Two leaves owner and founder Richard Rosenfeld was standing in a Whole Foods Market several years ago when an employee for the store asked him if two leaves ever considered adding a Gen Mai Cha to our line of teas. In March of 2010, that request became a reality.
If you've never met a Gen Mai Cha before, you're in for a surprise. What it is: Japanese style green tea, paired with actual grains of roasted brown rice. What results is the distinct, light and grassy flavor of the tea, layered with a toasty, almost sweet flavor from the rice.
To some, this concept may sound really far flung — why mess with the flavor of pure green tea? — but it makes sense when you learn the history of this tea. Originally this tea was produced in Japan as a sort of "poor man's tea," because adding the rice as filler reduced the amount of pricey green tea you needed in a cup. These days it's one of the most common teas served in Japan — Richard says in popularity, it probably comes in second to sencha.
So it really wasn't much of a stretch to add an Organic Gen Mai Cha to our line of whole leaf teas in sachets, and we started offering it in March of 2009. Richard says it has already proven to be a popular tea for us.
"It's an easy drink," he says. "Ours is smooth, and for me, it's a nice any-time-of-day drink."
Gen Mai Cha is especially conducive to our pyramid-shaped sachets, because it includes long leaves of sencha tea and grains of rice, given plenty of room within one of those sachets to develop full flavor while steeping. "A lot of Gen Mai Chas have more rice flavor than tea — ours has more tea flavor."
And one other point that sometimes confuses tea consumers — the difference between Gen Mai Cha and Gen Mai Matcha. The latter includes long-leaf sencha tea, roasted rice and matcha powder, which is powdered green tea. Two leaves and a bud offers an Organic Gen Mai Matcha in loose-leaf form, simply because the matcha powder would fall out of a sachet anyway. Richard says he ends up drinking more Gen Mai Cha because of the convenience of the sachet, but if he had more time on his hands, he enjoys the added flavor of matcha flavor when he's preparing loose tea.
To each his own.
Have you tried our Organic Gen Mai Cha sachets? Some people describe it as an acquired taste — would you?