Chinese green with spearmint!) helped drive me to find clarity in what was truly important in my life and what needed to be tossed aside.

There have been other green tea moments, of course. The green tea samples I brought to a routine doctor appointment because I remembered she had said most green teas don’t agree with her and I thought she might like to try just one more (Marrakesh). The Harney and Sons Pan Asia tea bags I carry with me on all business trips because they are easy – though apparently they look like baggies of weed, which may explain why my carry on bag has been hand searched more than once. The Green Peony tea from Peet’s Tea given to me as a gift from a friend – the tea is hand crafted so that you place it in your tea cup, pour hot water over it and it looks like a blooming peony in your cup. Beautiful! 

It’s been a transforming journey, this Green Tea Party. I have fallen in love with something that less than a year ago would “gag me with a spoon.”  Thanks to all my tea friends and gurus who helped me see the light on this one!

As we approach the holidays, some of you may be dreaming of a White Christmas. Well, I’ll be dreaming of White Teas. I feel a new obsession coming on…

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A Green Tea Exploration Moment

Even sick, she's happy

I feel as though my household has been unwell for the past two months. The past two weeks in particular have been rough with my Edie experiencing her first sinus infection.

So without going into the weepy tale of how awful everything has felt, and how much I have felt like a failure on every front, I will say that one result is that I am ready to explore the health benefits of green tea. I have fought this moment for years, but at this point, I’m ready to be open to anything that may bring additional balance or wellness to my mind, body or household.

NaiveTea. Lawrence. You have acknowledged my resistance to green tea and have provided a gateway tea to help ease me into this: Wen Shan Bao Zhong. I wish I had a photo of this one, but I really liked how this tasted similar to an Oolong, but had just a slightly brighter taste with just a hint of the green grass taste I associate so much with green tea.  I kept my tea cup full of this when my sore throat first appeared. Very soothing, very calming.

American Tea Room. David. You are a lover of green tea, and during my last visit you provided two suggestions to help me make my way into this rich and complex world. Japanese greens, Chinese greens, grassy, earthy, nutty, refined. Thank goodness you just presented me with two. My mind reels at the unlimited possibilities.

Genmaicha. David, you looked absolutely shocked when I said I’d never had a Genmaicha before, so this week I dove headfirst into teapots and teapots of this foundational tea. Opening the package, it’s rather funny to see rice and what looks like bits of popcorn mixed in with the very neat and tidy green tea leaves. One could possibly mistake this for potpourri, if one didn’t know better.

Keep an open mind. Widen your horizons. These are just a couple of the phrases I kept repeating to myself as I let the brew step in my little cast iron pot (courtesy of my dear friend Kari who taught in Japan for some time and always brought me back lovely tea things).

The resulting liquid was a surprisingly neon-ish yellow. A tea with a sense of humor. I could feel myself lightening up already. And then, the first sip…

I was bracing myself for a mouth full of newly mown grass on a hot summer morning, but instead a was greeted with a bold nutty flavor infused with the brightness of spring. The grass was there, but it was made earthy by the toasted rice. I found myself suddenly craving sushi, and it made me laugh when I went to read the description of this tea on ATR’s web site. Sushi with avocado is actually referenced there!

This was hearty enough for me to invite it along during my daily endeavors. No too light, not too overpowering to be a one-cup-stand. It has relationship potential. I think we’re going to get together again today. See how it goes.

For now, I’m feeling good about this green tea adventure. I’m actually looking forward to some other recommendations that have arrived and been patiently waiting for me to see the light. I think I see it. I think I do.

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