Production

Production

Overview

Japanese Green teas are produced in the gentlest way possible: the tea leaves are steamed. Thus leaves the nutrients in the leaf undamaged. Scientific research indicates that Japanese green teas contain significantly more nutrients than green teas originating from other countries. Japan produces many kinds of teas and here we listed them into two categories, one is Shaded and the other is Non-Shaded teas.

Shaded Teas

The shaded teas are Tencha, Gyokuro and Kabusecha.

Shaded teas are considered as premium tea compared to non-shaded tea due to its labor intensive process requiring meticulous attention, time, and cost. But these additional efforts bring higher quality and more exquisite taste. By shading, the tea leaves expand to collect more sunlight which results in thinner, softer tea leaves. Also, these tea leaves retain potent amounts of L-theanine (amino acid known to reduce stress and anxiety) by not exposing the leaves to sunlight as it brings natural sweetness and aroma.

Tencha:

The tea to make Matcha.
Shading period: 3-4 weeks prior to harvest
Shading method: Full shading, including top and sides of the field. 3 layers of tarp shading filter out 90% of the sunlight.
Harvest: 1st harvest in May, hand plucking.

Gyokuro:

Japan's finest leaf tea.
Shading period: 2-3 weeks prior to harvest
Shading method: Full shading, including top and sides of the field. 3 Layers of tarp shading filter out 90% of the sunlight.
Harvest: 1st harvest in May, hand plucking or machine plucking (depending on quality).

Kabusecha:

Popular version of shaded Sencha tea.
Shading period: 1 to 2 weeks prior to harvest
Shading method: Half shading, top, direct on the tea bush. 1 layer filters out up to 50% of the sunlight.
Harvest: 1st harvest in May, 2nd harvest in June. Mostly machine harvested.

Non-Shaded Teas

All other Japanese teas are not shaded: Sencha, Bancha, Hojicha, Kukicha, Genmaicha

Sencha:

Japan's most classic tea stands for 75% of the countries tea production output.
Harvest: Three times a year in May(1st), July (2nd) and August to September (3rd). 1st harvest is best in quality as 2nd and 3rd harvest follows.

Hojicha:

Roasted Sencha tea with a unique toasty aroma and flavor.
Harvest: Hojicha harvest takes place during the 2nd (July) and 3rd harvest (September)

Kukicha:

Blend made from Sencha tea and tea twigs. Kukicha has unique freshness taste aroma which comes from tea twigs.
Harvest: Can be produced in all harvest periods.

Genmaicha:

Blend of Sencha and roasted brown rice. Genmaicha has its unique nutty aroma, flavor.
Harvest: Can be produced in all harvest periods.