Tea is the most popular beverage in Japan. People drink it at homes, at offices, at restaurants. When eating out at Japanese restaurants, a cup of hot green tea will be served once guests sat down at the table, very welcoming.
If you want to choose some tea leaves for yourself or to present someone, maybe get to know about the different types of Japanese tea beforehand would be helpful.
Green tea is the most common type, so common that if you hear the word of “Ocha” (tea), it means green tea but any tea else, without any doubts. Japanese green tea, different with Chinese teas, Oolongcha for example, whose making process involves leave the tea leaves to oxidize, whereas Japanese green teas are steamed or roasted without oxidization process. You can find tea plantations locate allover Japan, except for cold-climate Hokkaido. Three prefectures that produce the most of green tea leaves are Shizuoka, Kagoshima and Mie. Other famous tea plantations-own places are Kyoto, Saitama and Fukuoka.
Types of green teas:
Sencha is the most standard green tea which accounts for 85% of Japanese green tea products. Tea leaves picking are carried out at first round, when the freshest new leaves are growing.
The highest grade of green tea, also harvest in same timing with Sencha but with the leaves shaded to protect them from the sun.
Lower grade of green tea which harvest in second round, third round of newly grown leaves.
It is powered green tea and the soul material of Japanese tea ceremony. Only the highest quality green tea can be made into Matcha. Matcha flavor is worldwide popular and has been made into varies sweets such as ice-creams, cookies, cakes, latte beverages…and so on.
Roasted green tea is Hojicha. The color is brown but no longer green. Hojicha originally used the lower grade of green teas and is considered as a beverage within family use. As its flavor favored more and more people, it is now considered a decent beverage to welcome guests.
Genmai means unpolished brown rice. Genmai tea is made of green tea mixed with roasted Genmai. Roasted genmai adds a special flavor into green tea which makes a richer taste. It is also less strong since it contains only half amount of caffeine of which standard green tea does.
Not only tastes good, a cup of hot self-brewing green tea is very soothing to your mind. Hope you will find your favorite type and enjoy it!