This type of Japanese green tea was born as a blend of tea leaves and puffed rice. Genmaicha gives an intense almost nutty flavor given by the puffed and toasted rice. A delicate taste that balances the bitter tones with its sweet nuances. It is an organic green tea, excellent both hot and cold.
Genmaicha green tea: properties and benefits
This organic green tea provides several healthy benefits to our body. Like many types of green tea, it provides several antioxidant substances, such as carotenoids and ascorbic acid – essential for obtaining vitamin A and vitamin C in the body. Therefore, it can strengthen the immune system. Furthermore, Genmaicha tea helps drain excess body fluids, counteracting water retention. It can help eliminate toxins from the body, thanks to the diuretic action. Its draining activity is also useful for regulating blood pressure. Catechins, a type of natural phenolic antioxidant in Genmaicha tea, are beneficial to our body. In particular, the antioxidant compound in green tea epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) supports the proper metabolism of fats and sugars, together with other bioactive substances such as caffeine. They stimulate the effects of fat-burning hormones: they promote their breakdown, to move them into the bloodstream and then make them available as energy for muscle cells. The effect is even stronger during exercise, so this Genmaicha green tea can be a great sports drink. It is also excellent as a relaxation tea, because it contains less caffeine and theine than most other Japanese green teas (the composition of genmaicha is divided between tea and rice). Furthermore, Genmaicha has an active ingredient called theanine, which gives a calming sensation, without causing drowsiness. Genmaicha organic tea is ideal for those who want to sweeten the bitter component of tea, making it less astringent.
Origins and History of cultivation
Historically, adding brown rice to tea was associated with times of famine, when rice was added as a filler to lengthen the winter tea – in anticipation of the spring harvest. Today, from this traditional recipe, we appreciate the unique flavor of genmaicha, which has become increasingly successful over time, and is now widely appreciated not only in Japan, its motherland. According to a legend, however, the Genmaicha was born from the creativity of a samurai in the fifteenth century. As he sipped his green tea, his servant Genmai spilled rice into his cup, with fatal results. The servant was killed, but the repentant samurai decided to drink only tea with rice in honor of him, and invented Genmaicha. Other stories speak of a system by which women of the time, to save money, mixed a little rice with expensive green tea, so that they could consume it without spending too much. Many think it dates back to a more recent era, as a blend, and that the original Genmaicha was born from blending roasted rice and bancha green tea. Especially during the Second World War, it was used in Japan. During the Second World War, rice was a way to "stretch" the drink with a cheap and abundant ingredient. According to some, in particular, it was the populations furthest from the plantations who created this green tea which was added to rice to make it last longer. Typically, the ratio of tea leaves to rice in genmaicha is 50/50, but it depends on the blends, to enhance both ingredients.
The tea leaves added to genmaicha, traditionally consist of bancha or sencha green tea in most cases, but hojicha or gyokuro tea can also be added. The rice, before being added to the tea leaves, goes through a multi-stage preparation process: soaking, steaming, drying, roasting and cooling.
Sometimes Genmaicha is referred to as Popcorn Tea, as the puffed rice placed inside resembles popcorn kernels. Rice is also heated and popped, then toasted and often sweetened. Following this processing, the grain becomes larger than its original size. In the kitchen, for those who love tea at the table, it represents an excellent combination with cheeses and slightly salty dishes, which will be balanced by its sweetness.
Plant and flowers
The tea drink comes from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant (also called Thea sinensis), an evergreen native to East Asia. Camellia represents a genus that includes about 250 species of trees and shrubs, appartbelonging to the Theaceae family. Camellia sinensis can reach 9 meters in height, but is generally grown as a small, low bush suitable for harvesting. The plant is pruned often to encourage the development of new tea leaves. The flowers are fragrant, yellow and about 4 cm wide. Rice is a cereal derived from a monocotyledonous plant (the seed that has only one embryonic leaf). The only two types of rice grown by man for food are African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and Asian rice (Oryza sativa). The plant grows between 90-150 centimeters, displaying smooth leaves, up to 30 centimeters long. The flowers are small, and the fruit is dry. Its grains (seeds) are processed into edible rice. It is a plant that spreads its seeds through the wind. Growing the best rice requires a lot of labor and a lot of irrigation, even with abundant rainfall.
Nutritional values of Genmaicha green tea
Green tea contains polyphenol antioxidants, including EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate). It makes available the chemicals methylxanthines (caffeine, theobromine, theophylline), vitamin C, and the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin). In addition, it contains minerals such as potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc. Puffed rice combines in this tea a moderate intake of carbohydrates, proteins and very little fat, as well as mineral salts such as zinc, selenium, potassium and magnesium.
How to use Genmaicha organic green tea in herbal tea
Green tea with puffed rice is obtained by placing about 3-5 grams of the infusion Genmaicha preparation in a cup (250 ml), with water at 80 °C. Leave to infuse for 2 to 3 minutes, before drinking the sweet and organic green tea. Add honey or sugar, if desired.
Genmaicha green tea: side effects and contraindications
Green tea is a healthy drink, but it can cause some side effects if the recommended doses are not respected. The caffeine content can create disturbances, in excessive quantities, causing nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, rapid heartbeat. Furthermore, high doses of green tea could affect the functioning of the thyroid gland, or cause liver fatigue. For this reason, it is advisable to consult a specialist in case of related chronic pathologies. Caution is advised for any known allergies (rice or tea), and for pregnant and lactating women.