Tanesei Trading
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About Food

Green Tea

Japanese Green Tea (ryokucha)
Simply known as “O-cha” (Tea), Japanese green tea is widely known and like by many for its health benefits. There are many types of tea, commonly graded on the quality, the parts of the plant used, and how they are processed. There are large variations in both price and quality within these broad categories. The best Japanese green tea is said to be that from the Yame region of Fukuoka Prefecture and the Uji region of Kyoto.

Tea is usually classified into three groups according to the difference of processing being fermented tea (black tea), non-fermented tea (green tea), and semi-fermented tea (oolong tea). Almost all teas are made into green tea in Japan. Green tea is also categorize into various kinds depending on the part of the leaf used, plucking period, cultivation methods, manufacturing methods and many more considerations. Almost all teas are produced by steaming leaves to remove the enzyme.

Production of tea types on Japan

Types of Green Tea (Steaming)
The common green teas manufactured in Japan from steaming are:
1. Bancha
A common green tea in Japan. Harvested from the same tree as sencha grade, made from coarse leaves and stalks, it is plucked later than sencha is, thus giving it a lower market grade. It is considered the lowest grade of green tea. It has a unique taste, providing a strong organic straw smell.

2. Genmaicha (Brown Rice Tea)
It is a type of tea which combines green tea with roasted brown rice (called the ‘popped genmai’ or ‘hulled rice kernels’). This type of tea is consumed by all segments of society. It contains a mild, savory flavor.

3. Gyokuro
Gyokuro is the finest and expensive type of green tea in Japan. Known as sencha, it has a unique way of cultivation, which is shaded for approximately 2 weeks before harvesting. Its name was translated as "jade dew", referring to its pale green color. It gives a tender sweet taste.

4. Houjicha (Roasted tea)
Houjicha is made from a green tea (bancha) roasted over charcoal of high temperature (≈200°C), altering the leaf color tints from green to reddish-brown. As it is made from Bancha, it is somehow considered a lower grade tea. Due to the possibility that it can be low in caffeine, houjicha is a popular tea to drink before going to sleep. It is commonly found at sushi restaurant too. Houjicha is brown in color and produces a unique roasted aroma.

5. Kabusecha
It is a type of Sencha tea cultivated in un-shaded areas that is exposed to direct sunlight, unlike other varieties. Special nets are used to hang over the plants to obtain a natural shade without completely letting out sunlight. Kabusecha Sencha contains a more delicate flavor than Sencha.

6. Matcha (Tencha)
Matcha is a type of fine, powdered green tea used particularly for tea ceremony. It is commonly used as a flavour to foods such as mochi and soba noodles, matcha ice cream and a variety of Japanese confectionery products. It is made by grinding dried tea leaves (Tencha) into fine powder.

7. Mugicha (Roasted Barley Tea)
Mugicha refers to ‘roasted barley tea’. Generally it acts as a cooling summer beverage in Japan. Barley teabags are becoming popular throughout the years, and it has since became the norm in Japan. Mugicha is usually served cold however, it can also be served hot especially during Winter season. It can be brewed using hot or cold water. It is also often regarded as a caffeine-free coffee substitute.

8. Sencha – Fukamushicha
Sencha is the most popular and common tea in Japan. Sencha also meant roasted tea. However, it is different from Chinese Style roasted tea as Japanese Sencha is used to steam first before processing it. Therefore, Sencha produces a greener color and slightly more bitter than Chinese Tea. Sencha is a favourite due to its refreshing taste and less bitter than the other green tea.

How to Prepare
For most of the green tea, they appear in the form of teabags or tea leaves. Simply scoop the recommended amount of tea leaves (as stated in the packaging) or teabags into a teapot. Add some water (usually hot water) and leave it for a few seconds (Timing varies. Please see packaging). Pour into smaller serving cups.

For tea leaves, pour off all the water once ready. Any water soaking in the tea leaves will caused bitterness.

For tea bags, if there are leftover after transferring into small serving cups, remove the teabag so that the taste will not get bitter.

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