The flavor of Genmaicha is light, with mild nutty overtones. The tea should be brewed at a slightly higher temperature than most green teas in order to bring out this wonderfully mild flavor. Genmaicha is an excellent palate cleanser and is perfect for drinking with Asian-themed meals.
Throughout the tea trade legends abound as to how the combination of tea and roasted rice was discovered. The most popular of these centers around the household of a Samurai warlord in the 15th century. After arriving home from battle, the Samurai called for his manservant Genmai to bring him some freshly brewed tea in order that he might refresh himself. Genmai quickly dropped what he was doing, which was taking stock of the house rice supply. In his haste Genmai failed to realize that some rice had found its way into the folds of the sleeves of his robe. As he rushed to prepare the tea, some grains of the rice fell into the tea pot. His Master yelled again for his tea. Genmai had no choice but to bring him the pot that had the rice in it. Unfortunately for poor Genmai his Master became furious when he discovered that he was not being served pure tea. Moments later, the manservant’s head was rolling across the floor. The Samurai decided he would drink the tea anyway. Much to his surprise, the tea Genmai had prepared was the most delicious beverage he had ever had. The Samurai dropped to his knees to repent for the killing of his servant and decided that henceforth he would call this new tea Genmaicha, cha being the Japanese word for tea, in honor of his servant.
This tea knows as peoples tea in Japan consists of Sencha or Bancha leaves and roasted rice. The rice was traditionally added to make the tea more affordable but now its liked for its flavored. Occasionally there are a few grains of popped rice in the blend which is why its sometimes called popcorn tea. Here is a simple recipe to make Genmaicha: