100 grams (3.5 oz) - Japan
A smooth, roasted flavor ideal for serving guests, enjoying with good friends, or for everyday indulging.
Developed about 70 years ago, Genmai Cha is quite famous for its unique roasted flavor. Its distinctive smooth and mild flavor come from a harmonious blend of young tea leaves and roasted brown rice. Sugimoto's Genmai Cha flavor is never dominated by the roasted rice. This is, by far, Tim's favorite type of Japanese tea.
About the producer
Sugimoto is a family business. Although they have only been in the US since 2008, the Sugimoto family has been in the tea business since 1946. Current President, Hiroyuki Sugimoto, inherited the business from his father in 1977. His father, Zen-ichi Sugimoto, started a tea business in Japan after World War II. He realized that his hometown, the Kanaya region in Shizuoka prefecture, was well-suited to the cultivation of tea-plants. He also had a passion for quality and a pallet for great tasting tea. After developing his unique tea blend, he hand-packed the tea and delivered it to his customers on a small motorcycle. He worked on his own and his business was very small, but local customers recognized its quality and fondly called him "Maru-Zen" (Maru means excellent), which became the name of his green tea company.
In 1977, Hiroyuki started working for his father, working to develop solid relationships with local tea farmers. Just as his father did, he spent a lot of time with farmers because he knew that tea quality was heavily dependent on the farmers' cultivating technique and their passion for quality. He developed his own tea blends and perfected a roasting method that ensured rich, optimal flavor, without a grassy odor. In 1986, Hiroyuki Sugimoto received the Agricultural Minister Award -- winning a competition among Japan’s best tea experts. He has been recognized as "Tea Maestro Sugimoto" ever since. In 1989, the company name changed from Maru-Zen to Sugimoto Seicha Co.
Hiroyuki's wife, Kazue, was also born and raised in the Kanaya region, and her family had tea farms in the mountains. As she grew up, she worked with team farmers and absorbed their rich knowledge. She brought this heritage to "Maru-Zen" after she married. Today, she preserves the centuries-old traditional of tea rolling and kneading technique called "Temomi." Kazue is licensed to teach this ancient technique and has proudly presented her Temomi-tea to the Japanese Imperial Palace.
Masaaki Sugimoto, first son or Kazue and Hiroyuki was born in 1977, and is the third generation Sugimoto working in the tea business. When he was a baby his mother carried him on her back when she visited local farmers. With both of his parents working in the tea company, he spent many hours in the tea factory, and developed a highly refined taste for green tea. He officially started working for the company in 1997, absorbing a great depth of expertise and experience from both his father and grandfather. After just seven years, he was put in charge of the tea blending and roasting process – the most important process in tea production. As his father did before him, he has participated in the tea-experts' competition every year. With such a family history and so much passion for green tea, it seems inevitable that he will also inherit the title of Tea Maestro.