Genmaicha, pronounced gen-my-cha with a hard “g,” is one of our favorite green teas.
The flavor of the sencha green tea base is secondary to the nutty, toasty flavor of kernels of toasted and popped brown rice that scattered among the tea leaves.
The name translates as “brown rice tea”; it is also called roasted rice tea and popcorn tea, because a few grains of the rice invariably pop during the roasting process and resemble popcorn.
To further confuse matters, different American tea packagers bestow names of their own. At Mighty Leaf it’s Kyoto rice tea; at Numi it’s toasted rice tea.
The good news is that this tea, which for a long time was only available loose, can now be found in tea bags.
And people who want to drink green tea for its health benefits, but don’t like the grassy and vegetal flavors, can try it and possibly really enjoy the nutty flavor (from the roasted rice).
Thinking ahead to stocking stuffers or small gift? Consider a box of organic genmaicha from La Colombe (photo #2).
Genmaicha was originally drunk by poor Japanese people. The rice was used as a filler and reduced the price of the tea, which is why it is also known as the “people’s tea.” Today it is enjoyed by everyone.
Genmaicha is also sold with matcha (powdered green tea) added to it, called matcha-iri genmaicha (literally, “genmaicha with added powdered tea”).
The flavor is often stronger and the color more green than pale yellow green of regular genmaicha. Rishi Tea sells an organic version, which they call Super Green Tea.
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