Country of Origin: India, Japan
Region: Assam, Shizuoka
Shipping Port: Calcutta, Yokohama
Grade: BP (Broken Pekoe)
Altitude: 1000 5900 feet above sea level
Cup Characteristics: Delicious toasty rice notes dappled with green tea and spice create a ceremonial tea union of Japan and India
Infusion: Bright and coppery with golden highlights
Ingredients: Green tea, Roasted + Popped rice, Ginger, Coriander, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Black pepper
One of the friendlier gestures between the two over the years was a gift of two Indian elephants to the Ueno zoo in central Tokyo. The elephants were sent to Japan in 1949 by Indian president Jawaharlal Nehru. The gift helped bring some levity to the lives of the Japanese who were still reeling after the effects of WWII. The elephants lived for many years in the zoo and were visited by millions. Following the war, India was also the co-signer of one of Japan's first post war peace treaties and helped usher in a new era of diplomatic relations. (Interestingly, if you visit Japan today, the influence of India can be found in any diner. Curry is as much a diner staple there as bacon and eggs are in the West!)
So you see, blending Genmaicha with Chai is not such an odd notion after all. Once you brew a pot for yourself you'll wonder why you questioned it at all. The tea blends the light character of Genmaicha with the exotic spiciness of chai. The resulting cup is the kind you want to gulp down as quickly as you can so you can have another. As you tip it back, your tongue is greeted by toasty notes of puffed rice punctuated by the hot sweetness of ginger, taste bud tempting cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cloves and a long peppery finish. A fabulous cup deserving of its own bi-national tea anthem!
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 5-10 minutes (for true 'Chai' steep at least 7 minutes). While the tea is brewing prepare your cup to receive the chai put 2 teaspoons of sugar in the cup and add milk (about 20%) of the cup's volume. When the chai is ready pour into your cup.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea, steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice, milk, sugar and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water].