Meander through the average supermarket and you’ll see the tracks left by trends of the past. Nobody gets excited about pesto anymore, but it’s been fully assimilated: the jars and plastic tubs are easy to find, along with a big box of fresh bulk basil. And that’s a good thing; it means it’s ripe for someone who doesn’t remember the 80s to rediscover.

I’m not sure if green tea’s moment has passed or if the antioxidant-fueled push is still underway, but I’d like to put a word in for genmaicha. It’s a popular Japanese green tea with roasted brown rice in it. If you brew loose-leaf genmaicha, you can see the rice, but it’s also available in bags. The brand I bought last time at Uwajimaya is Yamamotoyama. This is very fun to say, and it’s inexpensive. The rice gives the tea a freshly-baked Rice Krispy treat aroma. I’ve been drinking it in the morning for the last two weeks and I’m hooked.

Look for genmaicha at a tea shop, an Asian grocery, or maybe even your supermarket, depending on how antioxidant-fueled your neighbors are.

14 thoughts on “Roasty

  1. Lore

    For those of us in Asian-grocery-deficient areas, Republic of Tea’s “Tea of Inquiry” seems to be the same thing, and though expensive, is pretty tasty.

    Also it’s fun to be drinking a piping hot cup of “Tea of Inquiry”. It sounds like something out of Dungeons and Dragons.

  2. Neil

    My green tea preference is matcha, the powdered tea. The good stuff is very expensive, but it has a rich flavor that rivals coffee for depth and complexity. Really good with sweets. Or in sweets.

  3. mamster Post author

    Neil, I love drinking matcha, but I’ve never made it at home because it costs a bundle and I don’t have one of those little whipper things. Do you need one of those things or can you use a regular whisk?

  4. Lore

    … and now I’m all itchy trying to find genmaicha around here. There has GOT to be an Asian grocery store SOMEWHERE in Amarillo.

    Curse you, Mamster! :-)

  5. heather is the website for ito en (duh), which is allegedly the most superhappyfun popular tea in japan… i know they have a brewed, unsweeted green genmaicha tea in bottles, but i’m not finding that on their site. they have a loose genmaicha, and a pretty sweet green tea sampler gift, and they ship… if’n that helps.

  6. mamster Post author

    Lore, if you don’t mind ordering from Amazon,this is the exact box of tea I’ve been drinking. Be forewarned that as one reviewer put it:

    “I have tried this tea and was disappointed. The taste of green tea was there though. I was looking forward to actual tea leaves AND actual roasted brown rice to nibble on.”

  7. Neil

    I think you can make matcha without the little bamboo whisk thing (although they are beautiful and very effective, and can be had cheaply from a couple Asian shops in the U-district). If you have one, a stick blender or even one of those battery powered milk foamers would work really well. The idea is to quickly disperse the powder in hot liquid and whip up a little froth on top.

  8. mamster Post author

    I have a good stick blender. I will give it a try. Although I guess then I’d have to make the Big Gulp size.

  9. Jason Truesdell

    You can make matcha without a chasen (bamboo whisk), but the chasen will do a better job of elminiating the beads of the want to form, and since the shape is unfamiliar you’ll probably be able to retrain your whisking habits to make the W-like pattern that’s preferred for whisking matcha, instead of the “big circles” more common by home cooks armed with a whisk.

    You might go to an introductory lesson at the Urasenke school in Madison Park to get a feel for it.

    The chasen range from $15-40 in the US, priced by how many teeth they have. The more teeth, the better they do at breaking up those beads. (I do sell them from time to time, so add any required disclaimer)

    I don’t drink ceremonial types of matcha at home often, but I do like matcha-infused gin. For more everyday consumption, I like a good matcha-genmaicha, which is genmaicha dusted with matcha. My recommendation for a brand would be self-interested, so I’ll refrain from specifics.

  10. mamster Post author

    I didn’t know there was such a thing as matcha-genmaicha, and I really don’t mind if you mention yours.

  11. Jason Truesdell

    It’s not quite mine, but I offer matcha-genmaicha on… My colleague Eugene Levy (not an actor) imports it under the brand name MyGreenTea.

    In Seattle, you can get it at Uwajimaya and Central Market, among other places. It is certainly more expensive than Yamamotoyama, but tastes a lot better when made correctly, and still works out to pennies per cup if you make it loose.

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