Thursday 21 January 2010

A Greener Start to the Day

Genmaicha leaves teaThis morning as I walked, still bleary-eyed, into the kitchen, I was hit by a horrible realisation: we had run out of milk. Although this didn't pose a major problem for breakfast - fruit, yoghurt and granola is my preferred option at the moment - it did mean I couldn't start the day with my usual cup of tea. In the old days I used to like a latte first thing in the morning, but over the past few months I find I just can't wait for that first cup of lovely, refreshing tea. A fairly strong black tea with milk is now, definitely, my preferred way to start the day.

But this morning, with no milk in the house, a rethink was needed. Obviously there was no shortage of other options, as anyone who has seen my somewhat chaotic tea-cupboard will tell you. But what to choose? A white tea? An oolong? A pu-erh? Or a green tea? In the end I decided to go for a Genmaicha, for no reason other than the fact I just fancied it. For those of you that don't already know, Genmaicha is a Japanese green tea that is blended with roasted brown rice. It was traditionally seen as a cheap tea - and certainly considered to be of a lower grade than some other Japanese teas such as the revered Matcha - as it has always been drunk by Japan's poor; the rice serving to bulk out the tea leaves and keep the cost down.

Genmaicha leaves tea rice
Today though, Genmaicha is widely drunk in Japan by people of all classes. And it's also a real favourite in my house. I absolutely love the combination of the grassy green tea and the nutty roasted rice. I find something very comforting in the flavour, although it has been known to divide opinion wildly. For instance, Coffee Boy is not at all keen, or at least he wasn't on the one occasion he tried it, but other friends I've made it for have absolutely loved it and vowed to buy their own tin forthwith.

Mug Genmaicha leaves tea
Anyway, this morning, Genmaicha was my breakfast brew; and do you know, I really enjoyed it. It was just the right combination of refreshing and gutsy with a lovely rounded flavour and I didn't miss my usual breakfast blend at all. Although my consumption of non-black tea has been steadily increasing (from about 5% of my tea intake a year ago, to about 40% more recently), I haven't really changed my breakfast routine. But after this morning's experience that could change. At the very least, I no longer need to worry about running out of milk - although latte obsessed Coffee Boy may feel differently...


  1. Hello Natalie,
    I love Japanese green tea! It's about the only tea I drink. Hot in the Winter and iced in Summer. Like today. Woo! A scorching 32C! (Oops! Didn't mean to gloat again. Sorry.) So smoky. So good!

    My mom has to send me the one I like from Singapore every few months because I can't find it here in Sydney. Not even one similar in my favourite tea shop here ( Do you have a T2 teashop? x

  2. I really like the sound of this. I need to give up coffee so something more robust in the morning would be needed. I need to raid your tea cupboard!

  3. Hey Likkle Girl. No T2 shop here - but I'm intrigued about your tea from Singapore. What is it? If it's that good, I wanna try it!

    Yes Caroline. Next time you need to come to my place for afternoon tea - including a tasting session. And a few sweet things of course...

  4. Hey Natalie,
    I'd love to send you some! But they come in tea bags...I hope you are not a "snob" when it comes to loose leaves vs. bags. Haha.

    Email me ( with your address if you'd still like to try some. x

  5. Hey Likkle Girl - that would be wonderful! My only snobbery is for good tea. Emailing you now. Nx