11 Types of Japanese Tea | Guide To Japanese Tea

by Erika Shinomoto
types of japanese tea

Here’s everything you need to know about types of Japanese tea and its health benefits! 

Tea in Japan is a beverage that is drunk both cold and hot and has variants available. It is known for its health benefits and amazing taste. With a history of more than 1000 years, it has now become one of the topmost drinks of Japan. When in Japan, you will always be welcomed with a cup whenever you visit any Japanese house.

Japan is also one of the countries that produce the most tea in the world. One of the most popular tea variants available in Japan is its green tea. However, that is not the only types of Japanese tea that is produced in the country. 

Green tea, however, is the most popular variant and it accounts for almost 90 percent of the total tea production.  

Other favorites in the country are oolong tea and black tea. For a tea connoisseur, the land of Japan has so many different types of Japanese tea that you will surely be delighted. I hope you enjoy knowing about all these variants. 

Types of Japanese Tea

Matcha

Matcha

Matcha tea comes in the category of green tea. This tea is grown in a shaded area so that the leaves can grow larger and greener which eventually helps in producing chlorophyll in large amounts. This process gives the tea its fresh and subtle color as well a taste that is an amazing blend of sweet and bitter. 

To prepare the tea, the leaves are grounded into a fine powder, which is mixed thoroughly in hot water. You can enjoy it at any time of the day and feel absolutely refreshed.

Sencha

sencha japanese tea

Sencha is another very popular green tea in Japan that tastes a bit extra bitter than usual because of its production procedure. This one is grown under the sun that gives the tea its greenish-black color. This is also known as loose leaf green tea. 

To enjoy a cup of this tea, you can boil a tablespoon in hot water and drink it. This tea is also known for its highly energetic nature as it contains a balanced amount of caffeine. Also, you can enjoy it cold or hot as per your wish!

Hojicha

Hojicha

Hojicha tea is made with a completely different process of roasting the stems and leaves of the tea plant to give it a warm and nutty flavor. This one is an amazing option if you do not want something high on caffeine as the process of roasting the leaves and stem decaffeinated the tea and makes it drinkable multiple times in a day. 

I love drinking this tea after dinner because of its mildness. This is a tea that can be given even to infants as well as those who are sick. The nourishing attributes make this tea safe for all. Also, it contains a minimal amount of caffeine, as already mentioned. 

Mugicha

mugicha

Here is another roasted tea for you. But wait, it is not the leaves or stems that are roasted but the barley that is perfectly infused in water. This is a non-caffeinated tea that is very popular in the summer season in Japan and is also one of the best ones to prepare iced tea. 

This tea, however, contains gluten so if you are gluten intolerant, you may want to steer clear of this tea. 

Genmaicha

GenmaiCha

Have you ever heard of tea made with roasted rice? If you haven’t then you can try this one right here. This tea is a combination of green tea and roasted rice that adds beauty to its flavor. 

Most of the tea is very bitter in taste but in this one, the rice makes the bitterness less and tastes absolutely amazing. Another benefit of having this tea is, you can prepare it with other green tea like matcha and sencha to modify the taste as per your needs.

Sobacha

sobacha

Here is a completely different type of tea made with roasted buckwheat kernels. This tea is caffeine-free and is very good for health as it acts as an antioxidant to your body and boosts your immunity. In terms of taste, it has an essence of wheat flavor which also has a smooth and subtle texture.

Gobocha

Gobocha is tea made after roasting one of the very famous vegetables of Japan ‘Gobo’. This vegetable looks like a tree root and is quite hard in texture. If you are somebody who likes mushroom soup and the earthiness of mushrooms then you will definitely love this tea as it also has an earthy flavor to it. 

The tea is known for its anti-aging properties, which is one of the reasons for it being popular in Japan.

Kombucha

kombucha

Here is a very unique kind of tea that you might consider. Kombucha tea is made with yeast and bacteria when we talk about the one that is not Japanese. Japanese Kombucha is very different from the common one as it is made on a kombu base. 

To make this tea, umami-rich kombu is used, which when brewed in the tea, gives a salty taste that also tastes like Japanese broth. You can drink it this way or can add some plum ume to give it a citrus flavor.

Mecha

Get your hands on this green tea that is made with early leaf buds. This one is made with the same plant that makes sencha tea and the only difference is the buds get separated at the early stage. It still stays fresh, delicious and requires a lot of steeping to get a perfect flavor. 

One of the benefits of having this green tea is that it has its flavor and freshness intact even after steeping multiple times. Japanese people prefer this tea after their meals to cleanse their after taste and also relax.

Aracha

Aracha

Aracha means wild tea and trust me it is wild in its nature as well. It is wild because it keeps its originality intact even after getting cropped. It doesn’t go through any other process before consumption. Some people love it in its raw form as it tastes extremely fresh, earthy, and flavorful.

Koicha

Made with very old harvested green tea plants, this tea is a must-try. It is not a grounded powder or leave-like tea rather it is in the form of a syrup or melted chocolate-like texture. 

koicha

The tea is green in color and mostly sweet in taste but it stands out from the other Japanese teas because of its strong fragrance. 

To have a better taste, mix some other Japanese tea like matcha or sencha as they will bring down the level of bitterness this tea has because of its raw nature. Traditionally as well, this tea is one of the most preferred ones and you can find it at Japanese tea parties as well.

Get your hands on these amazing Japanese green teas and taste the culture in its true form.

Difference Between Japanese Teas And Other Teas

There are so many differences that you can find between Japanese teas and all other kinds of teas from around the world.

  • It is very easy to classify Japanese tea
  • You can also quite easily classify tea cultivars
  • Instead of pan-fired, Japanese tea is steamed
  • There are some Japanese tea that is shaded

Loose Leaf vs Tea Powder

There are many Japanese teas that are available in powdered form. These powdered teas are not the same as matcha powdered tea. Powdered teas are mostly not shaded and they also include stalks, stems, and veins too. 

Matcha powdered tea is quite frothy and smooth. Powdered tea, on the other hand, gives you a cup of murky tea. I love the high-quality powdered teas because they have such a delicious and smooth taste. If you try it once, I am sure you will get addicted to the flavor.

Which tea should you choose?

  • Shaded teas: kabusecha, gyokuro, tencha, matcha
  • Nutty flavor: hojicha, kamairicha, bancha, genmaicha, muhicha
  • Intense flavor: gyokuro, matcha, fukamushi sencha, konacha
  • Least caffeine: kukicha, hojicha, genmaicha
  • By-products: kukicha, kokeicha, konacha, mecha
  • Fresh flavor: kabusecha, sencha, kokeich
  • Sweet flavor: gyokuro, tencha, matcha
  • Umami flavor: gyokuro, high grade sencha, konbucha
  • For the most catechins: gyokuro, middle grade sencha, matcha
  • Powdered tea: hojicha, sencha, matcha
  • Roasted tea: hojicha, some bancha, mugicha, genmaicha

Tea lovers’ paradise!

Japan is truly a paradise for tea lovers. The wide variety of teas available in the country will surely make you go giddy with joy and excitement. I went crazy with happiness when I found out I do not have to satisfy myself with only one type of tea. 

The various types ensure that I get to choose a tea based on my mood. Apart from regular green tea and matcha tea, there are so many other options to choose from. If you love tea like me, I am sure you will find this guide extremely helpful. 

So, what are you waiting for? Get your hands on these types today and enjoy showcasing your tea shelf. 

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