What is Genmaicha (玄米茶)
Genmaicha translates to brown rice tea, and the word is derived from Japanese. It is a mix of Sencha leaves and roasted brown rice. Japanese also referred to this green tea as popcorn tea due to the popping sound during roasting, and popped rice looks like popcorn. By adding roasted brown rice, green tea gets a healthy quality and makes the taste unique. Many people around Japan love this green tea due to its sweet flavor and a pleasant aroma.
In some parts of Japan, Genmaicha was also called people’s tea because the brown rice was used as a filler to reduce the tea prices. In the early days, tea was a luxury and only reserved for the elite. Due to lower prices, it was accessible to everyone, and every part of society enjoyed Genmaicha. For a traditional and cheaper option, it is often made with bancha leaves, which costs less than the Sencha.
Traditionally, it is made with bancha, but nowadays, the market offers plenty of variety, and the most common is Sencha Genmaicha, which is made by adding Sencha leaves. Some options also include Houji Genmaicha and Gyokuro Genmaicha.
Genmaicha, when mixed with matcha, is known as Matcha-iri Genmaicha, which translates to Genmaicha with added powdered tea. It has a similar taste as of Genmaicha but often has a bit stronger flavor and more greenish color when brewed.
The brown rice is sometimes referred to as rice with the hard covering on the top, but in Genmaicha, white rice is roasted to the point it turns dark brown. Original brown rice is not fragrant when roasted and looks much darker. Their husk is taken off, and white rice is used for roasting.
These rice are roasted until it turns dark, and some rice pops like popcorn, but it is not common with modern machinery as it controls the temperature and adds a much better look. Roasted rice is known as Genmai and is then mixed with green tea leaves of different varieties. The most common proportion level is 1:1, but it varies from vendor to vendor.
In a traditional method, mochi rice is used in Genmaicha and is considered the highest quality tea due to mochi rice. Genmaicha is also made with Japanese rice, called uruchimai, and sometimes by mixing both rice types. To make the best-roasted rice with simple and most common methods at home, you have to follow some steps.
First, rice is soaked for some time to make them soft and easy to be steamed. Then the rice is steamed and dried. Drying is usually done by using hot air. Once it is dried, rice is roasted to the dark brown stage and when rice pops like popcorn. It is later cooled and mixed with already processed and stored green tea leaves.
Genmaicha is labeled as low-grade tea just like bancha and hojicha and needs high-temperature water to brew, unlike gyokuro, which is high grade and brewed in lower temperatures. Bancha Genmaicha requires 85-90 C degrees water, and Sencha Genmaicha needs 80-85 C degrees to brew correctly. Follow these steps to make Genmaicha tea at home:
Use three or four grams of Genmaicha for each cup.
Add Genmaicha to Kyusu and then add 50ml boiling water for every two grams of Genmaicha.
Let it steep for around more than a minute.
Pour the tea into small cups and enjoy.
For a second infusion, brew it for 2 minutes with 90 degrees water.
The brewed tea has a grassy and nutty aroma, yellowish color and sweet taste.
Genmaicha is often used by people who frequently go through fasting due to religious purposes. They have long intervals between their meals and therefore need a warming beverage for their stomach. The sugar and starch in Genmaicha tea has a warm and nutty taste and is considered the best tea for making your stomach feel better.
The brown rice is added to green tea leaves for various reasons—it milds the astringent taste of tea leaves and caffeine levels. Due to lower caffeine and higher nutrients level, many prefer it over other varieties. It has a calming effect on your body, mood, and stomach.
Antioxidants present in green tea levels fight oxidants in your bloodstream and protect your body from harmful radicals. Add Genmaicha to your healthy diet and take benefits from its nutrients. The catechin, polyphenol, and EGCG present in tea leaves are all collectively beneficial for your body in many ways, such as prevention of destroying cells, oxidation, cholesterol level, and many more.
Green tea prevents many cardiovascular diseases and keeps your heart healthy. People who are continuously stressed and anxious are more likely to develop irregular heartbeat and other conditions. Green tea helps calm the nerves, and blood vessels also stop clotting in veins to ease the blood flow. Moreover, it is beneficial for skin as it reduces wrinkles and keeps the skin hydrated.
Here are Genmai-cha we carry:
- ShizuokaTea – Genmaicha – Green Tea Leaves Plus Toasted Brown Rice
- KagoshimaTea – Organic Genmaicha
- ShizuokaTea – Genmai Matcha – Green Tea Leaves Plus Toasted Brown Rice & Matcha Powder