Genmai cha (玄米茶)

    Genmai cha (玄米茶)

    Have you tried a tea that combines high-quality green tea leaves with toasted brown rice? The combination of the two ingredients produces Genmai cha which is both refreshing and filling, making it an excellent choice at any time of day. With its low caffeine level and several health advantages, genmai cha is an excellent choice for people seeking a healthier alternative to coffee or sugary drinks. So, why not try a cup of this delightful tea now and experience its unique taste and health benefits for yourself?

    What is Genmai cha?

    Genmai cha (玄米茶)

    Genmai cha is a type of Japanese tea prepared from roasted brown rice and green tea leaves. The green tea used in genmaicha is typically sencha, a high-quality steamed tea praised for its delicate taste and gentle sweetness. The roasted brown rice, on the other hand, gives a nutty, earthy flavor and aroma that nicely matches the green tea. It is popular among locals as a refreshing and healthful beverage, and was also known as “popcorn tea” owing to the occasional popping of the rice grains during the roasting process. Genmai cha is a favorite option among tea lovers, with a distinct flavor profile that is guaranteed to please the palate.

    Today, people all around the world embrace genmai cha for its distinct flavor and versatility. Genmaicha is a terrific alternative whether you’re seeking for a refreshing and healthful drink or just want to enjoy a tasty cup of tea. The tea is light and pleasant, with a moderate flavor that is ideal for individuals who are new to tea or prefer a less bitter and more digestible taste.

    Genmai cha History

    Genmai cha (玄米茶)

    Genmai cha is a traditional Japanese tea that has a long and fascinating history. It originated in Japan during feudal times when tea was a luxury item that was only consumed by the wealthy. At that time, the common people would often stretch their tea supplies by mixing them with other ingredients, such as roasted grains, to make their tea last longer. This practice became so popular that it eventually evolved into its distinct tea, known as genmai cha. 

    The exact origins of genmai cha are not clear, but locals believed it that the lower classes first consumed it as a way to make their tea supplies last longer. Over time, this tea became a staple of Japanese tea culture and was widely consumed by people of all social classes. Around the beginning of the Showa era (1926-1989), teahouses in Kyoto crushed New Year’s kagami mochi finely and mixed it with tea and drank it. It was especially popular during the Edo period (1603-1867) when tea culture was flourishing in Japan, and tea became a symbol of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Over time, this practice became a tradition, and genmaicha became a staple of Japanese tea culture. The popularity of genmaicha has only continued to grow, and today it is enjoyed by people all over the world.

    Types of Japanese Green Tea

    Genmai cha (玄米茶)

    Genmaicha (brown rice tea)

    Genmaicha is a tea made by soaking and steaming rice in water, roasting it, and adding roughly the same amount of bancha or sencha to it. You can enjoy the aroma of roasted rice and the refreshing taste of bancha and sencha.

    Hojicha (roasted tea)

    Sencha, bancha, kukicha, etc. are roasted over high heat until they turn golden brown to bring out their fragrance. In addition to this, it also includes roasted (houjita) mixed with large leaves and stems selected in the finishing process of sencha and bancha. 


    Unlike other green teas, such as sencha or matcha, bancha came from leaves that locals harvested later in the season and considered to be of lower quality. Bancha is known for its mild, slightly nutty flavor and its low caffeine content, making it a popular choice for those who are looking for mild, easy-to-drink tea.

    Health Benefits of Genmai cha

    Genmai cha (玄米茶)

    Drinking genmaicha has several health benefits, including:


    Genmaicha is rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and improve overall health.

    Low Caffeine

    The tea has a relatively low caffeine content compared to other types of tea, such as black tea or matcha, which makes it a good choice for those who are sensitive to caffeine or who want a milder energy boost.

    Stress Reduction

    The tea has a calming effect on the body, making it a good choice for those who are looking for a natural way to reduce stress and improve their mental health.

    Improved Digestion

    Drinking genmaicha helps improve digestion and reduce bloating, making it a good choice for those who suffer from digestive issues.

    Weight Management

    The tea is low in calories and rich in antioxidants which help support weight management and prevent weight gain.

    Cardiovascular Health

    Regular consumption of green tea, one of the main components of genmaicha, to improve cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

    It’s important to note that while genmaicha has many potential health benefits, it is not a cure for any medical condition and consumed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

    Genmai cha FAQ

    Genmai cha (玄米茶)
    Can genmaicha be served hot or cold?

    Yes, you can serve genmai cha both hot and cold. Japanese typically consumed it hot in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, but they also served it cold as a refreshing iced tea.

    How does genmaicha differ from other types of tea?

    Genmaicha has a relatively low caffeine content compared to other types of tea, such as black tea or matcha. The green tea provides a light, grassy taste, while the roasted rice adds a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Locals typically made it by combining green tea leaves with roasted brown rice and then steeping the mixture in hot water.

    Genmai cha Recipe

    Genmai cha (玄米茶)

    Genmai cha Ingredients

    Ingredients of Genmai cha for 5 personsMeasurements
    Brown rice14g
    Green tea or your favorite Japanese tea14g

    How to make Genmai cha

    Roasting brown rice

    Prepare a frying pan and out the brown rice. Then, roast brown rice over medium heat. If the heat is too weak, it will take a long time, and if it is too strong, it will burn quickly. 

    Continue the roasting process

    Keep shaking the pan patiently (or keep stirring with a spatula) so that it doesn’t burn. White smoke (steam) will come out, but continue roasting without rushing. If in doubt, lower the heat a little.

    Combine with green tea and steep

    When the smoke (vapor) lessen and the brown rice becomes brown and the brown rice is popping up, it is ready (it will crack and have a white part like popcorn). Remove from heat immediately as it burns easily. Combine it with the green tea then steep it for 3-5 minutes. 

    Enjoy your tea

    Sip the tea slowly and savor the flavor. You can drink genmaicha either hot or iced, depending on your preference.

    Recommended Genmai cha to Buy at Tea Specialty Stores

    For those who want to order or buy a genmai cha but live away from Japan. You can ship genmai cha from Rakuten. They ship to other countries just sign up here and get your personal address to Japan to send your items. Then you can easily shop on some e-commerce shops and can choose your preferred delivery method. You may also find some shops at Rakuten that sell genmai tea, just click here.

    Gion Tsujiri “Karigane Genmaicha”

    Tsujiri Saryo in Gion, Kyoto is very famous. While you can feel the aroma of brown rice, there is also the sweetness of Karigane (stem tea), and it has a very elegant taste. The claim is not strong and modest, but there is sweetness and richness, and it is deeply delicious. It’s a Karigane genmai cha that you want to match with meals and sweets.

    Gion Tsujiri “Genmaicha with matcha”

    There are long lines for matcha parfaits, and the use of matcha in genmaicha with matcha is excellent. Locals blended it with plenty of high-quality Uji matcha, and the taste of matcha is richer than other companies’ matcha-containing genmaicha. The aroma of brown rice remains in the mellow matcha that feels creamy.

    Uogashi Meicha “Appare Chataro” 

    Uogashi Meicha sell genmai cha with so much brown rice inside. It is an “Appare” version of brown rice tea “Chataro”. If you put hot water in the teapot and pour it immediately without waiting, it will have a characteristically fragrant flavor like rice crackers. Even if you change the brewing time to 10 seconds or 20 seconds, you will get almost the same aroma. It is a unique tea that is irresistible for genmaicha enthusiasts who like genmaicha because it is fragrant.


    Genmai cha (玄米茶)

    In conclusion, genmai cha is a delicious and versatile tea that offers a unique blend of flavors and aromas. Whether you are looking for a refreshing and healthy drink, or simply want to enjoy a delicious cup of tea, genmaicha is a great option. So why not give it a try today and discover why this traditional Japanese tea has been enjoyed for centuries?

    You can try other Japanese drinks or Japanese tea such as Gyokuro.

    Genmai cha (玄米茶)

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