Uncovering Genmaicha: Caffeine Content, Flavor, Health Benefits and More
If you have been keeping up with the latest tea trends, you will have undoubtedly heard of genmaicha.
Of course, it’s a fairly mixed bag when it comes to informational sources.
So, you may have not gotten the full story on the tea.
For instance, do you know about the real deal with genmaicha and caffeine?
If your answer is no, there’s no need to worry.
Just check out the information that’s available here…
What is Genmaicha?
So, let’s answer the most important question – what is this tea?
Well, genmaicha is a type of Japanese green tea.
Literally translated, it means “brown rice tea”.
This is because the green tea leaves are mixed with grains of roasted brown rice.
Thus, you may find that the tea is referred to as Japanese brown rice tea or even popcorn tea.
This is because during the processing stage, the grains of rice are popped to resemble popcorn kernels.
The green tea in genmaicha is either the commonly available bancha tea or low-grade sencha.
The History of Genmaicha
So, how did genmaicha come about?
Well, long time ago, it was a drink that was almost exclusively drunk by peasants.
The people added the rice to the tea to stretch it out and make it last longer.
Brown rice, when roasted, lent a far more pleasant taste than white rice.
It also helped to cover up the often bitter taste of lower quality green tea.
How is Genmaicha Processed?
Once the bancha or low-quality sencha tea leaves have been picked, they undergo deep steaming.
Then, the leaves undergo several stages of rolling.
Once this has been completed, the brown rice is added to the mix.
The blend is then oven roasted.
In some instances, you will find brown rice tea with matcha.
Here, the genmaicha is dusted with matcha, covering the leaves and rice with the powder.
This is known as matcha genmaicha.
Does Genmaicha Have Caffeine?
In most traditional genmaicha brends, there is a 50-50 ratio of green leaves to rice.
As a result, there is less green tea than with most other blends.
This means that there is far less caffeine in genmaicha than with most Japanese green teas.
However, despite popular claims, the tea isn’t completely free of caffeine.
What Does Japanese Green Tea with Roasted Rice Taste Like?
So, what does this unique tea taste like?
Well, one of the reasons that genmaicha has become a global sensation is due to its pleasant flavor.
It is far mellower than many other green teas.
It is light and grassy, with a slight lemon-like flavor to it.
The roasted brown rice adds nutty, smoky undertones to it.
Are There Genmaicha Tea Benefits?
Now, green tea is known for its health benefits.
Does genmaicha have its own benefits as well?
Well, it isn’t nearly as healthy as other types of green tea.
For one thing, the quality of green tea that is used is lower.
Thus, there aren’t as many polyphenols and they are lower in quality.
There is also the fact that there is less green tea in this blend. Naturally, the benefits aren’t as great.
However, this doesn’t mean that genmaicha doesn’t have any use at all.
There are a still a couple of benefits associated with this beverage:
Has Antioxidant Properties
The good news is that genmaicha does have some antioxidant properties.
As such, it does play a role in preventing oxidative stress to cells and tissues.
So, drinking this tea on a regular basis may help to ward off certain diseases.
Could Boost Heart Health
There is also some evidence that genmaicha could reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Here it appears that genmaicha’s effects may be similar to that of other green teas as sencha.
Thus, this is good news for you if you can’t appreciate the flavors of other green teas.
Are There Brown Rice Tea Side Effects?
Now, some people do worry about drinking genmaicha due to the brown rice.
This is because brown rice does contain small amount of inorganic arsenic, which can be dangerous to you.
However, Japanese brown rice does contain rather low levels, though.
Not to mention, people all around the world eat brown rice rather regularly without experiencing side effects.
And, people having been drinking genmaicha for a long time without any issues at all.
In fact, as the previous section showed, it has actually benefited them.
If you are concerned about the arsenic in brown rice, you can simply limit your intake of genmaicha tea.
How to Brew Green Tea with Brown Rice?
Despite the addition of the brown rice, there aren’t really any special instructions for brewing the genmaicha.
Here, it is best to use water that has been heated to just before it begins to boil – around 170°F.
You can use around 1.5 teaspoons of tea for every 8 ounces. You can adjust this amount according to your preference.
Since there is less green tea in this blend, you can allow the leaves to steep for longer – around 3 minutes or according to your desired strength.
You can also make iced genmaichai.
The most common method is to brew the tea hot and then place it in the refrigerator to cool down.
Or, you can rely on the cold brew method.
Here, you can let the tea leaves steep in cold water in the refrigerator for around 3 to 6 hours.
Then, strain and enjoy.
How to Drink Genmaicha
To enjoy the true flavors of genmaicha, it is best to drink it without any additions.
If you would like to, though, you can sweeten it.
You can use either sugar or honey.
Some people prefer making genmaicha lattes.
Here, they add milk – dairy or non-dairy to hot genmaicha.
The drink is often sweetened as well.
Well, there is the lowdown on genmaicha. As you can see, there is plenty to learn about this drink.
Dr. Dheena Sadik
Consultant Nutritionist and Dietician
Dr. Dheena Sadik is a consultant Nutritionist and Dietician. She has over a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. However, her love for tea began long before she understood the health benefits of tea. Growing up in Sri Lanka, Dheena had the privilege of being surrounded by the world-famous Ceylon tea. This is what got her started on her exploration of the various types of tea. She has now extensively tasted and examined teas from all over the world.