About Japanese Tea

Great care is taken to produce Japanese green tea with aroma and flavor of the highest quality

Our entire manufacturing process is aimed at producing the delicious taste found only in Japanese green tea. There are a variety of operations and processes involved in manufacturing Japanese green tea, from tea field cultivation to tea factory processing, and our highly-skilled team of experts are dedicated to the art of growing and making tea.

The delicious taste of Japanese green tea begins in the tea fields

Naturally, tea is an agricultural product, and similar to fruits and vegetables, high-quality tea leaves can only be grown and picked after much attention to feeding the soil with fertilizer, practicing irrigation and pruning. Producing high-quality teas with umami such as gyokuro (refined green tea indigenous to Japan) is labor-intensive, since the tea fields must be completely covered and shaded from the sunlight for a fixed period prior to picking (the ooishita cultivation method). In particular, cultivating high-quality teas is a precise process, whereby young leaves are picked manually, one by one, according to tradition. Japan has four distinct seasons that affect the period when tea can be harvested, and teas harvested at different times have contrasting flavors. Of the various types of Japanese green tea available, the young tea leaves used for gyokuro, matcha and high-grade sencha can only be harvested for a short time during spring.

Japan's unique "steaming" method produces the beautiful green tea color

To prevent oxidization, freshly-picked tea leaves are steamed. This unique Japanese process gives Japanese green tea its own special flavor and beautiful color. Following this, the tea leaves are rolled and dried until they are drawn into a long, thin shape. The end product is aracha (unprocessed tea). Although at one time all of these processes were performed by hand by skilled experts, nowadays most teas are processed by machine; however, the manual hand-rolling method serves as the foundation for this technology, and even today, the Japanese art and spirit of making tea is passed down by skilled experts involved in the industry.

Producing the subtle aroma and strong flavor of shiage requires great skill

An important characteristic of Japanese green tea is the effort of the expert in turning it from aracha to shiagecha (refined tea). This process is so important that each company within the tea manufacturing industry keeps it a secret. However, it involves sieving and cutting the tea leaves so that they can be sorted with attention to color and shape, after which each manufacturer uses their own method of hiire (drying) to further enhance the aroma and flavor of the tea by drying the leaves a second time. Lastly, in the same way that whiskey is blended, a specialist sorts between the subtle differences in aroma and taste to blend the teas for the ultimate flavor. The subtle aroma and strong flavor unique to Japanese green tea is a result of this detailed and careful process. Japan’s unique “steaming” method produces the beautiful green tea color To prevent oxidization, freshly-picked tea leaves are steamed. This unique Japanese process gives Japanese green tea its own special flavor and beautiful color. Following this, the tea leaves are rolled and dried until they are drawn into a long, thin shape. The end product is aracha (unprocessed tea). Although at one time all of these processes were performed by hand by skilled experts, nowadays most teas are processed by machine; however, the manual hand-rolling method serves as the foundation for this technology, and even today, the Japanese art and spirit of making tea is passed down by skilled experts involved in the industry.

Sencha

The most commonly enjoyed variety of Japanese green tea is sencha. The freshly-picked tea leaves are steamed and then dried as they are rolled. After the leaves have been shaped, they are blended to acieve the best flavor for the consumer. In general, sencha is green tinged with yellow and has a well-balanced conbination of aroma, umami and bitterness, providing you with a feeling of luxury that increases with the grade of green tea.

Houjicha

This fragrant and refreshing Japanese green tea is made by roasting sencha or bancha over a high flame. The roasting process diminishes the tannin and caffeine content of the leaves to suppress astringency and bitterness and draw out fragrance. Houjicha is a warm brown color, and since it has a somewhat mild flavor, is popular with children and the elderly. Low in caffeine, houjicha is also the green tea of choice for infants in Japan.

Genmaicha

Genmaicha is a richly-flavored Japanese green tea made by mixing roasted rice with sencha or bancha. Before being blended with the tea, the rice is steeped in water and steamed then roasted at a high temperature, and the popped rice stands out white amongst the tea leaves. Genmaicha allows you to enjoy the special savory fragrance of the roasted rice together with the refreshing taste of sencha or bancha. Because of its low caffeine content, genmaicha is recommended for all ages, from children to the elderly.

Japanese green tea is delicious with both sweet and savoury foods

In Japan, green tea is used in a variety of foods including tea-buckwheat noodle, green tea-flavoured dumplings, green tea sponge cake and green tea-flavoured chocolate. In addition to testing delicious, these foods are healthy as they contain the nutrients of green tea in whole form. Japanese green tea is also delicious used like a herb to flavour food, such as bread and cakes! Try adding Japanese green tea to your cooking.