If you’re looking for a unique and flavourful tea experience, it may be time to turn to Genmaicha. An intriguing Japanese green tea with roasted brown rice. Genmaicha offers an excellent balance of earthy depth and subtle grassiness that has made it one of the most popular teas in Japan.
With its fragrant aroma and savoury taste, there is no doubt why this traditional blend of loose leaf tea has been enjoyed by generations of tea drinkers! Discover more about the history behind this specialty toasted brown rice blend and how you can enjoy it today.
What is Genmaicha Tea?
Genmaicha is a Japanese green tea blend that has been enjoyed for centuries. This unique blend is created by combining green tea leaves with roasted brown rice. Genmaicha tea has a toasty aroma that is reminiscent of freshly popped popcorn, with a medium-bodied taste that is both earthy and slightly sweet. The sugar and starch from the roasted brown rice give the tea its unique flavour and, along with the green tea, it's slightly yellow hue.
Genmaicha can be served as hot tea, or cold brew, and its mild flavour pairs perfectly with light meals and snacks. It's also a popular choice for those looking for an alternative to heavily caffeinated black teas or other green teas which can be astringent.
The addition of roasted brown rice brings a subtle nutty sweetness to the brew that helps balance its grassy notes and make it more robust. It's also rich in antioxidants, which makes it a great option for those looking to improve their well-being with a delicious cup of tea.
History of Genmaicha
Genmaicha, also known as ‘popcorn tea’ or ‘brown rice tea’, is an ancient Japanese green tea blend. No one can say for sure when the blend was created but many believe it was first created during the Edo period in Japan. In those days, adding roasted brown rice was a popular way of stretching out one’s tea supply (which tended to be expensive at the time).
Some people say that Buddhist monks are responsible for the creation of Genmaicha. As legend has it, an ancient monastery used the same pot for rice as they did to make their green tea. This resulted in the green tea mixing with rice that was left at the bottom of their pots. They consumed their tea this way to show humility and to not waste food.
Others claim that in the 15th century a servant accidentally spilled rice into an expensive pot of a Samurai's tea. Enraged, the Samurai cut off his head. After which he sat back and tasted the tea. Deciding he quite liked the combination, he named the tea in the servant's honour whose name was Genmai.
In Japanese, "Genmai" means brown rice and "Cha" means tea. So when the two words are put together the name "Genmaicha" literally translates to brown rice tea.
In modern times, Genmaicha has become more widely available all over the world, although it still tends to be mainly consumed within Japan itself. It can be made with a wide range of green teas including sencha, gyokuro, bancha and even matcha but traditionally bancha would have been the most affordable type of green tea the Japanese would have used if they were trying to stretch their tea supply.
Is There Popcorn in Genmaicha?
Despite sometimes being called "popcorn tea", genmaicha does not contain popcorn in the traditional North American sense. There are no popped corn kernels. Instead, during the roasting process sometimes the brown rice "pops".
Genmaicha has been typically brewed with brown rice. However, brown rice and Genmiacha are not mutually exclusive. You can also find it with other rice varieties including mochi and white rice.
To roast the rice, it must first be soaked in water, then steamed and dried. Afterwards, it is roasted by pan frying it in a wok. This last step brings out the richness and depth of flavour from the rice.
How to Make Genmaicha Tea?
Brewing Genmaicha is easy and doesn't require any special technique or equipment. All you need is a teapot or cup, hot water, and of course the tea leaves.
To start, measure out about one teaspoon of tea for every 8 ounces (240ml) of hot water. If you prefer stronger tea, you can use more leaves. Place the leaves in your teapot or cup and pour the hot water over them. Let the tea steep for two to three minutes before pouring it into your cup.
If you are using a teapot, keep in mind that glazed pots retain heat better than unglazed pots, so be sure to watch your timing and consider using a timer if necessary. In general, shorter brewing times will result in a lighter-bodied brew with more subtle flavours while longer brewing times will yield a bolder flavour with more depth of character.
Genmaicha can also be brewed cold by simply adding the leaves to cold water and allowing them to steep overnight in the refrigerator before straining and drinking. This method produces an incredibly refreshing drink with very little effort!
Thanks to the addition of toasted rice, Genmaicha doesn't get the astringent taste so commonly associated with green tea that has been over brewed.
How Much Caffeine in Genmaicha?
Genmaicha tea contains approximately 50 milligrams of caffeine per cup, which is relatively low compared with other types of tea from the camellia sinensis plant. This is because the roasted rice reduces the caffeine content, resulting in a milder brew. In comparison, matcha green tea can contain up to 80 milligrams of caffeine per cup.
Caffeine content can however vary depending on where and how the leaves were grown and harvested, as well as how it was brewed. For instance, teas that are grown in shaded areas tend to have higher levels of caffeine than those grown in direct sunlight. Additionally, longer brewing times will result in a stronger cup with more caffeine content.
Shop Genmaicha Tea
At Clearview Tea, we offer our own blend of Genmaicha tea. It simply contains green tea, and roasted and popped rice. It has the smooth, slightly nutty and refined taste that this loose leaf tea variety has become known for. Shop it here.
Genmaicha is an incredibly versatile and enjoyable tea that can be enjoyed hot or cold, sweetened or unsweetened. Its mild flavour and low caffeine content make it the perfect choice for those looking to relax and unwind while still getting a boost of antioxidants and other health benefits. So why not try some Genmaicha today? This Japanese green tea might become a new staple in your cupboard!