Genmaicha was historically a tea consumed by the poor, with roasted rice added for filler to reduce the amount of green tea, and thus, the cost. YamaMotoYama really turned history on its head here, producing a much more expensive tea, made with organic ingredients. While other genmaicha I've tried has been more weak and short-lived in flavor, this is consistently rich and enduring. I'd guess that the green tea is a better quality. But, I also think that YamaMotoYama has much greater skill in roasting their rice than other brands. I brew multiple cups using the same leaves and even as the green tea flavor steeps out, the roasted rice is still enduring -- sweet and toasty in its flavor. The package recommends boiling water, but I never brew green tea with boiling water. I brewed this with 80C water, with good results. One might even go higher to 85C, if desired. Just don't push the time or the temperature too far, or you will end up with bitterness and astringency (well beyond anything one would look for). (Note: There are electric kettles you can get with temperature settings, to easily heat water to temperatures below boiling for tea.)
Genmaicha is my #1 favorite tea, and I always strive to find tea that is grown and processed well. Ideally, the company is directly connected to the grower, or growing themselves, not just reselling products from wholesale markets. Also, I always seek foods that are organically grown. Yamamotoyama brings all those conditions together to provide one of the best genmaicha that I know. I have trained in a Zen Buddhist monastery and temple, and had a lot of tea of varying quality. Recently, having forgotten to reorder, I bought a bag at a local tea and coffee shop… source unknown. It was bland, and not fresh. Yamamotoyama is among the best for this tea and I highly recommend that you try them.
Wonderful roasted rice flavor. Love it!