All about Japanese tea: types and how they are different from other teas

All about Japanese tea: types and how they are different from other teas

As you know, Matcha is one type of Japanese teas. However, did you know there are many other types of delicious Japanese teas? ٩(๑´0`๑)۶

Let me introduce you to the world of Japanese teas!


Japanese tea is ‘unfermented’, unlike most of other teas

Unfermented tea is made from tea leaves that have been heated in such a way as to prevent oxidization from enzymes, whether by steaming, roasting on a pan, drying out in the sunlight or other similar methods.

Almost all tea made in Japan is green tea, aka Ryoku-cha (緑茶), and the term Ryoku-cha refers to this unfermented tea. As the tea leaves have not been fermented, the tea becomes a brilliant green color. Thus, the green color of the tea gave rise to the name Ryoku-cha.

I will show you some of the most common Ryoku-cha!


Sen-cha (煎茶)

Sen-cha is the most widely consumed type of green tea (Ryoku-cha) in Japan. The usual method of preparing Sen-cha involves steaming fresh tea leaves before rolling and shaping them. The longer they’re steamed for the more the color and flavor of the tea will change, becoming darker, stronger and reducing the astringency. For that reason there are multiple different grades or varieties of Sen-cha.



Gyokuro (玉露)

Gyokuro is a type of green tea where the tea plants, shortly after they begin to sprout, are covered up in order to prevent them from receiving direct sunlight during their growth. By limiting the sprouts’ exposure to sunlight, astringency in the leaves is reduced and their flavor becomes richer. Its main characteristic is the resemblance in flavor to nori seaweed. As cultivating Gyokuro is a more painstaking process than regular Sen-cha, it is considered to be the most high class variety of green tea in Japan.



Matcha (抹茶)

Matcha is a type of green tea made from powdered ‘Ten-cha’ tea leaves. Ten-cha is much like Gyokuro in that it is cultivated with limited exposure to sunlight, but the main difference is that rather than being rolled up before drying they are left flat, and the veins and stalks of the leaves are removed. Also the way of making Matcha is different from other teas as Matcha is powdered, to make Matcha tea, you need to mix Matcha powder with hot water with a whisk, not steaming.

Related post: what is matcha? basics of matcha green tea from japanese people

Related post: matcha vs green tea. matcha is not just a powdered green tea!



Matcha is mainly consumed during Japanese tea ceremony, Sado, without being added any sugar or milk. But other than that, Matcha can be used for sweets or other sweet drinks such as Matcha latte.




Hoji-cha (ほうじ茶)

Hoji-cha is made from taking Sen-cha or other green tea and roasting it over a strong flame until it turns a light brown, resulting in a very fragrant brew. Due to the roasting process that gives Hoji-cha its brown color, the caffeine content is sublimated creating its distinctive flavor.



Genmai-cha (玄米茶)

Genmai-cha is a variety of tea where brown rice that has been soaked and boiled in water is roasted and then added to Sencha or other types of green tea in a roughly equal ratio. The aroma of the roasted brown rice mixed with the refreshing taste of the green tea is a delight.



Non-green-tea Japanese teas

There are not very common but there are some Japanese teas that are not green teas. For example: Mugi-cha, tea made from roasted wheat. Sakura-cha, tea made from salted petals of cherry blossom that is usually consumed in spring.



If you visit Japan, please try as many Japanese teas as you can and find your favorite one!

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

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