Genmaicha is a very popular health tea in Japan. The name means “brown rice tea,” as it includes roasted popped brown rice in addition to the mild bancha tea; this variety also adds popped corn for a little extra sweetness. It is cherished for its warm nutty flavor and its abundant minerals and micro-nutrients. With a pale yellow liquor that is sweet, very mild, and lower in caffeine, this wholesome tea is appealing to all and makes a great daily health tonic, especially beneficial for overcoming illness or tolerating extended fasting.
The starch in the rice makes genmaicha remarkably sweet, with caramel and barley tones arising gradually out of the charming roasty aroma. The flavor profile may remind you of Japanese rice crackers such as the popular okaki – roasted rice mimics the nutty and malty tones of black tea, while gentle bancha tea leaves provide pleasant light astringency and a tiny herbal bite that deepens the rich grain flavors lingering on the palate.
Originally consumed only by poor Japanese, as the rice served as a filler and reduced the price, it is also known as the “people’s tea”. It has been used by those fasting for religious purposes or working long hours without meals, and now is popular among all levels of Japanese society. Very warming, not to mention easy to drink and soothing to the stomach, genmaicha is a fortifying beverage for those who are feeling exhausted or under the weather.
Please note that the recommended way to steep this tea is slightly different from other green teas. This is to encourage the roasty notes of the rice to really come to the front while avoiding overpowering them with the sharper flavors of the tea. If you choose to steep it in the traditional Japanese style, higher amounts of leaves will reduce the steeping time – we recommend beginning with 175F water for 90-120 seconds. Then, for a second re-steep, use hotter water for less time (190F, 30-60 seconds). You may be able to pull a third steep with boiling water for 90 seconds, but it will be fairly thin.
Steeping Time: 3-5 minutes
Water Temp: 175 F
Bancha green tea, roasted popped brown rice, popped corn