Sunday, March 02, 2008

Spring is the Time for Choice (Organic) Teas.

Greetings Readers!

Sorry for leaving you an entire month with no updates to the blog. I’m ashamed and need to do much better with my commitment. To make up for it, I promise at least three entries for this month (including this one.)

I want to open up today’s post by asking you all what is your favorite tea to drink in the springtime? Here in Utah, the end of Winter is upon us. While Spring Equinox doesn’t officially occur until the 21st, it already seems as if Spring has sprung.

One of my favorite teas in the springtime is Genmaicha. The toasted, nutty flavor of the roasted grains of golden-brown rice makes me think of warm days returning after a long summer.

With that in mind, I’ll begin today’s review.

Recently, I was contacted by Abby, a representative of Choice Organic Teas, with a request to sample a few of their blends and provide a review in the customary method. As with most such requests, I gladly accepted. A few days later, a small parcel arrived containing some of their blends, including one of my new favorites that I hadn’t seen before.

I will begin by reviewing a few of the samples I received, and then I’ll mention a few things about the packaging and overall experience I had with this quality purveyor of teas.

The first sample I’ll mention is an organic Genmaicha. For those of you that don’t know, Genmaicha is a traditional Japanese green tea blended with nicely toasted grains of brown rice, which imparts a lovely flavor.

Genmaicha is one of my favorite blends of tea, so I do have a few useful comments towards this particular blend. For the positive aspects – this tea did have a very nice cup colour with very little clouding, and had a very well-blended profile, remaining smooth and blended from the first sip to the last.

However, there are a couple of things I might mention. Primary among these is the size of the tea leaf pieces in the blend – they seemed a little small and broken in comparison to my usual Genmaicha. Generally, an intact or mostly intact leaf tends to provide a better flavour with less asringent. The smaller pieces tend to add to the bitterness of the cup, and alter the flavour somewhat, as well as resulting in a cup that is less clear than one might expect. While this cup was by no means cloudy, I also wouldn’t call it clear.

Overall though, the expert blending of this particular mix made up for it’s shortcomings, providing the perfect balance between the warm, roasted and nutty notes of the rice, and the mellow flavor of the green tea which serves as its base.
The suggestion I would give for this blend would be to incorporate larger portions of the tea leaf into the blend.

The second blend was one I had not seen prior to my correspondence with this company – Lemon Lavendar Mint. This was unique and delightful. The sample I received was a bagged tea, although I believe this blend is also available in a loose version.

This is perhaps the most well-blended specialty tea I have ever had the pleasure to consume, and by far one of the best bagged herbals I have ever had the pleasure to sample. The lemon and mint flavors combined to provide first a refreshing kick, and secondly a lasting sort of vibrancy which persisted through the cup. They also did well not to commit the common mistake with these sorts of blends and overpower the lavender, allowing its delicate floral notes to flourish.

Whatever shortcoming might have been present within the Genmaicha were more than compensated for in this delightful and refreshing brew. Additionally, this tea tastes exceptional over ice, with a slice of lemon or lime and a small pinch of sweetener.

I would grade this tea highly and place it near the top of my list of incredible tea experiences that I have had, and highly recommend it.

For more information on Choice Organic Teas, feel free to visit their website at

Thanks very much for reading, and I hope you’ll visit again in a week or so for my next post.

Over and out,


Tea Escapade said...

I have never put any thought into my favorite tea as it relates to season. I just drink what I like. However, I really like Genmaicha as well.