What is genmaicha?
Genmaicha is a mix of green tea leaves and roasted rice, which gives it a specific aroma and flavor. It balances the astringency of green tea with the nutty taste of roasted rice.
This tea is considered to be a blend according to our European tea classification. The Japanese themselves consider it a kind of Japanese green tea, not a blend. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it has existed in Japan and Japanese consciousness for so many years that it is considered one of the traditional Japanese teas.
Genmaicha is the only "blend" among Japanese teas - in Japan, you usually drink pure green tea and only genmaicha is an exception to this rule. Genmaicha derives its name from the Japanese word "genmai", which means brown rice. The rice used in this mix is specially soaked and brewed before it is dried and roasted. After roasting, the rice is mixed with sencha or bancha tea leaves in a proportion of approx. 50:50.
In the past, mixing rice with tea was a way to reduce the price of tea, and it was most often drunk by the lower classes of society. It was referred to as "the tea of the poor." Over time, however, it has become the favorite drink of all Japanese and is now very popular.
Properties of genmaicha tea
Genmaicha tea is valued for its high content of minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium. In the past, it was often drunk by Buddhist monks during periods of long fasts.
It supports the digestive system and is traditionally served with meals. We recommend drinking genmaicha tea especially with and after meals. Its mild taste goes well with food, and after a meal refreshes us and helps digestion.
The rice content makes the tea as a whole low in caffeine. For this reason, it is suitable for children, the elderly and people limiting caffeine intake.
It tastes great when served both hot and cold (in summer).
Genmaicha has a light yellow, grassy color of the brew. It has a very characteristic aroma of roasted rice and a slightly nutty flavor.
On the wave of popularity of matcha tea, the genmaicha variety called „matcha genmaicha” or „matcha iri genmaicha” has been created in recent years. It is formed when a pinch of matcha powder is added to genmaicha tea. The result is that the tea acquires a beautiful, intensely green color and a mild, sweet taste. The sweetness of matcha tea here balances the bitterness of green tea. Roasted rice turns green under the influence of matcha powder. It is a mixture that enjoys great and growing popularity.
Unlike some more expensive types, genmaicha tea is usually more affordable.
Many bars in Japan serve a cocktail consisting of vodka and genmaicha tea. It is believed that these two flavors go well together.