Japanese tea

Japanese tea 101.

Japan is home to one of the world’s most famous tea cultures, and is a tea lover’s paradise. Whether you drink it hot, cold, bagged, powdered, loose leaf, in jeans or in a kimono — green tea is inextricably linked with Japanese culture.

Green tea is the daily elixir of Japanese and has innumerable health benefits (think Japanese lifespan). I was really surprised when I read that green tea was originally used as medicine not as a relaxation drink.

What makes Japanese green tea unique compared to others — such as black, oolong and Chinese green tea — is that the leaves are steamed shortly after being harvested. This prevents them from becoming oxidised and ensures they retain a natural fragrance and rich green color.

Japanese tea (ocha or ryokucha or nihon-cha) is synonymous for green tea.

The choices are so plentiful that they may be a bit overwhelming when you’re new to Japanese tea. Depending on the cultivation methods, growing conditions, as well as the steaming and drying process, each type of green tea has its own characteristics and flavor. In this photo you find 4 popular ones that offer a range of flavors – Sencha, Matcha, Hojicha and Genmaicha.

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