Tea sets and culture from Japan
Home | Types of green tea -Japanese tea culture-
Everyone’s Tea-style
Japanese tea free workshop

Types of green tea

-Japanese tea culture-


What types are the most popular in Japan?
What is expensive and reasonable?

Sencha - The most common type of green tea -
Fukamushi-sencha - Deap-steamed sencha -
Bancha - Coarse tea -
Kabusecha - Covered tea -
Roasted tamaryokucha - Roasted curled tea -
Steamed tamaryokucha (Guricha) - Steamed curled tea -
Matcha - Powdered tea, which is used in the tea ceremony -
Gyokuro - Premium green tea -
** Secondly processed tea **
Hojicha - Roasted green tea -
Genmaicha - Brown rice tea -
** Demono - By-product tea - **
Konacha - Fragmented tea -
Mecha - Bud tea -
Kukicha - Twig tea -

A list of the best produced kinds of tea in Japan:
1. Sencha (including fukamushi-snecha)
2. Bancha
3. Kabusecha
4. Tamaryokucha
5. Matcha
6. Gyokuro

Sencha is the most popular kind of green tea all over Japan. It is usually regarded as the "green tea" by Japanese. Sencha comprises about 70% of the yearly tea production in Japan. It has a full gamut of grades, and it is used in many occasions such as meal and tea time at home, in restaurants, hotels, and cafés. You can even find bottled sencha at convenience stores or vending machines. On the other hand, bancha is a popular reasonable tea enjoyed as a daily tea.

The different kinds of tea from the most expensive to the least expensive ones:
1. Gyokuro
2. Matcha
3. Kabusecha
4. Sencha (including fukamushi-sencha)
5. Tamaryokucha
6. Bancha

Gyokuro is the most high-class Japanese tea. The three most expensive types of tea plants such as gyokuro, matcha and kabusecha are enclosed with screens to avoid sunshine for 10-20 days before picking. The covering allows the tea to acquire more umami. Therefore, expensive kinds of tea usually have more umami than reasonable ones.

Flavorful umami danced in comfortable bitterness

Brewing: Leaves 2-3g, Water 80ml/2.8oz 70-90C/158-194F, Time 60sec
Suitable for: Any time
This is the most basic of all Japanese tea, which is produced at many regions and has a wide range of grade. When brewed, Sencha has a light yellowish green color. It contains a lot of caffeine, catechin, and vitamins. Sencha is the best tea to be able to enjoy the harmony of bitterness and umami, which is appreciated in many occasions. This is the best Japanese tea to start with.

Lush green tea flavor

Brewing: Leaves 2-3g, Water 80ml/2.8oz 70-90C/158-194F, Time 30sec
Suitable for: Break at work, After dinner
Fukamushi-sencha is steamed longer than any regular sencha when it is produced. The leaves get fragile by longer steaming and contain smaller pieces, which helps a faster brewing. When brewed, the water is cloudy green with the fine leaves. Even though fukamushi-sencha has a weak aroma, it has a richer flavor with milder bitterness than regular sencha.

Light simple flavor with earthy bitterness

Brewing: Leaves 3g, Water 130ml/4.6oz 100C/212F, Time 30sec
Suitable for: Light meal, With snacks over watching TV
Bancha uses late-harvested tea leaves, after the fresh leaves have been harvested. Bancha sometimes means low-grade teas. It is reasonable, and can be casually enjoyed. Bancha is usually prepared with higher temperature water and a shorter brewing time than sencha. It has a refreshing taste with earthy flavor behind and does not have as much sweetness as sencha has. Therefore, bancha is popular as a tea for meals.

Profound umami in mild bitterness

Brewing: Leaves 3g, Water 70ml/2.5oz 70C/158F, Time 60sec
Suitable for: Tea for guests, After great cuisine
Kabusecha is similar with sencha but has more umami. The umami is created by enclosing the tea plants with screens to block off the sunlight. The covering for kabusecha is usually shorter in period with lower light-blocking than gyokuro’s covering. You can say kabusecha is the tea in between sencha and gyokuro with regard to both taste and price. If you like sencha and want more umami, kabusecha will be the tea you are looking for.

Round savory taste reminiscing of Chinese tea

Brewing: Leaves 3g, Water 70ml/2.5oz 90C/194F, Time 60sec
Suitable for: Sunday afternoon tea, when you want to be alone
This tea is roasted instead of steamed when it is produced. The roasting method originated from Chinese style, which is rare for Japanese tea. Roasted tamaryokucha is popular in Kyushu area. The dry leaves are curled and hard. They have a little dull luster like lead. Brewed tea has a nutty flavor with nice roasted aroma and refreshing after taste with less bitterness.

Great harmony of bitterness and umami like sencha

Brewing: Leaves 2-3g, Water 80ml/2.8oz 70-90C/158-194F, Time 60sec
Suitable for: Morning tea, At desk working or studying
Steamed tamaryokucha, or Guricha is curled and produced almost the same way as sencha. The difference is omitting one of the kneading processes for straightening the shape. That is why the leaves are curled, and have milder bitterness. You can prepare it like sencha.

Murky thick pleasure with the condensed essence of green tea

Brewing: Powdered tea 1.5g, Water 50ml/1.8oz, 80C/176F
Wisk in order to mix the tea and water for about 20sec in a tea bowl
Suitable for: Fancy confectionaries, Home party
Matcha is different from other types of green tea. It is prepared by mixing powdered tea with hot water, instead of using a teapot. Matcha has a rich and profound green-tea flavor, which is much stronger than sencha. When brewed, it becomes murky and light green. You can find a bit of foam on its surface. This is the tea used in “The Way of Tea” (tea ceremony). Matcha is enjoyed on rare occasions, and is also served at Japanese rustic-style cafes, or in upscale restaurants. It is also easy to prepare at home using a large ceramic bowl and a bamboo whisk. Some people enjoy matcha casually at home. Green tea ice-cream is an essential dessert in summer.

Golden drops of condensed umami

Brewing: Leaves 3-4g, Water 20ml/0.7oz 40-60C/104-140F, Time 120sec
Suitable for: Private time in the quiet night, Special occasion
Gyokuro is a fine and expensive green tea. This type of tea is grown under cover to avoid direct sunlight. The most distinctive aspect of this tea is that it is prepared with very small amount of water. A small teapot and cups are recommended for preparing gyokuro. The water temperature should be much lower than other tea, and it should be brewed for a longer time. With this brewing method, you can extract the condensed umami of green tea. You will be surprised with the taste created from a few drops of the tea. The generous umami merged with mellow and delicate bitterness will fill your mouth.

  Top of this page

Secondly processed tea

Smooth roasted flavor with rich aroma

Brewing: Leaves 3g, Water 160ml/5.6oz 100C/212F, Time 30sec
Suitable for: At the end of a day, Meal
Hojicha is a secondly processed tea made by roasting sencha, bancha or kukicha. The tea has a light caramel color when brewed. It should be prepared with boiling water for a short brewing time. Hojicha has less caffeine and tannin, so it has a clear and mild taste with not much bitterness. It has a rich fragrance. It is also reasonable and often enjoyed at meals. Hojicha is very popular and served at many restaurants as well.

Distinctive roasted-rice aroma and taste fused with green tea

Brewing: Leaves 3g, Water 100ml/3.5oz 100C/212F, Time 60sec
Suitable for: Casual occasion, Morning tea
Genmaicha is a variation of sencha or bancha blended with roasted brown rice. Therefore, it has an elaborate aroma with refreshing taste of green tea and nutty flavor of roasted rice. Hot temperature of water is preferred to prepare this tea. Genmaicha is a popular tea like hojicha. It is usually reasonably priced and enjoyed casually.

  Top of this page

Demono - By-product tea -

When sencha, kabusecha and gyokuro are produced, some unnecessary parts are sifted out. You can enjoy different aspects from the original teas and distinctive taste. The following teas are made from these parts:
Thicker than sencha or gyokuro with good body

Brewing: Leaves 3g, Water 160ml/5.6oz 90C/194F, Time 10sec
Suitable for: With sushi, At work
Konacha made out of small pieces of sencha, kabusecha or gyokuro leaves. When these three are produced, some leaves get broken into small pieces. Konacha is made of those flaked leaves. Because of the small grains, the tea infuses well and fast. Therefore, the taste is much richer and thicker than sencha. The brewed tea is a little murky with the fine pieces slipped through the tea strainer. Konacha is often used at sushi restaurants, and referred to as agari.

Rich flavor with savory umami and robust bitterness

Brewing: Leaves 2-3g, Water 70ml/2.5oz 70-90C/158-194F, Time 60sec
Suitable for: Chatting tea time,
Mecha is made of buds from sencha, kabusecha or gyokuro. Buds has condensed flavors of tea. Each piece is small and a little curled or hunched. It looks similar to konacha because its small grains, but the difference is that mecha opens the leaves and is swollen when brewed. Konacha is not swollen as much as mecha, and the leaves after brewed look dissimilar. Mecha is appreciated by people who prefer rich flavors.

Sweetness in light flavor

Brewing: Leaves 2-3g, Water 70ml/2.5oz 70-90C/158-194F, Time 60sec
Suitable for: Night tea, after exercise
Kukicha is a collection of stalks of sencha, kabusecha or gyokuro. Usually the twigs don’t have as much flavor as leaves have, so the brewed tea has a clear taste with refreshing green aroma. Kukicha made from gyokuro is sometimes called by a special name, karigame or shiraore, which has sweetness with delicate gyokuro flavor. Kukicha can be prepared similar with sencha.

Home | Everyone's Tea-style | Top of this page |
Japanese tea culture | Japanese tea wares | Japanese-style tea | Japanese tea setting |