Genmaicha is one of the world’s most unique teas – just open the bag and you’ll see why. The tea is usually made using Japanese Sencha or Bancha grade teas – ours is a steamed Sencha – and is blended with roasted rice kernels making the tea look as though it has been mixed with popcorn. The flavour of Genmaicha is light, with mild nutty overtones. The tea should be brewed at a slightly higher temperature than most green teas in order to bring out this wonderfully mild flavour. Genmaicha is an excellent palate cleanser and is perfect for drinking with Asian-themed meals.
This quality has made it one of the most popular teas in Japan, the country where it originated. Although the version we offer here is actually grown in China, it is produced to exacting Japanese standards. As well it is grown organically; no pesticides or chemical fertilizers were used in its production. Many legends abound as to how the combination of tea and roasted rice was discovered. The most popular of these centers around the household of a Samurai warlord in the 15th century.
After arriving home from battle, the Samurai called for his manservant Genmai to bring him some freshly brewed tea in order that he might refresh himself. Genmai quickly dropped what he was doing, which was taking stock of the house rice supply. In his haste, Genmai failed to realize that some rice had found its way into the folds of the sleeves of his robe. As he rushed to prepare the tea, some grains of the rice fell into the teapot. His Master, filled with an unsatiated bloodlust after a fierce battle, yelled again for his tea. Genmai had no choice but to bring him the pot that had the rice in it. Unfortunately for poor Genmai, his Master became furious when he discovered that he was not being served pure tea. Moments later, the manservant’s head was rolling across the floor – Samurai did not mince words.
Killing is thirsty business and the Samurai decided he would drink the tea anyway. Much to his surprise, the tea Genmai had prepared was the most delicious beverage he had ever had. The Samurai dropped to his knees to repent for the killing of his servant and decided that henceforth he would call this new tea Genmaicha, -cha being the Japanese word for tea, in honour of his servant. Fact? Fiction? Brew yourself or your customers a pot of this wonderful tea and let us know what you decide!