Japanese green tea, as we commonly know it, often refers to Sencha. In Japan, there are however many more varieties of green tea that are consumed by the Japanese people. From a simple tea plant, different methods of cultivation and processing would yield tea which spans the whole spectrum of flavours. Here are some other popular green tea products well-loved by everyone.
Gyokuro is considered the highest grade of Japanese green tea. The main difference between Gyokuro and other Japanese green teas is that it is shaded 20 days prior to harvest. The shading of tea maintains a high level of amino acids which adds natural sweetness to the leaves. Shading from sunlight also reduces the conversion of amino acids into catechins, which contributes to the astringency and bitterness in tea. As such, the profile of Gyokuro is sweeter and has more umami compared to other Japanese green tea.
Sencha is the most common type of Japanese green tea. Unlike Gyokuro, it is fully grown under sunlight without shading.
Sencha's taste profile varies widely depending on the harvest region, period of harvest as well as processing methods. As we know, the unique processing method adopted in Japanese green tea making is steaming and Sencha can be categorized by its steaming duration - light steamed (asamushi) or deep steamed (fukamushi). Lightly steamed green tea yields a light body and flavour profile while a deeper steamed tea creates a richer flavour and fuller body.
Check out our classic Spring Sencha!
Bancha shares the same cultivation method and processing as Sencha, but it’s considered a lower grade because it uses leaves that are from later harvests (after the second).
Kabusecha is a shade-grown tea, similar to Gyokuro but is shaded for only about 10 days compared to Gyokuro's 20 days. Kabusecha's flavor is soft, light, and fresh. You can expect a balance of sweet and earthy in this well-blended green tea.
Genmaicha is green tea mixed with roasted Japanese rice which gives the tea a roast fragrance and sweet nutty taste. Genmaicha is usually enjoyed during and after meals as it cleanses the palate and rounds up flavours. Sometimes, Matcha is also added to Genmaicha (Matcha iri Genmaicha) to spruce up the texture and smoothen the flavour of the tea.
Another type of Genmaicha is Kabuse Genmaicha. It is a higher grade tea which uses Kabuse tea instead of Sencha and gives the tea a sprightly taste.
Have a taste of our unique Kabuse Genmaicha.
Guricha (curly-tea) is also known as Tamaryokucha. It accounts for only 5% of Japan’s total tea production. This unique tea skips the final kneading process, leaving the leaves in a comma shape. This tea is also known for its sweet smell and taste.
Hojicha is produced by roasting tea leaves under high temperature. Quality Hojicha has a smooth roast fragrance and texture. It tastes nutty, sweet and with hints of berries. The roasting process has a decaffeinating effect on leaves, making Hojicha a great decaffeinated option for tea lovers.
Our Gold Hojicha is meticulously selected for a perfect balance of sweet and roasted flavour that is suitable to enjoy at any time of the day.
Kukicha means “twig tea”, a tea that is made with twigs and stems of Gyokuro and Sencha. Kukicha is lightly sweet due to the lack of catechins which is present in tea leaves. It also has a good dose of L-theanine.
Matcha is finely grounded green tea powder known for its vast health benefits. It is packed with antioxidants and helps maintain cardiovascular health. Like Gyokuro, leaves are shaded in the last month before harvest. The raw leaves for Matcha production, called Ten-cha, are further milled to create the fine powder. Matcha is gaining popularity globally and is a favourite ingredient in food products such as confectioneries, beverages, desserts etc.
Don’t forget to tag us with your Leefe Tea on Instagram (@leefetea)