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.
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.
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.
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.