The Japanese love affair with tea stretches back over a millennium. This illustrates that the tea here is more than just another drink.
Teas are a staple part of Japanese culture. So much so that you can find vending machines at every corner dispensing bottles at a mere ¥100. Given the unique bond of the people with teas here, it isn’t a surprise to learn that there are over 100 different types of teas in Japan. And one cup of the right flavor is what you need to blow off steam.
The world of Japanese teas is pretty vast. The flavors vary according to the leaves, processing methods, and growing regions. Some aren’t made from leaves but kelp, barley grains, and veggies. You must know all about the famous Japanese teas to figure out which kind will help you find your zen. Let’s explore five of them together:
Its distinct traits have made Matcha a cornerstone of tea ceremonies in Japan.
Unlike the other types, Matcha is available as a fine powder instead of loose leaves. Its bushes are kept under the shade for 20 days before the harvest. This reduces the astringency of the leaves and boosts their chlorophyll.
The bright green pigment of the leaves is an outcome of the high chlorophyll it produces. The powder is whisked with hot water to make a sweet, bright green suspension. Coupled with an exhaustive list of health benefits, Matcha is the powerpack beverage you need to keep going. Typically, it is available in two grades, with the highest one served at special ceremonies.
If you ever visit Japan, try attending a traditional tea ceremony in an ancient yet elegant setting. When the master whisks you a perfect bowl of Matcha, you can’t help but drool over the beautiful blend of tastes!
Sencha happens to be the most popular type of tea in Japan. It is a loose-leaf green tea that grows under full sunlight. This makes the color go dark, and the flavor becomes astringent.
Preparing this tea requires immersing the leaves in hot water to produce a rich brew. The greenish-golden color with a well-balanced flavor gives a perfect start to your day.
In fact, Sencha should be your ultimate pick if you are looking for an alternative to coffee. It bucks you up and helps you steer clear of the dreadful caffeine crash.
Hojicha is a Japanese, low-caffeine tea with striking red hues and smoky flavors. After the harvest, Hojicha is steamed to stop the oxidation and then roasted. This brings an irresistible aroma to the leaves.
Due to the roasting process, Hojicha loses most of its caffeine content, making it viable for the elderly and children. To be specific, a cup (250 ml) of Hojicha contains 7.7 mg of caffeine. In contrast, the caffeine content in Matcha and coffee is 70 mg and 95 mg, respectively.
Generally, curling up on the sofa and enjoying your favorite cup of tea is quite rejuvenating. But if you do so with Hojicha, you will find your cortisol and stress levels taking a much-needed dip. This is because the tea contains L-Theanine (an amino acid that helps ease anxiety and stress).
Brew yourself a cup of Genmaicha when you want to escape the chaos of the day. It contains a mixture of roasted rice and green tea.
The blend balances the nutty flavor of roasted rice with the astringency of green tea. The toasted aroma of rice soothes you and pulls you out of stress. Given that it has a low caffeine content, you can enjoy Genmaicha at any hour of the day.
People who face frequent blood sugar spikes may feel irritable, tired, and tempted to munch on junk food. Instead, they can consume Genmaicha to maintain their blood sugar and control their cravings.
Each cup of Genmaicha contains Theanine, an amino acid that relaxes the brain, and GABA. Fully known as Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that limits the brain signals and calms your body.
Gyokuro tea has been consumed for around 200 years in Japan.
This tea is slightly different from other green teas because of its distinguished brewing method. Plus, it uses small tea leaves plucked from the top of the plant. These produce a fresh aroma when brewed and give a sweet umami flavor. Coupled with its delicate taste are the health benefits that make this tea one of the finest. Gyokuro is also known to have a higher caffeine content than most other green teas.
The presence of Theanine ensures that the caffeine is gradually released throughout the day. It helps you maintain an alert mental state without a heavy buzz. Gyokoru could become your daily morning beverage if you learn the right combo of its ingredients.
This list barely touches the surface when it comes to Japanese teas. The regional variations and harvest windows create diverse flavors. Besides, every step of the process, ranging from seeds to leaves and the teapot, impacts the beverage flavor.
So, whether you are looking for a tea to serve at your tea party or a drink that helps you relax – you will surely find something in the Japanese tea range.