Written by Eric Rasmussen on August 21, 2010.
As I learn more about a particular topic of interest, I tend to have the same two revelations. One, that if I ever learn how much I’ll never learn, I’ll already be incredibly knowledgeable, and two, that it’s very difficult to unlearn.
Where I might have contentedly gone on sipping any sort of green tea, only absently wondering why they sometimes tasted different, I now must know exactly which type of green tea I’m drinking, and preferably where the leaves came from. The term “green tea” is now only useful to me for categorical purposes. I could no more ask to be served green tea than you could ask for bread in a bakery without qualification.
While the many varieties of green tea can be distinguished by the complexity of flavors arising from their origin, growing conditions, and preparation, Gen Mai Cha is a blend most notable for its small kernels of toasted rice. The rice, when brewed with the leaves, gives the liquor a strong toasted aroma and full, rounded flavor. The leaves themselves are most frequently of the Sencha variety, a light Japanese tea perfect for this type of blend.
Gen Mai Cha complements meals well, but also makes an interesting alternative to breakfast blends. The alluring aroma of the rice gives the illusion of sustenance, a quality that’s especially admirable when your energy level starts to drop between meals. If you’ve ever found yourself explaining (or in my case, rambling on about) the influence of weather conditions and soil on tea crops, as your friends and loved ones’ eyes begin to glaze over, try serving them Gen Mai Cha instead.