10 Types Of Japanese Green Tea You SHould Know!

Here are the types of Japanese green tea you should know about before you try Japanese green tea! 

Coming from a Japanese background, we have always been known for our deep rooted appreciation towards tea. 

Out of the many varieties of tea available to us, our most common preference is Green Tea. Which is why we happen to have the largest population of people who drink green tea. 

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Living in Japan gives me the opportunity to do many things. One thing I did decide to pursue was a mission to try the different kinds of green tea around me. 

On this mission, I discovered upto 10 different kinds of green tea. If you stay with me, I’ll take you through them in this blog post. 

Types Of Japanese Green Tea

Aracha Tea

Aracha (raw tea) is an unfinished green tea. It uses all parts of the tea plant in its product. Because of its natural state, this is the most aromatic and darkly infused green tea I tried. 

It holds many health benefits because of that reason too. There are 4 types of catechins producing astringent components that we find in tea leaves.

All of them work for reduction of cholesterol and fats absorbed into the body, they are Epicatechin, Epigallocatechin, Epicatechin gallate, Epigallocatechin gallate

It’s sold by major markets to wholesalers that separate individual parts of the plant to make green tea blends. Therefore, making it rare and difficult for us consumers to find, but it’s worth a try.

Key features of Aracha Tea

  • Aromatic and darkly infused green tea.
  • Reduces cholesterol and body fats.
  • Difficult for consumers to find.

Bancha Tea

Bancha (ordinary tea) is the second most common green tea found here in Japan. It is well known for being a lower grade tea than Sencha. 

The lower shoots of the plants which are of lower quality are used for Bancha. For those reasons, this is one of the cheapest green teas available here. 

Not only is it good for hydration, but also to alkalize body’s fluids and tissues, helping to prevent diseases and reducing pain in muscles post-exercise by maintaining your acidity levels.

It was also less bitter than other green teas, making it one of my personal favourites. 

      Key Features of Bancha Tea

  • 2nd most common tea in Japan.
  • Lower quality than sencha.
  • Good for hydration and to alkalize bodily fluids to maintain acidity levels.

Funmatsu Cha Tea

Most of the time the leaves used to make funmatsucha (powdered tea) aren’t high quality. Because of that, it doesn’t cost much to purchase a cup of one of these teas. 

What gives this tea an edge over other teas is that the powdered nature makes it easy for us to brew. We can just stir the powder into a cup of hot water and, voila! You have your cup of green tea. 

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By drinking this, you have a greater intake of compounds found in tea. Fibre isn’t water soluble so it’s not present in non-powdered teas.  This also means that you consume the green tea leaves instead of discarding them like we do with other green teas. 

Key Features of Funmatsu Cha Tea

  • Able to purchase for a cheap price.
  • Powdered nature makes it easy to prepare.
  • Actually being able to consume green tea leaves. 

Genmaicha Tea

Genmaicha (brown rice tea) is called that, essentially because it is a mix of roasted rice and green tea. 

Even though this blend consists of a 1:1 ratio of  rice and green tea , we consider this as green tea too, probably because it goes a long way in our Japanese culture. 

When it is steeped, the tea we receive from it has a light yellow hue. Since it has its differences with other green teas, the brewing method is different – at least 3 to 5 mins depending on preference of flavour. 

Some health benefits of this tea is: 

  1. Balancing blood sugar
  2. Improves dental health
  3. Helps with relaxation and concentration
  4. Regulates thyroids and removes toxins
  5. Lowering risk of cancer and heart disease

The nutty flavour of the rice and the astringency of green tea created a perfect balance and is a lovely flavour on the palette. 

Key Features of Genmaicha Tea:

  • 1 : 1 ratio of roasted rice and green tea.
  • Prepared tea is light yellow in colour.
  • Takes 3 – 5 mins to brew. 

Hojicha Tea

Hojicha (roasted tea) has a reddish brown colour and a roasted earthy fragrance. It was invented in Kyoto in the 1920’s and is very famous there for that reason. 

At one glance, it looks like an ordinary black tea because of its colour. Unlike black tea, hojicha is not oxidised and is made from different forms of green tea. 

Some of them are: bancha, sencha and kukicha. This tea is made by roasting at around 200 celsius and then quickly cooled. 

Health benefits of drinking hojicha are : 

  1. Fight colds and strengthen immune system 
  2. Boosts metabolism and helps with digestion
  3. Alleviate and prevent swelling pain from arthritis. 

This roasting process reduces the level of caffeine and catechin(the main source of astringency), giving it a unique smoky flavour and making it a better option for children and elders to drink. 

Key Features of Hojicha Tea 

  • Reddish brown coloured and has a roasted earthy flavour.
  • Invented in Kyoto.
  • Made by roasting and then cooling, hence giving it a black colour. 
  • Lower levels of caffeine and catechin makes it suitable for elders and children. 

Kamairicha Tea

The kamairicha tea possesses a unique quality of being ‘pan fried’ instead of steamed, unlike many of our other Japanese teas. 

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This method of pan frying green tea is influenced by the Chinese, and because of that, it is quite rare to find in Japan. It has a mild roasted flavour and aroma.

It benefits a longer life span by improving the heart functions, strengthening the immune system and stopping cell mutations.

 There are 2 types of Kamairicha Green Tea: 

1. Kamairi Tamaryokucha (curly at the end) 

2. Kamanobicha (familiar needle shape). 

 The 2 kinds can be differentiated by the shape. However, pan fried tea amounts to only about 5% of Japan’s total tea production, and out of the 2, Kamairi Tamaryokucha is the far more common option. 

Key Features of Kamairicha Tea 

  • Pan fried instead of steamed.
  • Influenced by chinese, hence rare in Japan.
  • Has a mild roasted flavour and aroma.
  • There are 2 types of kamairicha. 

Konacha Tea

Konacha (powder tea) is made of small bits of leaves which are filtered out during the filtering process of green tea leaves like gyokuro and sencha.  Although it translates as powder tea, it isn’t a fine powder like matcha or funmatsucha. 

This tea has an intense green colour and a strong taste. Because its components are so small it is supposed to be brewed for a very short time to avoid a taste that’s too strong.

It is often served in sushi restaurants labelled as ‘agari’. It is a tea that helps our economy since it’s basically leftovers, but because it comes from premium teas like sencha and gyokuro, it is not inferior to any other green tea healthwise.

Key Features in Konacha Tea

  • Consists of small filtered particles of green tea leaves.
  • Intense green colour and strong taste.
  • Is an economical tea.

Matcha Tea

Blends of matcha are given poetic names known as chamei (“tea names”). Some proven ways on how matcha can improve our health is : 

Health Benefits of Matcha Tea

  1. Helps protect the liver  
  2. Boosts functioning of the brain
  3. Helps you lose weight
  4. Prevents cardiac diseases and cancer

 Apart from that, matcha is also used as an ingredient in food for the green tea flavour and colour. 

Key Features Matcha Tea

  • Finely powdered high quality green tea.
  • Used in japanese tea ceremonies.
  • Used as an ingredient in food for flavour and colour.

Mecha Tea

Mecha tea (bud tea) has been given this name because it is sourced from the tea buds. The mecha is loaded with nutrients, even more than other Japanese green tea since it is from the young leaves (buds) of the tree. 

Some key health benefits are : 

  1. Immune system booster – keeps your body young and strong
  2. Cancer prevention
  3. Improves brain function
  4. Improves dental health
  5. Beautifies skin
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These buds are separated from high quality green teas like gyokuro and sencha. However, the price of it is much less in comparison to other high quality green teas. 

So in case you’re looking for a good quality tea to buy for a reasonable price, mecha tea is your tea. This is also a green tea of high aroma and flavour, which can cause a bitter taste if it’s steeped for too long. 

This concentrated green tea flavour in mecha comes from the fact that the buds of the plant carry the most amount of flavour. 

Key Features of Mecha Tea 

  • Sourced from tea buds hence loaded with nutrients and extremely flavourful.
  • Comes from high quality green tea but is cheaper than them.
  • High aroma and flavour.

Sencha Tea

Last but not least, sencha tea (decocted tea) is the most popular kind of green tea in Japan. 

As a matter of fact, more that 80% of the processed green tea results in producing sencha tea. Just like every other green tea we went through above, sencha has its fair share of multiple health benefits too! 

The brewed tea has a balanced flavour of sweetness and astringency and a refreshing aroma. The upper parts of the shoots are used for the production of sencha and because of that it comes under a higher quality of green tea. 

The most important part of the production process is steaming it right after plucking them to prevent it from being oxidised. They are then steamed and rolled into a familiar needle shape.

 A plus point of this action is that the juices from the leaves are released, 

intensifying the flavour of the tea. 

Being the most common tea in Japan, I personally think you should definitely try it at least once in your lifetime. 

Infact, everytime my friends from across the world pay me a visit, I take them for a cup of sencha tea. And they absolutely love it

Key Features of Sencha Tea 

  • Most popular green tea in Japan.
  • Balanced flavour of sweetness and astringency.
  • High quality because it consists of upper parts of the plant.
  • Has a familiar needle shape.

These are the several green tea experiences that I enjoyed across Japan. While some of them were life changing, there were a few I could live without trying again. 

Overall, the ever growing list of  my green tea hunts proved to be an amazing experience and it did not disappoint. 

I hope it inspires you to try a new green tea flavour and I hope you would love it as much as I did. 

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