Tea is the most intoxicating drink in Japan and is an important part of Japanese culinary culture. Many types of tea are widely used and consumed at any time of the day. Green tea is the most popular tea, and when people refer to “tea” (お 茶, ocha) without specifying what kind of tea it is called green tea. Green tea is also a key element of the tea ceremony. Among the most famous places where floating tea is grown are Shizuoka, Kagoshima and Uji.
Ryokucha – Green tea
Green tea types are different in cultivation, with a difference in the time of harvest and the amount of sunlight that the tea leaves receive during growth. The tallest one is gyokuro, picked during the first harvest and shaded from the sun for a while before harvest. Next is sencha, which is also picked during the first harvest but its leaves are not protected from the sun. Finally, bancha is a lower green tea whose leaves are obtained from the postharvest ring.
Matcha – Green tea powder
Only the highest quality is used for matcha, which is dried and ground to a fine powder, then mixed with hot water. Matcha is the form of green tea used in the tea ceremony.
Konacha – Green tea residue
Konacha includes tea tea, tea tea, and small tea leaves remaining after gyokuro or sencha processing. Although considered a lower tea, konacha is used in some foods like sushi. It is often used at inexpensive sushi restaurants.
Hojicha – Roasted green tea
Hojicha is prepared by roasting the tea leaves, giving the leaves its characteristic red-brown color. The heat from the roasting process also causes chemical changes in the leaves, giving the hojicha a sweet, slightly caramelized aroma.
Genmaicha – Green tea with roasted brown rice
Genmai is not dirty, brown rice. Genmai grains are roasted and mixed with tea leaves to create Genmaicha. The roasted genmai gives the tea its golden color for a distinctive flavor. Genmaicha is widely used, as an alternative to standard green tea.
Oolongcha – Oolong Tea (a Chinese tea)
Oolongcha involves allowing tea leaves to oxidize, and then steaming or roasting them to prevent oxidation. Oolongcha is commonly served hot and cold in almost all types of dining establishments across Japan. Tea is brown in color.
Kocha – Black tea
Kocha leaves are even more oxidized than oolongcha, giving tea its dark color. In Japanese, “kocha” actually means “red tea”, referring to the reddish brown color of tea. Kocha is widely available at western-style cafes and restaurants.
Jasmine-cha – Jasmine tea
Jasmine tea is widely consumed in Okinawa, where it is known as sanpincha, but not by much in other parts of Japan. Tea is made by combining jasmine with green tea or sometimes oolong tea.
Mugicha- Barley tea
Mugicha is made by stuffing roasted barley in water. The drink is popularly served cold in the summer, and some claim that it is more suitable for children’s consumption because it does not contain caffeine from the tea leaves.
Kombucha- Kelp tea
Kombucha is a beverage made by mixing earth or kombu seaweed into hot water. The drink tastes salty and is sometimes served as a welcome drink at Ryokan.