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This tea takes its name from the unpolished brown rice (genmai), which is roasted and mixed with tea leaves to produce Genmaicha tea. As well as its name, the roasted genmai give the tea its yellowish colour, delightful brothy flavour and excellent mouth feel. Genmaicha is popularly served as an alternative to the standard green tea in Japan.
Genmaicha has several names in Japan (Popcorn Tea, Roasted Rice Tea, People’s Tea), and is probably it’s most popular and well-known tea. It is a Sencha (or sometimes Bancha) mixed with hulled rice kernels. The mixing is done at the tea drying stage, and the amounts of rice added are very precise. Tea drying is traditionally done in a large wok in Japan (or at least that is the best way to describe it) and turned by hand as the leaves are exposed to the heat. In the temperatures used whilst the tea is being dried, some of the rice kernels ‘pop’, giving it its nickname.
Originally, rice was added because it was cheaper than tea, and therefore reduced the cost, hence the ‘people’s tea’ nickname. It was also used by those who were fasting for religious reasons, and always carried on one’s person just in case there was too long a gap between meals, as it has a delightful, brothy, savoury taste, with a nuttiness that comes from both the tea used and the rice kernels. Today, this tea is enjoyed by everyone, from all strata of society, and we list it here as a truly famous tea.
Brewing Hints: Brew with Boiling water for 30-45 seconds, although we prefer a longer infusion.
Leaf: Dark brown regular leaves contrast with the white popped rice and brown rice kernels.
Characteristics: A bright golden liquor with a nutty, brothy flavour that is a delight to the palate!
Serving Suggestions: This is an excellent morning drink and very good at settling one's stomach.
Ingredients: Green Tea, rice kernels