A while back a friend gave me a sample of Genmaicha – since green teas are not my favorite, I held off until now to give it a try.
I know a few people call this “popcorn tea” because it has little puffs inside – not actually popped corn, but popped rice, because the tea includes fire-toasted rice. I’ve had this tea (or something blended the same) at a number of sushi restaurants, and I know a few people who don’t like green tea do like this (or at least like it better than most green teas!).
I am not totally sure where my friend purchased this tea – however she gets a lot of her teas from Steeps, and they do carry it on their website.
From the Steeps website, they describe this tea as: “This is a specialty Japanese Sencha green tea that is blended with fire-toasted rice. The fresh vegetative character of the green tea is imparted on the cup but it is tempered with the bakey-like character of the rice.”
The scent of the tea when dry is interesting – it definitely has a ‘green tea’ scent, but the rice scent is also very prominent. It reminds me just a little bit of sake (rice wine). The tea leaves are large – a nice sign for high quality teas (lower quality teas use more broken bits)
Taste – well, the rice flavor is definitely predominant – with the green tea flavor being more subtle underneath. I made sure to steep this very quickly to avoid any bitterness, and was really successful. Although I don’t think that I’d buy this tea myself (since there are so many other teas I prefer) I would recommend this for anyone who either really likes green tea, or if you don’t really like green tea, but feel like you should have some in the house for guests… (or, if you desire the health benefits of green tea).
As an aside…
The other day I decided to sort through my tea, dividing up my collection of tins and bags all piled up into a basket (as well as a few random tins in other places within the kitchen) by the type of tea. I often find that I really am in the mood for a black tea, red tea, or herbal, rather than being in the mood for a very specific tea – hopefully by dividing up my tea I will be able to sort through my ‘stash’ more easily. While sorting through, I also found a few teas I had multiples of (so I combined them all together) and a few I only had one or two cups left of. The Genmaicha was one of these teas.
If you, like me, have a fairly substantial collection of teas – how do you sort yours to keep them easy to pick out? I’d love to have all of my teas in pretty tins on the shelf – but that might mean buying a lot less tea! Let me know your strategies in the comments below!