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Best Genmaicha Tea

genmaicha

Which Genmaicha Should You Buy in 2021?

Genmaicha tea has grown in popularity over the last few years. Discoverers of its mild, nutty taste, pleasant effects, and health benefits swear by genmaicha as a way to unwind and rejuvenate the body and mind. Experience pure relaxation by drinking some of the best genmaicha tea in the world.

But, what is genmaicha tea? Well, genmaicha represents a type of Japanese green tea with roasted rice added to enhance its flavor. It started as a beverage for the poor, who couldn’t afford a full pot of green tea leaves. Therefore, they added roasted brown rice to give the tea more body and an earthy, nutty taste, distinct from other green teas.

Over time, even the wealthy started drinking genmaicha as they preferred the added complexity of the brew. In this guide, you’ll encounter the three best genmaicha tea brands, learn what to look for when shopping for genmaicha, and uncover its health benefits.

Clearing Up the Confusion

Before we get into the reviews, let’s clear up a few misconceptions about genmaicha. Novice genmaicha drinkers make two common mistakes when discussing this timeless drink. To understand these errors, we must first break down the word genmaicha.

Brown Rice Tea Tea

In Japanese, “genmai” means “brown rice,” and “cha” means “tea.” So, when an individual orders a cup of “genmaicha tea,” it translates to “brown rice tea tea.” A native Japanese-speaker might find this amusing. But, we still use the term “genmaicha tea” so that new customers understand that genmaicha tastes familiar.

White or Brown?

As mentioned, “genmai” means “brown rice.” And, you’ll see a lot of blog posts and reviews covering genmaicha that claim the beverage contains brown rice. It does not. The word “genmaicha” represents a bit of a Japanese misnomer because the drink contains roasted white rice that only appears brown.

Check Out the 3 Best Genmaicha Tea Brands for 2021

Now that we have those common misconceptions cleared up, let’s look at the three best genmaicha tea brands available. You’ll discover offerings from Tea Mind Body, Pantenger, Yamasan, and Harney & Sons. After the reviews, you can read a few shopping tips and learn about the positive health implications of drinking genmaicha.

Genmaicha by Tea Mind Body

Who would’ve thought that a Las Vegas company sells the most traditional genmaicha on this list? Tea Mind Body make a pretty strong case for the best genmaicha tea. Their blend consists of 100% sencha leaves and roasted rice. Plus, this offering costs less per ounce than the other two genmaicha varieties we’ve reviewed.

The decreased cost results from the traditional formulation of this particular genmaicha. Sencha is more affordable then other types of green tea, preferred by Japan’s poorer citizens. Without the matcha, they have created an authentic genmaicha that carries a price-point commensurate with its more traditional ingredients.

Pros

  • Made from sencha
  • Traditional genmaicha
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Contains some stems

2. Pantenger Genmaicha

Transport yourself to the verdant foothills of the active Sakurajima volcano with Pantenger genmaicha. This delightful offering from Pantenger contains organic tea harvested in the Kagoshima prefecture on the Japanese island of Kyushu. Grown on a plantation that has operated for over nine generations, Pantenger genmaicha delivers a great cup of tea.

Pantenger’s genmaicha offers a mild flavor that some tea drinkers find too weak. For traditional genmaicha, one would expect bancha leaves. Pantenger uses sencha leaves instead. It’s still a lovely green tea, which is appropriate for genmaicha, but it represents a more modern take on a classic favorite.

Pantenger genmaicha seems a little on the light side when it comes to the roasted rice. One would like to see more of these unique flavor-enhancers mixed with the loose-leaf green tea. Speaking of which, consumers will need an infuser to steep the leaves properly. You’ll find no tea bags with little strings attached here.

Pros

  • Organic
  • Product of a centuries-old tea plantation
  • Made in Japan

Cons

  • Needs more roasted rice
  • Weak/overly mild
  • Expensive

3. Yamasan Genmaicha

Yamasan genmaicha with matcha will make you feel like you’ve entered a Taihō-an teahouse. Grown and harvested in Uji, Kyoto, this green tea packs a punch thanks to the added matcha, or green tea powder. In Japan, that would make this matcha-iri genmaicha instead of traditional genmaicha.

The tea comes in 60 convenient, pyramid-shaped tea bags for easy steeping, so no infuser is required. Consumers may want to consider steeping this genmaicha for less time because of the added green tea powder. Some tea connoisseurs find the flavor of Yamasan genmaicha to present too much of a grassy flavor. But, this represents a feature of all Uji green tea.

Yamasan genmaicha consists of a blend of sencha and bancha green tea leaves. So, the flavor may taste a tad different than traditional genmaicha. But, as a high-quality, well-known Japanese brand, Yamasan delivers a tasty cup of tea that’ll make you want to invite someone over for a tea ceremony.

Pros

  • Convenient, pyramid-shaped tea bags
  • Enhanced flavor
  • Made in Japan

Cons

  • Contains powdered tea
  • Not traditional genmaicha, technically matcha-iri genmaicha
  • Somewhat grassy

Things To Look for When Buying Genmaicha

If you consider yourself a novice genmaicha drinker, then you’ll need a few pointers to help you steer clear of artificial imitations. That way, you can enjoy a truly authentic cup of this traditional Japanese brew. Generally speaking, you’ll want to find loose-leaf bancha grown in Japan rather than tea bags containing sencha and matcha powder grown elsewhere.

Made in Japan

It should go without saying that individuals searching for authentic genmaicha should look for tea grown in Japan. However, this doesn’t represent a hard-and-fast rule. Some Japanese imports cater to tea drinkers who prefer the flavor of less traditional ingredients. Our recommendation is to find a loose-leaf, Japanese bancha blend and then branch out.

Genmaicha served as the preferred beverage of Japan’s underclass. So, one shouldn’t expect the most refined tea available. This drink reinvigorated the working class for centuries, at least since the 1400s. Try a pure bancha-based genmaicha. Then, if you don’t find it to your liking, broaden your search to include Japanese sencha leaves or even matcha tea powder.

Loose Leaves vs. Tea Bags

The samurai didn’t use tea bags. So, if you want an authentic experience, you should attempt to brew loose-leaf green tea using an infuser. Those who have little experience using an infuser may run into a few difficulties, like floating particles in their cup or increased bitterness due to excessive steeping.

There’s no shame in using tea bags, even if tea purists might look down on you if they knew you used them. If you feel more comfortable using tea bags, then you’ll find a wide variety of genmaicha options on the market. Enjoy yourself and the convenience that tea bags offer.

Health Benefits of Genmaicha Tea

Experienced tea drinkers know that consuming tea comes with a bunch of different health benefits. Tea can help heal your body and mind. Let’s go over some of the more valuable advantages of drinking genmaicha.

Lessens the Risk of Cancer

All green tea contains Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). This mighty antioxidant prevents damage to your cells caused by free radicals. Unsurprisingly, some of the cancer types EGCG prevents grow in your digestive system. Genmaicha can help prevent bladder, pancreatic, and colon cancer, among others.

Lessens the Risk of Heart Disease

Drinking genmaicha can decrease your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol. This balance makes a cardiac event less likely. And, the selenium in your green tea produces an anticoagulatory effect that decreases your chances of forming a blood clot. It also reduces the likelihood of a stroke.

Regulates Blood Sugar

Genmaicha can help you control unhealthy cravings for junk food and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This aspect of green tea makes it a perfect beverage for those who struggle with diabetes and obesity. Also, the fact that genmaicha has low caffeine levels means that consumers won’t suffer from the crash that sometimes occurs when drinking other tea.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve made it this far, we’d like to thank you for reading our genmaicha reviews. We hope you enjoyed learning about this traditional Japanese beverage’s history and found the best genmaicha tea for you.

Ultimately, what makes for a great genmaicha depends on your taste. If you’d like to try the more traditional, loose bancha leaves to sample authentic genmaicha, that’s an excellent place to start. If you already know you want a blend of bancha, sencha, and matcha in tea bags, then that’s okay, too. All that matters is that you learn to appreciate this ancient brew.