All types of tea come from the leaves of the same plant - the evergreen shrub camellia sinensis. The varieties used to grow tea are camellia sinensis sinensis and camellia sinensis assamica.
The main types of tea are: green tea, black tea and oolong tea - they differ in the level of leaf oxidation. Black tea is fully oxidized, oolong tea is partially oxidized, and green tea is non-oxidized tea.
Soon after picking, in the leaves of each tea the oxidation process begins. In the case of green tea, special treatment is applied to stop this process immediately after harvest To deactivate the enzymes involved in the oxidation process, the leaves should be exposed to high temperatures. For this purpose, the tea leaves are exposed to steam (Japan) or roasted in pans (China). The oxidation process is stopped, the leaves keep their green color and the color of the infusion will also be in shades of green - hence the name "green tea".
Due to the fact that green tea leaves have not undergone the oxidation process, a very important ingredient is preserved in them - the powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG). In the case the oxidation process takes place, this component is lost.
Japanese green tea also comes from the camellia sinensis shrub. Different types of Japanese green tea arise due to differences in the methods of growing and processing the leaves of this bush.
As has already been mentioned, a distinctive feature of Japanese green tea, distinguishing it from Chinese green tea, is its method of treatment - subjecting tea leaves to steam. This is done immediately after the leaves are picked and aims to stop the oxidation process of tea. In the case of Chinese green tea, oxidation is stopped by roasting the leaves in pans. This initial stage of green tea production - exposing leaves to steam to stop oxidation - is the main reason for the difference in taste between Japanese and Chinese teas. Japanese green tea, thanks to this process, has a more fresh, vegetable (some say grassy) taste and greener infusion color.
Types of Japanese green tea
Sencha is the most popular type of Japanese tea. Its leaves are grown in full sun (they are not shaded while growing, as in the case of matcha tea). After harvesting, the leaves are treated with steam to stop oxidation, and then rolled into small needles and dried. We recommend sencha to start your adventure with green tea.
More about sencha here SENCHA
Matcha is a high-quality powdered green tea. Its manufacturing process is very labor intensive. Approximately 3 weeks before harvesting, tea shrubs are shaded with special mats and in this way the light supply is cut off in approx. 90%. This causes the plant to slow down its growth, accumulate more chlorophyll and valuable ingredients in the leaves, and less tannins. The leaves are harvested and ground to powder. Matcha is rich in amino acids (including L-theanine), vitamins and minerals. Due to the high content of catechins (polyphenolic compounds), it has strong antioxidant properties. Matcha also has the highest caffeine content among Japanese teas.
Genmaicha is a mix of green tea leaves and roasted rice, which gives it a specific smell and taste. It has a low caffeine content and can be drunk at night.
More about genmaicha here GENMAICHA
Matcha Genmaicha is a blend of genmaicha tea (green tea leaves + roasted rice) and matcha tea. Matcha powder gives the tea a beautiful green color and a mild, sweet taste.
More about genmaicha here GENMAICHA
Hojicha is rosted green tea. Unlike other green teas hojicha is brown in color. The leaves and stalks are roasted, which gives the brew a light brown color and a distinct burnt taste. Hojicha has a low caffeine content and is liked by children. It can be drunk at night.
More about hojicha here HOJICHA
Kukicha is a kind of tea consisting mainly of dried stalks and tea petioles. It has a low caffeine content. It has a mild taste and can be consumed at any time of the day. Recommended for people for whom sencha is too intense.
More about kukicha here KUKICHA