Genmaicha (4 oz)
Genmaicha Green Tea | In Pursuit of Tea
 
Genmaicha is a traditional Japanese green tea— a national favorite. This one is unusual as it’s comprised of popped, roasted rice and sencha: most Genmaicha found in the West is made from coarse, lower grade bancha leaves. Soothing and mellow, the rice adds a wonderful roasty note to the grassy, refreshing green tea.

$30.75
Country: Japan
Region: Shizuoka
Tasting Notes: toasty, grassy, comforting
Year of Production: Spring 2013

Stock Status:In Stock

Product Code: GJG34
Qty:

Description More About This Item
 
In Pursuit of Tea Genmaicha
What is it?
What began as a way to stretch the precious tea by adding some rice as filler, has become one of the most popular teas in Japan as well as a favorite around the world.
Comfort Food!
Genmaicha is usually made from bancha green tea and roasted or puffed rice grains. The resulting flavor is partially green, but mainly the roasted component of the rice comes through.
Sometimes a higher grade of sencha is used and one can also find genmaimatcha. This is genmaicha with some matcha powdered green tea added which give the leaves and the rice grains a uniform appearance.
Visiting the growers
I went back to visit our supplier of Genmaicha last spring when the tea was being picked. They mainly focus on Sencha and won "Best Sencha of Japan" several years ago. This highly prestigious award is treasured and displayed in their small shop. I was pleased to also see an empty package of In Pursuit of Tea Genmaicha framed and displayed also. We are their only export customer and are honored to carry their tea.
Everyone is picking
When the leaves are ready to be picked the growers have to move fast to get the leaves processed. They have to pick the leaves before they get too large and the taste changes. This means that the largest labor pool available is assembled - the mothers and grandmothers of the village. They are all plucking the leaves and gossiping about their children. They are amused to see someone from New York watching them and taking their photos.
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So Clean
The factory was so clean and orderly that you could have eaten off the floor! While not brand new, all the machines showed that they were well maintained and taken care of.












Genmaicha is a distinct green tea composed of sencha tea leaves and whole grains of roasted brown rice. Many people, when they first see the tea, are surprised at the fluffy pieces of what appears to be popcorn among the brown kernels and green, pine needle-like tea leaves. Try to resist the temptation to eat these popped pieces of rice that are part of the charm of genmaicha.

History

According to ancient Japanese legend, during the 15th century, a servant named Genmai was serving his master, a samurai warrior, some tea when a few grains of rice accidentally fell out of his pocket and into the pot. The warrior was so infuriated that his servant had "ruined" a perfectly good cup of tea that he chopped off his head. He decided to drink the cup of tea anyway, and discovered that he enjoyed the distinct flavor of the tea and rice infusion. In honor of his poor servant, he insisted that this combination of tea and rice be served every morning and named it genmaicha ("cha" means tea in Japanese).

Another story claims that genmaicha was a way for frugal Japanese housewives to stretch their tea with the addition of rice to get the most out of their precious tea leaves. Whether its origin was accidental or practical, genmaicha is a delicious beverage that is enjoyed throughout Japan.

Characteristics

The fresh, vegetal character of the green tea is balanced with the toasted, nutty flavor of the rice. This tea is naturally sweet and refreshing. During the firing of the rice, it is not uncommon for the rice grains to pop not unlike popcorn, which is why it is often referred to as "popcorn tea." This tea produces a light brownish yellow liquor. Nowadays, genmaicha is a very popular beverage in Japan because of its affordability and distinctive flavor. It is known to cleanse the palate and enhance the flavor of fine food. It is lower in caffeine than other green teas, making it a beverage for anyone at any time of the day.

Preparation

Begin with good tasting water. We use water that is between 180 and 190 F. Some sources recommend using water at a boiling temperature. While this is unusually high for a green tea, supposedly the hot water is necessary to bring out the toasty flavor of the rice. Other sources recommend using water just below boiling, as you would with other green teas. We decided to try both and discovered it is really dependant on your personal tastes. The rice flavor was much stronger at a higher temperature, so if you prefer a more subtle taste, we recommend the lower steeping temperature.

Instructions
  • Start with your favorite spring or filtered water. Preheat the teaware. Use a large strainer basket to allow the leaves to open and release their flavor.
  • Temperature: 180 F Time: 2-3 minutes
    Amount: 3g / 6 oz serving = 1 teaspoon
  • Re-steep to make another cup. Play with the amount of tea, the water temperature, and steeping time to re-steep - rely on taste, not color. Get to know the tea!
  • For more about brewing tea, visit our Brewing Notes page.

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