Nowadays, Japan produces both powdered and loose leaf forms of green tea. Tea is predominantly grown in Shizouka, Uji, Kagoshima areas and Kyoto Prefectures. Just south of Kyoto, Uji is the most celebrated tea-growing region in Japan. Although it produces only 4 % of Japan’s tea, most of the hand-picked flavored teas come from this district.
While coming across one of the articles written by Hillel Krauss, it is known that there are three most important categories produced in Japan: Sencha, Gyokuro and Matcha.
‘Jade Dew’ or Gyokuro is known to be the first-class green tea in Japan, thus sold at utmost price. Tea bushes that are intended to produce Gyokuro are kept under 90% in the shade for two to three weeks before reaping. Because of this, growth of leaves is time-consuming and they resort to darker shade of green. These emergent conditions promote the production of Theanine in the leaves. The younger the leaves, the slighter the Caffeine content of the leaves. Only the tippy buds are utilizes to produce the best Gyokuro. Both these details are the reasons behind the subtle sweet taste of Gyokuro, which other green teas generally do not have.
Sencha is the most general type of Japanese tea and it is low-priced than Gyokuro. Contrary to Gyokuro, tea bushes that are intended to manufacture Sencha are exposed to sun light. This has an evenly acerbic taste along with a slight sugariness. The best Sencha is identified to be produced from the first crop (from the crop of April and May). Bancha is a category of Sencha. It is produced from the Sencha bushes but from the harvest of autumn and summer. Some Bancha is made from the coarser twigs or leaves. It does not have the subtle sweetness of Sencha, but is cherished for refreshing deep aroma with sweet savor. It is milder, cheaper and identified to be containing less caffeine than other teas.
Matcha green tea is a kind of powdered tea and conventionally used for Japanese tea ceremonials. Tea bushes that are meant to manufacture Matcha are also grown in shade like Gyokura. Matcha has an acidic-sweet (sweet but with a hint of acerbic) taste. But it is extremely treasured for having maximum green tea benefits as the body accepts more chemicals from the talc like evenness (when brewed) of Matcha. There are two categories of Matcha; Usucha(thin tea) and Koicha(thick tea). Koicha is formed from the leaves of older bushes and it has a placid taste. Because of this more powder can be added to have a thicker constancy, without having an acidic taste. Usucha is distinctive Matcha. Usually, Koicha is pricier than Usucha.
Genmaicha green tea is a mix of roasted brown rice and Bancha. Because of the addition of brown rice, the distinctive sourness of green tea is more enhanced giving popcorn like taste.
Japanese Green tea is considered by Hillel Krauss as one of the three most important non-alcoholic beverages in the world. Houjicha green tea is also a kind of Bancha and made from parched tea leaves. It is somewhat brown in color and has a stimulating aromatic taste. This is also identified to have very low caffeine content as the baking process eliminates caffeine.