It’s Raining, It’s Pouring…

…there’s also a heck of a lot of thunder now and again. Let me tell you I am not a fan of thunder. I can’t tell you why, but I can tell you I’ve disliked it since I was a wee one. Honestly, to this day I can recall scrambling under the kitchen table during one particular storm. But that’s me. My husband on the other hand would sit outside in one if I wasn’t there freaking out at him from under our kitchen table!

Anywho rainy day weather is perfect for a host of things. One of those things being tea! Writing and naps do come in at a very close second and third place respectively. In fact I think the hubbins and furballs are doing the nap thing as I type this. Funny thing is I say tea is perfect for rainy day weather, yet my kettle is off and there’s no tea in my cup waiting to steep…yet.

Why? Well, for one it’s been super hot/humid here as of late. Which has kept me from wanting anything besides ice water and ginger ale. Weird right? For me sure, but then again when I’m already hot and cranky the last thing I want to do it make something hot (food or drink). But I do have 4 more tasty Steepster Select teas to try out. Which means I should stop my whining and go put the kettle on. Right? Right!

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Kirishima Sencha #SteepsterSelect #DrinkMilitia

Mmm Sencha!

Mmm Sencha!

I didn’t forget I had this one to sample. I’m still trying to get over the allergy/cold that won’t quit. I opened the packet and found that I could smell the vegetal goodness of the dry leaf and figured now was as good a time as any to try it out! The green leaves smell very much like fresh veggies to me. Thought I can’t place which veggies. Not a problem, as I think I’m going to like this one!

I will admit the first sip was like buttah! If you get the reference I’m very proud of you! In fact it reminded me more of a Gyokuro and less like a Sencha. Yup that’s how smooth this tea is. Yes, the steeped leaves smell good enough to eat. Though I’m not quite brave enough for that one! The flavors profile on this tea are SPOT ON. It certainly does taste very savory with a lovely buttery finish. I paired it with eggs and sausage this morning because, well why not. I must say this was not a bad choice at all. The flavors play so well together.

The short of it is this is a VERY good Sencha. As you know I’ve very picky about by green teas. But I would buy this one again…once I sip down at least twenty teas in my cabinet. I’m almost out of room and I have NO idea how that happened. Ok I totally know how that happened.

Do you like green teas? If so what’s your favorite? Let me know!

Shirakawa Genmaicha #Steepster Select {Tea Review}

Remember how I said I didn’t care for green teas? Well, I lied. There are TWO (ok three) green teas I enjoy when prepared properly: Genmaicha, Sencha, and Gyokuro. When I say prepared properly I mean, not prepared by me. That us until the one touch came into my life. It’s made getting the right temp a BREEZE! This also means less chance of me to mess up too bad when making a cup of anything but black and pu-erh teas or tisanes.

I really tried to hold out on this one.

I really tried to hold out on this one.

As I mentioned my Steepster Select packaged arrived on Saturday and there were a lot of green teas. Frankly a scary amount. I did see two I knew I’d like IF I could manage not to muck them up too badly. One was the Shirakawa Genmaicha from Uji Japan. I was going to try to save it as the last tea I reviewed, but as you can see this did not last long.

Genmaicha’s are one of those green teas I love, even if some folks consider it a novel-tea. It is a bit weird for those drinking it for the first time.

Can you see the rice in there?

Can you see the rice in there?

Besides the green tea there’s a lot going on here….fire-toasted and popped rice…in tea? Yeah actually that’s exactly what you’ll find mixed in with the green tea! Spoiler alert it’s usually amazing.

When I opened the package I was hit instantly with the scent of vegetal goodness and toasted rice. As someone who loves both veggies and rice I was instantly excited to get to steeping this tea.

This time I chose to use the one touch’s water mode and customized my settings to match those suggested on the packaging. In this case 180 degrees – once ready I poured the water into the awaiting cast iron pot and set the timer for two minutes steep time. The minute the water hit the tea I got a great sniff of spinach and toasted rice. Honestly this tea smells good enough to eat (and I know people who have eaten their green teas before). I chose NOT to eat the steeped leaves…because the instructions say you get two steeps out of them. Also (personal opinion) it sounds a little gross to me.

Look at that green color!

Look at that green color!

The timer I set startled me as it’s set to some very load “Good morning” tune. I dashed into the kitchen to remove the basket in my tea pot and get down to sipping business! The smell is very vegetal with the added bonus of toasted rice. My husband the non-tea drinker thought it smelled “weird”. This is what I live with folks…please send help! (I kid)

The taste is really nice and there is a little hint of sweetness to the tea. I am also, as the tasting notes suggest on the package, getting a taste of grass on the finish. But it isn’t bitter, which is what also turns me off green teas rather quickly. Of course the taste of toasted rice also carries through in each sip. All the flavors play so nice with one another! This is one smooth cup of genmaicha tea. I would really suggest picking up some if you have the chance. I know I might if the funds allow it.

Now I have tried many a genmaicha and I can tell you, not all are created equal. In fact I happened to order some from Adagio Teas (that arrived Monday) as I noticed I didn’t have any in the cabinet. So¬†look for that review later this week and we’ll see how it measures up. As this particular genmaicha was really really good.

Hizen Black from #Steepster Select {Tea Review}

First a little background before I jump into this review. I’ve talked about Steepster a bit here. But what you might ask is Steepster? Simply put it is a tea community where members share their reviews of tea and discuss tea in the online forums. I’ve been a member since 2011. And while my user handle has changed and my posting has been sporadic over the years I love the community. In fact I’ve “met” some great tea friends there too.

Recently I started noticing a lot of my friends had a little orange box with the word “select” next to their name. I was curious and checked it out. Within the last year or so Steepster began what they called Steepster Select. Which is a monthly subscription plan providing five sourced teas from around the world to members. I noticed I could get $10 off my first box and thought “why not”.

My first Steepster Select box!

My first Steepster Select box!

My first box arrived yesterday. This months teas were sourced from Japan. To my horror most of the teas were green teas. Green teas and I have what I’d call a love/hate relationship. I want to love them, but usually I just hate them. BUT there was a black tea in the bunch so I chose to try that one first.

Yes, yes I am a creature of habit and went with the tea type I know and love first. I can’t help it. And I will be trying the green teas later this week. Now that I have the one touch…it should be very hard to mess up these teas.

Packaging contains all information for proper prep.

Packaging contains all information for proper prep.

I used the one touch’s tea basket to make four cups of tea from the sample provided. Which leaves me with 1 tsp. left to sample. Note to self with the rest of the teas use the one touch as a water boiler only and prep the teas in the cast iron pot!

As you can see from the photo at the right, this tea has a short steep time. But you also get two steeps out of it. Which is nice considering how much tea I just used. It also gives some information on the flavors I should get from the tea. I always find it funny when I’m given information on what I should taste in a tea, because I almost never have the same or similar tastes in my teas.

Pre-steeping.

Pre-steeping.

The loose leaf did not smell very floral or fruity to me. Instead it smelled more earthy like a pu-erh tea. This could perhaps be due to the organic fertilizer the farmer used when growing the tea. It isn’t a bad smell at all. In fact I really like it. Two and a half minutes later I was almost ready to take my first sips of tea. Steeped the tea smells more like a malty beer with a hint of olives. Weird right? I don’t get it either. It isn’t bad, just different and I tend to like different!

In my cup.

In my cup.

The taste? I do get a little of the fruity taste promised on the package. I also detect a little honey and hops/malt to it too. Plus the taste of olives. I’m not sure why olives, but hand to kettle I’m tasting olives. Lucky for me I love olives. I’ll say it again NOT all tastebuds are the same. So you may taste sweet potatoes were you to try this tea. Big bonus there is a really clean finish. Meaning there isn’t any leftover taste in my mouth like I have found with other black teas.

Too long didn’t read….I liked it. I don’t know that I would buy more of it only because I have so much tea already (another reason I joined Select). But this isn’t a MUST HAVE for the tea cabinet.

I look forward to trying the rest. Stay tuned for those reviews coming throughout the week.