Mixed with grains of brown rice, genmaicha is a truly unique variety of green tea. Read on to discover its history and characteristics while you imagine drinking in its full-bodied fragrances. And don’t forget, you can enjoy it at any time of day!
What is genmaicha?
Genmaicha made with sencha or bancha varieties of green tea – two of the most popular types in their native country of Japan – and grains of rice (preferably brown for its nutritional qualities). Most recipes feature a blend of grilled and puffed grains, the latter of which sometimes burst, which explains the delicious nickname of “popcorn tea” often given to genmaicha!
After infusing, genmaicha takes on its characteristic pale-yellow color. It exudes subtly sweet aromas and the rice balances out the slight astringency often present in green teas. Many drinkers find that the delicate caramelization of the rice grains lends the tea notes similar to hazelnut and a lightly sweet taste, while the green tea offers a delightfully fresh fragrance.
According to legend…
There are two different stories told about the history of genmaicha, but both are fascinating regardless of which one is true! The oldest tale claims that genmaicha was accidently invented by a samurai’s servant several centuries ago. The warrior supposedly liked to drink tea before going into combat, but one day his servant accidently spilled some rice into his cup before bringing it to him. The samurai flew into a terrible rage and punished the poor man, whose name was Genmai, by cutting off his head. He then tasted the tea after all and found it to be just delicious! He christened the new blend Genmai cha, the “tea of Genmai,” in honor of his late servant.
The other story suggests that genmaicha was invented far more recently, more precisely in the 1920s. According to this version, it was the work of a Japanese merchant in Kyoto. As part of the New Year’s celebrations, he supposedly added pieces of a traditional puffed rice cake into the tea to develop its flavors. The new recipe was an instant hit and soon spread across the country. It was first enjoyed by more modest households as rice is cheaper than tea, before being adopted by everyone. It should also be noted that genmaicha literally means “brown rice tea” in Japanese!
How to drink genmaicha
You will be pleased to learn that genmaicha is generally made of 50% green tea and 50% rice, making it naturally low in caffeine and therefore suitable for every time of day. It is particularly enjoyed at breakfast as it contains a cereal grain, but can also be served at the end of a meal just like a dessert. Connoisseurs also often add a small dose of matcha, the vivid green tea powder that is becoming increasingly popular.
Below you will find a reminder of the Kusmi Tea instructions for making an excellent iced tea. Enjoy!
How to make iced tea
Step #1 – Pour 60cl simmering mineral water into a receptacle.
Step #2 – Infuse a large tea bag of your favorite blend for 7 minutes.
Step #3 – Leave the preparation to cool for 30 minutes.