Here today a genmaicha. If this type of tea can sometimes be considered a minor genre, genmaicha is not a “demono” as kuki-cha for example, it would be rather a flavor tea, somehow, a Japanese green tea flavored with roasted rice.
As the “demono” or the hoji cha, genmaicha is considered a low rank tea, to consume in large quantity. This is often the case, when made from low quality sencha or bancha.
But just like any tea, if we use high quality material, it can make a gourmet tea very delectable.
This is the case with this genmaicha of Hon.yama (Shizuoka). Rice and tea are both produced by the same farmer from Ushizuma, Mr. Shigeta. If some are familiar with this name, this is becausehe the producer of the two Takayama pesticide-free sencha available on Thés du Japon.
The sencha used for this genmaicha is a first harvest Yabukita culitvar mountain tea.
Rice and tea are both grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers in organic conditions.
The result is a lovely genmaicha where orange grilled rice contrast to the deep green needles of the carefully processed sencha.
The scent of this “tea”, of this dry leaves and roasted rice grains, is wonderful. Very fresh, sweet, it seems to me to see a dominant fresh and silky flavors of the green tea, highlighted by gourmand notes of roasted rice. The whole is slightly sweet, very appetizing.
I use 4g tea per 100ml at 90 ° C.
In the cup, the perfume is first dominated by the toasted rice flavors. This fragrance is clean and not winded. In the background, there are rounder flavors, both those reminding cooked rice, and those of tea, green and sweet.
In the mouth, you feel first the tea. A light and airy sencha flavor without astringency, fresh and sweet. Then it’s roasted rice which then develops and envelope mouth. These cereals-like aromas of course have something of hazelnuts or grilled almonds. They have an amazing depth, and above all, I find them very “clean”.
These delicious aromas of “genmai” speak immediately strongly in the throat, with a nice back in the nasal cavity. Then, in the after, there is a balance with tea, whose sweetness, with little vanilla, moved slowly in the mouth.
It is possible to have a great second infusion of this genmaicha. Still no astringency, taste may be slightly off, but keeps a very refreshing silky liquor, very pleasant, and always fragrant.
Even more than the balance between rice and sencha, this is the very ‘clean’ flavors of each that strikes me in this tea. In 1 minute infusion over 90°C, no astringency or other undesirable flavor comes out of the sencha. And to return to the rice, even after cooling in the teapot, there remains a strong but delicious fragrance, while some genmaicha sometimes leave moisture smells a little dirty.
Overall I would say this genmaicha is dominated by aromas of toasted rice, but that they are not rude, they are strong but fine, they put up an appetite, making me think that this genmaicha should fit perfectly for aperitif, rather than after the meal (Japanese people used to drink genmaicha or hoji-cha after meal). Nevertheless, the aromas of sencha also always appear in the background, as a sort of very fine and precious canvas.
At last, I would say this excellent genmaicha could also disapointed those who like very usual and common genmaicha made from low rank tea.
I’ve never been a fan of genmaicha, but I love this one, and I hope that my path will cross other genmaicha of this caliber.
Bizen-yaki hôhin by Yoshimoto Shuho
Bizen-yaki cup by Yoshimoto Atsuo