Genmaicha is a mixture of almost the same amount of bancha (coarse tea) or occasionally sencha green tea heated at high temperatures, and brown rice steamed and roasted until it gets a light ginger color or bursts like popcorn. Some also contain a dash of salt. It is one of the Japanese green teas or Japanese teas.
In prewar times, a chasho (tea dealer), who found the scraps of mochi left after the kagamibiraki (the custom of cutting and eating a large, round rice cake, which has been offered to the gods at New Year, on January 11) wasteful, roasted and mixed them with tea leaves, and this was said to be the beginning of genmaicha.
As a Japanese tea it is ranked on a par with bancha and hojicha (roasted green tea) and is not considered one of the high class teas. It has a delicate taste, and its fragrant smell and flavor are characteristics. When it is served, the best way to prepare it is to use boiling water and infuse for only a short time. When it is infused for a long time it becomes bitter due to the increased tannin.
The quality of genmaicha depends more on the quality of the brown rice than the tea leaves. Its fragrant smell and flavor are derived more from brown rice being roasted until light ginger than from the burst brown rice. Therefore, when the proportion of burst brown rice is high, it is considered an inferior product.