Japan has some of the healthiest teas available. Not only are these teas healthy, however, they are also delicious. Teas were introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks from China. Japan has since manipulated these original teas to make their own.
There are many cultural traditions that are associated with tea including the tea ceremony. These cultural traditions and modifications have allowed for the introduction of more and more varieties of teas to be offered in Japan. Continue reading below to learn more about types, how to make the tea and where to get the teas in Japan.
Types of japanese tea
There are many types of teas available in Japan. Each offers its own specific health benefits and flavors. Each also has a certain history with it.
Match is a type of green tea that is made from leaves of plants that did not get ample sunlight. It tastes sweet and bitter. Matcha is the tea that is utilized in tea ceremonies across Japan.
Sencha is another type of green tea that is lose leaf and is by far the most popular tea that comes from Japan. The plants of sencha received enough sunlight, offering a stronger flavor. It offers a boost of energy with low levels of caffeine.
Hojicha is made from stems and leaves of late harvested tea plants. This tea has a nutty flavor that is similar to coffee. It is also not caffeinated so will not keep you awake after drinking it.
Mugicha is made with barley instead of tea plants. It is a smooth flavor. It is also caffeine free to offer a nice drink without keeping you awake.
Genmaicha is a green tea that has rice incorporated in it to reduce bitterness. Sobacha utilizes wheat kernels for an earth toned tea. Gobocha is made from gobo root that is also earthy. Finally, kombucha is a tea made with seaweed that is different from the western kombucha.
How to make japanese tea
Matcha is made by grinding the leaves aforementioned. The powder is then whisked in boiling water. Sencha is different in that the leaves remain in true form while being steeped in hot water that was boiled. You let it sit until you reach the color of green tea you desire.
Hojicha is made by roasting the steams and leaves of the tea plants over charcoal. Make sure the products are roasted in hot water. Mugicha is also made by roasting, but the barley is roasted in water.
Genmaicha mixes the leaves of green tea with rice that has been roasted. It is steeped in water. Sobacha is made by roasting buckwheat kernels in water. Many Japanese individuals even drink Sobacha as an iced tea.
Gobocha is made from roasting shavings of gobo root in steeped water. Kombucha is made by utilizing kelp on a seaweed base. Some individuals combine it with ume for a tart or sour tea. Each of these teas offers a unique method of creating in order to achieve the best flavors possible.
Where to drink tea in Japan
You will be served a cup of tea in most restaurants in Japan like Happo-en Garden in Tokyo. There is tea that is sold in bottles in convenience and grocery stores if you like your tea iced. It can also be found in vending machines throughout the country. There is also tea sold in boxes as tea bags or loose leaf tea to brew yourself. Another great option is to visit a tea plantation such as Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms to get a feel for the whole process of creating tea for yourself.
Green teas and matcha are also served at cafes and coffee shops throughout Japan. Most of the time, they are simply served as cups of hot tea. At times, however, they can be mixed with coffee to become lattes or other specialty drinks. There is even a three hundred year old tea shop called Ippodo in Kyoto.
Finally, a great way to truly experience the culture of tea in Japan is by attending a tea ceremony. Matcha is the type of tea that is served a tea ceremony. You will have to remove your shoes and drink your tea from a tatami mats. Though a traditional ceremony can last hours, you can find shorter ceremonies in larger cities such as Tokyo at places like Maikoya or Joukeian in Matsumoto Soko.