Ah Genmaicha, a delightful traditional Japanese blend of sencha green tea and roasted and popped rice. A strange combination you think? As did one samurai warlord during the 1400's on the Izu peninsula of Honshu Island, Japan.
While discussing battle strategy with his patrol leaders, the warlord was taking his morning tea; a servant, named Genamai, entered the warlord's tent to serve more tea. As Genamai leaned over to pour the tea, some rice that he had furtively taken for breakfast, fell from his pocket directly into the warlord's cup of tea. The legend says that the tea was so hot, the rice popped and roasted on contact! The warlord became enraged and promptly decapitated poor Genamai in one fell swoop. The warlord then sat down and continued his meeting. The warlord continued to drink his tea, despite the fact that it had been ruined by the rice. The warlord was immediately intrigued by it's unique malty, toasty and ever-so-slightly sweet flavour. He rather enjoyed this accidental discovery and proclaimed that the tea be served every morning and be called "Genmaicha", "Cha" being the Japanese name for "tea".
At least poor Genamai got a tea named in his honour and we now have a wonderfully unique and delicious tea to enjoy! Get yourself some Genmaicha Yamasaki here.