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What is Japanese Tea?

  • Japansese Tea

    As the name suggests, Japanese tea is tea produced and processed in Japan, 99% of which is green tea. As a whole Japanese tea makes up 5.7% of the worlds green tea production, with 97% of Japanese tea for domestic consumption and only 3% for export. Japanese Green Tea is very rare in New Zealand, with 99% of Green Tea products available sourced from other countries. (Source: International Tea Committee, Annual Bulletin of Statistics)

    CHARACTERISTIC (feature) of Japanese Tea 1. STEAMING PROCESS Green tea is tea that has not been oxidised; in the other words it requires the cooking process in order to stop oxidation after picking. This is most commonly done through stir frying the leaves in a pan (direct contact with a heated surface), especially in China. What is special about Japanese green tea is that the tea leaves are steamed. Thanks to this steaming process, most of the leaves' natural green colour, fragrance and nutritional components are retained. Most importantly, the goodness of your health is in packed in the final products and you can consume them with pleasure.

    2. MATCHA Matcha is a very special tea produced only in Japan and made from specially prepared Tencha, whereby the leaves are stone milled according to specific, high standards. Matcha is highly-prized and therefore often quite expensive. Matcha sold for use in baking and cooking are usually more reasonably priced, however are often not stone milled from Tencha, and include colouring agents to prevent colour fade. Remember if it's not made in Japan, it's not Matcha! Nippon Tea brings you truly Authentic Japanese Green Tea, at the same high quality as our Tokyo store, for all New Zealanders to enjoy!

  • Varieties: Now available on our online store

    Gyokuro: Luxurious, Rich, Umami
    Gyokuro is a refined shade-grown Japanese green tea. Being shade-grown causes both the amino acid theanine and the alkaloid caffeine in the tea leaves to increase, yielding a sweeter and more concentrated flavour. It is one of the most expensive and luxurious types of green tea available in Japan. Be mindful when brewing this by using lower temperature water.

    Sencha Premium: Full body, Sweet, Rich
    A steamed green tea that is harvested in early spring from Shizuoka. The higher grades, like our Sencha Premium, have a more delicate flavour profile and are more full-bodied, sweet, and smoother than most Senchas.

    Sencha : Clean, Mellow, Refreshing
    A steamed green tea from Shizuoka. Sencha is one of Japan's most popular and beloved teas. It produces a rich, mellow textured tea, with a clean and very refreshing green* aroma. The cup develops a balanced flavour with a rounded finish that coats the palate. Our Sencha is a standard, yet timeless classic.

    Matcha Genmaicha : Nutty, Aromatic
    An original house blend that results in an extremely deep and creamy green tea with extra colour and body from the Matcha. It has a sweet nuttiness from the roasted brown rice and clean fresh notes from the Sencha. A great Japanese tea for beginners as it is easy to brew.

    Houjicha : Roasted, Mild, Smoky
    Houjicha is a roasted Japanese green tea, with our product specially prepared by our Tokyo store. It has a smoky aroma and is lower in caffeine than most green teas. Houjicha has a woody flavour that many coffee drinkers find appealing, and can be brewed well with boiling hot water.

    Matcha : Umami, Creamy texture, Beautifully green:
    3 Differnt grades available: GOLD, SILVER, MATCHA
    Matcha is a very special tea powder and specifically different from powdered green tea. Matcha is the fine powder of stone milled Tencha (made from the leaves of specially shade grown tea trees). Tencha comprises of about only 10% of the original harvest, and takes 1 hour to produce 40g of Matcha. When drinking Matcha you are receiving the full benefits of green tea as the whole tea leaf is being consumed.

    Other Varieties:

    Kabusecha:
    This tea is shade grown like gyokuro, but for a shorter period of time, giving it characteristics of both sencha and gyokuro. *
    Banncha:
    This tea is made from leaves collected during the second and fourth harvest. Leaves are bigger than those found in Sencha.
    Konacha:
    Very fine tea leaves produced from sifting tea leaves. Commonly served in sushi bars.
    Mecha:
    This is little ball like tea, produced after sorting the tea leaves. Only a small quantity of this tea is available on the market.

     

     

     

  • The Japanese way of processing sencha

    1. Harvest, Steaming, Rolling/ Drying.
    Harvest:
    For Sencha there are 4 picking times a year, the first of which falls around the beginning of May. Shincha- meaning "New Tea" in Japanese- is the green tea picked during the first harvest and, as well as having a very delicately fresh and earthy flavour, is rare and expensive. This is due to the leaves being at their most young and tender, with leaves becoming bigger and slightly harder in texture as time passes. Thus the earlier the harvest the more expensive the tea tends to be.
    Steaming:
    While 94% of green teas are pan-fried in a wok, the remaining 6% of Japanese Green Teas are steamed, which preserves the original leafy and herby flavour. Thanks to this steaming process, most of the leaves' natural green colour, fragrance and nutritional components are retained.
    Rolling and Drying:
    The rolling or drying process begins shortly after the steaming has finished. During this process, the fibers are softened, allowing the tea's flavour components to be released. There are several stages of rolling, starting with a loose rolling and culminating with a tight twist, giving the leaves their characteristic thin needle shape. By the time the leaves have gone through their final drying, the majority of the water content has been removed. This effectively prevents the quality of the leaves from changing, thereby maintaining the original character of the tea to a high degree. Concealed inside the twisted leaves is the essence of the tea’s natural flavour. The leaves have a moisture content of approximately 10-13% after final rolling, and this is reduced to 5% with hot-air drying. This tea is called "ARACHA"

    2. Secondary processing: Drying, Sifting, Cutting, Sorting
    The ARACHA tea is uneven in shape and its moisture content is still high, making it susceptible to deterioration. For these reasons, the tea does not yet have the value of a finished product and requires secondary processing for it to be considered so. Its value as a finished product is increased by both appearance and content. Secondary processing involves air drying, sifting, cutting and sorting (removal of twigs, powder and buds) and grading using blown air and electrical sensitivity. The finely-twisted sencha leaves which remain are then sorted according to size and shape, to be used later in specific proportions during the blending process. The result is a product with approximately 3% moisture content.

    3. Blending (GOUGUMI)
    Blending is carried out according to tastes, aroma and colour. Every year the condition of harvested tea leaves varies due to weather patterns. The final product requires blending between 2 - 7 kinds of tea leaves to stabilize the preferred taste according to consumer demographics. This process demands a high level of skill, experience and significant knowledge in order to execute the right blend of flavours.
    Nippon Tea is proud to bring you a quality, original blended tea thanks to our Tokyo staff with over 60 years of knowledge and experience.

  • Where our tea comes from