This might just be one of the most frequently asked questions by those entering the world of green teas – just what is popcorn tea?!

Well, the name may be a tiny bit misleading as it doesn’t actually contain any popcorn. Instead, the tea is blended with toasted rice – which, when popped, looks a little like the more familiar popcorn!

Now, blending a tea with a beloved cereal favoured by three little elves might seem a little odd, but it’s actually one of the oldest tea blends around. As with all great teas, the origins are shrouded in legend.

What’s the story?

The story of popcorn tea - or genmaicha as it's properly known - is set long ago in the time of Samurai. A lowly peasant named Genmai was working in fields, when some Samurai came through the region. Rushing to serve them, Genmai accidentally dropped some toasted rice kernels into a pot of tea he was preparing for one of these famed warriors. The outraged Samurai lopped off his head but, without another peasant to brew him up another one, drank the tea anyway. He loved it and was overcome with a little remorse for his actions, finally deciding to name the tea after the poor chap by way of apology – and so Genmai-cha was born (or, literally translated, Genmai’s tea).  

The reality is that peasants often would pad out their tea supply with toasted rice to make it go further – but that’s hardly as exciting, is it?!

How’s it taste?

Legends are all well and good, but what really matters is the flavour – and popcorn tea doesn’t disappoint. The toasted rice brings a warming, nutty flavour to the cup. It’s a firm favourite in the teapigs office and a must try to green tea drinkers looking for something a little different.

Interested in more information about green teas?

  • Find our green tea range guide here
  • Shop our green tea range here