Genmaicha is a Japanese green tea popular worldwide because of its nutty, refreshing and unique flavor. Although it’s widely available, making your own genmaicha is not only quite easy, but fun too.
What is genmaicha?
Genmaicha is a Japanese green tea blend. It usually contains bancha or sencha green tea and roasted rice. However, you can use other types of Japanese green teas too, including some Chinese teas such as Chinese sencha or Pan-fired green tea. It can be made using different types of rice too, but the most common ones are sweet short grained white or brown rice.
3 reasons to make your own genmaicha tea
Genmaicha is very easy to make, although it may take some time to get it right. Some reasons why you may want to try blending your own tea are:
1. To enhance the flavor of your bancha, sencha or gyokuro tea
Genmaicha is a great alternative if you don’t particularly enjoy the vegetal flavor of green tea or want to add a new spark to your usual cup. Toasted rice will reduce the astringency of green tea and make it mild and toasty.
2. To lower the caffeine content of your green tea
Because genmaicha is blended with green tea, it will always contain caffeine. However, caffeine content will usually be lower than in a regular cup of pure green tea. That’s because you will use the same amount of tea blend for making a cup of tea, but at least 1/3 to ½ of the teaspoon will be caffeine-free rice. If you want to make a low caffeine blend, use bancha green tea. Bancha is made with more mature tea leaves that naturally contain less caffeine than sencha. Alternatively, blend it with a decaf loose leaf green tea.
3. To enjoy a toasty and nutty flavors
Genmaicha is the most toasty and nutty tea you will find. Although many teas are roasted and have roasted and toasted notes, none of them are made with roasted rice.
How to make genmaicha tea at home
To make your own genmaicha, you will need only two ingredients – green tea and rice, and some kitchen utensils. Although genmaicha is often translated as a brown rice tea, you can use different types of rice. Glutinous white rice or brown rice may both give great results. Avoid long grain rice. You will need a large saucepan, baking paper, oven and a stove too.
The other name of Genmaicha is a popcorn tea, or a puffed rice tea. The word puffed is actually very important for understanding what kind of rice you need to use for making genmaicha. By simply roasting rice over low-medium fire in a saucepan you will get roasted rice that you can blend with your tea. However, that rice won’t be the same as the rice in genmaicha. Try soaking the rice for a day, then let it dry before roasting. You can still try with the simple way and see how you like your tea.
To make puffed roasted rice, wash the rice first, boil water, add rice, then cook it for about 30-40 minutes. Once boiled, place it on a baking sheet in a very thin layer and let it dry naturally or in the oven. Only when it’s completely dried, gently separate the grains and roast it over low-medium fire in a preheated saucepan. If you ever tried making puffed rice for desserts, you can follow the same steps except the last one–don’t use the oil.
Blending your own tea
Before blending, allow puffed rice to cool down completely. Avoid mixing hot rice with delicate green tea leaves. You can choose any ratio of rice/tea you want, but the most common one is 50:50. Adding more rice will reduce the caffeine content and intensify the nutty brown rice flavor.
Try making a small batch first until you get a desired flavor profile. You can keep roasted rice in a separated container and blend it before brewing or mix it all together and store in an airtight container. Blending it immediately will give a better flavor. For even more flavor and color, add matcha tea powder into your blend and gently toss until all rice grains and tea leaves are coated.
Learn more about genmaicha green tea here.