Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Necessary Virtue

The carved central doors of a confessional.

Another grayish day, but I don't mind, as it is not hot. I would love
summer if it never got above 75. Please, don't stone me for that.

Today I am having a really fun green Tea. It is from the Tea Spot and I think I ordered this sample a while ago. It is Genmaicha, a Japanese green tea with roasted rice in it. The story behind this tea is that tea in Japan was once very very expensive and primarily saved for the upper classes. The poorer folk had to make do with twigs and leftovers and not too many of them, either. So, they started adding roasted rice, of which there was a great deal, to eke out the tea. Today, young Japanese have made a
virtue of this necessity and Genmaicha is very popular.

I can certainly see why. As soon as you open the packet, there is this pretty bright green tea set off by small brown rice kernels, with a few that have popped white to add interest. It smells nice - the fresh green scent of the tea and the roasty toasty smell of the rice. I followed directions and brewed it up with a heaping teaspoon at about 170degrees for a squeak over 2 mins. It smells wonderful - again, the green and the roasty scents. And the taste follows right along. A somewhat astringent green with the toasty rice overlaying it. It is really good, but I think there is a bit too much rice in it and not enough of the green can make it through. I could, of course, take out some of the kernels, which I think I will do next time.

I don't know if you read e-zines, magazines on the web, but there is a very good one that just published issue #7 - The Leaf. If you are interested in Chinese and Japanese tea and culture, you should check it out. You can access all the issues if you want to follow it in order. It is well written, accessible and interesting. You can find it at

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