Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Tea: Genmaicha
Vendor: Dragonwater Tea
Price: $6.00 / 4oz.
Source: Japan
Vendor Description: Genmai-cha Tea. A famous blend of Japanese green tea and brown rice.

This is a specialty Japanese green tea that is blended with fire-toasted rice. A good grade Japan sencha is blended with the toasted rice. The fresh vegetative character of the green tea is imparted on the cup but it is tempered with the bakey-like character of the rice. There is a natural sweetness and almost chewy character to the finish of this tea. During the firing of the rice, it is not uncommon for rice to ‘pop’ not unlike popcorn, hence the pet name ‘popcorn-tea’

Legend has it that during the 1400’s an important samurai warlord in Hakone on the Izu Peninsula of Honshu Island (the Izu Peninsula is near the Shizuoka area) was having tea in the morning discussing a battle strategy with his patrol leaders. A servant by the name of Genamai was serving hot tea to the group. Leaning over to give tea to the warlord, rice that he had surreptitiously taken for a morning snack fell out of his pocket into the steaming hot tea. Some popped upon hitting the hot tea. The warlord was incensed, jumped up brandishing his samurai sword he promptly cut of Genamai’s head in one fell swoop. He then sat down to continue the meeting. Despite the fact that the tea had been tarnished he drank it anyway. The flavor was very unique and he enjoyed it tremendously. In honor of poor Genamai he pronounced that this rice and tea be served every morning and be called ‘Genmaicha’ (cha being the name of ‘tea’ in Japanese).

Leaf: The leaf for this genmai had quite a bit of rice in it. The aroma of the leaf was not very appealing though it had a sense of staleness to it.

1st Infusion: The first infusion had a very typical genmaicha aroma to it. It had an almost overpowering rice aroma as well. The tea was a light yellow green color. The flavor of the tea was almost overwhelmed by the rice, it wasn't a very good balance. Most of the flavor of the tea itself was masked by the rice flavor. There was a light crispness, to it.

2nd Infusion: The second infusion was darker yellow in color. This time matching the color the flavor was heavier on the rice flavor. It was bitter, like the flavor of burnt rice. The flavor felt empty with just a hint of astringency on the back end.

Rating: 1/10

Conclusion: I did not particularly enjoy this tea. The flavor was overly dominated by the rice flavor, almost as though they thought they could make the tea better by adding more rice. Stale flavored rice at that. If they were going to go that far, why not just go so far as just remove the tea altogether and make a beverage using just rice. There are much better genmaicha teas out there.

1 comment:

Salsero said...

Well, another stellar post. Genmaicha 101! Thanks.