I have had very little genmaicha. The first I tried was a sample that came with an order, and since I didn’t know anything about genmaicha, I thought I had done something terribly wrong and burned it!
The second was a flavored genmaicha, and it was great. But, it had lots of added flavors.
So this is only my third genmaicha, and it is my first time tasting unflavored genmaicha while knowing exactly what it is! This is Japanese bancha, usually harvested in June after the Sencha has been harvested around May. There may be little bits of twig in the mix to sweeten the tea. And the critical addition is rice – brown pellets of heavily toasted rice, tiny but numerous.
The smell of the steeped tea made say, “Whoa now! Back that up!” My daughter looked at me in trepidation before sipping hers. We both sipped, and….
Aaaaaaah. This is pretty good! Way different than what we usually drink. Hearty. Roasty. No sour taste, no grassiness, no astringency. In its own roasty toasty way it reminded me of Lapsang, a tea dear to our hearts.
I can see this becoming a tea that one craves, that one associates with certain foods or places. If you grew up drinking it, I think it would be the Japanese tea equivalent of comfort food. I will never face a cup of genmaicha with trepidation again. I may even start craving it!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: New Mexico Tea Company
Made with a little bit of luxury, ObubuÃ•s Genmaicha (玄米茶) or Brown Rice Tea is made with sweet mochi rice (also grown in Wazuka) combined with Yanagi Bancha.
The strong, sweet flavor of the roasted rice fills the air as the tea steeps and mixes with the sweetness and bitterness of the sencha to produce a delicious tea.