Varieties of Japanese Tea

The world holds myriad variations of Japanese green tea. In this article we'll take a glimpse into several types of green teas and what makes each them uniquely their own. All of these teas can be found on our site. 

Shade Grown Tea

This type of green tea is carefully grown in the shade for twenty to thirty days before harvesting. This creates Theanine, an amino acid, which gives the tea a sweet and mellow taste. When brewed, this tea has a pure grassy green color. Teas that fall within this category are Matcha and Gyokuro.

After harvesting, tea leaves for Matcha go through steaming, drying, and grinding with a stone mill. The highest grade Matcha is the brightest green and has the most sweet and mellow flavor, without any hint of bitterness, such as our Japanese Ceremonial Grade Matcha. Lower quality Matcha has a dirty yellow color and is the flavor is sharper. 

Matcha stands in a category of its own because it is the only tea where the whole leaf is ground into a powder. This way of processing retains all the healthy, oil soluble nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Beta- carotene, etc. that help make Matcha one of the most powerful antioxidants and cancer fighting teas on the market. This wonder tea has also been known to help boost a positive mood, combat depression, and increase short term memory and focus.

After harvest, tea leaves for Gyokuro go through steaming, drying/ kneading, and sorting. Kneading enables the tea leaves to extract the flavor and constituents into the water. The flavor is mellow, with a sweet taste and aroma. When brewed, Gyokuro will have a pure grassy green color. Brewing slowly with a lower temperature water (170°) is also one reason why Gyokuro brings a relaxed atmosphere as well as an excellent flavor. 

Tea Grown in Full Sunlight

Teas grown in full sunlight have an abundance of the nutrient, Catechin, which creates a refreshing aroma and bitter taste. When brewed, this tea has a golden yellow green color. 

After harvesting, tea leaves for Sencha, go through steaming, drying/ kneading, and sorting. Sencha is the most popular and widely consumed Japanese green tea. Sencha has a  lovely golden yellow green color. High grade Sencha has a mellow and balanced flavor with a refreshing aroma. This tea is an excellent compliment to sushi, as an after dinner tea digestive, or anytime of the day you need a little pick-me-up. 

Derived from the same process as Sencha but with the addition of a few flavors that make this tea really something special. Genmaicha is a combination of Sencha tea leaves mixed with puffed rice, which adds a delicious popcorn and roasted grain flavor. Due to the rice, Genmaicha is a wonderful tea to drink to wind down your day as it contains less caffeine than other green teas.

Written by Jen Biro