11 June 2007

Rishi 100% Premium Tealeaf Powder: Sencha

Meet Rishi 100% Premium Tealeaf Powder.

So a few weeks ago, on something of a whim, I picked this up in my grocer's tea section. I'm not going to lie to you: I picked it up expressly thinking to myself, "This looks to be amazingly awful and I will mock it to my heart's content on The Teaist."

Bzzzt. Wrong. Alas, I was a fool to base my entire assumption on the color of the beverage on the front of the box. I have been cheated out of my opportunity to be witty, because this foul, swampy-looking green powder is truly a miracle and I cannot seem to cease singing its praises nor buying it in large quantities.

Essentially, Rishi has recognized a problem I'm sure lots of us have - tea is wonderful, but worthwhile unsweetened bottled teas are very difficult to come by in convenience stores while one is out and about. Also, there are no doubt many people like myself who have been late for class dozens of times running out the door carrying a dangerously steaming Thermos of boiling water because they need tea to survive biological anthropology. You get the picture.

This product is very finely crushed up tea leaves. That's all it is. It is nothing like iced tea powder, which dissolves completely in water and is tooth-rottingly sweet. Rishi Tealeaf Powder is only a tiny single-serving envelope full of (surprise) tea leaf powder and when you dump it into 16 ounces of water, it forms a strangely colored but fantastic tasting unsweet green tea - immediately. You dump it into a bottle of water, shake it up, and it turns into an oddly opaque green emulsion of tea wonderment. It isn't lumpy or unpleasantly textured as I was expecting. It tastes grassy, refreshing, full-flavored and delicious, exactly like a sencha ought to.

The best way I can describe it is that it tastes very like a cold version of the milled tea powder that is prepared in the Japanese tea ceremony, only made by wizards.

I love it. On their website, Rishi even provides a handy-dandy diagram of how to make it:

Rishi 100% Premium Tealeaf Powder: Sencha


Notes: Don't be put off by the weird color. It makes real green tea in a couple of seconds, no boiling water involved - I don't know anything else that can make that claim. You get more of the nutritional benefits of tea since you're ingesting the entire milled leaf. The powder is good to put in smoothies and you can use it to make ice cream. Along with the sencha, it also comes in genmai and oolong. And it's only $8 for a pack of 12 - I can't remember the last time I spent a more worthy $8. I'm buying more to take on the 10-hour car ride I'll be going on to see the Smashing Pumpkins in two weeks. This stuff is gold.

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