It’s Tea Time: Genmaicha (Brown Rice Green Tea)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

It’s Tea Time: Genmaicha (Brown Rice Green Tea)
Image Credit: Gothick at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

I was strolling in Makati one day when I saw a small Korean grocery store and I went inside out of curiosity. Oh boy, I’m glad I did go inside otherwise I won’t be able to discover this amazing tea that is now a staple in my tea collection. The tea I’m talking about is called Genmaicha which is the Japanese word for “brown rice green tea”. It is also known as Hyeonmicha in Korean.

Genmaicha is a type of Japanese green tea that is mixed with roasted brown rice kernels. Yes, you might think the combination is unusual but there is actually a little bit of history behind the invention of this tea. During ancient Kyoto days, most people can’t afford to buy pure green tea. One day, a tea farmer had decided to use roasted brown rice as fillers to reduce the price of green tea, therefore making it more affordable to most people at that time.

Unlike the bitter and grassy taste of pure green tea, genmaicha has more pleasant nutty flavor which is attributed to the starch and sugar present in the brown rice. So if you’re not a fan of drinking green tea because of its bitterness, then genmaicha is something you should try for a start. What I like the most about genmaicha is its deep aroma that smells like newly cooked rice, I can’t help but to sniff my tea as I drink it. Moreover, genmaicha (being not a pure green tea) contains less caffeine and is less acidic compared to other teas. As a point of comparison, genmaicha has 4mg of caffeine per cup (250ml) compared to 42mg per cup of black tea, so drinking genmaicha before sleeping won’t be a problem. Contrary to its name, genmaicha is not color brown or green, rather it has a light yellow color.

Health Benefits of Genmaicha

Boost Immune System

Since genmaicha is a type of green tea, it is rich in antioxidants that can help strengthen your immune system. It contains polyphenols and flavonoids which are both known as disease-fighting antioxidants that can protect your body against common diseases.

Reduce Risk of Cancer

Genmaicha contains high amount of catechin compound called epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) that has the ability to suppress cancer cells. In fact, there was a study that shows that women who drink any variant of green tea regularly has reduced risk of getting breast cancer.

Increase Metabolism

The same EGCG catechin in genmaicha also has anti-obesity effect. It reduces the body weight by increasing the rate at which your body burns fat.

Relieve Stress

One of the active ingredients of genmaicha is an amino acid called theanine that is known to promote relaxation. Unlike chamomile tea, genmaicha doesn’t have a sedative effect. It will not help you fall asleep. It will only help you calm down your nerves during a very stressful day.

Brewing Time and Temperature

For tea bags: Steep one tea bag in a cup of hot water (with a temperature of 80 – 85 C / 176-185 F) for 1 – 2 minutes.

For loose leaves: Put a teaspoon of tea leaves in a cup of hot water (with a temperature of 80 – 85 C / 176-185 F). Steep for 1 – 2 minutes, then strain out the leaves using a small strainer.

Where to Buy Genmaicha in the Philippines

Genmaicha can be bought in most Korean or Japanese grocery stores in the country. You can also buy them from Han Mart via Shopee.

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