Genmaicha 101

A Guide to Japanese Genmaicha Green Tea

Guide Contents:

  • What is Japanese Genmaicha Tea?
  • How is Genmaicha Produced?
  • Sugimoto Tea Company Genmaicha Teas
    • How to Brew Genmaicha
  • What People Say About Our Genmaicha with Matcha

What is Japanese Genmaicha Tea?

Genmaicha consists of Japanese tea leaves with toasted or roasted rice, which brings a nutty flavor to the brew. Matcha can also be added to smooth out the flavor and produce a rich green hue. You’ll know that matcha has been added to your genmaicha if the rice has a green coating instead of looking plain brown.

Historically, the addition of brown rice was associated with tougher times since the rice was added as a filler to stretch the remaining tea throughout the winter until the spring harvest came again. However, the unique flavor and appeal of genmaicha later grew in popularity and became widely enjoyed.

If you’re caffeine conscious, one burning question you may have is, “Does genmaicha have caffeine?” The answer is yes, but it contains less than most other Japanese green teas. Since the composition of genmaicha is *split between tea and rice the result is less caffeine.

*Note: The proportion of tea leaves versus rice in genmaicha is usually 50/50, but it depends on the manufacturer.

How is Genmaicha Produced?

The production of the tea leaves that go into genmaicha depend on the kind of leaves that are added. In most cases, bancha or sencha are used, but these days hojicha and even gyokuro can be added.

The other half of genmaicha is toasted rice. Before being added to the tea leaves, the rice goes through a five-step preparation process:

  1. Soaking
  2. Steaming
  3. Drying
  4. Roasting
  5. Cooling

Some people may refer to Genmaicha as “Popcorn Tea” since the toasted rice sometimes resembles popcorn kernels. The rice “popcorn” is a nod to the past. Previously, it was hard to regulate the temperature in the traditional roasting process, which causes the rice to pop.

These days, with modern machinery enabling better temperature regulation, popped rice is added in genmaicha for aesthetic purposes. Yet,a majority of unpopped rice is ideal since it has a stronger aroma and flavor.

Sugimoto Tea Company Genmaicha Teas

  • Genmaicha -- Made from our signature tea leaves that are deep-steamed to bring out a deep body and rich green hue to every brew and combined with roasted rice
  • Organic Genmaicha -- Our organic genmaicha tea has no popped rice kernels for maximum aroma.
  • Genmaicha with Matcha -- Special blend of Genmaicha and bead-milled Matcha, the powdered green tea for traditional tea ceremony. The added Matcha gives Genmaicha a smooth body and vivid emerald-green color.
  • ENRICH Series Genmaicha -- Roasted rice, green tea leaves, and matcha come together in this blend to create a brilliant green cup of nutty, toasty goodness.
  • Matcha Genmaicha Large Teabag (100 ct) -- Large pyramid teabags of Genmaicha consisting mostly of summer-harvest tea leaves blended with roasted rice and Matcha

How to Brew Genmaicha

Want to enjoy a cup of Sugimoto Genmaicha tea? Here’s a brewing guide for each of our Genmaicha teas:

Tea Type

Amount of Tea

Amount of Water

Water Temperature

Steeping Time


1 Tbsp. (5g)

12 oz.

175 °F

30-60 sec.

Organic Genmaicha

1 Tbsp. (5g)

12 oz.

175 °F

90-120 sec.

Genmaicha with Matcha

1 Tbsp. (5g)

12 oz.

175 °F

30-60 sec.

ENRICH Series Genmaicha

1 Tbsp. (5g)

12 oz.

175 °F

30-60 sec.

What People Say About Our Genmaicha With Matcha

This is an excerpt of a review from Ricardo Caicedo of My Japanese Green Tea:

“The nutty aroma of the roasted rice becomes very apparent, and we now have an emerald liquor. It looks great.

Now the final test. I take a sip and feel the gentle taste of the roasted rice along with the deep and savory taste of matcha. The tea leaves add almost no astringency and the bitterness is very light.

As with any genmaicha, it’s very easy to drink.

I also made a second infusion and the taste was just like the first infusion. It’s an overall good tea.”

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