The Kabu Sencha dry leaves
The next tea was a Matcha Genmaicha, a tea with toasted brown rice (sometimes called popcorn tea because some of the rice grains pop and resemble popcorn). Teas like this came about when peasants could not afford the plain tea and used the rice as a filler. Very popular in WWII, the generation after the war felt it was undesirable to drink this "poor person's tea" so it fell out of favor for awhile but now it is widely accepted and drank by many. The aroma of this tea was "toasty"--not burnt, but more like a nice piece of buttered toast and it was mild and had a nice aftertaste, like puffed rice cereal.
The Matcha Genmaicha leaves, puffed and popped rice
And the Genmachia in the cup
Finally our last tea was a China Green Tea, a Longjing or commonly called Dragon Well from the Ziejiang Provence. This tea is very well known and often called the "National Drink of China". This tea is hand processed with a beautiful, almost shrub-looking leaf. The leaf has almost a chocolaty smell, the wet takes on a more nutty smell. When you drink it you get a light, slightly floral sweetness. A very nice tea.
The Longjing, Dragon Well Leaves
Longjing, Dragon Well in the cup
The cookies you see in the pictures were made by a woman in the class, Joyce and her friend, who have a business called Catalina's Tea Parties, where they bring an entire tea party: linens, china, silverware and all the tea and goodies to the location of your choice--home, office, outdoors, etc. and they host your tea party. Fun idea! (I thought for about 5 minutes that I would love to do something like this but then I remembered someone would have to wash the china and polish the silver and decided it would be more fun just to go to one!) They brought two cookies for us to try, a manju (a Japanese steamed cake with a filling--the most popular filling being a sweet azuki bean paste as this version was filled with) to pair with the Japanese teas and a Chinese Almond Cookie to pair with the Chinese tea. Both cookies were delicious--I am not a huge fan of either of these two sweets normally but these were excellent and complimented the teas well. If these cookies were any indication of the rest of their food, their tea party would be excellent!
The Manju paired with the Japanese Green Teas
The Chinese Almond Cookie with the Longjing, Dragon Well
Another fun and informative class--number three is tomorrow night!