A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 25, 2013
Popcorn Tea

Genmaicha ("brown rice tea” in Japanese) contains toasted glutinous rice; some grains explode like popcorn when the tea is made. The genmaicha nickname of “popcorn tea” has been cited in English since a least the early 1980s.

Genmai-cha is sometimes called popcorn tea because it is a combination of bancha and partially popped brown rice” was cited in print in 1985. “Some non-Japanese call it ‘popcorn tea’” was cited in print in 1991.


Wikipedia: Genmaicha
Genmaicha (玄米茶?, “brown rice 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. This type of tea was originally drunk by poor Japanese, as the rice served as a filler and reduced the price of the tea; which is why it is also known as the “people’s tea.” It was also used by those persons fasting for religious purposes or who found themselves to be between meals for long periods of time. Today it is consumed by all segments of society.

Tea steeped from these tea leaves has a light yellow hue. Its flavor is mild and combines the fresh grassy flavor of green tea with the aroma of the roasted rice.

Google Books
Sunset Oriental Cook Book
Menlo Park, CA: Lane Books
1982, ©1970
Pg. 88:
Another called genmai cha ("cha" means tea) contains toasted glutinous rice, some grains of which have exploded and look like little popcorn. The rice, mixed right with the tea leaves, gives the beverage a sweet and nutty flavor.

Google Books
Japanese Cooking
By Susan Fuller Slack
Tucson, AZ: HPBooks
1985
Pg. 20:
Genmai-cha is sometimes called popcorn tea because it is a combination of bancha and partially popped brown rice. This tea is sometimes served in inexpensive restaurants.

Google Books
Haiku, Origami, and More:
Worship and Study Resources from Japan

By Judith May Newton and Mayumi Tabuchi
New York, NY: Friendship Press
1991
Pg. 26:
Parched bancha, with “popped” unpolished rice added, is called genmaicha. (Some non-Japanese call it “popcorn tea.")

Google Books
The Tea Book
By Dawn Campbell
Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Co., Inc.
1995
Pg. 144:
GENMAI CHA (BROWN-RICE-BANCHA TEA OR POPCORN TEA)
Genmai cha is probably the most popular tea among the Japanese. It is drunk several times a day and it may be served at mealtimes. Genmai cha is now imported to the West. In exporting this tea, some of the rice pops into little white pieces that resemble popcorn; this genmai cha is somteimes referred to as “popcorn tea.”

Google Groups: rec.food.drink.tea
Nathan Tenny
11/18/96
“Popcorn Tea”?
In article <56qt2v$i...@news.interlog.com>,
sharon ginsberg wrote:
>Does anyone know of a Japanese green tea containing roasted barley
>that is sometimes referred to as “popcorn tea”?  I recently tried
>this brew at a flower show and would like to find it’s official
>name and where I might be able to order some.
More likely toasted rice than barley, I think.  It sounds like genmaicha, green tea with toasted rice grains mixed in.  I think it tastes distinctly like popcorn.

The Republic of Tea sells a genmaicha called “Tea of Inquiry”, and Upton also has one.  RoT’s is pretty good; I haven’t tried Upton’s yet.

Tasty Kitchen
Genmaicha (“Popcorn” Tea)
by paxye on March 18, 2010 in Drinks
Recipe Description
I first had Genmaicha at a Japanese restaurant, alongside an amazing meal of sushi. Popular in Japan, Genmaicha is a simple mix of green tea and toasted (and popped) brown rice. It is aromatic and great on its own or after a filling meal.

The Wall Street Journal
February 19, 2011
Tea’s Got a Brand New Bag
Chefs and bartenders are bringing the leaves out of the kettle and into the kitchen

(...)
Genmaicha
Tasting notes: Vegetal and nutty, with a toasty sweetness.
Kitchen trick: Grind with a pinch of sea salt to create an unexpected and adaptable seasoning for grilled vegetables and meats, says Melanie Franks, tea-chef and instructor at the French Culinary Institute.
Pantry pick: In Pursuit of Tea Genmaicha, $28 per ¼ lb,inpursuitoftea.com
Etc: Made from a blend of Japanese green tea and roasted, puffed brown rice, genmaicha is sometimes called “popcorn tea” thanks to its unusual appearance.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, May 25, 2013 • Permalink