Eden Organic Genmaicha Tea is a blend of traditionally cured organic sencha green tea leaves and roasted organic brown rice. 'Genmai' is the Japanese word for brown rice and 'cha' means tea, hence the name. Prized, young, tender spring leaves near the top of the bush are picked and immediately steamed, rubbed while warm, then rubbed again after they are cool and dry. Rubbing the leaves preserves beneficial antioxidants as well as the green color of the leaves that release their unique flavor and delightful aroma when steeped. The brown rice is slowly roasted until golden and coarsely ground. The dried tea leaves and brown rice are then mixed together according to the recipe producing this unique blend of tea that contains 80 percent less caffeine than regular brewed coffee. Genmaicha can be enjoyed in any season, hot or chilled but is especially good as iced tea in hot weather months. Just add ice and a slice of lemon, lime, or orange. Delightful soothing flavor of sencha with the nutty flavor and aroma of roasted grain.
All true teas stem from the plant Camellia sinensis, an attractive perennial shrub about five feet tall with gentle rounded leaves and tender twigs. Tea becomes green, black, or other varieties depending on the time of harvest, and the way it is cured and handled. Tea begins to oxidize as soon as it is picked. Chinese and English teas allow oxidation to proceed as they dry, but with Japanese green tea oxidation is skillfully halted by the steaming and rubbing process.
Eden Sencha is organically grown on remote, centuries old tea plantations of Uji, Japan by the Nagata family. In early spring Uji farmers cover their plants with dark netting or traditional woven bamboo screens to protect the first tender young leaves from the harsh rays of the afternoon sun. Most farmers process these first spring leaves into 'gyokuro' (jewel tea), Japan's rarest, most expensive tea, and the one used to make ceremonial, matcha powdered green tea. Unlike most farmers the Nagatas process their first, most prized leaves into Sencha. While most tea farmers spray their plants with chemicals fifteen to twenty times per year, the Nagata family has rejected chemical agriculture completely. They do not use animal manure, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides and replenish nutrients in their soil only with vegetable quality compost. The Nagatas are somewhat of a curiosity to the neighboring tea farmers. Their plants are not overly protected and pampered, and are allowed to grow according to their own pattern. Although they harvest slightly less tea than those using the pampered and chemical methods, their tea plants produce tea for twice as long a period of time. Chemically grown plants burn out in about twenty years, but the Nagata plants commonly produce for forty years, and some for as long as one hundred years. The Nagata family has supplied natural food shops around the world with organic sencha and other organic teas since 1974.
Uji is the historical name for the surrounding districts near and including the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto. It is here that the Buddhist priest Myo-e planted Uji's first tea shrubs in 1221 to meet the growing demand for green tea. This area is considered the birthplace of Japanese green tea and is famous for producing the best quality green tea in Japan. Tea from this area is so highly regarded that it is respectfully referred to as Uji-cha (tea from Uji). Uji's rich, slightly acidic soil is ideal for growing tea bushes and the early morning mist from the Uji river that winds through the valleys and surrounding hillsides, moistens the leaves of the plants and shields them from the sun. Uji's landscape is quilted with acres of centuries old tea fields.
The flavor of tea reflects the soil it is grown in, the season picked, and the curing process. The sencha tea and brown rice for Eden Genmaicha is tended adhering to strict organic practices. The Nagatas are dedicated to organic farming and stewardship of the soil. This dedication is reflected in the use of skillfully executed traditional handling methods that preserve and enhance the tea's flavor and antioxidant nutrients resulting in exceedingly fine organic tea.
Most tea bags contain a plastic that allows them to be heat sealed. We didn't think this was any way to treat good tea. Every part of an Eden tea bag reflects the highest care, from its oxygen washed manila fibers, to its crimped seal and 100 percent cotton string. No whiteners or plastics used.
Green tea has been the focus of medical research in many countries over the past decade. These studies affirm green tea's healthful properties. Powerful antioxidants, including epigallocatechins gallate, tannins and flavonoids, all collectively referred to as "catechins" are cited. These polyphenols account for up to 40 percent of the tea's dry weight.
Eden Organic Traditional Teas contain no added flavorings or dyes, and are not processed using any additives whatsoever.