Genmaicha is a type of Japanese tea, made from a mixture of green tea and brown rice. Genmaicha translates directly as ‘brown rice tea’ as it is typically made by roasting kernels of brown rice and mixing them with a green tea, normally a single origin sencha green tea, though this can range from region to region.
The roasted brown rice kernels give off an amazing nutty and fragrant flavor that balances out the slight bitterness of the sencha green tea. It is a highly popular tea in Japan and having been invented in the 1930s, it is relatively recent compared to many other teas that have been enjoyed for centuries in the country.
Though the exact origin of Genmaicha is debated, the most agreed upon is that during wartime and post-war, many people often did not have the excess funds to purchase pure green tea leaves, so Genmaicha was originally a solution for this.
By mixing green tea leaves, sometimes slightly less popular types, with popped brown rice kernels, you could make your precious daily tea supply last a lot longer. Since then, however, it has become a very popular tea to drink across generations and is enjoyed throughout the regions of Japan and worldwide thanks to its nutty flavor and low caffeine content.
It is easy to drink as it is low in caffeine thanks to the addition of brown rice. The toasted aroma is perfect for relaxation and this is usually drunk as a late afternoon or evening beverage. It has a huge amount of impressive health benefits that you can enjoy especially if you drink Genmaicha regularly.
It is often referred to as popcorn tea as the kernels of brown rice pop when roasted giving the tea a beautiful and distinct look. When brewed, the tea is a light golden color.
Overall flavor profile- Bright, grassy notes balanced out with a distinct nutty, roasted flavor.
Overview Of Japanese Tea Health Benefits
Green tea in general has long been known for its health benefits, and Genmaicha is no different. Green tea is known worldwide to boost fat burning, be a natural stimulant, and be very high in antioxidants, amino acids, and polyphenols.
Genmaicha has the added benefit of toasted rice, which cuts the slightly acerbic taste of green tea and has a calming and relaxing effect. Below is a list of the health benefits of regularly consuming Genmaicha tea.
Useful As A Digestion Aid
As green tea is a natural stimulant, it is a useful digestion aid for bloating. As Genmaicha is a mix of both brown rice and tea leaves, it is good for your digestion without being too harsh on your bowels. It has less of a laxative effect than pure green tea, so is easier on your digestion system whilst still stimulating it to relieve bloating.
Lower In Caffeine
Drinking a cup of Genmaicha green tea contains about half the amount of caffeine as a cup of regular Japanese green tea. A cup of Genmaicha comes in at roughly 10-15mg of caffeine whereas a cup of green tea would be about 30 mg.
This is due to the Genmaicha tea being made predominantly out of brown rice, rather than just pure tea leaves. Because of this lower caffeine content, it’s the perfect drink to enjoy throughout the day and into the evening.
Calming And Relaxing Effects
Much like a calming Camomile tea, Genmaicha is a perfect drink to enjoy in the afternoons and evenings. It has a soothing and warming aroma, and a nutty flavor that is perfect for calming the nerves.
Along with the regular benefits of taking time out for a hot beverage, green tea also contains the amino acid L-Theanine that has been scientifically proven to help reduce anxiety and relieve stress when drunk regularly.
The low caffeine content previously mentioned means you can enjoy the benefits of green tea without the stimulation of caffeine and whilst promoting relaxation.
Good For Sensitive Stomachs
Genmaicha is often used to relieve a bloated or upset stomach. The flavor profile is a lot less astringent than regular green tea and it is good for relieving symptoms of stomach upset and nausea.
It is usually recommended, however, that you drink Genmaich or green tea after a meal to help settle your stomach. Drinking on an empty stomach can cause further distress if you are sensitive, however.
Contains Antioxidants And EGCG
EGCG (otherwise known as Epigallocatechin Gallate) is a type of catechin or polyphenol. This is a group of plant proteins that have been found to attack free radicals in the body, protecting against cellular damage and premature aging. Free radicals are incredibly sensitive particles that can start chain reactions in your body that can damage your cells when their numbers get too high.
Eating foods high in antioxidants like catechins in green tea, various fruits, and nuts may help limit free radical damage. Polyphenols and other antioxidants have also been found to reduce inflammation and help with weight management.
Suitable For Older And Young People
Green tea contains catechins, including high levels of EGCG which help to reduce inflammation and help to alleviate pain symptoms, this can be very helpful for elderly people who suffer from arthritis or other inflammatory symptoms.
Inflammation and stress are both attributed to the development of some cancers and other serious illnesses, so eating and drinking foods that can relieve this is good for all generations. Due to its lower caffeine content, it is perfect to drink for both younger and older people.
Low In Calories And Good For Potential Weight Management
Drinking Genmaicha is a great alternative to calorie-heavy beverages, such as soda, milk-based drinks, or coffee. The nutty and complex aroma makes it feel far more substantial and satiating than pure green tea, making it a great replacement for idle snacking.
It is a greatly hydrating and easy to drink beverage packed with minerals and antioxidants making it the perfect in between meal accompaniment. And as it is low in caffeine as well as calories, you can drink as many cups as you like during the day and evening when you’re feeling peckish or bored whilst still treating yourself to a delicious beverage.
Green tea also helps to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol which is a good aid for helping to prevent heart disease. Weight management and weight loss are less proven than other benefits of green tea, however, and more research is needed for more conclusive answers.
How To Brew Genmaicha
As with many green teas, you can brew Genmaicha in a number of ways.
Hot Brewed Genmaicha
When brewing traditional Genmaicha tea leaves, you can reuse the leaves up to three times, making it best to steep this in a larger vessel you can refill, like a teapot of Kyusu (traditional Japanese clay teapot).
- Add 5g of Genmaicha tea leaves to a teapot or Kyusu.
- Add 200ml of hot, but not boiling water from your kettle, around 80 degrees C (175F) Steep your Genmaicha for between 60 and 90 seconds, before pouring carefully into your cup.
- If you are serving more than one cup of tea at once, pour them at the same time in order for the flavor to be distributed evenly amongst the cups. Keep your leaves if you want to rebrew them a few more times.
- Add 5g Genmaicha tea leaves to a large flask or teapot
- Pour over 1 large cup of ice-cold water
- Allow the tea leaves to steep in the water for at least 3 hours
- Sweeten your tea with honey or sugar if preferred
- Serve your Genmaicha cold over ice
Genmaicha Milk Tea
If you have Genmaicha powder instead of tea leaves, you can make a delicious milk tea.
- Add 2.5g of fine Genmaicha tea powder to a small bowl
- Add 50ml of hot but not boiling water, around 80C (175F)
- Whisk until combined into a paste.
- Add 200ml milk and add sugar or honey to sweeten to taste (Fill with ice for an Iced Milk Tea)
Genmaicha is a wonderfully nutty and toasted tea that is perfect to enjoy throughout the day. If you find the taste of regular Sencha and other green teas a little too vegetal, you may enjoy the more earthy and soothing flavors of Genmaicha for its surprisingly rich and roasted taste.
It is a great way of enjoying the many benefits of green tea throughout the day with its much lower caffeine content. Genmaicha is available throughout the world and is easily recognizable by the distinct pale popped rice kernels mixed throughout.