4th Story - Tea Varieties

1st Story : Let’s go to Maikonocha
2nd Story :Tea Picking
3rd Story :Tea Processing
4th Story :Tea Varieties
5th Story :Serving Tea
6th Story :Tea and Health

About Tea Varieties

There are many different kinds of tea. Supported by approximately 2.7 billion drinkers around the world, it is the most popular beverage exceeding coffee, drunk by approximately 1.9 billion.

Different kinds of tea can be classified into three basic categories, according to the different processing methods: black tea, oolong tea and green tea. Originally, they come from the leaves of the same evergreen plant (Camellia sinensis).

1.Classification according to processing methods

* Japanese tea is classified under “green tea.”
** an evergreen tree native to Unnan Province in China.

2.Classification of Green

Cultivation Method tea (Japanese tea)

Sencha : 75 % of green tea produced in Japan is of this type. Sencha has a fresh aroma and refined astringent flavor.

Gyokuro : Highest grade of Japanese tea available. It is characterized by its fine green, rich aroma and mellow flavor.

Tencha Matcha : Matcha is ground tencha. It is lavishly aromatic with a full-bodied flavor.

Green tea is classified into three basic categories mentioned above (Sencha, Gyokuro and Tencha). But there are many other types on the market, such as Karigane (Kukicha), Konacha (powder tea), Genmai tea or Houjicha

Tencha Matcha (from shaded fields)

Shaded from mid-April until harvest, these fields receive reduced sunlight. Freshly sprouted buds are picked, steamed and then dried without being kneaded.

Most people rarely have a chance to see Tencha in its original state as it is almost always ground when sold as matcha. However, because the flavor and color quickly deteriorates after being ground, manufacturers preserve this type of tea in the non-ground Tencha form.
 Shopping Matcha

Gyokuro (from shaded fields)

Gyokuro and Sencha are sorted into leaf, stem and powder during processing. Karigane is a type of green tea that consists mostly of the stem. Commonly called “Karigane” in Kyoto, it is also known as “Kukicha” throughout Japan.
Some may question, “why the stem?” but Karigane sorted from Gyokuro has a flavor similar to Gyokuro leaf tea, and is popular because its relatively reasonable price.
 Shopping Karigane (kukicha)

Sencha (from fields fully exposed to sunlight)

Buds are picked from fields fully exposed to sunlight, steamed and then dried as they are kneaded.
It has a unique fresh aroma and refined astringency. Sencha accounts for 75% of green tea produced in Japan.
 Shopping Sencha


Sencha and Karigane of lower grades are roasted over a high flame to extract a savory fragrance.
This type of tea is suitable as a side beverage during your meal as it clears your mouth. Because of a low caffeine content, it is also recommendable before bedtime.
 Shopping Houjicha


Sencha and Karigane of lower grades are blended with popped whole-rice (genmai). The sweetness of the green tea and the aroma of the whole-rice combine exquisitely. Popular as a daily drink.
 Shopping Genmaicha


After the fresh sprouting buds are picked from the bush, the bigger and stiffer leaves are harvested. They are steamed, dried and then roasted to make this type of tea. It is popular for its unique aromatic flavor.
 Shopping Kyobancha

3.Tea for Every Occasion

Different types of tea can be drunk for different purposes during the day.

During Work or Study
We recommend Matcha, Gyokuro or high grade Sencha.
These types of tea are abundant in caffeine, a chemical that stimulates the brain.

We recommend Gyokuro, high grade Sencha and Houjicha.
Caffeine, also known as “muscle stimulant,” is helpful when drunk 20-30 minutes before exercising. During exercise, we recommend a cup of (cold) tea every 20-30 minutes.
Afterwards, replenish liquids lost from your body as sweat with Houjicha. The caffeine content of Houjicha is so low, that this tea does not have any water-extracting effect on your body.

We recommend Matcha, Gyokuro or high grade Sencha.
Green tea is very effective to ward off drowsiness. More caffeine will dissolve in the tea when brewed with higher temperature water.

To Clear your Mouth
Houjicha rids your mouth of unwanted aftertaste from greasy foods

After a Meal
We recommend middle – higher grade sencha or Konacha after meals.
They contain an increased amount of catechin, which reduces risks of food poisoning and cavity. Try Konacha after eating raw foods such as sushi!

Bedtime / Elderly / Infants
Houjicha, which has low caffeine content, is recommendable before bedtime, and as a beverage for the elderly and infants. Weaker houjicha is suitable for babies.

Before Meals
Houjicha is best because of its low caffeine content and its mildness.