By: Shrija Bhattacharya
The Japanese are known for their exquisite cuisine that also pays much heed to the health aspect. No wonder Japan has one of the healthiest populations in the world. But one must wonder that a country with such a rich gastronomic history should also have a special drink to go with it! Well, Japan comes 8th among the most tea producing countries in the world and their varieties of local tea are known to be super healthy and also super luxurious. Here are the top 5 types of Japanese tea that I’ve curated just for you.
Being one of the most expensive variety of tea in the world, it is made with special cultivators and only expert tea planters can produce it. The taste is very bitter and almost gives an umami flavor. It is another variety of green tea that is grown in the shade.
We all know matcha… the bright green tea that is also a superfood. Matcha is a Japanese tea powder made from tencha. The tea leaves are shaded for about 3-4 weeks before harvesting. Matcha is available in different grades and one can have a pick according to their preference.
Hojicha is a roasted green tea. It has less caffeine compared to other types, and it’s great for making iced tea. Hojicha has its own very unique flavor that is bitter-sweet and also has a slight tinge of umami flavor that many enjoy.
Bancha is made from the same tea plants used for sencha type of tea, but the leaves are preferred to be older. Mature leaves have more robust flavor, this makes the tea leaves less fresh, adding to the aged aroma that many prefer. Bancha can be roasted too, which is better preferred by the locals.
Kabusecha is a semi-shaded type of green tea, and falls somewhere between sencha and gyokuro. The flavor is more on the sweeter side as compared to other variants. Hence it is better preferred as compared to Sencha types.
Now that you know about the various varieties of Japanese tea, I’d suggest you grab your own favorite local variety and indulge in your own traditional tea. However, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can try out some matcha tea! Since that’s the one that is widely available in India.