Explore the World of Green Tea

Explore the World of Green Tea

Favorite Japanese teas

Although I enjoy a fragrant cup of black tea, green tea is the true way to my heart. The earthy flavor and aroma is both delicate and robust. Like black tea, green tea comes in almost endless varieties. Some green teas earn the flavor from the time they are harvest or how they are prepared, while others have additional ingredients that complement the brewed tea leaves. Below is a basic guide to some of my favorite Japanese green teas. If you can't find them in a regular grocery, they are all readily available online. If you can't wait, visit an Asian grocery. These markets usually have a huge selection of both green and black teas, some quite exotic and flavorful

Sencha

Sencha is an everyday green tea. The leaves are dried in sunlight, but the quality varies. Once you find a type you like, stick with it because not all sencha is created equal. The leaves are whole and unground, often resembling sticks. The best sencha carries an additional name, shincha, which indicates it is from the year's first harvest and therefore has a superior flavor.

 

Gyokuro

The top of the line in Japanese green tea is gyokuro. Gyokuro is grown in slightly shaded areas in the weeks immediately preceedng harvest, which gives it a smoother flavor. Sine the leaves are weaker, a regular cup of tea requires twice as many leaves as compared to sencha. The brewed tea has a pale green color, unlike the tan-green color of sencha.

 

Matcha

Match is the quintessential Japanese tea, seen in tea ceremonies and Zen temples. Superior tea leaves are ground to a powder. The powder is then stirred into hot water immediately before serving with a small bamboo whisk. The powder becomes suspended in the water from the whisking action.

 

Genmaicha

This is my favorite breakfast tea. The tea is roasted with unhulled rice. The rice pops in the heat, resembling little pieces of popcorn. Toasting and rice give the tea a rich, earthy tea that is the perfect thing to wake up with in the morning.