Genmaicha, also called brown rice green tea, is the Japanese name for green tea combined with roasted brown rice. It is sometimes referred to colloquially as “popcorn tea” because a few grains of the rice pop during the roasting process and resemble popcorn. Although today it is consumed by all segments of society, this type of tea was originally drunk by Japanese peasants, as the rice served as a filler, reducing the price of the tea. This is why it is also known as the “people’s tea”.
It has also been used by people fasting for religious purposes or who found themselves to be between meals for long periods of time. The sugar and starch from the rice cause the tea to have a warm, full flavor that is similar to that of nuts. It is considered easy to drink and helps one’s stomach feel better.