Growing up I was a coffee drinker, but only at breakfast or after dinner with a dessert. I couldn’t stand drinking hot beverages during lunch or dinner. Moving to Taiwan where tea was served with every meal was definitely an adjustment or me. Surprisingly, I instantly took to Chinese teas — so much so that I’ve become a bit of a tea connoisseur.
Of all the teas I sampled in Taiwan, my favorite is called genmaicha. It’s a Japanese green tea that contains brown rice, some of the kernels which have popped. It has a toasty, nutty quality that cuts the bitterness of some green teas. Some people also refer to it as popcorn tea because of the toasted rice kernels.
Historically, genmaicha was consumed by poor people in Japan as the rice was used as a filler to reduce the price of tea leaves. Today, it is typically consumed by all sectors of society. I’ve seen a number of premium versions as well, which can be quite pricey.
Have you tried genmaicha before? What is your favorite brand?