Japanese genmaicha green tea – also called popcorn tea – is a drink to which puffed and toasted white rice is added. Of high quality, it is also suitable for children by virtue of its low theine content.
Genmaicha is a green tea of Japanese origin. The etymology of its name indicates a peculiar characteristic: Genmai means rice, cha means tea.
It is a tea, generally Bancha, to which is added puffed and toasted white rice, a kind of popcorn tea as some have defined it. The most valuable quality involves the use of mochi rice, although the common rice, uruchimai, is generally used.
The legends about the origin of Genmaicha green tea are wasted, there are so many and imaginative.
The most likely one tells that in the past water for hygienic reasons was boiled before being drunk. To make it tastier even for children, toasted rice was added. Bancha tea was added to this use and eventually a type of tea was created, Genmaicha.
Properties of the Genmaicha
Genmaicha tea is an infusion of light yellow color, limpid with an intense, fresh, herbaceous aroma with notes of puffed rice.
The flavor is certainly particular, the toasted taste is enhanced which sweetens the tea and recalls the flavor of hazelnut. It needs very little sugar to be consumed and goes well with savory dishes.
The basis is given by Bancha green tea, with a very low theine content, therefore also suitable for children.
Japanese green tea has antioxidant properties, thanks to the rich presence of catechins.
From Manual …Tea is the medicine for maintaining the health of the saints; it has
the wonderful ability to extend the years of one’s life. Growing up on the mountains and in the valleys, it welcomes within itself the spirit of the earth. Those who seize [and drink] this herb will live a long time … “
Bancha tea possesses alkalizing properties of the blood, is a digestive tea, purifying facilitator of liver function, and is an adjuvant to diets as it accelerates metabolism. It is a supplier of vitamin A , calcium , iron and fluoride.
Benefits of Genmaicha
The benefits of Genmaicha are attributable to those of Bancha tea of course.
It is a drink that brings innumerable benefits to the body: the limited presence of theine allows it to be consumed above the norm and can also be drunk by children.
> Rich in mineral salts and vitamins, it has a remineralizing action, useful both for the growth of children and for the maintenance of bone density in the elderly.
> Promotes digestion and can be consumed with meals both warm and cold.
> In the change of seasons it is an effective detoxifying adjuvant, helps to purify the liver and kidneys and facilitates diuresis, with a deflating effect.
> Awakens the basal metabolism : associating Genmaicha tea with a low-calorie diet is useful in the case of a weight control diet .
> Considering its antioxidant properties, it counteracts the formation of free radicals, helps regenerate the body’s cells and keep them efficient.
> Useful in case of mild anemia, Bancha tea helps balance iron levels and acts as an energizer.
The preparation of Genmaicha
To enjoy a good Genmaicha it is important that the infusions in very hot water are short : the schools of thought on the preparation of tea, which in Japan is a real ritual, recommend 5 g of mixture for 150 ml of water at 90 ° C and at least three infusions, the first lasting 30 seconds, the second 10 seconds, the third and subsequent 30 seconds.
In any case, the Genmaicha will always be pleasant even if you proceed in a different way because the popcorn scent covers any exceptions to the norm.
Bancha tea, some curiosities
Genmaicha is Bancha tea with roasted rice: Bancha tea is a highly prized Japanese green tea and deserves to be known a little more.
There are two types of Bancha tea: hojika and kukicha. The first variant, the hojika, is obtained from the leaves while the second, the kukicha, from the toasted twigs of the plant aged at least three years.
The harvest for the processing of Bancha takes place at the end of the season, in order to allow a correct maturation of the parts and a degradation of the component into theine.
The preparation of the two variants of Bancha tea takes place in different ways:
> Bancha Hojicha tea is prepared by infusion, with very hot water around 80 ° / 90 ° C;
> Bancha Kukicha tea is prepared in decoction by boiling the twigs for about ten minutes.