This tea is sold by Ippin, an online store that specializes in Japanese products. The following link is for the US market: https://us.ippin.com.
The tea’s brand is Yamaneen (山年園), which is a tea store located near the Sugamo station in Tokyo.
I haven’t been there, but since it was founded more than 60 years ago, it must have a good reputation.
A unique genmaicha
I’m very happy to review this tea because it’s very unusual.
The tea leaves aren’t bancha nor sencha, it’s actually tamaryokucha. That’s why they are curly.
Besides the roasted rice and the matcha the other ingredient is kuromame, a black soybean.
I hadn’t tasted kuromame in a tea before. Definitely a good way to start this year.
By the way, the tea is made with mochi rice. This type of rice is more expensive and gives the best results for genmaicha.
The tea leaves have a light sweet aroma. It seems that it’s mostly because of the matcha.
You can tell that there’s plenty of matcha because everything looks green 🙂
Regarding the kuromame, there aren’t that many. About one bean in four teaspoons of tea.
I used 120 ml of boiling water, 4 grams of leaves, and an infusion time of 30 seconds.
The instructions in the package says one to two minutes, which I guess works too in the case of not making an extra infusion.
The aroma of the wet leaves has a stronger roasted component than other genmaichas that I’ve tried. I like this smell.
After serving, once again it’s obvious that it has matcha because of the dark green color.
Let’s go ahead and taste it.
It’s quite balanced. I think that it feels a little lighter than other genmaichas, maybe it’s because of the tamaryokucha?
I could also taste the light sweetness of the roasted rice and the matcha.
In my opinion, it’s an enjoyable genmaicha.
I still didn’t understand what the kuromame did to the flavor. Is it only for decoration?
So I ate the wet bean to get a better idea. It’s kind of like a roasted peanut, but a little harder.
It reminded me of a coffee bean, for some reason.
Anyway, drinking this tea was an enjoyable experience. It’s something that you won’t easily find anywhere else.
I made a second infusion, and it was also good. Even the color was similar.
Here’s the link to the product in case that you’re interested.