Top 20 Types Of Japanese Tea: Genmaicha, Matcha, Sencha And Much More

by Bunka Japan August 21, 2021 6 min read

The Japanese have long been known for their appreciation of tea. This is not surprising, considering that Japan has the largest population of people who drink green tea in the world. There are many different types of Japanese green teas out there to choose from. In this blog post, we will go over 20 different types of Japanese teas so you can learn about them!

matcha tea powder

(Source, 1)

 

Category One: Japanese Green Tea

Green tea is a type of drink found in many cultures, but the Japanese green tea has been perfected to be one-of-a kind. Unlike other greens teas that come from different plants and are made with 100 cultivars, Japan's most popular variety comes only from Camelia sinensis var sinensis and there are currently more than 120 varieties of this plant used for making various types such as Yabukita which accounts up to 74% production[1]. This specific hybrid gives these drinks their characteristics like flavor, color, taste - all unique depending on what it was created by. Besides being regionally limited or having specified ingredients designed specifically for certain styles of consumption; traditionalists believe each person should have an individual blend

Japanese green tea leaves

(Source, 2)

Type 1) Sencha – grown in sunlight, younger leaves

Japan has a long-standing tradition of brewing Sencha tea, which is produced in the country by steaming and shading green leaves. The process can be done for only ten seconds or much longer depending on how it’s brewed to produce either a light taste with grassy undertones or an earthier flavor that reflects its vegetal origins.

  • Asamushicha– lightly steamed tea with lighter flavor and color
  • Chuumushicha– medium steamed tea
  • Fukamushicha– deep-steamed tea with intense green color and stronger flavor

 

Type 2) Kabusecha – grown in shade, but only for shorted time

Kabusecha is the perfect balance of sencha and gyokuro. It's just a bit sweeter than sencha, but maintains that crisp green flavor.

 

Type 3) Gyokuro – grown in shade

The perfect tea for an elegant dinner party is a cup of Gyokuro that has been shaded by leaves. The deep green color and sweet umami flavor will be the highlight of your evening, so make sure to treat yourself!

 

Type 4) Tamaryokucha – the only tea with curly leaves

Tamaryokucha is more unique to the Japanese culture than other teas, with leaves that are less needle shaped and curled. There's no need for rolling them like most tea-leafs as they have a curly appearance without any work needed on your part; this step can even be skipped if you prefer it over steaming or panfrying!

 

Type 5) Matcha – grown in shade, powdered

You may have heard of matcha before, but did you know that it is a type of green tea? Matcha powder traditionally comes from Japan and can be made into different grades. The ceremonial grade has the highest quality leaves which were shaded for 3-4 weeks to make them shine brilliantly emerald in color; they are perfect for use with traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony ceremonies or adding flavor to your favorite latte drink!

 

Type 6) Tencha – grown in shade, but doesn’t include any stalks, veins or stems

Tencha is a green tea that people drink in the morning. Tencha has been around for centuries, but its use as only an ingredient to make matcha was short-lived and it soon became popular on its own. The leaves are delicate; they float when brewed because of their lightness which makes them difficult to strain out with other varieties of steeped teas. They also have little stems or stalks unlike many traditional types of iced tea such as chai lattes, rooibos, and Earl Grey blends can be found at any grocery store nowadays.

 

Type 7) Bancha – grown in sunlight; mature leaves

Bancha offers a softer, more relaxing experience than sencha and is perfect for those looking to unwind in the evening. Bancha’s milder flavor actually makes it suitable as an iced tea too! For maximum health benefits, try roasting your bancha leaves before brewing them into this delicious drink.

 

Type 8) Kokeicha – tea paste made into leaves

A unique and rare tea from all over the world, ground up leaves are formed into a paste before being shaped.

 

Type 9) Hojicha – roasted

A deeply roasted green tea, hojicha is a type of beverage that stands out in comparison to the many other types of specialty teas used around the world. It's lower caffeine content and refreshing flavor make it perfect for iced tea or even making your own hot brew at home!

 

Type 10) Kukicha – stalks and stems or tea leaves

Kukicha is a popular tea choice for macrobiotic enthusiasts. It's often considered by-product of the production process and has an amazing flavor that refreshes as well as less caffeine than green teas! Kukicha contains stems, stalks, or sometimes little leaf parts which all contribute to its unique taste.

 

Type 11) Kamairicha

You’ve never had a cup of tea like this. Kamairicha is pan-fried, which makes it more nutty and less vegetal than steamed varieties--it's the only Japanese variety that follows suit!

 

Type 12) Guricha

Guricha is a steamed tamaryokucha. It’s similar to other Japanese green teas, with less sharp and more sweet taste. But it also has delicate floral notes that make this tea totally unique!

 

Type 13) Genmaicha – tea with roasted brown rice

Genmaicha is a type of green tea made with roasted brown rice. Sencha, bancha and gyokuro can be used as well in the blend to create Genmaicha Matchiro (made from match) or Gyokuro-iri genmai cha (withs gyrokruo). The ratio for this beverage is often 50:50 - that's half puffed rice mixed into pure green tea leaves!

 

Type 14) Benifuki tea – special cultivar

The benifuki tea variety is a type of green sencha that, unlike other leaves in the same category, features special health benefits. This particular combination may help reduce symptoms of hay fever or allergies due to specific catechins found within each leaf and bold flavor profile.

 

Type 15) Shincha – new tea

One of the first harvests in spring is shincha. This tea has a new, fresh taste and aroma compared to other types such as gyokuro or ocha which are harvested later on during the year.

 

Type 16) Konacha – tea dust and particles

Konacha is the result of making sencha, kabusecha and gyokuro. It includes tea dust, small leaf particles including small stalks and buds. Although a by-product in some cases, this particular type can be very high quality if made from gyokuro dust which you'll find at sushi restaurants around town!

 

Type 17) Aracha – unrefined tea

Aracha, the unrefined tea. It's a complicated process to make it sound like this kind of drink is popular and appealing because in reality, aracha means an unpleasant taste that leaves you with feeling sick. Aracha can be made from any type of plant which includes flowers too!

 

Type 18) Mecha – tea tips and buds

Mecha can be made from higher quality teas like Tieguanyin. It is a delicious sweet treat that you have to try!

Japanese tea leaves

 (Source, 3)

 

Category Two: Japanese black tea

The Japanese black tea experience is a unique one. You'll find that the flavor profile will differ from Indian or Chinese teas because of how they're grown and processed, which also means you should expect to taste lighter infusions with bright orange-to-red colors. The astringency may present itself as well, but it's balanced out by some sweetness - maybe even smoked flavors!

 

Category Three: Japanese oolong tea

Oolong tea is a rare category that even Japanese drinkers enjoy an occasional hot or cold cup of this. Oolong Tea, often more oxidized than other types of teas in Japan and the world-over, is popular as iced tea with its refreshing taste on humid days when it’s hard to keep cool.

 

Category Four: Japanese dark tea

The difference between dark fermented Japanese teas and Chinese pu’erh is that fermentation changes the chemical composition, potentially adding a whole new set of health benefits.

 

Category Five: Japanese herbal tea

Type 1) Konbucha

Japanese sea kelp tea is a unique and refreshing drink that has nothing to do with the fungus-brewed kombucha. Made from seaweed, it may be blended with other ingredients for an even more delicious flavor!

 

Type 2) Mugicha

Mugicha is a roasted barley tea that has refreshing flavor. Mugicha is mostly drank in summer because it tastes amazing and can be consumed by all age groups without any caffeine! This may come as no surprise, but mugi cha do not contain gluten to make sure you are safe from allergies if they arise. Although there isn't enough research on the effects of this drink, some say its great for digestion or even fighting colds

 


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