There are many theories and legends about how Genmaicha, the tea you are now holding, came to be. Our favourite theory is that it was developed during the Edo period in Tokyo Japan. Legend maintains that sometime around 1721, a merchant sailed into the city aboard a trading ship from China, heavily loaded with rice. The merchant anchored his ship in the harbour and rowed ashore, accompanied by a team of sailors, each laden with a sack of rice to sell at the Edo market. As fate would have it, the merchant found himself delayed at the customs gate, held up by a tea merchant in line ahead of him. (Evidently customs clearance was no more or less efficient than it is today.)
Now, because the ancient city of Edo was built almost 100% out of wood, combined with the fact that residents commonly heated their homes with charcoal stoves, fires were incredible common. Unluckily for both the rice and tea merchants, one such fire chose the very moment of their meeting to rip through the Edo port, causing everyone to flea and drop their cargo. You can imagine what happened next.
Once the pandemonium had died down, the two merchants returned to the customs gate to retrieve what was left of their belongings. To their astonishment, they came across a small boy named Gisakone, who had boiled a pot of water and brewed what had become of the roasted tea and rice. The merchants tried the concoction and finding it delicious, struck up a bargain to supply one another with their opposing ingredients. And so, Genmaicha was born. To commemorate this fortuitous occasion, we present this fabulous example of a Japanese genmaicha, lovingly crafted by tea masters in Kagoshima Prefecture according to ancient Japanese technique. Raise a cup to chance meetings!