|Unlike Chinese green teas that have thousands of type and style variations,
with Japan’s green teas, less is definitely more. All Japan’s teas are manufactur-
ed green, with ten main types produced, along with a few specialty teas. Almost
all of their teas are steamed during processing, although a handful of specialty
teas are pan fired Chinese style.
|The method of steaming and
rolling fresh leaf was invented in the 18th
century by a Uji producer, Soen Nagatani.
The standard steaming process lasts about
sixty seconds and softens the leaf, preserv-
ing the natural enzymes, and fixing the leaf’s
dark emerald color.Steaming also locks in the strong vegetal
flavors characteristic of Japanese green tea.
Some teas receive a lengthier steaming giv-
ing the tea a stronger flavor and darker leaf
Some teas are “reprocessed,” which basic-
|genmaicha, or has been removed, like the deveining of the tencha leaf used to make matcha.
There are two distinct growing classifications for Japanese green
Teas that are sun grown are bancha, a common class of tea, lower
Rounding out Japan’s list of teas produced are their roasted and twig teas: houjicha, ire
Let’s take a brief look at each one, starting
Gyokuro (or Jade Dew) is a spring first flush
Tencha leaf is also shade grown. It
The last shade grown tea we’ll look at is kabuse cha. Grown
Now we’ll look at the sun grown teas, starting with bancha. Ban-
Genmaicha is made from sencha leaf and is a reprocessed tea to
Konacha is another sun grown tea that is powdered like matcha,
Guricha is also a sun grown, steamed green tea made from small
Sencha is Japan’s most popular tea, drunk in most house-
Lastly comes Japan’s roasted and twig teas. Houjicha is a
Ire bancha is also roasted but in an unusual manner, with large flat leaves that are roasted flat and open. It has a
Kamairi-cha (or kamairicha or tamaryokucha) is a specialty tea from the island of Kyushu, processed in the Chinese
The next two are twig teas, with karigane cha made from the stems and twigs of gyokuro.
Last, but not at all least is kukicha, also a specialty tea made from carefully prepared leaf
As you can see, Japan’s teas are grown, harvested, and processed in a very precise