Japanese Tea with Best Japanese Blog

Japanese Tea with Best Japanese Blog

We were recently asked by Babur from Best-Japanese Lifestyle & Culture Blog to write a guest post about Japanese teas for beginners. The post includes a brief look at 13 Japanese teas as well as health benefits and brewing techniques. 

Click here view the full article on their website!


    We were thrilled to be given the chance to collaborate with such a fantastic Japan centric online magazine and have been inspired to look a little deeper into Japanese Teas and tea terms here on our own blog. 

We hope you find our long long list below helpful, make sure to go all the way to the end for some useful terms to help on your Japanese tea Journey! 



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Sencha is the most common green tea produced in Japan. The leaves are steamed quickly after harvest to prevent oxidation then rolled into a needle shape and dried. Sencha is usually thought of as unshaded and as a result low in umami flavours. Some tea farms do however shade the tea plants for a few days before harvesting the sencha to start to develop the amino acids and umami flavours. 

Shop Green Tea


Shaded for just over a week, Kabusecha is between sencha and gyokuro in terms of umami flavour profiles. The processing is generally the same as sencha. 

Shop 2023 Kabusecha


Gyokuro is a high grade green tea that is usually shaded for around 20 days. The production method is similar to that of sencha but the additional shading time gives a high level of L-theanine, umami flavours to the resulting tea. Gyokuro should be brewed at much cooler temperatures to bring out the natural sweetness.

  • Matcha

    Matcha is made from tencha tea leaves that have been shaded for at least three weeks before harvesting. The cultivation is similar to that of gyokuro but the leaves are not rolled. They are simply steamed, dried, sorted and then cut before they can be ground by stone mills to create a super fine green tea powder that can be whisked in a tea bowl, chawan, with water using a bamboo whisk, chasen.

  • Tencha

    Tencha are the leaves used to create matcha tea. These leaves have a flaked appearance as they have gone through very little processing before drying. The leaves are shaded during cultivation for at least three weeks meaning they have a large amount of the amino acid L-theanine which gives us a strong umami flavour. Tencha tea leaves are traditionally stone ground to create matcha powder but they can also be brewed as we would others loose leaf teas producing a bright green liquor. 


Shicha, also often known as Ichibancha in Japan, is the first spring tea picked at the begging of the harvesting year in May. Shin means “new” Ichiban means “first”. This tea is celebrated as it is the freshest new tea produced in the spring months. Although this usually refers to sencha tea any tea harvested at the beginning of spring can be considered shincha.

  • Genmaicha

    This tea is made by mixing tea leaves with toasted rice. Genmaicha is often made with bancha but can also be made with high grade sencha or hojciha. Genmaicha has a beautiful deep roasted flavour that comes from the rice. It works deliciously when paired with food. 

  • Kamairicha

    Kamairicha is pan fired or pot roasted tea. This variety of tea is very popular in Kyushu and the processing has been influenced by techniques learned in China. Kamairicha green tea has more of cooked vegetal flavour with a more yellow tea liquor. This is because the oxidation process is stopped by the heat of the pan rather than being steamed. Tea farmers produce green, Hojicha and black varieties of kamairicha. 

  • Tamaryokucha

    Tamaryokucha is a type of green tea that had been rolled in a circular motion rather than into needles like sencha. Cultivated and processed in in a similar way to sencha but instead of rolling into needles the tea leaves are rolled on a machine into curls. This process is popular in Kyushu where they also make Kamairicha. Tamaryokucha can be brewed over many infusions as the rolled leaves take a while to fully open up and infuse the with water. 

  • Konacha

    Konacha is powdered tea but it has not been processed like matcha. This type of tea is the “dust” and smallest particles of tea that are left after processing. Often used in tea bags or as powdered green tea, it infuses very quickly and is usually quite astringent.  

  • Mecha

    Mecha is made from the softest, small leaf tips or buds. It has a deep green colour and is usually made from shaded tea plants meaning it is rich in umami flavour.  


Although it looks like a dark tea, Hojicha is in fact roasted green tea. The tea is often made with bancha but can also be made with higher grade leaves. The roasting process removes most of the caffeine in the tea making it ideal for children, before bed or for anyone with a sensitivity to caffeine. Hojicha flavours and tea colour can vary greatly depending on the time and types of leaves that have been roasted.

Shop Hojicha
  • Bancha

    Bancha means “ordinary tea “ and it is seen as a tea for everyday consumption. It is harvested later in the year and is made from the tea leaves that have grown to a much larger size. This means that they are thicker and take longer to release their flavour. Depending on where you are in Japan bancha can also often be used as a term for Hojicha but these leaves are not always roasted. 

  • Kyobancha

    Tea produced in Kyoto that is not rolled. The leaves are very large and remain in tact after drying. This tea is roasted and usually quite smokey in flavour and is almost totally caffeine free.

  • Wakocha

    This is Japanese black tea. Although not as common as green tea, wakocha is becoming more popular and more farms are starting to produce it. As the Japanese genus of the tea plant has much lower catechins than plants used elsewhere in the world to create black tea the resulting drink is much lighter and less astringent with a mellow sweetness. 

    Shop Japanese Black Tea 
  • Oolong

    Oolong is not very common in Japan but some farms have started to create this using techniques learned and bought back from China. This tea is withered and roasted as part of the production and can come in both green and dark varieties.

    Shop Oolong 
  • Goishicha

    This ‘folk’ tea is the only fermented tea traditionally produced in Japan. This tea is produced on the Island of Shikoku in Kochi Prefecture. The tea goes through two stages of fermentation. Giving it both an earthy and sour sweet berry flavour. The name of this tea comes from the way it is produced. The tea is cut into small cubes and so they resemble the stones used as in the game “go”

    Shop Goishicha 


Kuki means stems so kukicha is stem tea. When processing green teas such as sencha an gyokuro the stems are usually removed. These stems are made into their own type of tea. These can be roasted into Hojicha, blended with rice for genmaicha or left as they are to create a green kukicha. 

Shop Kukicha


Produced in Okinawa this Jasmine tea is actually made from Chinese green tea. Sanpincha is enjoyed all over Okinawa and is considered part of the food culture of the islands. This tea is amazing enjoyed cold as well as hot. 

Shop Sanipincha
  • Kuromamecha

    Tea made from roasted black soybeans, Kuromamecha has a deep earthy and sweet flavour with roasted notes. Naturally caffeine free this tea can be bought as whole or cracked beans. 

  • Sobacha

    Made from roasted buckwheat, sobacha is a delicious and healthy infusion with a beautiful golden liquor. Nutty and sweet this tea works deliciously alongside food. 

  • Mugicha

    Barley tea, mugicha is a natural antacid that can help relieve heartburn. This earthy roasted tea can be enjoyed hot or cold and is the perfect caffeine free alternative if you still want to have a flavour resembling roasted tea. 

  • Batabatacha

    From Toyama prefecture is a post fermented tea that is usually blended with herbs from the region. The tea is now usually served at weddings and other celebrations. 

  • Botebotecha

    From Shimane Prefecture. This tea was developed during times of famine when the people needed what little food they had to go further. They would mix a mall amount of rice and grains with pickles into bancha tea with foam on top as a substitution for a meal. 

  • Bukubukucha

    Traditionally served in Okinawa, this tea is made from Sanpin Jasmine tea or Bancha. A small amount of rice or peanuts is added or served alongside. The tea is whisked using a huge chasen into a foam on top of the cup. 

Other Useful Tea Terms


A term used to refer traditional Japanese teas


Literally meaning green tea this is just a generic Japanese term for green tea. It is often used when a company does not want to specify what type of tea leaves they have used.


This is the process of covering the tea bushes with either vinyl covers or traditional reed canopy. The shading process changes the chemical compounds in the tea bringing out more of the amino acids that give us umami and less of the catechins that give bitter flavour and astringency.


Unrefined and processed with leaf stem and viens of the leaves still in tact. Often known as Farmers Tea


Tea that has gone through the second stage of the refining process. Stems and veins are removed and the leaves are often cut and fired to deepen the flavour. Shiagecha is also often blended to create different flavour profiles. 

Cold Brew

Tea leaves steamed in cold filtered water for approx 6-10 hours. This brings out the sweetness in the tea without blowing astringent notes to develop

Ice Brew

Perfect for high grade green teas such as gyokuro, ice brewing is leaving your tea leaves with ice cubes. Wait for the ice to melt and enjoy your infusion. Tis tea should be very sweet and high in umami marine flavours. 


Thin tea: Used for more casual settings or as part of the tea ceremony where each guest will get their own cup with sweets.  


Thick tea: This tea is very thick and viscous. Enjoyed at the most formal part of tea ceremony, the cup would usually be shared among the guests. When buying matcha if the tea says it is “suitable for koicha preparations” you know it is a high grade. 

  • Asamushicha

    Light steamed tea: This is usually when referring to sencha. When the tea leaves are steamed for less than 40seconds it is considered light steamed. Light steaming leaves the tea leaves in tact resulting in a clearer infusion.

  • Fukumushicha

    deep steamed tea: This refers to green teas that are steamed over a minute. The longer the tea leaves are steamed the more they break down. This leads to quicker infusion times later and usually results in a cloudier final infusion. Fukumushicha teas are often sweeter as the leaves have been ‘cooked’ longer.

  • Chuwamushicha

    Mid steamed tea: Somewhere between Asamushi and Fukumushi steaming times. The leaves are slightly smaller than asamushi and the resulting tea is balanced between sweet and astringent. 

  • Aracha

    Unrefined and processed with leaf stem and viens of the leaves still in tact. Often known as Farmers Tea

  • Shiagecha

    Tea that has gone through the second stage of the refining process. Stems and veins are removed and the leaves are often cut and fired to deepen the flavour. Shiagecha is also often blended to create different flavour profiles.