Genmai cha is a special type of green tea with toasted rice. Some of the rice kernels have popped in the toasting process, looking like little puffed, white popcorn pieces. I’ve sometimes seen genmai chai billed as the “movie night” tea for its inclusion of these popcorn-like rice pieces. No matter what you name it, genmai cha is a unique and delicious tea experience.
It was a long time in my tea journey before I put genmai cha tea into my usual rotation. Beyond the puffed rice in the dry leaf, the next most striking impression about the tea is that it is savory. If you aren’t expecting a savory experience, the brew can be a little unsettling at first. If you know this tea won’t be fruity or floral going into it, you’ll be much better off. Tasting Harmony Tea genmai cha from Mellow Monk was no exception.
Brewed, the Harmony Blend smells like warm bread or sticky rice. With these meal-like flavors, the warm tea might seem almost more like broth than tea. Over my years of drinking genmai cha, I find this warm brew and its toasty, starchy flavors to be supremely comforting, like sitting in the kitchen when the oven is on and bread is baking.
Despite all this toastiness, it is good not to forget that genmai cha is a green tea, so brew it with slightly cooler water to avoid burning the green tea leaves. Though the toasted rice is the prominent scent and taste of the tea, there is a role for the green tea to play in the flavor profile.
Green tea on its own can sometimes have savory incarnations, but it is usually a vegetable-inspired savoriness, like buttery bok choy or dark and nutty kale. The green tea in Mellow Monk’s Harmony Blend is much sweeter, and not too vegetal. It reminds me of a smooth green tea matcha, green and grassy but still sweet like nutty wheat bread.
It is a rainy, gray day today, and a warming cup of toasty Harmony Tea was just what I needed to turn my mood around.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk
Harmoney Tea™ is a genmaicha — green tea mixed with roasted brown rice. The rice imparts a nutty, toasty flavor that makes genmaicha one of the most popular types of green tea in America. Unlike some tea growers, this artisan roasts his own rice, which he buys from local farmers. (During roasting, some of the rice grains pop like popcorn. This popped rice is also included in the mixture to enhance the flavor.)
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
In my experience I’ve found that people either love or hate carrot cake. As for me, with my enormous sweet tooth, I’ll enjoy a slice of carrot cake any day, but that’s not always the case for others. What? Carrots? Cake? Who’s sneaking vegetables into my dessert? I can understand the dichotomy.
Whether you love carrot cake or not, it’s hard to resist trying a tea flavor as bold and unusual as Frosted Carrot Cake from A Quarter to Tea. From the beginning, these tea leaves have a lot going on. This is a genmai cha-based blend, so sencha green tea and gold puffs of toasted rice are available in abundance. Beside the rice there are actual carrot pieces in the blend, as well as raisins, and dried pineapple. Ginger and cinnamon balance out this ingredients list and bring their usual baked-good-charms to the flavor palette.
The most impressive part of this blend is the vanilla frosting element, which actually tastes a bit tart and tangy like real cream cheese. This isn’t just plain-old vanilla flavoring, the specific carrot-cake cream cheese frosting is alive and well in this cup of tea.
This is a green tea, so mind your temperatures and steeps times, no matter how delicious the cake aspects smell, take out the teabag after a few minutes to avoid any bitter undertones. The frosting notes get more prominent as the tea cools.
Believe it or not, this tea does taste like carrot cake, even without sugar or milk, the fruits and veggies in the tea leaves bring enough natural starchiness and sweetness to make this blend feel full and decadent.
If you love carrot cake, you’ll love this tea. If carrot cake isn’t your style, give this brew a chance in the name of good fun, you might be surprised by how tasty carrot cake and tea can be.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea
A cup of well-spiced carrot cake accented with raisins and pineapple for sweetness and a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting.