Genmaicha is essentially a mix of green tea and roasted rice. This blend balances the astringency of green tea with the nutty flavor of the roasted rice. Genmai is also the word for “brown rice” in Japanese, but most of the roasted rice is actually made with white rice. It is sometimes referred to colloquially as “popcorn tea” because a few grains of the rice pop during the roasting process and resemble popcorn. The Japanese consider genmaicha as a type of Japanese green tea and not an ordinary blend, perhaps because they have been enjoying it for quite a long time.
Although this tea is based on green tea, the recommended way to brew this tea is different from that of green tea. The water to brew Genmaicha should be about 80–85 °C (176–185 °F). A brewing time of 3–5 minutes is recommended, depending on desired strength.