Our experience with genmaicha green tea starts not at a tea house, but a lovely Japanese restaurant. We still remember vividly tasting the first sip of hot tea offered on that cold winter day. The tea tasted so good we had to ask the waiter for the tea name. The rest is history. All we know is that genmaicha is and will always be our family’s favorite Japanese tea. It is easy to get addicted to the taste of genmaicha. So consider yourself warned.
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What is genmaicha green tea?
Genmaicha is a combination of Japanese green tea (Sencha green tea is often used) and toasted brown rice. Through the roasting process, the brown rice kernels pop up, resemble small popcorn. That is why genmaicha green tea is also referred to as Japanese popcorn tea. People also call it genmai tea, as “genmai” means brown rice in Japanese. The addition of brown rice is indeed a stroke of genius in the case of this tea.
Legends have it that genmaicha is created centuries ago when monks combine green tea with the browned rice layer left at the bottom of rice cauldrons. Later on, Japanese tea vendors caught on and created their version by combining green tea varieties with roasted rice or sticky rice.
Due to its attracting aroma and flavor, people all over the world love genmaicha. As the demand is high, you can easily find it at supermarkets, tea houses, or from various websites online. If you are offered tea at a Japanese restaurant, the chances are high that it is genmaicha. The tea goes really well with Japanese cuisine. All in all, offer you an enjoyable culinary experience. But this tea is also suitable as a light morning drink or between meals tea.
What is it taste like?
Genmaicha is famous for its nutty, smooth, and sweet flavor. The toastiness of brown rice complements Japanese green tea perfectly. Sip after sip of this tea, it seems like your senses are wakened up to indulge in its pleasant aroma and flavor.
The toasty flavor of brown rice is hard to ignore when you taste genmaicha. It immediately calm your mind, make your cup of green tea much more enjoyable. Depend on the type of green tea used, and its quality, the flavor of genmaicha can vary. You can drink it during breakfast, after meals or as an evening tea.
Benefits of genmaicha green tea
Genmaicha carries excellent health benefits from both green tea and brown rice. It is famous for having a soothing effect and relax our minds. Rich in antioxidants and nutrients such as B vitamins, E vitamin, iron, calcium, theanine; the tea promotes good digestive health, heart health, and prevent various diseases.
American Journal of Epidemiology’s studies showed that people who drank 1 or more cups of green tea, including genmaicha each day had a much lower risk of heart disease (44%) compared with people who did not consume tea. The increase in green tea consumption also linked closely with the decrease in heart attack rate.
Catechins found in genmaicha is an active substance that helps fight cancer-causing cells. On the other hand, it is helpful in the prevention of tooth decay and bad breath. Catechins also play a part in improving the condition of our gut by raising the number of good bacteria.
Genmaicha has theanine, an amino acid that has a calming effect. It promotes relaxation without making us feel drowsy. The toasty brown rice aroma also helps ease our mind and reduce stress levels. A lot of people drink this tea as a calming drink that does not keep them up at night.
To further enhance the taste of genmaicha, some manufacturer adds in matcha powder. The fine and bright green matcha powder bring more vibrant color and flavor to this tea. You will notice right away the bright green coat that matcha powder adds to the regular genmaicha.
Genmaicha with matcha can be seen as a good combination that slowly gains recognition among tea drinkers. Another blend includes the use of black soybean. But genmaicha green tea with roasted rice is still keeping its popularity for its hearty flavor profile.
Genmaicha Caffeine Content
One 8 fl. oz (236 ml) cup of genmaicha contains about 17 to 18 milligrams of caffeine. It is significantly lower than black tea at 60 to 80 milligrams or green tea at 35 to 50 milligrams. The caffeine content varies depending on the amount of tea used, the steeping time, and water temperature.
Genmaicha caffeine content is very low compared with other teas. From children to elders can enjoy this tea. People who are sensitive to caffeine but do not like decaf tea can also have it. However, if you experience any stomach discomfort, it is still best to consult with your doctor for a suitable consumption amount.
How to brew genmaicha
It is not hard to find this tea in the States. It is available in many Asian Supermarkets. You also can buy it on Amazon or online tea shop.
Regarding brewing guide, it is easy to steep or brew genmaicha. Generally, you can follow these simple steps below:
- Prepare a pot of boiling water
- Pour the boiling water to the teapot and drain the water out (optional)
- Put 1 to 1.5 teaspoon of tea on a teapot
- Pour hot water (180 degrees Fahrenheit – 85 degrees Celsius) to the tea until almost full
- Close the teapot lid and let it steep for about 1 to 2 minutes
- Pour the tea to individual cup to enjoy while it is hot
You will notice that after steeping, the tea leaves and brown rice will puff up for an irresistible cup of genmaicha. Besides teapot, you can also use Gaiwan – Chinese lidded tea bowl without a handle or tea mug to brew it.