Type of Japanese Green Teas
Japan is famous for its green tea products. There are mainly 8 types of green tea in Japan, which grow in two different type of farms which are Ooishita-en (shaded) and Roten-en (non-shaded) farm.
Ooshita-en (shaded or covered farm)
Sun-light cause increasing acid-amino in tea leaves which will then converted into catechins. Catechins is the main source for its astringency taste.
Around 20 days before plucking tea leaves, the farm is covered or shaded from direct sun-light in order to reduce the astringency and increase the sweetness in tea leaves. Because of this complicated covering process, the cost of tea leaves which grow in Ooshita-en are higher.
Gyokuro, Kabusecha and Tencha (Matcha) are grown in Ooshita-en.
Roten-en (non-covered farm)
Roten-en is non-covered farm, therefore tea leaves absorb much more sun-light and produce stronger astringency and stronger aroma.
Sencha, Bancha, Houjicha, Kukicha and Genmaicha are grown in Roten-en.
Below are 8 main types of green tea.
- Gyokuro - 20 days before plucking, tea leaves are shaded from direct sun-light to reduce astringency and increase sweetness. Tea sprouts are plucked and processed to produce Gyokuro. Gyokuro is the highest grade green tea in Japanese green tea.
- Kabusecha - Kabusecha is shaded tea. Kabusecha is in between Gyokuro and Sencha. It has the sweetness of Gyokuro and the refreshing aroma of Sencha. The shaded process of Kabusecha is also different from Gyokuro. Instead of 20 days, Kabusecha generally only shaded for 10 days before plucking, the light blocked is lower (~50%) as compared to Gyokuro (~80%)
- Tencha/Matcha - Tencha is also plucked from shaded farm. Tencha immediately steamed and dried after plucking. Dried Tencha then milled into fine tea powder which knows as Matcha.
- Sencha - Sencha is the most popular green tea in Japan since 18th century. Sencha is being steamed and rolled into needle shape in order to keep its aroma. Astringency is the main characteristic of Sencha.
- Bancha - After all the young sprouts are plucked, the leftover tea leaves are used to produce Bancha. Bancha is suitable for those who not prefer strong taste.
- Houjicha - Sencha or Bancha is being roasted to produce smoky taste. Houjicha has very low caffeine, which make it a all-day drinks and suitable for restaurant.
- Kukicha - In the process of making Gyokuro or Sencha, fine stems and twigs (part of tea leaves too) are picked to make Kukicha. Kukicha has a popular unique sweetness which come from the stems.
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