How to Make Genmaicha or Brown Rice Tea

Genmaicha (called hyeonmi cha in Korean) is a variation of Japanese green tea that incorporates toasted brown rice into the steeping process. The tea's flavor is strong and distinctly nutty, and is just as delicious cold as it is hot.

The term genmaicha collectively means "brown rice tea." Gen can be interpreted as "dark," while mai simply means "rice." In this case, gen can be understood as "unpolished," or "unhulled" since it is placed directly before mai. And cha means "tea."


  1. Image titled Make Genmaicha or Brown Rice Tea Step 1
    Spread a thin layer of brown rice into a medium sized pan. The thin layer will ensure even toasting of the rice grains.
  2. Image titled Make Genmaicha or Brown Rice Tea Step 2
    Place the pan onto a stovetop burner and turn the heat to a low to medium setting. Toast the rice until it takes on a dark brown color and emits a nutty, toasted aroma. Depending upon heat and pan, toasting time can vary, but it generally does not exceed much over five minutes. Do not leave the rice unattended because it can burn quickly.
  3. Image titled Make Genmaicha or Brown Rice Tea Step 3
    Cool the rice on a plate when it is done. Then place the rice inside of a container for storage. Toast more rice if desired.
  4. Image titled Make Genmaicha or Brown Rice Tea Step 4
    Determine how much genmaicha you want to brew. One tablespoon of toasted brown rice will produce one strong cup of tea. Experiment with these amounts to suit your preference. Place the desired amount of rice inside of a tea sieve along with green tea leaves. One teaspoon of green tea leaves will produce one cup of tea.
  5. Image titled Make Genmaicha or Brown Rice Tea Step 5
    Heat water in a nonreactive pot to a temperature of about 180 °F (82 °C). Plunge the tea sieve into the water once it is ready. However, if you are brewing just one cup, place the tea sieve into an empty mug and then pour the hot water into the mug. Steep for approximately three minutes.
  6. Image titled Make Genmaicha or Brown Rice Tea Step 6
    Remove tea sieve and place aside. Pour genmaicha into a cup or mug.
  7. Image titled Make Genmaicha or Brown Rice Tea Step 7


  • If you prefer an even stronger rice flavor, steep the brown rice separately from the green tea leaves for a longer amount of time. To do this, first bring your tea water to a boil. Then place the rice inside of the pot, turn off the heat, and cover the pot with a lid. Steep this mixture for a few minutes and then add the green tea leaves for three more minutes. Once brewing is complete, strain the genmaicha and serve. However, if this method proves to be too messy, then simply use another tea sieve for the rice.
  • To prevent the rice grains from darkening too quickly, remove the pan from the heat and gently swirl it around so that the rice moves in a circular pattern inside the pan. This will cool the rice slightly, but remember to return the pan to the heat to finish the toasting process.
  • Stir the rice occasionally with a wooden utensil, such as a spoon or chopsticks. This will ensure that each grain of rice is toasted evenly.


  • If the rice grains begin popping (i.e. turning inside out) during the toasting procedure, do not worry. They will still create a wonderful flavor for your genmaicha.
  • Do not use white rice. Brown rice still possesses its bran layers, which is what imparts a rich, nutty flavor.

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Categories: Tea