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A guide to Japanese green tea

As the weather warms up from May through July, tea bushes awaken from their winter slumber and shoot up new buds, yielding luscious brews with powerful flavors. Tea aficionados coin these new buds as the ‘first tea of the year’ and spring is undeniably the prime season for Japanese green tea.

Japanese Tea Gardens

Famed for its detoxifying benefits and refreshing taste, green tea is most consumed tea type in Japan.

Green tea is a highly regarded beverage in Japan and its process is intricate and treated with utmost respect. Unlike in China where leaves are pan-fired or baked, Japanese green tealeaves are shaped and steamed to stop the oxidation process. This process gives rise to a vivid and lush green colour.

Paying tribute to the highly coveted Japanese green tea, our tea specialists have put together a comprehensive guide to the different green tea types.

MATCHA – the ceremonious one

Matcha is a specific type of green tea made from tealeaves that have been grown under the shade. This causes the tealeaves to grow larger and finer to produce more chlorophyll. Ultimately, this results in the matcha tealeaves’ bright green colour and subtly sweet yet bitter flavor.

Matcha Mills at work. by AVANTCHA

The leaves are then ground down into a fine powder and whisked with hot water to make matcha tea. Different grades are available with the highest grades used for tea ceremonies.

At AVANTCHA, our organic matcha tealeaves are sourced from the Kyoto, Kogashima and Nara region of Japan.

We work with an established network of suppliers and tea growers with a quality track record of sourcing organic and responsible matcha tealeaves.

Our matcha is available in Ceremonial Grade for connoisseurs, and Cocktail Grade as an ingredient, i.e. matcha lates, matcha cakes, etc.

GYOKURO– the finest Japanese green tea

Treasured as one of the most precious and noble tea types, Gyokuro is said to be the finest Japanese green tea. Carefully grown in the shade for 21 days before harvesting, this intricate process results in a reduced photosynthesis process and Gyokuro’s lush and vivid green colour. Featuring an elegant aroma, the Gyokuro is a full-bodied tea with soft, sweet and savoury notes.

To achieve the best quality infusion, steep Gyokuro at a maximum 60°C water temperature for maximum 2 min.

AVANTCHA’s Organic Japanese Gyokuro is sourced directly from Kyoto, Japan and presented in loose full leaf tealeaves.  

Sencha –the popular one

Sencha, or loose-leaf green tea, is the most popular kind of tea in Japan. Unlike matcha, sencha is made from tea plants grown in full sun resulting in a darker color and more astringent (acidic and bitter) flavor. To prepare Sencha, the tealeaves are steeped in hot water to produce a clear tea that ranges from yellow-green to a dark green-brown colour.

AVANTCHA’s Organic Sencha tealeaves are sourced from the foothills of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka. Lightly roasted, AVANTCHA’s 2018 high grade Sencha packs an umami punch of nutty accents derived from the roasting process. A perfect complement to a sweet ending of a meal – we recommend Japanese azuki bean desserts.

Genmaicha– the sweet and aromatic one 

Roasted grains of brown rice are infused with tealeaves to complement the light and bitter notes of green tea. This infusion gives birth to a sweet, light yet flavourful body. Also known as ‘popcorn tea’, Genmaicha is widely popular and pleasantly addictive as it contains whole roasted grains of brown rice, some which have popped. Its low caffeine content makes this organic tea an excellent choice before bedtime.

Hojicha – the perfect evening companion 

Hojicha was originated in the 1920s when Kyoto tea merchants started roasting tea stems over charcoal. Today, Hojicha is produced by roasting stems and leaves of tea plants harvested later in the year. This results in a savory tea with a warm, nutty flavor yet virtually no bitterness. Furthermore, Hojicha has a distinct and unique reddish-brown appearance in the cup. Considering its longer roasting proces, Hojicha also has a lower concentration of caffeine. This makes it a great after-dinner evening companion.

AVANTCHA green teas are organic certified and sourced exclusively from Japan. We aspire to bring you the best green tea quality in the form on full leaf loose tealeaves.  For more information on our green teas, click here

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