Genmaicha: Everything You Need to Know (And How to Make it Properly)

Genmaicha tea leaves

Quick Look:

  • ORIGIN: Japan
  • TASTING NOTES: mild, fresh, grassy, vegetal, warm, nutty, sweet
  • STEEP TIME: 2 to 3 minutes

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What is Genmaicha?

Translating to “Brown rice tea”, Genmaicha is a type of Japanese tea made up of green tea leaves mixed with roasted brown rice. 

Traditionally, Genmaicha was made with an affordable green tea known as Bancha; today, however, it is also made with Sencha or Gyokuro green tea leaves, which are more expensive and exclusive options. 

Genmaicha is also known as “popcorn tea”, thanks to the popping of the rice grains while they roast. 

Interestingly, it has also been referred to as “the people’s tea”; the mix was created with brown rice as filler, requiring fewer tea leaves, thereby making it a more affordable tea for poorer folk. 

How do you pronounce Genmaicha?

The proper way to pronounce genmaicha is “gen-my-cha”. The g is pronounced as a hard G, as in “Game” not “Jen”, and the “Gen” rhymes with “Ken”. 

What do you need to make Genmaicha tea?

Tea Scoop

This is the perfect tool to help you get the perfectly measured scoop of tea leaves every single time. You won’t regret adding this to your tea arsenal!

Electric Tea Kettle

An electric tea kettle with a temperature setting is a must-have brew gadget for tea drinkers! You can set the temperature to the degree for the perfect brew every time. This kettle is a favorite of ours. Or you can check out our full post on the best electric tea kettles.

Spring Water or Filtered Water

To get the best flavors from your tea, use high-quality water. Don’t use tap water or distilled water!

Tea Pot with Strainer

A teapot with a built-in strainer makes brewing tea so much easier when you’re using loose tea leaves. If you’re an avid tea drinker, you won’t regret buying this tea tool!

Loose Genmaicha Leaves

Using loose tea leaves really will give you the best tea-drinking experience. By letting loose leaves steep in the boiled water, they have room to unfurl and release all of their natural aromas.

Tea Cup

This one is up to you! Use whatever cup makes you happy! If you need some inspiration, check out some of our favorite drinkware.

How do you make Genmaicha properly?

To make the perfect cup of Genmaicha tea, you will want to use 1.5 teaspoons of tea leaves for each 8-ounce cup. If you don’t have loose-leaf tea, use 1 tea sachet or 1 tea bag.

Tea tip: if you want a stronger flavor, add more tea leaves rather than steeping them for a longer period of time. Most people don’t realize this, but steeping tea too long doesn’t increase the good flavors, it actually can make it more bitter.

Step 1: Pour your water into the tea kettle.

Use cold bottled spring water or cold filtered water. (Tea Tip: Do not use distilled water – this will negatively impact the taste). Pour some extra water to warm up your teapot or steeping vessel.

Step 2: Boil your water.

For an optimal flavor experience, bring the water to about 170°F. This is important, as green tea is delicate and will become quite bitter if it is steeped in water that is too hot. If you do not have an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting, bring your kettle to a simmer, then immediately remove it from the heat and let the water sit for a couple of minutes before steeping the tea.

Step 3: Warm up your teapot.

First, pour a bit of your boiled water into your teapot or steeping vessel and swirl it around for a few seconds to allow it to warm the vessel. Then you can discard this water in the sink. 

Step 4: Put your Genmaicha into the teapot and add the rest of your hot water and then cover the pot.

Step 5: Steep your tea leaves for 2 to 3 minutes.

It is a personal preference on how long you want to steep your Genmaicha, however, we recommend capping the steep time at 3 minutes to avoid a bitter taste.

Step 6: Strain your tea leaves.

This is easiest if you have a teapot with a strainer. 

Step 7: Decant your infused tea into your teacup, add sweeteners to taste (if preferred), and enjoy!

Can you cold brew Genmaicha?

Yes you can definitely cold brew Genmaicha tea for a smooth and mellow cold drink!

Keep reading for the steps to Cold Brewing Genmaicha at home.

Did you know cold brewing is the best way to make iced tea? To learn all about it, check out our post on everything you need to know about cold brew.

How do you make cold brew Genmaicha properly?

To cold brew Genmaicha, use 1.5 teaspoons of loose Genmaicha for every 8-ounce cup of water.

STEP 1: Add your tea leaves to a pitcher with an infuser.

STEP 2: Pour room-temperature filtered water or spring water over the tea and stir gently.

STEP 3: Put your pitcher in the refrigerator to steep for 3 to 6 hours

STEP 4: Strain the leaves and enjoy!

Does Genmaicha have Matcha in it?

Genmaicha is typically made with bancha, sencha, or gyokuro tea leaves combined with toasted brown rice. 

However, you can buy “matcha-iri genmaicha”, a variety made with Matcha, a powdered green tea. Its name literally translates to “genmaicha with added powdered tea”. This variety has a brighter green color and a bit stronger flavor than traditional genmaicha. 


What does Genmaicha taste like?

Genmaicha is a mild tea with fresh, grassy, and vegetal notes from the green tea leaves used, and a warm, nutty, sweet taste, thanks to the sugar and starches of the roasted rice.

How much caffeine is in Genmaicha?

Genmaicha has a pretty low level of caffeine, thanks to the fact that it is a mix of tea leaves and roasted rice, rather than solely tea. 

Generally, a cup of Genmaicha has approximately 10mg of caffeine, which is much lower than your average cup of coffee coming in at about 95mg!

What are some health benefits of drinking Genmaicha?

Genmaicha tea has many health benefits including antioxidants, heart health, blood sugar control, and oral health. 

For the full summary, check out our post on the health benefits and possible side effects of Green tea.

Where can you find good quality Genmaicha?

There are several good-quality Genmaicha options you can try. Here are just a few options to get you started:

What is the best way to store Genmaicha?

When it comes to storing Genmaicha, there are a few important things you will want to avoid. These are air exposure, light exposure, moisture, heat, and strong odors. 

In order to keep your Genmaicha in its best and freshest condition, you will want to store it in a container that helps avoid the above-mentioned threats. 

The best containers are made of opaque materials with a tight seal. Some good options include non-reactive metals, glazed ceramics, and non-leaching plastics. Beware that while you may see wood tea storage options, they are not best for storing loose-leaf tea, as they can have their own odors that can alter the taste of your tea. 

Once you have your tea in its storage container, keep it in a cool, dark place. 

Here are some good options for storing your Genmaicha:

Looking for ways to organize your tea bags? Try these:

You want to ensure your tea stays fresh as long as possible. To make sure you’re not making any common mistakes, be sure to check out our post on the best practices in tea storage!

We hope this guide helped you learn everything you need to know about Genmaicha tea and how to make it at home!

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