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Japanese Tea Culture
Green Tea
- vol 2 -
Most of the tea produced in Japan is green tea, yet the variety of this “plain green tea” ranges to more than 20 each differing in the growing method, the shape and size of the tealeaves, the picking season, the methods and lengths in roasting and steaming and hence the thickness and sweetness in taste. Let us go over some of the representative kinds. (click on the names to read more)
■The Most Common Kinds
the most common kind
rich umami and unique aroma
the first leaves of the season
Tencha and Matcha
the tea ceremony tea
■Some Other Kinds
The most common kind of Japanese green tea is made from the leaves of the tealeaves, but other parts of the plant is also made into different kinds of tea. Also, there are some kinds that are secondarily processed.
brisk aroma and sweetness
rich fragrance
tea with rice
■Tea with Rich Nutrition
All kinds of tea are rich in nutrition especially those made from the first leaves of the season, but the elements (nutritions) and the amount contained differ from tea to tea. Here are a couple of kinds of tea which allows more effective intake.
tiny fragments of tealeaves
extra steamed Sencha
So now we’ve roughly gone through just a portion of the variety of Japanese green tea. Above and in the past page I have mentioned several times the words nutrition, components, active ingredients, health benefits, and apart from the taste of the tea these elements are what makes green tea special and causes the green tea boomlet all over the world including Japan. Below is an introduction of the various benefits green tea brings to your health.
Health Benefits
Green tea is rich in health effects for it contains many kinds of medicinal properties each rich in amount as compared to other food or drinks. Here are a few of the representative components and their health effects.
Tea Catechin
the lifestyle disease preventer
the refresher
the soother
Serving Green Tea
Nihoncha is part of the daily life for many people living in Japan and is not something that you need to learn the methods for making tea, but just like there are proper ways for making good coffee or good black tea there is a way of making green tea so that its aroma and flavor can be brought out to the fullest extent.

As mentioned, there are roughly twenty kinds of green tea and the methods of making good tea differs respectively I will not explain the how-to for all kinds but write about how to make the most common tea, Sencha. (the numbers are measures for one cup of Sencha)
1. Choose a relatively small teapot (kyusu) and cup.
2. Fill the cup with boiled water and pour the same hot water into the teapot to warm them (don’t pour out
    the hot water from the pot yet).
3. Pour the hot water from the teapot into a different cup to let it cool a little bit (yuzamashi), and then put 2
    teaspoons of tealeaves into the teapot.
4. Pour the yuzamashi hot water (above 3) into the teapot with leaves.
    hot water: 60-90cc / water temperature: 70-80C
5. Let it steam for 1.5-2 minutes.
6. Serve the tea into the cup until the very last drop.
For those who want to make it really good… choose the right water.
Using different kinds of water can greatly change the colors and more importantly taste and aroma. The best kind of water to make excellent Japanese tea is soft water. Because natural water in Japan is slightly acid soft water, soft water suits Japanese tea best and on the other hand, hard water containing calcium and magnesium is not very suitable.
Information on green tea borrowed from “Ocha Hyakka” managed by ITO EN (Japanese / English)
Next: "The Green Tea War - Green Tea in 21st Century Japan"

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    Spirited Away (2001)
  • Haruki Murakami
  • Yasunari Kawabata
  • Banana Yoshimoto
  • Yukio Mishima
  • Inazo Nitobe
  • Japanese Tea
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