What are the different types of Japanese tea?
You may have heard of matcha. You may know a bit about green tea. But that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to teas from Japan.
In this guide, you’ll learn about the 12 different types of Japanese tea, plus the health benefits of Japanese tea.
1. Sencha – Steeped green tea
Sencha is the most popular and widely accessible type of Japanese green tea. It is made into dry tea leaves by steaming and rolling the leaves before drying. This unique process during its production, creates a distinct flavor that is different from green teas in other countries. The bitterness and aroma of the tea goes well with Japanese style sweets and cuisine!
- Benefits: Good for weight loss, anti aging, and antibacterial properties.
2. Shincha – Freshly picked green tea
Shincha is a type of Sencha which is made from the leaves of the first harvest of the season. The harvest time of the tea leaves greatly affects the taste. Because the leaves are young, this tea is characterized by a sweeter and milder flavor.
- Benefits: Less caffeine and higher vitamin content.
3. Gyokuro – Shaded green tea
Gyokuro is one of the most expensive and highly regarded teas. This is a special type of Japanese green tea where the leaves are grown under a shade for 3 – 4 weeks. The growing method increases the amount of caffeine and causes the taste to become much sweeter. This tea is perfect for special occasions or when you want to treat yourself to a delicate and complex flavored tea.
- Benefits: Good for mental focus, heart health, and healthy skin.
4. Matcha – Powdered green tea
Matcha is made from green tea leaves that are formed into a powder. The flavors are intense, deep, and also sweet. In Japanese culture, it is a central part of tea ceremonies. It’s traditionally served whisked together with hot water. These days, matcha has grown in popularity around the world. It’s not only a delicious beverage, but it works well in a wide variety of desserts like cake or ice cream.
- Benefits: Contains full nutrients from the tea leaf and easy to prepare.
5. Hojicha – Roasted green tea
This is a type of green tea that is roasted at a high temperature, instead of steamed. It’s usually made from the last harvest of the season, when the leaves are older and less flavorful. The roasting process makes the tea brown-colored and helps the tea gain a caramelized taste. It also has less amounts of caffeine so it’s great to drink before bedtime.
- Benefits: Good for a stronger immune system and for those who can’t tolerate high amounts of caffeine.
6. Genmaicha – Brown rice green tea
This is a green tea that is mixed with roasted brown rice. In the past, the mixture of green tea and rice was a way to make the tea more affordable. The distinct aroma from the roasted rice and the milder flavors of the green tea make this tea unique.
- Benefits: Good for heart health and managing blood sugar levels.
7. Mugicha – Barley tea
Mugicha is a popular and refreshing Japanese tea during the hot summer months. It’s made from boiling roasted barley and commonly served cold in Japan. The tea has a roasted flavor and brownish color. Since it is made from a grain, there is no caffeine. It’s perfect for drinking at any time of day.
- Benefits: Caffeine free and great for weight loss.
8. Kuwacha – Mulberry tea
This is a herbal tea made from the leaves of the mulberry plant. It has a similar flavor as sencha, and it’s made in a similar process of steaming the leaves. The mulberry plant is an important plant for growing silkworms and has been an important part of Japanese history, This is a great tea for enjoying sencha-like flavors, without caffeine.
- Benefits: Contains large amounts of calcium, iron, and zinc. It’s also caffeine free.
9. Sobacha – Buckwheat tea
This is a popular tea that is served at buckwheat noodle restaurants in Japan. Like other grain based teas, this is made from boiling roasted buckwheat. The roasted grain makes the tea have a nutty flavor.
- Benefits: Rich in magnesium and great for stress relief.
10. Kukicha – Twig tea
Kukicha is a tea made from the stems of the green tea plant. It has a unique flavor and aroma that is distinct from the teas made from the leaves. Kukicha goes through the same steaming process as sencha. However, they get separated after the drying process into leaves (sencha) and stems (kukicha). The flavors are more grassy or earthy compared to sencha.
- Benefits: High in calcium, vitamins, and minerals. Good for digestion.
10. Gobocha – Burdock root tea
This tea is made from roasted burdock root. Burdock root is a common root vegetable in many Japanese dishes. It is considered to be extremely healthy and great for the skin. The tea also has similar health benefits and boasts an earthy, sweet, and bitter flavor.
- Benefits: Good for skin health, blood circulation, and constipation.
11. Kombucha – Kombu kelp tea
Kombucha is a tea made from dried kelp. In Japanese, “Kombu” is “kelp” and “cha” means “tea.” Now, outside of Japan, it is the name of a popular fermented drink. However, the fermented kombucha and Japanese kombucha (meaning kelp tea) are completely unrelated. This tea goes well with plum and citrus flavors and can taste more like a broth. Kombu kelp is traditionally used in Japanese cuisine as a broth base.
- Benefits: Good for boosting the immune system and high in iodine.
12. Amacha – Fermented hydrangea tea
This is a herbal tea made from the fermented leaves of hydrangea. The name of the tea means “sweet tea” in Japanese. There is a naturally occurring sweetener in hydrangea leaves that is said to be sweeter than table sugar. For those who usually put sugar in their tea, this is a great alternative with natural sweetness.
- Benefits: Naturally sweet, anti inflammatory properties, and full of antioxidants.
Types of Japanese tea
These are the most popular types of Japanese tea. If you’re interested in getting any of them, feel free to check them out on Amazon.
|Tea||Benefits||How to get it|
|1||Sencha – Steeped green tea||Good for weight loss, anti aging, and antibacterial properties.||Amazon|
|2||Shincha – Freshly picked green tea||Less caffeine and higher vitamin content.||n/a|
|3||Gyokuro – Shaded green tea||Good for mental focus, heart health, and healthy skin.||Amazon|
|4||Matcha – Powdered green tea||Contains full nutrients from the tea leaf and easy to prepare.||Amazon|
|5||Hojicha – Roasted green tea||Good for a stronger immune system and for those who can’t tolerate high amounts of caffeine.||Amazon|
|6||Genmaicha – Brown rice green tea||Good for heart health and managing blood sugar levels.||Amazon|
|7||Mugicha – Barley tea||Caffeine free and great for weight loss.||Amazon|
|8||Kuwacha – Mulberry tea||Contains large amounts of calcium, iron, and zinc. Caffeine free.||Amazon|
|9||Sobacha – Buckwheat tea||Rich in magnesium and great for stress relief.||Amazon|
|9||Kukicha – Twig tea||High in calcium, vitamins, and minerals. Good for digestion.||Amazon|
|10||Gobocha – Burdock root tea||Good for skin health, blood circulation, and constipation.||Amazon|
|11||Kombucha – Kombu kelp tea||Good for boosting the immune system and high in iodine.||Amazon|
|12||Amacha – Fermented hydrangea tea||Naturally sweet, anti inflammatory properties, and full of antioxidants.||Amazon
– Team It’sJapanese