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Everything You Need to Know about Genmaicha (玄米茶)

October 25, 2022

Everything You Need to Know about Genmaicha (玄米茶)

People all over the world love genmaicha. This style of Japanese tea is unlike other teas for many reasons. It actually consists of green tea mixed with roasted brown rice.

Fans in Japan often refer to genmaicha green tea as popcorn tea. This tasty and interesting beverage gets its nickname from the popping sounds that can be heard during the roasting process. Roasted rice gives this drink a hearty, satisfying quality. This beverage receives high reviews among tea lovers due to its buttery, sweet flavor.

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How to Make Genmaicha Tea At Home

If you want to get genmaicha online, you can get it from our online store here, but if you want to make your own, here are some simple instructions.

There's no need to travel to the tea houses of Tokyo in search of genmaicha if you have a craving for this beverage. It's actually possible to make this drink at home using your own ingredients. Are you wondering how to brew genmaicha tea at home in just a few minutes? Here's a step-by-step look at one of the simplest methods for making this treat in very little time:

  • Sprinkle a thin layer of your favorite brown rice in a pan.
  • Toast it until it has a dark color and a nutty aroma.
  • Allow the rice to cool.
  • Place your rice inside a sieve with leaves of sencha green tea.
  • Add boiling water.
  • Steep the mixture for approximately three minutes before transferring your drink to your favorite mug.
  • Enjoy!

It's important to keep in mind that a teaspoon full of leaves will produce about one cup of genmaicha. In addition, you will need roughly one tablespoon of toasted rice to make one cup. You can adjust your ratios if you'll be serving multiple people. Genmaicha green tea that has been properly steeped will have a golden and brassy hue.

Genmaicha is a delicious type of Japanese green tea

How Do You Store Genmaicha Green Tea?

Fresh genmaicha liquor isn't meant to be stored on a long-term basis. You should try to drink it the same day it is made. However, you can refrigerate your fresh genmaicha overnight. It is important to practice good storage methods for the green tea you intend to use when preparing genmaicha. Green tea should be placed in an airtight container once it has been opened. You should avoid storing the container in a place that experiences direct sunlight or warm temperatures. Tea that has been opened will generally stay fresh for up to six weeks. Click here to learn more about the best way to store tea

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Why Do People Love Drinking Green Genmaicha?

What does genmaicha taste like? This green drink is rich and aromatic. The exact flavor you experience will depend on the type of green tea that is used. How does genmaicha taste when you make it using the standard recipe? The drink typically has a nutty flavor. Most reviews will tell you that this drink can offer a nice boost between meals if you're trying to avoid snacks. In fact, it is commonly used for weight loss.

Genmaicha is a delicious type of Japanese green tea

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What is Genmaicha?

Genmaicha tea is a green tea infusion popularly consumed in Japan and now enjoyed in other parts of the world. It has a light yellow color and a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. Back in the day, Genmaicha was often used for religious fasting and tiding people over until their next meal. It is also a favorite remedy for settling an upset stomach.

What is in Genmaicha tea?

Literally translating to "brown rice tea," Genmaicha consists of green tea, most commonly Bancha, and roasted, popped brown rice. Bancha is made up of leaves from the same tea plant (Camellia sinensis) from which other kinds of green tea come but are harvested later, in the third and fourth flushes.

What else is Genmaicha called?

Genmaicha has been blessed with a couple of other monikers, such as "popcorn tea" because some of the rice grains pop during roasting and "people’s tea" or "poor man’s tea" because it was traditionally consumed by those with humbler means.

Why would people add rice to green tea?

Struggling people had to be resourceful. Tea could be expensive, so to make it last longer and effectively lower the actual cost of the tea, they added rice. It worked as a filler, making this infusion more affordable to poorer folk.

Genmaicha tea

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What does Genmaicha taste like?

Thanks to the starch and sugar from the rice, Genmaicha is known for having a warm and nutty flavor with a sweetness to it. It’s pretty mild, with a pleasant cereal taste. The combination of the green tea’s fresh vegetal flavor and the aroma of the toasted rice is also delightful.


What does Genmaicha pair with?

When it comes to Japanese dishes, Genmaicha complements fatty fish like salmon or tuna really well, so it’s a great beverage choice when eating sushi. As for international dishes, gourmets find that they pair beautifully with creamy chocolates, cheesy creations, crackers, and polenta.

What are the varieties of Genmaicha?

Considering its humble beginnings, the traditional Genmaicha consisted of more affordable green tea, specifically Bancha, and roasted unhulled rice. These days, Genmaicha is no longer the poor man’s drink, although it could still be referred to as the people’s drink since it remains so popular that it has even become trendy. These days, genmaicha may be made with other kinds of tea. Here are some of the varieties available these days:

  • Sencha Genmaicha

This is made with sencha, which refers to tea leaves harvested in the first or second flush of the year. It’s the green tea variety most commonly consumed in Japan, so it’s typically present in most homes. If somebody gets a craving for Genmaicha and there’s none readily available, chances are they’ll be making some with Sencha and rice from their own supplies.

The flavor of the younger leaves doesn’t mesh as well with the roasted rice as that of bancha, but it still makes a great tea. It also costs a bit more, and its caffeine content is higher.

  • Hoji Genmaicha 

This is made with hojicha (roasted tea leaves) and roasted rice. The flavors of hojicha and the roasted rice complement each other so well. Since both elements are roasted, the tea has a nice smoky quality. It is also very low in caffeine, which is why it is often used in hospitals and given to children.

  • Gyokuro Genmaicha

Gyokuro is known for being a really good quality tea. It consists of leaves that are not only the youngest sprouts but also shaded about three weeks before harvest. Mixed with roasted rice, it produces an even sweeter tea than other varieties of Genmaicha. However, it has a higher caffeine content and costs more.

  • Matcha-iri Genmaicha

This variety is different because it has both green tea leaves and tea powder (matcha). This is a flavorful tea most enjoyable to those who really like matcha, which is the dominant flavor perceived by those who drink it. We carry this here.

Genmai Matcha - Premium Japanese Green Tea with Brown Rice & Matcha

Learn about the different kinds of green tea.

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How is Genmaicha made?

As mentioned, genmaicha has two main components: genmai (brown rice) and cha (tea). Two schools of thought exist regarding the kind of rice used. Since the name clearly refers to brown rice, one group veers towards using the whole grain with the bran and germ still intact, which is what is commonly known as brown rice. 

Meanwhile, the other group insists that white rice, the color of which toasts to a dark brown color, hence the name, is preferable since it’s more fragrant when roasted. It recommends using mochi rice or a Japanese rice variety called uruchimai to make really good-quality genmaicha.

For white rice users, the process starts with soaking the rice and continues with steaming and drying, usually with hot air. Once dried, it’s ready for roasting. The rice is roasted, with some grains popping, until it reaches the dark brown stage. The roasted rice has to cool first before being mixed with already-processed green tea leaves.

Those who use brown rice have a much more straightforward process. They simply toast some rice until it turns darker and exudes a nutty aroma, cool it, and then mix it with green tea.

The standard ratio is 1:1, but it really depends on the discretion of the vendor.

How long should you steep Genmaicha?

There are varying opinions on this matter. Some say that Genmaicha is brewed in high-temperature water (with recommendations on the actual temperature ranging from 80 degrees to 90 degrees Celsius) and steeped for anywhere between one and five minutes.

And then there are also those who say that you can flash brew Genmaicha by using near-boiling water and steeping it in just 20 seconds.

However, the most popular practice is to use 80 to 85-degree Celsius water and steep it for about three minutes. Over-steeping Genmaicha could lose the balance between the tea leaves’ vegetal flavor and the roasted rice’s nutty flavor. It could also result in a more bitter drink.

brewing japanese genmaicha tea

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How many times can you brew Genmaicha?

Genmaicha’s flavor can last for up to five steepings, and even after that, the roasted rice could still have flavor to release for further brewing. It apparently takes a long time before its taste runs out.

What is Genmaicha good for?

It has a slew of health benefits, many of which are shared by other kinds of green tea. For instance, like Hojicha, it can work to balance your blood sugar as well as curb your craving for junk food, making it a particularly good tea option for people with diabetes.

Like Gyokuro, it can help with your oral health with its antibacterial polyphenols, which kill microbes that cause cavities and bad breath.

And, like other green tea varieties, Genmaicha contains theanine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), both of which help with relaxation and concentration.

Read about the many different health benefits of green tea.

How much caffeine is in Genmaicha?

Genmaicha has about 6.5 to 12 mg per cup. Comparatively, regular green tea can have from 12 to 75 mg per cup, depending on the brew time. That’s why experts figure it’s fine to consume up to seven or eight cups of Genmaicha daily.

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Does Genmaicha have more caffeine than coffee?

Coffee has about 80 mg of caffeine per cup, definitely more than Genmaicha’s meager 6.5 to 12 mg per cup.

Is Genmaicha good for sleep?

Since Genmaicha has low caffeine levels and a lot of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the primary inhibitory brain neurotransmitter that reduces stress and enhances sleep, it is a very good drink for helping you sleep.

Is Genmaicha good for sleep?

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Is Genmaicha good for your health?

Genmaicha is considered a healthy drink since it contains green tea, to which many of its potential health benefits are attributed. It's important to note, however, that the different kinds of green tea have varying impacts on health. For instance, while Sencha is known to lower the risk of developing biliary tract cancer, Bancha is not associated with this benefit.

Also, the catechin content of the tea leaves depends on their age. The younger they are, the higher their content of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. This essentially means that Genmaicha’s potential health benefits would largely depend on the kind of green tea used in the mix.

In addition, since Genmaicha has fewer leaves, the intensity of the benefits is lower, but it also means that it has less caffeine, which is a distinct advantage for those seeking to avoid it.

Is Genmaicha good for weight loss?

Genmaicha contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which, among many great benefits, also boosts the body’s catecholamine function. This helps burn fat quickly and suppress appetite. It can therefore be concluded that, accompanied by a proper diet, drinking Genmaicha can help you achieve the desired results of your weight loss journey.

genmaicha for weight loss

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Is Genmaicha good for digestion?

Because both green tea and rice have diuretic properties, Genmaicha itself is a robust diuretic, helping relieve your body of bloating and allowing you to avoid water retention. It also helps reduce gut inflammation associated with irritable bowel disease.

Does Genmaicha help with constipation?

Genmaicha has soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, the two main components that help relieve constipation.

Does Genmaicha have carbs?

Even with the rice in the mix, you’re not really ingesting it, so Genmaicha is considered carbohydrate-free and keto-friendly.

Is it OK to drink Genmaicha every day?

Drinking multiple cups, even up to seven or eight, of Genmaicha every day is perfectly fine. It is low in caffeine and replete with health benefits.

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Is Genmaicha acidic?

Genmaicha is much less acidic than other kinds of tea, thanks to the starch from its rice component. It also tastes less acidic because of the lower caffeine content.

Can you eat the rice in Genmaicha?

Yes, you can. Some people actually like eating some of the rice after drinking the tea. There are also those who don’t bother with a strainer when pouring their tea because they enjoy having bits of rice to chew on as they drink it.

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Does brown rice have any side effects?

Eating brown rice is supposedly a healthy choice. Opting for whole grains is perceived as more wholesome since they have the nutrients intact. Still, eating too much of it has some potential adverse side effects. For instance, the bran and germ may possibly irritate the digestive tract, and this could lead to digestive issues like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and leaky gut syndrome.

Since brown rice hasn’t gone through the refining process, it could contain more of anything toxic that the grain may have been exposed to, like arsenic.

A significant downside to brown rice is that it has higher levels of phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that, while having antioxidant properties, also prevents the absorption of nutrients.

With Genmaicha, the brown rice in it typically isn’t eaten. It’s mainly used for flavor, so its negative side effects don’t really apply in this case.

A Quick Guide to Purchasing Genmaicha

Are you wondering where to buy Genmaicha? If you are in Japan, almost every tea room and tea shop throughout Japan sells brewed and packaged varieties of this drink. The list of the best spots to look for the beverage includes Kyoto Ippodo Tea, Horaido Tea Stall, and Arahataen. Many shops located within Kyoto's Nishiki Market area also sell this beverage. In addition, many vendors actually allow customers to place online orders for packaged blends that can be shipped internationally. Are you wondering how you can place orders for genuine Genmaicha products online? A company out of Kyoto called Nippon Cha ships its products around the world.

If you are in the USA, you can order quality Japanese genmaicha online with free shipping most of the time at the Japanese Green Tea Company. Their tea is from Arahataen, Shizuoka, and has won the national award multiple times.

Buying Genmaicha Online 

Buying Genmaicha with Matcha Online 

Looking for ones with matcha with Genmaicha?  Click here for ones with matcha powder. 

Related Articles You May Enjoy

20 Surprising Things about Gyokuro Green Tea You Probably Didn't Know 


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