Tea tasting: Homemade genmaicha

This was an experiment that turned out well! I had wanted to drink genmaicha, but had none at home, so I decided to try making my own genmai.

I started by looking on the Internet for any tips or recipes for homemade genmai, and came across a blog post by Ricardo. Both the post and the comments that followed were useful, but some of the processes described seem too lengthy to me, so I decided to try it my way.

I took out a scoop of regular uncooked white rice, just enough to go with one person’s portion of loose leaf tea. After washing the rice twice, I soaked them in filtered water overnight.

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The next day, I drained away the water and rinsed the rice a few more times. I dabbed them dry with a cheesecloth, while heating up a frying pan over the stove.

Once the pan was heated, I poured the rice in and sort of pan-fried them over medium fire. The rice had to be stirred regularly to make sure that they were not burnt.

When all surfaces had browned over nicely, I removed the rice from the pan and let cool.

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The toasted rice was somewhat hard. They did not have the puffed up look as the real Japanese genmai, but they had the nutty aroma. Seemed like a good start to me.

I used Takase sencha for my version of genmaicha. Once the rice cooled, I mixed them into a small container where I had put a personal portion of the sencha. The idea was to let them sit for a couple of days to ‘blend’ them, as tea leaves absorb aromas easily.

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Two days later, I decided to brew the tea, which had a strong toasted smell by then. As it was sencha, I steeped at the usual 80°C for one minute.

The liquor came out like how sencha should. At first sip, I could subtly taste the toasty, nutty flavour. It was fairly smooth and pleasant in the mouth, with no hint of astringency even though this tea tends to be mildly astringent each first steeping.

It was good for snacking, with rice crispies. A grainy tea time. Haha.

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The second and third steepings were mild in flavour, although the toastiness was ever-present.

Even though I do not think it tasted as delicious as the real deal, it managed to satisfy my thirst for genmaicha (for now) so it I believe this experiment was a success. I will probably try it again, by improvising further based on what I have read online. Did I ever mention I love experimenting with food?

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