Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Genmaicha aka Popcorn Tea

I was offered a cup of Genmaicha by a teacher at a school were I was teaching in Shizuoka and I absolutely loved it. Genmaicha is one of my all time favourite teas. 

 Most Genmaicha is made of Bancha(coarse tea) that is stronger tasting and sometimes bitter.  Toasted brown rice (genmai) is added which gives it a nutty  flavour. I  now affectionately called it by it's nickname "the popcorn tea". The reason it is nicknamed the popcorn tea is because during roasting the rice sometimes pops resembling popcorn. 

According to the wiki a steeping time of 3–5 minutes is recommended, depending on desired strength and the source of the tea - some sources recommend as little as one minute of brewing time. On a more social note this tea is sometimes know as the "peoples tea" as it was often cheaper as a result of the rice. 

Genmaicha really makes me smile because I feel like I am being naughty when I am actually being really good to my body. For those who are trying to cut down on carbohydrates I find that the roasted rice feels really satisfying as it tastes to me a little bit like a nutty bread. 

 The health benefits include all the benefits of green tea with claims that it also helps metabolism(I will look into this a bit better to see if there is substance to it) and judging by the amount of information out there first impressions are that it is also a very popular tea.  

Genmaicha is a great introductory green tea, it eases you into the sometimes bitter flavor of green tea as the rice warms it all up. I recommend it if you are just starting to explore the world of tea or if you are just looking to aid your health but have until now found green tea a bit of a leap.  For those of you who are avid green tea fans this one is a delightfully relaxed and tasty bit of fun.

Genmaicha should be available at most good tea shops but it is also available blended with matcha as a teabag from yamamotoyama of America or from amazon for $3.99. Also you can find it at shizuokatea.com for $30.00 which seems expensive however a little higher quality.  Delicious stuff and just for fun here is the song that pops into my head whenever I think of this tea. Enjoy!

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