25 Days of Tea: Day 14 (Genmai Matcha)

img_lg_genmaichaYamitsuki ni naru!

Beware of a new tea addiction. If you have not tried this hearty green tea from Japan, I encourage you to give it a chance. It’s Umai! You may have sampled it without even knowing if you’ve had tea at a sushi restaurant.  It’s a classic Japanese green tea, blended with toasted and popped rice. (Genmai means roasted rice and Cha means tea.) Ours contains added Matcha (green tea powder used in Japanese tea ceremonies). Traditionally Genmai was made with Bancha, but Sencha is often used nowadays as in our blend. It can also be made with Hoji Cha and Gyukuro but that seems to be less common. The combination of popped and roasted white rice along is delightful and is one of my all time favorite green teas to sip in the morning to start the day because of its distinctly “nutty” flavor, and that it almost feels like breakfast my cup. With the addition of matcha, it increases my energy level.

I’ve read a few different stories on how this tea originated. One being that a man from Kyoto dropped his mochi rice cake and instead of wasting it, he broke it into small pieces and added them to his tea. Another is that it originated in Korea given that they drink a roasted brown rice tisane. And still another is that rice was added to green tea during at time when tea was in short supply, thereby making it more affordable and last longer. The most legendary story dates back to the 15th century when a samurai met with warlords. Since green tea is the customary drink served in Japan, the samurai had his servant serve the beverage to his guests. As he was pouring the tea a few bits of a rice snack he had stored in the sleeve of his robe fell out and into the samurai’s cup. The samurai was so angry, he took out his sword and beheaded his servant. Then without hesitation, he sat back down to drink his “ruined” tea. To his genuine surprise, he discovered that the flavor of the Bancha was made better with the addition of the popped rice. He felt remorse and guilt for his cruelty and demanded that this new style of tea be served each morning to honor the servant whos life he took and named it after him: Genmai (rice) Cha (tea).

If you made the Full Moon Water last night, try using that water to infuse this beauty. If you didn’t get a chance, you can also still make the water tonight (Dec 14, 2016). Here are some notes about this green tea.

• Overview:   Easy to drink green tea that feels filling in the belly. A great morning send off, which could turn into a daily addiction.
• Dry Leaf:    Flat green sencha leaves, popped and brown rice. Matcha powder.
• Liquor (liquid):   Gorgeous deep green, slightly cloudy from the matcha
• Aroma:   Starchy, toasted
• Flavor notes:    Fresh, crisp, toasty, strong taste of rice. Matcha powder adds a slight astringency but there is a sweet finish to this tea.
• Brewing recommendation:     175-185° Fº – steep for 2 minutes
• Caffeine: Yes

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25 Days of Tea: Day 14 (Genmai Matcha)

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