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What Is Brown Rice Green Tea — And Does It Have Any Health Benefits?

A tasty, low-caffeine option to add to your tea collection.


Drinking tea is more than just an afternoon activity — it’s a full-on experience. It’s soothing, flavorful, and even has potential benefits for your health. But before you head to the kitchen and steep a cup of your favorite, let me introduce you to a variety you’re likely less familiar with: genmaicha. This name means “brown rice tea” in Japanese, as the drink combines starch with the beverage. And while genmaicha resembles the clean taste of most green teas, the brown rice infuses it with a toasty flavor. Another pro for genmaicha? Its antioxidant content. Keep reading to learn more about this tea and its nutritional profile, plus get tips for brewing the most flavorful cup.

What is genmaicha?

Genmaicha (pronounced “gen-my-cha”) is a type of green tea made by mixing bancha or sencha leaves with toasted brown rice. Before combining with the tea leaves, the rice goes through a five-step process of soaking, steaming, drying, roasting, and cooling. This tea often has a 50:50 ratio of rice to tea leaves, but it can vary based on the manufacturer. During the 1900s, Japan’s economic hardship led to vendors adding brown rice to green tea as a way of stretching the staple drink. Today, genmaicha continues to be enjoyed for its earthy, grassy, nutty flavor profile alongside its green-yellow coloring.

Are there any benefits to drinking brown rice green tea?

Current research on genmaicha is limited, so there’s not yet any scientific proof of its health benefits. However, regular green tea consumption has been linked to improved brain function and weight loss thanks to its rich antioxidant content. Additionally, brown rice has a lot of fiber, which explains its reported benefits for heart health, weight management, and diabetes risk. Despite the lack of studies on genmaicha specifically, combining these two ingredients will yield a verified nutritious drink.

“Brown rice tea carries many of the positives of green and black tea, with the phytonutrients being a key part,” Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, LD, FADA, CSSD, registered dietitian and former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, explained to Phytonutrients are plant-based chemical compounds such as flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Diekman adds that genmaicha contains small amounts of manganese, fiber, iron selenium, and B vitamins — all of which are necessary to maintain normal bodily functions.

Another upside of brown rice green tea is that it’s low in caffeine. “But, in general, it has about 0.5 milligrams of caffeine per ounce, or 4 milligrams in 8 ounces,” Diekman notes. “As a comparison, espresso has 77 milligrams of caffeine in a 1.5-ounce shot.” (Talk about a tea that won’t leave you feeling jittery afterwards!) On top of these nutritional perks, brown rice green tea is readily available to add to your tea collection.

Where can I buy genmaicha?

If you can’t find genmaicha at your local grocery or Asian specialty store, it’s easy to find online. (Try Nakane Tea Inc.: Buy from Amazon, $12.80) Genmaicha is typically sold in both tea bags and in loose leaf varieties, so you can opt for bags for convenience, or choose loose leaf for a fresher taste. Regardless, you’ll end up with a delicious cup of brown rice green tea as long as you steep it correctly.

How do you steep genmaicha?

Nakane Tea Inc. suggests steeping one bag in a mug filled with 8 ounces of boiling water for one to three minutes. Your brew time will depend on how strong you like your tea — long steeping gives you a bolder-tasting cup. Once fully steeped, remove the tea bag and add honey or lemon if desired. And voilà! You’ll have a warm mug of brown rice green tea in no time.

Prefer using loose leaf tea? Follow these instructions and video from a tea brand called Kawashimaya in order to brew the best cup of genmaicha.


  • 2 to 3 grams genmaicha loose leaf tea (Buy from Amazon, $35.95)
  • 60 ml hot water (ideally at 194 degrees Fahrenheit)


  • Add loose leaf tea into your teapot. Then, pour hot water into the pot.
  • Let it sit until fully steeped for at least one minute, but steep it longer if you’d like a stronger taste.
  • Pour the steeped tea into a tea cup, and enjoy.

Tea Time

Who knew that brown rice and green tea would be a match made in heaven? From its rich flavor to impressive nutrient profile, genmaicha is an excellent choice the next time you want a nourishing drink. Just remember to grab your favorite mug to make trying out a new tea even more enjoyable!

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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