Genmaicha is a traditional Japanese tea speciality that has been well-known and enjoying great popularity in the US and many European countries for a long time already. Its ingredients – Sencha Tea leaves, roasted rice grains (Genmai), and often with added Matcha – combine to a unique, extremely pleasant roast taste and aroma.
According to traded legend, Genmaicha was rather accidentally discovered during the 15th century. A negligent servant entrusted with the task of roasting green tea supposedly allowed some rice grains to mix with tea leaves and then forgot about the roasting process of that mixture, so that it was roasted too long. His master, a Samurai, got so angry that he beheaded that servant, only to realize little later that this new tea had a very pleasant taste. Due to the dilution of the tea leaves with roasted rice corns, Genmaicha initially was known as “poor man’s tea” and was used to bridge the time between meals. Today, thanks to a perfected and comparably processing method, Genmaicha has evolved as a tea specialty that – with our without Matcha enjoys great popularity across all walks of life.
Our Kabuse Genmaicha with Matcha is produced through blending green Sencha tea with roasted rice grains (Genmai) and fresh green tea powder (Matcha). The Kabuse Sencha (also: “Kabusecha” used for this is yielded from the tea leaves and the fine leave stems of the second picking. The used Matcha powder is a fresh, finely milled green tea powder that is yielded from the same harvest’s leaves, after the removal of the leaf stems and veinings from the latter. Home of this tea is the region around Kagoshima, capital city of the prefecture with the same name located on the island Kyushu on the most southern tip of Japan.
Kabusecha (also: “Kabuse Sencha”) tea is a typical Japanese (half-shaded) tea, characterized through the half-shading of the tea gardens by means of so-called “Kabuse” nets during the days/weeks before the harvest. Unlike Gyokuro Tea, for which the tea plants are shaded for several weeks before the harvest, the Kabusecha shading method comprises a half-shading, with ca. 50% of the sunlight being filtered out (compared to ca. 90% for Gyokuro). Therefore, Kabusecha tea is also commonly refered to as half-shaded tea. To stop oxidation processes and in favor of an optimal exploitation of aroma, flavoring and other active substances, the freshly harvested deep green tea leaves in Japanese green tea production are steamed, cooled, rolled and dried. The roasted rice grains (Genmai) and the Matcha powder are added to the green tea subsequently. The producer of this Kabusecha Genmaicha with Matcha, who is health and environment-friendly-certified to both Japanese and EU standards, vacuum-packages the tea immediately upon completion of the processing cycle, so that the active substances, the aromatic fragrance and the intensive taste remain preserved throughout the tea’s streamlined way to distant shores and right up to your tea cup. The tea convinces through its fresh, full-bodied taste and alluring roast note. The infusion is of intensive bright green color, and subject to clouding (because of the Matcha powder).
Preparation: Dose Kabuse Genmaicha with Matcha into the teapot, pour over with water tempered according to below recommendation, let infuse and pour out into previously prepared drinking or tea cups.
Water: For the preparation of our Genmaicha with Matcha, we recommend using as soft as possible (low lime) water of a temperature of 70°C.
Teapot: Best suitable for the preparation of Japanese green teas are clay teapots (alternatively Japanese Kyusu or Chinese style teapot), but you will achieve comparably desirable results using a China bone or a glass teapot.
Dosage: While in Japan there’s a tendency to much higher dosages prevailing, a dosage of 4g tea leaves on 200ml water in our experience appears to be entirely adequate as an initial approach. Starting from this basis, the tea is open to possible experimenting and individual adjustments to the dosage. The higher the dosage, the more intensive both color and taste of the resulting green tea will be.
Infusion period: With an infusion period of 2 minutes for a first infusion and somewhat longer for a second steep, Kabuse Genmaicha with Matcha will produce two delicious infusions.
Tea cups: Kabuse Genmaicha with Matcha is enjoyed in smaller to medium-sized teacups (“Chawan ” or ” Yunomi”), whose style and prefered size can be adapted to actual requirements, i.e. situation and mood.
For more information and backgrounds on Genmaicha and other Japanese green teas as well as other types of tea that are characteristic for Japan, please also read our pertinent article in Siam Tea Blog, providing an overview of Japan’s tea world, culture and history in a comprehensive yet understandable manner: