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Japanese Green Tea Guide

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Perhaps the best recognized tea culture in the world, the Japanese have many teas that are unique and extremely healthy. At Spice Hut, we carry only the best Japanese green teas we can find. Let’s go over some of our more popular varieties.
Sencha- This is the most popular tea in Japan, and might be the most popular green tea in the world. Sencha is the first and second flush of green tea made from leaves that are exposed directly to sunlight. The name “Sencha”(decocted tea) describes the method for preparing the beverage. These tea leaves retain a vibrant green color from the steaming process that they undergo. There is also a tea ceremony that goes along with sencha.

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Gyokuro- This is a higher grade than the Sencha. It is grown in the shade for 20 days before picking to increase the theanine content and reduce catechins, making the tea more potent and less bitter. This tea brews up with a bright green color and a sweet taste.

Matcha- This tea is grown similarly to gyokuro, but instead of preserving the intact leaves, matcha is ground into an extremely fine powder. It takes hours just to produce a few ounces of matcha! When finished, matcha is whisked into hot water and ingested whole, no steeping needed.

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Houjicha- This is generally a lower quality green tea (bancha) that has been fire-roasted rather than steamed. This tea has a reddish brown color and brews with a very light, toasty flavor.
Kokeicha- Matcha powder is mixed with a small amount of water and rice paste, and then kneaded to form a paste, much like how pasta dough is made. The paste is then extruded through tiny holes, much like how fresh pasta is made. The extruded Matcha paste is dried and then cut into short pieces to resemble tea leaves. These “leaves” are the final product – Kokeicha.
Genmaicha- Green tea, usually sencha, combined with brown rice. Also known as popcorn tea because some of the rice kernels pop during the roasting process, resembling popcorn. This is usually the tea you are served when going to a sushi restaurant.

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These are the Japanese green teas that the Spice Hut carries. Learn more here.