“Tea Muthaf*cka! Do You Drink It?” will be an ongoing exploration (this being part two of a continuing series) into the world of tea and insulting people by cursing while reviewing them. Largely this was born of interactions on Twitter with other tea-dorks who will remain nameless as to protect their reputations. They know who they are.
Genmaicha, otherwise known as “brown rice tea” is the Japanese name for cheap green tea clippings combined with roasted brown rice. Also refered to as “popcorn tea” due to the popping of a few grains of rice during the during the roasting process. I enjoy this aspect of the tea since it assures me that the roasted brown rice are not maggots or some form of larvae (which they do largely resemble). Much to my chagrin , I found myself examining my bag very closely to ensure that none of the grains were wriggling or winking at me.
Originally served to the poorer folk of Japan, the rice served as a filler to cut the cost of the tea by actually cutting the amount of tea used. I just read a book on tea and at certain points in time the cost was extremely prohibitive. I don’t recall the reason why…something about European traders raping a local commodity.
A bit of history following:
According to ancient Japanese legend, during the 15th century, a servant named Genmai was serving his master, a samurai warrior, some tea when a few grains of rice accidentally fell out of his pocket and into the pot. The warrior was so infuriated that his servant had “ruined” a perfectly good cup of tea that he chopped off his head. He decided to drink the cup of tea anyway, and discovered that he enjoyed the distinct flavor of the tea and rice infusion. In honor of his poor servant, he insisted that this combination of tea and rice be served every morning and named it genmaicha (“cha” means tea in Japanese).
The tea steeped for 3-4 minutes and the resulting brew had a light yellow hue. Very mild with no tanin bitterness. The smell was very earthy and rich which was surprising with the mild flavor. This was easily one of my favorites so far in my tea-tasting experience. Probably because it was dilluted with the rice. I feel dirty saying that I enjoyed it since I equate rice filler with crappy American lagers like Coors and Bud Lite. The resulting brew is hardly to be considered beer and when someone mentions “drinkability” I resist the temptation to punch them in the nob.
Either way…I liked it and plan on keeping a supply in my cupboard. To further my blashemey, I insisted on enjoying a few cups while watching the first season of “Glee“. This is like tea for, pardon my language, whoosies.
Oh. And because someone recommended it. I ate the loose tea leaves and rice after it was done steeping. It was weird and I think someone was making sport of me.